Be Patient

Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door. As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.
(James 5:7-11)

Take some time today to look at this section of James and apply it to the marriage relationship.

Be patient. Be patient with each other. Be patient in trials and adversity. Be patient with yourselves. Be patient knowing that growth in relationships takes time and growth will always happen as long as we’re alive. Be patient knowing that God is always there for us.

Think of God’s purpose and His character. We see how it was displayed in the lives of the prophets and in the life of Job. God blesses those who endure. God is merciful and compassionate. God has a purpose and a plan and He works within our lives and in our marriages for His glory and for our good. We can use this to “establish” our hearts and our marriages!

God is coming. The Judge is standing at the door! Notice how James connects this to our relationships. You know we always seem to follow the speed limit when we see a police officer, and we always want to show off our best work while the boss is looking! James reminds us that the Judge (Jesus) is standing at the door, and that He is always watching, and one day our date with eternity will be set. All the more reason not to grumble against each other, especially in marriage. We grumble against each other because sometimes we lack the compassion and mercy that God shows to us. May we be reminded that when God comes, we will want mercy and compassion, so let’s show that mercy and compassion to others today.

Truth can be found even among a lot of error

Does a person have to be right on everything before we listen to them on anything?

Here is a thought to contemplate, and a thought to share with your sons and daughters. Truth can be found even among a lot of error. Sometimes we might be tempted to disregard somebody’s advice because we see so much wrong in his or her life. But be careful, even someone who is wrong on a whole lot can be right in something he or she tells you. Before you have a knee-jerk reaction thinking, “Who is this guy to tell me this?”, consider the statement itself. It may be true after all.

Here is a Biblical example. Job’s friends were wrong on a WHOLE LOT, even God rebuked them for being so mistaken (Job 42). I want you to notice that Eliphaz is specifically spoken to by God,

After the LORD had spoken these words to Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite: “My anger burns against you and against your two friends, for you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has.
(Job 42:7)

Does that mean that everything Eliphaz said in the book of Job was wrong?Apparently not, because the apostle Paul quoted Eliphaz in 1 Corinthians.

Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,” and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.” So let no one boast in men. For all things are yours,
(1 Corinthians 3:18-21. In the above section, Paul quoted Eliphaz (compare Job 5:13 & 1 Corinthians 3:19).

Does God catch the wise in their craftiness? Yes, He sure does. Eliphaz was generally right on in that matter, even if he was wrong in applying that specifically to Job. The point is for today, God condemned and rebuked Eliphaz for saying a lot of wrong things, and yet the Holy Spirit led Paul to quote Eliphaz. Paul also was inspired by God to quote the Greek poets on more than one occasion (Acts 17:28; Titus 1:12-13; 1 Cor. 15:33).

God may be sending you advice from an unlikely source that you are tempted to disregard. Someone doesn’t have to be right on everything before you listen to them on anything. By the way, think of the assumption we are making about ourselves if we set that kind of lofty standard.

Sweet is the sleep of a laborer

Sweet is the sleep of a laborer, whether he eats little or much, but the full stomach of the rich will not let him sleep.
(Ecclesiastes 5:12)

There is such peace, joy and satisfaction in working hard to get something. Solomon writes here that after a hard day’s work you have a lot of peace with that and you sleep well, whether you have a lot or a little. Something about the way the rich man is living makes him so consumed and absorbed with their things and how to protect them (or acquire more) that they just don’t rest well at night.

Dads, don’t feel bad about making your kids work hard for things. If they want something, say a new game system, then show them the value of working hard and saving for things. If they have to mow yards, babysit, and do odd jobs to save enough money, then don’t get in the way of their growth by just paying for things. They, like we, need to learn the value of waiting, working hard and saving. It is a great lesson that will stay with them for their whole lives.

God make us to work, that’s the first thing he did with Adam in the garden was to give him a job. The Lord designed us, and knows that we operate very well when we are working hard, sweating, and burning energy working for a goal. That’s a very good thing, Solomon said more than once (Eccl. 2:24; 3:22; 5:18-19; 9:10).

