There’s Actually Something Else More Important Than Ketchup?

Carly Simon wrote the song, “Anticipation” in 1971.  I’m hearing the tune play in my head as I begin this blog.  

Carly said she wrote this song about Cat Stevens while she was waiting for him to pick her up for their first date.  

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In the late 70’s…this same song was made famous by a Heinz Ketchup commercial. Heinz Ketchup is thick and pours slowly.  In the commercial, a young boy would be shown waiting patiently for the ketchup to come out of the bottle as the chorus of “Anticipation” played in the background.

Our Bible TEXT:  JAMES 5:7-11

Well, I know something else that is more worth waiting for than KETCHUP.

It’s the day when:

  • In the twinkling of an eye…
  • That trumpet will sound…
  • We will see the One riding a white horse whose name is faithful and true…
  • The King of Kings and the Lord of Lords will return to take us home!

Until that day comes, we must WAIT–BE PATIENT in waiting for the Lord, because it will be worth the wait!

JAMES tells us in verses 7-8,

The Message bible:

A_Little_More_Patience[7] [8]  “Meanwhile friends, wait patiently for the Master’s Arrival. You see farmers do this all the time, waiting for their valuable crops to mature, patiently letting the rain do its slow but sure work.  Be patient like that.  Stay steady and strong.  The Master could arrive at any time.”

 

In VERSE 7, James says, “Be patient, then, brothers, until the LORD’S coming!”  

“BE PATIENT” comes from a compound of “long” and “temper” – [Bible Knowledge Commentary.]  

The idea I received from James’ letter, is Setting the timer for a long run; Focus on the final lap in the race of life; Look ahead to the Lord’s coming.

Even though he doesn’t state it that way exactly, another side of this that I believe James is getting at:

DON’T BECOME IMPATIENT!

In other words, do not lose heart; don’t get discouraged; never give up!

2 Timothy 4:7-8 (AMP):

[7] I have fought the good (worthy, honorable, and noble) fight, I have finished the race.  I have kept (firmly held) the faith.

[8] [As to what remains] henceforth there is laid up for me the [victor’s] crown of righteousness [for being right with God and doing right], which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me and recompense me on that [great] day–and not to me only, but also to all those who have loved and yearned for and welcomed His appearing (His return).

The world, and yes, even some churches, have tried to tell us Jesus’ return is fiction (the “preterist” view).  But we should know that when God makes a PROMISE…He keeps it!

We know and keep heart, that the RETURN of Christ Jesus is being delayed to give more people a chance to respond to the GOSPEL message.

2 Peter 3:8-9 (NIV):

[8] But do not forget this one thing, dear friends:  With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.

[9] The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

JAMES tells us instead to be like the farmer who waits expectantly for the precious harvest from the land.  

(Verse 7) “[See how] he keeps up his patient [vigil] over it until it receives the early and late rains.”  

The early and late rains of Autumn and Spring.

The first germinates the SEED and the second MATURES it.  The farmer may wonder if he is ever going to see the FRUIT of his labor, but he waits patiently until he receives the HARVEST and the financial benefits that come with it.

The Coming of the Lord is at Hand!

JAMES tells us that we should be like a farmer (verse 8).

Believers are to allow the assurance of Christ’s return to help them be PATIENT and take courage.

Whatever the circumstances, JAMES is encouraging us to be rock solid in our FAITH; to have a faith-inspired JOY that interweaves every part of our lives.  Like the farmer, we invest in a long time future HOPE.

  • We need to stand firm; to strengthen; to take courage; to stand firm in one’s mind.
  • We must set our hearts upon the LORD’S RETURN, for His return is near!

The idea is that it is drawing ever so close and it can happen at any moment.  So we must focus, set our hearts upon His return–be looking for it every day just as the farmer looks for the great day of harvest.

Now I am not suggesting that we all just sit around, waiting for Jesus to return, but we should live with the realization, that time is short and we have important work to get done.

Keith Green, a songwriter, singer, during the mid to late 70’s, wrote a song entitled To Obey Is Better Than Sacrifice with this beginning lyric:

“You say that I am coming back soon, but you act like I’ll never return”

We must not be like the “wicked servant” who hid his master’s talent in the ground, but until He comes, we must be about the Master’s business.

