Temptation Part 2: Patience

Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.–James 1:3

It seems odd to say that temptations leads to patience. Yesterday I discussed temptations. Temptations are difficult times or trials in our life that God uses. Paul says in Romans 5:3, “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience.”

So there has to be something there about difficult times leading to patience, if both James and Paul have said this. How do we respond when we go through trials? We want to fix it now. We don’t like going through them. We don’t want it fixed tomorrow, next week, next year. . . we want it to end now. When we go through these difficult times in our life we seek God more. By seeking God’s grace, instead of driving us to despair, suffering produces perseverance, perseverance produces character. Proven character results in a mature hope in God (or patience) that will not disappoint.

God’s grace lets us look beyond our present problems in life and lets us have hope in God and a certain hope for the return of the Lord. So this is more a patience that we know that the Lord is good and he will take care of us. So often we want our problems to end now, but God’s time is not our time. In 2 Peter 3:8, it says “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. ”

When we go through trials, we need to pray that God will give us the perseverance to get through it. That He will show us the lesson he wants us to learn and that we will increase in our spiritual maturity.

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Temptation

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations–James 1:2

In the Greek, peirasmoi the word for temptation, means some type of difficulty or pressure in our lives. This can be from the world or from Satan. God uses these temptations to try and prove our faith, and help us gain more perseverance and character.

Joy in Trials

We should face our trials with joy. In Matthew 5:11-12 it says, “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which are before you.”

Many times we forget that our time here on earth is short, and it’s our time in eternity that matters. In verse 12 of James 1, James states what we receive for enduring our temptations: “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” We always forget what we do and don’t do here on Earth gets rewarded in eternity.

Trying of Your Faith

James calls these trials a trying of your faith in verse 3. Trials are sometimes brought into our lives so that God can test how true our faith is. They indicate that God recognizes our faith and has confidence in our commitment to Him. The Bible nowhere says that trials in life are an indication that God is displeased with us. Can it be? Yes, but not every bad thing that happens is God being displeased with us. Many times we assume tough times are a punishment. If we are going through trials we need to pray to seek guidance if our trial is due to sin in our life or just a test.

It’s easy for us to praise God when everything is going well. How easy is it when things are not going well? When life is not going as well, and every day seems to have some trial or difficulty in it, it can be really hard to praise God. We get whiny and irritable. Those times of difficulty can be the moments of our greatest testimony if we handle the moment properly.

Take Home Message

Difficulty or trials make us stronger. They make us stronger in our everyday life and in our spiritual life. Difficult times bring us closer to God. We seek him when we’re not in a comfortable spot. As Matthew 5:12 points out, our rewards come in eternity.

Book Review: Hoover: An Extraordinary Life in Extraordinary Times

I think I’ve mentioned on here before, I’m on a quest to read a biography about every president. I just finished up a biography on Herbert Hoover: Hoover: An Extraordinary Life in Extraordinary Times by Kenneth Whyte. This makes the 23rd biography I’ve read, so I’m halfway through now. I’ve always liked history and think it’s good to learn from people that have had tough positions to fulfill and had to make tough decisions.

Anyways, about the book. I actually struggled to get into this book. It seemed like it didn’t flow well for me, until we got to the part of the book that discussed after his Presidency. This might have been that I was only reading 5 pages at a time for the first 3/4 of the book. I definitely wouldn’t say don’t read the book because I said it didn’t flow well.

What I find amazing is that a lot (not all) of our Presidents after the 1820’s and before the 1940’s came from nothing. They were poor, unlike what we see today. Hoover was poor and not the best student in the classroom, but through hard work was able to make something out of himself. He was a pretty decent engineer and very good at resource allocation.

What strikes me in this era, was that people that wanted a political position would always act like they didn’t want it. Behind the scenes and through friends they would be pushing to get the position. Hoover did this through his whole political career. It kind of baffles my mind, because he (others) would get upset if they didn’t get the position they wanted. How was the other person suppose to know? Different time and different culture than today, I get that.

It seemed that Hoover discredited his political opponents as not being worthy adversaries. He did this with Franklin D. Roosevelt, and that costed Hoover a second term. Although the great depression was going on during the election, many thought Hoover was doing all he could do as a President. Hoover didn’t think it was appropriate to go out and campaign for his second term. Compared to today’s political culture, he made very few speeches to campaign for a second term in the last month before the election. Nothing like today’s political culture where one the election is done, the next election campaigning seems to start. What is funny is, that Hoover actually wanted FDR as an opponent.