As Solomon said, if you wear those kids out, they sleep better at night. Sit them in front of a device or TV all day, and they will not sleep well. Plain and simple. They need to get outside, play hard, work hard, and burn off energy. Our kids get along better when doing that; if they are playing video games and watching TV for a long time, they just get cranky and fuss with each other. When they are outside working and playing hard, they seem to do much better. Don’t know if that’s the case for you, but it is for us.

Sweet is the sleep of a laborer.

How do we respond to overwhelming situations?

How do we respond to overwhelming situations; situations beyond our control? From the Job study, Job encountered God in the whirlwind proclaiming truths Job had no answer for (Job 42:3), “Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ “Therefore I have declared that which I did not understand, Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.” Job understood the depth of knowledge and power found in God was certainly beyond a mortal man. Individuals, even great people of faith, find themselves at times in situations that go beyond their comprehension.

Mark 9:2-13: And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, 3 and his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them. 4 And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus. 5 And Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” 6 For he did not know what to say, for they were terrified. 7 And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.” 8 And suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them but Jesus only.

9 And as they were coming down the mountain, he charged them to tell no one what they had seen, until the Son of Man had risen from the dead. 10 So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what this rising from the dead might mean. 11 And they asked him, “Why do the scribes say that first Elijah must come?” 12 And he said to them, “Elijah does come first to restore all things. And how is it written of the Son of Man that he should suffer many things and be treated with contempt?13 But I tell you that Elijah has come, and they did to him whatever they pleased, as it is written of him.”

Peter, James and John find themselves in an overwhelming encounter. Their Lord finds Himself  changed (transfigured) and standing next to two of the greatest men in the Hebrew faith: Elijah and Moses. Jesus not only stands among them, but carries on a conversation with them.

The disciples seek to understand this and Peter, ever an individual of action makes his decree, “Rabbi, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” Before considering the understanding of what Peter is asking to do, recognize Peter is caught up in a very familiar failing found in many of us, acting without understanding.

The Bible tells us, “Every prudent man acts with knowledge, But a fool displays folly (Prov. 13:16).” The Bible tells us in regards to Peter and his fellow disciples, “6 For he did not know what to say, for they were terrified.” Peter said something, because … terror, bewilderment, and ignorance provided his foundation. There are times, even when the compulsion to respond is present Proverbs 17:28 should guide a Believer’s thoughts “Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent (think about Job placing his hand over his mouth to not speak Job 40:4).” The call to be quick to hear, slow to speak , and slow to wrath should provide additional direction. Peter knew SOMETHING must be done, but did not know what.

God assisted Peter with understanding 7 And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.” Simple and clear direction for all of us, Listen to Jesus, Keep our mouths closed, and do what Jesus says.

You Shall Not Rule with Severity

‘You shall not rule over him with severity, but are to revere your God.
(Leviticus 25:43)

‘…But in respect to your countrymen, the sons of Israel, you shall not rule with severity over one another.
(Leviticus 25:46)

‘Like a man hired year by year he shall be with him; he shall not rule over him with severity in your sight.
(Leviticus 25:53)

And masters, do the same things to them, and give up threatening, knowing that both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.
(Ephesians 6:9)

Today, please consider the above collection of verses about how we “rule over” one another in the workplace.

Both in the Old Testament and the New, the Lord called His people who had servants to treat them with respect. Paul had to ask his Christian brothers to “give up threatening.” If it wasn’t happening then there would be no need to tell those men to give up threatening.

Some guys only have one way to communicate…bark out orders. They do not know how to sit down and reason with someone. The concept of looking at the other person as someone who has a brain and has value is foreign to them. Do what I say or else. It’s my way or the highway. If someone brings up an opposing idea or another way of doing things, they get defensive and blow up. Any one who dares challenge them is treated like dirt, shut down and cast aside. The volume goes up along with the intensity and then people just back down and cower from fear and give in to their ways. As long as you march in step with them, you have nothing to fear.

Have you worked for a boss like that? Have we treated others like that?

This is not the spirit of Christ, nor was it the spirit that God wanted of His people in the Old Testament.

Give up threatening. Don’t rule with severity. Think of what these passages teach, especially the one in Ephesians 6:9.

