Devotional Series
Cornerstone Magazine
Day 1

The question was recently asked, “What is grace?”  What came to mind was extreme dignity extended under
incredible offence that would then do the most noble thing - die a criminal’s death for an offender.  Jesus treats us with
exceptional dignity in the sight of our most vile sin.  He does so because of love’s willingness to pay our debt.
To honestly embrace that with a heart fully aware of its greatest sins and addictions will begin a journey into
true freedom.  Life controlling problems of all kinds have the same roots.  Our hearts all have the same basic needs for
nurture and dignity.  Here is a study that is intended to open up the soul to a realistic freedom.  Along the way it will
identify why it is that so many do not have such lasting deliverance.
If I am to receive and then give life changing grace to others I am going to have to come to understand and
embrace dignity and it’s attending patient spirit.  It is my highest privilege to dare to behold the Son of God, my
Creator, Sustainer, very breath of life, and my judge, to behold Him come near to me in my lowest moral moments and
love me.  I see Him come to each of us with no hint of hatred or disgust, and He declares His compassion and devotion
to helping with the failure at hand.  To dare to believe such nobility of love mingled with holiness is called faith.  Why
do you think we have such a hard time believing in such grace and mercy?



What is that force that is standing between you and the blessing of God?  Why do trials seem to be unending? 
One of the fundamental answers in scripture is God’s intention to give you the faith that will produce dignity, nobility
of character, and the humble grace of patience.  Then, “after you have done the will of God, you will receive what is
promised.”  To understand what this is all about we need to understand true dignity.
What do you see as people’s definition of dignity?


This study will give some understanding and encouragement in the areas of daily life trials, root issues in
overcoming life controlling problems, revelation in what grace is towards us and to others, how to minister to people
in any area of bondage, and the need to come to grips with the vital importance of patience in establishing the reality
of our salvation.
Why does God allow trials?  What have you learned from them?  What kind of life controlling problems have you
experienced?  What have you learned so far in your life about helping people with problems?



Consider the following scriptures.  Throughout this study you’ll come to have a deeper appreciation of their
meaning to you.  They go a long way in describing why our lives are the way they are, and why we are treated the way
we are.
Luke 8:15 But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and
good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience. 
What is the context of this scripture?  Describe the type of people here that would not be classified as those with a noble
heart?



Heb 10:35-36 Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.  36 For ye have
need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.
Describe a time when you were disappointed that you didn’t receive what you asked for?  Did you act with patience
when you didn’t get what you wanted?



James 1:2-4 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 3 Knowing this, that the trying
of your faith worketh patience. 4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting
nothing.
Why do you think that we should consider it a source of joy when we experience a trial?



Luke 21:19 By your patience possess your souls. 
What does it mean to have dignity?  It has been defined from the context of being gay with dignity to dying with
dignity to abortion with dignity.  When we think of dignitaries we perhaps think of people who are in reality thinking
more of themselves then is their due - those who prompt the camera bulbs to flash, the people to politely applaud, and
the masses to watch and listen to their every move.
I’d like to develop this principle of dignity for in it is the love of God.  John 3:16, in speaking about how God
so loved the world, is a declaration of His dignity given to us.  It may be said, “For God so considered you the object
of His highest value that He bestowed upon you His own dignity, honor and value.”  It is God’s love of you to dignify
you with the highest esteem He can - the limitless righteousness of His own Son.  Even though others, devils, and
we ourselves easily demean our own virtue, God has chosen to give us His highest nobility.  Then He says, learn to passthat on to others.
How can we honestly give other people dignity without enabling their sin?


Day 2

Dignity has a certain relative element to it.  “Dignified” often relates to the standard of the day, yet usually
carries a certain level of moral propriety.  It is seen in how others are treated in relation to their value and their needs. 
But what is true, absolute dignity?
Dignity seems to be one of our basic needs.  It is about our identity.  We want dignity.  But is that perceived
dignity in the eyes of others?  Or is it dignity that we hold in our personal and even unpublished self-respect?  We know
this - it would be highly valued to know that we could stand in the presence of ultimate authority and majesty with a
sense of confident dignity.
How do you feel dignity and self-esteem are related?



