Practicing Patience

This past Saturday, my husband and I went to see the movie, ‘A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.’ I’ll try not to give away too much about the movie, just in case you haven’t seen it yet. I will say that it’s a great movie and I hope you get a chance to see it.

There are many words that could be used to describe Mr. Rogers. My husband and I tried to come up with one word that best described him. The word my husband chose was patience.

It wasn’t until the next day, while sitting in church, that my word to describe Mr. Rogers came to me; godly. He displayed many attributes of God in his daily life.

Patience is one of the attributes of God. It’s also listed as one of the fruits of the Spirit. Fruit meaning it is the evidence that the Holy Spirit abides in us as believers.

Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Patience is an act of humility, gentleness, and love.

Ephesians 4:2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

Patience is not just about waiting but it’s about waiting well.

Psalms 37:7 Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways; when they carry out their wicked schemes.

A patient person is a wise person.

Proverbs 14:29 Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.

A patient person is a peaceful person.

Proverbs 15:18 A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel.

The thing I noticed about the patience of Mr. Rogers is that it made an impact on the lives of the people around him and his own life. His wife said that he had to practice at being the kind of person he wanted to be.

We all need to practice at being better people; more patient people.

We have plenty of opportunities to practice patience on a daily basis. Like when we are in traffic. Or when someone makes a mistake and that mistake affects us or our schedules.

Or how about while we are doing our holiday shopping in a crowded store and there are 10 checkout lanes but only 3 are open and your cashier is new and slow?

Or how about when we try to show someone how to do something and they don’t understand right away?

We have many opportunities every day to make a difference in someone else’s life by just being patient with them.

Who’s life could you impact with patience? Your spouse or children? A coworker? A student? An aging parent?

Who has impacted your life with patience? A teacher? An employer? A parent? A stranger?

No one has been more patient with us than God.

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

Considering how patient God is with us, how much more should we be patient with others?

~Patrice Maguire

Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will through the power of Your Holy Spirit. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Journey/Week 3

This week I’ve been thinking a lot about the difference between surviving and thriving. During difficult times I think it’s natural to think, feel, or say, “I just want to get through this; I just want to survive and arrive on the other side alive and well.”

I can tend to be one of those people that thinks and feels that way. I mean, don’t we all want to survive difficult situations? It’s not a bad thing to want to survive. It’s brave actually! It’s not giving up!

However, what if instead of just surviving a difficult situation, we decided to thrive while going through it?

Survive means: to remain alive or in existence; to continue to function [Mirriam-Webster Dictionary App].

Thrive means: to grow vigorously, to gain wealth, to progress toward or realize a goal despite or because of circumstances [Mirriam-Webster Dictionary App].

Yes, I have breast cancer. Yes, I want to remain alive and continue to exist. Yes, I want to continue to function in all areas of my life. So, by the grace of God, I will do what it takes to survive. I will do my best and trust God with the rest.

However, I not only want to survive this disease, but I also want to thrive while going through it.

I want to grow vigorously spiritually and in character. I want to gain a wealth of things that can never be taken from me: faith and a better understanding of God’s grace and His love and mercy for me. I want to realize my goal to glorify God, build His kingdom, edify His Body, and point the lost to the cross despite and because of my circumstances.

I want to thrive while I survive!

This Spring I planted a garden in the planter boxes my husband built for me. Only the okra plants produced. None of the other plants produced. The other plants where alive. They were growing. They had flowers on them. But they never produced what they were created to produce. They were surviving but they weren’t thriving. Needless to say, I ended up throwing them away.

John 15:5-6 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me, you can do nothing. If you do not remain in Me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.”

The way we are able to thrive and bear fruit, in this life and in every circumstance, is by abiding in Jesus, the vine.

Abide means: to remain stable or fixed in a place; to continue in a place [Merriam-Webster Dictionary App].

I am determined, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to remain in Christ! I am determined to stay fixed in Him and to continue in Him! I am determined to bear fruit despite and because of my current circumstances! And I am determined to allow God to use my struggle for His glory and for the good of others!

What are you trying to survive today? A difficult marriage? A devastating diagnosis? A wayward child? An addiction? A job you hate?

What if instead of just surviving your struggle, you thrived despite it or because of it? How could you allow God to use your current unpleasant circumstance for His glory and for the good of someone else?

You may be wondering what bearing fruit or thriving despite or because of difficult circumstances looks like? Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. If these fruits are evident in you, in the midst of a crisis, you are thriving!

God has planted us where we are for a purpose. We have a decision to make. Will we thrive and be fruitful or just survive without much to show for it. The decision is ours.

