Posts Tagged 'bible study'



Patience Is Better Than Pride

The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride. Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools. – Ecclesiastes 7:8-9

That sounds pretty radical. “Anger resides in the lap of fools.” What about when I have just cause to be angry – is that foolish? There are about three occasions that arouse anger in us. One is when someone we care about is being abused in some way. Another is when our belief system is being threatened. A third is when we feel that our person/pride is being threatened.

Most of our anger comes from the third category. Our pride, or ego, sees many opportunities to be angry: When we feel that we are being taken advantage of; when we feel that we are being neglected; when we feel others are disrespecting us in some way. Our pride, or ego, gives us many opportunities to be angry.

According to this passage in the Proverbs, “patience is better than pride.” What does that mean to us in everyday life? Simply that most of what makes us angry is foolishness and if we will just be patient most of these things will work themselves out. And besides that, if the issues don’t just work themselves out we are still better for not allowing them to cause an angry response.

Those who have gained wisdom through the process of trial and error tell us that thinking in terms of the big picture puts our own situation in perspective. What I mean by that is we often see circumstances through a short-sighted lens. We can only see how the situation immediately affects us and we don’t like what we see. When we can look at the big picture we can see that most of what concerns us fades in view of what is taking place on a larger scale.

When we see life through the big picture we respond in a way that affects a larger set of circumstanchtt rather than in a way that justifies us for the moment.

Prayer: Lord, I don’t want to be seen as an angry fool. Grant me the wisdom to look beyond myself to a greater purpose. Give me the grace of patience that I will bring honor to you. In Jesus name, amen.

Principle: Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools

Affirmation: I know that the end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride, therefore I will not allow myself to be quickly provoked.

Reflection: Three causes of anger are listed in this devotion. Reflect on them and how you have responded in those situation. Of the three, do you agree that ego is the one which gives us the most trouble?

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Wisdom Produces Patience

A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense. – Proverbs 19:17

I know many very good people who are constantly getting themselves into uncomfortable situations because they do not have the patience to wait before taking action. It seems they are ever learning but never gaining wisdom.

There are a lot of reasons why a person would be quick to act when prudence would call for patience. One reason is that we tend think we are the answer. We think, “This is an easy one, I can do this,” and we wind up acting on incomplete information which leads to having to back up and start again.

Another cause for impatience is feeling the urgency of a situation, believing that if we don’t act now a catastrophe will result. That is true if a child is in the road and a car is approaching, but most of the crisis situations we face are not that drastic and we are driven by urgency rather than wisdom.

Some people have a keen sense of justice and are quick to make decisions based upon an injustice they perceive being committed. All too often these folks create more of a problem with their quick action to right a perceived wrong than the wrong itself created.

What are we to do? Should we ignore injustice? Should we pretend a crisis does not exist? Absolutely not – but wisdom demands patience. If we find ourselves acting out of urgency rather than from wisdom we must seek God for wisdom and the wisdom he gives us will produce patience.

Patience is easy when we have the wisdom to weigh a situation before we take action. And, there are many times when wisdom demands that we are patient with someone who has committed an offense allowing God to bring them to repentance. The Apostle Peter wrote, “He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

Prayer: Lord, all too often I have found myself taking action when I should be standing still listening for your wisdom. Grant me the patience to wait for your answer before I act. In Jesus name, amen.

Principle: A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.

Affirmation: I am instructed to seek God for wisdom. I do that. I ask God for wisdom so that I might have patience and be seek God for the ability to overlook offense.

Reflection: Reflect upon the reasons given in the devotion which deal with why we too often don’t respond to a given situation the way God would have us respond. Think about how wisdom and patience go hand in hand.

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Return To God and Wait Patiently For Him

You must return to your God; maintain love and justice, and wait for your God always. – Hosea 12:6

We do a lot of work with people who have life controlling behaviors. One characteristic that seems to be common among them is the need for instant gratification. Whether the controlling behavior is drugs, alcohol, anger, or sexual habits, the tendency to need instant gratification affects their ability to have a consistent walk.

We look at those whose “shortcomings” that are obvious for all to see and think that they just need to make up their mind to live right. But when we stand before the mirror of God’s law we can see our own need to make up our mind on the issues that affect our faith walk.

In this passage God is calling Israel back to himself and today he is making the same call to all who will listen. The most common sin that Israel committed was that they did not wait patiently for God to reveal his will. They were constantly faced with difficult situations that demanded action and instead of waiting to hear what the Lord would say they resorted to their own resources.
People have not changed that much and we tend to do the same thing today. When we are faced with the immediacy of the need coupled with our own tendency to need instant satisfaction, it becomes very easy to trust our own instincts instead of waiting upon the Lord. When we have done that all is not lost, but we, like Israel, must return to the Lord and wait upon him.

