Patience

Don’t throw in the towel.

13 For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, 14 saying, “Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.” 15 And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise (Hebrews 6). 

We wait for people, services, deliveries, reports or results throughout our lives. We wait because we are expecting what we hope for. Waiting requires patience and perseverance. We don’t like delays, so we often give up and lose our patience. Patience suppresses anger and frustration to accommodate others. We try to be patient with those who get under our skin. When we are patient, we believe that others are capable of doing better, or that they are trying their best. Anticipation for a desired outcome will keep us from losing steam. 

“Don’t give up waiting for The Lord’s return.”

35 So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. 36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the Will of God, you will receive what He has promised. 37 For, “In just a little while, He Who is coming will come and will not delay.” 38 And, “But my righteous one will live by faith.  And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.” 39 But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved (Hebrews 10).

Be patient by being useful and productive in what you can control. As a Christian, who believes that The Lord Jesus is coming back, hold fast your confidence in the promise of His return. Persevere in hardship by continuing to do God’s Will. You will not fail as long as you are doing what honors Him. Don’t give up waiting for The Lord’s return. As each day passes, the closer the day approaches. Those who lose their patience will begin to see no benefit in living for God. They may begin to doubt that Christ will come back; they may see their Christian life as a figment of their own imagination. With time they start falling away. We should not be those who shrink back; but persevere each day, with confidence that will be richly rewarded. We will wait for as long as it takes, while we do the Will of God. Our confidence is firmly placed in The One Who said He is coming back. Our faith will not fail us; it will keep us steadfast.

“Wait patiently for God’s Justice.”

7 Rest in The Lord, and wait patiently for Him. Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. 8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath. Do not fret—it only causes harm. For evildoers shall be cut off; but those who wait on The Lord, they shall inherit the earth. 10 For yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more. Indeed, you will look carefully for his place, but it shall be no more (Psalm 37).

What does it mean to rest in The Lord? It means to rely solely on God’s Provision and Who He is. Confidence in God will keep us from trusting our own understanding. Sometimes, we get stimulated and combustible because of the wickedness around us, that is against God’s Ways. Sometimes, we Christians wonder why wickedness continues to go untrammeled around us. We don’t understand why our prayers against violence, murders, injustices and evil are not being answered. We have limited power to stop any of the evil around us. We are to wait for God to mete out the justice that only He can bring. We have to patiently wait for God to right the wrongs. When things don’t seem to see change, we can become angry with God and hate others. Anger will cause us to take matters into our own hands. When we act on our anger or displeasure, we make poor choices. By trusting in our ability to repay wrongs done, we thrust God aside as The Righteous Judge. In due time, God will recompense the wicked, even though they seem to have accomplished their goals. Wait patiently for God’s Justice. God knows everything we don’t know or see. He is the reliable Witness and Judge. Patience will give us peace, because of our confidence in God. He will not turn a blind eye to those who prosper in their wickedness. 

“Be patient by being useful and productive in what you can control.” 

10 For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His Name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. 11 And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises (Hebrews 6).

If you love what you do, you will have the patience to complete it. Love compels us to grin and bear it. When we labor for the needs of others, we make great sacrifices. Sometimes, it can seem like we are doing too much for others and we start to burn out. As one serving God, your labor of love will not be forgotten. Helping others teaches us how to express God’s love and compassion. Those who serve with perseverance will be furnished from God’s Goodness, so that they always have what they need.

I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps (Psalm 40).

There are situations that we find ourselves in, where there’s no way of escape; sometimes because of poor choices. With prayer and faith, we are well-situated to get God’s attention. Bare your heart to God about all the trouble you are in. Keep in constant touch with Him and plead for deliverance and resolution. Because you wait for Him, with bated breath, He will not fail to send help. He will pull you out of the pit, and set your feet on stable ground. He will lead you out and establish you according to His Will. Wait patiently for the Lord, even when it seems like He is silent.

“Persevere in hardship by continuing to do God’s Will.”

12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution (2 Timothy 3).

