Tag Archive | patience

The Ministry of Patience


By Ralph V. Reynolds


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“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” (Galatians 6:9).

Have you tried to help a rose bud unfold into a beautiful rose? You simply cannot wait for nature to take its course. So you unfold each petal one by one. What do you have when you are finished? A pitiful mess! The only thing you have succeeded in doing is destroying what would have been a gorgeous rose. If nature is allowed to take its own time the rose bud will effortlessly unfold into a beautiful bloom bringing pleasure to all who behold.

Have you ever tried to help a chicken out of a shell? Be careful and take your time for otherwise all you will have is a soggy dead chick in your hands.

There are many processes in this world that take time. Impatience will destroy and kill. Getting in a hurry only hinders rather than helps the desired end.

Of all the Christian graces, patience is one of the greatest. It is a quality that every Christian should possess but especially the minister of the gospel. A shepherd of God’s sheep must have great patience. Without patience the pastor and missionary will fight frustration and discouragement. Under the pressures of ministry an impatient man will not have the strength to continue. He will simply quit.

We live in a push button age. In our homes are microwaves and automatic appliances. We carry home from the supermarket instant puddings and ready-made cakes. Does this streamlined modern age give us more time to pray, study our Bibles and enjoy our families? On the contrary spare time is becoming more and more a precious commodity. Life is a constant rush. So much so, that if a person is not careful it can develop into a panic resulting in nervous breakdowns and heart attacks. In the business world the pressure of meeting deadlines and quotas can become almost unbearable.

The spirit of this fast jet age must never take over in the ministry of the Holy Ghost preacher. He must never be caught up in the spirit of restlessness, uneasiness and dissatisfaction.

Impatience is the quality that breeds this kind of spirit and must be fully eradicated.

This modern spirit of impatience influences Pentecostal altars. Hurry up! Get it over with! We must get down to the restaurant for some fellowship. Fifty years ago new converts spent hours seeking for the Holy Ghost. Seldom was the altar service dismissed before midnight. One preacher declared that this was wholly unnecessary. The Comforter has come and all one has to do is to believe and receive. This is true and this fact cannot be challenged. But how long does it take to repent? One person may repent in a few minutes. The next person may take days to pray through. In the early thirties I remember lying on my back at the altar for hours seeking for the glorious infilling of the Holy Ghost. We recognize that it does not have to take hours but let us not get in a hurry. A shallow experience may be the result.

Too frequently we settle for forced births. Many evangelists are anxious to count numbers. One evangelist who preached a crusade in a church where I was pastoring was guilty of this. In this particular crusade many strangers visited the services. Under the persuasion of the evangelist they came to the altar. In a few minutes the evangelist told them that they had received the Holy Spirit. I can still see the disappointed expression on their faces revealing the disillusionment they experienced. Some of these visitors we never saw again.

The work of God takes time. Let us never get in a hurry. One well known minister whom I respect greatly made this statement in a district convention: “I can go into any town and have at least fifty converts baptized within six months.” Although I respected this minister I recognized this as being an extravagant statement. In my own mind I said, “How I would like to take you to the states of Montana and Wyoming, and watch you do it. Please demonstrate for me.”

Many times impatience is the direct result of goals that are not realistic. Such unrealistic goals insist that we must have revival NOW. We must reap the harvest TODAY. Otherwise we are a failure.

Some preachers remind me of a farmer who ploughs the field today. The next day he harrows the ground. The third day he is in the field with the seed drill. The fourth day he wants to enter the field with the combine to reap the harvest. The farmer knows that this is impossible. They have more common sense than some modern preachers.

It is God who gives the harvest and it is God who gives a revival. The one who ploughs and sows must learn to wait upon God whether he is farmer or preacher. There needs be no question about results. If the ploughing and seeding are properly done the harvest is certain.

“He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him” (Psalm 126:6).

Patience produces perseverance. No matter what the results appear to be, the patient preacher never gives up. There is no place to quit in the work of God. If one is in the will of God the harvest is sure.

I have taught Pioneer Evangelism upon many occasions in Bible Colleges. In my classes I have told the students that it takes five years to raise up a church congregation. Sometimes it is accomplished in five months. However, examine it closely. Generally when this happens there are a number of tentmakers accompanying the pioneer evangelist. Certainly if a small congregation moves into a town with him the results will be different. Also, some preacher may have already been there ploughing and sowing the seed. In this case the evangelist moves into town and reaps the harvest.

I have been involved in Pioneer Evangelism since the fall of 1936 and do not consider myself a novice. In Jamaica during the first term the number of churches grew from eight to twenty-three. During six years in the Northwestern District while I was Superintendent there were twenty new churches opened.

I have witnessed pioneer evangelists raising up two or three congregations and losing them one by one before there is the joy of seeing a strong assembly established. A farmer may rejoice as he looks upon acres of wheat waving in the breeze. Then he is heartbroken as he watches the crop destroyed with a plague of grasshoppers. Next year it may be the frost and the next year a drought. The farmer may witness two or three crop failures before he reaps the harvest for which he has been laboring. Why is he able to reap? It is because of patience.

“For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise” (Hebrews 10:36).

