Today’s Scrip-Bit   9 May 2023 Colossians 3:13b.

Colossians 3:13b.      …if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.

Oh boy, is it possible for us to get two sunny days with temps in the mid-teens on two successive days in this spring season? I certainly hope so. And although we like the rain, but it’s intermittent character and the dark, cloudy, skies it brings, interspersed with a wimpy sun, doesn’t exactly exhilarate the senses (smile) And yes, although we do have Jesus who can alleviate our every mood swing, it’s still nice to have one strong situation or the other, not a li’l of this and a li’l of that. 

Now to help us curb that dissatisfaction, here is a poem from our One Year Book of Bible Verses with writings By Ruth Harms Calkin, most appropriately titled ‘Need of Patience.’ (smile) So please read with me: ‘O God How pointedly You speak to my heart when You say “You have need of patience… Remorsefully I acknowledge Your truth For there is nothing I need more. I am so easily disturbed, Lord So many little things annoy me. Patience is simply not a virtue of mine. I’m impatient with our neighbour Who mows his lawn but once every six weeks. I’m impatient with our newsboy Every time he misses our front porch. 

Yesterday a friend kept me waiting And I robed my impatience in self-pity. Shoes pushed under the bed An unrinsed coffee cup An overly detailed story Toys scattered on our lawn – How I murmur and fret. (Sometimes I explode.) I’m impatient with myself, Lord My foolish mistakes, my failures And often I’m impatient with You. I am like a petulant child Who insists on an answer – now. Yes, God, I have need of patience. But I will not be discouraged Nor will I continue to flog myself. Again, Your word speaks pointedly: “My God shall supply all your need…” The very need You know I have Is the very need You will supply. You will renew me in patience. In You there is hope!’ 

And that’s the indisputable truth friends! In our great and merciful, forgiving and LOVING God, there is indeed hope! There’s always hope to be found in Him, regardless of the circumstances. We just have to come to Him in all sincerity and truth! And do most of us ever need patience, especially in these times when our society demands immediate gratification? Yes, everything must be now for now, in this busy, stressful, fast food, hurried age, with almost instant communications and amazing amenities that lead us to think or believe we’re entitled to the easy life, and we want and expect it RIGHT NOW! 

But that’s the furthest thing from the truth my people. In the world you might get away with those expectations and demands, but in God’s kingdom, His economy, you certainly won’t, because He demands patience of His followers, and is a stickler for us waiting on His perfect timing. And believe me, He’s NEVER late. Sometimes it might seem so, but in reality, He’s always on time! Now, He might cut it somewhat tight, but if you look through and consider all the times you’ve depended on Him, though you might have been stressed to the max, waiting, He’s always showed up just in time to alleviate or neutralize your problem. 

And I can tell from personal experience that that is an acquired virtue. That last minute thing was something we always had difficulty with. We didn’t doubt that our problems would be solved, but the waiting to the last minute always got me exasperated with the Lord. And that’s the thing about patience in general, it doesn’t just happen overnight, it’s something that’s acquired over time, acquired by going through rough and tough situations and seeing them work out in your favour in the end. That’s the only way to build patience. 

And sadly, I found that out the hard way, when in my naivety I asked the Lord to give me the patience of Job. Now, we all know the serious, debilitating, life-changing circumstances Job went through, despite his supposed righteousness. But he didn’t curse the Lord like his wife invited him to. (Job 2:9-10) No, though he obviously queried his unfortunate circumstances, he remained faithful, and the Lord eventually blessed Him with even more than he had before. 

How many of us, given that terrible adversity, would have been able to say like Job did: ‘Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways (defend my ways) before him. He also shall be my salvation: for an hypocrite shall not come before him.’ (Job 13:15-16) Now those were indeed powerful words of faith in a time of unspeakable calamity. And not many, then or now, can muster it. But that’s the kind of faith and trust that our God expects, no, demands of us. 

In all and every circumstance, be it good or disastrous, He wants us to have undying faith, to rely on His amazing grace and mercy, to know and understand His great LOVE for us, and that NOTHING, no NOTHING can ever tear us apart from Him! And the scriptures associated with our poem today, come from Bruh Paul’s missive to the Colossians. Let’s hear the New Living Translation found in the book first, then we’ll read the real thing from the King James version. (smile)

 ‘Since God chose you to be holy people whom he LOVES, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. You must make allowances for each other’s faults and forgive the person who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.’ (Col, 3:12-13 NLT) Now that’s the basic truth of the scripture, but it sounds somewhat banal and wimpy. (smile) 

Now, here’s the real McCoy from the KJV. ‘Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies (tender mercies), kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing (bearing with) one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.’ (Col. 3:12-13 KJV) Now doesn’t that sound more like real scripture, with more punch that the earlier translation. (smile) Obviously I am biased towards the King James Version, but the truth is some of the other translations either water down the scripture or make it wordier and more longwinded, which makes it even more difficult to understand. 

Anyway, the long and short of the story is that as true believers we need to treat each other much better than we’re currently doing, with this verse being the crowning glory. ‘And above all these things put on charity (LOVE), which is the bond of perfectness.’ (Col. 3:14) And the scholars explain that here ‘LOVE is called the bond of perfectness, because it is the crowning grace completing the list of virtues required for perfectness or spiritual maturity. As a “bond” it binds all the other virtues together in harmony and unity.’ And so it does. 

Now, for those of us who are sincerely trying to live in LOVE, let’s go home declaring (yesss!!!) our Tuesday Mantra, letting all and sundry know to whom we belong, lock, stock and barrel. As one voice: ‘In God’s eyes, I’m not what I do. I’m not what I have. I’m not what people say about me. I am the beloved of God, that’s who I am. No one can take that from me. I don’t have to worry. I don’t have to hurry. I can trust my friend Jesus and share His LOVE with my immediate neighbours, as well as with the whole wide world! Glory be!’ 

And having made that declaration (wow!!!) it’s now our bounden duty to go out and share the amazing LOVE and friendship of Christ with all we meet, so that they too can come to know and LOVE Him like do! Much LOVE!

… patience…only comes…through hardship and the passing of time… 

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