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PATIENCE...PERSEVERANCE

From Strong's: 5281 hupomone {hoop-om-on-ay'} from 5278; TDNT - 4:581,581; n f AV - patience 29, enduring 1, patient continuance 1, patient waiting 1; 32 1) steadfastness, constancy, endurance 1a) in the NT the characteristic of a man who is not swerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings 1b) patiently, and steadfastly 2) a patient, steadfast waiting for 3) a patient enduring, sustaining, perseverance

James 1:2-4.."My brethren count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that You may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing."(NKJV)

So why are we to count our trials as joy? Because it's producing patience, or perseverance in us. And why is that so important? Just take away the trials and I won't need it!!! Because God is doing something so special in us. He is making us perfect and complete, so that we lack nothing.

He is continually sanctifying us and forming us into the image of His Son. We are His children now if we have trusted Him as our Saviour, and His life is always being formed in us. Oh what joy to think of being made like Him! What joy to think of being so one with Him! Ah...but to be like that it means the suffering of our flesh sometimes, which is so contrary to His Spirit.

1 Peter 4:1-2 (amplified version).."So, since Christ suffered in the flesh for us, for you, arm yourselves with the same thought and purpose [patiently to suffer rather than fail to please God]. For whoever has suffered in the flesh [having the mind of Christ] is done with [intentional] sin [has stopped pleasing himself and the world, and pleases God]. So that he can no longer spend the rest of his natural life living by [his] human appetites and desires, but [he lives] for what God wills."

One thing we can be sure of is that God will persevere on our behalf. The Son persevered for you when He was on this earth in the flesh. He persevered through persecution and through the cross, giving His life for your sin that you might live and have eternal life. Now we are to take on that same thought. What ever it takes to keep on keeping on for Jesus, whatever it takes to be conformed to His image, whatever it takes, I will say no to my flesh, and yes to God, even if that means pain, sorrow, or suffering! He is my life now. His purpose is what matters, not my own. My own purpose becomes so wrapped up in His that the two are now one. Little by little, my dreams, goals, desires, are all being changed and conformed to His.

We are being brought to that place where we will not be swerved from our deliberate purpose and our loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings.

So how does this happen? It doesn't happen with one decision but starts with one decision. Each time we are brought to the cross in our lives, where we are faced with the decision to choose, will our flesh have its way or will we let the cross have its way? If we say yes to God and let Him have His way then perseverance is having its work in us. Patience is getting a stronger hold in us. Godliness is being formed in us.

Sometimes we fall. Sometimes we shun the cross, and listen to our flesh.

Prov. 24:16 (NKJV)..."For a righteous man may fall seven times and rise again, but the wicked shall fall by calamity."

We fall..we keep getting back up again. We press on, we say "yes God...no matter what it takes, I want Your way." The difference is that we have the living God in us continually leading us onward and picking us back up, and leading us back to that cross, until it has its final way in us to crucify our flesh and set us free from it. And be assured, He won't give up! He will persevere on your behalf to enable you to persevere.

This should be something that gives you hope, and not despair. Because the more free we are of our flesh, the more it is put to death, the more we persevere, the more of Him we have living and reigning in our lives; the more of His joy and love and presence we experience. The less there is of us, the more fullness of Him in us and through our lives for others to see.

We know we are able to persevere no matter how difficult the trial is, because He said that He would always help us. He said that He would never leave us or forsake us. He said that He is always making intercession on our behalf. You see, it is really truly, all along, He that is persevering in you, and keeping you, and not of yourself that you are left to persevere. All we need to do to persevere is say "yes God, have Your way in me." And then trust Him to do it.

And we have His promise of eternal reward, a blessed hope, that He will one day come again for us and there we will be with Him forever.

"Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise: 'For yet a little while, and He who is coming will come and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith, but if anyone draws back, my soul has no pleasure in him.' But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul."

Are you waiting for God's promise to be fulfilled in your life? Is there something you have patiently prayed and waited for for so long from the Lord? Have you been in this trial, it seems, for an eternity already? When will it end? When will God answer?