Wrong goals will cause a Christian, minister or saint, to become impatient and frustrated. The desire for crowds, applause, and recognition can be wholly destructive to a person’s faith. Once a young pastor wrote me a heart-breaking letter expressing his discouragement. “I did so much want to be a success.”

It was a pitiful letter. So much so that I boarded a train and rode one full night and day to visit him. I did my best to try to encourage him.

What is success? Crowds, spectacular reports, recognition, numbers? Is it not being in the perfect will of God and being faithful? It should be remembered that God keeps a different set of records. We are only a success when we fulfill God’s divine purpose in our lives. To hear Him say, “Well done!” is what really matters. Certainly we can be just as successful preaching to a dozen souls as preaching to a congregation of several hundred.

Why is patience needed? It is because we are dealing with people. Every person is different, every church assembly is different, and every town and community is different. The response differs according to the congregation.

In a congregation the preacher may be aware that there are people present who do not like him. He may also know that there are some who rebel against his teaching. How does this influence him? Does he preach differently? Does he become impatient, harsh, arrogant or negative? Not if he knows the meaning of patience. Although he may be fighting frustration and discouragement he will never allow this to show over the pulpit. There he preaches God’s Word. He ministers to people, good and bad, spiritual and carnal. It is God’s Word that will accomplish the work of grace in each heart. The minister must rise above all pettiness and feelings that would distract from God’s Word.

The Bible has much to say about Patience: “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope:” (Romans 5:3-4).

“In your patience possess ye your souls” (Luke 21:19).

“But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing” (James 1:4).

The benefits of possessing patience are many. In one of his sermons John Wesley had this to say regarding patience: “One immediate fruit of patience is peace: a sweet tranquility of mind; a serenity of spirit, which can never be found unless where patience reigns. And this peace often rises into joy. Even in the midst of various temptations, those that are enabled ‘in patience to possess their souls’, can witness, not only quietness of spirit, but triumph and exultation.” (Sermons on Several Occasions by John Wesley, 1855.)

Much patience is needed in making disciples of new converts. Sometimes the learning process is slow. Being told a truth just one time generally is not enough. It takes time to train, teach and disciple in the development of spiritual saints.

It is inspiring to examine the patient training of an athlete or a musician. In 1934 while attending summer school in the city of Hamilton, Ontario, I boarded in a home next door to a musician. This young man was a gold medalist pianist. Day after day he practiced on the piano from morning to night. As I listened to him I could readily understand why he was able to win gold medals and rewards.

While teaching mathematics at King’s College in Vancouver a young man attended my classes. He had previously failed two times in Mathematics 91. He needed his Upper School Algebra in order to continue his college education. It was not just the regular classes I spent with him. We spent several hours in extra instruction after school and at noon hours. What satisfaction I had when I heard that he had passed the departmental examination in Mathematics 91.

Nevertheless there are preachers who show little patience with young converts. It is enough to tell them once! However, it is not enough! Over and over again they must be instructed and exhorted. Through patient perseverance the shepherd will eventually see the Christian blossom and develop like a beautiful rose.

What a shameful disgrace to see a mother scream at a little one who spills some milk! Slapping and swatting the baby accomplishes nothing except to reveal the mother’s nasty temper. The ultimate result will be that the child will grow up to be impatient and to have a nasty disposition. The patient loving parent will see her offspring grow up to be a beautiful Christian.

The same principle holds true in the church.

If the pastor is nasty and impatient with the sheep, if he scolds and speaks harshly, the sheep will either scatter, or they in turn will develop into unhappy people who fuss and fight. By faithfully ministering with love and patience it is possible to see the new converts become part of a strong, healthy, contented flock.


The above article “The Ministry of Patience” is written by Ralph V. Reynolds. This article was excerpted from chapter nineteen in Reynolds’s book If The Sheep Could Speak.


The material is copyrighted and should not be repainted under any other name or author. However, this material may freely be used for personal study or purposes.


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The Ladder Of Prayer



Behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven (Genesis 28:12).

THIS IS a remarkable verse about a memorable scene. Today in this sermon I wish to use the imagery of the verse without direct regard to its context. In some of our devotional writers we read of what is called the ladder of prayer. Prayer is regarded as the ascent to God, up which, step by step, the soul is borne. And these devotional writers, often with great power and penetration, dwell on the separate steps of the ascent that carry the heart upward to the throne. In other words, they show where prayer begins and to what heights it is capable of rising. They trace its stages, not by formal logic, but by the large experience of men. And it is on that ladder of prayer I should like to dwell, beginning with the lowest step and so ascending to the higher ones.


Step One-Emergency Prayer

Prayer, then, commonly begins with the cry of escape from some external evil. The lowest step on the ladder of the soul is the cry wrung from disaster or adversity. When a man is faced with a dangerous operation, when he finds himself (as in shipwreck) in dire peril, when someone who is very dear to him is ill, or in a situation of great hazard, I say that then there is an instinct of the heart which urges to a cry of
help to God, and it is in such a cry that prayer is often born.

Now it is one sign of what I should venture to call the humanity of Holy Scripture that it preserves for us such a vast store of prayers of this initial kind. The Bible is the great record of the soul -please notice-and such prayers are not for blessings of the soul. They are wrung out, not in spiritual darkness, but in some kind of distress.

