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Provision of Patience

From EDIFIED! Written in 2010
 
“Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him…”
Psalm 37:5a
 
You, Lord God, are great and strong, wise and firm as you wonderfully guide and direct all for us. Thank you for your careful, precise, powerful and loving ordering of things in our lives.
 
Praise you, Lord for your great work in my life so that last Sunday morning when I missed our exit on our way to speak in a church, my reaction was one of grace: no impatience, no complaining, no grouchiness, just a quiet rest in your grace!
This is your doing in my life, teaching me to take up the patience you have provided for me. (“His divine power has given us all things necessary for Life and Godliness.” 2 Pet. 1:3). Living in your patience is exactly the opposite of what is natural for me!
 
And you showed yourself faithful to orchestrate things for us in this. After driving the 10 miles to the next exit, turning around and coming back, we got to the church at the same time as the church leader who unlocked the door for us! Right on time.
 
Then I found I’d forgotten the power cord for my computer, even though, just before leaving home I’d prayed, “Lord help me to remember anything else I should take.” Nothing had come to mind.
 
So when I noticed that the cord was missing and thoughts of worry began to come (“Will the battery hold out for both the computer and projector?”), I could reprove myself by saying, “No, the Lord guided and He will provide. It will last as long as is needed.”
 
Peace came and in the end, the computer’s battery lasted the whole time, no problem. Praise be to you, Lord, for what you gave: the direction, the peace, the power and the good outcome. To remember your goodness and to trust in you is good!
 
Prayer: “Lord, today things will come which I won’t like. Help me to greet them with praise and thanksgiving, to lay down my understanding of things and to embrace the truth of your love and power being at work in the situation, remembering that you have a plan and will work it out well. Amen.”
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Psalm 9:5-8

 
 
Psalm 9:5-6 “You have rebuked the nations and destroyed
the wicked; you have blotted out their name for ever and ever. Endless ruin has overtaken the enemy, you have uprooted their cities; even the memory of them has perished.”
 
[It is your intent to cleanse the universe of rebellion, so you justly punish wickedness and those who refuse the forgiveness and cleansing you offer.
 
You first rebuke and give opportunity for repentance, just as you did with all the nations in the promised land. You gave them 400 years to repent, but they didn’t. Rahab is the example of what could have happened with each one of them if they had responded with faith. But when they refused to come to you, they remained under judgment and were destroyed. You are just, you are consistent, you are righteous.]
 
Psalm 9:7 “The LORD reigns forever;”
 
[Praise be to you, the forever One, who has no beginning and no end. Being eternal, you are able to follow through on your promises, your plans, your purposes because you never tire, never flag, never fade. You are the everlasting I AM, ever pure, ever holy, ever triune.]
 
Psalm 9:7b-8 “he has established his throne for judgment. He will judge the world in righteousness; he will govern the peoples with justice.”
 
[Praise you that in you alone there is true justice and righteousness. They are certainly found nowhere else in this world. We long for them, but fear them at the same time, for we know innately that we are guilty and are found wanting in ourselves.
 
Praise you for your great mercy towards us, that in Christ we stand cleansed, forgiven, transformed, adopted and dearly loved.
 
We bow before you now, O Lord, exalting your name, your Word, your grace, your goodness. You are totally worthy of love, of obedience, of thanksgiving, of praise.
 
Therefore, we rise up from our worship to enter this day as your children, desirous of living a life worthy of you and of pleasing you in every way. May your Spirit fill us and overflow from us into the lives of those around us, bringing you more and more honor.]
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Worship in Woe

[Note: This occurred many months ago; I am now fully recovered.]
 
Writing from the hospital where they are working on blood clots in my right lung and leg, and on my A-fib condition (irregular and very fast pulse, high blood pressure). Another chance to live in the truth of God’s Sovereignty, the truth that He has a plan and will work this out for the best.
 
So I wrote this in my worship journal.
 
Praise be to you, Lord God, that yours is a full-orbed character, shining brightly into our lives, illuminating our path, enlightening our understanding.
 
On one side you are love itself, while on the other you hate what is evil. I praise you for your rejection of evil, for your anger at injustice and your wrath against sin, for these make salvation possible; your insistence on justice makes restoration possible; your hatred of wrong makes a sinless new Heaven and new Earth possible.
 
