Encouragement From The Word

Patience

Whoops! Forgot to post this on Friday!

You want to have a big party, but you can’t right now because it’s not safe to do so.

You’d like to cross the US border and do some shopping, but the border’s closed.

You have had it up to here with electronic meetings and online school.

Your patience is running thin, six months into the pandemic.

Well, join the club!

As a society, we have been so used to having the freedom to do certain things that when that freedom is (temporarily, we hope) removed, our patience is tested.

As followers of Jesus, people who have the Holy Spirit living in us, we are called to bear the fruit of the Spirit.  But there are two of them that are wildly unpopular and often in short supply, even among the people of God.  One of them is patience.

Even though there are many circumstances working against us right now, we need patience and we need to ask the Lord to give us more patience.  Often, though, we forget to ask!

The Bible is replete with stories of people who had patience in the midst of trying circumstances:

Abraham and Sarah were promised a child, and they were in their eighties before Isaac came along.

Joseph was tormented by his brothers, sold into slavery, and had to rise up in the ranks of Egyptian officials before he could help to redeem his people.

Job lost everything he had, but never cursed God.

If those stories aren’t enough to make us want to ask God for patience, we can remember how patient God has been with his people over the course of time – even you and me!

So ask God for more patience.  The good news is that he is willing to give and give and give if we are willing to ask for it.  Say something like, “Lord, I need you to help me be more patient with my family, my coworkers, even the people driving near me on the streets and highways.  Give me more patience, so that I can witness to your patience with humanity, and shine your light in the world.”

The Lord is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love” (Psalm 103.8, NLT).

Biblical Messages

Saving the best for last

There are some helpful lessons that the story of Jesus’ first miracle – changing water into wine at the wedding feast in Cana – has to teach us.  We look at a few of them in this message, based on John 2.1-12.  Have a listen, or check out the Facebook Live feed, for which you need no account.  At the beginning, I showed this video (which can be heard on the audio recording, but is absent from the video recording).

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fjeff.loach%2Fvideos%2F10214565655192264%2F&show_text=0&width=560

Encouragement From The Word

Patience!

I hadn’t had time to deposit my stipend cheque until this morning, so I took a minute and went to the bank on my way to the church office. The bank I use has one ATM – we live in a small community! – and there was a fellow ahead of me at the machine. It appeared he had several things to do, including deposits and passbook updates.

In the meantime, another fellow came in, a few minutes after I did. He queued up behind me, and started sighing loudly immediately. It was obvious he was in a hurry, and after making his displeasure known through body movements and deep sighs, he decided he couldn’t wait. He walked back to his truck and rushed out of the parking lot.

It was only perhaps a minute after he left that the fellow in front of me was finished his transactions, and mine took under two minutes. If that other chap had been patient enough to wait, he could have done his banking. But he was not.

Of course, we don’t know what awaited him at his next stop; perhaps he had a boss who was fussy about a sharp arrival time at work. Nevertheless, his movements and noises indicated that waiting just wasn’t his thing.

We spend a lot of time waiting in this life that is filled with technological advances. It used to be that we waited in line at the grocery store or the bank or the movie theatre. There’s more to it today; think about how much cumulative time you have spent waiting for debit or credit card transactions to be approved.

I’ve said it before, but time that is spent waiting is time that can be redeemed. While you wait, you can engage in friendly conversation, if appropriate; or you can pray for people for whom you have committed to do so. You can even pray for the people around you in line; you have no idea what burdens they may carry.

We all have places to be and deadlines to meet. If you can build enough margin into your schedule to allow you to use the time spent in line for communion with God, and Kingdom-building purposes, there is much good that God can do through you, beyond what he’s already doing now!

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. There is no law against these things!” (Galatians 5.22-23, NLT).