The Forbearance of God

For many, forbearance has made the difference between losing a home and being able to maintain through the treacherous financial difficulties brought about by the pandemic. Mortgage companies and government assistance have provided forbearance opportunities that forgave individuals inability to make payments that normally would have been required.

The meaning of the word forbearance is the refraining from the enforcement of something (such as a debt, right, or obligation) that is due. It is through the forbearance of God that our debt and obligation to pay for our sin has been covered.

“Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” Romans 2:4

Through the knowledge of God’s love and His plan of forgiveness of sin through the death of His Son as payment for our sin debt, we are brought to Him. When we see the goodness of God in contrast to who we are, we should all fall on our faces in acknowledgment of who He is and what He has done for us.

“Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.” Romans 3:24-26

The forbearance of God is a beautiful gift, far greater than the forbearance experienced during the current pandemic. God’s forbearance is of eternal value, it has no end date.

Being Mindful

“That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour” II Peter 3:2

What does it mean to be mindful ? According to Webster it means to be aware of something, to be conscious of what is occurring around us.

In a day when it’s so easy to become overwhelmed, to be caught up in the tide of never ceasing tension and discord, God has instructed us to be mindful. He wants us to be aware of what is going on and to be mindful of what He has told us would come to be as time continues. He wants us to use this knowledge as a way to remain focused on what is yet to come, to be mindful of His promises as we see His words coming to pass.

“He is the Lord our God; his judgments are in all the earth. Be ye mindful always of his covenant; the word which he commanded to a thousand” I Chronicles 16:14-15

When it seems that sin has gained complete control around us, when it seems that wrong is prevailing, we are not to lose hope but to be mindful of what God has promised.

“Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.” II Peter 3:17-18

“For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” Romans 8:6

All Things Precious

We all have that which we consider precious, something we hold on to that reminds us of a dear loved one or something made by the loving hands of one of our children. All through the Bible we are reminded of that which God sees as precious.

A Good Name Ecclesiastes 7:1 KJV
“A good name is better than precious ointment”

A Gift Proverbs 17:8 KJV
“A gift is as a precious stone in the eyes of him that hath it: whithersoever it turneth, it prospereth.”

Godly Wisdom Proverbs 3:15 KJV
“She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her.”

The Death of the Saints Psalm 116:15 KJV
“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.”

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

Our Faith 1 Peter 1:7 KJV
“That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ”

The Blood of Christ 1 Peter 1:19 KJV
“But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot”

Jesus, the Cornerstone 1 Peter 2:6 KJV
“Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.”

The Promises of God 2 Peter 1:4 KJV
“Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”

In looking at all things precious according to God, we can learn much about what we should view as precious. No matter what this world gives to us or takes from us, none of it compares to that which we have been given and promised by God Himself. All things precious come from the one that created us, loved us and made a way by which we could be saved. All things precious are of Him, by Him and from Him; and He has promised them all to us.

Be Not Weary

Seems as time moves along there are often days I do not feel very energetic, my desire to sit down grows stronger and my “get up and go” has definitely gone somewhere else; yet, God has instructed us to continue on. He has instructed us to not grow weary.

2 Thessalonians 3:13 KJV
“But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing.

All through the pages of the Bible there are stories of those faced with obstacles that seemed insurmountable; yet, God always made a way, He always gave them the strength to proceed.

Hebrews 11:33-34 KJV
“Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.”

In their weakness, God brought strength. “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

In our weariness we need only look to Him, He knows and sees all. He understands our limitations, the inner thoughts and fears that we might have; the struggles we face that cause us to become weary. He knows and sees all, and He cares.

Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

Our Lord has promised to carry all of our struggles, all of our concerns and cares of this life. He has promised to fight the battles for us, if we simply come to Him in faith and give it all to Him.

2 Chronicles 20:17 KJV
“Ye shall not need to fight in this battle : set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the Lord will be with you.

Isaiah 40:31 KJV
“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

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

Things Are Not Yet Done

Isaiah 46:10
“Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure”

In a time when things are moving rather quickly, changing in ways we never imagined, it becomes a constant battle to stay focused. Thoughts, questions, concerns, they can all crowd our mind, derailing us from God’s intended purpose.

No matter what happens around us, God is still in control. His work is still moving forward just as He planned. Things are in motion toward the end that He established, but things are not yet done. He has a continued work for us to do, instructions that He has given us to complete.

Hebrews 11:7
“By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.”

Through faith we continue forward even when we cannot see the events that are ahead. We simply trust the one who sees and knows all, the one who ordained it from the beginning of time.

Matthew 24:6
“And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.”

Things are not yet done, the work to be done has not been completed. Our task is to remain focused forward toward that which God has given us to do. We know the one who created and established it all, in Him we have assurance that we need not be troubled by that which is going on around us.

1 John 2:28
“And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.”

Things are not yet done, but one day soon they will be complete. In that moment we need to be found ready looking toward Him by which it all came to be.

Lost in the Abundance

In the search for the abundance of things, the abundance of peace is lost. One more thing gives way to the loss of everything, until what was sought is wanted no more.

Deuteronomy 28:47-48
“Because thou servedst not the Lord thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things ; Therefore shalt thou serve thine enemies which the Lord shall send against thee, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things : and he shall put a yoke of iron upon thy neck, until he have destroyed thee.”

For their failure to seek the abundance of all things in God, they became in want of all things. They turned their eyes from the abundance that God had given them toward the things of this earth and in so doing lost it all.