We need to be like Abraham who, when God said to Him, "Surely I will bless you, and multiplying I will mutiply you", and so after he patiently endured, he obtained the promise." Heb. 6:14,15 (NKJV)

Abba, I pray today for whoever reads this that You will uphold them and sustain them through whatever they are needing to trust You for and persevere through and have patience for. Let Patience have its perfect work in us Lord so that we can be complete! In the name of Jesus Christ I ask it. Amen...so be it!


WAITING ON THE LORD

Waiting: To remain until something expected happens.

Hmmmmm....never much cared to hear that word...wait. It always meant I couldn't have what I wanted right away. It meant being patient, sometimes enduring something unpleasant while I waited. But I'm learning to see that word in a whole new light when it comes to waiting on the Lord.

While we wait on the Lord...He makes even the waiting beneficial and reveals more of Himself to us. It is not idle, wasted time.

This has become one of my favorite verses of scripture:

Isa. 40:28-31..(amplified Bible) "Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, does not faint or grow weary; there is no searching of His understanding.

He gives power to the faint and weary, and to him who has no might He increases strength [causing it to multiply and making it to abound].

Even youths shall faint and be weary, and [selected] young men shall feebly stumble and fall exhausted;

But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired."

Matthew Henry commentary:"...The youths and the young men are strong, but are apt to think themselves stronger than they are. And they shall faint and be weary, shall utterly fail in their conflicts and under their burdens; they shall soon be made to see the folly of trusting to themselves. But those that wait on the Lord, and by faith rely upon Him and commit themselves to His guidance, shall find that God will not fail them. They shall have grace sufficient for them: They shall renew their strength. God will be their arm every morning, ch.33:2. They shall use this grace for the best purposes. They shall soar upward, upward towards God. Devout affections are the eagles' wings on which gracious souls mount up. They shall press forward, forward, towards heaven. They shall walk, they shall run, the way of God's commandments, cheerfully and with alacrity."

Jamieson, Faucett, and Brown commentary:..."They 'have no might' in themselves; but in Him they have strength, and He 'increases' that strength (2 Cor. 12:9). young men -lit., 'those selected'; men picked out on account of their youthful vigor for an enterprise. mount up--(2 Sam. 1:23). Rather, 'They shall put forth fresh feathers as eagles' are said to renovate themselves; the parallel clause, 'renew their strength,' confirms this. The eagle was thought to moult and renew his feathers, and with them his strength, in old age....in every attitude the praying, waiting child of God is 'strong in the Lord.'"

New King James Personal Study Edition notes.."The idea of 'waiting on the Lord' is prominent in the Psalms (37:7, 104:27, 130:5) and the Prophets (Isa. 8:17, 40:31, Hos. 12:6) Although it contains an element of time, there is more to it than time alone. Waiting expresses that complete dependence on the Lord which does not run ahead of Him making its own plans and relying on its own strength. To wait on the Lord is an expression of complete trust. It is better not to rush into doing something today if the doing is an expression of dependence on our own strength and our own sense of timing.

Very often God asks people to wait precisely as an exercise in trust. This was the case with King Saul who unfortunately failed the exercise (1 Sam. 13:8,9). The disciples who were commanded to wait until they were filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4) passed the waiting test, setting an example for all of us."

Sometimes we give up waiting on God because we have quit trusting that He is hearing us, or we feel He is late, and we must go ahead ourselves. We have become impatient and we go ahead and do things our own way, not waiting to hear and know the Lord's direction, or wait for His timing or His answer. In doing so we cause so many problems and heartaches for ourself. Then in the long run, we end up having to turn back to God and wait on Him anyway for His deliverance from or through our circumstances that we have now brought upon ourselves.

One of the scriptures I discovered while doing this study blessed my heart the most. It shows us that God so patiently waits for us! Yes, we always think of having to wait for God or wait on God, but I was blessed to see how God waits patiently and with much longsuffering for us. Because of His wonderful mercy, love, compassion and grace, He does not wish to punish us for our sin or bring judgement on us so He waits until He can reveal His mercy on us at times, until our heart is ready.

