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Showing posts with label Patience. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Patience. Show all posts

Monday, December 6, 2021

5 Tips On How To Wait Well

Do you ever feel stuck in between, like you’re just waiting for something important to happen?  What’s the hardest part of waiting?  I asked that question in a Facebook post this week.  Here are some of the responses:

  • The number one response was “waiting” – haha – or being patient
  • Letting go of control
  • The anticipation
  • To keep doing your daily activities while you wait
  • Sacrificing pride
  • Not knowing how long you’ll need to wait
  • Worrying about what you’re missing
  • Worrying someone else is getting something at your expense
  • The unknown
  • Thoughts in your head
  • Trusting God
  • Knowing there is something you want or want to do but being frustrated because you have to wait to get it.

Forty years of Stanford research found that people able to wait patiently and delay their own gratification are more likely to succeed in life than those who don’t.[i] 

The Bible is filled with long periods of time when people had to wait and delay gratification while enduring hardship.  Abraham and Sarah had to wait until the were old to have their promised son, Isaac.  The Hebrews were slaves in Egypt 400 years before they entered the Promised Land.  David had to wait to become king of Israel.  And there was a 400 year period of waiting between the time the Old Testament was completed and New Testament began with the birth of Jesus, the Messiah.

That long period of silence in between the Old and New Testament leads many to think nothing important happened, but nothing could be farther from the truth.  Case and point: When the OT closes the Persians were in control and everyone was speaking Aramaic. When the NT opens the Romans are in control and everyone is speaking Greek. Apparently, a lot happened in those in between years. 

I want to recap the history of Israel from 475 BC to the time Jesus was born.  But first, I want to read a strange apocalyptic passage from Daniel chapter 8.  I want to read it, because it is a prophecy that God gave to Daniel while he was living as an exile in Babylonia.  And yet this prophecy foretold all the kingdoms that would rule over Israel before the Messiah was born.  Let's look at the passage and then review the actually history of the intertestamental period.

Daniel 8:18-22
While he was speaking, I fainted and lay there with my face to the ground. But Gabriel roused me with a touch and helped me to my feet.

19 Then he said, “I am here to tell you what will happen later in the time of wrath. What you have seen pertains to the very end of time. 20 The two-horned ram represents the kings of Media and Persia. 21 The shaggy male goat represents the king of Greece, and the large horn between his eyes represents the first king of the Greek Empire. 22 The four prominent horns that replaced the one large horn show that the Greek Empire will break into four kingdoms, but none as great as the first.

What a strange passage!  But it refers to actual event that happened between 475 BC and 4 BC when Jesus was born.  Let’s look at that history and listen to the parts of Daniel’s prophecy.

Daniel 8:19 says, “I am here to tell you what will happen later in the time of wrath.”

Jerusalem was destroyed in 586 BC by Babylon and the Jews, including Daniel, were taken into captivity.  However, Babylon was destroyed by the Medes and Persia.  Daniel 8:20:  The two-horned ram represents the kings of Media and Persia.”

The King of Persia sent the Jews home to Jerusalem and they rebuilt their temple in 515 BC and then the last book of the Old Testament, Malachi, was written about 475 BC. 

The Jews remained under Persian Rule until a guy from Greece named Alexander the Great tried to conquer the whole world.  The “whole world” included Israel and Jerusalem. 

So from 336-323 BC, Israel was part of the Greek Empire & they learned to speak Greek.  Greek became the universal language of the world (the way English is today), which is why the New Testament would eventually be written in Greek.  Daniel 8:21 says, “The shaggy male goat represents the king of Greece, and the large horn between his eyes represents the first king of the Greek Empire.”  The king of Greece was Alexander the Great.

Alexander the Great died unexpectedly in 323 BC.  After his death, the Greek empire splintered into four smaller, less powerful kingdoms—the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt, the Seleucid Empire in Syria, the Kingdom of Pergamon in Asia Minor, and the Macedonia Kingdom in Greece.  Daniel 8:22 says, “The four prominent horns that replaced the one large horn show that the Greek Empire will break into four kingdoms, but none as great as the first.”