Since it takes all sorts to make the world; there are those who disagree with Christian values and doctrine. Not everyone will welcome Christianity and some will be offended and angered by it. Those who desire to live for Christ must be prepared to suffer for what they believe in and who they are. Just as The Master suffered, the servants will too. Christ was crucified by those who hated Him, because He claimed to be the Son of God, doing the work of The Father. If we are united with Him in His death, we will suffer persecution as well. Whether we live or die, we abide in Him. Our desire to live as He did will steel us to suffer as He did. 

“Patience is expressed by humility and gentleness towards others.” 

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace (Ephesians 4).

There are times when we lose our patience with others, because they seem to foul up often. Since no one is perfect, we have to try to be patient with others. Patience is expressed by humility and gentleness towards others. We are to make every effort to love others and pursue peace. Within the Body of Christ (fellow believers), we can still have disagreements. We are still individuals with different quirks, personalities and sometimes still struggling to overcome sin. We are united as one Body in Christ, by His Spirit. We will be able to live up to our calling when we are willing to show concern for others, by bearing with them just as God puts up with us. 

Patience is a skill that develops with time. When we have confidence in God, we will not be hasty to act on our own understanding. We can learn to accommodate others’ weaknesses, because God is always patient with us. When evil seems to run amok, we should not fret with anger, but wait for God’s Justice, in prayer. Our faith will be tested by those who oppose us. Just as Christ suffered, we become more like Him in our own suffering. God will reward our labor of love for others, if we don’t throw in the towel. Our confidence is not in our own strength; but who we have become in Christ. He lives in us by His Spirit and we have everything we need to be victorious. Our love for God and others will motivate us to stay the course. 

“Love compels us to grin and bear it.”

10 Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the Salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. 11 This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him, we shall also live with Him. 12  If we endure, we shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us (2 Timothy 2).

ENRICHED BY THE WORD: 2021 THIRD QUARTER

Before you read the Word: Put away all distractions; find a quiet place; pray for The Holy Spirit to take control of all your being; ask for a seat at the foot of the throne of God for this fellowship; plead for spiritual understanding and your cleansing by His Holy Word.

Read the Word as prayer and as a two-way communication between you and The Lord. You read as you evoke His Character and ask what you seek according to His Truth. Allow His Word to correct, comfort, convict, and restore you.

This weeks challenge: 17 Do not let your heart envy sinners, but always be zealous for the fear of the Lord. 18 There is surely a future hope for you,  and your hope will not be cut off (Proverbs 23).

WEEK 1

Luke 2

Psalm chapters 52 and 31

1 Chronicles 29

1 Thessalonians 5

Isaiah 51

Hosea 12

Titus 2

Practice: 20 Thus you will walk in the ways of the good and keep to the paths of the righteous (Proverbs 2).

WEEK 2

Isaiah 13

Genesis 17

Galatians 2: 8-21

Job 5

Psalm 141

2 Chronicles 16

James 5

Practice: Do not rebuke mockers or they will hate you; rebuke the wise and they will love you (Proverbs 9).

WEEK 3

2 Chronicles 34

Genesis 19

Psalm 55

Hosea 13

Galatians 4

Job 38

Matthew 18

Practice: He who walks with integrity walks securely, but he who perverts his ways will become known (Proverbs 10).

WEEK 4

Ephesians 5

Daniel 9

Ezekiel 11

Psalm 35

Romans 9

Numbers 25

Mark 4

Practice: Every Word of God is pure. He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. Do not add to His Words, lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar (Proverbs 30).

WEEK 5

Proverbs 10

2 Samuel 2

1 Peter 5

Psalm 107

Genesis 3

1 Kings 8

2 Timothy 3

Practice: When you make a vow to God, do not delay to pay it; For He has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you have vowed—Better not to vow than to vow and not pay (Ecclesiastes 5).

WEEK 6

Genesis 22

Psalm chapter 46 and 95

Mark 16

Micah 7

John 13

Ezra 8

1 Corinthians 15

Practice: Do not hasten in your spirit to be angry, for anger rests in the bosom of fools (Ecclesiastes 7).

