Sunday, September 25, 2016

LOVE DOES NOT ENVY: The Most Excellent Way Series III

I Corinthians 13:1-13 
Introduction: ONIDA once the second largest Television Brand in India used to have an Iconic tagline in their Ads in the 80’s. It used to read, “Owner’s Pride, Neighbour’s Envy.” You can Imagine, everyone would like to own a ONIDA TV set in their home, including my God fearing parents. In the eighties, in India it was the ONIDA TV that made a lot people become envious.
            A recent study found that heavy Facebook users can experience envy -- which can ultimately lead to extreme sadness. The researchers surveyed 736 college students and found that, basically, if you quietly stalk your friends on Facebook and then realize that your life doesn't measure up to theirs, you feel bad about yourself. "If Facebook is used to see how well an acquaintance is doing financially or how happy an old friend is in his relationship –these are all things that cause envy among users -- use of the site can lead to feelings of depression,"[1]
            In the eighties it was the TV, and now it is the excess use of Facebook, tomorrow may be something else that could make people envy. Destroying all the TV sets in the world or unsubscribing from Facebook isn’t going to solve the actual problem, it is like dealing with symptoms rather than dealing with the root. What is actually causing so many become envious and depressed? What is the antidote for this virus called Envy? How can we cultivate a life that is free of envy hence free of sadness and depression? In order to discover such life we have been on a journey.
            We have been learning about the most excellent way based on Steve Macchia’s book “Broken & Whole, where Macchia worked out various aspects of love in I Corinthians 13. The Beatles have mesmerized the world through their music and songs like, “All you need is love, love, love.” Yes I believe, all we need is love, but not the Beatles version, but God’s love found in I Corinthians 13. This love chapter addresses most of the concerns facing our world today. It talks about what love is, and is not, and what love does and does not do. So far we looked at love being patient and being kind. Today let’s look at what love doesn’t do, “Love Does Not Envy.”
            The context, of the Apostle Paul writing the letter to the Church in Corinth was a report sent by the household of Chloe. (I Cor1:11).That report included certain misconducts in the church such as: divisions, gross immorality, and law suits between Christians in front of unbelievers, practical problems in living the Christian life, and marriage problems. There was also confusion about certain rituals of worship, and food offered to the idols.
            It was certainly not the way that God intended for them to live. So Paul wanted to show them, the most excellent way. He showed them the way of love. He told them that love is being patient with one another and being kind to one another. Then he went on to explain what love does and does not do. Love does not Envy.
            Envy is a longing for something that currently isn’t yours and the begrudging feeling of discontent, dislike or ill will towards the person who possesses that which you desire. Envy comes from the Latin word which means “to give the other the evil eye” of malice or spite. Why do we envy? Does envy always have to do with material things? What happens when we envy? Is it wrong to envy? Is it considered sin? Let’s find out what the Bible says about envy.
            Historically speaking, whenever some country went to war with another country, or relationships have been destroyed, families, marriages were split, and churches divided, the root cause often has been the envy. Many times the root cause of heinous crimes is envy. How did “Envy” get its beginning? Who is the author and the orchestrator of envy? It all started in the heart of Satan when he coveted the throne of God by wanting to become like Him. In Isaiah 14: 12-15, we read this sinister, trait  “Envy” beginning to take root in the heart of Satan. “You said in your heart, “I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” But you are brought down to the realm of the dead, to the depths of the pit.”
            After being thrown down, Satan went about with his sinister plan of destroying mankind through envy.  Let’s see how else Envy caused a havoc in the human history. Whenever Envy surfaced it ended in death and destruction of life and relationships: Genesis 3:1-3, Eve coveted the forbidden fruit; she ate it and gave it to her husband who also ate it. That act of defiance and disobedience is called sin. The wages of sin is death.  We all have sinned, so we inherited death
            Genesis 4, Abel brought a better offering to God than his brother Cain. God accepted Abel’s offering and rejected Cain’s offering. Out of anger and envy Cain killed his brother.  Knowing Envy’s destructive effect God included it in the Ten Commandments. The 10th commandment reads:  “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” Exodus 20: 17.
            One would think after God giving this explicitly strict command people would follow it, right? Well that did not always happen and it continued to plague generations. The classical story of what envy can do, is the story of King David and Bathsheba. 2 Samuel 11. How about King Ahab, who conspired together with his wife Jezebel and got Naboth killed just because he refused to sell a vineyard which was his ancestral inheritance. What motivated King Ahab to commit such a heinous act? (I Kings 21,22)
            What originated in the heart of Satan, surfaced in the Garden of Eden, has continued its destructive path all the way up to New Testament times. Jesus and his disciples have warned people of its dangers and condemned it in very strong terms: “For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you.” Mk 7:21-23. Envy like all other sins begins in our heart.
            The Apostle Paul, explains what happens to those who remain envious “When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19-21. Both Jesus and Paul emphasize where envy originates and its devastating effect on believers. For that very same reason the early church fathers included “Envy” in the list among the seven deadly sins.
            In whichever way you look at it, envy is a horrible heart disease. Proverbs 14:30, “A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body; jealousy is like cancer in the bones.” In NIV it reads, “but envy rots the bones.” How can we overcome this deadly and cancerous sin?
            No matter how we define envy, it simply doesn’t belong in the heart of a believer especially in those who are in leadership positions. Envy eats away at the core of love and is not an acceptable way to relate to one another. Envy and the accompanying covetousness and jealousy, is in opposition to love in many disparaging ways. If we don’t pay close attention, envy could cause quarrels and fights in families and even churches. James 4:1-2.
            The bible calls envy wrong, not good for us and goes on to list it among the sins of human heart. What is Sin? It is missing the mark. Sin is when we know something is wrong, and is not good for us, but we deliberately go-ahead and do it any way. Sin separates us from God and alienates us from others. Sin hurts us, and hurts those whom we love and loved by.
            Envy has been the main culprit in many broken relationships and a leading cause of depression. I would like to suggest a few practical steps in, overcoming envy and cultivating a life free of envy. Firstly, just like with any other sin, we recognize envy is sin, so we call envy by its name and we repent of it and ask God for his forgiveness. Secondly, we make an inventory of all the blessings, all the things, all the meaningful relationships you have been given and give thanks and praise to God.
            Thirdly, learn to be content. Contentment is the antidote for envy. Paul said, “For I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all this through Christ who strengthens me” Phil 4:11-12. Finally, more on a practical way, if you are spending too much time on social media, I urge you to reduce your hours on the internet and on the TV.
            I urge you to find time for Bible reading, prayer, find time to be with and enjoy people, rejoice with those who rejoice and come alongside those who have a hard time.  Let the words “Thank you” come often out of your mouth towards God and people.  When we live life through the lens of gratitude it changes our attitude and we become so much happier.   Let me end with another antidote for envy from 1 Thessalonians 5:16 “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus, Amen!


