Revelation 2:18-29 – Wait on God

Read Revelation 2:18-29

The church in Thyatira is a good example of how “one bad apple spoils the bunch.” I don’t know about you, but when I’m sorting through my fruit and vegetables, particularly fresh cilantro, I remove the rotting pieces so that the others can stay fresher longer. But what happens when we overlook the bad apple in our midst?

Jesus commended this church on their love, faith, service, and endurance. Those are qualities that build a strong church community to be sure. Jesus’ words also speak truth when it comes to recognizing the false prophets among us. Sometimes we can’t see and are blinded to the truth. After all, they call themselves prophets. But who is leading them? Whose message are they bringing? They may even be disillusioned themselves to believe they are holy, when instead they are being controlled by the evil one.

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Ruth 3:14-18 – Hard to Wait

Read Ruth 3:14-18

Now we wait. Ruth has had her encounter with her prospective redeemer. He has sent her on her way with a good share of barley to keep her and Naomi well satisfied. Do you think Naomi stayed up waiting for Ruth to come home like an expectant parent waiting for a child to return from a date or the prom, or some other big event?

What do you think  Ruth was feeling? Was she a tad excited to know that her future would soon be revealed to her–at least in terms of her future husband. Either it would be the man she had come to know and trust by working diligently in his field or some other relative who had graciously stepped up to the plate to care for her and redeem her. It’s all so different from what we experience in our culture today. But waiting is waiting. Continue reading “Ruth 3:14-18 – Hard to Wait”

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James 5:7-12 – Be Patient – He’s Coming

Read James 5:7-12

This is a lesson I need to hear every day. I don’t know about you, but I am definitely not a patient person. I have gotten better over the years, way better. I don’t take an alternate route anymore when I see a red light ahead!!

The patience in today’s passage is a little bit more focused. Jesus is coming again, and we need to wait patiently for him. I think of all the saints who have gone before me, waiting their whole life for Jesus to return. Nobody know when he will come, although many have tried to guess and project based on clues they felt were given to us.

Rather than spin our wheels trying to figure out when, we need to embrace the assurance that it will be when God says so. His wisdom is far greater than any mortal’s, and whether it is in my life time or in the ages to come, I want to be ready.

For most of my life, I have been Lutheran Christian, and the church year has clearly defined seasons, known as the liturgical year. The season preceding Christmas is called Advent. As I write this reflection today, we are smack dab in the middle of Advent, a season of waiting and preparing for the second coming.

As I read this passage, it seems a perfect fit for Advent. How patient are you being at waiting?

[I’ll be doing another post or two on Advent in a few days, and then starting the book of Luke to take us into Christmas.]

The other focus of this reading today is endurance. There are so many distractions that divert our focus from the truth. These distractions can cripple us when we go through struggles and trials. If our life line to God himself has been clouded, we often feel hopeless, alone and our direction is lost. We are not able to endure on our own.

We can look to the example of Job. No matter what came his way, he never lost faith in the God who would redeem and save him. In the end, after losing everything and then some, he was rewarded greatly. We, too, can look forward to a great reward, whether we see it in this life or in eternity. Stay strong, stay focused, keep the faith!

My final thought for today is from the wisdom of verse 9.  Don’t grumble about each other, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. For look—the Judge is standing at the door!” As we head into the holiday season, many of us will be surrounded with family and friends. Some of us will struggle with relationships, difference of opinion, and missed opportunities. Try to remember to take the high road – don’t grumble about or with each other.

There is so much joy to life that can be found if only we open our eyes. We need to wait patiently for our Lord to return. While we wait, our lives need to clearly reflect a life that is pleasing to God. Are you waiting patiently?

Let’s pray. Father God, thank you for your promise that you will return. May I wait patiently and with an expectation of hope. Thank you for the joy inside me that wells up at the thought of you living inside me, using me for your purposes, and giving me the assurance of life with you forever. I pray that you will help me find those people who don’t have that joy so that together we can fill them up, too. Help me to avoid diversions that are not helpful and keep my eyes focused clearly on you and your will for me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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