I praise you, Lord Jesus, that you took the wrath of the Father fully upon yourself, so that all who choose to believe in you might be saved in your goodness, sheltered in your love, protected in your grace and transformed in your power.
 
Thank you that you have given us life through your suffering, love from your heart and light from your Truth. Praise you for qualifying us to enter your Kingdom, for adopting us into your family and giving us purpose, meaning, hope and a sure future, along with joy, peace and power to live a godly life.
 
But thank you most of all for giving us a rich, real and righteous relationship with you. Thank you for loving us unconditionally, wholeheartedly, joyfully, enthusiastically, eternally.
 
And in this wonderful relationship with you, you give us all we need: forgiveness, cleansing, acceptance, affirmation, attention, love and grace. I am thankful for these, but they are not to be the focus: You are.
 
Therefore, I worship you as the Lord of love, the Giver of good and the God of grace. the God who will carry me through my present trials, bringing me out into a wide and pleasant place, either through healing, through grace to endure, or through death. I praise you now for whatever you will do. To you be glory and honor in all my life today. Amen.
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Psalm 9:2-4

 
Psalm 9:2 “I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.”
 
[Yes, I will rejoice in you, my Most High God, for you are wonderfully worthy, graciously good, powerfully persistent, righteously just, lovingly strong and readily forgiving. Praise is your due, praise is our privilege.
 
How can I not praise you in and for all things—pleasant or painful, nice or negative—when, in your magnificent, pristine, and perfect triune character, you are weaving all events together for good? Glory be to you now, today and forever, for you are worthy!]
 
Psalm 9:3-4 “My enemies turn back; they stumble and perish before you. For you have upheld my right and my cause;”
 
[Praise be to you, O warrior God, who fights for your children. You fight against Satan and sinners, selfishness and sin as they attack your children. Such help is not our right but a powerful privilege.
 
In myself I am not right, but your Word is right, you will is right and you Son is right—and you have made me righteous in Him. I praise you that out of your grace you fight for me, for us, for your Word, for all that is right.
 
As I “commit my way to the Lord, I will trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass, He shall bring forth my righteousness as the light and my judgment as the noon day sun” (Ps. 37:5-6). As I delight in and meditate on your word, according to your promise, I “will prosper in whatever [I] do.” (Ps. 1:3).
 
So, I can rest in what you will do in the pressing debates before me concerning how to biblically proceed with our work, for you are faithful. Things may not work out the way I desire, but I know that you will do what is right.
 
“you have sat on your throne, judging righteously.”
 
[We may be unsure, have only part of the information, be prejudiced by our preferences and preconceptions, but you have none of these restrictions. You, Heavenly Father, see all perfectly, you have every detail of information, you even understand our motives and the intents of our hearts. You know Truth totally and you will judge in full Righteousness.
 
Praise be to you, Lord God, for your goodness and graciousness, your greatness and glory. I praise you today, bowing before you, accepting whole-heartedly whatever results you bring out of the conflicts around me.]
 
Epilogue: in the debates mentioned above, neither side “won.” Instead, our conflicting ideas were woven into the policies in a way that bridges that gap between our viewpoints and I think will prevent us from being unbiblical in our work.
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Ministry and Marriage

More from my autobiography, “From Canterbury to then Ends of the Earth and Back”
 
During these years of our ministry in our country both our boys, J and N believed the Lord was calling them to come back to our country to serve Him there. They were uniquely equipped for this, having grown up in the culture and speaking the language like natives without any foreign accent. They were truly “international people,” having firsthand experience of living in multiple cultures.
 
The local believers agreed that the boys were a “new breed” of worker. One local believer introduced N to a friend, saying, “This is my American friend, but he’s not a foreigner!”
 
We thought for sure that with their great qualifications both boys would be able to raise support easily and quickly. Churches would surely see them as a great “investment,” since they could step off the plane and immediately be actively engaged in ministry, needing very little cultural or language training.
 
However, the Lord had other plans for them. He knew that they needed time to mature and He knew how to accomplish that, in part by the ministry he had for them in the States.
 