Sunday, September 11, 2016

LOVE IS KIND: I CORINTHIANS 13The Most Excellent Way Part II

I Corinthians 13:1-13
Introduction: There is a World War II story that shows how the smallest deed can make all the difference. During the last months of the War, the British conducted daily bombing raids over Berlin. One night the bombers were attacked by a large group of German fighter planes. During the dogfight one of the Bomber Planes got separated from the protection of British Fighter Planes. They watched helplessly as a German Fighter Plane came within range. Bullets whizzed by over and over until five bullets slammed into the fuselage of the bomber near the gas tank.
            The crew braced for the explosion, but it never came. Fuel poured from the bullet holes, but there was no explosion. After landing, a mechanic handed the pilot 5 bullets he had pulled from the plane. The pilot carefully opened the shells. They were empty --- except for a tiny wad of paper with a note that read: "We are Polish Prisoners of War forced to make bullets. When guards do not look, we do not fill with powder. Is not much, but is the best we can do."
            In a world where people kill each other to gain supremacy and control five tiny bullets, made by a few weak and lowly prisoners, a small act of kindness ... but for the Crew of that British Bomber it made all the difference.[1] We have been on a journey to discover the most excellent way based on Steve Macchia’s book “Broken & Whole, where Macchia worked out various aspects of love in I Corinthians 13. Last week we looked at love being patient with God, ourselves and others. Today we will look at love being kind.
            The context, of the Apostle Paul writing the letter to the Church in Corinth was a report sent by the household of Chloe. (I Cor1:11).That report included certain misconducts in the church such as: divisions, gross immorality, and law suits between Christians in front of unbelievers, practical problems in living the Christian life, and marriage problems. There was also confusion about certain rituals of worship, and food offered to the idols.
            Reading such a discouraging report must have broken Paul’s heart. Since, he planted that church he was concerned about their way of living. It was certainly not the way that God would have them live. Paul wanted to show them, the most excellent way. He showed them the importance of being patient with one another and bearing one another’s misbehaviors. In the church in Corinth many issues were not appropriately addressed due to lack of kindness. Let’s explore what kindness is, the basis of kindness, the benefits and how we can cultivate kindness.
            Kindness is the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate. Synonyms: kindliness, kindheartedness, warm-heartedness, affection, warmth, gentleness, concern, care etc.
Steve Macchia notes, “To be kind is to exhibit a grace toward another, and even to oneself that exudes both warmth and protection. To do so is to offer an embrace of loving-kindness and fortification against any attack that would seek to destroy love among others. Kindness is soft and bold, merciful and strong, compassionate and courageous.”[2] In a world where there is so much of rudeness, harshness and cursing it is refreshing to find people who are loving, and kind.
            Kindness and patience are some of the moral attributes of God. When God created us in his image we too were endowed with these attributes, but due to sin we have lost them. But we can rediscover and cultivate them so that once again we can reflect these beautiful attributes of God in our lives. That will happen when we begin to live the most excellent way. Apostle Paul paves the way by saying, “Love is patient, love is kind.” Though we are looking at them separately they go together hand in hand. We see Paul using the same combination four other times: Romans 2:4, “Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?
            Paul talking about his hardships notes, “as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses…”In purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love.” II Cor 6:6. He encourages Colossians to put on the spiritual clothing, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Col 3:12 In Gal 5:22, he attributes patience and kindness to the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
            I would like to visualize Patience and kindness as the two links that hold a necklace together. In Proverbs 3:3, we read a father’s advice to his son, “Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.” This passage encourages us to put on a neckless of love and faithfulness. But what holds this neckless in place? The two links called, “Patience & Kindness.” What is the Biblical basis of kindness?
