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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Snowy Dance (photo by Chris Klobetanz)
Snowy Dance
(photo by Chris Klobetanz)

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"God's Patience"

"But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:8&9).

I am often blessed as I pass local churches with a sign that not only identifies the name of the church but also presents a brief message of truth. In New England, shortly after I accepted the pastorate in Taunton, MA our church purchased a new sign that had a changeable message and for many years a dedicated senior couple, Bill and Veda, changed it weekly. Since we were located on the very busy highway entering into the city of Taunton we received a number of positive comments from passersby over the years, but also a negative comment from one who was offended by a Scriptural message we displayed.

Here’s a great message for a church sign I saw here in Lancaster County: "Don't mistake God's patience for His permission." Can you just picture this truth on a sign scrolled across the sky or uttered by a booming heavenly voice?

Yet so many want God's permission, approval, and even His blessing for a sinful, rebellious lifestyle that the Holy Scriptures clearly prohibit. These include sins like greed, sexual immorality, dishonesty, and other offenses perhaps summed up in this phrase from the Apostle John, "The cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does."

Let us consider today one phrase from the daily Scripture portion: "He is patient with you." The word "patient" is translated “longsuffering” in the King James Version. This word needs little explanation since it means exactly what it sounds like when we rotate the compound word; “suffering long.” He indeed suffers long in regard to His dealing with the human race. We also consider His patience toward us as He deals with us individually.

Another aspect of God's patience comes to mind regarding our patience with others. I recall listening to a song about God's grace as I drove to a meeting several years ago with Larry Wright, a friend of mine. His words have stayed with me as he commented: “Even though we are recipients of God's unending grace we can have such difficulty applying that same kind of grace to others.”

But let’s consider one more sense of God's patience today as we again look at the phrase: “He is patient toward you.”  The distinctive Greek word used for "you" is in the plural and I believe this is the sense in the daily text. In previous times of judgment there have been long periods when God's patience might have been mistaken for His permission. How many years did Sodom slide into decadence before judgment day finally came? What about the long coast toward sin that Israel drifted into before judgment was pronounced on them?

Today I am confident that God is not winking at the rebellion in our lives or in the world around us.  He is not placing His blessing on that which defiles His Holy Word.  But He is suffering long so that those who have turned their backs away from holy living might come to repentance.

I know that many of our faithful readers are diligently praying for loved ones to turn away from a life of sin and come to faith in Christ. Keep praying for that wayward child, parent(s), unsaved spouse, other family members and the needy people God lays upon your heart.

As we pray for others to come to righteousness, let us also examine our own hearts. The Lord God is patient with us, but we bring a lot of chaos, inner turmoil, and judgment upon ourselves when we delay repentance. 

As we seek to follow Christ, the grace of God teaches “us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldy passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope, the glorious appearing of our Great God and Savior, Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:12&13).

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer:  Father, I can’t determine the exact day You will judge the earth, but the Bible judges the thoughts and attitudes of my heart each time I read it or meditate upon its truths.  Help me to apply Your promises and commands to my life so that when the day of the Lord comes like a thief I will be prepared.  The heavens and earth will disappear with a roar and everything in it will be laid bare.  I look forward to a new heaven and a new earth which will be the home of righteousness instead of sinfulness.  Help me to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with You.  Father God, Your patience means salvation for the many who will soon come to repentance.  I want to  diligently pray for their souls, be bold in my witness, and exemplary in my Christian walk as I await the day of Your appearing.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.

See II Peter 3:8-18

Last month we shared another perspective on the Patience of God.

Sweetheart Banquet

Last night we attended a Valentine's Sweetheart Banquet for ministers in the Harrisburg area.

Dave Kyllonen

The speaker was Dave Kyllonen, one of the three original members of The Couriers. They've been singing together for 50 years. Dave shared a perspective on long lasting marriages and the importance of staying sweethearts. This year he and his wife will celebrate their 50th anniversary. He also shared the need for being patient as we serve the Lord and deal with discouragement in ministry. Here's info about the three original Couriers.

Joe and Jesse Carroll

What a joy to see Joe and Jesse, who were a part of the church we served in an interim role in the Harrisburg area in late 2006 - early 2007. This year they will celebrate their 60th anniversary. Joe has an interesting testimony that I shared in a message last year.

Bob Mlynek

I visited with Bob Mlynek. For many years he worked in law enforcement, retiring in 2006. He now serves as the pastor of an inner city church in Harrisburg and has many attending the church whom he had previously arrested!

Chris Klobetanz, a professional photographer took a complimentary photo of each couple. I shared with her concerning our internet ministry and she gave me permission to periodically use photos from her site. That's her photo of the interesting dancing bird above!  If you have a fast connection click here for the same photo with amazing detail (you may have to click on the photo again after it opens).  Her website is here.  Today's photo was featured in Birder's World magazine.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

As we considered today's topic we were unable to recall a song dealing with the patience of God. Can anyone help us?

"Firm Foundation"  (Audio)

"Hallelujah, Your Love Is Amazing"  (Audio)

The chapter on the Patience Of God in AW Pink's classic book, "The Attributes of God"

Info about multi-media files used on daily encouragement.

Send a message to Stephen & Brooksyne.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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