Isa. 30:18 (amplified Bible) "And therefore the Lord [earnestly] waits [expecting, looking, and longing] to be gracious to you; and therefore He lifts Himself up, that He may have mercy on you and show loving-kindness to you. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are all those who [earnestly] wait for Him, who expect and look and long for Him [for His victory, His favor, His love, His peace, His joy, and His matchless, unbroken companionship]!"

Those that wait on the Lord will not be put to shame. Waiting means trusting. Waiting means expecting. Waiting means hoping, and the kind of hope that does not disappoint.

We can have His joy while waitng, knowing that what we wait for will be fulfilled according to His perfect plan for us. We can have His peace, knowing that He is never going to leave us or forsake us in the waiting. We know that He is always at work and never late in carrying out His purpose for us. The waiting becomes our time of drawing closer to Him, enjoying Him, getting to know Him more, letting Him have His way in forming godly character in us. All the while we have a joyful expectation from Him.

If you have never met the Lord personally, He waits for you to come to Him, so He can be merciful, so He can show His love and forgiveness. He waits so patiently and lovingly as we struggle through our own problems, waiting for us to come to Him so He can be our strength. He draws us, woos us, calls us, waiting and waiting....until the day our hearts are ready for Him to reveal Himself.

Yes, even if we do know Him, we tend to struggle in our own strength until we can't anymore. All the while God is waiting for you to come to Him and make Him your strength. 2 Cor. 12:8-9.

Abba, I pray that we will learn the blessing of waiting on You. I ask for Your grace to continue to wait and trust and grow through our trials in this life. I thank You that You promised to come back for us, Jesus, and take us home to be with You where You are! (John 4:2-3). I thank You that You are waiting for just the right time for that promise to be fulfilled. We wait for You, Lord, expectantly, earnestly, longingly....waiting with a hope that won't be disappointed! Thank You for your boundless victory! Amen and amen...so be it!

God bless you and keep you!


SPENDING TIME WITH GOD

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled." Matt. 5:6

"If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water." John 7:37-38

"But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither and whatever he does shall prosper." Ps. 1:2-3

God can only feed us if we come to Him. We can only have that living water that will quench our thirst if we come to Him for it and drink it. He can only fill our hearts if we come and ask of Him.

Sometimes we think just because we once came to Him and have His promise living in our hearts, that we can get by and not spend time with Him. We go on and on in our own strength and power. Then we wonder one day when we're in a hard place where He is, why we seem so dry. But it's because we neglected our time with Him. He never moved away, but we did. If we don't come each day, then each day we move further away.

He sets a banquet before us everyday but we must come and partake. His Word is like a satisfying meal. His Spirit quenches the thirsting of our soul. The words He gave us in John 6:35 have such meaning...

"And Jesus said to them, 'I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.'"

And again in verse 53-57..."Then Jesus said to them, 'Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of he Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks my blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me.'"

The words eat, drink, feeds....they are all verbs, action words. We have to do it. We have to partake.

Funny how important it is to us to get our daily food. If we miss a meal we are crabby, our stomachs growl, we feel faint and weak. Do we notice that our spirit being is also weak and faint when we don't partake of our daily manna? Unfortunately sometimes we can go on and on and not notice that we have starved ourselves spiritually. We may even be reading books about God, or listening to teachers, but that is not like sitting at His banquet table and partaking of the life-giving pure manna that He gives, and fellowshipping with Him, drinking from Him. We get that from Him directly.

I know there are times in our lives when for one reason or another that partaking is difficult. Sometimes we just neglect it. We become spiritually lazy, and other things take priority in our lives.

I wrote a song once when the Lord was tugging at my own heart to just put aside the housework, and the busyness of my day and come away. I realized once I had gotten there, finally how much I would have missed had I not spent that time with Him. I got on my face and prayed, "Lord, it's only Your love that can conquor all the places in my soul!" And that became the name of the song that flowed out of me then:

Lord, it's only your love
That can conquor all the places in my soul
And only Your love
That can really make me whole
When I find Your presence
And I see Your face smiling down on me
Then all I want to do
Is give myself to you.

