How, Lord, Am I to Be Patient in Affliction?

Affliction

What Does It Mean to be Patient in Affliction?

While reading Finding Purpose, Kelsey used Romans 12:11-13 as her verses for reference. What stuck out to me in verse 12 is the patient in affliction, which is defined as a state of pain, distress, or grief: misery. It can also be a cause of mental or bodily pain, as sickness, loss, calamity, or persecution.[2]

Therefore, I pose the question as to how can I be patient in my affliction? First, let’s define patient. Patient as an adjective is defined as bearing provocation, annoyance, misfortune, delay, hardship, pain, etc., with fortitude and calm and without complaint, anger, or the like.[3] Thus I am to endure my state of pain, distress or persecution with fortitude, calm, and without complaining, anger or the like.

However, I am a contradiction to this. I have not endured my pain and discomfort without complaint or anger. As time has progressed, I have gotten accustomed to my pain. Yet, last night, I sadly mistreated my family and I attributed it to my pain. So I want to know how I can refrain from using my pain as an excuse to be unkind and impatient with my family?

Be that as it may, there is hope because with Christ all things are possible. The key is being faithful in prayer. On my own, I am not able to bear my pain and misery with fortitude and calm. Yet, I am enabled to do so through fervent prayer. I don’t know how it happens but God is faithful and will hear me when I pray. Hence, He alone has the power to help me.

Here is My Prayer.

Dear Lord God, I come to You to ask for help in my affliction. On my own, I am not patient and I have been unkind to my family. Please forgive me and help me to be patient and to refrain from using my pain as an excuse. Lord have mercy. Hear my Prayer. Amen.

 

 

 

[2] http://www.dictionary.com/browse/affliction?s=t

[3] http://www.dictionary.com/browse/patient?s=t

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Storms in Our Life Have a Purpose

Storms

Storms of Life: What Lessons Can We Learn?

As part of the Easter story, we heard of Peter’s denial but the part I think that is most often overlooked is that Jesus tells Peter that Satan has demanded to sift Peter like wheat. Jesus goes on to say that He has prayed that Peter’s faith may not fail. And when Peter has turned back, he is to strengthen his brothers. Therefore, this storm in Peter’s life had a purpose and so do the storms in our lives.

Yet, we often do not recognize our storms as having a purpose but they do. The Bible has many references to that fact. I, particularly, like what Jesus told Peter, And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers,” Luke 22:32b ESV*. There is the purpose right there. Though the storms in life are tough, there is purpose and that is to help others who are going through the same trail.

Another scripture that I think of is 2 Corinthians 1:3-5. Here, I am instructed to comfort those who are afflicted with same comfort that I have received from God. For example, I was widowed 20+ years ago and have received God’s comfort, therefore, I can comfort someone who has recently been widowed. I had also been a single parent for 15 years before marrying my heart’s desire. There are a number of ways that I can extend God’s comfort.

Last but not least is Romans 8:28. I remember learning in Bible Study Fellowship that the good mentioned in this verse means building our character to be more like Jesus. God has a purpose in all the storms in our lives if we only look to Him to reveal it. Often they serve to smooth away the rough edges or help me change my perspective on something.

Riding Out the Storms with Jesus

It was in the study of the book John that I came to understand something new. When the storms come and they will, all I need to do is join Jesus in the boat and let Him take me to the destination of His choosing.

At the Women of Faith conference in 2011, I heard Patsy Clairmont speak. She said, “You are either in a storm, coming out of one, or are heading for one.” So how will you handle the next storm in your life?

 

 

 

*The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

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Instructions for the Hidden Life: What to Put to Death and What to Put On.

Instructions

What are These Instructions?

Recently, I had the honor of being a guest blogger where I talked about Putting On the New Self. You can read it here https://hispurposeinme.org/2017/04/13/putting-on-the-new-self/. Furthermore, we are given instructions as to what to put to death and what we are to put on.

First Instruction

“Put to death therefore what is earthly in you.”

Colossians 3:5 ESV[1]

There is quite a list as to what we are to put to death. This would include things such as sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire and covetousness. Thus we are put away any bad habits or objects that stir these up. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to us where any of these might exist in our hearts.