After Alexander the Great’s death, the Israelites were ruled by the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt from 323-198 BC.  The Hebrew Old Testament was translated into Greek, giving us the Septuagint.  It was also during this period that Jews began to separate themselves into two major schools of thought.  There were the Hellenist who wanted to welcome Greek culture and philosophy into the Jewish religion.  On the opposite side were the Hassidic Jews who wanted to keep Jewish culture and religion pure and undefiled.  These “pious ones” as they were called, eventually evolved to become the Pharisees of the New Testament.

We will look more at the other Kingdoms that ruled Israel in the coming weeks.  But very quickly, we see Syrian Kingdom conquered Israel from the Egyptians in 198 BC and ruled until 165 BC.

The Maccabean Revolt of 168 led to 100 years of independence (and is the event that inspired the modern Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, which lasts eight days and ends this year on December 6th).

However, independence was short lived and tumultuous and never lived up to God’s standards for His Kingdom.  And the Romans conquered Israel in 63 BC and ruled for 400 years until 313 AD.

Waiting is Hard
Waiting can be hard—especially when you don’t know when the waiting will and you feel like you’ve lost control.  However, God is in control.  Daniel’s prophecy shows that God knew everything that was going to happen in Israel in between the Old and New Testaments.  And, God also knew how all these events would shape the world to get us ready to receive the Messiah.

Some will wonder, “Why didn’t God just send the Messiah? Why wait 400 years?”  Well, I don’t pretend to know the mind of God and all His purposes and plans.  I do know that there were huge differences between the world of 500 BC and the time Christ was born.

First of all, those 500 years of the Intertestamental period allowed time for the Greek language to spread so that people across the world could understand each other from one end to the other.  Also, new roads and international trade routes and diplomatic agreements made travel more possible.  In 500 BC, people were using scrolls and clay tablets.  The New Testament was written in books and letters in the first century AD.  Books and letters were a new technology that made sending written information about Christ easier.  Thus, the Good News about Jesus was able to spread across the world in the first century AD in ways that weren't possible in 500 BC.  Israel wasn’t ready for the Messiah in 500 BC. The world wasn’t ready either.  

Learn How to Wait Well
Studies show that people who know how to wait well are more successful and happy than those who need immediate gratification.  Whether or not you feel like you have the discipline to be patient, there are things you can do to improve your ability to wait well.  You can train your patience just like you can train your muscles in the gym. 

Here are a five tips that can help you practice being patient.

5 Tips To Improve Your Ability To Wait Well
First, don’t worry. Jesus said, “don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” (Matthew 6:34)  He taught His disciples to simply seek God’s Kingdom and His righteousness and trust God to take care of the rest.  Stay focused on doing God’s will and everything will fall into it’s proper place and you won’t be letting your thought be dominated by worries about things you can’t control anyway.

Second, enjoy the moment.  When your thoughts are consumed by what might happen next, you can miss out on the beautiful life you have right now.  Learn to appreciate the many, many blessings God is giving you today.  Tomorrow will be here soon enough.  They say, "A watched pot never boils."  If you dwell on waiting for something to happen, it will seem to take forever.  However, "time flies when you're having fun."  If you focus on enjoying the blessings God has for you right now in this moment, those times will fly by and your waiting for whatever's coming next will soon be over.

Third, practice being uncomfortable.  There are going to be times in life when you experience pain, hurt, sickness, and many other uncomfortable circumstances.  You might well practice getting used to it.  Practice denying yourself.  Skip a meal (fasting).  Spend some time being bored (on purpose).  Exercise hard and make your body sore.  Learn to deal with the pain and discomfort in a controlled environment.  It will help you deal with being uncomfortable later.