Dignity has to do with worth, value, esteem and greatness.  As I looked for definitions and examples on line I
found precious little that was of any value to me.  It was a relative verses an absolute quality.  What value would there
be in dignity as a gay?  That pursuit is really   saying, “we’re different, even called sinful and perverted, but we want
to fit in at the same level as the rest of humanity.”  However, dignity can not be defined alongside of worthless
immorality.  That is not greatness.
I have to come back to Jesus as the great example of dignity.  There is no other absolute. All else is relative.  For
example, long hair in one society as an attribute of dignity would be a cause for shame in another.  Foolish sounding
indeed.  But we humans have some foolish marks of dignity.  A gang member would hold another person in high regard
because of a tatoo.  A certain design of clothes would make one dignified in the eyes of some.  But when we see Jesus
we see the true marks of dignity.
What are some of society’s marks of dignity that may have little eternal value?



To me He is dignified because, as the majestic God of creation, He became the suffering Savior.  I see dignity
in His grace and grace in His dignity.  He would not condemn the woman caught in adultery, even though He knew she
was worthy of death.  There was great dignity in His silent suffering leading up to, and hanging upon the cross.  His
silence before His accusers spoke of His self-control and His deep sense of value.  He needed not to defend himself and thus make those who persecuted Him His accepted judges.  “If I defend myself, or even react to you, I make you my deserving judge.”
Why is it hard to have dignity when we let other people’s judgements of us become such a big thing?



Part of Jesus’ great dignity is His value of grace above performance.  He would accept us based upon who
He was, not who we were.  His life would make us great.  Here is true dignity - the kind of a nature that not only is
of high worth, but the kind of nature that makes everyone and everything around it of great value.  It does not withhold
its honor from others.  It’s dignity is not in its uniqueness above others.  It does not have to stand alone.  Even though
God will always be greater, He gives us His greatness, and even let’s us call it a part of our own.
What’s the difference between dignity that must be seen as better than others, and the dignity that is described here?



“I am going to treat you as my equal.”  That is dignity.  “I will not draw my value from you or from what you
think of me.”  That is dignity that demands no approval or praise.  Concerning God, it is the kind of dignity that
causes men to want to praise Him.  “I freely give you My value with no expectation of return.”  That is the dignity of
selfless love.  It desires that others have the same high regard as we have.  “I am a great King.  Come and share My
beauty and reign with Me.”  That is the dignity of majestic grace and exalted authority.  This is the dignity of treating
others as we want to be treated.  It is the source of power over sin and worthlessness.  It is the glory of God.  It is the
divine nature - a nature that has been given to us!!
All life controlling problems have a root in self performance instead of grace.  Can you describe how a bondage you have had proves this out in your experience?



How sad that in America we have exalted fun, pleasure and games above true dignity.  We have dignified
narcissism.   The American dream has replaced the dream of true character and honor.  We are in the pursuit of
happiness instead of the pursuit of self-respect which brings true joy.  However, if we can’t live with ourselves with a
clear conscience then we can’t have true happiness.
As a consequence, our pursuits have led to a deep level of dissatisfaction.  We are impatient because we are
never able to attain what our heart is after.  We are easily angered, easily frustrated, easily hurt, easily offended, and
easily filled with fear.  It is all because we are constantly seeing threats to our inner agendas.  We are after what we
think we should have instead of in pursuit of who we should be.  Let me say it again.  We deeply struggle with
impatience and mistakenly identify it with anger, fear, and hurt because of misplaced motives.  A lack of a vision for
dignity has left us with little emotional control.  We live our lives to try to get out of pain.
What are some ways you have been led to believe that your dignity and value come from performance?