WEEK 7

Ezra 3

Job 1

Numbers 22

Romans 7

Jeremiah 17

Genesis 21

Psalm 130

Practice: 13 Evil will never leave the house of one who pays back evil for good (Proverbs 17).

WEEK 8

Psalm 149

Jeremiah 27

Acts 3

Ezra 6

Daniel 5

Ecclesiastes 9

Genesis 18

Practice: 23 Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles (Proverbs 21).

WEEK 9

Psalm 28

Jeremiah 11

1 Timothy 6

Deuteronomy 7

Hebrews 4

Hosea 5

Exodus 19

Practice: 22 Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who deal truthfully are His delight (Proverbs 12).

WEEK 10

Jeremiah 31

Luke 23

Hosea 14

Psalm 78

Leviticus 18

Hebrews 5

Joshua 7

Practice: Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid (Proverbs 12).

WEEK 11

Psalm chapter 97 and 144

Hebrews 2

Amos 4

Matthew 12

Hosea 6

2 Thessalonians 2

Job 27

Practice: 10 If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small ( Proverbs 24).

WEEK 12

Proverbs 17

2 Peter 3

Psalm 99

Isaiah 40

1 Thessalonians 2

Genesis 25:7-34

1 John 2

Practice: 17 Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; 18 Lest the Lord see it, and it displease Him, and He turn away His wrath from him (Proverbs 24).

Adaptable

Roll with the punches.

Life is not a steady turn of events. Seasons change just as our circumstances are as shifting sands. We have to adapt to the situations we face or change our approach to meet challenges. We may have to learn new strategies or accept what we can’t change. We will need to be calm, humble and receptive when faced with unfamiliar circumstances. Being adaptable will keep us from being overwhelmed. Be receptive, open-minded and practical.

“Be willing to learn and adapt to God’s Perspective”

4 Show me Your Ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths. 5 Lead me in Your Truth and teach me, for You are The God of my Salvation. On You I wait all day (Psalm 25).

As we face the vagaries of each day, we can incline our ears to God’s Wisdom. His Ways are higher than ours, and they are always for our good. Be willing to learn and adapt to God’s Perspective. Seek God in prayer and meditate on His Word. Wait to hear what He reveals to you. Pray in every daunting circumstance, and trust God to give you direction. He will not mislead you; He will reveal the truth about you and your situation. We have to be malleable to reproof, and be willing to change the traits that will only serve to make things worse. Learn from The God Who delivers from troubles. Let Him take the lead, as you put your confidence in His Ways. 

9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My Ways higher than your ways, and My Thoughts more than your thoughts. 10  For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater. 11  So shall My Word be that goes forth from My Mouth; It shall not return to Me void; but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55)

God doesn’t do anything helter-skelter. When He speaks, He does so with significance and purpose. None of His Words are futile to those who receive and act on them. His Ways are for those who are willing to apply them. His Thoughts and Ways are higher than all the wisdom we can attain from other sources. So effective are His Words that when He speaks them, they do what pleases Him. His Words enhance life and they never fail to accomplish His desire. They are like snow or rain that falls on the ground, watering all it comes in contact with, and making it fruitful. His Words supply our needs and the needs of those who are impacted by our obedience to Him. Those who are receptive and teachable receive God’s Instructions. God speaks what will prosper according to His Will. In uncertainty, God’s Words have order, significance and benefit. 

“Let every trouble compel you to remember God’s Goodness.” 

18 While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, 19 and suddenly a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people, and they are dead; and I alone have escaped to tell you!” 20 Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. 21 And he said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and The Lord has taken away; Blessed be The Name of The Lord.” 22 In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong (Job 1).

How does one accept the loss of a loved one? There are so many unanswered questions surrounding death. Life is not a bed of roses nor is it always sweetness and light. As there are babies being born, there are people breathing their last. Loss, death, life, joy, sorrow, health and sickness are all part of life. How can we adapt to the painful stages of life? God Who gives generously also takes away. Nothing created is ours to hold on to, because we don’t have the power to preserve it. We truly have no control over our lives; let alone our heart which works without our help. So in all things good and bad, God is in complete control. 