And yet the Bible is so superbly human in its handling of this life of ours that it is a very treasury of prayers which some would scarcely reckon prayers at all. It does not ignore them because they are untouched by the deep sense of spiritual alienation. The Bible does not rule such desperate prayers out of the soul’s history because there is in them yet no plea for pardon. It knows our frame-remembers we are dust-and is touched like the Lord with the feeling of our infirmities. It welcomes the strong cry-and calls it prayer-that is uttered in adversity.


God’s Great Patience

This, too, always seems to me to glorify the patience of our Lord. For I suppose that of every ten prayers men made to Jesus, not fewer than nine were of this kind. Of course, we cannot tell what the disciples
asked for in their seasons of sweet and secret intercourse. “Teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1), “Show us the Father” (John 14:8)such hints may move us at least to hope the best. But we do know that as Jesus moved
about, and men drew near and cried to Him, nine times out of ten the things they cried for could scarcely be called spiritual at all. Some -prayed for sight. They prayed for physical power. They prayed that a son or daughter might be healed. Others prayed in the wild uproar of the storm, “Lord, save us: we perish” (Matthew 8:25).

And what I say is that for one like Jesus, to whom the spiritual overshadowed everything, such ceaseless praying for the physical and temporal must have made His cross heavier to bear. It deepens the wonder of His patience to remember that He accepted so many prayers of distress. It sheds a light on His infinite compassion. He certainly wanted to have been asked for deeper things; yet He never wearied in bestowing these things. And so may we learn that in the ear of God those cries, which are but the rudiments of prayer, are neither rejected nor despised.


Step Two – Confession

That, then, is the first step on the ladder, and now above it there is another step. It is the stage when prayer for outward help becomes a cry for deliverance from sin. In the first outbreak of appeal to heaven, there is scarcely any consciousness of sin. There is no thought of anything but the calamity which has befallen us or some one who is dear. But slowly, as a person prays for help, there steals on him the strange conviction that he needs something deeper than assistance and that in the sight of God he is a sinner.

It would lead us far beyond our bounds today to consider how the sense of sin is born. It is created by the Holy Spirit in ways that oftentimes defy analysis. Yet it, I think, is very largely true that when a man prays in trouble or adversity, gradually there is awakened in him the feeling that he is a sinner. I have heard people who have had to suffer greatly say, “What a sinner I must have been, when God has sent me this.” Now of course, in the light of the words of Jesus, they were unwarranted in saying that. Still, it betrayed that lurking sense to which few, I take it, are quite strangers that when suffering falls on us or those we love, near the suffering is guilt.

I wonder if a father ever saw his child suffer without some dark suspicion of that kind. Childish pain not only excites pity; it has a strange way of getting at the conscience. When some one dear to us has to suffer greatly, and we begin to pray for them in secret, we find ourselves crying, ere we close, “God be merciful to me a sinner.”

It is thus that prayer, in the ordering of God, rises to what is called the second stage. Born in the need of help in some dark hour, it passes onward to the need of pardon. It deepens into prayer for forgiveness,
for the inward cleansing of the heart, and for deliverance, through the grace of God, from the sin that cloth so easily beset us.

I want you here to note in passing how often Jesus sought to deepen prayer so. He took prayer by the hand-if I might put it thus-and led it upward to this higher step. People came to him and asked for something
physical; Christ lent a willing ear to them and answered them. They asked for sight, and Jesus gave them sight; they asked for bodily health, and He bestowed it. But you know how often when He bestowed such gifts-when He answered the prayer for outward things like these-He turned the thought of the sufferer to sin. “Go,” he would say to them, “and sin no more” (John 8:11). Was it merely a word of warning for the
future? I do not think you exhaust the thought of Jesus when you narrow it in any way like that. He was leading men into that deeper life which can never be satisfied with outward blessings, but which feels, in the very bestowal of such benefits, the need of pardon and release from sin.

That, then, is the second step of prayer, and God, I think, brings most of us to that. We are no longer crying wildly heavenward, as in some shipwreck or calamity. We are crying for a clean heart and a right spirit; we are crying, “Against thee and thee only have we sinned”, and to every such true cry is given the answer, ‘Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow” (Isaiah 1:18).


Step Three-Supplication for God’s Grace

Well, now we pass on to the third stage in the upward progress of the life of prayer, for we come to find that deliverance is not everything, if our walk is to be well-pleasing before God. Our Savior spoke of a house that was swept and garnished, and yet it became the dwelling-place of devils. If it was to be the home of light and love, it needed something more than cleansing. And so do men awaken, when they have prayed for pardon, to their abiding need of something more than pardon, if they are to be clothed in the comeliness of love. There are virtues that they must achieve. There are graces that they must attain. Patience is needed, and courage, and control, if they are to walk in the light as He is in the light.

And so prayer rises from the cry for pardon into the range and compass of petition and becomes the daily appeal of the endeavoring soul for needed virtue and for needed grace. It is true that our Father knows
what things we need before one syllable of prayer has left the lip. But Christ, who told us of His knowledge, has told us also that the Father delights to have His children asking.

And the fact is that in such holy mysteries there is little to be gained by argument; it is far wiser, in a childlike trust, to accept the perfect leadership of Jesus. “Ask, and it shall be given you; . . . knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (Matthew 7:7). We must still ask-we must still knock-though our Father knows the things of which we
have need.