Day 3

When it comes to religion we are frustrated because we are not finding our faith being very productive.  The
substance of our hope is confounded because our hopes themselves are misplaced.  Faith is intended to produce
character, not give us things.
This article comes from last night’s revelation when someone asked what the divine nature is.  I found myself
saying, “It is Jesus coming into the room tonight in the flesh.  He sits down next to us and maybe sends a text message
with us.  Or perhaps He puts an arm around us to comfort and relay His loving acceptance.  All along we know that He
knows of our inner impurity.  We have offended Him in so many ways.  If we had done such to our parent, and he found
out about it, he would probably vent on us and punish us.  But see this Jesus coming upon the woman taken in the act
of adultery.  He treats her with ultimate dignity and respect.  He doesn’t berate her.  He doesn’t punish her verbally.  He
could’ve just said, ‘die,’ and she would’ve.”  Part of true dignity is having the power to destroy, but not using it.  I
believe Jesus’ effect on this woman is explained by the verse in 2 Sam 22:36  "You have also given me the shield of
Your salvation;  Your gentleness has made me great.”
Why was this encounter not one in which Jesus was enabling her to keep sinning?


The greatest opportunities we have to release the power of dignity in grace are when we have been offended,
disgraced, misunderstood, or judged.  It is our gentleness under fire that rings true and changes the hard heart.  For it
is this hunger for dignity, respect, and honor that compels so much disgrace in the human heart.  Give honor where none
is due by performance and watch the heart begin to change.
Can you describe a time in your life when you did or did not give grace when you were attacked or hurt?


It holds no dignity to withhold what we do not have.  To have no power to judge or punish holds no dignity when
we say, “I forgive you.”  It’s easy for a poor man to say, money doesn’t master me.  But let a rich man say the same. 
That’s dignity.  In other words, people often cop out and say, “I would always forgive and show compassion in such and
such a case.”  But put them in the situation and the story may very well be far different.  It’s like the person who never
knew the temptation to smoke being proud of the fact that he never smoked.  Dignity without the testing of it carries little
weight.
With dignity, when we’re behind the wheel, or when our child disobeys a direct warning, or when we are deeply
taken advantage of, we act with compassion and restraint.  We are not struggling with offense because we have already
decided to do what Jesus had decided.  He would not condemn this woman because He had already accepted that He
would bear her sin upon a terrible cross.  He already had it settled that He would love her no matter what.  What she did
with it would decide her fate.  But He would not rob the possibility of her restoration with condemnation.
Lack of personal dignity and self-respect usually comes from not taking the truth seriously.  How can you go beyond
hearing the Word to obeying it?  (“Start obeying” is not an answer.)


That is the divine nature.  That is the dignity of love and majesty.  That is something given to us to receive.  We
have not given it out to others because we have not known it towards us.  We’ve not dared to accept such love.  We’ve
not known it!  But when we once actually see it in action when we have been a vile person in some way, then we are
shaken by such dignity.  We believe in it.  Maybe we have even seen it given to us by another human being who has been truly loved by God.  It has settled our souls in such peace that we are carried away with a new joy.  It is the true
experience of the Gospel.
An unwillingness to take up the cross, followed by a refusal to bear the pain of seeing ourselves as we really are keeps
us from life saving truth.  What do you think it will take to take up your cross?
The following story comes from Thomas Lingberg.  According to a traditional Hebrew story, Abraham was
sitting outside his tent one evening when he saw an old man, weary from age and journey, coming toward him. Abraham
rushed out, greeted him, and then invited him into his tent. There he washed the old man's feet and gave him food and
drink.
The old man immediately began eating without saying any prayer or blessing. So Abraham asked him, "Don't
you worship God?"
The old traveler replied, "I worship fire only and reverence no other god."
When he heard this, Abraham became incensed, grabbed the old man by the shoulders, and threw him out his
his tent into the cold night air.
When the old man had departed, God called to his friend Abraham and asked where the stranger was. Abraham
replied, "I forced him out because he did not worship you."
God answered, "I have suffered him these eighty years although he dishonors me. Could you not endure him one
night?"
Here it is then that we may give this dignity away to someone else.  We will stun the works of darkness in
someone else when we first discover how to truly love someone to life.  We no longer have a need for human agreement and human performance.  We have no need to see morality in others.  We have no disgust for someone else’s having taken advantage of us.  It is because we have found our true soul’s bread in the dignity of Jesus.
Anyone can confess someone else’s sins. Everyone has them.  Why is it so hard to minister to someone the solution and meet their need behind their fault?


