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Paul said that Jesus gave you mercy so that others could see the pattern of longsuffering in you. Now, you are the pattern that unbelievers and other young believers are looking at.

They are looking at the pattern you set by how you handle situations when people do injurious things to you, seeing that you don't promptly retaliate. But they see in you longsuffering. They realize that you are not weak. But they see your strength in your restraint when you are not done right on the job.

They realize that there is a power greater than they are. It must be God Almighty. Then they realize that if you can exercise restraint, maybe God will exercise restraint to them.

Paul said that Jesus did this in him first for a pattern of longsuffering.

Now I have to say this about my spiritual father, Kenneth E. Hagin. I have seen people come up against him publicly. I've seen them do it in the media. I've seen them write books. They've done all kind of things.

It made me so mad, and I wanted to jump in the fight and take them on for him. But his response is, "No. Go on and preach the gospel. Praise God anyhow. The truth will always come out."

God is not like us. We want things to happen right now. We want justice, and we want it now. Building our existing church building has been the toughest in my 25 years in the ministry.

In fact, it has been the toughest two years of my life. And it has been the hardest thing to walk in longsuffering. When I first started finding out some things that were happening, I wanted to retaliate big-time. But I decided to walk in longsuffering, and to praise God anyhow. I decided to wait for the truth to come out.

When we decide to operate in the characteristics of God - the fruit of the Spirit, we will get God's results. We may win others to Christ by our good works and attitude about the matter, and we will be rewarded with victory when it is all said and done.

Scripture References: Matthew 5:44; Lamentations 3:22-24

Keith Butler Ministries
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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