He doesn’t owe us our loved ones, the air we breathe, or the sun in the sky. He gave us those we love, the things we enjoy, because He loves us. He expresses His Love through all that we cherish. We have to learn to thank Him for giving in the first place. Let every trouble compel you to remember God’s Goodness. 

Job lost all his children in one day. He didn’t curse God upon receiving the news of their death. He grieved vehemently, fell on his knees and worshiped. Job acknowledged in his grief that he didn’t come to this world with anything to his name. He accepted that he was destitute from his birth, but for God’s Love and Goodness. He blessed His God as One Who gives and has a right to take back what belongs to Him. Job also understood that his life was fleeting just as his own children’s. He knew that He would return just as He came, without anything. In all this Job accepted his lot, and still blessed God. What purpose would it serve Him to be bitter with God? Job knew nothing he did would bring his children back. Take a page from Job. It is very hard to deal with the loss of a loved one, especially a child. We are stewards of our children; they belong to their Creator before they are ours. As we had no hand in forming them in the womb, God has His Purpose well-established for them. In grief and sorrow, we can see God’s desire to give us our loved ones for a time. Since nothing on this side of life is eternal, we who believe in The Risen Lord Jesus Christ believe that we will be reunited for eternity, and never to be separated in the Kingdom of God. 

“We adapt to the new life in Christ by submission.”

12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure (Philippians 2).

As a believer and committed follower of The Lord Jesus Christ, live as one who is redeemed. Your Salvation cost The Lord His Life; and you must now live through Him. Make it your purpose to live diligently and cautiously, so as not to lose your inheritance. Work out your Salvation with fear and trembling—wholeheartedly in reverent obedience to God. It is God in us, by the Spirit of The Lord Jesus Christ, who works in us to be willingly obedient to do what pleases Him. We adapt to the new life in Christ by submission. Just as He came to do the Will of The Father, it should be our purpose to do the same. 

“Every pain or sacrifice has eternal value.” 

8 First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them”—though they were offered in accordance with the law. 9 Then he said, “Here I Am, I have come to do Your Will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second. 10 And by that Will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of The Body of Jesus Christ once for all (Hebrews 10).

Christ’s death on the Cross, for the sins of the world, was the Will of The Father. By His death we were made holy once and for all. Those who have exchanged their lives for His, nailed their sinful body to that Cross, by becoming one with Him in death. They are now one in His Risen Body; they have new life in Him. They are now acceptable to The Father. Doing God’s Will has eternal consequences for us and others. If God’s Will is death, it will not be in vain. Like we saw earlier, whatever God sends will not return void. Christ didn’t return empty, but gave life to many. When we who are in Christ return to Him by death, we will have prospered in what God desired for us.

Here you are now to do His Will; whether it cost you your life, or you lose what is most valuable to you. The offering of our lives and everything we cherish to do God’s Will, is more pleasing to Him than any burnt offerings. Every event in the life of God’s children is His Will for them. No child of God goes through trials that are worthless. Every pain or sacrifice has eternal value.  

20 Now may The God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the Everlasting Covenant, 21 make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to Whom be glory forever and ever. Amen (Hebrew 13).

God is working in the lives of those who are obedient and are one with Christ. God sways us to do what is good; and by doing, we are being made complete and pleasing before Him. His Will is that He works in us, in all circumstances, what is well pleasing before Him. So that no matter what we are going through we are kept in good works, and are always complete, wanting for nothing. We can ask God to work in us what is pleasing before Him, by giving us goals that have an enduring impact. Be complete in every good work that is according to God’s Will. While you are doing His Will, let Him make you pleasing in Christ Jesus.  

“Accept discipline by taking responsibility for missing the mark.” 

31  “For has anyone said to God, I have borne chastening; I will offend no more. 32  Teach me what I do not see; If I have done iniquity, I will do no more?” (Job 34)

God disciplines His children because He loves them and wants to protect them from willful sin. Every parent lays down the law with consequences for disobedience. When we fess up to error, we accept correction and discipline. Bear under the Almighty’s discipline and learn righteousness. Let God teach us about the sins we are not aware of, so that we don’t repeat them. If we sin against God unknowingly, we have an opportunity to learn more about what is abominable to Him. When we are disciplined for being rebellious, we should accept His chastening and commit to steer clear of repeating the offence. Accept discipline by taking responsibility for missing the mark. Make a commitment to walk upright before God and understand His Ways. 