JESUS is coming soon, so we must be about the business of the kingdom; reaching lost souls for Christ’s sake and not our own!

We Also Must Be PATIENT with one another (verse 9):

LIVING BIBLE (TLB), says it this way:

[9] “Don’t grumble about each other, brothers.  Are you yourselves above criticism? For see, the great Judge is coming!  He is almost here.  Let Him do, whatever criticizing must be done.”

JAMES, in verse 9, says “Don’t grumble about each other”.  Most people, I think, knows what GRUMBLING means, but perhaps a reminder might be appropriate here.

Google’s online dictionary:  [1] “complain or protest about something in a bad-tempered but typically muted way.”

OUCH!

a37f21ba274e26480a1ee3c64c041f67How many times have I used the synonyms associated with “grumbling” about someone, or something within the body of Christ:  bellyaching, beef, bitching, griping…  

“Grumbling” against one another indicates a careless attitude of speech.

Jesus tells us, in Matthew 5:22,

“But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment.  If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court.  And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell”  (NLT)

And as a side-note of emphasis:  If your bible translation uses the word “Raca”– the Jews used it as a word of contempt; it is derived from a root meaning “to spit”.

Finding yourself grumbling after a Sunday morning service? 

“The pastor’s message left me flat”–you just “spit” on your pastor.

“OUCH”, again!!

The JUDGE Stands at the Door –

JAMES tells us that our major concern about this kind of behavior is “the Judge standeth before the door” (KJV).

If we believe that JESUS could come at any minute, in the twinkling of an eye, then we don’t want Him to find us doing what He commanded us not to do!

The JUDGE is not far away, but He’s standing at the front door.

The knowledge of Christ’s presence not only is comforting, it can also be convicting–especially when we begin behaving as if he were far away:

  • When the LORD comes, let Him catch us doing His will.
  • When the LORD comes, let Him catch us obeying His Word.
  • When the LORD comes, let Him catch us doing what is right.

We Must Be PATIENT Like the Prophets of Old (verses 10-11)

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VERSE 10 (AMP):

“[As] an example of suffering and ill-treatment together with patience, brethren, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord [as His messengers].”

Part of JAMES’ point here is that God doesn’t preserve FROM suffering those He has called, rather, He PRESERVES them IN suffering.  

They, the Prophets of old, are an example to all believers because of their obedience and faithfulness, despite the hardships they endured.

PATIENCE OF JOB –

Now Job may have complained, but he did not stop trusting and obeying God [SEE Job 23:10-14].

And the LORD did restore him!

I particularly noticed in study, how James, in verse 11, gives encouragement to his readers–

“…and you have seen the Lord’s end, inasmuch as the Lord

is full of pity and compassion and tenderness and mercy.”

The LORD’S “end” or goal, is for us to grow in FAITH & CHARACTER through it all!

Through, or “IN” our difficulties we encounter.

God doesn’t enjoy watching us going through ‘stuff’–SUFFERINGS.  He allows each one of us to FACE PAIN, physical or spiritual, because a greater good will be produced EVEN THOUGH we don’t always see it!

In the meantime, JAMES is encouraging us to…

TRUST IN GOD,

WAIT PATIENTLY and remember,

GOD’S TENDERNESS AND MERCY!

In what area do you need PATIENCE today?

Isaiah 40:31 (NIV):

[31] But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles;

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…they will run and not grow weary,

…they will walk and not be faint.


CREDITS:

Bible Knowledge Commentary.

Keith Green – To Obey Is Better Than Sacrifice Lyrics @ http://www.metrolyrics.com

Google Online Dictionary.

Photo Credits:  Google Image Search.

Bible Translations Used:  Amplified (AMP); The MESSAGE; New Living Translation (NLT); New International Version (NIV); King James Version (KJV).

Be Careful What You Ask For (PART ONE)

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In the past several months, during America’s political process, the world has its eyes on the events as they unfold during the campaign process of nominating a Presidential candidate.  On the way, we will read and hear many concession speeches.  

In 2004, Secretary John Kerry, then a United States Senator, was running a fierce campaign for the highest office in the land; trying to secure his place in history as the next president.  But it was not to be.  The following is his CONCESSION speech  [See Footnote [i] ]. 

