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Wednesday: Determination and Patience — 7 Comments

  1. It is important to be neither dismissive nor simplistic when it comes to the difficult passages of scripture. Rather than providing those sort of answers it is far better to say, "I don't know!" Being a teacher, I have never been very good at "fudging an answer" in order to convince the students that I know more than they do. Students are pretty smart and can see through that strategy like glass. And worse, they will come back at you and rub it in, sometimes years later.

    There are several parts of scripture that cause me problems. My mathematical mind probably predisposes me to see logistical problems and to be quite honest, I don't know the answers. These issues pale into insignificance when I focus on the big issues of life, salvation, and relationships with God and man, on which the Bible is quite clear and unequivocal.

    It is, as always, a matter of perspective.

  2. My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. James 1:2-4

    Determination and Patience

    Many times because we lack wisdom, we lack patience. When one is determined to know a difficult passage we should pray first, read and pray again. Sometimes we have to keep coming back to that passage over and over again before the Holy Spirit reveal the answer to us. I do ask the Holy Spirit to interpret his words to me. Sometimes when we depend on people, they give us the wrong answer. Gal 6:9 says not to be weary in doing good. How many times do you hear others (family members as well) will tell you, you cant/should not do good for people all the time. Rightly saying, if someone needs help, give him. A quote: 'Give a man a fish and you feed him for today, teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.' Do we believe in this quote. Do you believe this can be applied to our spiritual life?
    When we see the symbol of a fish we know what it means. Why do we use the fish symbol to connect with Christianity?

    Determination and patience in studying the bible is similar to fishing. Why do we think fishing stories and miracles are mentioned so many times in the bible? Peter cast his net all night and caught no fish. Luke 5:1-17. Our founding fathers/mothers studied the bible all night for interpretation of difficult scriptures, gave up but went back again and persisted. The answer came.

    Matt 4:19- becoming fishers of men.
    Matt 17:27- coin in the fish mouth.

    Fish and fishing is so connected to being patient in studying the bible, let us cont to study the Word. There is nothing that the Lord cant do for his people. E.G White said she was not given all the answers, but as the time go by God is going to reveal to his people answers to difficult passages.

  3. Why do we have to be reminded to do good? (reference in today’s lesson Galatians 6:9) No matter how difficult some passages present themselves, what is clear is that the scriptures are a continual rebuke of the human tendency to err. To deal with this most basic of human (and spiritual) dilemmas we tend to get to wrapped up in interpretation rather than allow inspiration to help us recognize a simple scriptural truth, which is, to let the golden rule (Luke 6:31) truly rule.

  4. I agree with Maurice in focusing on the big picture, salvation by way of the grace of God. Having been raised an Adventist, I have seen my share of people leave or be driven from the church over minutiae.

    We all have a unique perspective on life and each one of us that have chosen Christianity as a “World View”, has a uniquely individual relationship with God. There is not a linear steady state that we all share or will ever reach. Our individual relationships look more graph with peaks, valleys and no one point on the graph being constant.

    While we study the Bible to gain knowledge, the focus should be improving our understanding of the plan of Salvation and Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf. We all know the old secular adage, “Keep it simple stupid”. The Biblical version of this secular adage I have focused on is Micah 6:8,

    He has showed you, O man, what is good;
    and what does the Lord require of you
    but to do justice, and to love kindness,[a]
    and to walk humbly with your God?

    • Jim - I love when Truth is presented in a 'nutshell'. It is a great delight to be motivated and be able to live by these basic truth through the desire of our heart.
      There are times in our lives when confusion wants to take our focus off the Light; we know that the longer we remain in a confused state the more it acts like quick-sand, holding us in its grasp not wanting to let us go.
      God gives us His lifeline - Faith! It will lead us out of this state every time! Praise to our heavenly Father who leads us out of darkness into His marvelous Light.
      Yes, He is asking no more of us than to give Him our faith and trust to start us again on the way.
      All the fruit of the Spirit is ripe and waiting to be picked.