8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in The Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of The Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), 10 finding out what is acceptable to The Lord (Ephesians 5).

Now that we have been brought from darkness to light, by the knowledge we have received and the sanctification of The Lord, we must live as children of light. We put off the old and begin to walk in the newness of Christ. Our desires, values, and character should align with His. By His Spirit in us, we nurture goodness, righteousness, and uphold truth. We are no longer deceived by our own passions, but have acknowledged that as sinners we are in need of Grace. As children who are enlightened by His Wisdom, Word and Counsel, we must apply what we know is acceptable to Him, in every area of our lives. 

God is in control of every stage of our lives. He is well-acquainted with our grief and sorrow. We learn of His Goodness even in tragic circumstances. He keeps us in good works that nurture in us what is well pleasing before Him. In Christ we have everything we need to live as children of light. By accepting discipline, we commit to stay the course as those redeemed for His Glory. We have God’s Provision to live according to His Purpose for us. In every situation, He will guide and lead us by His Word, and it will accomplish what He sends it to do for us. We are adaptable to all that this life throws at us, as long as we continue on the path laid out for us. 

31  For Who is God, except The Lord? And Who is a Rock, except our God? 32  It is God who arms me with strength, and makes my way perfect. 33  He makes my feet like the feet of deer, and sets me on my high places. 34 He teaches my hands to make war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. 35  You have also given me the shield of Your Salvation. Your right hand has held me up, Your gentleness has made me great. 36 You enlarged my path under me, so my feet did not slip (Psalm 18).

Confident

Hold your head up.

Confidence is an expression of courage, resolve and determination, in the ability to accomplish a goal. When we are confident, we thrust aside our shortcomings by focusing on our strengths. Confidence can be shaken when we feel intimidated. Fear can stifle optimism and deter our ambitions. People can sometimes make us question our character or abilities. Confidence is a positive outlook regardless of what others think. Our identity is a foundation on which we build our confidence. If we accept and appreciate who we are, we can be unabashed about our beliefs and values. As children of God, who belong to Him, our identity is in Christ alone. He is our solid foundation and we will never be put to shame.

“Our confidence is bolstered by God’s approval.”

4 Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and Precious, 5 you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture: “Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious, and he who believes in Him will by no means be put to shame.”(1 Peter 2)

We have a higher calling to live as Christ did. Though He was rejected by men, He was chosen by God. We should not be dismayed by others’ opinion of us. If we have been chosen by God, we are in the best league. God has a purpose for us, to be useful in serving Him. When we believe in The Lord Jesus and depend on Him as our chief cornerstone, He upholds us and guides our thinking. Every purpose of God for us is in Christ. As we build on Him, we become acceptable in Him. We offer ourselves as a habitation for Christ’s Presence.

By our obedience and daily sanctification, we cannot be put to shame. He honors those who honor Him. Spiritual sacrifices are the attributes we offer God to use for His Glory. We who are in Christ are being made acceptable to God. Our confidence is bolstered by God’s approval. We are a chosen work of His Hands, to do what is pleasing to Him.

“The confidence we have is based on who we have become in Christ.”

14 For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end (Hebrews 3).

No one is as perfect as The Lord Jesus Christ. When we believe and obey, we become as He was to The Father—obedient and submissive to God’s Will. As partakers of Christ, we live as He did. He is the mentor we imitate. When we keep His Ways, we remain firmly grounded in Him. As we partake the nature of Christ, our confidence shifts from who we are to Who He is in us. Expressing His Character should motivate us to face each day. The confidence we have is based on who we have become in Christ. We must be eager to live out our faith as partakers of Christ.

“Confidence is a positive outlook regardless of what others think.”

13 Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” 15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 17 For it is better, if it is God’s Will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil (1 Peter 3).