            Kindness is one of the moral attributes of God. Consider the following scriptures that display the kindness of God. “He gives his king great victories; he shows unfailing kindness to his anointed, to David and his descendants forever.” 2 Samuel 22:51
            Isaiah 54:8, “In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you,” says the Lord your Redeemer.”  Jeremiah 9:24“But let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the Lord.”
            Let’s ponder on this scripture. This scripture explains by nature our God is kind, just and righteous, not only that, he delights in kindness, justice and righteousness. If you want to make God happy, then act kindly, fight for justice and live a right life before Him. God does not want your money, and not even your sacrifices all He requires of you are just three things. “He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8
            Can you imagine what that would look like in a world where there is so much of intimidation, bullying and unkindness, if everyone who knows God loves kindness and become the dispensers of kindness? We will have a loving and kind world. It would be good for everyone. I remember working at Father Bill’s where some of my colleagues put on a tough exterior and often answered guests with a harsh and intimidating tone. I realized that they didn’t need another intimidating person, so to the best of my ability I tried to be pleasant and kind.
             The Apostle Paul first hand experienced the kindness of God. Though he was persecuting the Church Jesus reached out to him in kindness on the Road of Damascus. Later on Paul encourages believers to be kind to others as they were shown kindness. Ephesians, 4:32, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. This is the great irony among many Christians.
            We forget the fact that once we were miserable sinners yet shown kindness and have been forgiven. Yet we become unkind and unforgiving to others.
            The wise King Solomon shares about the benefits of kindness. Prov11:27, “Those who are kind benefit themselves, but the cruel bring ruin on themselves.” Prov 14:21“It is a sin to despise one’s neighbor, but blessed is the one who is kind to the needy. Prov 19:17, “Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward them for what they have done. Prov 11:16, “A kindhearted woman gains honor, but ruthless men gain only wealth.” In Thes 5:15 we read, “Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.”
            Some times our words can get us into trouble. Recently, the president of the Philippines made an obscene comment on our President, Barak Obama which costed him millions of dollars in stocks. President Obama did not react instead responded kindly. Listen to his response, “Obama said earlier Monday that he had been told of Duterte's obscene comment, but he shrugged it off as another in a line of "colorful statements" from Duterte. "Clearly, he's a colorful guy," Obama called the Philippines a close "friend and ally" of the United States.”[3]
            Our human nature is to pay back, evil with evil. That is a low road to walk on. But we Christians are to be different, we are called to take a higher path, and live the most excellent way. In Prov 12:25, “Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.”
            This world needs more people who can bring cheer through their kindness and by God’s grace we can be the ones who through our kind words lift those who are anxious and heavy hearted. If you have it in your heart to be kind, you can show kindness through many practical ways, for example: make a phone call or visit someone who is sick. Make a care package to your friend or neighbor who may have been laid off. Be friendly to foreigners who may be different than you and speak kindly with them. Help mow the lawn or shovel the drive way of your elderly neighbors, offer a ride to a shop, invite them to your cookout etc. These are just a few ways.
            Within the body of Christ, kindness is best exhibited in healthy relationships. Therefore, the gifts that accompany hospitality go a long way toward the cultivation of hearts and lives that offer and receive a genuine and welcoming spirit of inclusion. When we create such an atmosphere, we discover the joy of spiritual friendship that provokes kindness and goodness within us and in our relationships.
            The only way kindness can be restored is through the love of God, specifically the kind love of God. As we are committed to live the most excellent way, I want us to reflect on the significance of spiritual friendship and the implications for developing godly community as it relates to our need for the kindness of God. In conclusion, a few questions to consider. How is God’s loving-kindness residing deep within your heart and soul even today? How could you receive and/or express loving-kindness proactively to one of your friends or neighbors today? How can you exhibit God’s loving-kindness toward all who cross your path today? Amen