Hoover also did a lot of charity work, and most of it was in secret. He donated a lot of money to the Hoover Camps (mostly homeless and mostly veterans camping on the White House grounds) out of his own money. He was against using federal money to assist the out of work, and thought it should come more from the private sectors. He did follow through personally with his own money. He would play with kids on the playgrounds and when his staff wanted him to do it the next day, so cameras from the newspapers could be there, he refused. His wife also burned a lot of letters that came in from people struggling from the great depression, she said that they were good people, down on their luck and didn’t deserve to be documented in history in an embarrassing way.

Just to give an example of how bad the great depression was and the fear that all banks would crash and close up or run out of money. Hoover himself withdrew cash from the banks from his personal accounts for fear he would not have money. That says a lot about how much fear there was that the President of the United States was worried about not having money personally. Again, a different time and era.

There was a lot of discussion about his feelings on the New Deal that FDR put in place. Also a lot of stats on how little it really helped boost the economy, except for a few months. Definitely something I’ll have to research more.

All in all, the book was good and informative. I had been to Herbert Hoover’s Presidential Library a few years ago, but before reading this book, didn’t know a whole lot about him. That’s what I like about reading on some of the lesser known presidents, because you learn so much as they’re not covered in school like George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, FDR, and JFK. I would suggest the book as a good read for anyone that likes history and especially about presidents. Probably not a book if that’s not your interest, as I said, I found it a little difficult to read.

(There is a link to the book at the top if you’re interested. Full disclosure, I am an Amazon Associate so I do make a profit for anything sold)

Rest

How many of us feel like we get enough rest? We’re busy right? We have work, we have family, we have hobbies, we have a ton of other responsibilities. We don’t have enough time for it all, so what do we cut out on. . . rest. Over 40% of Americans are sleep deprived.

What are the risks?

  • 50% higher risk for obesity if you get less than 5 hours of sleep nightly
  • 6000 fatal car crashes caused by drowsy driving each year
  • 1 in 25 adults who have fallen asleep at the wheel in the past month
  • 36% increase in risk for colorectal cancer
  • Increased blood pressure
  • 33% increase in dementia risk
  • 3-5 years is the number of years sleep deprivation can age your brain
  • 48% increase in developing heart disease
  • 3 times likely to catch a cold
  • Greater risk for depression irritability, anxiety, forgetfulness, fuzzy thinking.

So what?

We all know that we need more sleep more rest. We know that’s when the brain rewires itself and makes new connections to help with memory recall. It’s when the body heals itself from wounds and just from the wear and tear of the day. The body makes the molecules needed to jump start processes in the body, so that we function as we should. Yet it’s the one thing that we will sacrifice to do anything else. What we’re really doing is damaging ourselves, taking away from our quality of life.

It’s important for us to rest. We are more alert, friendlier, have better ideas, and healthier. One of the most important things we should be doing is making sure we get the rest we need. It’s not easy. I work on pharmaceuticals. I know there is huge industry out there to help people sleep. Sleeping aids should be taken in extreme situations. Later on I will discuss ways to help sleep better.

The stats were a little eye opening for me. I know I will be trying to make sleep/rest a priority in my life.

References:

Related Posts: Quit Soda Challenge, Quit Soda Challenge Update 1

Thursday Thoughts: Perspective

So the other night, the wife and I were driving home when we hear the loud pop. My first thought was the tire blew out. The low air pressure warning didn’t go off, so I thought maybe it was a rock that hit underneath the car. We drive a few hundred feet and we’re only 10 miles from home, so I thought I would be able to make it home and then check it out.

Then that low air pressure warning went off. Not what I was hoping for. I pull over and get out and look and there is a hole about the size of my thumb in my back rear tire with the sound of air gushing out. No big deal, I’ve changed many tires before. Popped the hatch to get the jack, and it’s not there. Okay, look at the time, and most my buddies are at work. Thinking. . . thinking. . . thinking. . . Oh yeah, I have AAA membership that I got a year ago when we went on our honeymoon. I call them up and they send out a guy and we get it fixed and on our way.

What’s this have to do with perspective?

My first thought was there goes this months budget. It always seems like something has to be fixed right? Not really wanting to pay $600 for new tires. So I was a little bummed about it that night.

Then the wife reminded me of the situation we were in. First, we were actually moving back into the driving lane after passing a car when the tire blew. If that tire had blown out much more it could have impacted my driving and we could have easily been in an accident. Second, we were actually going to be driving our car in the middle of the nowhere that day, but ended up going in someone else’s car. Where we did break down was just outside of town in an easy place to get off without a lot of traffic, so our safety wasn’t endangered. I’m also off work this week, so getting new tires isn’t going to be a pain dealing with trying to do it around a work schedule. Last, we do have the money to pay for it. Yeah the budget is kind of busted this month, but we’re not going without food.

