Archive for February 2011

Forgiven!

February 18, 2011

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” – I John 1:9

During a recent discussion with my cardiologist, we were discussing the type of stress test I would undergo. He said the problem with a nuclear test – the one where they shoot radiological dye into your vein to take contrast pictures of the heart function – was the effect of the radiological chemical builds up in your system over time. Obviously, this has serious negative effects on our body.

That came as a bit of surprise. I figured once it coursed through the veins, it would just go wherever old blood goes as it processes out of the body. Apparently not. It just accumulates, at least the residual effects do.

As I pondered that thought, it came to me that is what sin does. It just builds up in our spiritual “system.” It may not be visible, but it is there and those effects will eventually destroy us.

I guess there isn’t anything to do about the radiation, but thank God, there is a remedy for the sin! His name is Jesus. In our verse this week, we see the prescription and the cure. Not only are we forgiven, we are cleansed.

 

A Little (More) Patience

February 12, 2011

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” – James 1:2-3

I got a lot of comments and feedback on last week’s “Thought” on the need to be patient. Most of them had to do with the question, “how do we improve in that area?” So, I thought this week, we’d look at how the Bible says we attain the trait. But, first, a story…

There was once a young man who lived on a ranch. He got the idea one day that he wanted to grow to be the strongest man alive. He thought and thought about how to accomplish that feat, and finally came up with an idea.

One of the cows on the ranch had just had a young male calf. He went out the next day and picked the calf up, and walked around with it a bit. The next day he did the same thing. Then the next, and so on. Each day the calf grew ever so slightly, and each day the young man grew stronger, ever so slightly.

The days, weeks and months went by and as the calf grew into a bull, the young man was still able to pick him up and walk around, becoming the strongest man alive.

The Bible verse above tells us our faith grows – therefore our patience grows, just as our muscles grow, through being challenged and enduring testing.

We learn to be patient by learning to trust God. When we go through “small trials,” we often don’t even look to Him, or for Him. But, in every trial we should watch for His work. When we see how trustworthy and capable God is, our faith will grow. As our faith grows, we will grow stronger in patience – knowing there is nothing we face God cannot handle.

As my friend Steve Brown says, “God hasn’t failed anyone yet, and is He isn’t going to start with you.”

 

A Little Patience, Please

February 6, 2011

“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.” -James 5:7

We’ve all seen the little sign many folks have on their desk which says, “Lord, give me patience – and please hurry!”

That’s the way just about every feels at some point in life. It seems when we need patience, we need it now. And, there are so many areas of our life where this applies – our finances, job status, etc.

Interestingly, the verse above comes right smack dab in the middle of a passage about our relationships. We are told when it comes to dealing justly and decently with people – we need to be patient. If we think about this honestly – in this moment when no one else is rushing us – it is the way we all want to be treated. We don’t want people giving us burdensome tasks and wanting it done yesterday. We just want to be treated fairly and, well, with patience.

So, that’s the way we should deal with others.

Think of how much better our work life, home life, every other aspect of our lives would be if we are just a little more patient. Of course, the ultimate model for this is demonstrated toward us in the way God deals with us. Just think about THAT one for a moment!