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Summary: If you’re going to climb a mountain like "life" you need some tools...some handles.

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THE PASTOR’S POINTS

sermon ministry of

CEDAR LODGE BAPTIST CHURCH

Thomasville, NC

Dr. Russell Brownworth, D.Min., Pastor

January 11, 2004

1 Thessalonians 5:16-28 (NIV)

We are about to begin a series of four messages on "Life Handles" taken from 1 Thessalonians 5:16 - 2 Thessalonians 3:5. The longer title is "Life Handles - Patience For the Long Haul".

Handles are like rock climbing tools. Frankly, if you’re going to go up a mountain like "life" it pays to have some handles to grab-on and hold-on! The key verse of this series even says it that way:

…Hold on to the good 1 Thessalonians 5:21b

The Long Haul has to do with the fact that we do better to base our lives on principles than on rules. Rules tell you where you’d better not go; Principles show you the way to go. Life principles for the long haul are those which make life worthwhile and useful for a lifetime.

The Godly principle we seek is patience! Now, admittedly that is a dangerous and semi-despised word, especially in the Christian community. Everyone knows what Jesus’ brother James said about it…when you pray for patience, tribulation won’t be far behind. [1]

It helps to start with a definition:

Patience (Pa"tience) (?), n. [F. patience, fr. L. patientia. See Patient.]

1. The state or quality of being patient; the power of suffering with fortitude; uncomplaining endurance of evils or wrongs, as toil, pain, poverty, insult, oppression, calamity, etc…. [2]

Did you check-out all those words; especially the ones like pain and suffering? How about that uncomplaining? Waiting is one thing; suffering added to waiting stretches my admiration for patience. I have a lot of company in this. One psychologist put it this way:

No one wants to wait for anything and, for the most part, no one has to anymore. Waiting is interpreted as pain. ... People walk into my office and say they are Christians, but I see no difference except that they want to be happy and now expect God to make it so.

The problem is that, in this country, you can have what you want when you want it most of the time. ... People like the fact that they can buy a 50-foot tree and instantly plant it in their yard. Why on earth would anyone want to wait on relationships or wait on God? [3]

A few other wise sayings about patience:

Bill Gothard: Patience [is] accepting a difficult situation without giving God a deadline to remove it.

Arnold Glasgow: The key to everything is patience. You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it open.

Henry Ward Beecher: There is no such thing as preaching patience into people unless the sermon is so long they have to practice it while they hear. [4]

And, of course, my favorite given to me some time ago by my elder, married daughter, Jennifer:

I pray for -

Wisdom - to understand my man;

Love - to forgive him;

Patience - for his moods;

Because, Lord if I pray for Strength, I’ll beat him to death.

Amen.

We are all glad Jennifer found the strength there is in patience! And that is what this message, and this series of messages will be all about, finding the life handles of patient strength for the long haul of life…


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