Posted by: pastormikemcdowell | August 18, 2013

August 18, 2013 ” “Joyful, Patient, and Faithful”

 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. (Romans 12:12)

Good Morning Beloved of God!

A few weeks ago, I had the occasion to do a little hospital visitation in Charlotte. Being somewhat unfamiliar with this particular hospital, I asked for directions at the nurses’ station to the nearest elevator. I was told that someone would lead me there, but forewarned that this particular guide was one of a rather “unpleasant” personality. The nurses were not incorrect in their assessment. I greeted the gentlemen with a “Good morning”, to which he responded “What’s good about it?” I shared what i considered to be bright things for which i was grateful to God. He just grunted. I thanked him for his service and wished him a blessed day…no response beyond an icy stare. I have no idea what has transpired in his life to bring him to that state of being, so I prayed for him, and I still do, when the Lord reminds me of that encounter, (as he just did)! Paul, in writing to the Christians in Rome, a.k.a. “Pagan Central”, understood more than most the challenges of living in a world where joy was a scarce commodity…where affliction and persecution were a common occurrence…where loyalty to anyone but Caesar was punishable by death in the arena. Yet, his encouraging words to these persecuted faithful, whose attitude could easily have become as dour as that gentleman I met at the hospital, was: “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”  What was this “hope” of which he referred? It was the assurance of God’s presence in the most difficult of situations, promised by the Lord Himself. What was the motivation for patience when afflicted? It was the understanding that just as Christ endured the cross that meant salvation, the afflictions of this present world only serve to strengthen us as we identify more with Christ’s suffering and Christ’s victory. What is this call to faithfulness in prayer? It is the realization that we worship a God with Whom we have an ongoing relationship…one to be nurtured through continual communication, that is, through prayer.  All three of these encouragements have to do with perseverance!  Earlier in the letter, Paul encouraged the Christians in Rome by saying “suffering produces perseverance; perseverance produces character; character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us.” (Rom 5: 3-5). So let us strive to be joyful, patient, and faithful in our daily lives. Let’s pray!

Gracious and Ever-Present Lord; As we journey through this day we have been given, may we reflect ion the sure hope we have in Your abiding presence. This hope enables us to endure those challenges that may come our way, and leads us to an even greater desire to spend time with you throughout the day in prayer. Fill our hearts with joy, patience, and faithfulness. This we pray in Jesus’ Name. Amen!

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