And hence it is that in the Christian life there is such a range of petitionary prayer, from the lowliest virtue that the weakest person needs, to the loftiest grace that can adorn the saint. We are a long way now from the wild cry that rises in some season of disaster. We are breathing a different, though not a diviner, air than in the moment when our one thought was pardon. We have risen into a life of need which is wide as the mercy and the grace of God, and that is the third step upon the ladder.


The First Steps-Involving Our Desires

Now if you will turn back in thought and survey the road that we have traveled, you will find that all the stages mentioned have at least one common element. What is that element? Well, it is this. It is the
presence in them all of self: It is the stealing of self onto the scene in the solemn moment of approach to God. Notice that I do not say such prayers are selfish. To say that would be to misinterpret everything. A
man is not selfish because he prays for healing or because he asks God for some special grace. All I say is that in these prayer-stages, sometimes with far more insistence than at other times, there is felt, in every approach to God, the presence, if not the pressure, of the self.

Now the question is: Is there any prayer possible where self shall be utterly forgotten? Is there any prayer where the very thought of self would be lost and hidden and absorbed in God? If there is such, then
prayer is at its highest, and we have reached the topmost step upon the ladder, which rises from the Bethel where we rest and reaches to the glory of the throne.

Step Four- Real Submission to God’s Will

The answer is that such prayer is not only possible, but is within the grasp of everyone of us. It is born when a man has learned to look to God and to say with his whole heart, “Thy will be done.” There is no
longer any thought of our will; our will is merged in the sweet will of God. Through light and shadow, gladness and adversity, the perfect will of God is being wrought. And so each day, not choosing for ourselves, we take what God in His infinite wisdom sends us, and our life becomes a prayer, “Thy will be done.” We do not ask to see the distant scene now. We do not blindly insist on this or that. We do not complain when blessings are denied us or because there is sorrow where we had looked for joy. We have ceased to think that we know what we most need. We have ceased to think we can direct our steps. Through all that is sent to us and all we have to do, our one prayer is, “Thy will be done.”

There may be many a struggle before that stage is reached. There was struggle for Jesus before that stage was reached- “If it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou  wilt” (Matthew 26:39). But when it is reached, then there is perfect peace and a new light on everything that happens; and self, which even in our petitions vexed us, passes in music out of sight. That is the
highest reach of prayer when it is grasped in the fulness of its meaning. That is something nobler than petition. It is communion with the Father of all spirits. It is the voicing of the passion to obey whether obedience be hard or pleasant, and without obedience there can be no religion.

The Beginning of Joy and Power in Prayer

In closing, let me make two remarks on the last and highest stage in prayer. The first is that it is at this stage that joy in prayer commonly begins. There are many who pray, and pray with regularity, who
have never experienced joy in prayer. They hold to the practice from a sense of duty, but it is a duty to which they have to force themselves. Knowing how surely the omission of secret prayer leads to unguardedness and unbelief, they cling to it in the dark with fine fidelity.

Now it would take me far beyond my theme to discuss generally the lack of joy in prayer. But perhaps the commonest of all causes of that absence is to be found along the lines I have been indicating.

I question if there is ever joy in prayer when men come to the Father wanting their own way. That joy is born when they have learned to come wanting nothing but the way of God. It is then that there comes sweet peace into the soul. It is then that we learn that no evil can befall us. It is then that we find, through fair and foul, that underneath are the everlasting arms. And this is such a wonderful discovery, in a life
so difficult and intricate as ours, that it brings the ransomed of the Lord to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads.

And the other remark which I would make is that we owe it to Christ that all of us can pray so. It is Christ who has made it possible even for the weakest to reach this highest stage of prayer. If God were an
unknown ruler in the distance, only a hero could pray, “Thy will be done.” If He were but a Spirit of omnipotence, such prayer would take far stronger faith than ours. But Christ has taught us that God is our
Heavenly Father, and that He loves us with a perfect love, and that the very hairs of our head are numbered, and that He does not will that any one soul should perish. Given a character of God like that, it is not impossible to pray, “Thy will be done.”

We pray in the childlike and Christ-given confidence that in the will of God there is our highest good. And there we leave it, not seeing what it means perhaps, for now we know in part and see in part; but we
are quietly certain that the day is coming when we shall say, “He has done all things well.”


George H. Morrison (1866-1928) assisted the great Alexander Whyte in Edinburgh, pastored two churches, and then became pastor in 1902 of the distinguished Wellington Church on University Avenue in Glasgow. His preaching drew great crowds; in fact, people had to queue up an hour before the services to be sure to get seats in the large auditorium. Morrison is a master of imagination in preaching; yet his messages are
solidly biblical. From his many published volumes of sermons, I have chosen this message, found in The Afterglow of God, published 1912 by Hodder and Stoughton, London.


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Instructions to Believers


1. Abstain from all appearances of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22).

2. Abstain from all fleshly lusts (1 Peter 2:11).

3. Avoid troublemakers (Romans 16:17).

4. Avoid profane and vain babblings (1 Timothy 6:20).

5. Avoid false science (1 Timothy 6:20).

6. Avoid foolish questions (Titus 3:9).

7. Avoid arguments about the law (Titus 3:9).

8. Be reconciled to a brother (Matthew 5:24).

9. Be wise as serpents (Matthew 10:16).

10. Be harmless as doves (Matthew 10:16).

11. Be thankful (Colossians 3:15).

12. Be patient toward all men (1 Thessalonians 5:14; 2 Timothy 2:24). 13. Be ready to give an answer of the hope that is in you (1 Peter 3:15).