Different Perspectives

My perspective was that this was another expense. My wife’s perspective (which was the correct one) was that God had taken care of us. The situation could have been much worse, if I had lost control of the vehicle. Bad things happen, but God does provide and protect us through those times.

Our perspective can impact our moods. We have a tendency to always look at the negative and what the cost is going to be instead of what could have happened and how fortunate we are. So when things go wrong, we need to look at how fortunate we really are.

The Right Timing

He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap.–Ecclesiastes 11:3

Many times we want to wait for the most favorable conditions to do any task, but especially for a task we are afraid to do. It’s our mechanism to procrastinate being uncomfortable. We live in a world where waiting for the right conditions will result in nothing. Conditions will never be just right.

Anytime we have to do something that is going to make us uncomfortable, we want to wait for the right time. That right time usually involves us feeling braver, less tired, less stressed, people willing to help, etc. Reality is, none of those will line up where we feel our best in all of those categories.

I remember doing improvisational acting in high school speech competitions. We I first started going to competitions, I would usually end up being last to go, because I waited for everyone else to go before me. I always told myself I would go when I thought it was the right time, i.e., I was waiting for someone else to do really bad. When I waited, I always ended up not doing as well, because I had mentally psyched myself out.

Taking Action

When I jumped in and did my improv as soon as I entered the room I always did much better. Was I anymore prepared than if I waited? No, not at all. Sometimes far less prepared. What I had on my side was that I had not thought about all the things that could go wrong. I hadn’t psyched myself out.

Was it perfect? Hardly ever, but it wasn’t perfect when I waited either. The thing with improvisational acting is, you’re given a topic/scenario to act out, but only given 2 minutes to think what you’re going to do. Nobody was prepared, because that was the whole point of doing improv. Sometimes our fears make us loose sense of reality. We are human, we will never be perfect. That’s just a fact of life. Sometimes we’re going to look silly. Embrace it, it’s part of life. Living in a fear of not wanting to look silly or to fail, is like living in your own personal prison.

The conditions are never right, there will never be perfect timing, and you will never feel up for the challenges. You have to take action, even though your whole body says you can’t do it. How do you overcome the fear?

  • Realize you’re nervous, you’re going to be nervous, but getting it over with will end the nervousness.
  • Focus on what you can control.
  • Try to keep your body as rested and well fed as possible. When our bodies are not well rested or lacking nutrition we are less likely to take action.
  • Think about how the best situation will turn out.
  • Be prepared for failure. Don’t dwell on it, but accept that it might happen. It’s life, we will fail at times. Think about how you will respond if you do fail. Will you try again? Having a plan a head of time, helps us cope with failure and work through it.
  • Pray

Many times we’re like this in our walk with God. We we should be witnessing or helping out with other activities. We feel like God is leading us to do something, but we want that perfect timing. We’re afraid of what someone might say about us. We’re afraid we’ll mess up and people will make fun of us. We feel like our talents are not as good as others that are helping out.

You know what? It might very well happen that something you try doesn’t work out well, but you might find something that you’re better at in the process. In the end, there will never be the perfect time for us to do something, but that uncomfortableness allows us to grow.

Related Posts: Peace of Mind, Don’t Be Afraid of the Lion in the Street, Samson Part 2: Focus,

Following the Rules

Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work.–Titus 3:1

The Bible commands us to submit to the law of the land. Actually the Bible states multiple times that we are to obey the leadership we have here on earth.

Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme–1 Peter 2:13

Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.–Romans 13:1

It’s hard for us to obey all the rules. How many of us speed? I would say quite a few, my drive to work, I’m pretty sure there are only two cars actually going the speed limit. Although everyone is going well past the speed limit, the rule is that you go the posted speed. The speed limit is just one example, we try to get away with, not obeying many laws that we have.

We also try to justify why we don’t need to obey a particular leader, whether that is in our local government, state government, of federal government because we don’t like what political party they are part of. No where in the Bible does it say a particular political party is Biblical. Quite honestly, they all could use to read the Bible a few times. In Romans 13:1, Paul, is very clear that God put the current rulers in their place. Sometimes that is hard to understand with the leaders that are elected, but we know that God has control of everything. That means we need to obey whether the party in power is our choice or not.

So if God, put the leaders in their position, do we always have to follow it? In 1 Peter 2:13 it says we are to submit ourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake. If God put those leaders in their place, then if we are to follow the Lord that means we need to follow their rules, unless it goes against God’s word.

God’s word is supreme as he is the ruler over everything. Therefore, if an earthly rulers’ rule goes against God’s word, we must go with what God’s word says. As hard as it can be, we must submit ourselves to the law of the land, but only if it does not conflict with God’s word. Even that speeding thing!

