Jesus

Perfect Patience

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” – James 1:2 KJV

Oh, Patience. You are a high commodity these days. One of the most popular prayers requests, but one of the least practiced. Impatience can manifest in many situations…especially everyday occurrences, such as traffic, long lines, or inconveniences.

Another word for patience is Long-suffering: having or showing patience in spite of troubles, especially those caused by other people.

Oh…other people. You mean other people wear your patience?

Yes…especially.

It doesn’t matter who it is…family, spouse, friend, coworker…even strangers work our nerves and test us.

When I reflect on how Jesus handled these types of situations in the Bible, I have to say, it motivates me. An enemy was in his close circle of friends for 3 years. Judas, the one who would sell him out and seal it with a kiss. Jesus knew this. But He displayed patience with him, and loved him knowing what would happen.

If we want to live out patience, we must mirror ourselves after Jesus. We must pattern ourselves after His character and behavior towards others. Even our enemies.

How do we live it out?

Remember that God is patient with you. Judas wasn’t the only one who would betray Jesus. Peter wasn’t the only one who would deny Him. We all have turned away at one point. According to Hebrews 6:6, when we fall away, we are crucifying Him all over again. He still shows mercy. He still chose to die for us, foreseeing all of this. So we must see others through His eyes and show mercy and love. “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8

Grow thicker skin.  Jesus goes so far as to say allow a person to slap you 77 times and turn the other cheek. This is a tough one to swallow for many. It takes maturity and self control to refrain from retaliating. We don’t want to ruin our opportunity to shine the light of Jesus in a person’s life because our feelings remain hurt. “A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.” – Proverbs 19:11

Don’t give up. God has placed within us a certain measure of faith. Bearing with one another means not throwing up our hands and giving up on someone. Change takes time and we must learn not to become frustrated and walk away. We may miss seeing change come to fruition in someone’s life. God has perfect timing, but we don’t always know when it will happen. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” – Galatians 6:9

As always, stay close to Jesus. Learn from His meekness. He is the Lamb of God and was the perfect example of patience throughout His life, even His persecution.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” – Matthew 5:43

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Quenched

Have you ever asked for something, but then changed your mind when you received it?

Throughout the walk of a believer, inevitably we will ask God to change us. There is a pure desire within the heart of us to become like Jesus. Our prayers beg God to remove things within us that don’t please Him. We pray for development of the Fruits of the Holy Spirit. Subtle changes appear, and faith is increased. There is a transformation happening.

But then the flesh notices the change. Something is off. It’s territory is threatened, and it will not go silently into the night. Our flesh starts to put up a fight. As Matthew 26:41 says, the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.

We start to resist the work of the Holy Spirit. We cover our ears, pretending not to hear His whispers. The slow fade begins. We return to our sin. 1 Peter 2:22 is so blunt as to compare it to a dog returning to it’s own vomit. Instead of resting easy in the newness of the Spirit, we prefer the dingy familiarity of our old nature. Why do we not remain?

“Do not quench the Spirit.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:19 

God is an all consuming fire…but He won’t spread if we keep snuffing Him out.

Yielding ourselves to the Holy Spirit is what will truly bring breakthrough, power & freedom in our lives. This means laying down our will…our stubborn, hard-headed wills. Deep down, we know that we don’t know it all. God is not at all put off by any of this. In fact, He wants to use that weakness to display His power in our lives. His best work is done through broken vessels. Ones who have surrendered and admitted that they need Him, and that His ways are higher. If we will allow Him to have His way, imagine what He could do through us.

“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.  For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.  But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.” – Galatians 5:16

“But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” – James 1:4


“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” – Phillipians 1:6


“For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” – Romans 7:15

 

 

It is He

Our God has always been very clear & concise in stating who He is. He is not shy, nor insecure about His identity or His ways. Throughout the Bible, one phrase is constant and commands your attention.

“It is He…”

If someone was to ask me to describe God…there is no way that I could fit Him into words. His majesty and wonder are beyond mere words. Even when Moses asked Him what he should say when the Israelites asked him  the name of who sent him, God simply stated, “Tell them ‘I AM has sent me to you’.” This displays the profound simplicity of our Creator.