14. Be transformed (Romans 12:2).

15. Be patient in tribulation (Romans 12:12).

16. Be children in (avoiding) malice (1 Corinthians 14:20).

17. Be men in understanding (1 Corinthians 14:20).

18. Be steadfast (1 Corinthians 15:58).

19. Be unmovable (1 Corinthians 15:58).

20. Be always abounding in God’s work (1 Corinthians 15:58).

21. Be of one mind (Romans 12:16).

22. Be separate from the unclean (2 Corinthians 6:17).

23. Be angry and sin not (Ephesians 4:26).

24. Be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18).

25. Be anxious for nothing (Philippians 4:6).

26. Be an example to other believers (1 Timothy 4:12).

27. Be gentle to all men (2 Timothy 2:24).

28. Be ready to teach (2 Timothy 2:24).

29. Be content with what you have (Hebrews 13:5).

30. Be vigilant (1 Peter 5:8).

31. Do not be like the hypocrites in prayer (Matthew 6:5).

32. Do not be afraid of men (Luke 12:4).

33. Do not be conformed to this world (Romans 12:2).

34. Do not be children in understanding (1 Corinthians 14:20). 35. Do not be deceived by evil companions (1 Corinthians 15:33).

36. Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers (2 Corinthians 6:14-18). 37. Do not be drunk with wine (Ephesians 5a8). 38. Do not be weary in well-doing (2 Thessalonians 3:13). 39. Do not be slothful (Hebrews 6:12). ;o. Do not be influenced by strange doctrines (Hebrews 13:9).

41. Beware of false prophets (Matthew 7:15; Philippians 3:2).

42. Beware of (evil) men (Matthew 10:17). 43. Beware of covetousness (Luke 12:15). 44. Beware of backsliding (2 Peter 3:17).

45. Do not bid false teachers Godspeed (2 John 10, 11). 46. Bring up children in the Lord (Ephesians 6:4). 47. Cast your cares upon God (1 Peter 5:7).

48. Have confidence in God (Hebrews 10:357.000′

49. Come out from among the world (2 Corinthians 6:17). 50. Count it joy when you are tempted (James 1:2).

51. Treat others as you expect to be treated (Matthew 7:12). 52. Desire the milk of the Word (1 Peter 2:2).

53. Do all to God’s glory (1 Corinthians 10:31; Colossians 3:17, 23). 54. Do all things without murmuring or disputing (Philippians 2:14). 55. Earnestly contend for the faith (Jude 3). 56. Give no place to Satan (Ephesians 4:27). 57. Give thanks (Ephesians 5:20; Philippians 4:6). 58. Give time to reading (1 Timothy 4:13). 59. Give no offense (1 Corinthians 10:32). 6o. Give freely (2 Corinthians 9:6, 7). 61. Give as God has prospered (1 Corinthians 16:2). 62. Give willingly (2 Corinthians 8:12). 63. Give purposely (2 Corinthians 9:7). 64. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30). 65. Grow in grace (2 Peter 3:18).

66. Have no fellowship with darkness (Ephesians 5:11). 67. Have compassion (Jude 22). 68. Have a good conscience (1 Peter 3:16). 69. Hold forth the Word of life (Philippians 2:16). 70. Hold fast sound words (2 Timothy 1:13). 71. Honor fathers (Ephesians 6:2). 72. Honor mothers (Matthew 19:19). 73. Honor widows (1 Timothy 5:3). 74. Honor rulers (1 Peter 2:17). 75. Lay aside all envy (1 Peter 2:1). 76. Lay aside all evil speaking (1 Peter 2:1). 77. Do not lay up treasures on earth (Matthew 6:19). 78. Let your light shine (Matthew 5:16). 79. Let everyone deny himself (Matthew 16:24). 8o. Let him share with the needy (Luke 3:11). 81. Let everyone obey civil laws (Romans 13:1). 82. Let no man deceive himself (1 Corinthians 3:18).

83. Let everyone examine himself at communion (1 Corinthians 11:28). 84. Let your requests be made known to God (Philippians 4:6).

85. Let your speech be with grace (Colossians 4:6).

86. Do all things in decent order (1 Corinthians 14:40).

87. Let those who are taught support the teacher (Galatians 6:6).

88. Let wives be subject to their husbands (Ephesians 5:22; Colossians 3:18).

89. Let husbands love their wives (Ephesians 5:25).

9o. Let wives reverence their husbands (Ephesians 5:33).

91 Let everyone be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath (James 1:19).

92. Let the afflicted pray (James 5:13).

93. Let the adorning of women he more inward than outward (1 Peter 3:3, 4).

94. Don’t’ let the left hand know what the right hand is doing (Matthew 6:3).

95. Do not let sin reign in the body (Romans 6:12).

96. Do not let the sun do down on your wrath (Ephesians 4:26).

97. Follow things that edify (Romans 14:19).

98. Walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:25).

99. Do not provoke one another (Galatians 5:26).

100. Do not be weary in well-doing (Galatians 6:9).

101. Come boldly to the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16; 10:19-23).

102. Do not forsake assembling together in worship (Hebrews 10:25). 103. Exhort one another (Hebrews 10:25).

104. Lay aside every weight (Hebrews 12:1).

105. Run with patience the race before us (Hebrews 12:1).

106. Look to Jesus (Hebrews 12:2).

107. Offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually (Hebrews 13:15). 108. Do not judge one another in doubtful things (Romans 14:1).

