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God's patience!
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...Much more than you think!

You know as Christians we can be so hard on ourselves. Especially when it comes to the mistakes, and sin in our lives!
We forget that God's mercy and grace is so "over abundant'", and "over flowing".
We get so upset when we think that we have failed Him! But what we do not undertsand is that God's patience with us is so great!! He knows we make mistakes. And He expects that we will fail at times.
That's why He gave us Jesus to begin with (John 3:16)! He knew we could not "get it right" on our own!!!
He paid the penalty for our sin:
 "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
                                                 (Romans 5:8 NKJV)
 God sacrificed His own Son to do for us, what we could not do for ourselves! And because of His sacrifice we are "sanctified" (i.e. "set apart") by His sacrifice:
  "By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all."
                                            (Hebrews 10:10 NKJV)
And while we are sanctified (i.e. "set apart"). God is not finished working with us! He is continually, "sanctifying" us, setting us apart, as His people and this takes time:
  "For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified."
                                           (Hebrews 10:14 NKJV)
And through this process He is ever "molding" us into His Son's image. He is "conforming us" (Romans 8:29). Making us more "like" Jesus. And while He is doing this we will experience ourselves being "pruned" (our hearts):
 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
                                                   (John 15:1-3 NKJV)
 This can be painful at times, but very necessary. You see if we are to grow into who He would have us be, it requires that He "prune away" the "dead branches" in our lives (for more info click here: The "reality" of the real Christian life!). Whatever those "dead branches" may be. Whether its pride, idolatry, lying, covetousness, foul language, lust, or whatever the areas in our lives that need to be "pruned away".
And while we may get very upset with ourselves for our mistakes, our sin, He knows we will "fall" (fail) at times. He knows it will take time for us to become who He would have us be!
We are often much harder on ourselves than He is! You see God does not like sin, especially from His own people. But what we do not realize is that God's mercy, grace, forgiveness, love, does not end when we become His people! It's just BEGINNING!!
You see God did not save you, only to just to "wait to see you fall later". He saved us that we would become His people. Worship Him, and have fellowship with Him! And He is so patient with us while He is "molding" us.
Just as He is patient (longsuffering) for all to come to Him:
 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
                                                    (2 Peter 3:9 NKJV)
And we need to be mindful of this! You see the world has such an awful view of who God is! Many see Him as someone "just waiting to condemn". But if this were true. He NEVER would have offered up His own Son for us!! Nor would He have such patience for such "fallible" beings (i.e. "us") who make such awful (and so many) mistakes!!!
In fact Jesus put this a parable:
  "Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.”’”
                                                    (Matthew 13:24-30 NKJV)
You see, we are the "wheat" that Jesus is talking about! He knows that we still have "growing" to do, and that we will fail sometimes! So He is patient while we are learning and growing into who He would have us be!! We are not "perfect", but we are "perfected" by Jesus' sacrifice for us on the cross (Heb. 10:14)! If we could have "got it right" on our own, than there would have never been a need for Jesus to die for us to begin with!!
You see God knows our weaknesses and He knows (for us that are truly believers) that we struggle daily with our sin. That is why He is so patient with us. Now this is not an excuse for us to be "lazy", or complacent when it comes to following Him. But it does mean that He knows that we are "works in progress", not "mass produced" disciples! We will make mistakes along the way!!
And so when we do, all we have to do is sincerely repent, and turn back to Him:
  "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
                                                   (1 John 1:9 NKJV)
 "My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world."
                                                 (1 John 2:1-2 NKJV)
God knows that there will be times when we will "fall"! And what He wants from us is to "get back up" when we fall and keep following Him (for more info click here: It's all about perseverance...)!!!
You see this christian life is not about "getting it right" all the time! It's about allowing God to do His work in us!! And getting back up when we fall!!! And keep following Him. Realizing of course, that He is patient with us, knowing that we need His help!
So the next time you think that you have failed God. Remember this, He is not finished with you yet!!!

Rev. John Heintzman
Evangelist Non-Denominational
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POHOM Columbus, Ohio
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