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The Delivery Room called Patience

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Our interaction with God is not transactional, but relational. The quicker one realizes that, the better. That is why we pray for days, months, or even years to receive a certain response from God. That is why we search through the Scriptures to find a single truth. We search, linger, and wait for answers that only take but a moment to arrive, and suddenly. We all know that, ‘Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows’ (James 1:17), and so we beseech Him for them. We quickly realize that once we ask for whatever it is we want from God, we have not just opened a door to receive from Him, but a door to relate with Him. And since the latter comes before the former, many walk away and quit asking God because ‘He did not answer me’. Little did they know that God first had to prepare them to receive what they asked for. For before God gives us a thing, He ensures that we first have Him, and no Believer can ever come to a place and say that they have had enough of God. And so every time we go to God to ask for one thing, He first gives us another aspect of Himself. Whatever our circumstances, until we come to a point where we say to God, ‘You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing’ (Psalm 16:2), then all that we ask for are idols that we raise before God. Yet, He clearly says, ‘I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols’ (Isaiah 42:8).

In our natural disposition, we would prefer God to be transactional- we ask for whatever and then He gives it to us there and then. We hate the idea of waiting, but see the necessity of changing. Yet, change takes time. It is relational, not transactional. While we were once lost in sin, God had to painstakingly watch us take all the wrong roads and make all the wrong choices. ‘These things you have done and I kept silent’ (Psalm 50:12). But the time came when God was ready to act, and He says, ‘For a long time I have kept silent, I have been quiet and held myself back. But now, like a woman in childbirth, I cry out, I gasp and pant’ (Isaiah 42:14). God waited for us, but we find it impossible to wait on the God who was patient with us all along. We fail to recognize that once we seek a matter from the Courts of God, a seed of inception grows in us. We walk about like a pregnant woman who waits and watches as the belly protrudes to accommodate the growing baby. Unfortunately, some abort the baby before they can even see the light of life by the pretext, ‘God did not answer’. But those who are patient enough wait for a bit, and when the time for delivery comes, the birth pangs begin. ‘As a woman with child and about to give birth writhes and cries out in pain, so were we in your presence, O Lord’ (26:v17). However, at the moment of birth, some when they sense pain and discomfort throw in the towel and refuse to bring forth the child. Their narrative then becomes, ‘We were with child, we writhed in pain, but we gave birth to the wind’ (v18).

Many who terminate the child is because of unbelief, love for comfort, or hatred for pain and suffering. Some can wait, while others can wait for as long, but would not reach to a point of endurance. They simply give up at their birthing stage and so give birth to the wind. Whatever the case, such do not ‘let patience have her perfect work, that you may be mature and complete, wanting nothing’ (James 1:4). Perfection/maturity can only come through patience, because in the waiting, we build a relationship with God. We do not merely transact with Him, like an addict dealing with a dealer would – swift and prompt, till next time. Patience ensures that we do not merely swipe the tips of our hands with God’s as we receive what we want from Him, but that we have clasped hands with Him enough to feel His palpitations to the point that we never let go. It is at this point that we have built a relationship with Him to see that He is the only good thing we have. We then come to a point of saying like Paul, ‘I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learnt the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all things through him who gives me strength’ (Philippians 4:11-13). Clearly, patience is learnt, and it is only learnt when one lingers and builds a relationship with God, our ‘Teacher’ (Job 36:22).

When we learn patience, God gives us strength in order to birth out the seed that He deposited in us while we were waiting. Although this seed is unnoticeable to us, when we experience pain and discomfort it is then that we realize that we were with child all along. The question now becomes; Will you give birth or abort? At this point, we are simply not waiting for what we expected, but for what only God knows He planted. Those who in their groaning, writhing, and discomfort turn to God receive additional strength to birth out what has been in them. In their turning to God, they again build a stronger relationship with Him, then God deposits another seed in them, and so the cycle continues. One enters into a relationship with God, and since this relationship never ends, one only discovers different qualities of God in the delivery phases. The more a Believer goes through this process of refinement, the quicker they align with God who asks, ‘Do I bring the moment of birth and not give delivery? Do I close up the womb when I bring to delivery?’ (Isaiah 66:9). Surely not!

Nothing can prepare us enough for our delivery seasons, because not all deliveries are the same. We cannot really know what to expect, and so it is only patience in God that sustains us. That is why David notes, I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry . . . Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust’ (Psalm 40:1,4). Our endurance in birthing out the different and many qualities of God is merely to prepare us for the great reveal. Jesus says, ‘A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has comebut when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world’ (John 16:21). He expounds, ‘So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away you joy’ (v22). What seems like waiting for requests is actually God moulding us to know Him deeper so that we can be perfect and entire when He returns ‘in his glory, and all the angels with him’ (Matthew 25:31). In the meantime, God uses every opportunity to teach us that, ‘In your patience, possess ye your souls’ (Luke 21:19). This is because while patience may bring forth what we had asked for, its ultimate goal is that our souls are intact in God.