Don’t allow your struggle to be wasted. Bear fruit! Thrive!

Jeremiah 17:8 “They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”

~Patrice Maguire

Prayer for salvation: Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

 

 

Acceptance Without Approval

The tree was decorated! It only needed the finishing piece; the cherry on top of the ice-cream sundae; the icing on the cake. It needed the all-important, most important, tree topper. In our case, it needed “the star”.

My husband did the honors. It was crooked! He tried several times, with my direction, to straighten it, but to no avail. “Just leave it,” I said, “I kind of like it. It reminds me of Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree.”

There was a time in my life that I would have never submitted to the will of the Christmas tree topper. I would have worked myself to the point of frustration to make sure that I got exactly what I wanted–a perfect Christmas tree.

We get frustrated when things don’t go our way. Don’t we? We get angry when others don’t do what we tell them to do, when we tell them to do it and how we tell them to do it. We want people to be who we want them to be and when they aren’t we become annoyed with them.

What is the root cause of all of these negative emotions and reactions? We can’t control one another. We can’t change one another. And we want what we can’t have.

James 4:1-2 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.

We try to change one another’s political views because we are convinced that our views are correct. We try to change our spouse because they are not like someone else’s spouse. We try to change our children because they are not like us. We want to change everyone’s way of doing, thinking and saying!

We go through life frustrated, angry and annoyed because we are trying to make everything and everyone the way we think they should be. We are discontented, dissatisfied and disappointed because we are disillusioned.

The illusion is that we can control or change people. The reality is that only God can change people.

Ezekiel 36:26-27, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.”

How would our lives be different if we decided to accept everyone the way they are? How would our world be different?

What if instead of arguing about our differences we focused on what we have in common? What if instead of yelling at each other we prayed for one another and left any changing that needed to be done to God?

What if there was more love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control? Would there be less: hate, anguish, tension, intolerance, mercilessness, viciousness, abrasiveness and unconstraint?

What a wonderful world it would be! Is this possible?

It is possible in our own lives; in our own little world. We can make a decision today to accept all people for who they are and stop trying to control or change them.

We may not approve of everyone’s lifestyle, way of thinking, voting, or driving. And that’s ok! We can agree to disagree agreeably.

We don’t have to give our stamp of approval on all things but we can accept one another and love one another. Isn’t that what God does with us?

God doesn’t approve of all that we say, think or do but He accepts us and loves us regardless and He expects us to do the same.

Romans 15:7 Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.

Why did I submit to leaving the Christmas tree topper crooked? Why do I like it that way?

Because it reminds me! It reminds me that I am not perfect and neither is anyone else. It reminds me that God accepts me and loves me and that He expects me to do the same. He expects us all to do the same!

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

~Patrice Maguire

Prayer for salvation: Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who’s Side are You on Anyway?

We all seem to be picking sides. And we’re angry about it. We are siding with a particular political party, or a particular race or a gender. We are either on one side or the other. Pick one! It’s as if we are all against something or someone. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

There is a third side to consider. Its God’s side. God isn’t on one particular side. He wants us to be on His side.

Joshua 5:13-14 Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?” “Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.”

As members of the Body of Christ/Christians, we don’t get the luxury of picking a side other than God’s side. We are not here to represent a political party, a race, a gender or even ourselves for that matter. We are here to represent the Lord and Him only. The very word Christian means Christ-like.

What does it mean to be Christ-like? We can find the answer to that in John 17:

  1. Jesus was here to glorify His Father.
  2. He gave eternal life to all.
  3. He brought the Father glory by finishing the work He gave Him to do.
  4. He revealed the Father to us.
  5. He gave us the word that the Father gave Him.
  6. He prays for us.
  7. He protects us.
  8. He gives us joy.
  9. He sanctifies us.
  10. He has given us the glory that the Father has given Him.
  11. He unifies us.
  12. He has made the Father known to us.

Judging by Christ’s behavior, are we Christ-like? Maybe it’s not so much what we are saying and doing but how we are saying it and doing it.

Are we glorifying God? Are we sharing the gospel? Are we fulfilling the purpose that God has given us? Are we revealing God in us through His Holy Spirit? Are we speaking God’s word? Are we praying for others? Are we protecting others and their reputations? Are we bringing joy into people’s lives? Is their evidence that we are being sanctified? Is God’s glory shining through us? Are we bringing people together? Are we making the Father known in our behavior and speech?

As we can see there is no way to be biblically Christ-like and still choose a side other than God’s side.

Let’s choose God’s side! Let’s represent Him! That is our purpose!

Galatians 5:22-25 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things, there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

~Patrice Maguire