109. Do not cause others to stumble (Romans 14:13).

110. Mark troublemakers (Romans 16:17; Philippians 3:17).

111. Pray for your persecutors (Matthew 5:44; Luke 6:28).

112. Pray for laborers (Matthew 9:38; Luke 10:2).

113. Present your body to God (Romans 12:1).

114. Put on the new man (Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10).

115. Put on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:11, 13).

116. Do not quench the Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19).

117. Consider yourself dead to sin (Romans 6:11).

118. Redeem the time (Ephesians 5:16).

119. Resist the devil (James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:9).

120. Restore backsliders in meekness (Galatians 6:1).

121. Strengthen feeble knees (Hebrews 12:12).

122. Study to show yourself approved to God (2 Timothy 2:15).

123. Take no anxious thought of tomorrow (Matthew 6:34).

124. Take the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:24-26).

125. Be careful not to despise little ones (Matthew 18:1o).

126. Be aware of yourself and your doctrine (1 Timothy 4:16).

127. Withdraw from disorderly people (2 Thessalonians 3:6,14).

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The Second Seven Years

The Second Seven Years
Steve Warman

Jacob watched as the men of Haran moved the huge stone from the mouth of the well.

These workers had journeyed from the village and they were presently watering three flocks of sheep they had brought with them. Then, mission accomplished, they put the stone back in its place.

Jacob had stopped to rest for a while, knowing that he must be very close to Haran. Moving out of the shadows, he asks the men, “Where are you fellows from?”

“Of Haran we are” they replied (Genesis 29:4).

Jacob smiles as he realizes he is in the right place. “Do any of you know Laban?” he inquires.

“Oh yes, we know him very well.”

“How is he these days?” Jacob wanted to know.

“Laban is doing well and as a matter of fact here comes his daughter, Rachel, right now with Laban’s sheep.”

She was Breathtaking

Jacob quickly looks up to see the most beautiful girl he had ever laid his eyes on. Everything about her was perfect-her hair, her skin and especially her eyes. She was much more than just another pretty girl, she was breathtaking.

Never in all of his life had Jacob seen such a woman. He was smitten!

The charm and grace which emanated from Rachel, as she approached the well was so evident that even the fact she was herding a flock of sheep could not detract from her radiance.

As everyone recognized, Rachel was every bit as beautiful on the inside as she appeared on the outside. Even the old crusty men who hung around the watering hole and were always spewing out their coarse language, stood in silence as this young lady approached.

On the Run!

Standing there, Jacob’s mind begins to whirl and for a moment, in his thoughts, he finds himself standing in front of his mother. He remembers clearly the discussion which had brought him to this place. Jacob had just deceived his own father, Isaac, who was nearly blind, into giving him the blessing that had been intended for his older brother, Esau.

There had always been a strong sibling rivalry between the twins, but when Esau discovered that Jacob had just received the blessing from their father, he exploded with rage. Esau angrily exclaimed, “He has taken away my birthright and now he has taken away my blessing.”

After growing a strong hatred for Jacob, he made up his mind to kill him. Somehow, their mother, Rebekah, had heard all of this rancor, and not wanting Esau to lay a hand on Jacob, said, “Run away from here, go to my brother Laban’s house and stay with him until Esau cools down.”

Breaking the News

Jacob snaps out of his flashback realizing he must make a good first impression. The men have just told him this lovely young lady was his uncle Laban’s daughter. Jacob races up and “rolled the stone from well’s mouth” (v.10) to help water the flock Rachel had brought with her.

He is so overcome with emotion, the Bible records “…Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice, and wept” (Genesis 29:11).

Then he breaks the news to her: “I’m your aunt Rebekah’s son.”

Considering how he had come on so strong, you would think she would be frightened and run away. Instead, Rachel, with great excitement, rushes back to find her father, who immediately hurries to the well for a joyous reunion.

Greeting Jacob with an embrace and kisses, Laban takes his nephew to his own home.

Jacob’s Offer

One month has passed since the moment Jacob first laid eyes on Rachel and he has yet to leave. Laban finally brings the matter up for discussion. “I think that if you are going to stay, then at least you should receive some payment for your labor.”

You can almost visualize the love story play out. Jacob and Laban are standing at the fence posts looking out over the cattle grazing in the pasture. Jacob is nervously kicking up the dust with his foot and struggling to bring his voice to the forefront.

Then it happens. Jacob begins to blurt out his heartfelt feelings for Rachel and finishes the conversation by making this offer: “I will serve seven years for Rachel”(v.18).

So it was agreed upon that after seven years Rachel would be given to Jacob as his wife.

An Intense Love

Nearly everyday of his life for the next seven years, Jacob rose early in the morning and toiled faithfully until late in the evening. Jacob’s love for Rachel was so intense that his thoughts were not clouded with the mundane work and hard labor.