Our lives can become so full of the search for the abundance of the things of this Earth that we lose all that God has promised us. We lose the joy of the moment, because we are always looking toward the next. We lose the faith we once held to in the accumulation of earthly wealth, as we seek to climb the corporate ladder within the power of our own ability. We lose the hope of looking toward Heaven, because our focus is on this Earth. And so it continues, until one day we realize that in the search for the abundance of things we lost so much more. We lost our joy, we lost our hope, we lost our faith . . . and we lost our peace.

Isaiah 48:18
“O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments! then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea:”

Peace can only be found in Him, the one who created us for an intended purpose. We were not made to be of this Earth. We were created to be in fellowship with God, to one day rule and reign with Him in Heaven. Until our hearts are in line with Him there is no peace to be found.

God made a way where by we can be reconciled to Him, through the death of His Son. He established His Word to provide the guidance we need to remain in close fellowship with Him. Outside of this alignment there will be no abundance. There will be no peace . . .

“But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.” Psalm 37:11

Lost in the abundance of this Earth we will one day come to realize the bitter reality of all that we really lose.

Isaiah 32:17-18
“And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever. And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places;”

Following the Leader

“Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 11:1

As a child “Following the Leader” was such a fun thing to do, mimicking the leaders actions, following their every step. Even when the leader took crazy twists and unexpected turns it simply added to the joy of the experience. I can still hear the song in my head and the squeals of laughter as I watched my own children following along one behind the other in a moment of happy sibling fun. (Rare as those might have been.)

Yet, as adults the call to “Follow the Leader” often seems to take on a negative tone. We take on an attitude of boredom, viewing the way ahead as one of drudgery. There seems to be no sense of excitement or joy from being able to “Follow the Leader”. We gripe at every twist and turn, we doubt the intended purpose for every change of course; but all the while our Lord and Savior calls us to follow knowing the unexpected joy that lies ahead. He sees what we can not see and He knows what we do not yet understand.

John 8:12 KJV
Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

He lovingly guides us, longing for us to look up and smile knowing that though the path may be uncertain and the way ahead is unclear He is directing our every step toward a good and fruitful end. If only we look beyond ourselves and focus on the leader, “Following the Leader” becomes so much more, the joy and the laughter return. Life takes on a whole new meaning when we look to our leader with the faith of a small child, trusting Him with all that comes from “Following the Leader”.

John 10:27-28
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.”

Proverbs 21:21
“He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteousness, and honour.

John 13:36
Simon Peter said unto him, Lord, whither goest thou? Jesus answered him, Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow me afterwards.

Launching Out With Expectation

It’s so much calmer, so much safer sitting by the shoreline watching those that venture out. We can feel the ground below us, no need to feel uncertain or unsure. In our own ability we maintain our distance from the unknown beyond what we can clearly see. Yet, God is calling us to launch out, to go out with expectation of what He can do and plans to do through our willingness to trust Him.

Luke 5:4
Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.

Jesus was instructing him to go out and let down his nets with faithful expectation for what Jesus was about to do. Simon on the other hand responded in much the same manner as we do.

Luke 5:5
And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.

It was as if Simon was saying, “Lord we’ve been doing this all night and there are no fish. I’ll obey and do what you are asking, but I’m not expecting anything to happen.” Just as we do, we go through the motion of obeying without expectation. We do not have faith that anything will occur as a result. We have taken our eyes off of the one who saved us, the one who created the universe by simply speaking it into existence.

The same God is calling us to launch out in expectation of what He will do.

Luke 17:6 KJV
And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.”

Matthew 17:20 KJV
And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.

It’s safer sitting by the shore, it’s easier to stand where we’ve always stood, but God is calling us to launch out. He’s instructing us to go beyond where we feel safe and confident to a place where He can be glorified. He’s calling us to launch out in expectation of what He wants to do through our lives.

Luke 5:8-9 KJV
When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken:”.

Be not afraid to launch out in expectation . . . God will always deliver !!!

Nothing More is Needed

“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” Revelations 1:8

It’s hard to grasp the true magnitude of these words living in a society of “more”. Everywhere we turn, there is more; more excitement, more adventure, more work, more stuff . . . more, more, more !!

Psalm 127:1 KJV
“Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.”

Regardless of all that we might do or seek to do, it is nothing unless God is the central focus. We labor and work to achieve in a continual viscous cycle that results in no true end. There is a continual driving need for something more, when all we ever need can be found in Him.

Philippians 4:19 KJV
“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

In Him we find all we need, nothing more is necessary, nothing more needs to be added. He is God, the Lord of all creation, still in possession of the power by which it was all created.

Colossians 1:16
“For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:”

Isaiah 45:6 KJV
“That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the Lord, and there is none else.”

Isaiah 45:21-22
“Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the Lord ? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.”

Nothing More is Needed !!!

In Him is Understanding

We have all experienced moments when we struggled to understand; the meaning of a concept, the unforeseen circumstance, the life altering news, the hurt of betrayal, or maybe the death of someone we loved. In that moment things did not make sense, our brains struggled to make order of what we were experiencing. It was like being in a heavy fog, unable to see the horizon.

Our ability to understand comes from lessons that we learn, without something to base the new experience upon it simply does not make sense. Students develop skills through each level of learning by which they gain understanding. Each new concept learned develops into a new level of understanding that allows the student to continue to grow in understanding.

So when we simply do not understand, how do we gain perspective? How do we learn what God is trying to teach us in the midst of our uncertainty?

Proverbs 2:3-6
“Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.”

Proverbs 3:4-6 KJV
“So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

In Him is understanding . . .