Both boys spent time living on the farm in CT, where they willingly helped my sister Andrea with the care of my aging father and mother.
 
For one year J came to our country to work as a teacher in the MK (mis-nary kid) school our group ran. During that time he was unjustly arrested and expelled. This action was an attempt by the government to force workers out of the country by shutting down the MK schools.
 
It was a traumatic experience for J to be escorted by a policeman right to the door of the plane where the stewardess has to sign for him, and then to be flown out of the country, not knowing if he would ever be allowed to return. But return he did, several years later.
 
As both of our sons were rapidly approaching their thirties with no potential wives in sight, Barbara and I continued to pray for the Lord to provide spouses for them. We’d actually started praying specifically for this before the boys were born and had confidence that He would provide for them in His perfect timing—if His design for them were marriage.
 
J had had two relationships that hadn’t worked out; then a third girl had declined his offer to pursue a relationship with him. So he was now “gun shy.”
 
We knew a girl who, in our minds at least, seemed just right for him. S was a young friend of Barbara’s whom we considered as our “adopted” daughter, a part of the family already. I suggested to J that he consider a relationship with her, and she had all the qualities he had told us he wanted in a wife. She was a committed and growing believer, had already worked in the country for several years, knew the language well, was involved in ministry, was a member of our group and was fully supported. But he was reluctant, fearful of another rejection.
 
Finally S herself suggested they pursue a friendship and one of the things they decided to do was to read together the book, “Boy Meets Girl” by Josh Harris. They slowly worked their way through it, using it as a stimulus to discuss important issues and to get to know each other.
In the last chapter they were instructed to ask someone older for advice about taking the next step of commitment, so they came to me. My advice was for each of them to take a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. On one side they were to write all the positive reasons for their getting married and on the other, the negatives. They both came back with a long list of positives, while each had only one reason against marrying,a financial one.
 
“Well, that issue is easily resolvable,” I said, and helped them see how they could work out a solution. It still took J a while to work up his courage to pop the question, but when he finally did, S didn’t have to think twice before saying, “Yes!”
 
Having friends and family in three widely dispersed places, they decided to have three wedding celebrations! The first one was held in Connecticut at our home church. It was a very nice time, attended by many friends and family members. One highlight for us was that Dr. Goodell, who had given us advice at our wedding, read the same advice to J and S.
 
The actual legal wedding took place in S’s home church in Maine, another very nice event with family and friends from both sides coming to celebrate with Josh and Sarah. The ceremony was a joyful one, filled with lots of uplifting songs and words of encouragement .
 
When they returned to our country as a married couple, we had the third celebration of their marriage at the International Church in our city. For us, it was actually the most special celebration because all the people we’d worked with over the last twenty- plus years were there to celebrate with us as our extended family. It was a wonderful time
Picture J&S’s Maine (main) wedding
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Cooperation through Praise

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;” Proverbs 3:5
 
Proverbs 3:7 says, “Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and turn away from evil.” Sometimes we find ourselves frustrated in all our plans with none of the things we’d like to see happen getting accomplished.
 
In this I have to remind myself that my main purpose as a Christian is not productivity, but knowing and worshiping our Lord Jesus Christ. We are to be ever drawing closer to Him. We may be successful in the eyes of the world because of our accomplishments, but if we aren’t close to Him, it’s all a mirage.
 
The Lord has been stressing to us again and again the importance of getting closer to Him by praising, and recently gave me a new insight about this. When we praise God for each thing that comes to us, whether it seems good or bad from our perspective, we are surrendering to God at that particular moment, reaffirming our trust in Him. In such praise we are declaring His goodness and His power to all those around us. We are getting up the shield of faith and quenching the fiery darts of the devil (worry, fear, anger or resentment). We are proclaiming God’s intent to bring to us only what is for our good and His glory.
Conversely, failure to praise (complaining) is resisting God’s working in our lives. It is a form of rebellion. This is declared in Psalm 106:24-26, which tells of the Israelites’ response to the report of the spies after they had seen the promised land.
 
“Then they despised the pleasant land; they did not believe his promise. [They failed to praise, to trust, to submit to God’s leadership] They grumbled in their tents and did not obey the LORD. [Instead of praising, they complained, rebelling against what the Lord was giving them.] So he swore to them with uplifted hand that he would make them fall in the desert.” [So the Lord did not give them the good things He had offered and waited till all those grumblers had died before bringing the Israelites into the land].
 
