There is perhaps no greater demonstration of God‘s patience and long-suffering than the fact that we continue to hear His message of forgiveness, whether we have responded to it or not. The Apostle Peter, a man who denied Jesus and knew he was forgiven much, talked about God‘s patience in continually reaching out to us to follow Him. The Bible says, “Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation . . .” (2 Peter 3:15, NIV) It is the patience of God that allows us to be saved. As The Message Bible says, “He is restraining himself on account of you, holding back the End because he doesn’t want anyone lost. He’s giving everyone space and time to change.” (2 Peter 3:9, MSG) There is no one who has been more patient with me than God. Remembering how much I’ve been forgiven inspires me every day to give God my best. . 


Waiting on God to change my circumstances is called unbelief. Waiting for Him to do what we want attempts to make us God and not Him. I am waiting on God so that He can transform my heart to trust Him more, not to bow to my preferences. Allowing circumstances to determine if God is working in my life always ends in disappointment and is birthed in deception. The Spirit of God said of King David, “I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My heart, who will do all My will.” (Acts 13:22) I love that, “All My Will.” May God give each of us the conviction to do ALL God’s will and not our own. We have never known what is best for us. Only God does. So, I will trust Him alone. He will never fail me. 


When it comes to social media, one of the great challenges Christ-followers face is remaining true to their Christian character and identity. Many times, when a believer gets online, they are hit with a sudden case of Spiritual Amnesia, forgetting who they are called to be. Do we realize that we will stand before God for every idle word we have spoken? The Bible says, Jesus “did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly.” (1 Peter 2:23, NLT) We are called to do the very same thing. When you go online, remember who you are created to represent: the God of the Universe who came to Earth as a humble servant. It is a privilege to love as Jesus loved, but also an extraordinary responsibility.  


In the Book of 3rd John, the Apostle prayed that our bodies would be as healthy as our soul. Physical health is not a distant third to our spirit and soul, a minor goal that should be considered optional. It is a vital part of living longer and finishing God’s marvelous script for our lives. That’s why the Apostle John wrote, “My loved one, it is my prayer that you may do well in all things, and be healthy in body, even as your soul does well.” (3 John 1:2, BBE) How many of us connect the dots that our body being healthy is a vital part of doing God’s will? The Bible encourages physical health in the same sentence as soul health: mind, will and emotions. Doing all we can to live a long, healthy life is not a burden we should ignore, but a blessing we should steward.


I knew a dedicated Christ-follower who was a missionary in the Arctic Circle. One frigid winter day, he was witnessing to a man in an igloo. When the man abruptly left, the missionary sensed the Holy Spirit wanted him to continue to talk, and so he followed him out with only a tee-shirt on. He was only outside in the frigid air for five minutes. This sacrificial gesture cost him dearly. He permanently lost partial use of one of his lungs. When I spoke with him about the event, he had no regrets for being obedient to the Holy Spirit. He was convinced the man’s life was worth whatever sacrifice he made. Years later, I’m still challenged and convicted by what he did, and wonder if I would do the same if the Holy Spirit asked me to.


If I was out of food for my family, I would travel as far as necessary to get what they needed to live healthy lives. Their protection is my primary responsibility. As parents, that’s what my wife Suzie and I always did for our children’s spiritual, mental, emotional and physical wellbeing. That stewardship has not stopped for us, nor should any parent do less. This is especially critical in an age where moral options are being presented as acceptable when they are actually unhealthy delusions; counterfeits of what God intended. Don’t let un-whole strangers choose your children’s values. Be their parent! Be their protector! It’s what Jesus would do, and who He created you to be. “To discipline a child produces wisdom, but a mother is disgraced by an undisciplined child.” (Proverbs 29:15, NLT)


You would think, based upon the choices people make, that living a long life is a curse, and not a blessing. If long life wasn’t a blessing, then why did the Bible say, “Honor your father and mother… so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the Earth.” (Ephesians 6:2-4, NASB) It wasn’t meant to be a life sentence to be dreaded, but a privilege and inheritance to be looked forward to. Living long isn’t a consolation prize for shallow people; it is a gold ring for those who see the value of self-control and the marvelous script God has written for each of our lives. Sure, there are people who, through no fault of their own, contract a disease and die young. But it wasn’t because they foolishly cared for the body God gave them. Do everything you can to live well and live long! 


Don’t overlook the fine print of all that Jesus said in the gospels. In Mark 10, Jesus said “…there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time––houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions––and in the age to come, eternal life.” (Mark 10: 29-30, NKJV) If you were reading this too quickly, you might overlook two words, “with persecutions,” and think, “No big deal!” But, upon closer examination, lack of mental and emotional preparedness for persecution may be the stumbling block that eventually takes you out of the game. Persecutions are coming for all of us. Prepare yourself!


Recently, I heard Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s niece, Alveda King, share that, “We have to unify as one race: the human race.” It was so refreshing and affirming what her legendary uncle shared as well. In 1960, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Black supremacy is as dangerous as white supremacy, and God is not interested merely in the freedom of black men and brown men and yellow men.  God is interested in the freedom of the whole human race and the creation of a society where all men will live together as brothers, and all men will respect the dignity and the worth of all human personality.” So true, God is no respecter of persons. He doesn’t have favorites, and neither should we. Being an honorable member of the human race transcends our allegiance to any ethnic race. 


I once read about two Christian men who crashed their single engine plane into a frigid Alaskan lake. While one barely was able to swim to a nearby shore, the other man could not make it. Before he sank in the water, he shouted these memorable words, “I’m a sinner saved by grace.” How true for each of us who have been rescued by Jesus. Peter denied the Lord three times. King David seduced the wife of his most loyal subject, and then had him killed. Paul applauded the murder of an innocent man named Stephen, and later wrote, “Who is weak, and I do not feel weak?” (2 Corinthians 11:29, NIV) But may we, like Jesus, in our weakness become strong enough to whole-heartedly follow Him no matter what He asks us to do.


At the end of 2021, God spoke clearly to my heart. Because of the past two years of pandemic, my world felt increasingly abnormal. Consequently, to try and compensate for my unsettled mind and emotions, I had made some regrettable concessions and allowed unhealthy comforts to seep into my life. Eating what I shouldn’t, mindlessly entertaining myself too much, and even missing heroic moments of stepping up to be the man God created me to be. So, when God spoke these challenging words to my heart, I was provoked. He said, “2022 is the year of you doing what you don’t want to do but need to.” It made me sad, but glad that a clear diagnosis and cure had been provided. And so, that’s what I’m trying to do, and something each of us might consider. 


When my mother was suffering from dementia, my older brother’s wife, Kathy, was her primary caregiver. Kathy has an extraordinary grace in loving with Christ-like patience and thoughtfulness. After a while, as you might expect, my mother forgot Kathy’s name, even that she was married to her son. But my mother continued to remember and reference one final identifying quality in Kathy, though she no longer knew her by name or relationship. My mother would say to Kathy when she saw her, “Oh, you’re the kind lady!” WOW! Could there be a greater compliment to be paid than that? Would to God we each were known as a “kind” person. Someone who makes everybody feel like a somebody. “As those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” (Colossians 3:12)