Be eager to do good, and be confident that you are well able in Christ to do what is right. If you suffer for doing God’s Will, you still have blessings laid aside for you. If it is Christ we sanctify and honor in our hearts, we will have no room to stumble. Though we may be reviled, we have an audience of One, Who should matter more to us. If we are asked to give an account of our hope and faith, we can answer with confidence. As hard as it is to not become irritated by those who question our faith, we have to respond with humility. It is Christ Who continues to make us who we are meant to be. We are not more valuable to Him than those who get under our skin. He died for the whole world. We don’t need to fear those who slander us. We maintain a good conscience by continuing to do good. 

26 Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1)

Did you ever think that knowing how imperfect you are was something to be confident about? God didn’t choose to use those who are perfect by worldly standards— wealthy, highly educated or are well-known. God chose those who are looked down upon, disregarded or considered as lower orders, to reveal Himself. He chooses the weak or pariah because they don’t question His existence. When one realizes that they have nothing of physical value to offer God from their lives, yet are chosen, redeemed and set apart, they will believe they are valuable. 

We should be excited about who we have become in Christ. When we gave our lives to Christ, we were not polished or refined before God. If we were to tell others about who we really were, many would not approve. Yet, God chose us for His Glory. Not only does God choose those who fall short of the world’s expectations, but also those He is underwhelmed with because they are sinners. However we slice it, we are not remarkable. But for Christ, we have nothing to be proud of. Be confident as Christ’s chosen, in spite of your frailties. God has set His seal of approval on you, regardless of who you are. He is no respecter of persons. God uses those who are considered  garden-variety to confound the haughty. He will use those who are willing to know Him and learn from Him. We should only boast of the work of Christ in us. He is our wisdom, not measured by academic achievements; but by righteousness, sanctification and redemption. 

“Don’t be ashamed of your identity in Christ or His Ways.”

35 “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? 37 Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 38 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the Glory of His Father with the holy angels. (Mark 8)”

Most of us want to feel like we belong in groups of people we spend time with. Unfortunately, we will not be accepted by everyone. We don’t have to try to fit in where we may not be welcome. There are people we know don’t share our values and are uncomfortable to be around. Though we may try to get along with everyone, we don’t have to try to impress everyone. We have to be content with who we are, by not trying to become what others would like us to be. Don’t lose your soul for another’s approval, by forfeiting your principles for their accolades. Don’t be ashamed of your identity in Christ or His Ways. Be willing to lose this life to gain His Life for you. 

We deny Christ by living as though we don’t know Him. There’s a distinction between Christ’s followers and those who are not. Those who are ashamed of Him will deny His Presence in their lives. They will do so by conforming to the world’s expectations, letting their guard down and participating in what is against Christ’s Teachings. In the adulterous and sinful generation, as Christ put it, is no place to sacrifice your soul. They are not worth the value of your soul. If you lack the confidence to live for Christ, you lack the courage to preserve your soul. Don’t succumb under the pressure to impress others, at the expense of eternity. If you are not ashamed of The Lord Jesus, He will honor you before His Father. The Lord Jesus will be ashamed of all those who play into the hands of those who have rejected Him. 

“Put your hope in Almighty God.”

Through You we will push down our enemies; Through Your Name we will trample those who rise up against us. For I will not trust in my bow, nor shall my sword save me. But You have saved us from our enemies, and have put to shame those who hated us. In God we boast all day long, and praise Your Name forever (Psalm 44). 

Don’t put your hope sorely on your strength, experience or human means. Put your hope in Almighty God. He is our shield, strong defense and victory. By His Mighty Name, He will save us from those who rise against us. If you put your confidence in God, you will not be overcome by your enemies. God will rescue and fight for those who hope in Him alone. Those who thrust aside their resources for God’s Provision will not be put to shame. In Him alone we can boast of victory and do so all day long. 

“Our confidence in God Power will be our strength.”