Day 4

It is this dignity that will convict of sin in others.  There will be no need to see it as sloppy grace.  There will
be no fear of someone not knowing that their sin is not here given license.  Dignity is the substance of true conviction
instead of the condemnation of human religion.  How deeply we must see the true dignity of Jesus in His acceptance
and in His suffering.  It is this suffering of love that shows the world clearly that they sin still against holy blood. 
Dignity in grace never justifies continued sin.  It destroys it with honor.
Dignity wins the right to be heard.  How can we confront sin with dignity when people “don’t get it?”



You have a spouse that is living in anger, bitterness and impatience.  So you look beyond the fault and see the
need.  When your self-respect is trampled on, instead of looking at the sin you decide to conquer it and act in the
opposite spirit that the devil has intended for you.  You treat that spouse with love in dignity.  You dare to see that one
as God sees him through Christ.  If there is any shred of conscience left that one will be convicted of his sin by your
blessing them with grace.  It is the force of patience at work.  It will not produce the cheap enabling license to continue
in sin.
Sometimes sin requires consequences to be administered.  What principles are necessary for this to be successful and
dignified?



Dignity has personal sin in close sight.  If I am to treat another with respect and mercy, it is a very noble thing. 
However, to do so I will have to carefully remember my own sins and temptations.  The man that forgets his former
purification of sin, Peter said, is one who is blind.  He is the one who lacks the character qualities of things such as
patience and brotherly kindness.  So it is that even our moral failures can be avenues of humility and carefulness
with the souls of others. 
We can’t effectively administer consequences for sin to another if we haven’t had it done to us.  Describe a time when
you were “punished” with dignity?



When I think of dignity I think of a calm disposition, one not reacting unseemly to any out of the ordinary
occurrence.  It is an atmosphere of patience.  Jesus said that in our patience we possess our souls.  This is the place of
not only having self-control, but having such over a length of time.  Such control of our emotions and thoughts is a
mark of the Kingdom of God - a major mark.  It is a picture of the heart that is being mastered by the Savior instead
of by any earthly circumstance.  Further, it is the target of a life that has come free of addictions, compulsions, and any
life controlling problems.  Sustained dignity is therefore one of the hallmarks of a life of freedom.
Self control is a mark of dignity and honor.  Emotional control is close to sexual, chemical and financial control.
Describe a time when you’ve seen this demonstrated.  No names please.



The Greek word for patience is defined as steadfastness, constancy;  in the N. T. the characteristic of a man who
is unswerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings;
that which grows only in trial;  cheerful (or hopeful) endurance.
If we are to truly embrace the concept of dignity and grace then we are going to have to take a serious and
diligent look at patience.  II Peter 1 teaches to, with all diligence add to your faith, patience.
With such an understanding of the call of God to see this develop in our lives, it goes a long way in explaining
why people are so unfaithful to the call, task, and devotion set before them.  It shows why so many so seemingly easily
quit.  For want of faithfulness the Church languishes in marginal fruitfulness.  The lack of genuine patience in the face
of difficulties finds people fainting, fearful, and fleeing the pain of a true disciple.  The following verse and entire book
of Hebrews was written to people who were fainting and ready to quit because of the hard life they had as Christians.
“Cast not away your confidence, which has a great recompense of reward.  But you have much need of patience,
that after you have done the will of God you might receive what is promised.”  Heb. 10:    Patience in dignity has
great Kingdom reward attached to it.  It is a mighty force mingled with faith, for faith always must exert patience. 
It must do so until faith has produced the intended obedience to the will of God.  It is the way of the Kingdom, and the
way of working out our salvation in life experience.
Quitting on relationships, ministries, and responsibilities are usually seen as someone else’s fault.  Describe a time
when you quit because things got too hard.



“But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart,
keep it and bear fruit with patience.” Luke 8:15
Much of the seed of God’s Word is fruitless in human hearts, as Jesus explains in the parable of the sower and
the seed.  But see from this verse what kind of a heart it is that allows the seed to grow; and see what that seed
produces.  It speaks of a noble heart, a fruit bearing heart, and a patient heart.  Here is the dignity of patience.


