Tag Archives: patience

maranatha, precision, Day 22

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“Know and understand this: From the time the word goes out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘seven’s, and sixty-two ‘sevens’… After the sixty-two ‘sevens’, the Anointed one will be put to death and will have nothing. “ Dan 9.25-26

I’m not at home right now (and more importantly, I’m away from my study Bible), so I can’t go into much detail in explaining the “sevens”, but the important thing here is this: God revealed to Daniel the precise timing of the Messiah’s (the Anointed One’s) arrival. Down to the precise year.

My favorite analogy for clarifying prophecy was given to me by my Bible Professor/Pastor in Florida. A prophet is given a vision from God, and he records what he sees. If I were to stand near the top of a mountain peak and look straight ahead, I might see what looks like a singular peak, but is in fact multiple mountaintops together. From my vantage point I cannot see any of the valleys in between, merely many mountaintops in one perception. It’s a similar situation in Daniel 9. Without transition, Daniel begins by speaking of Jesus’ coming years down the road, and within the same verse starts to proclaim the end of the world (v. 26b-27).

You can get into some pretty deep holes if you spend too much time tearing apart and stapling down end times prophecies, and I don’t think that’s the ultimate point here. The point is to realize that God knows, exactly. He knew before the world was created that we would rebel and require His intervention and salvation. He knew exactly when Jesus would enter time as a man to intercede for us. And He knows precisely when this world as we know it will be finished.

“You must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day. The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.” 2 Peter 3.8-9

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Patience, round 2

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Yesterday, I was given an opportunity to speak in front of 10-15 sets of parents during the half-time period of a local church’s basketball ministry. In this time segment, while the coaches are advising their teams, the parents there to support their kids are left sitting, watching the clock run down until the game resumes. The leaders of this church decided to take advantage of the awkward-wait time to share the Gospel with these parents, as kids from throughout the community come to play on these teams. And I was asked to speak at two of the afternoon’s half-times. After praying about it, I decided to share about Hesed and patience, so these lessons God taught me have been on my mind recently…..

Tonight we did communion again with Grace Church, and, once again, God used the testimony of someone else to teach me something. A man spoke about a friend of his finally surrendering his life to Jesus on his deathbed after being prayed over for 30+ years, and this man quoted 2 Peter 3:9 :

“The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”

And this verse brought back the picture God gave me regarding “hupo meno”, the greek word literally meaning “to remain under”, which we translate as “patience”. But this time, instead of picturing a man on a bench press, I pictured Jesus in Heaven (cheesy, I know, but bear with me.) His “burden” is the sin and pain of this world; He bears it, “remains under” it, by allowing another day to pass because His desire for repentant hearts is stronger than the pain this patience brings Him. And that really humbled me….. In no way whatsoever is God pleased with the pain and sin so rampant in this world. In fact, it hurts Him more than it ever would hurt us, for it is a blatant assault against His very nature. But, rather than eradicate the source of His pain, He is patient with it. He is meek.

A dear woman-friend of mine who mentored me years ago defined meekness in a way I’ll never forget. Meekness = strength restrained. Meekness is the father holding his newborn daughter for the first time, his every movement careful and measured so as not to wake his precious child. Meekness is the artist steadying her painting hand, her every stroke methodical and precise. Meekness….. is Jesus hanging on the cross, His every breath a decision to suffer for me, for us, instead of easily removing Himself from His excruciating pain and humiliation. Meekness is God’s patience in 2 Peter 3. It’s God allowing one more day of sin and pain, because He values that soul who surrenders to Him more than He wants to be free of the insult of sin. Not that He won’t eventually put an end to sin; the day is coming when all will be made right (hallelujah!). But until then, God is meek. God is patient.

Thank You, Jesus.

More than just twiddling those thumbs…

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You know you’ve got a spiritually-gifted teacher when even his rabbit trails are revolutionary to you. Today we were going through the life of Abraham, and Professor/Pastor Randy somehow managed to link Genesis 17 with 2 Peter 1:5-7 (don’t even bother trying to understand how. And men think women’s minds are inexplicably complicated…)

Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love.

There’s a lot in that verse, but God used Pastor Randy to illuminate one special word for me: perseverance. Often translated as “patience” or “endurance”. And here’s why: the greek word, hupomoné, is literally translated as “remaining under”.

If your anything like me, that doesn’t make any sense. When I think of patience, I see someone sitting on the couch doing nothing. Just waiting. I think many of us often equate patience with the absence of action, at least on some level. We flash back to Christmas at 6 years old. We’re staring at our growing pile of presents, wanting with every fiber of our small-yet-powerful beings to tear into our gifts. And what does mom say? “You’ll just have to be patient”. So we sit, at the foot of the tree, just staring at gaudy wrapping paper. Patience is somehow ignoring that part of your brain that’s screaming, “Can’t it be Christmas already?!”

But let’s entertain the idea that God may mean more by “patience” than becoming overly familiar with Christmas tree lights. Picture instead a body builder. He’s laying there on the bench press, struggling with the weight of the bar-bell, but he’s keeps it up. Or, you could say, he stays underneath it. It may hurt, but he knows the its only way he’ll get stronger. That’s patience. Bearing the load, staying beneath the weight of whatever God gives you. It’s staying strong as a single Christian when you really want to be married, knowing that God is using this time to continually transform you into a better future spouse. It’s enduring while your homework load seems to be only increasing, knowing that God is not only strengthening your mind, but your character and your work ethic as well. It’s staying steadfast on your knees while life is hurricane-ing around you, fixing (more like locking) your eyes on Jesus, knowing that God has neither lost interest in nor the power to handle whatever is raging around (or inside) you.

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men struggle badly, yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; they will mount up on wings like eagles, the will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.” Isaiah 40:28-31.

Be patient. Persevere. Endure. Bear it well. Stay beneath.