The true Author assisted the writers of the Bible in their attempts to describe Him. The verse below is one that summarizes the Father beautifully:

“God, who made the world, and all things therein; he, being Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;  Neither is he served with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing; seeing it is he who giveth to all life, and breath, and all things:  And hath made of one, all mankind, to dwell upon the  whole face of the earth, determining appointed times, and the limits of their habitation.” – Acts 17:24

This verse displays His sovereignty. God has a handle on all things…the whole world truly is in His hands. He is all sufficient & all knowing. Another verse that eloquently describes our God is:

It is He who changes the times and the epochs;
  He removes kings and establishes kings;
  He gives wisdom to wise men
  And knowledge to men of understanding.
It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things;
  He knows what is in the darkness,
  And the light dwells with Him. – Daniel 2:21

When Jesus came, this phrase continued to be prevalent.

And she shall bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name JESUS; for it is he that shall save his people from their sins. Matthew 1:21

Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” He answered, “And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and it is he who is speaking to you.” – John 9:35

When I see this statement, I feel God’s declaration, assuring us that He is who He says He is. There is something about this phrase that is very finalizing. It settles any questions, any arguments.  It leaves no room for doubt. He is instilling confidence in us each time it is written in the scriptures. We can declare who He is right along with Him. He is arming us with a confession of bold faith in Him. Our prayers and praises can be filled with the same confidence, proclaiming our King’s victory. When we feel fear, or when we are walking through the valley, declare this verse and stand upon the solid Rock.

“…the LORD is our king; it is he who will save us.” – Isaiah 33:22

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Other scripture references that include this statement are: John 8:24, Psalms 60:12, Zechariah 6:12, 2 Kings 17:39, Amos 5:8, Amos 9:6, Job 9:5, and Acts 10:42 (and many more)

Ludicrous

God loves to get a rise out of people.

You made a name for yourself, which remains to this day. You divided the sea before them, so that they passed through it on dry ground, but you hurled their pursuers into the depths, like a stone into mighty waters. By day you led them with a pillar of cloud,and by night with a pillar of fire to give them light on the way they were to take.” Nehemiah 9:10

To this day, His works and ways make people stand in awe. Some of them are so outrageous, that people just can’t believe the stories. They are just too much, too far fetched. They’d rather stay comfortable than dare to believe in something outside of their box.

Me, on the other hand…

I want to believe in something ludicrous. I want to believe in something that I couldn’t think up on my own.

I want to believe in a God who does wonders, and never stops coming up with new ways to amaze me.

Who would want a god who is boring & predictable with nothing in their pocket?

The burning bush, walking on water, being resurrected…I stand in awe at the mere thought of it. Imagine seeing it, living it.

Some would rather believe in nothing than to take a chance on Him.

He takes chances on us everyday. He does so knowing that we will fail. But He never once turns away.

Have you ever considered that one of His reasons for performing outrageous acts is to get our attention?

We must allow ourselves to be open minded and not put God in a box. Isaiah 55 says that His ways are not our ways.

Don’t forsake eternity just because you don’t understand. He wants to show you many things, but most of all, love. Let Him.

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” – 2 Corinthians 1:18

“For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” – 1 Corinthians 1:25

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” – Hosea 4:6
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“Aslan is a lion- the Lion, the great Lion.”

“Ooh” said Susan. “I’d thought he was a man. Is he-quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion”…

“Safe?” said Mr Beaver …”Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.” –

C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

The Word

This morning as I was studying my bible, I came across a very beautiful verse.  This passage has always moved me deeply each time I read it. There is just something about it. 

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” – John 1

There is so much revelation and depth to it. It gives light to so many truths about Jesus Himself. Here is a breakdown with cross references.

He is called The Word of God

“He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. ” – Revelation 19:13

He is one with the Father

I and the Father are one.” – John 10:30

He is the reason for existence and source of life.

