Read His Words Before Ours!
2 Peter 3:8-13
“Be patient, be patient,
Don’t be in such a hurry!
When you get,
You only start to worry.
God is patient, too!
And think of all the times that others
Had to wait on you!”
My mama is a singer; as such, my entire life has been like one big musical. The little song above was just another little ditty my mom used to sing when impatience filled the scripts of our lives. This song can be found in scenes when we were stuck in Las Vegas traffic in 100-degree weather, or when I was anxiously waiting for my cousins’ arrival to play.
Now, in an entirely new act, I sing this song to my daughters.
But sometimes, even as I sing, I don’t feel so patient.
Sometimes I sing with gritted teeth, or after biting my cheeks to keep from saying something I shouldn’t. Sometimes, I begrudgingly sing it to my daughters with a cheery smile plastered on my face, my forced enthusiasm convincing my heart to actually be patient.
Patience, I’ve learned, isn’t just “waiting for the pot roast to be done” or “for your nails to dry” (although both have definitely grown my patience massively).
It also means long-suffering.
Excruciating “waiting for your adult child to come to Jesus”, or even
“persevering and fervently praying in the midst of turmoil and grief”.
Patience looks much like waiting on the Lord and His timing.
Maybe He’s called you to do something….
become a missionary,
start a ministry,
find a new job,
and then He told you to wait.
Long-suffering, nail-biting, gut-wrenching patience.
Because our God is gracious, never asking us to do what He would not, we find His loving patience everywhere.
The Old Testament speaks often of God being slow to anger like in Exodus 34:6-7 when God reminded Moses of His patience towards stubborn Israel and her disobedience.
Before saying, “Enough!” and nearly wiping out all of humanity with a flood, God literally waited over 4,000 years for hearts to repent!
In Numbers 14:18, Moses recounted again how Israel was saved from utter destruction, even though she clearly deserved it, because of the Lord’s long-suffering patience.
When Israel, freed from slavery in Egypt by the mighty hand of the Lord, grumbled and complained, “But, Yaweh! We’re hungry and starving and it would’ve been better for us to just be slaves!”
God lavishly poured out heaps of patience and love by giving them fresh, flakey bread (manna) and quail (what a delicacy!) every single day! Through the waiting, He taught them dependency on Him, teaching them to trust His daily provision.
They grumbled and complained and His response was gracious patience and provision!
When David, the young boy appointed King of the Israelites was finally made King, he had an affair and then murdered that woman’s husband!
The Lord’s response?
God had every just right to kill David, or at least remove him from the throne, for his grievous sin, but because God is lovingly patient, He sent a prophet to come alongside David, reveal his sin to him and allow David to repent!
God’s patience brought loving discipline to King David, one God called “a man after God’s own heart.”
From the moment sin entered this world through Eve and Adam, God’s great plan for redeeming mankind through the sacrifice of Jesus Christwas already set in place. For its fullness to be completed, the Lord w a i t e d with long-suffering patience.
The patience displayed by our Savior as He allowed Himself to be tortured beyond recognition then hung on a cross to die a long and excruciating death where He slowly suffocated hour by hour.
His shredded back scraped the rough wood of the cross each time He raised Himself up to catch a breath. His head throbbed from the thorns piercing into His skull.
He spent hours dying by the worst form of death in human history, intentionally allowing Himself to fully feel the agony, not hurrying His death sentence as He, the Author of life and death itself, could easily have done. He gave His life for you and me.
Patience even in death.
I took a nap with my daughters this afternoon, praying as I fell asleep for Lord to speak to me about a situation in my life. Instead, I heard Him talking to me about His patience in a way I’d never considered.
God’s love for me is individualized.
It is a passionate love uniquely for me, just as His love for you is uniquely crafted to meet you. His love cannot be measured, it looks different for every person.
The love I have for my three daughters is special and intimate for each of them. Similarly, God’s love for us is just as individualized and special.
God delights in you and in me and He loves having a personal relationship with us where He loves us each in our own, special way. How great His love for us that He would patiently wait millennia for us to choose to know Him intimately! His heart is for all to choose Him! (2 Peter 3:9)
Love is patient.
Because God is patient.
Patient Love weaves together 4,000 years of events, inspiring 40 different authors to write words that all point to One Redeeming Savior.
Patient Love teaches disciples, followers, curious onlookers, and malicious people about the Father and His redemption while delivering people from sin and disease and performing miraculous wonders along the way.
Patient Love endures grotesque abuse, taking a guilty punishment of death, though innocent, in order to rescue beloved children who rightly deserve wrath.
Patient Love rises from the dead, forever defeating Sin and Death by His victorious life!
Patient Love walks with me in the most dire of circumstances when I’m being pushed, stretched, and pruned, even when it all feels out of my control.
Love is patient.