Day 5

An official of a Mission Board, who knew that it takes more than desire to make a missionary, was appointed
to examine a candidate. He told the young man to come to his house at 6 in the morning. The young man went at 6 in
the morning to be examined, and the examiner kept him sitting in the room until ten. Then he went down to him and said
abruptly, “Can you spell? Can you spell God?” “Yes, sir,” came the answer calmly. “Can you write your name? Do you
know what your name is?” “Yes, sir,” again he replied. He put him through a series of questions of that kind, and then
went to the Missionary Board and said, “He will do. I tried his patience for four hours, and he did not break down: I then
insulted him, and he did not lose his temper. He will do.” That is the way to prove Christianity. 
If a man answers all abuses with patience, a fortitude, a gentleness that cannot be violated, depend upon
it, Christ’s love has conquered his heart.  The Christianity that has made him what he is is vindicated by the very
quality of his character. Such a Christian causes men to say, “Well, after all, you’ve got to say something for a religion
that produces a man like that.”
The trial is seldom about the trial but rather about our own character.  What kind of experience has taught you to look
at yourself instead of others when you’re hurt?


What a joy to not only be around someone with patient dignity and humble grace, but to also have such qualities
within.  Imagine the settled joy of every day if we could attain to the assurance that God will work out every
problem that hourly assaults us.  Imagine the peace of living in such a place of safety.  This ‘character of calm’ is a
patient, distinguished attitude that comes supernaturally.  It is not the product of will power or upbringing.  It is the fruit
of a ripening faith and a daily lingering in the presence of God.  It is the picture of one who has truly become a
worshipper of God through faith. 
People usually use pain to justify their lack of emotional control.  The inability to handle pain explains a lot about
addiction and bondage.  How have you handled pain positively?


This faith is not merely intended to bring God’s presence when all is well.  His presence in pain comes through
knowing He prepares a table for us in the presence of our enemies.   Dignity with patience is not merely an earthly
quality we’re born into.  It is a function of faith and the life and power of God.  “that you may walk worthy of the Lord,
fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 strengthened with all
might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy;”  Col 1:10-11 Sooner or later a
Christian will come to realize that the abiding presence of God upon the soul will be the only way to live in the
dignity and patience that is asked of us.
Honesty in doing this study is convicting, but it also opens our eyes to our need for God.  How have you found God’s
presence in times of distress? 


When the heart remains in that undisturbed place that allows no man to take our joy, that has learned to “Let not
your heart be troubled,” what a resource for the Holy Spirit to continually be made available to us!  Such a position of
rest is vital to allowing God to ‘show up’ in the constant life difficulties that others about us bring before us.
In all honesty, pain must often subside before we can experience God at times.  But having been in His presence in the
recent past gives hope for the future.  Can you describe how having been with God has carried you through a present
trial?


II Peter 1 shows us that patience is one of the life character qualities that ultimately leads to love.  Yet we can
also much more easily exhibit patience towards another when our heart’s challenges are tempered by love.  When love
is our goal instead of the American dream of ease and comfort then patient dignity with grace can win the day. 
Such is the life that stands apart from the world and marks true holiness.  Dignified grace  makes a man different in
his holiness far more than his little idiosyncracies about arbitrary standards, do’s and don’ts or socially
acceptable legalisms.
Everyone knows the experience of someone with an obvious problem criticizing someone with a different sin.  How have
you ever misunderstood holiness as an outward expression yet judged someone with your own impatience?  Be specific without names please. 


Life will constantly present opportunities to learn how to establish and release this true dignity.  There will be
problems and pressures of all kinds, and we will fail miserably in many of them.  Then we will feel like such a failure. 
We will become disheartened until we realize something.  God is patient with us as we begin to recognize that these
challenges are His school room to teach us how to succeed.  We’ll begin to recognize the pattern and what God is
doing in allowing the difficulty, even though we’ll still soon fail and lose it.  But it’s all part of the process.  He’s not
so much concerned with the fact that we yielded to the world’s influence again.  He’s concerned that we recognize what
is going on and let it bring us to it’s intended conclusion.  “Count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing
that the testing of your faith produces patience.”  James 1:2,3   This is how you count it joy.  Don’t count the challenge
as a failure or a fault.  Reckon it so that it is part of the process that will produce joy if you will start working with it.
Can you describe a time when God was patient with you in your failures?  Why is it so hard to believe He is still patient?


