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Posts Tagged ‘patience’

“Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, but sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;”  Hebrews 6:19

Well, one more year is gone, and we are standing at the starting gate looking down a new road.  What lies waiting down there for us?

Our gaze is always clouded by Time, and we can only see our next few steps clearly.  There are indications and sign posts that hint of the places we are heading to, but they lead in so many different ways that it is hard to know which path we’ll be led down.  But we have to start walking anyway.

There are a lot of paths that I would like to travel down this new year.  One of them would be to have is a place to gather young people so I could show them all the cool things I have learned in the Word of God over the years.  Yeah, I like that one, but that signpost is faded, and I’m not sure to which direction, if any, it is pointing.

I see some bright and flashy billboards advertising all the different directions to go to promote my business and make money, but they all have that garish Coney Island veneer to them and have somehow lost their appeal.

Some signs point one way and some point another; others are bright and clear but don’t point in any direction at all.

Then there is that one sign that doesn’t point at all, but beckons me to come and follow.  The writing on it is blurred and hazy, and I can’t see what is written, but it calls to me that this is the way to come.

What lies down that road, and where will it take me?  Is there something exciting waiting for me down there?  Are there some great open doors that will open to me? Or perhaps it will be just a continued walk of patience and faith through tribulation and hard times?

Wherever the path leads, am I willing to accept what He has in store for me, even if it is not what I wanted?

If there is anything that I would like to do, it would be to expose what lies beyond the veil to a world that only sees with their eyes.  The reality of Eternity lies just beyond our grasp when we look at the evidence around us, but fail to see the source.  Hearts are not changed by facts or fair speeches, by what we know or hope for, or by adherence to traditions.

Only when we pierce through that veil by faith and touch the heart of God will we be able to see the reality of Life clearly.

It is only then that the writing on that signpost can be seen clearly.

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“But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” Genesis 6:8

One Sunday morning, my two girls wanted to read about Noah. It’s a cute story with lots of animals and rainbows. They’ve seen all the pictures of a chubby old Noah in his brown robe and sandals looking over the side of the boat with all the friendly animals crowded around him. Such a fun story!

Of course, the reality of it all was much different. It was a severe time of trials, persecution, hardship, and death. I’m sure Noah would never want to go through it again.

One passage stood out to us as we were reading. Noah and his family were in that boat for seven days before the first drop of water fell. I wouldn’t be surprised if that seven days wasn’t the hardest time of all for them out of the whole trial.

Noah had been a preacher of righteousness to a world of scorners, and must have been the most unpopular man on the face of the Earth. Nobody likes to hear that they are going to Hell, and I’m sure his generation was no different. It wasn’t that they didn’t know about God – they were only a handful of generations away from Adam and Eve. It’s just that they did not want to give up sin, and figured that, somehow, they would be able to get away with it.

We’ve all heard the Cosby-type jokes of how much jeering Noah must have suffered. After all, for 100 years all he had to show for his faith was a boat in the backyard, and to the rest of the world, that was a huge monument to folly. But Noah believed God, and moved with fear to construct that Ark of Safety.

And then came the word to enter in the Ark. Seven long days, cooped up with all those animals. No ventilation, no sunlight, … and no rain.

I can just imagine the echo of the howls of laughter coming from outside the boat. The old fool had cooped up his family inside that smelly monstrosity, and now he was locked in. But inside, the feeling of anticipation was thick and heavy.

Tell me you wouldn’t have been wondering during those seven days.  Why wait another week? Why couldn’t God have just flipped the switch as soon as they got inside? Why this final test of faith? Hadn’t they endured enough?

We see this same pattern with God several times throughout the Bible. After all you’ve gone through, there is often one more final challenge of faith to overcome before you get the final victory.

Faith in God is not determined by what you know or what you have seen. It is never a matter of how many miracles or personal experiences you have had with God. You cannot count on past victories or things that you have done in the past. Your faith is measured by where you are in God today.

Faith is built in your heart by a continuous determination to seek the face of God each and every day, and like a flame in your heart, it goes out when it runs out of fuel.

How many times I have heard people say that they believe in God, and even bolster it by pointing to their church attendance. But when times of severe tribulation and testing come, how often we fail. When you dig down into it, you find that it was a faith in name only.

Faith comes by hearing the Word of God, and immersing yourself in the Word of God gives you the power to pray – not just muttering a bunch empty words, but real, heart-wrenching prayer. That, in turn, brings you deeper into the Spirit of the Lord to absorb more of the Word of God. And that builds your faith – one step at a time.

Do you think you can accomplish the same things by skimming the Bible in a year? Or throwing God some casual requests when you’ve got the time?

No, only a driven heart will seek the face of God and be able to receive the faith to stand in the times that you will need it the most.

Noah had that kind of faith because he relentlessly sought the face of God. And it carried him and his family like a solid rock through those final seven days.

“As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.” Psalm 42:1

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