Yet, the Apostle Paul goes on to say that we must put away all anger, wrath, malice slander and obscene talk. We are not to lie to one another either. I know that this is not easy. But we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. He does not say that you can’t be angry but what he is saying is not to stay angry thus you will be free of anger. Malice is the desire to inflict, injury, harm or suffering to another. Slander is defamation thus wanting to ruin someone’s reputation. These are heart issues of selfish person.

Second Instruction

“Put on then as God chosen ones, holy and beloved…”

Colossians 3:12a ESV[1]

As a new creations with a hidden life, we are to put on compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness and patience. As well, we are to bear with one another and forgive each other. Therefore we are to turn our hearts toward others. I heard it said that humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less and others more. I like to think of meekness as one that is not easily provoked to anger. Compassion is a strong desire to helps those who are suffering. And above all we are to put on love. The key to putting all of this on is letting the peace of Christ rule in our hearts and letting the word of Christ dwell richly in us. He has the power to transform our hearts therefore we are enabled to follow these instructions.

How are you at following instructions?

 

 

 

[1] The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

[1] The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

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My Overwhelming Gratitude List

Gratitude List

My Gratitude List

I suffered an injury to my back in March and my world has been different ever since. Despite the pain and inconvenience, I have chosen to compose my gratitude list. This exercise has been most rewarding and uplifting because there is so very much to be thankful for.

God’s Many Blessings!

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

On the night of April 3rd following cortisone shot, I lay in bed trying to go to sleep and my mind was flooded with thankfulness. Here is what I am thankful for:

  • My husband for all that he does for me and for his working from home to look after me.
  • The sound of my husband snoring because it meant that I am not alone
  • My mom’s sound advice and help and having followed it & I benefited
  • Friends that prayed for me and I know that God heard their pleas.
  • Even for the lonely Mockingbird singing after 11:30pm to way past midnight.
  • The doctors and nurses that had to put up with me when I was hurting and complaining
  • The fellow Christian blogger who did not know me but cared enough to send me her book on Help and Hope while You’re Healing; Thank you, Christine Carter
  • The community of fellow Christian bloggers that prayed for me though they did not know me
  • Pastor Crowe who brought me communion
  • Kay Gray who came for a visit
  • Dee who helped me more than once; her kindness is beyond words.
  • Most especially, my brother-in-love who brought my sister and my niece for a visit
  • My two young men who have helped fix and prepare dinners and helped me in many ways to include cleaning house.
  • The one night which I slept well since I injured my back
  • The friends that offer to help in anyway and the emails and Facebook replies.
  • The faith that God has given me through Jesus Christ, His Son

I Give Thanks!

Dear Lord God, I cannot begin to give You enough thanks for the many blessings that You have given to me. You alone are worthy of all my worship and praise. Please bless all my friends and family. In Jesus’ name, Amen!

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Help! My Prayer Life Is Stuck!

Prayer Life

Is There Trouble with Your Prayer Life?

Ever have times when your prayer life was stuck? I know that I have felt this way more often than I would like to admit. There is a dear friend of mine whose prayer life seems dry. Hence, I thought I would write some words of encouragement about this problem.

First, this is often an attack because Satan wants me to be ineffective. And the best way to do this is to keep me from praying. Prayer is vital to the health of a believer. When I stop communicating with my heavenly Father, there becomes a problem in the relationship. The same thing happens when I fail to keep in touch with my parents and/or friends.

My heavenly Father desires a love relationship with me. 1 Peter 5:6-8 clearly states that He cares for me and wants me to cast all my cares on Him. How can I cast my cares on Him if I am not praying? I need to be in communion with Him for His steadfast loves will never fail me.

Furthermore, when God feels far away, it is I who have moved. For God is constant and never-changing. His love for me is too vast to fully comprehend. In life, there have been many let downs by others or betrayals that can make it hard to accept God’s amazing love. But He is faithful and will accept me time and time again if only I turn to Him. His love is like none other.

Here’s Help to Get Unstuck!

Therefore, let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Even when we don’t feel like praying, just offer up a simple prayer. Ask a friend to pray with/for you. Iron sharpens iron. Use scripture as a basis for your plea.  The Psalms are a good place for petitions. I especially like Psalm 16.