  5. English, being my second language, still challenges me to learn the correct meaning (and spelling) of many words. The correct use of the letters 'e' and 'a' poses a real challenge! 🙂
    The word 'study' has come to my attention as having several meanings. I looked it up and found that it is both a Noun and a Verb.
    Use of the Verb 'study':
    1. a)to engage in study; b)to undertake formal study of a subjet.
    2. dialect: meditate, reflect
    3. endeavor, try

    When expressing myself using the English language, I valiantly attempt to find the best word to convey my thoughts with.
    Following is my attempt to communicate the 'accurate' meaning of the word 'study' - the activity which we are called to engage in when we read the Bible - as it relates to the average learner, because some of us can be intimidated/deflated by the word's implied status.

    The definition - 1.a; 2. and 3. comes closest to what I understand the word 'study' to convey. Tim.2:15 and Acts 17:11 are both refering to this activity.
    I believe the reason 'why' we study has a lot to do with 'how' we study and the resulting feeling we experience when studying. Having an 'open mind' when reading the revealed Word of the Christian's God has never posed any danger to us who want to build a relationship with our God - because we can trust Him.

    For me, studying the Scripture was always 'reading the Word of God' with great expectation and looking throught the window of time to discover and wonder. This 'studying' is not done in a vacuum; it has a purpose. What is our purpose when studying? Agreeing with all today's lesson writer expressed, I attempt to add just another angle for more 'insight'.

    I believe we all trusted God when we chose to give Him our unconditional Faith - Faith arrises out of Trust. Am I not taking back my trust every time I do not accept/trust a passage and, with that, compromise my Faith? Reading the Bible with a 'critial eye' to disover discrepancies or, being 'confounded' by passages that one can not 'understand' is exposing a presumptuous disposition.

    Faith makes it possible to receive the Scripture's messages at their face value. The more we read, the clearer the context and the meaning becomes, the better we will understand it - even the KJV. 🙂 This is 'brain-washing' with a positive outcome because we can trust the Source. Rom.12:2

    I started from the premise that what God's Word said was true and right. Who am I to second-guess the 'meaning' or question the 'rightness' of its accounts or its 'moral' context; would not these attempts make God out to be a lier, untrustworthy?

    God is supreme over all His Creation, His mind(reason) is 'higher'(wiser) than mine - I am the clay, He is the Potter - He is the Teacher, I am the learner. His Holy Spirit gives me understanding when reading simple and difficult text.
    The Book of Proverbs is an excellent source if one wants to learn about 'Wisdom'; not just how to apply it but how it is 'defined/described'.(a funny note, wisdom has a gender and refered to as 'she'. 🙂
    At all times, we walk by Faith - trusting the God who's Law of Righteousness does not change.

    The call to study the Scripture also means 'to avoid falling into the trap of confusion when using someone elses interpretation', avoiding ignorance when confronted with false doctrine, or having to guess what is right or wrong, etc.
    It means - study/learn on your own, mature - though, you are never really on your own, the Holy Spirit is always with you and available to lead you into all Truth! John 16:13.

    I do not say that it is wrong to invite other learner's opinions into ones own process of learing. It is just not wise to let someone else talk to you first before you give the Holy Spirit time to reveal Truth to you. Ellen White is the great example to support this point.
    But again, before an accurate 'understanding' can be reached, one has to establish trust in/with God, first.

    Also, when it comes to 'belief' as established by any organized church and layed down as Dogma, we do well not letting it outshine the Truth and Power invested in the revealed Word of God, 'searching the Scriptures (daily) whether those things were so'. Act.17:11

    The average Believer, when reading the Word of God, does not 'study' to become a Theologian, but all believers want to study to be able to confidently build their faith-based, loving, trust-relationship with God on solid ground; and this is what studying the Scripture is really all about.

  6. Gálatas 6.9 (ESV)
    9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

    Patience is such a great virtue, which as human beings we certainly need to cultivate! We all need to learn throughout life that waiting/holding can be a situation also needed for success. Persistence
    and patience can complement each other!


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