[2] Broken & Whole, Stepehen Macchia, page 24

Sunday, September 4, 2016

THE MOST EXCELLENT WAY PART I "Impatience is not a virtue"

“Impatience is not a virtue”
I Corinthians 13:1-13 
            Earlier this year I attend a gift day for pastors organized by Barnabas Ministries. In that seminar the speaker and the author of Broken and Whole, Stephen Macchia presented the following dichotomy or contrast that exists in the life of a born again Christian. We are both a saint and sinner or as Marin Luther noted long time ago, “righteous and sinner at the same time.” That concept was very liberating for me. It has calmed my nagging thoughts of why I am still so far from perfect. It is assuring to know yes we have been sanctified by what Christ has done, but at times we may struggle with our “internal and external brokenness.”
            Macchia defines these terms this way, “Internal brokenness (our own sinful choices and painful misfortunes) and external brokenness (the effect of other’s sin on us and the impact of our world’s large calamities). As born again Christians we live with this tension of being a saint and sinner at the same time. Since attending the seminar, myself and our leadership team have embarked on a journey to understand our brokenness in the context of God’s love and His grace so that we are healed and become dispensers of love and grace to those who are struggling.
            For me personally it has been very helpful in embracing my own blessed and broken reality at the same time. I rest in the fact that my heavenly father sees me as his dearly beloved child, gifted, doing his best to be an obedient follower of his Son Jesus Christ and also sees my worst behaviors and subtle streaks of disobedience. Steve Macchia invites all of us to discover strength in weakness by highlighting the teaching of the Apostle Paul who said to the believers in Corinth, “I will show you The Most Excellent Way.” I Corinthians 13:1-13. 
            I will be using Steve Macchai’s “Broken & Whole” book as a base as we embark on a journey together to discover “The Most Excellent Way.” The Apostle Paul begins his letter to the Corinthian believers with these words, “to the church of God at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling,” What a positive way to start a letter.

            What do we know about the city of Corinth and the Church in Corinth? Corinth was an important cosmopolitan Greek city located about fifty miles west of Athens. It was one of the largest cities in the Roman Empire. Corinth was on a major trade route and had a thriving economy. Greeks, Romans, Jews, and a mixed multitude of sailors and merchants flocked to this crossroads. Corinth was known for its stylish architecture.  By the end of the second century Corinth had become one of the richest cities in the world.
            Corinth was a sin city. Degradation, immorality, and heathen customs abounded.  There were many religions represented, even a temple with a thousand sacred prostitutes.  Pleasure was worshipped more than principles. Yet God had a plan and purpose for Corinth so He send the Apostle Paul to Corinth to plant a Church among a large Jewish population. These Jews were expelled by the Roman emperor Claudius around 50 AD, we read about it in Acts 18.
            In Acts 18:4, we read, “Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks. Paul stayed in Corinth for eighteen months and a congregation was established.  After a while Paul received disturbing news about the Corinthian church from the household of Chloe (I Cor 1:11). They reported that there were divisions, gross immorality, law suits between Christians in front of unbelievers, practical problems in living the Christian life, and marriage problems. There was also confusion about certain rituals of worship, and food offered to the idols .All these and many more prompted Paul to write a letter to the Church in Corinth.
            Paul addresses specifically their brokenness. Paul brings everything into the open, lovingly inviting them to acknowledge and embrace their brokenness at the same time look into their state of redemption, renewal and restoration.  He encourages them to live the most excellent way, only then can they become healthy and whole. I Corinthians 13 is a passage about love. It is most often read at marriages hoping that the couple will somehow cultivate a lifestyle of love. Paul’s original intention for this passage was for all believers not just for married couples.
            You might be wondering why we are to learn about the most excellent way. Our God is the God of excellence so He wants his children to cultivate the most excellent way of living. We will explore together the sixteen words or phrases Paul uses to describe the most excellent way of love. He uses these word to explain what love is, what it does and what it does not do. For today we will look into the first phrase, “Love is Patient.”
            After establishing the fact that the ultimate Christian experience is the manifestation of love, and not the speaking in tongues of men or of angels and not even all the knowledge and sacrifices one would make. Paul goes on to explain what love is all about. He starts by saying, “Love is Patient.” Let’s ponder on what that means and how we can cultivate patience.

