The Amplified Version of Romans 2:4 describes the riches of God as “kind, tolerant, and patient; withholding His wrath.” Paul is reminding the saints of how God’s kindness led them to repentance. How He gently, drew the Romans to Himself, waiting patiently for them to turn to Him.
God is Long-Suffering
David knew of His patience and loving-kindness. It has been over a year when Nathan confronted his sin, David begged the Lord to restore fellowship with Him. The first thing David said was, “Be gracious to me, God, according to your faithful love; according to your abundant compassion, blot out my rebellion.” (Psalm 51:1)
God’s Loving-Kindness is for Anyone
God did deal with him according to His loving-kindness and He still does for us. This kindness was not just extended to David but to anyone who would repent and turn from their sin. My heart cannot grasp how good, kind, and patient God has been, not just to His own people, Israel, but for all of us.
“Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” –
In conclusion, while kindness may come more naturally for some, true kindness is a Fruit of the Spirit. It develops out of our willingness to fully surrender to the Holy Spirit. In her book, Jesus in Me, Anne Graham Lotz writes,
“While you have the Holy Spirit within you, the cooperation of your full surrender, obedience, and faith is required to activate it.”
She quotes Dr. Alan Redpath, Moody Church,
“it is a moment-by-moment surrender to the moment-by-moment control of the Holy Spirit”
You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast,because he trusts in You.
I was born on a Wednesday.
The following Sunday, I was in church and nearly every Sunday since then. My family was one who found themselves at church every time the doors were open. We also had family devotions … often. Sometimes this was at breakfast, other times, in the evening before bed. Every summer, we attended Holiness Camp .. even though we had a dairy farm to run, these times were not ignored or skipped. But these things, in themselves, did not save my soul. They were instrumental, but I had to make the decision to follow Christ myself. Each person must trust in Christ. Each one must personally make the decision to follow Him. As it is often said,
“God has no grandchildren.”
You cannot enter heaven on the coattails of your parents.
Trusting in Christ Will Cause You to Know Peace.
I think it was Rev Kelsey at Bethany UMC in Canton, Ohio that would end every sermon with a prayer that said something like “If there is anyone who has not responded to your call to salvation, let him have NO PEACE until he does so.” I did not appreciate this prayer. I felt it was an attack on me. Until the day I walked the aisle and gave my heart to Jesus.
During my teen years, a bumper sticker came out that said:
By then I had given my life fully to the Lord and I really could appreciate the fact that peace comes from knowing Christ. That prayer by my pastor has stuck with me and it’s a prayer that I use as I pray for my children and my siblings’ children, “That they may know peace”. I pray that God will give them no peace until they surrender their lives fully to him. I pray that the sin in their lives will become so distasteful that they cannot enjoy it. And, instead, it will recall to them the things they learned growing up. And that they will be drawn to the Prince of Peace.
More Thoughts on Peace
I was recently honored to write about the Peace of God for the Gracefully Truthful Community. Click and follow the link below to read more thoughts on the peace of God.
How can we bring unity to our marriage? our families? our nation? to the world? We cannot have unity without love. We need to create an atmosphere of love.
And, sadly, few of us truly know how to love one another.
I searched the scriptures for these “above all, have love” commandments. These scriptures were surrounded by instructions on how to create an atmosphere of love. I believe, if we surround our lives with these instructions, it will create an atmosphere where love will grow.
New Life in Christ. [Colossians 3:1-4] There is no love without God because God is Love. We must first look within to see if we have allowed Jesus Christ to come into our lives and transform us. Without Him, we cannot have the same attitude as Christ. [Colossians 3:1-4]
Put off wickedness and evil. [Colossians 3:5-9] If Christ is in us, then we must put off evil things. He cannot live together with evil. We must no longer have things such as sexual sin, anger, rage, spite, slander, lying, and abusive language, in our hearts and minds. We must live godly lives that exemplify Christ.
Now that we are in Christ …
We should show to others …
Compassion and kindness – Jesus said, “Treat others as you would want to be treated.” Put yourself in their shoes. Help them however you can. You don’t know what they have been through so just be kind and caring.
Humility – As Paul said in Philippians 2 “Don’t consider yourself better than others.” Get over yourself and consider the interests of others.
Gentleness – Proverbs says, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger”. How can we show love if we are yelling and screaming at each other or calling one another names?
Patience – Proverbs says that the one with self-control wins out in the end. Don’t get upset when other people succeed. Let God work it out. Psalm 37:7
Forbearance – In others words, give each other the benefit of the doubt. Put up with each other’s faults. Don’t we all make mistakes from time to time? One version of Colossians 3 says “Make allowances for one another and forgive..”