Do We Actually Feel It?

And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. –1 Corinthians 12:26

In this verse the church (the body) is being discussed. Do we suffer with the members of our church when they are discouraged? The exact opposite, do we rejoice with them when when they have praises?

Suffer means to hurt, ache, or to be distressed; while rejoice means to feel or show great joy or delight. It’s not a “I’m happy for you” or a “I’m feel sorry for you.” These two words suffer and rejoice mean to feel something, not just say some comforting words and move on, but to feel it. To be there experiencing the same thing that the other person is going through whether it’s good or bad.

To feel something, means that we have an emotional response to it. That could be the emotional response of sadness or happiness or somewhere in between. To feel something is not just some fleeting words we say to someone. We feel the same pain the person does, or the same joy the other person feels.

Too many times we get caught up in our busy lives to understand what others are going through, good or bad. We like to click the like button on Facebook, comment we’re praying, or some other passive sign of solidarity. The second we’re in the situation the other person is in, we want people to be crying with us or celebrating with us, but we end up disappointed when others don’t share the same emotion, even though we won’t show it for them.

When my wife is happy, I’m happy. When she is sad I’m sad. That’s because I care dearly for her. If we had more of that towards our friends and the church, how much greater would our testimonies be? How much stronger would our churches be? We’ve become so self-absorbed that if it does not bring any value to our lives we could care less.

If we want to truly help our fellow bodies of the church, instead of superficial help, and have true community with them; then we have to feel, what they feel, good or bad.

Make Your Own Lanterns

For my wife and I’s wedding last year we got into a pinch where we couldn’t rent lanterns like we thought we were going to be able to. So I built some. . . 17 to be exact. It only took a Saturday to get done. Seeing how it’s getting wedding season, I figured I would show how I did it.

What I did was bought some 1″x10″ boards and then some 2″x4″s. I was going to plain the 2×4’s but realized I could trim them, up just using the table saw. After I got the 2×4 trimmed, I started making 1″x1″ strips at 16″ long to be used as the legs.

To make the base and top, I used the 1×10 boards. For the base and the top, I made a 8″x8″ square for each, then I made another square at 6″x6″ to be a second layer on the top. I chose to router the edges on the second layer (6″x6) and the 8″x8″ square for the top to give it a little more decoration.

To start putting the lantern together, I placed a dab of Titebond III glue on the end of one side of each of the 4 legs. Then attach them to the corners of one of the 8″x8″ boards. Then place a dab of glue on the top of the legs and place another 8″x8″ board on top. Then I clamped them for about an hour. After an hour, I put a nail into each of the legs to hold it better. You probably don’t need to do that, as the Titebond III holds really well.

Then I took a 6″x6″ square that I had cut and put some glue on it. I placed and centered the 6″x6″ square on top of the 8″x8″ top. I let that sit for an hour and then put in a couple of nails, but once again the nails are not necessary.

I took some of the 1×1 strips I had left from the legs and used them to put on the top and bottom between the legs. I just cut those to length to fit between the legs and glued them in.

Add a little paint and use a drawer knob/handle for the top of the lantern to add some flair. After the painting they were distressed a little. I didn’t do the painting or the flowery stuff, my mother-in-law did that. Here’s the finished product. I think they look better than what we could have bought and were much cheaper.

Don’t Run From The Difficult

My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord; neither be weary of his correction: For whom the Lord loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth. –Proverbs 3:11-12

Sometimes the Lord lets us go through trials and difficulties so that we are formed more in his image. This sounds like an uncaring God right? I mean, that’s what a lot of people say, how could a God that is loving and caring let difficulties happen. But isn’t that how we grow?

How do we grow?

How do we learn? We learn from failures, we learn through pain. We naturally do not like to be in difficult situations, so we naturally try to find away to get out of them. We do like to be comfortable, and when we’re comfortable, we have no incentive to change. When I was playing sports, I learned more through the losses and difficulties than when we were having our winning streaks. Losing is not fun, so I changed what I did so I had a better chance to win.

When we lift weights, we put our muscles under stress, we challenge our muscles, pushing them past what we think they can handle. There will be pain afterwords, but that pain (muscle fibers tearing) causes the muscle to repair itself and to grow bigger. Down the road, our muscles can then handle more weight.

Spiritual growth is a lot like lifting weights. We go through difficulties and trials that push us past what we thought we could handle. It makes us grow, it gives us wisdom. Then we learn to handle more.

Difficult times allows us to have a connection with others, and helps build community. Sometimes those difficult times allow us to have a testimony to others. We should never shy away from our trials. Doesn’t mean we have to like it, but we should understand that God uses it for His will in our life. Just as parents correct their children because they love them, God does the same with his children.