Update: I’m just back from a miserable walk in crazy heat. I’ve been lax for the past 2-3 weeks–too much work, travel and other things on my plate, that I’ve neglected this piece of my daily routine. But I had the bandwidth today to put in a long stretch of miles, and hopefully that will be the kick needed to get going again.
Because I knew I’d be on the move for a long stretch of time, I used the minutes to catch up on some sermons. I listened to pieces of a few, before I landed on this one and listened to it in entirety. The words shared in the sermon are a much better examination of the passage that I wrote about below. Much better. In fact, I wish I had listened to this on the challenging day that I wrote the post below. And I doubt you’ll ever use the dumb cliché “Don’t pray for patience, God may give it to you.” again. I’ve always thought that was ridiculous anyway.
Also, the speaker gives good explanation to the piece about “grumbling”, which I chose not to address as you can see below. And stuff about Job that I didn’t address either.
Good stuff. Well worth listening to, particularly if you are finding it challenging to stand fast. Maybe you will find it encouraging. You can find the sermon at this link:
Our Vision of Faithfulness in Hard Times (July 19th, Pastor Gene Cornett)
(See below for a second sermon recommendation)
I really had no idea that there was corn in Virginia.
Peanuts, yes. Corn? That was a surprise this weekend as we drove towards the Shenandoah mountains.
For fun, we chose the “Least Use of Freeways” option on the GPS to get there. That made for a much more interesting trip. And, lots of corn. Good, tall, healthy-looking corn. This girl is from Iowa; she knows healthy corn when she sees it.
My soul is heavy tonight. Over specific things, and over broader things. It’s been a tough day. Not a bad day; just a tough one. I am, as we all tend to get at times, a bit overwhelmed. The pull to run is strong.
But running, in whatever form “running” takes, produces no good results. Therefore, the only option is to stand fast. To be steadfast.
We find evidence of this in this passage from James 5:
Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. 8 You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. ………11 Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.
There is some good stuff in the middle of this passage about not grumbling, but I’ve set that aside for now to focus on verses 7, 8 and 11.
There are few people who are more patient than farmers. They know the importance of the early rains–the rains that water the baby seeds, bringing life to the young seedlings. And they know the importance of the late rains–the rains that refresh the parched land from the summer sun and bring home the harvest. They know the patience that comes from working hard–applying day-in and day-out hard work to the task at hand. Results are not immediate.
We, too, are to be patient. In the same way that the farmer establishes his routine, we are to establish our hearts, for God will come again. I think these verses are referring to His ultimate return, but I wonder if it could also mean that He will and is working even today. I don’t know. I very well could be wrong.
But, here’s the key—we are to establish our hearts. And we do so, by remaining steadfast. Unwavering. Certain of who God is. Certain of our need for Him. Certain that He is near. Certain that He sees and knows. Certain that He will not abandon. Certain that He will forgive.
I am not very steadfast tonight. My steadfastness is shaky. Some days are just like that.
But surely, surely I have seen the purpose of God, like a farmer sees the ear of corn when he plants the small seed and waits for the early rains. He is compassionate. And merciful. I can number off the evidence that points to that–the list is long.
And, I will fight to trust that He will give me-and all of us–the grace needed to be steadfast, even (or especially) when our very unsettledness makes it challenging to stand fast.
Please God. Help me establish my heart, in you. Help us establish our hearts, in you.
Grace, God, please. And mercy. And sleep.
I still had miles to go after the above sermon, so I rolled right into the next sermon which delivered quite a kick. Sometimes, though, we need beat up a bit. Admonished and chastised a bit.
The subject was “words” and it is an examination of the last part of James 5. Words matter; this sermon does a good job of explaining the importance of words, and the importance of shutting up at times.
Most valuable-ly, though, it is a decent exploration of prayer. Particularly the part about Elijah as well as stuff about family/community as Christ-followers.
Words That Restore (July 26th, also Pastor/Dr. Gene Cornett)