Day 6

True dignity comes only by grace.  Men are not born into it.  Riches don’t bring it.  That’s false dignity.  Power
won’t bring it.  Dignity releases our new found power in life.  It is the power to bring change by displaying the true
power of God.  Stephen displayed this dignity under pressure.  Jesus spoke of it so that when we endure trials we’ll
understand God’s will for us in it.
“And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful
sights and great signs from heaven.  12 But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you,
delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name's sake.  13
But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony.  14 Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand
on what you will answer;  15 for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to
contradict or resist.  16 You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will put some
of you to death.  17 And you will be hated by all for My name's sake.  18 But not a hair of your head shall be lost.  19
By your patience possess your souls.”  Luke 21:11-19
Count it all joy.  Dignity under pressure, dignity in the divine nature of grace - these things come at a price. 
But they come.  It is God’s intention.  When we know it, we won’t waste our trials so easily.  We’ll determine to let
God’s power produce His nature in us.  We may even look forward to the next obstacle in order to have a chance to
prove out our new found calling.
Life’s trials become almost welcome opportunities to gain a perfected faith.  Have you ever welcomed such a trial
because God’s presence was there?



Jesus said that in your patience posses your soul.  We actually lose control of our souls when we wilt under
the well designed and intended purposes of Satan’s opposition.  As Jesus describes direct persecution intended to
wipe out Christianity He said in effect, “It won’t be wiped out if you remain patient.”  We’ve all known what it’s like
to be tempted to quit when the heat gets turned up.  People can get so discouraged and upset that they walk away from
the Lord.  They give their souls away to the enemy instead of possessing them in patience.  For want of the dignity of
patience many will lose what they have through their trials.  But dignified grace will win the day.
Thomas a Kempis described that kind of patience in these words: "He deserves not the name of patient who
is only willing to suffer as much as he thinks proper, and for whom he pleases. The truly patient man asks (nothing)
from whom he suffers, (whether) his superior, his equal, or his inferior...But from whomever, or how much, or how
often wrong is done to him, he accepts it all as from the hand of God, and counts it gain!" 
Rom 5:1-5 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and
perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. 
God intends to give us a hope based upon experience - a hope that works in trials!  What does it mean to you
to glory in tribulations?



Rom 15:4-5 “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the
patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. 5 Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be
like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus,”
We may at times wonder where our hope has gone.  We’ve tried to find comfort in the Word, but here we see
something.  Hope comes also through patience.  Further, God is the God of patience.  He reigns in it.  Only as He is
our God in all things can the power of patience come forth.  Any other gods will cause us to lose it eventually.  Only
God can produce true dignity.
It’s a mystery to so many how trials can produce hope.  Can you describe  when a hard time eventually gave you hope?



The 19th-century preacher A.B. Simpson said:  "Beloved, have you ever thought that someday you will not have
anything to try you, or anyone to vex you again? There will be no opportunity in heaven to learn or to show the spirit
of patience, forbearance, and longsuffering. If you are to practice these things, it must be now." Yes, each day affords
countless opportunities to learn patience. Let's not waste them.
Here are some other scriptures that show clearly the dignity of living in patience as one of the hallmarks of true
disciples.  2 Thess 1:4-5 “so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in
all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure, 5 which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God,
that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer;” Patience leads to the mark of
dignity.
You’ll find a lot of people like to talk about true Christians and New Testament Christianity, but they faint and quit
in trials like most others.  What do you think it’s going to take for you to be different?


Day 7

Peter says to, “with all diligence” add self control to your practical knowledge, and add patience to your self
control.  In doing so you will never fall.  How do you plan to do this in a realistic way?