“For from him and through him and for him are all things.” – Romans 11:36
“For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” Colossians 1:16

He is the Light of the World

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” – John 8:12

“This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” – 1 John 1:5

“And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” – 2 Corinthians 4:3

He has overcome

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

“Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” – 1 John 4:4

“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined.” – Isaiah 9:2

No amount of words could live up to the glorious one that is Jesus Christ. Mere words do not do Him justice. They don’t even come close. But until we see Him for ourselves & we lay eyes on our Salvation, the Holy Spirit provides us glimpses of His glory in the Word. These glimpses ignite the longing for our King. May we be drawn to The Light.

Enlighten Me

In this age, spiritual enlightenment is heavily sought out, The options & sources available to achieve this goal are endless, including methods like meditation, yoga, and self help books. The desire to have our knowledge and awareness increased is something people of all beliefs  and cultures seek. We are pursuing a common goal: Truth.

With so many options and paths, one is overwhelmed at what path to choose without the guidance of the Holy Spirit. According to the Word, the mind is blinded & led astray until we have an encounter with the Christ Jesus Himself. It will experiment with what the world offers, testing the waters of multiple practices until it is quenched.

The only true enlightenment will come from the Holy Spirit. All answers lie within the person of Jesus. Romans 11:36 states “from Him, through Him, and to Him are all things.” John 1:3 states, “All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.” He is the Beginning and the End, and without Him, nothing exists.  God doesn’t withhold the revelation of who He is from us. It is waiting to be discovered, like a hidden treasure. We have the map, and X marks the spot. We must travel and pursue it to find Him. True riches await us upon the discovery. The riches are our inheritance freely given to us by the only King. He is waiting to illuminate your mind with the only truth. Once our mind grasps the reality of who we are and what He has given us as His children, freedom is inevitable. Once the awareness of who you are in Christ is rooted in you, you are unshakable & immovable.

How do you achieve true enlightenment from God?

1. Meditate on the Word Meditation is not a bad word. It’s what you are meditating on. When we dwell on Jesus and sit with Him, He reveals things to us like friends, and gives us understanding. The Word is a light to our path, and only sheds light down on the right one.

2. Ask for it The Word says if we ask we shall receive. The perfect will of God is for you to know Him, His character…He wants you to enjoy Him. Be patient with the timing of revelations.

3. Only pursue Jesus – All other paths are false, and lead to death. Pursuing other beliefs does not honor our Savior. Honor Him by making Him your sole focus and seek Him with your whole heart.

Simply ask the Lord, “Enlighten me.” He will not withhold any good thing from His babies.

“…having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which He has called you, what are the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints…” – Ephesians 1:18

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” – Romans 12:2 

“The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.” – 1 Corinthians 2:14

 

Get Your Hopes Up

The world has created many sayings that have become our generic responses to situations that occur in our daily lives. One common phrase is “don’t get your hopes up.” This always brings me down when I hear it. The intent is to avoid false hope or being let down. But God never gave us this advice. His word says the exact opposite. Romans 15:13 says He is the God of Hope! It’s His very nature, His character! Being optimistic and and hopeful is not foolish. You are not naive when you choose joy instead of doubt.

A mindset of hope will produce much more fruit than a timid & frightful one. Think of how much time is wasted dwelling on negative thoughts. Declining hope hinders our spirit from trusting God. If we use this phrase, you might as well just use the word “doubt” in it’s place. Because that’s the spirit that we’re inviting in when we say it. Death and life are in the power of the tongue. We must ensure that our words align with God’s. I can’t imagine Jesus leaning in and whispering this phrase to Peter before healing a leper. He was confident in mission, His ability, and God’s promise. He didn’t flinch in the face of adversity but chose to believe. He calls us to do the same.

The phrase “leap of faith” is a very accurate one. Hope requires risk. We don’t know the outcome of every situation, but we can choose how we anticipate it. When we leap instead of holding back, we allow Him the opportunity to catch us…and He will.

“Then you will know that I am the Lord; those who hope in Me will not be disappointed.” -Isaiah 49:23