So, in the delivery room of patience, we wait and endure, because ‘we know that tribulation produces patience; patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope does not disappoint us; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit whom he has given us’ (Romans 5:3-5). Thus, the final goal of patience for a Believer is not just to receive what we ask and desire, but to deliver the ‘fullness’ (Colossians 2:10) of God in us. But those who abort the baby at whatever stage pay for the consequences themselves.

Even the worst of women can learn from your ways. On your skirts is found the blood of the souls of the innocent poor; I have not found it by secret search, but upon all these. Yet in spite of all this you say, ‘I am innocent; his anger shall turn from me.’ But I will pass judgement on you because you say, ‘I have not sinned’ ~ Jeremiah 2:33-35

I will sentence you to the punishment of women who commit adultery and who shed blood; I will bring you the blood vengeance of my wrath and jealous anger‘ ~ Ezekiel 16:38

Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord‘ ~ Psalm 27:14

When do we need patience as believers in this world?

we need patience

April 1, 2021Author: Nehemiah Zion

We need patience, and the key ingredient to grow patience is through love. When we accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour, we are blessed with all spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus. Yet, our state is that of a new babe which needs tender loving care and nourishment. love enables nourishing this quality of patience in us.

When do we really need patience?

1. In times of trouble, when everyone and everything seems to go against us we need to learn to wait on the Lord. (Luke 21:8-19)
2. When we labour for the kingdom of God, setting our hearts in Christ, then to bear much fruit (Luke 8:15) we will need to wait patiently.
3. Through tribulation alone can we enter into the kingdom of God. Waiting patiently enables us to gain experience too (Romans 5:4).
4. A patient walk helps us to walk by faith to receive the hope we cannot see right now, but know very is true and perfect because God is a God of hope (Romans 8:24-27).
5. We need to be patient while ministering in any capacity – big or small (2 Corinthians 12:12/6:4).

If we don’t have patience for the things that need to get done for the kingdom of God or live with the people who enter our world (family, friends, work) then it’s not Godly love.

We do not have the ability to do anything good. It’s all grace and God’s gift of love shed abroad in our hearts (Romans 5:5) through the Holy Spirit. When we learn to wait and give room for God to work in us, wonders and miracles follow our lives because we believe.

In Christ, you are on the right path. Hold on, be patient, this light affliction will reap in eternal glory with Jesus forever. Maranatha, Praise God and Amen.

The Power of Patience: Part 2 (James 5:7-12)

Pastor Joe Quatrone, Jr.

James knew his readers needed patience. They were facing persecution because of their faith. In Part 1, we saw two examples of patient endurance: the farmer and the prophets. Today, we will look at the third example.

Job (James 5:11)

As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.

You cannot persevere unless there is a trial in your life. There can be no victories without battles; there can be no peaks without valleys. If we want the blessing, we must be prepared to carry the burden and fight the battle.

I once heard a young Christian pray, “Lord, please teach me the deep truths of Your Word! I want to be lifted up to the heavens to hear and see the wonderful things that are there!” It was a sincere prayer, but the young man did not realize what he was praying. Paul went to the “third heaven” and learned things too marvelous for words; and as a result, God had to give Paul a thorn in the flesh to keep him humble (2 Cor. 12:1–10). God has to balance privileges with responsibilities, blessings with burdens, or else you and I will become spoiled, pampered children.

When do “blessings” come? In the midst of trials we may experience God’s blessings, as did the three Hebrew children in the fiery furnace (Dan. 3); but James taught there is a blessing after we have endured. His example was Job.

The Book of Job is a long book and the chapters are filled with speeches that, to the Western mind, seem long and tedious. In the first three chapters is Job’s distress: he loses his wealth, his family (except for his wife, who told him to commit suicide), and his health. In chapters 4–31, we read Job’s defense, as he debates with his three friends and answers their false accusations. Chapters 38–42 present Job’s deliverance: first God humbles Job, and then He honors Job and gives him twice as much as he had before.

In studying the experience of Job, it is important to remember Job did not know what was going on “behind the scenes” between God and Satan. Job’s friends accused him of being a sinner and a hypocrite. “There must be some terrible sin in your life,” they argued, “or God would never have permitted this suffering.” Job disagreed with them and maintained his innocence (but not perfection) during the entire conversation. The friends were wrong: God had no cause against Job (Job 2:3) and in the end, God rebuked the friends for telling lies about Job (Job 42:7).