All that crossed the mind of this young man thought that one day Rachel would be his bride.

Jacob marks off the weeks and months and final day of his seven year wait, he approaches Laban, reminding him of the deal they had struck. It is at this point that one of the most tender verses in all of scripture is recorded: “And Jacob served seven for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few for the love he had to her” (Genesis 29:20).

What a Party!

Laban agrees the allotted time has now been fulfilled, and in celebration of the upcoming nuptials he calls for an incredible feast. The day begins just right as all of the friends, associates and neighbors of Laban turn out in force.

There was festive music and dancing-and the air was filled with the voices of excitement. It was everything that Jacob could ever want and more. He stands there with great pleasure as the crowds of invited guests pass by, shaking his hand, hugging his neck and offering their congratulations.

Finally the extravagant night of festivities draws to an end. Jacob takes the hand of his veiled bride and off they go to begin their life together. Everything was so perfect.

The Shock!

The first hint of sunlight early the next morning reveals, however, that everything was not as it appeared. When he awoke, Jacob was in for the shock of his life! Instead of looking into the face that had captured his heart seven years earlier, Jacob was staring at weak-eyed Leah (Genesis 29:17), Rachel’s older sister!

Laban had pulled a fast one on Jacob.

A Cruel Disappointment

On discovering the hoax, Jacob had every right to jump up and run away. He could have easily left it all behind, Leah, Rachel, his lying uncle, all of them. Who wants to work for a relative like this anyway?

He could have become bitter and frustrated and no one would have dared blame Jacob under the circumstances. After all, Laban had toyed with emotions and messed with his heart�and there is nothing in the world as cruel and cold as denying man the woman he loves.

Another Seven Years?

It was in this moment, when Jacob has been taken, advantage of, lied to and made to look like a fool that he charts his destiny. Without question, he would have been perfectly justified fleeing the house of Laban and never looking back.

However, it is Jacob’s response to this harsh disappointment which makes him the man we admire and celebrate today. Jacob placed his hurt feelings aside, checked his ego at the door, went right back to Laban and agreed to work an additional seven years for his true love, Rachel (v.27).

Sure, he could have proved a point by storming into Laban’s tent, slugging him in the face and telling him in no uncertain terms, “I will not be treated like this!”

Or, he could have hopped on a camel and rode off into the sunset, keeping his eyes straight ahead. Thank God he didn’t.

Jacob began his second seven years of labor for love. On the worst day of his life, he made up his mind, “I’m not leaving until I get what I came for!”

Don’t Give Up!

Far too often we give up before we obtain what we chose to pursue. When things don’t pan out the way we want them to, when we are tricked, lied to, cheated on or emotionally shattered, we just storm off in a huff. We act like the little boy who didn’t get picked for the baseball team he wanted, so crying, he takes his ball and scurries home.

I pray you are determined to declare, “I will never, never give up. I won’t leave until I have achieved my dream.”

– When your business fails to provide the success and security you felt it would. You have worked day and night and after the first seven years you wake up to discover that what you expected is just not there.

– When you are struggling in your marriage and one day realize the fairy tale you had in mind when you said, “I do” is now lost in the wild and crazy world of raising kids and paying bills.

– When your ministry doesn’t take off the you prayed it would. When you have attempted to build a church and after seven long years of labor you find the vision you once had failed to materialize.

Hang in there and don’t give up yet! Come back the second seven years and see what miracles God will perform.

Make A Stand!

Your destiny is tied to how you respond disappointment. As it was with Jacob, so it is with you.

There is a victory on the horizon and revival ahead. A successful business and a blessed marriage in your future if, with God’s help, you hold on.

Make a stand! Be like Jacob and determine in your heart, “I am going back for the second seven years; I know my future will be predicated by my ability to come back for one more try.”

A History-Shaping Decision

Jacob’s decision to repeat the years of work for Rachel, the woman he loved, touched off a series of events which shape the rest of scripture. Just think how the whole course of history and the incidents recorded in the Bible would have been changed if Jacob did not arise on his morning of disappointment and resolve in his art, “I will not let this temporary setback destroy my life.

It was out of the union of Jacob and Rachel that Joseph was born. Had Jacob left the farm that day, there would have been no one in Egypt to war of the impending famine. Israel’s family would have never ended up in Egypt and Moses would have never risen as God’s chosen servant to lead them out of bondage:

– There would be no Passover.

– No Exodus

– No crossing of the Red Sea.

– No wilderness journey.

– No manna from heaven.

– No tabernacle in the wilderness.

– No Joshua.

– No conquest of Jericho

– No Promised Land.

The list of significant events go on and on. Think of how Jacob’s future unfolded for him when, with integrity, he dealt with his disappointment.

Come Back!

There will always be unpredictable developments in your life-when things do not go as you had planned. However, it is not how you respond to the good times that make you great. Rather it’s how you react to the setbacks which cause you to be celebrated.

Remember, the story of Jacob could not end after the first seven years. He had to return for the second seven in order to become what God wanted him to be.

Giving up after a disappointment is almost always the wrong decision. With the Lord’s help, deal with your despair and come back to discover the glorious destiny that awaits you in the second seven years.

The article “A Second Seven Years” written by Steve Warman was excerpted from The Second Try: Your Best is Yet to Come, 2006.

