"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"
August 26, 2009
In many ways I am a very impatient person. My husband and I recently had a discussion about this, and he pointed out the many times that I've struggled with patience. I'm not good at waiting -- period! I don't like waiting to save up money to make purchases (I don't like to go in debt, but don't like to wait either), I don't like waiting for people, I don't like waiting for plans to come to pass, I don't like waiting for things to happen, etc.
There are many saying about patience. One is, "Pray for patience and your faith will be tested (or something along those lines)." Another is "Patience is a virtue."
Many times, patience and faith seem to go hand in hand. One of my favorite quotes about faith, which could also apply to patience, is, "Faith is to idle your motor when you feel like stripping the gears."
An illustration would be a race car driver sitting on the starting line waiting for the flag to signal the beginning of a race. He is sitting there, revving the motor and anxious to take off, but has to wait in idle until the appropriate time, or else he will be disqualified. He's primed and ready to peal out and get up to top speed, in order to try and reach the finish line first. That's how I feel many times. My life is idling in neutral, when I really want to be going full speed ahead.
There are many scriptures that deal with patience.
One is Psalm 37:7: "Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him."
The verses prior to that says, "Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord. Trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass."
We want God to give us the desires of our heart. We want him to bring those desires to pass. But we want it to happen right now! But there are some prerequisites to receiving that promise. First we have to delight ourselves in the Lord.
One meaning of delight is to take great pleasure in. Another is to please someone greatly.
So in order for us to receive the desires of our heart, we must take great pleasure in the Lord. We also much greatly please Him. That means that we need to live our lives so that they will be pleasing to the Lord. We have to love the Lord with all our heart, mind and soul. He must be our primary focus. Out of our love and devotion to God, we will do our very best to be obedient; and will take delight in doing so.
It gives me an overwhelming sense of delight and joy when I know that I do something to bring my husband pleasure. I try to do little things each day to make Jon's life a little better and easier. I delight in doing things for him; both big and small. Sometimes its those little gestures that mean the most.
Jon and I both do little things to spoil one another. Some would think it's just silly or insignificant. But its those little thoughtful acts of love and kindness, when the other person goes the extra mile to do something to please you, that sometimes mean the most.
Jon works hard and brings home a paycheck in order to financially support us, and I appreciate that. I enjoy getting to be a stay at home wife. For the pleasure of getting to do so, I try to do things to make Jon's life easier. I do the yard work, run errands, pay the bills, etc.
But it's those extras, when we go above and beyond what's expected, that really shows the depth of our love. Most nights before we go to bed, I'll lay Jon's clothes out for him in the bathroom, so that the next morning he just has to get up and shower and not take the time to do it himself. He drives the car most days to work, but if I have it during the week, I try to check the gas gauge and stop and fill up if it needs it so he doesn't have to stop on his way to or from work to do so himself. When he gets home from work, I get him something to drink. When he's had a rough day at work, I give him some time alone so that he can relax and give his mind a rest. He in return does little things for me too. These things may not amount to much to anyone else, but to us it's just another way to express our love for one another. We could each do these things for ourselves, but having the other person take the time to do them for us means a lot.
When we truly delight in the Lord, it extends beyond just attending church or reading the Bible. We will try to find ways each day to bring Him pleasure. It may not be a big thing, but those small acts will show our love for Him. Many times it's showing His love to others by how we treat them and going that extra mile to reach out and help them.
It's easy at times to think, "God knows I love Him and He can take care of all these things Himself." But our willingness to take the time to do them, lets Him know that we really do delight in Him and love Him; and it means a lot to God when we do so.
A scripture that I don't much care for is James 1:2-4. It says, "Count it all joy when you fall into various trials; knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience (there's that "P" word!). But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing."
The reason I don't like to be reminded of these scriptures is because I have a very difficult time obeying what it says, and counting it all joy when I fall into various trials. It's so much easier to whine and complain and feel sorry for myself. I don't like being reminded that more often than not, my reactions are unbiblical and pretty self-centered.
