Posted by Johnny Richards

I received a gift from the Raleigh Baptist Association this week.  I’m pretty sure all pastors of the association received the same gift because it was Pastor Appreciation month. The gift I received was an envelope with a card inside. Inside the card was a magnet that I could put on my refrigerator at home. I’ve looked at the magnet and read it several times this week because of what was written on it. I want to share with you what it says. “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” (Romans 12:12)

As a pastor, I love this magnet because I need this verse.  As a fellow Christian, I love this verse because I feel it is a formula to help us in our everyday living. We all have those days when things could be better. Maybe we wake up feeling poorly. Or maybe we have had a week where we have not felt well. We have spent the week or day asking God when it will get better, or if it will get better. I believe, in those times of conversation with God, we need to remember what is written on my magnet. There really are three things God asked of us when times are difficult and challenging.

First, find joy in the hope of Christ. We do not live lives of hopelessness. We live each day understanding that Christ is our reason for living. We have a hope of an eternal life with Him. Yet, while we live on this earth, we have a hope in the power of Christ through the Holy Spirit. The Bible tells us that “we can do all things through Christ who gives us the strength.” (Philippians 4:13) When we are struggling, it’s not that things will not get better, it is just a matter of when it happens in God’s time. So we live in joy of hope, that God will be with us and take care of us.

Next, should be patient in our affliction. Patience. I have always been told not to pray for it. However, the Bible says we need to practice it. Patience, waiting for the Lord. Waiting as we are hoping. However, patience is not just about waiting, but waiting for what we know is promised. It’s like knowing what you are getting for Christmas, but having to wait to open it. We know God will take care of us, and He will help us, we just need to wait for that to happen.

Finally, we are to be faithful in our praying. This word faithful is also read as “consistent”. So, we are to consistently pray, as we are waiting patiently, as we are living in hope. Don’t give up praying, even when it feels our prayers are not going past the ceiling. Keep looking to God, and praying.

Hope, patience and prayer. These are definitely three words to keep us living a life that is pleasing to God. Until next week…

Peace and Blessings…

Johnny