Patience — Oh what a lesson!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Murmuring

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions.

2 Peter 1:5-7 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.

Patience is one of those attributes that you cannot learn by reading about it. It's a quality that can only be acquired by persistent, enduring, practice– and for me it's a drill that I go over, and over, and over again!

The original Webster's dictionary offers this definition of patience: "the suffering of afflictions, pain, toil, calamity, provocation or other evil, with a calm, unruffled temper; endurance without murmuring or fretfulness, from a kind of heroic pride, or from a Christian submission to the divine will."

Reading this definition two things really struck me – first, "endurance without murmuring". I, for instance, get so frustrated sitting in a traffic jam… counting the wasted minutes when I could have been doing something useful! Yet, what an opportunity for me to choose to quench the inner fumes – and use the delay to work on my patience!

The second thing that really hit me was, "a Christian submission to the divine will." How many times are we placed in a difficult position, or forced to deal with an "impossible" situation? Or perhaps, an "impossible" person? These circumstances are always opportunities to grow in patience – or to learn to submit to God's providential will, and often, to minister in some special or unique way.

Is your patience being tested today? Great! Remember, love is (first of all) patient. [1 Cor. 13:4] The Lord is training you toward godliness –- and godliness is moving toward perfect love. With so much work to be done, He is really wanting to work this quality into your character now -– to perfect your love, and with it to transform the world around you for His glory!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Murmuring

Beware of the Silent Killer!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Murmuring

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Exodus 15:23-26 And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah. And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink? And he cried unto the LORD; and the LORD shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them, And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee.

Murmuring or complaining is one of those sins that are overlooked.  Sometimes we get so focused on the "big sins" such as murder and adultery that we overlook this sin — but the Lord doesn't give this sin a free pass — quite the opposite.  It's a hidden killer!  This sin unleashed a plague that killed thousands of Israelites! [Numbers 16]

In this passage, we read how the Israelites, who were desperately thirsty, looked only at the fact that the water they had come to was bitter and undrinkable. How quickly they forgot their God who had led them out of Egypt with signs and wonders. They had just witnessed His dividing of the Red Sea and destruction of those who had enslaved them. And yet, so quickly they returned to looking only with their natural eyes at the problem in front of them, completely forgetting the miracle working power of their God! And so they murmured against Moses. But honestly, weren't they really murmuring against God? Once again, Moses interceded for them, revealing the faithfulness of His God to answer every impossible dilemma and provide for every need; and again, setting them the example: they simply needed to go the Lord!

So often, just like the Israelites, we focus on our desperate situation with our physical eyes, and not with eyes of faith, and then fall into the trap of complaining. And if you're like me, once I start, it can be really hard to stop…until the Lord stops me, right in my tracks, and He reminds me –- aren't you really complaining against me?  I have to remember to see that I actually hinder the Lord's answers to my problems by unbelief…which leads to the sin of murmuring!

Let's not allow this sin to gain a foothold — because it can easily become a stronghold! The same wonder working God that led the children of Israel out of Egypt, is still at work today — but are we hindering Him? If we are grumbling and complaining, the answer is, "YES"! And in so doing, until we stop, we are missing out on His answers and blessings which are waiting in the wings to meet our faith in Him!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Murmuring

Don't Allow the Crows to Persuade You!

Worthy Christian Devotions » Murmuring

Hebrews 13:5 Let your conduct be without covetousness; and be content with such things as you have: for He has said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

There is an old Persian fable of a hen, a mouse, and a rabbit who lived together in a little house in the woods. They shared all the work and lived in harmony. The chicken found the firewood, the mouse brought the water from a nearby brook, and the rabbit cooked the meals. Each did his work faithfully and contentedly.

One day, while the hen was out in the forest looking for wood, a nosy crow approached her and asked what she was doing. When he heard, the crow began caw, "That’s not fair! You’re doing the hardest part of the work! That rabbit and mouse are taking advantage of you!

The chicken continued about her work, but try as she would, she could not stop thinking about what the crow said. These feelings festered and festered, and by the time she got home, she was so upset that she burst out in tears, screaming, "It’s not fair! I do the hardest work of the three of us! That’s it! I’m not going to gather this heavy firewood anymore!"

Discontent spreads, as you know, and immediately the rabbit and mouse also began to argue that they had been doing the hardest work and that they were not going to do their jobs anymore either. The three argued until they were tired and finally decided to switch jobs – from now on the rabbit would gather the firewood, the hen would bring the water and the mouse would cook.

As the rabbit hopped into the forest for wood, a fox trailed him, caught him, and ate him. The chicken put the pail into the creek, but the current pulled the pail down under and the chicken with it. The mouse, while sitting on the edge of the big pot of soup, lost his balance and fell in.

Discontentment not only destroyed their happiness but their very lives.

We all have a job to do here. No job is greater than the next — no person is greater than the next, no matter what those crows might tell you. We are all working for the same King and we can worship Him even while gathering firewood, if that's what He's called us to do!

by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Worthy Christian Devotions » Murmuring