Psalm 16

Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
I have no good apart from you.”

The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
you hold my lot.
The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.

I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.
I have set the Lord always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.

 

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To Catechize: Is it Relevant Today?

Catechize

Catechize [kat-i-kahyz]: What does it mean?

Here is a word that you don’t hear every day and when you do you probably think of Catholic or Lutheran churches. However, the word catechize is vital for those of us in the Christian faith.

What does it mean? You ask. Well, it means to instruct orally by means of questions and answers, especially in Christian doctrine. I came across this word in a blog titled, “Two Lutherans Elephants: Negligent House Pastors and Divorce.” The author addresses the reasons, the numbers are decreasing in the Lutheran church, have two causalities. One reason is that men are not catechizing their families. I believe that this also includes other Christian churches.

There are instructions found in God’s word to catechize one’s family. Deuteronomy 6:4-9 clearly states that we are to love the Lord our God with all our being and to teach His statutes to our children. This is to occur at home, when we come and go, and when we go to bed at night. Men are to impart these to their wives and then wives to impart them to the children. One of my favorite verses is Proverbs 22:6, ‘Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

To neglect to instruct one’s family leads to trouble down the road. In the aforementioned article, the author states that it gives children the impression that religion is for women and children only. Therefore, they forsake their beliefs when they grow older. This is a sad state of affairs and no wonder we are in the current spiritual environment.

So I want you to consider how you might take up the idea to catechize your family and inspire your husbands, sons, and son-in-laws to get involved.

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Lent: Give Up or Take Up?

For This Season of Lent

I was reading my church newsletter for March and I came upon Pastor Crowe’s article, “What are you doing for Lent?” In which, he discusses whether or not Lutherans give up something for Lent. During this season, other churches may give up things like meat or even chocolate, however, the LCMS position on this is quite different. Pastor Crowe goes on to encourage us to take up something for Lent to help us remember and personalize the great sacrifice that Christ made on the cross for us.

This in turn lead me to consider taking up the focus on Lenten hymns during this season. Therefore, it is my aim to focus on one Lenten hymn each week during these 40 days and what better hymn than the one we sang for Ash Wednesday service, titled O Lord, Throughout These Forty Days. The lyrics are as follows:

  1. O Lord, throughout theses forty days

You prayed and kept fast;

Inspire repentance for our sins,

And free form our past.

 2. You Strove with Satan, and you won;

Your faithfulness endured:

Lend us Your nerve, Your skill and trust

In God’s eternal Word.

  1. Though parched and hungry, yet You prayed

And fixed Your mind above;

So teach us to deny ourselves,

Since we have known God’s Love.

  1. Be with us through this season, Lord

And all our earthly days,

That when the final Easter dawns,

We join in heaven’s praise.

In conclusion, there is a link to a You tube video of this beautiful hymn. I found it quite appropriate as the season of Lent begins. In it, I see the reason one might give something up in order to deny one’s self. Yet, I still like the idea of taking something up. What will you take up this season?

The Lutheran Perspective

QUESTION: Do Lutherans have to give up something for Lent as some other denominations require?

ANSWER: From the perspective of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, “giving something up for Lent” is entirely a matter of Christian freedom. It would be wrong, from our perspective, for the church to make some sort of “law” requiring its members to “give something up for Lent,” since the Scriptures themselves do not require this.

If, on the other hand, a Christian wants to give something up for Lent as a way of remembering and personalizing the great sacrifice that Christ made on the cross for our sins, then that Christian is certainly free to do so — as long as he or she does not “judge” or “look down on” other Christians who do not choose to do this. (This is taken from the lcms.org web page.)

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Experience is Key to Knowing God’s Goodness

Experience is Vital

Experience is Vital in Telling.

We often throw the word “good” around to just about anything we like. For instance, “That was a good movie!” or “That was really good food.” Advertising uses it well, i.e. “Milk, it does the body good.” Therefore, when we as Christians use it in the phrase, “God is good,” what are we really saying? Do we have the experience to back it up?