15 For thus says The Lord God, The Holy One of Israel: “In returning and resting you shall be saved; In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” But you would not, 16  and you said, “No, for we will flee on horses”— Therefore you shall flee! And, “We will ride on swift horses”— Therefore those who pursue you shall be swift!” (Isaiah 30)

By repentance and returning to The Shepherd of our soul, we are reconciled to God. First things first—we repent, before we inquire or seek Him for our needs. We shall find rest in His forgiveness, and our souls will be saved from the consequences of sin. Spiritual matters precede the physical ones. We can be quiet in His Presence, by not worrying and fretting about the issues that are weighing us down. Our confidence in God Power will be our strength. But if we choose to face our trials without Him, we will not succeed. If we don’t seek His counsel, before we go on to face adversity, we will encounter difficulties. 

13  For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. 14  I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well (Psalm 139).

How often do you look at yourself in the mirror and think that you are the marvelous work of God’s Hands? Don’t linger before the mirror, staring at the things you don’t like about your looks. You are the very design God intended when He formed you. Praise God that you are wonderfully made. You are not just amazing, but fearfully made; be awestruck by who you are. Let your soul know fully well that you are marvelous, wonderful and a work of praise to your Maker. 

If we think of all the times we have fallen short of expectations, we would have a dim view of ourselves. If we are in Christ, we are God’s chosen, warts-and-all, so that He does a marvelous work in us. He will use us to show forth His Power, if we are willing to put aside our abilities for His. Regardless of what others may think of us, we can live our faith boldly by not denying our identity in Christ. Our confidence is in the One Who dwells in us. We are a wonderful and fearful work of God’s marvelous design. If we are accepted in The Son of God, we have been approved and qualified for God’s Purpose. We belong to the household of God, and we will not be put to shame. He will see to it that He equips us with the right character and resources to do His Will. Therefore, boast in Christ alone. 

14 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him (1 John 5).

Content

Count your blessings.

Advertisements are splashed everywhere to grab our attention to buy services or products that we most likely don’t need. It’s hard to ignore good bargains or sales on holidays. As consumers we benefit from new products that facilitate our lives, because of efficiency or convenience; but everything to moderation. We have to wonder whether we really need half the things we spend our time and money on. If we have what we need just for today, we lack nothing. Be content with what you have on hand, each day.  

“Be satisfied with the beauty of His Likeness in you.”

19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matthew 6).”

What we spend most of our time and money on becomes our joy and confidence. It’s necessary to have shelter, food, clothing, health and other basic amenities. Treasures are the things we store up to secure our future. Christ warns us not to settle our hearts on just earthly treasures, which are here today and are not guaranteed in the future. If we learn to invest in eternity we will not build our hopes on the ephemera. Eternal treasures are rewards that God sets aside for us, because we have prioritized righteousness, love, compassion, obedience, faith and fellowship with Him. These are attributes that moths and thieves can not take from us. Be content in nurturing the character that pleases God. God will ensure that we have the sustenance needed to do His Will. 

“No blessing is insignificant to use.”

31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your Heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble (Matthew 6).”

No one knows what tomorrow or the next hour will bring. Now is the hour we are living in and we must make the most of it. Our Heavenly Father knows of all our needs. Seek His Kingdom—His Dwelling where He furnishes and supplies from. Ask for what you need from God’s Glorious Riches and believe He is exceedingly capable to meet all your needs. Don’t be anxious about what God can supply. Seek His Righteousness—keep His Ways and do what pleases Him. Though we may lack some necessities we are not restrained to obey and do what is right. Even in dire straits, we can still honor Him. And all these things—all the basic necessities will be added to us. We are the initiators and God does the rest. Be content today with the little you have that can glorify God. Tomorrow is the distant future we can’t control. Today’s troubles don’t equate to tomorrow’s woes. No blessing is insignificant to use. Don’t deny yourself what you can use today, because you are worried about tomorrow. 

“His Goodness is greater than all the world can offer.”

How precious is Your Lovingkindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your Wings. They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your House, and You give them drink from the river of Your pleasures. 9 For with You is the fountain of life; in Your light we see light (Psalm 36).