“I would not give up this fight if there was a chance that we would prevail. But it is now clear that even with all the provisional ballots are counted, which they will be, there won’t be enough outstanding votes for us to be able to win Ohio. And, therefore, we cannot win this election.”

[Definition, “to concede” :  to confess, admit as being true, or to acknowledge defeat”]

Senator Kerry’s concession speech wasn’t the first, nor will it be the last.

In the Bible, God too gave a concession speech.  One might say that He prefaced His speech when He said back in Genesis 6:3,  “My Spirit shall not forever dwell and strive with man.”

In First Samuel, Chapter 8, we read in the verses that God was no longer popular with the people.  The masses thought He was irrelevant in their lives; unable to meet the needs of their nation.  God had lost the popular vote, failed to secure the electoral votes and conceded by giving a speech through His former running mate, the Honorable Prophet Samuel.

THE PROBLEM (found in vs. 1-3):

[1] WHEN SAMUEL was old, he made his sons judges over Israel.  [2] Now the name of his firstborn was Joel and the name of his second, Abijah.  They were judges in Beersheba.  [3] His sons did not walk in his ways, but turned aside after gain, took bribes, and perverted justice.

The prophet Samuel had appointed his two sons to become judges over Israel.  It seems as if Samuel was trying to create a family dynasty and placed his sons in a position where they were charged with judging ALL the people righteously, yet they instead had some favorites.

Samuel was a godly man, yet his children went astray.  But you can’t be in a position of LEADERSHIP, claiming to be on God’s side, all the while JUDGING with partiality.

SCRIPTURE says they, “turned aside after gain, took bribes, and perverted justice.”

In other words, only they only supported those who would make them wealthy.  If you didn’t have any money, or any high-ranking social status, then you, unfortunately, were oppressed in the name of God.

One can appear to be in a position of FAVOR, receive BLESSINGS, yet be out of favor with God.

These two young men used their religious positions, backed by the name of God, to gain political and material advantages.  Sound familiar?

They gave perks to the wealthy and if you had a problem with those in power, Joel and Abijah were bought off by the corporate powers that be, so you didn’t have to a fighting chance.

Many confess God but do not serve Him.  And, the last time my Bible defined “AUTHORITY”, YOU HAD TO BE A SERVANT LEADER to ALL the people NOT just to the people in your inner circle.

THE PEOPLE (vs. 4-5):

So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah.  They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have”  (NIV Bible).

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The Bible teaches us, when the blind leads the blind, they all fall in the ditch.

Here we see in verse 4, the elders of the people, the Senate, the House of Representatives, came together in a joint session and told Samuel that they wanted a king like all the other nations, all because his sons were not walking with God.  The “theys” saw an opportunity to pursue their endorsement because of the failures and mistakes of others–minimizing God!  They were elders, and instead of them using their influence to unite the people, they told the people a partial truth, okay, a LIE, damaging their unique relationship with God.

All this was a teaching moment to me in my meditation on the verses here.  Neither the LEADERS nor the PEOPLE were praying and seeking God.  Instead, they were trying to get from man what they had available with God.

According to verse 20, they wanted a KING to fight for them, lead them in their frustrations and fears.  No doubt, all because they were a ‘civil religious’ nation; probably all the time thinking they were doing the right thing–suppressing the poor and disadvantaged while demanding that all they needed to have was a LEADER to further their program.

THE PROPHET (vs. 6-9):

[6] But it displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to govern us.”  And Samuel prayed to the Lord.  [7] And the Lord said to Samuel, “Hearken to the voice of the people in all they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not be King over them.  [8] According to all the works which they have done since I brought them up out of Egypt even to this day, forsaking Me and serving other gods, so they also do to you.  [9] So listen now to their voice; only solemnly warn them and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them”  (AMP Bible).

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To Be Continued in PART TWO…

 


CREDITS AND FOOTNOTES:

Footnote [I]:  History’s Best Victory And Concession Speeches – November 6, 2012, Northwest Public Radio.

PHOTOS:  Google Image Search.

Bible Translations:  AMPLIFIED Bible, except where noted.