And God is love.
This Bible Study is property of Gracefully Truthful, where it was first published. For more studies like this one, check out GracefullyTruthful.com!
Read His Words Before Ours!
When we moved into our house, autumn was upon us, and many of the plants had started to fade away. The entire year following, I was delighted and surprised by multiple green sprouts appearing in my little bed at the front of our house. Fortunately, my Gamma had come to visit for several months and was able to teach me about the daisies, hostas, and roses blooming before my eyes. The roses thrilled me the most, and while they weren’t the large yellow roses my Papa and Gamma had always had in their garden, they were still a beautiful, bright pink. My Gamma gently warned me that when I cut flowers, I needed to cut them at an angle right above the growth bud, so the stem would continue to grow and produce more flowers. I hadn’t been as cautious about that before, resulting in an awkwardly shaped rose bush on the side of my house.
I was reminded of this pruning process, but the necessity of pruning when I read this post on Instagram:
“You will go through seasons of pruning,
when God removes you from good things –
friendships, privilege, ministry platforms, money, sustenance, hope, even your reputation. Pruning is always very painful and very difficult,
although you may have a clear conscience and know that it comes from God,
and that there are promises of a better and more fruitful future.
It usually results in being very much alone.
Most people will shy away from you when you experience pain.
David in scripture was blessed to have one friend who stood solidly with him through God’s pruning and he eventually walked into a season of abundance.”
My roses needed to be pruned – correctly – in order to continue growing and produce more roses than they otherwise would.
Another word for pruning: sanctification.
And ooftah does sanctification hurt sometimes.
But is it worth it?
Oh yes, dear Sisters, it totally is.
Because sanctification means that I look more like Jesus and am being used for my intended purpose of bringing glory to Him.
Sanctification means I’m growing.
Paul talks about both the pain that comes with sanctification, as well as its inestimable value. He actually rejoices because of his suffering (and let me tell you, sanctification happens most during suffering).
Paul understands that through this growing, pruning, and maturing process He is being prepared to take new ground for the Kingdom!
Paul speaks of proclaiming Jesus’ name and building strong disciples so we may all be fully mature in Christ.
This kind of maturity isn’t about physical age, rather it’s characterized by the natural growth that comes from intentional willingness to be consistently discipled by the Holy Spirit. By regularly dwelling with the Lord through Scripture intake, prayer, and living authentically in biblical community, the Spirit strengthens our “inner being” to love Christ and be shaped to mirror Him more and more.
Speaking of this maturing, Paul says, “So then, just as you have received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, being rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, and overflowing with gratitude.” (Colossians 2:6-7)
Saying yes to Jesus is only the beginning.
Surrendering your heart and receiving “Christ Jesus as Lord” will save you for eternity, but if you stop here, you’ve chosen to live far below your birthright in Jesus.
Paul urges, “continue to live in Him..”
Become rooted, built up, and established in the faith.
Don’t Stop Now!
Say yes to Jesus, and keep saying yes as He prunes your heart and life!
The “steadying” growth Jesus cultivates in a heart committed to Him,
makes you keenly aware of truth verses a lie.
And, Sister, the world is full of deception and ‘empty deceit’. (Colossians 2:8)
Paul ached for the Church.
He ached for believers to not be stuck drinking milk, but eating solid food.
He ached for believers to grow deep and become rooted that they would be able to distinguish between truth and heresy.
Heresy ran rampant in the Colossian church, and it does in our culture today, too.
The only way we will know the difference between what is solid and a deceptive mirage is by renewing our mind through Scripture. We must be….
Mature in Christ.
As you encounter suffering, hold fast to the faith because Jesus is worth it.
Give yourself fully to spiritual disciplines, watch the Spirit grow you deeply.
Stand firm for truth, and lead others well as you love with grace.
The second half of this beautiful post continues:
“I bless you with the pruning of the Lord.
As painful as they are, they are for the best.
They come from a wise Father.
I bless you with pruning that brings redemption.
I bless you with deep, solid, life-giving friendships when you are going through a season of God’s pruning you.
I bless you with friendships that are designed, crafted, nurtured, and given to you by your Father, even at the same time that He is taking away other friendships that you have deemed important and necessary to your life.
Although you may be severely pruned, I bless you with at least one friend who maintains covenant relationship with you in your darkest hour and is able to encourage you, strengthen you, and focus your attention on God’s promises.”
This Bible Study is property of Gracefully Truthful, where it was first published. Visit GracefullyTruthful.com for more studies like this one!
Read His Words Before Ours!
1 Peter 1:13-16
1 Thessalonians 5:1-8
2 Timothy 4:1-5
Ever since writing for Gracefully Truthful, I’ve been continually amazed how the Lord perfectly aligns Journey Studies I write alongside my spiritual journey with Him.