In contrast, we should follow David’s example in Psalm 34:1-2. “I will extol the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be on my lips.” [We can always say, “Thank you, Lord God, that in every happening there is potential growth in my focus on you and a platform upon which I can demonstrate your grace to the world.”]
 
“My soul will boast in the Lord.” [Thank you, Lord, for the continual reminder that in myself I can do nothing and that the thrust of my life is to give glory to you, not to me!]
“The afflicted hear and rejoice.” [How good that we can encourage others by praise, helping them also to praise, as we lead the way in extolling God.]
It is so good to look at all things through the purifying lens of God’s Word and to keep up the shield of faith with words of praise. We thank God that He is patiently teaching us to praise, even though we are slow learners!
 
Prayer: “Lord, help me to remember in each disappointment, difficulty and discomfort, as well as in the positive and pleasant, to respond with praise, surrendering to the Truth of your being God, the final Authority, the all wise One. Help me to affirm my trust in you by praising when I feel like complaining, by giving thanks when I feel like rebelling. May you be exalted in my life today through praise and thanksgiving. Amen.”
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Psalm 9:1

 
A Psalm of David, 9:1 “I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart;”
 
[You, O Lord God–Triune, Triumphant and Tremendous in grace, goodness and power–are worthy of praise. As you have loved me, cleansed me, transformed me, adopted me, delighted in me, giving me the opposite of what I deserve, how can I but respond with love, with praise, with admiration, thankfulness and whole-hearted rejoicing in you.
 
You are my Lord and my King, my Shepherd and my Rock, my Savior and my Shield; I rejoice in the great privilege of knowing you. You are worthy of praise no matter what comes into my life, so I will whole-heartedly exalt you both now and forever in eternity!]
 
“I will tell of all your wonders.”
 
[Great and many are your wonders, Lord God, beginning with your character: you are Love, Light and Life; in you there is Purity, Perfection, and Power; Greatness, Grace and Goodness; Righteousness, Justice and Mercy. You are Immortal, Invisible and Invincible. You are Mighty, Magnificent and Marvelous. You are God, Lord and Sovereign, the Most High who rules forever. You are without beginning, without end and without time.
 
You are a wonder, and we have not even come to your works: speaking all into existence–the heavens, the earth and all that is in them; holding all together; holding back the tide of evil; providing salvation for all your enemies.
 
In addition, you are willing to suffer disappointment, pain and grief every day as you shepherd your professed children, who often willfully disobey, disbelieve and disrupt. You wait patiently for the right time to faithfully, lovingly and firmly correct; you always act from pure motives and consistently do the right thing in the right way. You persist in making us lie down in green pastures where we can feed on your Word, mature and grow.
 
You weave all together into your plans to bring history to a conclusion, to eliminate evil and usher your children into an eternity of light, love and life. Your wonders are great and you are worthy of praise!
 
Help me to be a glory-giver today, taking every opportunity, positive or negative, to honor you by offering the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and thereby fulfill the life purpose you have given me.
 
Alert me when I am about to be a glory-stealer by complaining, whining or feeling sorry for myself. In the light of your marvelous and majestic presence, what’s there to feel sorry about!!!? Honor yourself in my life today.
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Psalm 8:5-8

Psalm 8:5 “You made him [man] a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.”
 
[you made us for a specific position in your creation, higher than the animals and lower than the angels and in this you granted us glory and honor because you loved us, giving us significant roles:]
 
Psalm 8:6 “You made him ruler over the works of your hands;”
 
[You gave us position and power, meaning and might, dominion and direction. You called us to partnership with you in administrating what you created. And this is still true, even after the fall, even though we are twisted and imperfect, for you are gracious and good, wanting us to have meaningful work and productive purpose.]
 
Psalm 8:7-8 “you put everything under his feet: all flocks and herds, and the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas.”
 
[You are so gracious to give such a broad range of responsibility to humans whom you knew would fail and fall. This is true both in what Adam did, and in how we fail to treat your creation with respect and care—and I praise you that you will restore us to pristine purity again so we may rule further and righteously with you in the new heaven and earth!]
 