Forgiveness. Forgive, because God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32 Think of Christ on the cross. He said, “Forgive them. They know not what they do.” We, too, should forgive.
This seems hard to do,
… especially when the other party is not acting the same way. But truly this is how they will see Christ in you. It’s how they will find Christ; and thus, filled with love as well.
Indeed, we cannot do it on our own. We must allow Christ to live in our lives. We must give our lives totally over to Him so that He has every part of us. Then we will be controlled by Him and these things will come naturally. And His love will cover everything.
We must study his Word, worship Him, guide others to Him, and be thankful.
Let the word of the Anointed One richly inhabit your lives. With all wisdom teach, counsel, and instruct one another. Sing the psalms, compose hymns and songs inspired by the Spirit, and keep on singing—sing to God from hearts full and spilling over with thankfulness.
Colossians 3:16, The Voice
So it goes back to where we first started…
Find Jesus and allow Him to take control of your life.
I become overwhelmed with awe whenever I think of it. How God could love me, a sinner, enough to leave his throne in heaven, humble himself as a man, and die the cruel death of a criminal, just to conquer death and save me from that horrible death. It’s unfathomable.
The Love of God
Could we with ink the ocean fill And were the skies of parchment made Were every stalk on earth a quill And every man a scribe by trade
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry
Nor could the scroll contain the whole
Though stretched from sky to sky
Oh, love of God, how rich and pure! How measureless and strong! It shall forevermore endure— The saints’ and angels’ song.
There are no better words to describe how I feel that have been laid out in this poetry. You must read this beautiful story of this hymn.
Lehman wrote “These words were found written on a cell wall in a prison some 200 years ago. It is not known why the prisoner was incarcerated; neither is it known if the words were original or if he had heard them somewhere and had decided to put them in a place where he could be reminded of the greatness of God’s love – whatever the circumstances, he wrote them on the wall of his prison cell. In due time, he died and the men who had the job of repainting his cell were impressed by the words. Before their paint brushes had obliterated them, one of the men jotted them down and thus they were preserved.”
It is time to put all of these crazy, negative thoughts into captivity where they belong! Let’s put’em in jail.
Easy to say, isn’t it?
How do we actually do it?
He was 16 then and I was lying in bed trying to go to sleep and just as the scoundrel does, he put a horrid image and thought inside my head. Oh, I knew it came from the devil and I instantly rebuked him in Jesus’ Name and suddenly it was as though someone had changed the channel in my brain, warmth and peace overcame me.
Take that, devil.
Today that 16-year old is 40 and is as normal as any man can be!
Take that too, devil.
Crazy, negative thoughts have got to be captured and put inside a cell. They can overtake us and bring anxiety, fear, stress, and oppression to name a few.
Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up. Proverbs 12.25 (NLT)
Let’s look at 2 Corinthian 10 and find out what Paul is talking about!
The church at Corinth was in criticize mode against the Apostle. They were challenging his authority and he rebuked those with impure motives seeking to undermine his ministry. He simply tells them…(all scripture in Susan Translation)
Our weapons are not those of humans but are mighty in GOD for pulling down strongholds and arguments and every other thing that raises itself up against the knowledge of God. 2 Corinthians 10.4-5a
The mighty weapons IN GOD are available to bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. 2 Corinthians 10.5b
So, when the enemy comes in and says to me, “Susan, your son is going to be blank and blank.”
I can say to him, “Satan, I might look human but I don’t fight like a human because I carry the weapons, the mighty weapons, of Almighty God and I throw your accusations and threats and lies into jail!”
Then, follow up with a declaration, “Satan, my son is the righteousness of Christ. He is an oak of righteousness. He walks in the newness of life and God’s hand is on him for all eternity.”
When Satan comes in with thoughts of fear, tell him…
I am not afraid. God will never leave me nor forsake me. Deuteronomy 31.8; God hasn’t given me a spirit of fear but a spirit of power, of love, and a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1.7
When Satan comes in and tries to steal your peace, tell him…
God will keep me in peace because my thoughts are set on Him. Isaiah 26.3; I am going to throw all my anxieties onto God because He cares for me. 1 Peter 5.7
When Satan comes in and tries to make you worried about things, tell him…
You know what devil? I am not going to worry about that because God is so good that He even takes care of the birds. And He makes the flowers beautiful and He cares about me and all the things that concern me. Matthew 6; The things that concern me, concern Him. Psalm 138.8
When Satan comes in and tries to cause you to stress and have anxious thoughts, tell him…
I am not going to be anxious because I can tell my heavenly Father about it. Philippians 4.6; Ya know what Satan? God is going to crush you under his feet and I am covered by the grace of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. Romans 16.20
A Scripture for EVERY Thought
I can assure you there is a scripture for every thought that comes against us. You can Google any thought for a scripture to combat it. But we have to take the initiative. We have to be pro-active. Sometimes something is so serious and hard that we are told to fast and pray about it, here.