This passage is calling us to transcend human tendencies and learn God’s way. We are called to do three things; maintain love, maintain justice, and wait for God.

It doesn’t seem that hard to maintain justice, but justice tends to get skewed when viewed through the eyes of those who have been mistreated by others.
Love and justice can only be maintained as we patiently wait upon the Lord.

Prayer: Lord, grant me the grace to patiently wait on you to reveal your love and justice through me. In Jesus name, amen.

Principle: You must return to your God; maintain love and justice, and wait for your God always.

Affirmation: I know that love and justice can only be maintained so I have purposed to turn my heart toward God and wait patiently upon him.

Reflection: Israel often wandered away from God because they did not see his hand in their daily life. The result was that they lost favor with God. What happens when we do not see the hand of the Lord in our daily life? Reflect on how to maintain that daily contact with him.

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We Patiently Long For Him

O Lord, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress. – Isaiah 33:2

In the verse before this one there is a warning to the destroyer; you must keep destroying or be destroyed. Then, in the verse following Isaiah writes of locusts that destroys the harvest. Sandwiched between these two warnings of calamity is the cry of the people, “O Lord, be gracious to us; we long for you.”

There are many stresses in a day that strain our emotional resources and it is sometimes difficult to keep our focus on the Lord. Throughout the day, incident by incident, our strength is drained until finally when the day is done we lay on our bed and cry, “O Lord, be gracious to us; we long for you.”

How many are the nights that we have lain on the bed, trying to find sleep after a day of watching the destroyer devour the good that others do. The deceiver, who seeks to wreck havoc on the people of God, goes about releasing his destructive forces upon the good that we would do. Exhausted and emotionally drained we lay on our bed and cry, “O Lord, be gracious to us; we long for you.”

Alas, the morning does come when we have been refreshed by the Holy Spirit and his rest is upon us. In the morning we realize that he is our strength and our salvation in time of distress. He is our strength every morning and our salvation.

What is it that gives us the patience to endure the day and cry out with hope in the night? We wait on him because he has proven that when we endure he will always come through. If we can hold on through the day and cry out in hope at night, we will awaken renewed. He is our strength every morning and our salvation.

No enemy can destroy the one who longs for the Lord and who has learned that the Lord is their strength. He is our strength every morning and our salvation.

Prayer: Lord, I long for you. When I am distressed over the circumstances that surround me I cry out for your strength and your salvation, In Jesus name, amen.

Principle: We wait on him because he has proven that when we endure he will always come through.

Affirmation: In the midst of daily activities and the stresses of life I wait patiently as I cry out, ” O Lord, be gracious to me; I long for you. Be my strength every morning, my salvation in time of distress.”

Reflection: Read the first five verses of Isaiah 33 and reflect on them paying particular attention to the verses 2-3. Even in times of distress we must wait patiently for him.

My Thoughts: I would enjoy knowing your thoughts on this devotion. Please leave a comment.
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He’s Coming… Wait Patiently

O Lord, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress. – Isaiah 33:2

In the verse before this one there is a warning to the destroyer; you must keep destroying or be destroyed. Then, in the verse following Isaiah writes of locusts that destroys the harvest. Sandwiched between these two warnings of calamity is the cry of the people, “O Lord, be gracious to us; we long for you.”
There are many stresses in a day that strain our emotional resources and it is sometimes difficult to keep our focus on the Lord. Throughout the day, incident by incident, our strength is drained until finally when the day is done we lay on our bed and cry, “O Lord, be gracious to us; we long for you.”
How many are the nights that we have lain on the bed, trying to find sleep after a day of watching the destroyer devour the good that others do. The deceiver, who seeks to wreck havoc on the people of God, goes about releasing his destructive forces upon the good that we would do. Exhausted and emotionally drained we lay on our bed and cry, “O Lord, be gracious to us; we long for you.”
Alas, the morning does come when we have been refreshed by the Holy Spirit and his rest is upon us. In the morning we realize that he is our strength and our salvation in time of distress. He is our strength every morning and our salvation.
What is it that gives us the patience to endure the day and cry out with hope in the night? We wait on him because he has proven that when we endure he will always come through. If we can hold on through the day and cry out in hope at night, we will awaken renewed. He is our strength every morning and our salvation.
No enemy can destroy the one who longs for the Lord and who has learned that the Lord is their strength. He is our strength every morning and our salvation.

Prayer: Lord, I long for you. When I am distressed over the circumstances that surround me I cry out for your strength and your salvation, In Jesus name, amen.

