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Activated May 2013

Longsuffering - May 2013

Do you find that grumpy, overbearing, or annoying relatives, neighbors, or coworkers ruin your day? Is it hard to accept when your kindness is not repaid or your efforts are not noticed? This issue of Activated addresses those very topics and more.
 

01-05-2013
Grace to Keep On Loving
Grace to Keep On Loving

In one of the most powerful and poetic chapters of the Bible, 1 Corinthians 13, the apostle Paul describes the sort of love Christians are meant to embody: “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.”1

Longsuffering heads the list, and I think that’s significant because to love freely and consistently in the other ways...

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01-05-2013
Plucking Feathers
Plucking Feathers

In my childhood farmyard in Pleasant Hill, New York, we always had an abundance of chickens roaming around looking for worms and bugs, scratching the ground for seeds, and generally living an easygoing, happy life. That’s one reason why, in spite of a modest food budget, I still always buy free-range eggs. I believe that happy chickens create better eggs.

One thing I noticed at an early age was that there is a definite pecking order among chickens. Most chickens are social, humble creatures that mind their own business. But some chickens run around puffing out their chests, lording it over...

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01-05-2013
Long-tempered
Long-tempered

I used to have my own definitions of longsuffering and patience. Longsuffering was putting up with something, and patience was putting up with nothing. The one was expressed in "I wish I didn't have," and the other in "I wish I did." There's more to both than that, of course, especially longsuffering.

When I looked into the Greek word µακροθυµέω (phonetically, makrothumia), the word translated in some Bible versions as “longsuffering,” I saw that there was another facet. Makro means “long” (no revelation there), and thumia means temper, which was eye-opening. So a more precise translation of makrothumia may be long-tempered,...

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01-05-2013
Life Happens
Life Happens

Sometimes, at the most unexpected times, we get little revelations that clarify perspective, give insight, and recharge our faith. I got one of those the other day.

It had been a long few months financially speaking, and now our vehicle was in the repair shop. As I waited for my husband to call me with the cost estimate, I asked God why this was happening to us now, of all times. “We’re already struggling,” I pleaded. “How can we afford an expensive repair on our vehicle?”

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01-05-2013
Creating Space
Creating Space

I decided “better late than never” and ventured into something new and long overdue: at age 50-plus, I registered for lessons at a local driving school.

To my horror, during just my second class, I was taken to drive in the chaotic Nairobi traffic. 

“Try to create space around your vehicle,” was one of the first instructions.

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01-05-2013
Longsuffering—The Conciliatory Fruit
Longsuffering—The Conciliatory Fruit

"The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.Against such there is no law."1

“If my brother offends me, how many times shall I forgive him?” someone once asked Jesus, before offering a hopeful guess. “Seven times?”  

“No, seventy times seven!” was Jesus’ reply.2 In other words, we should never stop forgiving.

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01-05-2013
I Can’t Stand Her!
I Can’t Stand Her!

There are some people that we like more than others; and let's face it, some people like us more than other people do.

When I worked as a nurse in the emergency room of a hospital in Reykjavik, Iceland, I was quite self-assured and felt I could deal with pretty much any situation. I liked the action, the adrenaline rush, and always volunteered for the toughest cases.

We used to get some of the same patients over and over again—alcoholics, drug abusers, derelicts. I was young and I didn’t mind them. Some of them were actually nice, funny, lonely guys who simply...

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01-05-2013
Why Is God Taking so Long?
Why Is God Taking so Long?

Question: I've been looking for a new job, but so far without success. If I have prayed and am doing my part, why isn't God helping me?

 

Answer: The way God works in our lives and the way He chooses to do things is often past our comprehension. It’s mysterious, it’s humbling, and it usually takes faith and patience. His purposes and timetable are often different from ours.

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01-05-2013
The Marriage Mirror
The Marriage Mirror

"Mari-i-i-i-ie!" My husband Ivo's stressed voice rings through the house. "Where did you say my green shirt was again?"

“It’s in the closet, on the left side, between your white shirts and your jacket.”    

“I can’t find it!”

I follow his voice up the stairs and into our room.

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01-05-2013
Battered Sails
Battered Sails

After an intense period of work a few months back, I had been looking forward to taking some time off. I knew I needed to think about my future and plans in conjunction with changes around me that would affect my career and living situation, but I also looked forward to sinking my teeth into a personal project that I had been excited about for months but had been too busy to devote much time to. I felt passionate about this project and hoped it would be a starting point toward realizing some of my dreams and goals.

I don’t know...

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01-05-2013
Not Every Wave Is Worth Riding
Not Every Wave Is Worth Riding

With no other employment options at the time, my situation was not a happy one. My boss was making my life miserable. He was self-centered, ill-mannered, and crude; yet, like the clueless manager in the TV series The Office, he seemed to fancy himself everyone’s best friend. Whenever I tried to explain the things that disturbed me, he would listen attentively and thank me, but then he would go on as before, without even a token change in his behavior. I lodged a complaint with his supervisor, but still nothing changed.

It seemed I was doomed to work indefinitely in that...

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01-05-2013
Morning Calm
Morning Calm

The Bible contains a lot of guidance for how to spend our time and energy: We’re to love and help others,1 share the good news of God’s love,2 and apply ourselves in our work,3 to name a few. But the Bible also teaches that sometimes it is best to stay put and let God work on our behalf.

“I’m going fishing,” Simon Peter told his fellow disciples.4

“We are going with you also,” they replied.

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01-05-2013
Reality Check
Reality Check

If you're like most people today, you're used to moving fast and expecting quick results. The problem with that—or at least part of the problem—is that what was enough yesterday seldom seems to be enough today, and escalating personal expectations carry over to what you expect from other people and from life in general.

You struggle to keep pace with the world, but at the same time you can’t help that some things simply take time. Most problems at work or with your health or relationships can’t be solved with the click of a mouse or the push of a button.

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