FIGHT THE ENEMY WITH HIS MOST FEARED WEAPON – THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT, THE LIVING WORD OF GOD.
Throughout my years of reading the Scriptures, this verse has been one of my favorites. It has brought such comfort and joy in so many hard places. When night fell it seemed that the problems always loomed much larger in the dark than in the light of day. And as my heart ached with the weight of so many burdens, I held tightly to the promise that the Lord would bring the dawn of His light–the night of the trial could not last forever. And He did bring such peace to my heart as I watched the light dawning in so many of those dark, hard struggles.
The Hard Place of Chronic Illness
However, when chronic illness fell upon me several years ago, I found this verse taking on a literal meaning that hit me in a new way. The physical pains brought new tears in the evening. Every time I lay down, needing rest so deeply, the throbbing would heighten. Every time I finally drifted off to sleep, a jolt of fresh pain would awaken me. And the anxiety that accompanied so many of the medications brought nightmares and levels of pain that finally left me weeping before my Lord.
“How long will this night last, Lord Jesus? When will You bring the rescue?”
Finding Joy in the Morning
Finally, every morning, when the rising of the sun would finally light up my window, I could hear His words echoing in my heart:
“Rejoice, my child! We made it through one more night! My own heart is filled with joy to see you trusting Me even here.”
I could hear His words, and I could rejoice in the sunlight, but I could not rejoice at the coming night that I knew would fall again, all too soon. Recently though, He has been asking me to offer even that pain in the night up to Him as an offering. It has made little sense to me until I came across these Scriptures recently. Words that again, I have read so many times, suddenly jumped off the page for me:
Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:2 ESV
Jesus Feels Our Pain
Additionally, Jesus endured the cross, and suffered that shame for us, but why? For the JOY that was set before Him. He offered Himself, every pain and every burden that was taken for us, and He gave it all over to God, for the joy of bringing us to His Father. Could I offer my own pain in that same way? Could I see my own sleepless and pain-filled nights as a place of offering to Him?
“Oh Lord, how I long to be able to offer it all to you? But even that offering is too hard for me. I don’t know how I can do that.”
Into the midst of my tears, He brought His Words to me yet again. This time they were ancient words, uttered to God’s people who had been long at work, obeying the Lord to rebuild His dwelling place and the wall of protection around His city. And God had called them to celebrate their place with Him:
Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
Nehemiah 8:10 ESV
Finding Joy in the Morning Through Jesus
Consequently, it was the very answer that He had been whispering to my heart every morning. It is the JOY of the LORD that will be my strength. I cannot strive to attain that. But He has already won it for me. He bore all that pain for me, and now He is the One who can show me how to offer my own pain back to Him again and again, every dark night.
And always, the morning of HIS light of Joy will dawn in my heart, because it is His gift, His fruit:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, JOY, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
My favorite post was Karen Sebastian’s post. Karen was participating in the 30-day writing challenge. She wrote on the theme “How to Live 101 Wonderful Years” in celebration of her father. This post on Joy was a perfect segue into the November theme of joy.
Most of my adult life, I have ministered to children. I love to creatively find ways to get the children to interact with older adults in our church. So when I saw a chance to have a local farmer from our congregation come share with the children, I jumped at it. He came and showed the children how to graft apple trees. Then he related that to being grafted into God’s family.
I don’t know if the children learned anything from it but it excited me to see just how it correlates to salvation.
Start with the roots
A Branch from David’s Line 11 Out of the stump of David’s family will grow a shoot— yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root.
God promised long ago that a shoot would grow up out of the stump of Jesse. Wow! a stump. When I think of a stump I think of a tree that has been cut down or has fallen down. The possibility of new growth seems unachievable. But hidden underground is an elaborate root system that is still alive and strong… The perfect place for a sprout.
The root system of the stump of Jesse has many branches. All the patriarchs of the Old Testament each grew a root deep. These roots would be the source of power and strength for all Christians coming afterward. Jesus was that shoot that grew into a New Branch from the old root. Then each of us, through salvation, are also grafted into the same root system.