Jesus did not like being called “good,” hence He rebuked those who said he was good by saying that God alone is good (Matthew 19:17, Mark 10:18; Luke 18:19). The Greek word for good used here is agathos. This word describes that which, being “good” in its character or constitution, is beneficial in its effect; it is used in a moral sense here. God is essentially and consummately “good” Thus God alone is the ultimate good.

Therefore, to really be able to say, truthfully and meaningfully, that “God is good,” I truly believe that one has to have experienced God’s goodness by coming through some truly tough times. Experience is the key. I have heard in many a testimony to this fact. God is the ultimate good and is capable of great things. Anyone who has experienced near death experiences or a miraculous recovery can tell you.

In conclusion, I know from my own life experiences I can truly say that God is indeed good. I do hope that the next time you want to say that God is good that you can say it from experience. If not, don’t feel bad if you are not able to say. Ask the next person you here say it how God has showed His goodness to them. Don’t hesitate to ask God to reveal to you His ultimate goodness apart from the death and resurrection of Jesus.

 

Share Your Experience

Please feel free to leave me a comment about your own experience of God’s goodness.

 

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Tell of The Goodness of the Lord!

Tell, Remember, Declare, Ascribe

Tell, Remember, Declare, and Ascribe!

I started reading 1 Chronicles 16:8-36 today. King David sang a song of thanks in which he gives many directions to give God glory. First instruction, I read is to tell of all His wondrous works! Second, remember the wondrous works that He has done. Third and fourth, I am reminded to tell of His salvation from day to day and declare His glory among the nations. The fifth is to ascribe to the Lord glory due His name. Last but not least is to give Him thanks.

So here, I will tell of the wondrous works of the Lord. And why not? For the Lord is good and worthy to be praised. God has restored broken relationships in my life. He gives me strength when I am weak and grace when I need it. He gives me wisdom when I ask. I will declare His glory to the world.

In remembering, I find hope when times are rough. When I remember the times that God has carried me through many hardships, I know that He is faithful to see me through another one. When I am in need I remember the times that God supplied all my needs and He will do so again. Take time to remember what God has done in your life.

I am instructed to tell of His salvation from day to day! Oops, I have dropped the ball on this one. I had better get back to telling of His salvation. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.

Furthermore, I am to ascribe. Ascribe? What does this mean? To ascribe means to credit or assign, as to a cause or source; attribute; impute. Therefore, I am to credit or assign glory to God. I cannot ascribe it to myself.

Finally, I give thanks to God for He is good and His steadfast love endure forever!

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Culturally Disobedient In Today’s World

Culturally Disobedient

A Call to Be Culturally Disobedient

The time is now for all Christians to stand and to take a stand. If we say that we are Christians then our lives out to show it. Yet, in today’s world society wants Christians to shut up and sit down. Take action and be culturally disobedient.

What is Cultural Disobedience? It is to resist the culture when it tries to soften the Christian faith. Therefore, one should not be afraid to act as a Christian is called to act in all areas of one’s life. For example, to pray in public, speaking up when Christianity is belittled, and not letting the society dictate how you are to live out your faith.

What Does It Look Like?

One of my favorite sayings is if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck then it must be a duck. Therefore, if I say that I am a Christian then my life should reflect it regardless of what society would have me do. How I treat others ought to reflect Jesus in my life by my compassion and generosity. When I say a prayer of thanks for my meal out it is because I am grateful. It is wrong of me to refrain from doing so because of what others might think. Yet, my attitude should be in check also. I desire to be humble in my attitude not to think of myself as better than others.

Another way that I can be culturally disobedient is speaking up when someone speaks against Christianity. I am to be prepared to give an answer for the hope that is in me according to 1 Peter 3:15. If I acknowledge Jesus before men, He will acknowledge me before His Father in Heaven. I can trust that God will give me the words to say. He can also help me to be able to do so in truth and in love.

Then again, we as Christians have allowed the world to dictate to us as to how we can or cannot live out our faith. Yet, we are called to be influencers and not to be influenced by the world. Let our actions speak louder than our words. Be Jesus with skin on to a hurting world. Thus, we can begin to truly influence the world for Jesus.

Summary

All things considered, I hope to live out my faith in a manner that is pleasing to God and draws others to Jesus. I pray that you will also be encouraged to do likewise.

Hope is Found in Jesus!

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