It is difficult to find a greater example of suffering than Job. Circumstances were against him. He lost his wealth and his health. He also lost his beloved children. His wife was against him, for she said, “Curse God and die” (Job 2:9). His friends were against him, for they accused him of being a hypocrite, deserving of the judgment of God. It even seemed like God was against him! When Job cried out for answers to his questions, there was no reply from heaven.

Yet, Job endured. Satan predicted Job would get impatient with God and abandon his faith, but that did not happen. While it is true Job questioned God’s will, he did not forsake his faith in the Lord. “Though He slay me, I will hope in Him. Nevertheless, I will defend my ways before Him” (Job 13:15). Job was so sure of God’s perfections that he persisted in arguing with Him, even though he did not understand all God was doing. That is endurance.

God made a covenant with Israel that He would bless them if they would obey His Laws (Deut. 11). This led to the idea that, if you were wealthy and comfortable, you were blessed of God; but if you were suffering and poor, you were cursed of God. When Jesus said it is difficult for a rich man to enter heaven the disciples were shocked. “Who, then, can be saved?” they asked (Matt. 19:23–26). “The rich are especially blessed of God,” they were saying. “If they can’t make it, nobody can!” Sad to say, many people have that same erroneous idea today.

The Book of Job refutes that idea, for Job was a righteous man and yet he suffered. God found no evil in him and even Satan could not find any. Job’s friends could not prove their accusations. Job teaches us God has higher purposes in suffering than the punishing of sin. Job’s experience paved the way for Jesus, the perfect Son of God who suffered, not for His own sins, but for the sins of the world.

In Job’s case, what was “the end purpose of the Lord”? To reveal Himself as full of pity and tender mercy. Certainly, there were other results from Job’s experience, for God never wastes the sufferings of His saints. Job met God in a new and deeper way (Job 42:1–6), and, after that, he received greater blessings from the Lord.

“But if God is so merciful,” someone may argue, “why didn’t He protect Job from all that suffering to begin with?” To be sure, there are mysteries to God’s working that our finite minds cannot fathom; but this we know: God was glorified and Job was purified through this difficult experience. If there is nothing to endure, you cannot learn endurance.

What did Job’s story mean to the believers James wrote to and what does it mean to us today? It means that some of the trials of life are caused directly by satanic opposition. God permits Satan to try His children, but He always limits the extent of the enemy’s power (Job 1:12; 2:6). When you find yourself in the fire, remember God keeps His gracious hand on the thermostat! “But He knows the way I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold” (Job 23:10).

Satan wants us to get impatient with God, for an impatient Christian is a powerful weapon in the devil’s hands. You will recall from our study of James 1 that Moses’ impatience robbed him of a trip to the Holy Land; Abraham’s impatience led to the birth of Ishmael, the enemy of the Jews; and Peter’s impatience almost made him a murderer. When Satan attacks us, it is easy for us to get impatient, and run ahead of God and lose God’s blessing as a result.

What is the answer? “My grace is sufficient for you!” (2 Cor. 12:7–9) Paul’s thorn in the flesh was a “messenger of Satan.” Paul could have fought it, given up under it, or tried to deny the thorn existed; but he did not. Instead, he trusted God for the grace he needed and he turned Satan’s weapon into a tool for the building up of his own spiritual life.

When you find yourself in the furnace, go to the throne of grace and receive from the Lord all the grace you need to endure (Heb. 4:14–16). Remind yourself the Lord has a gracious purpose in all of this suffering, and He will work out His purposes in His time and for His glory. You are not a robot caught in the jaws of fate. You are a loving child of God, privileged to be a part of a wonderful plan. There is a difference!

“Be patient, for the coming of the Lord is near!”

The Power of Patience: Part 1 (James 5:7–12)

Pastor Joe Quatrone, Jr.

James is still addressing the suffering saints when he writes, “Be patient.” This is his counsel at the beginning of his letter (1:1–5) and is still his counsel at the end of his letter. He knows God is not going to right all the wrongs in this world until Jesus returns, so we must patiently endure—and expect.

Three times James reminds us of the coming of the Lord (5:7–9). This is the “blessed hope” of the Christian (Titus 2:13). We do not expect to have everything easy and comfortable in this present life. “In the world you will have tribulation” (John 16:33). Paul told his converts, “We must go through much tribulation to enter into the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). We must patiently endure hardships and heartaches until Jesus returns.