Lord, when I look into Your face
I know You see that hidden place
That I can't see
Only You know what's really deep inside
And I know that I can't hide my heart from You
But I pray that You'll win, Lord
That Your love will conquor all the places in my soul

I pray You'll overcome my pride
And all that I hold dear inside
I want to give to You
When I can find You alone are my life
And all my ambitions and strife I've surrendered to You
Then I'll know You've won, Lord
That Your love has conquored all the places in my soul.

I see such power in Your love
Nothing else below or above
Can set me free
Nothing else in this whole earth can stand
Against the power of Your nail-scarred hands
Reaching out to me
And that's the love that wins, Lord
The love that conquors all the places in my soul

by Ginny Larsen 1989

There were times when I was depressed and couldn't bring myself to open a Bible and read. I listened to tapes of scripture then and let the Word enter my thoughts and speak to my heart. Then I was able to respond to the Word in faith and God lifted the depression.

There are times when life just gets so busy. I heard a saying once...There is enough time in every day to do what God wants me to do. If there wasn't time in my day for God, then something was wrong and I was adding my own agenda somewhere and had to find out where.

Sometimes the Lord withdraws His presence from us and blessing for a time to again get our attention. He is just waiting again for us to hunger and thirst for Him. When we do, He fills us.

It's only God's love that can conquor all those places in our soul. If we aren't spending that time with Him then we aren't letting Him come and speak to us about those things in our hearts we need to see. We aren't coming into His light with our darkness. We aren't abe to see clearly to walk the way He would have us to walk.

But as we come before Him in His presence we see ourselves in His light and we are made whole. He restores our soul. We receive strength to go on our way. His will is made more clear to us. Our hearts are changed. Pride is removed, we are humbled. We see things in His light instead of our own way of seeing. We are able to then go about our day with His continued presence there with us.

We become like a tree planted by streams of living water whose leaf does not wither. But we must partake. It won't happen automaticly. He invites us to come if we are thirsty and drink, and to come and eat.

How many Christians go about spiritually famished or poorly fed from the "Christian fast food places" that don't nourish completely. If we could see our spirit beings perhaps some of us would look like the pictures we've seen of starving people in areas of great famine....or prisoners in a nazi concentration camp. If our bodies looked that way we wouldn't be much good at doing the work we have to do everyday and going about our lives very productively.

Yet we try to do our service for the Lord with our spirits malnourished.

If we don't abide in Him the Bible says we are like a branch that is cast out and withered. We can do nothing unless we abide in Him. Nothing of any true godly fruitbearing significance.

In Luke 10:39-42 we read, "And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus' feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, 'Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.' And Jesus answered and said to her, 'Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things, but one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her'."

Mary sat at His feet and learned from Him. And that is what we need. We need to become before we can do. Spending time with Him is more important to Him, I believe, than serving Him. True service will come out of that.

If you have somehow wandered from that time with the Lord, and it's been a while since you partook at His table and sat at His feet, I invite you today to just do that. Make the time. If you were hungry you would somehow make the time to eat. You just would. No matter how busy you were. Make the time today and see if He disappoints you.

May the Lord bless you and keep you!


ABBA FATHER

"For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, 'Abba, Father'." Rom. 8:15 (NKJV)

"And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, 'Abba, Father!'" Gal. 4:6 (NKJV)

"Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him." 1 John 3:1 (NKJV)

"And He said, 'Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.'" Mark 14:36 (NKJV)

"Abba" is the Aramaic word for father, or the English equivilent would be daddy or papa. To address God by this name shows a most intimate relationship with Him. And yet God gives us this great, and incredible privilege! This is the intimate relationship He intended for us right from the beginning. When we are born of His seed (His Spirit), and His Spirit indwells us, then we have that privilege, to call on our Papa God, just as Jesus did here on earth. In fact, the Spirit within our hearts will automatically cry out to Him when we are in any trouble, just as a child would automatically cry out for his father.

God reveals Himself to us in many ways in the scripture. He uses earthly relationships to show us a small glimpse of the intimacy of His love for us and that he desires from us. Husband...wife, Father....child, friend, brother....etc.; these are all love bonds that the Lord gives us to help us see His love for us.