We choose our Journey assignments months prior to writing,
and even longer before they ever go live on the website.
the Lord always leads me to write specific Journey Studies He knows in advance He will use to transform my heart.
This journey through 1 Peter has proven, yet again, God’s incredible timing and His miraculous voice through Scripture.
As Partners at GT, we committed to read through 1 Peter many times before we even began writing. Two weeks ago (which was months ago as you read my words today), I sat down to read and the tears began flowing as I fixated on the first chapter detailing birth into a living hope.
What I didn’t know when I chose this Journey was when it came time to write,
I’d be swinging from days of great hope to days that left me utterly hopeless.
Hopelessness has been hanging heavy here, Sisters.
But as I sat weeping with His Word, His Spirit breathed, and I was reminded of LIVING hope that is mine in Christ Jesus! Hope that is moving and breathing and actively working because of Jesus!
Our trials will result in “praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ!”
(1 Peter 1:7)
And because of that hope, sisters, that massive, freeing, and life-giving hope,
we land at 1 Peter 1:13…
One powerful word; don’t miss it!
Therefore means that “hope” doesn’t stop at “initial salvation”.
Yes, our salvation is certain and sure and these Scriptures that proclaim this glorious gospel are fully reliable because they are the very words of God that will not pass away. (1 Peter 1:25)
Yes! Hope is found here!
But “therefore” means it doesn’t stop there.
Therefore. Because of. For that reason. Consequently. It Continues…
Because our hope is so assuredly solid, we are called to prepare our minds for action, and take an active role in this living hope!
Our salvation, grounded in hope, is meant to catapult us forward into living with hope
as our inner minds shift.
At salvation, we surrender all we know of ourselves to all we know of the Savior, trusting Him not only to save us from Sin and Death, but to save us for the fullness of life. That radical transformation where we begin moving into life, comes as a result of an inner shift. A moving away from conformity to the ways of the world, and a moving into surrendered transformation as the Spirit remakes us into the image of Christ Jesus.
Transformed into holy.
Just as He is holy.
We can never earn holiness, Sisters.
It’s no secret you and I would never, ever reach the perfection of the Almighty God by our own effort. One little lie, one little lustful thought, and we are sinners.
We are justified and made eternally righteous once we choose to make Jesus the Lord of our lives.
We grow in our like-Jesus-ness through daily surrender as we keep our eyes fixed on eternal hope. This is sanctification through the work of the Spirit. If Jesus is ours and we claim His incorruptible inheritance waiting for us in Heaven, then we are called to conform to this gospel, and His holiness, leaving the ways of the world in the dust.
That means the TV shows we watch.
The movies we go to.
The people we spend most of our time with.
The places we hang out.
The way we think.
The way we conduct ourselves at work.
Everything about us should be different because of the therefore.
Because of certain hope in the trustworthiness of the Savior.
Our relationships should look different.
The way we dress should look different.
Our marriages should look different.
Our language should be different.
Not different because we’re trying so hard to look like Jesus.
Different because when we chose Jesus, an inner shift happened, hope grew,
we were made new.
We long to look like Him more than we long to look like
that cute mom we adore on social media.
For me, that’s a hard pill to swallow because I idolize, yes, idolize, other mamas.
Her hair is perfect, her kids look so put together, her house is clean, she’s so talented, AND she loves Jesus?! For a long time, I wanted to look more like her than I wanted to look like Jesus (sometimes I still do). I focused on transforming myself to become more like her instead of my King. Maybe that’s you too?
Eyes on holy.
When we say yes to Jesus, the radical inner shift begins.
I was about five when I asked Jesus to become my King; that’s when my inner shift began. Small, yes, but it was there. My focus changed from inward to upward, and I became passionate about others meeting Jesus! Hope grew the fruit of a transformed life.
Hope of salvation is not the end.
It’s the therefore that doesn’t stop there.
If He gave His life for me to live forever, surely, I can give my life to serve and love Him.
We have incorruptible hope.
It’s solid enough to anchor my everyday life and transform my heart toward holy!
This Bible Study is property of Gracefully Truthful, where it was first published. For other Bible studies like this one, check out GracefullyTruthful.com!
THe Prayer Challenge
Read His Words Before Ours!
1 Samuel 1:10-19
“Why must people kneel down to pray? If I really wanted to pray I’ll tell you what I’d do. I’d go out into a great big field all alone or in the deep, deep woods, and I’d look up into the sky – up -up – up into that lovely blue sky that looks as if there was no end to its blueness, and then I’d just feel a prayer.” ~Anne Shirley
I’ve been reliving my childhood fancies lately; escaping into the ever-magical, imaginative world of Anne Shirley. After a difficult upbringing by incredibly strict grandparents, author Lucy Maud Montgomery married a Reverend and wrote many books, including my all-time favorite, Anne of Green Gables. Montgomery’s bold theological statements often pointed out how reverence and worship aren’t what we tend to make it.