We Patiently Long For Him

Principle: We wait on him because he has proven that when we endure he will always come through.

Affirmation: In the midst of daily activities and the stresses of life I wait patiently as I cry out, ” O Lord, be gracious to me; I long for you. Be my strength every morning, my salvation in time of distress.”

Reflection: Read the first five verses of Isaiah 33 and reflect on them paying particular attention to the verses 2-3. Even in times of distress we must wait patiently for him.

My Thoughts: I would enjoy knowing your thoughts on this devotion. Please leave a comment.
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He’s Coming… Wait Patiently

Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. – James 5:7-8

My dad always had a garden. It was not a small backyard garden, it was big. It was so big that when the vegetables ripened he put a sign out on the road inviting passersby to drop in and buy some vegetables.

When I was about five years old I decided to plant my own garden. Mom had a flower bed in front of our porch. I took a few beans from the kitchen out to mom’s flower garden. I pushed my finger into the soft dirt to make a hole for each of the beans, placed the beans in the holes and covered them up. Then I waited.

Being a young gardener, I was impatient. Every few minutes I would look to see if the beans were coming up yet. Finally, after an eternity of about five days, little sprouts began to stick up out of the dirt. Then day by day I watched as the sprouts became full sized plants. After an eternity of weeks the plants produced little flowers that grew into bean pods.

It was a long spring of waiting, but the reward was in the satisfaction of knowing I had raised a crop. Of course there was the reward at the dinner table too when mom served the fresh picked beans for dinner.

James is telling us that we must learn the lesson of the patient farmer. We must stand firm and wait patiently for our Lord to return. We must stand firm in the Christian faith, and we must stand firm in our personal faith.

When we come to Christ we are like the child who plants his first garden. We expect the harvest any day and anxiously await signs that the harvest is ready. Then, as the days go by and we become interested in other things, we can’t forget that the harvest is coming. He is coming, wait patiently and with expectancy.

Prayer: Lord, I’m still a little like that five year old gardener. I need patience and perseverance to endure until you return. Grant it in Jesus name, amen.

Principle: We must learn the lesson of the patient farmer standing firm as we wait patiently for our Lord to return.

Affirmation: As the one who has planted seed in the ground waits for the time of harvest, so I, who have placed my faith in Christ, wait patiently for his return.

Reflection: James tells us that we should wait patiently for the return of the Lord just as a farmer waits patiently for harvest time. How should we be waiting for the Lord’s return?

My Thoughts: I would enjoy knowing your thoughts on this devotion. Please leave a comment.
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Patient People Don’t Fret Over Evil People

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret – it leads only to evil. – Psalm 37:7-8

We’ve all been there. You’ve worked hard, your accomplishments are exemplary; then the most conniving, manipulating, and certainly undeserving person, gets the promotion. Didn’t that just make you want to do something to that person? If it didn’t you are probably more spiritual than the rest of us.

The message David is conveying in this Psalm is to trust the justice of God and not resort to the same schemes and manipulation that evil people do. It is easy to feel justified returning evil for evil, but that’s not God’s way.

The Message Bible says it well:
“Quiet down before God; be prayerful before him. Don’t bother with those who climb the ladder, who elbow their way to the top. Bridle your anger, trash your wrath, cool your pipes – it only makes things worse. Before long the crooks will be bankrupt; God-investors will soon own the store.”

It isn’t always easy, in fact it rarely is, to wait for God’s justice. We want justice to be swift and sure. We want vengeance, now! But God says, “Wait on me. Trust me. I have the situation well in hand.”

God’s goal is much different than ours. Our goal is vindication and justice that in effect punishes the guilty. God’s goal is to bring the violator to repentance. God has already administered justice, even death, for the guilty. He did that on the Cross when Christ died for the sins of all who would live in every age.Speaking of the judgment that is to fall upon the unrepentant Peter writes, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” God patiently waited on us to repent, shouldn’t we wait patiently?

Prayer: OK God, I confess that all too often I want vengeance and punishment for wrongdoers. Grant me your heart that my desire will for their repentance. Amen.

Principle: Trust the justice of God and not resort to the same schemes and manipulation that evil people do.

Affirmation: When others, who are less worthy, receive recognition I give them honor because I trust the justice of God and I do not resort to the same schemes and manipulation the evil people do.

Reflection: How do you feel when others receive the honor or promotion you felt that you deserved? Be honest! How should we feel toward them?

My Thoughts: I would enjoy knowing your thoughts on this devotion. Please leave a comment.
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Paul ”Hope Preacher” Smith

Messages of inspiration for the journey of faith

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