If we had an earthly father who was good to us and loved us, and was patient with us, we have a small glimpse of the love of our heavenly Father. If we have one that was cruel or negligent, we know that our Heavenly Father is perfect and fulfills that kind of love and care perfectly in our lives if we become His child. He said He would be a Father to the fatherless. Ulitmately, we who love Him, will all be together as one family knowing the love of our Heavenly Father perfectly and always being in His presence experiencing that fathomless, unlimited love!

This is the way My Abba revealed His Father heart to me, when I needed Him:

YOU ARE MY FATHER

Oh God, You are my Father,
You're always there loving and guiding me
Taking me by the hand, You understand
Everything that touches me
And Oh, I need my Father's arms
So strong!
Always holding on to me

And now, my Father
Here I am, my Father
Coming to You, knowing I can trust in You
And You will hear Your child's prayer

Oh God, You are my Father
When I was lost, it was You who found me
You were there caring for me, guiding me
When I was all alone
Oh...and now my Father's heart
So warm
Is always opened up to me

And now, my Father
Here I am, my Father
Coming to You, knowing I can trust in You
And You will hear Your child's prayer

Oh God, You are my Father
When I am wrong, Your rod is correcting me
In Your loving way, leading each day
Keeping me close to You
And oh...my Father's hands
Reaching out
Are always there to comfort me

And now, my Father
Here I am, my Father
Coming to You, knowing I can trust in You
And You will hear Your child's prayer

Oh God, You are my Father
I have no fear; Your love is surrounding me
It's You who will always see that nothing hurts me
Because I am Your's alone
Oh...and my Father's eyes
So kind
Are always watching over me

And now, my Father
Here I am, my Father
Coming to You, knowing I can trust in You
And You will hear Your child's prayer

by Ginny Larsen 1990

What ever the love an earthly father would have for us here on this earth, if he were as good a father as a father could possibly be, our Heavenly Father is so far beyond. He made the most intimate place in our hearts, the place of our innermost being, the place where He chooses for Himself to dwell. Nobody else can ever fill that void. We may try desperately to fill it with all sorts of things and relationships, and then be hurt and grieved and disappointed, because they will never fill it. It was created in us by our creator, our Abba, for Him to be a dwelling place.

He cherishes and nourishes us as His own dear children. Always diligently tending to our needs. Never at any moment leaving us alone.

Our earthly fathers may not have been diligent in disciplining us as we needed, but our Heavenly Father, you can be sure will be diligent in that!

"And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons:

'My son, do not despise the
chastening of the Lord,Nor be discouraged when you
are rebuked by Him;
For whom the Lord loves He
chastens,
And scourges ever son whom
He receives.'

If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it." Heb. 12:5-11

It is never easy to endure discipline, but if we trust our perfect Heavenly Father, then we know His hand is always at work in us to bring righteousness in us, even when we don't understand what that discipline is doing.

Just as Jesus perfectly leaned on and trusted His Father, we too are to lean on and trust Him. Just as Jesus trusted Him with His life and the care of it, we too are to trust our Heavenly Father with the care of our life. Just as Jesus cried out to Him when what He was about to face brought sorrow "even unto death" (Mark 14:34), we too have the Spirit in us that cries out "Abba Father!" in our darkest hours. And just as Jesus could be always sure of His Heavenly Father responding immediately and tending to every need, we too can be sure of the perfect love and care of our Heavenly Father to tend to every need.

It may not seem like it to us at times, when we feel abandoned and alone as Jesus did on the cross when He cried out "My God, My God! Why have you forsaken me?" But we have His Spirt in us as our guarantee. Can God ever fail us? Is He a Father that is off somewhere too busy for us? He is not even able to be a failure as a Father! He is only perfect in all He does. That includes being our Father to the end, here, and for all eternity, revealing in ways we may not now understand, that unfathomable love.

Dearest Papa God, today I pray for my brothers and sisters who need to see Your Father heart and learn to trust in You completely. I pray that You will open the eyes of their comprehension and enable them with truly child-like faith to come to You for all things. For Jesus...it was You who said unless we come as a child, we cannot come into the kingdom. Give us that childlikeness....a gentle believing heart that always trusts our Father in all things. I ask in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen! So be it!


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