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Mercy, Hope and Patience

Posted by Shelley on Nov 29, 2006 in bible study

My aunt had a saying, it was “I want patience and I want it now!” You gotta love it. We live in culture that breeds impatience. In fact, I missed the sermon Sunday morning at HSBC (www.hsbc.org) and guess what I missed… a sermon on patience! No problem, I thought, I’ll be a real 21st century student of the Bible and listen to it on the podcast. I got up on Monday, went to the library (you know, I really was trying), sat down with the Hoover Library wi-fi and guess what, the podcast wasn’t in yet… therefore, even in the point and click world sometimes it just isn’t fast enough (right Ebay bidders)? I was disappointed because surely God wanted me to listen to some wisdom on patience. Or maybe He just wants me to dig a little deeper?

So, I go back to the basics. Paper. Digging through paper, no invisible lines or connections, just the basic pulp stuff that seems to overrun my house. I found what I was looking for which is no small miracle.

I participated in a study on the Fruit of the Spirit and learned that the patience noted in the familiar Galations verse is of the mercy kind. Makrothumia: patience with people, inspired by mercy. The other kind is called hupomone which is biblical perserverance or endurance, which gives us the word hope.

Now, I will attempt to explain from my bible study text why the makrothumia is the fruit of spirit kind of patience. When it comes to prioritizing between circumstances and people you agree that God will choose people, right? That fruit of the spirit kind of maturity comes from dealing with people… not your circumstances. Why? Because God demonstrates this kind of mercy with us on a regular basis. He values my growth and character as a person far above the convenience of my circumstances. Basically, responding with patience to circumstances is far easier than with people. We need to respond with hupomone when some circumstances are trying us; we need makrothumia when someONE is trying us.

The bible is full of hope, which qualifies it as something for which to pray. I actively ask God for endurance and perserverance which I am privileged to tell you He delivers. He’s always on time with an added dose of hope which inspires perserverance.

As for this mercy thing, I’m struggling. But when I think of the kind of mercy he has shown me I am reminded that what He is asking of me is certainly nothing that He hasn’t already asked of Himself. So, I conclude by telling you that if I have ever demonstrated patience with you it is of the supernatural kind. Which is really what the fruit of the spirit is all about… a supernatural ability to be different in the same situation. To God be the glory, great things he hath done!

 
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The Other Side of Oz

Posted by Shelley on Nov 20, 2006 in Real Life Stories, songs

After listening to Christmas music half the day on old-fashioned FM radio, (and why was that even an option considering Christmas is over a month away???), various country music songs, Rick and Bubba’s commentary on society and some breaking news about a school bus accident, I finally changed stations and realized I had one thing and one thing only in common with Elton John…

Oh I’ve finally decided my future lies
Beyond the yellow brick road.

 
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Mountains and Valleys

Posted by Shelley on Nov 8, 2006 in bible study

A long time ago I read in Oswald Chambers’ book, My Utmost for His Highest, a couple of sentences that reminded me what it’s really all about… I wrote this down and have carried it around with me for years.
We are built for the valley, for the ordinary stuff we are in, and that is where we have to prove our mettle. The moments on the mountain tops are rare moments and they are meant for something in God’s purpose.

The last couple of weeks through a series of events in my life I discovered where Mr. Chambers might have gotten his perspective… found in 2nd Samuel, Psalms and lastly in Habbakkuk. It is a passage repeated three times in the Bible which helps me understand only in the Lord is a mountaintop truly achievable. Our mettle in the valleys is where He enables us to go to the top.
The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights. Habbakkuk 3:19

Deer are typically seen in the valley or forest, running across highways and currently in my backyard. They have special feet which can make them very graceful and speedy to go up high when neccessary. We are deer, proving what we were meant to do down here in the valley. As believers, when we move to a mountain it is God who enables us to get there gracefully and sometimes quickly to claim HIS glory while we are there.

I’ll add that Habbakkuk verse to my index card with Oswald Chambers quote. It just makes perfect mysterious sense to me.

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