God satisfies those who are nourished from His Presence. God is our full portion of joy and pleasure when in fellowship with Him. He lavishes His Lovingkindness on those who put their trust in Him. They are abundantly satisfied with His Provision. There’s rest and hope for those who relish in the Wisdom and Truth of God. They see life in a spiritual perspective, beyond their circumstances. They trust in God, Who, is their fountain of life. His Goodness is greater than all the world can offer. Be satisfied with Who He is and His Love for you. He has given us our loved ones to cherish, and enjoy our days with. Sometimes, we just need to delight in the simplicity of God’s blessings and tune out other diversions. In the midst of dark circumstances, there’s some hope. He gives us a fresh perspective on life; by His Light we see light.  

“In Christ we are complete.”

33 For the Bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 34 Then they said to Him, “Lord, give us this bread always.” 35 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 (John 6).”

Bread is nourishment that curbs hunger. It is a simple food that has existed from early generations. Bread will stave off hunger and delight the heart for a short time. The Bread of God, is the Bread that gives life, even eternal life. The Lord Jesus is the Bread of life. He gives life to those who come to Him. They will not find enduring peace, hope, and joy in anything else. Those that believe in The Lord Jesus will not crave the pleasures of worldly things. In Christ we are complete. By The Life of Christ in us, we have everything we need to get us through hard times, good times, and  beyond this life. The Bread of God gives life to those who will receive Him. May we become one with The Lord Jesus and be satisfied with everything He is in us. If we come to Him, we will not hunger and thirst for short-lived pleasures. 

15  As for me, I will see Your Face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your Likeness (Psalm 17).

Righteousness is the beauty that endears us to God. When we live in righteousness, we become more like Him. We can behold His Face when we see ourselves expressing His Character. Though these bodies are not perfect, we are perfected from within. Be satisfied with the beauty of His Likeness in you. Don’t fret about your outward appearance that is fading with age. These bodies were not meant to last. Adorn yourself with righteousness and see His Face shine upon you. 

“Contentment causes us to see God’s Provision at every turn.”

5 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 6 So we may boldly say: “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13)

How can we be content with what we have? By believing that God supplies our needs and will not forsake us. We must learn to be grateful for all that we have. When we are content we don’t desire what others have or compare what we have with others’. If we can believe God is our helper, we don’t have to fear if we lose some of our possessions. With contentment we affirm that God is with us at all times. Contentment causes us to see God’s Provision at every turn. When faced with uncertain times, we can boldly say, “The Lord is my helper, I will not fear!” 

2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing (James 2). 

Our faith is tested when we are facing circumstances we have little control of.  We have to find a solid place to stand, when challenges become shifting sands. Trials can bring out the best or worst of us. It depends on whether we see the glass half full or half empty, as they say. Patience is waiting for change without losing our footing. It’s difficult to remain patient when we are anxious about what we can’t control. In order to be patient, we have to engage ourselves in other areas that need our attention. Let patience have its perfect work of resilience as you carry on with life. Patience will teach us to trust in God for what we can’t see. Count it all joy, when you have mastered the art of patience, because you have the presence of mind. When we are impatient, we become unproductive. Patience will equip us to do more than just worry. If in the midst of trials you can still be effective, then you are complete, lacking nothing. 

8 Oh, taste and see that The Lord is Good. Blessed is the man who trusts in Him! 9 Oh, fear The Lord, you His saints! There is no want for those who fear Him. 10  The young lions lack and suffer hunger; but those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing (Psalm 34).

Those who fear The Lord will not lack what they need to please Him. Those who trust God are blessed, because they depend entirely on Him. The Lord is always Good to those who seek Him and His Goodness. He is Faithful to those who put all their hope in Him, at all times. They shall not lack any good thing, because He is The Source of everything that is good. Be satiated with God’s Goodness and marvel that you have no want for anything else. 

We are complete and perfect from within, as Christ is The Life in us. We feast on Who He is and have no desire for anything else. He is our full portion, lavishing His precious Lovingkindness and Goodness on those who delight in Him. Be content and know that He will never leave you. Our best treasure is established in the heavenly-eternal rewards He has kept for us. We need not compare ourselves with others, we are blessed indeed. God will meet every need as we let patience make us perfect and complete. 

6 Now godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8 And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. 9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. 11 But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness (1 Timothy 6).

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