            Wilma and my girls often tell me that I have a lot of patience sometimes maybe too much especially when I am working with my laptop. I too tend to think that way, but I am not always as patient as I should, let me share with you a moment where I lost my patience and lost my temper, which costed me dearly. It was one of those seemingly never ending train trips in India. I came home after being away for a week of teaching in a Discipleship Training School in Calcutta. Soon after I arrived my wife told me that one of the YWAM staff couple brought their family members to live with them in the staff quarters which was meant for staff only.
            Upon hearing that I lost my cool, rushed quickly to the staff quarters and blasted the staff couple for doing such a thing without consulting me first. The bewildered couple have apologized for not consulting me, in the process I realized that I have hurt them badly so I too have apologized for my impatient, and irrational behavior. We parted apologizing to each other, but that relationship was never the same again. It made me realize that impatience is not a virtue.
            All it takes, a moment of impatience to destroy long built trust and ruin relationships. Without exception we all at times become impatient and act immaturely and we regret doing so. The apostle Paul is showing us the most excellent way of love. For us Christians, especially ministry leaders, patience is a very important trait that we should all aspire to reflect.  But how could we possibly learn to be patient in a world that is becoming more and more impatient?
            It looks like these days everyone is running and no one has time to slow down. What is contributing to this lack of patience? I would say, it is the effect of the digital era and instant gratification. The generation of young people growing up now has little patience to wait for anything. The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project sums up a recent study about people under the age of 35 and the dangers of their hyper connected lives with what sounds like a prescription drug warning: “Negative effects include a need for instant gratification and loss of patience.”[1]  “The culture of the beast” as Peter Scazzero notes in Emotionally Healthy Spirituality is affecting all sections of the society. Unfortunately, we Christians too are influenced by our culture and live like everyone else. How can we be different? How can we live the Most Excellent Way of Love? Let’s look at the biblical perspective on Patience.

            What is patience? “The quality of being patient, as the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation. It is an ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay. It is to be quiet, steady, persevere, even-tempered.”[2] How God manifests patience in his word. One of the Characteristics of God is patience. In the OT it is interchangeably used as, “slow to anger” For example: Numbers 14:18, ‘The Lord is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, forgiving iniquity and transgression…” Psalm 86:15, “But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.”
            Nehemiah 9:16-17 “But they and our fathers acted presumptuously and stiffened their neck and did not obey your commandments. They refused to obey and were not mindful of the wonders that you performed among them, but they stiffened their neck and appointed a leader to return to their slavery in Egypt. But you are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and did not forsake them.”
            Paul describing patience as the evidence of the Holy Spirit in the heart of a believer. Gal 5:22, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience..” He encourages the believers, to “Be Joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12 Patience is compared to spiritual clothes, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Colossians 3:12.  The Apostle Paul begs the Ephesian believers saying “As a prisoner for the Lord, then I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.  Be completely humble and gentle, be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Ephesians 4:1-2.  If our God is patient, and we are called to be patient how can we then cultivate patience in our daily lives?

            The process of cultivating patience starts with embracing our brokenness of impatience. We too, just like anyone else are prone to become impatient and mean spirited. Usually that kind of response arises from a feeling of being slighted or taken for granted or, worse yet, being disregarded, dismissed or ignored. An unkind response can come from all sorts of places in our hearts and is often connected to a wound that’s yet to be healed. So we humbly repent of our sin of impatience by which we have hurt others and ask God to heal the wounds that have been caused by other’s impatience towards us. By faith receive that necessary healing first.
            A few suggestions for growing in patience.  It helps if we are honest enough to acknowledge our own lack of patience and how that affects the way we respond to people and circumstances in our life. Do we throw a fit when a computer program doesn’t open in an instant?  Do we roll our eyes and groan at the check-out line in the store?  Do we pretend we are listening to family members by saying hmm hmm but don’t care to give them eye contact and really hear what they are saying? 
            All this could be the result of our own hearts not being in a place of rest and peace. One of the most practical ways to spend time with God is by disconnecting from media and gadgets. Your time with God could include prayer, worship and meditating on a passage of Scripture. Let me leave you with a question and a challenge. What would it look like for patience to reside in your heart and be restored in your life today? The challenge is who would be interested in joining me in cultivating patience by taking 30 minutes a day to pray, worship and meditate on Scripture for a whole week starting from tomorrow? Amen