Do we count it joy because of the trials? I don't think so. I don't think any of us can honestly jump for joy when we're facing difficulties. If you face health issues or financial problems, you're not going to turn cartwheels and say, "Yippee, I got a bad report from the doctor!" or "I'm so excited that I got this doctor bill that I thought insurance would help pay; and I just got through paying car and house insurance, and had other unexpected expenses occur, so now am out of money and have no idea what I'm going to do!" When there are relationship problems or a family member gets into trouble, you're not going to laugh and jump up and down with joy.
What we can count as joy is knowing that if we will remain faithful to God in the midst of our trials, the product of that faith will be patience. And when patience works within us, we will be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. We will be stronger, better people who are closer to God because we stood firm in our faith, and didn't waver in our belief that God is always with us; regardless of us going through good or bad times.
One thing to remember is that nothing we face will last forever. One thing to remind ourselves is that "This too shall pass." It may seem endless at the time, but the day will come when it will come to a close. And how we reacted in the midst of the trial will determine the person we will be when it's over. We will either be better or bitter.
It's not easy (at all), but in those times of trial, may we obey the scripture and allow that time of our faith being tested to produce patience; knowing that if we allow patience to have its perfect work in our lives, then we will lack nothing. Believe it or not, trials can be rewarding and make us into stronger, better individuals.
I thank God often for His patience. He is very patient with me. And He is very patient with America.
I would love to read the history of America written like the history of Israel in Genesis and Exodus. How many times would it say, "America embraced sin and lost favor with God, and God decided to pour out His wrath on us. But the Christians of our country gathered and prayed. And God extended His patience with us. He held back His wrath"?
How many times more times will He extend His patience?
I thank God for His patience.
2 cans biscuits
1/4 cup green pepper, chopped
1 lb. Ground beef
1 tsp. Salt
1 chopped onion
1/4 tsp. Pepper
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
1/4 tsp. oregano
Separate biscuits and pat each on floured surface to 5-inch circles. Lightly brown mean, onion and green pepper in skillet; drain. Add tomato sauce and seasonings. Place a heaping tablespoon of meat mixture on each biscuit circle. Fold in half and seal edges together well by pinching together or with a fork. (You can add shredded cheese to mixture before sealing, if desired.) Deep fry until golden brown in 2-inches of oil at 375. Drain on paper towel.
I'm trying to figure out how babies can be so cute and sweet, yet so stinky and messy at the same time! I have begun babysitting my nieces baby, Jax, three days a week for three hours. Janee' got a job at a Christian school near her house teaching three morning classes, so she can keep her teaching certification current, yet still get to spend most of the day home with her baby boy.
I, of course, don't have kids of my own, and it's been a while since I've spent this much time with a 4-month old. Jax definitely lets me know when he's hungry! When the hunger pang hits, he'll start crying and won't let up until you feed him. He can burp and pass gas (thus the stinky part -- and that's no joke) like a big boy pro! He will be smiling from ear to ear as I talk to him, and next thing I know I have baby spit-up all down the front of my shirt or down my leg. He'll have a stinky, messy, dirty diaper ten minutes before his mom gets home, and lay there cooing and smiling and kicking his legs while I'm trying to clean him up. Janee' has been trying to train him to go to sleep in his crib at naptime and at night. That's not working out too well! He'll be falling asleep, so I'll lay him down in his crib. He'll lay there so sleepy that he can't open his eyes, but will cry and cry and cry.... and Aunt Loretta can hardly stand it! But then he'll wake up from his morning nap and his whole face will light up when he smiles at me as I pick him up. He loves being talked to, and will "talk" back (actually makes baby noises) and smile at me and wave his hands and kick his legs. And during those moments, I forget about the baby spit-up down the front of my clothes, the dirty diaper, the fighting his sleep, and the impatience of wanting to be fed. Those are my special "Jax moments" that has me wrapped around his tiny little finger!
Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18
We hope you all are having an enjoyable summer.
We love you!
Loretta & Jon