But the question we must answer is: How can we as Christians experience this kind of patient endurance as we wait for the Lord to return? To answer that question, James gave three encouraging examples of patient endurance.

The Farmer (James 5:7–9)

Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!

If a man is impatient, then he had better not become a farmer. No crop appears overnight (except perhaps a crop of weeds) and no farmer has control over the weather. Too much rain can cause the crop to rot, too much sun can burn it up, and an early frost can kill the crop. How long-suffering the farmer must be with the weather! He must also have patience with the seed because it takes time for plants to grow. He has to wait many weeks for his seed to produce fruit.

Why does he willingly wait so long? Because the fruit is “precious” (v. 7). The harvest is worth waiting for. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Gal. 6:9).

James pictures the Christian as a “spiritual farmer” looking for a spiritual harvest. Our hearts are the soil and the “seed is the Word of God” (Luke 8:11). There are seasons to the spiritual life just as there are seasons to the soil. Sometimes, our hearts become cold and “wintry,” and the Lord has to “plow them up” before He can plant the seed (Jer. 4:3). He sends the sunshine and the rains of His goodness to water and nurture the seeds planted; but we must be patient to wait for the harvest.

Here, then, is a secret of endurance when the going is tough: God is producing a harvest in our lives. He wants the “fruit of the Spirit” to grow (Gal. 5:22–23), and the only way He can do it is through trials and troubles. Instead of growing impatient with God and with ourselves, we must yield to the Lord and permit the fruit to grow. We are “spiritual farmers” looking for a harvest.

You can enjoy this kind of harvest only if your heart is established (James 5:8). The ministry of the Word of God and prayer are important if the heart is going to be established. Paul sent Timothy to Thessalonica to establish the young Christians in their faith (1 Thes. 3:1–3); and Paul also prayed for them that they might be established (1 Thes. 3:10–13). A heart that is not established cannot bear fruit.

Keep in mind the farmer does not stand around doing nothing: he is constantly at work as he looks toward the harvest. James does not tell these suffering believers to put on white robes, climb a hill, and wait for Jesus to return. “Keep working and waiting” was his admonition. “Blessed is that servant whom the Lord finds doing so when He returns” (Luke 12:43).

Nor does the farmer get into fights with his neighbors. One of the usual marks of farmers is their willingness to help one another. Nobody on the farm has time or energy for disputes with the neighbors. James must have had this in mind when he added, “Don’t grumble against each other, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged” (v. 9). Impatience with God often leads to impatience with God’s people and this is a sin we must avoid. If we start using the sickles on each other, we will miss the harvest!

The Prophets (James 5:10)

Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.

A Jewish congregation would understand this simple reference James made to the Old Testament prophets. These men were well known for suffering wrong when they had done no wrong. They were harshly treated for faithfully declaring the Word of God. James alluded to such prophets to urge his readers to be patient when they themselves were suffering for doing good. In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus also used the prophets as an example of victory over persecution (Matt. 5:10–12).

What encouragements do we receive from their example? For one thing, they were in the will of God, yet they suffered. They were preaching “in the name of the Lord,” yet they were persecuted. Satan tells the faithful Christian his suffering is the result of sin or unfaithfulness; yet his suffering might well be because of faithfulness! “Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,” (2 Tim. 3:12). We must never think obedience automatically produces ease and pleasure. Our Lord was obedient and it led to death!

The prophets encourage us by reminding us God cares when we go through sufferings for His sake. Elijah announced to wicked King Ahab there would be a drought in the land for three and one half years; and Elijah himself had to suffer in that drought. But God cared for him and God gave him victory over the evil priests of Baal. It has been said, “The will of God will never lead you where the grace of God cannot keep you.”

Many of the prophets had to endure great trials and sufferings, not only at the hands of unbelievers, but at the hands of professed believers. Jeremiah was arrested as a traitor and even thrown into an abandoned well to die. God fed Jeremiah and protected him throughout the terrible siege of Jerusalem, even though at times it looked as though the prophet was going to be killed. Both Ezekiel and Daniel had their share of hardships, but the Lord delivered them.

Why is it that those who “speak in the name of the Lord” often must endure difficult trials? It is so their lives might back up their messages. The impact of a faithful, godly life carries much power. We need to remind ourselves our patience in times of suffering is a testimony to others around us.

This example James used from the Old Testament prophets ought to encourage us to spend more time in the Bible, getting acquainted with these heroes of the faith. “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Rom. 15:4). The better we know the Bible the more God can encourage us in the difficult experiences of life. The important thing is that, like the farmer, we keep working and, like the prophets, we keep witnessing, no matter how trying our circumstances may be.

In Part 2, we will look at the third example of patient endurance: Job.

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