Since re-reading Anne’s quote about feeling a prayer, I’ve done just that many times over.
My life feels a little as if it’s spinning out of control right now.
I’ve tried to paint a perfect picture of my life for the outside world to see,
but inside, a tornado rages..
Many days, I feel like I can’t even think what to pray.
So, I’ve closed my eyes, imagined myself in a massive field, and just felt my prayers.
I’ve felt the glory and wonder of God and what He has created.
I’ve felt the loneliness and instability that quakes my soul.
I’ve felt the insecurities and I’ve felt the joy.
And I’ve felt myself releasing it all and giving it to Him.
All without saying a word.
How is that even possible?
Because God knows.
He knows my every thought and every feeling.
He knows me.
The Spirit Himself prays for me. (Romans 8:26)
In this blessed assurance, I’m free to saturate my chaos with intimate moments of communion with my Savior, while He calms my storms and brings peace.
I feel the tornado slowing.
The tension is leaving.
Because of prayer.
Not perfect, holy, well-thought through words.
But connection, groanings I lack words for, shared to the ear of God through the Spirit who dwells within me.
Centuries ago, Christians practiced the discipline of prayer through “Daily Offices”. Believers marked off specific times throughout the day, generally the third, sixth, ninth, and bedtime hours, dedicating them to prayer. At each interval, they put aside their daily tasks to spend time saturating themselves with the Lord.
Prayers of praise.
Prayers of worship.
Prayers of joy.
Prayers of need.
Prayers of longing.
Prayers for others.
Prayers for themselves.
Prayers of confession.
Prayers of angst.
Intimacy and relationship.
What if we prayed like Hannah?
She bitterly wept before the Lord, thinking her prayer,
unable to even audibly speak!
She was heartbroken with infertility. She poured out her soul to the Lord, all of her deep anguish and grief.
What if we surrendered our deep anguish and grief all throughout the day?
Suppose we told Him our ache for a lost brother, or the way our arms feel empty for the child we’ve never held, or how our soul feels crushed from the weight of a seemingly hopeless marriage?
Enter into that intimacy with the Lord, Sisters.
Hearts are changed here.
What if we prayed like David?
King David had an affair with a married woman, yet with the deep convictions of his heart, he cried out to God to wash him of his iniquity and cleanse him of sin.
In prayer, David begged the Lord to restore the joy he’d once known.
What if we recognized our great sins and ugly failures, confessing them to the Lord multiple times a day? Would we become more aware of our pride, quickly confessing and running from it? Would our hearts begin to grieve as we recognized and confessed our lust again?
Enter into that intimacy of giving the Lord your sins, Sister.
Hearts are changed here.
What if we prayed like Mary?
With the news of her pregnancy, and the coming Messiah,
Perhaps she knelt to sang. Maybe she danced, rejoicing loudly while exclaiming the fulfillment of Yahweh’s promise! She celebrated her worship!
Sisters, imagine if we were to take intentional time to thank God, celebrate Him, and declare His name throughout the day!
EVEN IF we don’t feel like it.
EVEN IF we have difficulty believing what we say.
Imagine how the thanksgiving we surrender will grow in our hearts, overflowing onto others, and shifting our perspective as we praise the Lord throughout the day.
Enter into that joyful intimacy with the Lord, Sister.
Hearts are changed here!
What if we prayed like Daniel?
Nothing could stop Daniel from praying throughout the day.
Not even the LAW or the threat of his LIFE.
Daniel met the Lord three times, everyday, windows open to the world, unashamed of his God.
What if we said no to distractions having priority over prayer?
What if we paused our lives several times a day to approach the throne of God.
Even WITH kids screaming in the background.
Even WITH a messy house just beyond our closed eyes.
Even WITH a meeting that will last all day.
What if we kept the conversation going on road trips, on business trips, in the grocery store, in the car.
Oh, let’s go there, Sister! Enter into that precious intimacy with the Lord.
Hearts are changed here. Yours and those around you!
I want that in the middle of my messy chaos.
Join me in my Prayer Challenge:
Choose 3 times a day for your phone alarm to go off.
I’m doing it right now setting it for 9 AM, Noon, and 3 PM.
When those timers go off, we pray.
Even if all we can muster is our deepest feelings, a groan, or a cry.
Let’s specifically, intentionally, prayerfully, enter into deeper intimacy with our King.
Watch out, Sisters.
Our hearts and lives are about to change!
This Bible Study is property of Gracefully Truthful, where it was originally posted. For more studies like this one, check out GracefullyTruthful.com!
From Bible studies to blogs, articles to musings of the heart, Kendra's writings are unbarred and raw - exactly how she speaks.