  • Remember that the people who serve you belong to God. All of us belong to God. Everyone of us is created in the image of God. One of the ways to help you give up threatening is to see the eternal value of the people you are trying to lead. We can get so consumed with our own importance or our own mission that we fail to see the relationships and the value of those relationships.
  • Keep in mind that you have a Master in heaven. He is watching. He will judge, and there is no partiality with Him. If we mistreat others, God is the one to whom we will report.
  • You should show the same attitude and spirit to them. Notice Eph. 6:9 says, “do the same things to them.” Those same things are laid out for you in Ephesians 6:5-8. The servants were to do the will of God from the heart with sincerity, and the masters were to do the same things. God asked the servants to keep their eyes on Him with a spirit of fear and trembling, and He asked the same things from the masters. There are not two sets of rules, but sometimes we can live that way. We would never accept the kind of treatment that we deal out to others. God says live by the same rules.

Masters, grant to your slaves justice and fairness, knowing that you too have a Master in heaven.
(Colossians 4:1)

That is Wisdom

“And he said to man, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding'” (Job 28:28).

What is wisdom? How do you get it?

Today’s passage is in the context of a speech by Job. In the midst of his suffering and agony, Job’s mind is directed to the wisdom of God. Job 28 is beautiful and poetic as Job talks about all of the precious things in the earth for which mankind mines and digs. Silver. Gold. Copper. Iron. Precious gems.

As a side note, it amazes me personally that God hid all these treasures deep in the earth knowing we would go searching for them!

Think of the effort that man has gone through to extract all these valuable and useful things from the earth. Job describes that effort very well. We overturn “mountains by the roots” (28:9). Channels are dug, water is dammed up, we go boldly where no man or beast has gone before (28:3-4,7-8). Men have risked their lives and many throughout history have given their lives in the quest for the treasures deep in the earth.

Where do you find wisdom?

“But where shall wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding?” (28:12)

Mankind knows the value of gold and silver, but Job said we don’t know the value of wisdom. Nowhere on earth, beneath the earth, or above the earth has a mine for wisdom.

Wisdom is “hidden from the eyes of all the living” (28:21). Just as God hid gold and silver deep in the earth and we have to dig for it, the same is true for wisdom. We must search it out. God created it that way.

We will not find wisdom, however, if we go searching in the wrong places. The source of wisdom, plainly stated by Job, is God.

For He looks to the ends of the earth, and sees under the whole heavens, to establish a weight for the wind, and apportion the waters by measure. When He made a law for the rain, and a path for the thunderbolt, then He saw wisdom and declared it; He prepared it, indeed, He searched it out. And to man He said, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to depart from evil is understanding.’ ” (Job 28:24-28)

That is wisdom!

Job said here that wisdom is to fear God and depart from evil. We will have no wisdom at all until we have a reverence and awe for the Creator. Start there! Fear the Almighty God and commit to do whatever He says. Then you will begin to plumb the depths and hidden treasures of the mind of God.

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10).

These are the mere edges of His ways

He stretches out the north over empty space; He hangs the earth on nothing. He binds up the water in His thick clouds, yet the clouds are not broken under it. He covers the face of His throne, and spreads His cloud over it. He drew a circular horizon on the face of the waters, at the boundary of light and darkness. The pillars of heaven tremble, and are astonished at His rebuke. He stirs up the sea with His power, and by His understanding He breaks up the storm. By His Spirit He adorned the heavens; His hand pierced the fleeing serpent. Indeed these are the mere edges of His ways, and how small a whisper we hear of Him! But the thunder of His power who can understand?” (Job 26:7-14).

As Hurricane Matthew moves along the Florida coastline, our thoughts and prayers are with those in its path.

Nature is beautiful and awesome, but it can also be downright scary and devastating as well. We can’t control it nor can we predict it accurately. That being said, nature is created by an Almighty God, and Job pointed to nature to make a point about God.

“He binds up the water in thick clouds, yet the clouds are not broken under it…He stirs up the sea with His power, and by His understanding He breaks up the storm.”

Can you even begin to imagine the power of a Being who created and has power over hurricanes? Meditate upon what Job said at the end of this passage:

Indeed these are the mere edges of His ways, and how small a whisper we hear of Him! But the thunder of His power who can understand?

These are the mere whispers of His ways!

If a hurricane is but a “mere whisper” from God, I shudder to think of what it would be like if God “thundered”! Let us all take time to reverence and be in awe of the mighty power of our God.

God is good, and God is all-powerful.