We Can All Be Grafted In
17 But some of these branches from Abraham’s tree—some of the people of Israel—have been broken off. And you Gentiles, who were branches from a wild olive tree, have been grafted in. So now you also receive the blessing God has promised Abraham and his children, sharing in the rich nourishment from the root of God’s special olive tree.
What is Grafting? And Why Is It Done?
Grafted in to One Family
Definition – What does Grafting mean? Grafting is the process of joining two plants together (an upper portion and a lower portion) to grow as one. The upper portion of the plant is known as the scion, which is attached to the lower portion known as the rootstock.
“Joining two plants together to grow as one” – We need the Family of God growing together in unity as one church in order to grow strong. We feed on one another and the older stronger roots nourish the younger, weaker sprouts. (See John 17:23)
Grafted in Produces His Image
Bolded words are my emphasis.
This is most often done for fruit trees, and virtually all trees in orchards are grafted. Grafting in the orchard is done because the seeds of a fruit tree cannot reproduce true to their genetics. Therefore, the branch of a desirable tree is grafted to a suitable rootstock.
We are all made in the image of God, but ever since the fall of man, we cannot produce our true genetics on our own (the fruits of the Spirit). Grafting into God’s Family provides nourishment from the body of Christ. Then the Holy Spirit transforms us into the image of God. (2 Corinthians 3:18)
Take note here that a graft may be ugly at first but the results will be quite wonderful.
Grafted In Does Not Take Away Our Identity
Multiple varieties can be grafted to the same rootstock to produce a novelty tree that will produce several different fruits on the same tree. Most roses are also a product of grafting to a different rootstock.
Isn’t that marvelous? It still produces its own variety of fruit. We don’t lose our identity when we give our lives to God. We just get our source of strength from Him. Our strengths and abilities remain and we add to the beauty of the family tree and the root adds to our strength. (1 Corinthians 12:12-14)
Grafting in Takes Time and Patience
When grafting a plant one must take care to do it properly.
Cutting the root
Carefully placing the scion (twig).
Binding the graft with rubber bands, graft clips, tie tape, and plastic.
Then we wait 30 days or more. Some grafts take a year or more before they begin to produce fruit.
I found it interesting that the graft must remain tightly bound for a while until the graft is successful. The graft must grow with the root to become one with it. (Ephesians 3:14-19) (This reminds me of raising our children. We must apply stiff rules until the child matures.
How often do we throw new Christians right into ministry before allowing them to grow in faith? Other times we just praise the Lord but never disciple them at all. Then we wonder why they fell away from their faith or why we don’t see transformed lives. We need to take care to place new Christians where they will receive the most needed nourishment. It takes time to realize new growth and productibility.
Repair damaged plants. Large trees or specimen plants can be damaged easily at or slightly above the soil line. The damage may be caused by maintenance equipment (such as lawnmowers, trenchers, or construction equipment), or by disease, rodents, or winter storms. The damage can often be repaired by planting several seedlings of the same species around the injured tree and grafting them above the injury. This procedure is referred to as inarching, approach grafting, or bridge grafting.
Storms of life can damage Christians severely. At these times, a strong community of Christians should nurture them back to health; pulling them in close and away for the storms so they have time to heal. How often do we expect one (even ourselves) to keep keeping on when we should pull in and just let God and His family love us back to health.
We have the wrong idea if we believe Christians are like the Energizer bunny. Ca we keep going and going and going? No! We need refueling. We need time for repairs and definitely rest.
Grafting Causes Faster Growth
Increase the growth rate of seedlings. The seedling progeny of many fruit and nut breeding programs, if left to develop naturally, may require 8 to 12 years to become fruitful. However, if these progeny are grafted onto established plants, the time required for them to flower and fruit is reduced dramatically. Another way to increase the growth rate of seedlings is to graft more than one seedling onto a mature plant. Using this procedure as a breeding tool saves time, space, and money.
What? A fruit tree on it’s own may take up to 12 years to begin to produce. But if grafted into another older tree it will mature much faster.
Ok, then. Let’s talk fellowship with other believers. It’s true: We can grow on our own just reading the Bible and praying, but fellowship with other Christians helps us grow faster. It’s why James encourages us to “not stop meeting together.”
Don’t stop meeting together with other believers, which some people have gotten into the habit of doing. Instead, encourage each other, especially as you see the day drawing near.
Hebrews 10:25-27 Common English Bible (CEB)
Grafting in is Highly Important For Our Faith
In Conclusion, we all need to work together grafting new stems into the family of God: Bringing in new believers, watching for believers who have been hurt or been through a storm.
Grafting makes us all one in Christ.
It transforms us into His Image.
We don’t lose our identity, but rather, grafting strengthens it.