“If you’d been through the things that I’ve been through, you’d have lost it too.”  How often we can rationalize
our lack of dignity.  But the reality is that who we are in trials is the measure of who we really are.  Not everyone
folds in trials.  Not everyone compromises.  The character of Christ under fire is a great prize of infinite value.  One
of the reasons that we always lose it under pressure is that we’ve never taken seriously the pursuit of patience.  We’ve
never said, “God, I’m going to lock myself in this room, and I’m not coming out until I have been ‘strengthened with
all might, according to Your glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering, with joy.’” It’s never dawned on us to
use faith to be someone instead of using it to get something.
If you’ve come this far faithfully in your pursuit of dignity you realize one thing.  You deeply know you need it.  Desire
has been created.  How did this come about in your personal experience?



The American church pulpit honestly has often times tried to fit into the American dream in an attempt to attract
those who are conditioned to buy into something that will gratify them.  Little wonder that we’ve thought that faith is
there to bless us instead of to please God.  We’ve been taught it.  (Though we also know that faith is a great blessing.) 
Far more people seem to be after what they can get to make their life easier instead of to get the dignity and patient
grace that will truly attract the souls of the lost, and as well will attract the Presence of God.
From The Daily Bread - Hebrews 12:1 tells us to "run with endurance" the race set before us. George Matheson
wrote, "We commonly associate patience with lying down. We think of it as the angel that guards the couch of the
invalid. Yet there is a patience that I believe to be harder -- the patience that can run. To lie down in the time of grief,
to be quiet under the stroke of adverse fortune, implies a great strength; but I know of something that implies a
strength greater still: it is the power to work under stress; to have a great weight at your heart and still run; to have
a deep anguish in your spirit and still perform the daily tasks. It is a Christ-like thing! The hardest thing is that most
of us are called to exercise our patience, not in the sickbed but in the street." To wait is hard, to do it with "good
courage" is harder!
Patience is not just standing around and waiting.  It moves forward with hope.  What are some ways that you have lost
hope?


Somehow I know more and more that true patience is not possible without God as my God.  And He must
be my God in experience, not just in intention.  If there is any greater delight, any deeper devotion than to Him, sooner
or later I will lose patience - if it is that patience can be lost.  If it is, how can it be patience?  But as long as I serve
something other than Him, I will be disappointed, powerless, and wanting.  Only the One who fills my soul can give
me strength to endure all else because He is all I need.
There was once a minister of great dignity.  The great New England preacher Phillips Brooks was noted for his
poise and quiet manner. At times, however, even he suffered moments of frustration and irritability. One day a friend
saw him feverishly pacing the floor like a caged lion. "What's the trouble, Mr. brooks?" he asked. 
"The trouble is that I'm in a hurry, but God isn't!" Haven't we felt the same way many times?  God isn’t in a
hurry because His agenda is eternal.  Ours is too often temporal.  We’re living for this world instead of eternity.  What
does anything else really matter?
How have you learned to start living for eternity?



It was out of the heart cry to have God’s presence show up in discipleship group on a Wednesday gathering of
new believers that God began pouring out this vision of the dignity of Jesus’ grace.  Out of His heart came the vision
of a God who is so compassionate, gracious, and patient in the presence of oft failing people like me.  When we begin
to truly see His dignity it will take us all to a new level of freedom and character.  True character only comes in an
atmosphere of freedom.  Seek the freedom of His glory and you will find yourself longing for His dignity to be created
in you.  Then....then, you will ask what you will and it will be given to you.God’s presence is a powerful key to patience.  Without Him it is a frustrating work of our own will power.  Can you describe a time when your patience was a blessing to you and when it was a burden?



The intended result of warfare is sovereignty over occupied ground.  In other words, who is going to govern
this territory?  Patience is the definition of the flag of the kingdom of heaven flying over our souls.  It is ground
that must be kept at all costs.  The minor details of aggravation, assault, despair and loss must not be allowed to pull
down that flag.  If patience is not waving her colors it declares to all who would see that the ground is not secured.  It
is thus, not optional for our salvation.  Without it our life controlling problems will return.  Here is the patience and
the faith of the saints.  Rev. 13:10; 14:12
7 Days to Divine Dignity

The Church today seems to lack the respect and dignity with which Jesus treated saints and sinners alike.  Without this nobility of heart we can not be and do what God is expecting of us.  This study will call you to examine your heart and daily life patterns to develop the character of divine dignity through grace.  You will find that it will open many principles to overcoming root problems that control people's lives.