Posted in AIS File Library, IN - Inspirational Stories and Illustrations, INGE - General0 Comments

The Finest Of The Wheat

By J.T. Haywood

Oh, that my people had hearkened unto me, and Israel had walked in my ways! I should have soon subdued their enemies, and turned their hand against their adversaries. The haters of the Lord should have submitted themselves unto him; but their time should have endured forever. He should have fed them also with the finest of the wheat; and with honey out of the rock should I have satisfied them. Psa. 81:13-16.

But my people, saith the Lord, would none of my counsel; for they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the Lord. Therefore hath the glory of God been hidden from their eyes. Evil hath come into the land and destruction wasteth at noonday. The people to whom God gave the light of salvation, to restore the altar of the Lord that has been thrown down for centuries, are drifting with the tide of worldly ambition and missing the mark of the high calling.

When the Spirit was poured out a few years ago all hearts were rejoicing in Jesus. Time after time the Holy Spirit, in exalting
Jesus, would, in turn, prophesy through tongues and interpretation, or a voice more solemn than the natural voice of the speaker, and foretold of these days we now behold. Little heed was given to those messages because of the counterfeits that entered therein, but if you were to review some of them that are hidden away somewhere you would be startled to note the accuracy of the fulfillment of the same. We do not say that all of them were truly inspired, but there were some direct from God.

However that may be, we are facing the crisis foretold. Some have stumbled and fell, and some have been snared and taken; while others through fear have failed to go on with God. Yet there are a few who are contending for the faith that was once delivered unto the saints.
Multitudes, multitudes, are in the valley of decision! But I have made my choice forever! I will follow the lowly Nazarene through the Jordan, through the Wilderness, through the Garden, through the Judgment Hall, through Calvary’s rugged brow, and on and on until I sit down with Him in the throne of His glory. My soul is satisfied at bearing His reproach, the fellowship of His suffering, being made conformable unto His death.

Had we maintained an “ear to hear what the Spirit saith,” and walked in the ways of the Lord, what wonders might our God have performed; and what a sweeping victory would have been wrought in “subduing” our enemies! Failing to understand God’s way and purpose many have cleaved to the traditions of the past, and like the golden wedge, the shekels of silver, and the Babylonish garment (Joshua 7:10-21), they have caused internal conflicts amid God’s people, and our enemies have smitten us on every side. They boast themselves, and make wide their mouths, gloating over the “failure” of the apostolic faith movement, but out of the midst of the camp comes a shout, “Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me.” (Mic. 7:8.) Our only hope of victory is the destruction of Achan (troubler) and his forbidden treasures (traditions). See Josh. 7:22-25; Mat. 15:1-13 and Gal. 5:12. Every vine that our heavenly Father hath not planted must be rooted up. Achan must be stoned.

The traditions of men have hidden God’s truths from his people. Tradition obstructed the view of the entrance into the Kingdom of God.
This door of entrance was most beautifully exemplified at the river Jordan when our Shepherd entered in before us through “water and
Spirit,” leaving us an example, saying, “Thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness.” The righteousness of the Law can only be fulfilled
in us through Christ by the new birth and that is by being born of water and the Spirit. See Mat. 3:13-17; Rom. 8:3, 4; 6:3-5; John 3:5;
10:2,7,9. The baptism of Jesus in the Jordan is never used by modern theologians as an example of the new birth, but instead it is used to
bolster up the Romanish idea of “three persons” (corporeal beings) in the Godhead. And all who are filled with such teachings are blinded to the deeper things of God, denying the only Lord that bought them. Acts 20:28; 2 Pet. 2:1.

Now that we have been delivered from the errors of the past through being properly baptized into Christ (John 3:5; Acts 2:38; Rom. 6:3-5; Gal. 3:27), we have come into a rich storehouse of wisdom and knowledge of heavenly things, for in him “are hid all the treasures of
wisdom and knowledge.” Col. 2:2,3. Our souls are being “fed with the finest of the wheat.” Daily there cometh down from heaven to
us “our daily bread.” The beauties of the revelation of “the Father and Son” in Christ; the New Birth of water and Spirit; the Seven Parables and Seven Candlesticks; the closing of the dispensation; the Revelation of the Ages; the Federation of the Nations, and many others heretofore hidden mysteries of God, truly have become “hidden manna” to our hearts.

But that is not all. He has also promised us “honey out of the rock.” All these promises are ours. The test of our loyalty to Christ has come. The trials are hard and many, yet there is a sweetness in it all. Through Christ our Rock we can glory in tribulations. There is a calm and sweetness in Christ in these moments that could never be experienced in any other way. Through suffering, we alone can behold his glory. Let us then be true and faithful; press the battle to the gate; love your enemies, hate the devil; through Job’s patience learn to wait. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.

(The above material was published by The Voice in the Wilderness, Detroit, MI.)

Christian Information Network

Christ by the new birth and that is by being born of water and the Spirit. See Mat. 3:13-17; Rom. 8:3, 4; 6:3-5; John 3:5; 10:2,7,9. The baptism of Jesus in the Jordan is never used by modern theologians as an example of the new birth, but instead it is used to bolster up the Romanish idea of “three persons”

Posted in AIS File Library, BS - Bible Studies, BSVL - Victorious Living0 Comments

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