“O LORD, our Lord,”
 
[Again, you make yourself “our Lord:” the personal, present, passionate, powerful and perfect God, Ruler of all, Lover of all, Redeemer of all–even though you know that many will not accept the forgiveness you have purchased at great cost.]
 
[Truly] “how majestic is your name in all the earth!”
 
Your name is majestic in perfection, in creation, in redemption and in salvation. Therefore, you are worthy of worship from every being throughout all the earth, throughout all the universe, throughout all eternity. May that worship be seen now in us giving honor through praise to your majestic name in whatever you allow in our lives throughout this day. Amen.
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Praise in All

“I will extol the LORD at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. “ Psalm 34:1
 
Psalm 23 is very familiar to everyone, but recently the Lord has shown me some new, very interesting points in it from the perspective of praise. Praise in and for all things is really the act of surrendering to the Lord at that moment and in that situation. In addition, it is resisting the devil and his suggestion that “this situation is just awful! Poor me!”
 
Psalm 23 says, “The Lord is my shepherd.” That means He is watching over me all the time, with great care and attention, holding at a distance what is truly bad.
 
He “makes me lie down in green pastures.” That is, He finds for me the situations which are profitable for growth and brings me there. He doesn’t ask if I like it, nor does He ask my opinion. He MAKES me lie down there until I’ve learned what is needed. In this I can cooperate with Him by praising Him for what He is doing whether I like it or not.
 
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death….” This refers not just to physical danger and death, but to other aspects, such as dying to self, to ego, to my plans and desires and opinions. This can mean having my plans fail, my vision perish, my hopes dashed.
 
“I will fear no evil for you are with me…” The difficult happenings in this “valley” are not evil but are allowed by God for my good—being all-powerful He could easily prevent them, especially since He is with me all the time, but He allows what He knows is useful for my growth and for my giving Him glory.
 
Thinking through this Psalm in terms of praise has brought great joy to me and removed some of my natural thought patterns (the tendency to resent what is hard, to complain, to fear being hurt or rejected)–patterns which make it difficult to praise in and for all things.
 
Take a look at the rest of Psalm 23 from this perspective and see what things you can find to encourage you to praise Him in and for all.
 
Prayer: “Lord, keep opening my eyes to your view of things; speak to me through your Word as I read it daily; move me forward in the discipline of praise. Amen.”

Picture: a portrait a friend/discipline of ours did from a picture. If you’d like him to do one for you (you, or your children or grandchildren), let me know at stevewibb@pobox.com

 

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Psalm 8:3-4

Psalm 8:3 “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place…,”
 
[Last night walking back home after dark, the stars were wonderfully bright and clear, and the sliver of a new moon so distinct in the sky—and this despite the light pollution of the nearby city. It was a stimulating sight, a reminder of how vast the universe is, of how small and insignificant we are.
 
As we view the unimaginably immense stretches of the heavens (billions of light years across), and think of the incredible, amazing size and number of stars (trillions), galaxies (billions) and formations of galaxies—all created by you, Lord–we get a small idea of how infinitely great and powerful you are. And this makes us ask:]
 
Psalm 8:4 “what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?”
 
[We are so little, so unimportant, so insignificant–just minuscule creatures hidden away on a tiny speck of cosmic dust tucked under one arm of an insignificant galaxy. Yet you not only think of us, you value us and desire a relationship with each one, in spite of our being twisted by sin and selfishness. And you were willing to pay a huge price to be able to take us into your family.
 
The LORD looks down from heaven; he sees all the children of man;…he looks out on all the inhabitants of the earth…” (Ps. 33:13-14)
 
Praise you, Lord God, that you are consistently mindful of us and you care deeply for us, in spite of what we are naturally. Praise be to you for your grace, giving us undeserved goodness; for your kindness, returning blessing when we hurt you by disobedience and unbelief; and for your faithfulness, correcting us over and over again as we stumble through life.
 
You are a marvel, Lord, majestic in grace, mighty in love and most worthy of worship by all of your creation. May I give you honor today by giving the sacrifice of thanksgiving in all that comes.]
 
Picture from internet
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