Fourth, wait before you make a big purchase.  Rather than making an impulse buy, set a rule that you have to wait 24 hours before you buy something.  If you see it today and you want it today (and you can get it today), make yourself wait 24 hours.  It’ll still be there tomorrow.   So wait until tomorrow.  Two things may happen if you wait.  First, you may discover you really didn't need or want that thing you almost bought on impulse.  Second, you will train yourself to delay gratification.

Lastly, challenge yourself.  If you truly feel stuck, like you’re not going anywhere, then do something proactive to improve yourself.  Times when you’re waiting are great times to get training that will give you new skills.  Go back to school or take a course.  Read a book.  Listen to a podcast.  These things will give you new skills and insights and may also inspire you about the next steps you could take.

Jesus is With Us
The Good News is, we aren’t waiting alone.  Jesus is there with us in those in between times too.
Jesus is not dead.  He is risen.  And He is with us while we wait.  So Jesus helps us find new strength and courage.  He will nourishes your soul and fill you with hope as you wait patiently for His return and for whatever important changes you are may come.


Monday, November 29, 2021

Living In Between

Today is the first Sunday of Advent.  Advent is a season of waiting and preparation.  We are preparing for Christmas—the celebration of Jesus’ birth.  But we are also waiting for the second coming of Christ, for it was promised Jesus would return to judge the living and the dead, and to right all that is wrong with the world.  Then God will recreate the heavens and the earth, and we will live with God forever in Paradise. 

But in the meantime, we are waiting.

Waiting is an important part of God’s plan for His people.  It can feel like nothing happens while you wait, but God is at work. This series will examine what happened to God’s people in the period in between the Old Testament and the beginning of the New Testament while they waited for the Messiah to be born.  This series is also design to help you in those times when you feel stuck in between, waiting.

Timeline of the Old Testament
The Bible is divided into two Testaments – the Old Testament & the New Testament.  The Old Testament primarily deals with God’s covenant with Israel.  The New Testament primarily deals with God’s new covenant with all people, made possible through God’s only begotten Son, Jesus, who was the Messiah the Jews longed for.

Here’s a quick review of the Bible.  
First there was Abraham (circa 1900s BC).  About 400 years later, one of Abraham's decedents, Joseph, went down to Egypt.  Then the Israelites became slaves in Egypt for 400 years.  Next, Moses delivered the Israelites (circa 1300s BC).  About 400 years later, David was annointed king of Israel followed by David's son King Solomon (900s BC).  After Solomon, there was a civil war between the northern and southern tribes of Israel.  Israel split into two kingdoms--Samaria in the North and Judea in the South (we get the name "Jews" from Judea).  In 586 BC, Judea was conquered by Babylon and all the inhabitants were taken away into captivity in Babylon.  about 70 years later, the captives were allowed to return and rebuild Jerusalem & the Temple (515 BC).  Finally, the last book of the Old Testament was composed about 475 BC.

Nothing else was added to the Bible until the New Testament detailed the events from the first century AD after Christ was born.  What happened during the 400 or so years between the Old and New Testament?  We find a clue in the Book of Nehemiah, which was written close to the end of the OT.  In particular, Nehemiah 9:36-37 was written about events that happened about 515 BC.

Nehemiah 9:36-37
“So now today we are slaves in the land of plenty that you gave our ancestors for their enjoyment! We are slaves here in this good land. 37 The lush produce of this land piles up in the hands of the kings whom you have set over us because of our sins. They have power over us and our livestock. We serve them at their pleasure, and we are in great misery.”

Nehemiah Rebuilds Jerusalem
Nehemiah was living as one of the conquered Jewish exiles in Persia when the king of Persia (Artaxerxes) decided to let the Jewish exiles return home to Jerusalem.  The king of Persia  commissioned Nehemiah to govern Jerusalem and help oversee the rebuilding of the city and the Temple.

It was a time of great hope for Jews.  They hoped that Jerusalem might return to the glory of Solomon’s days.  They hoped to achieve religious freedom, peace, and prosperity.  They longed to rebuild and worship in their own Temple once again.

Unfortunately their hopes were never fully realized.  The Temple was rebuilt, but it was a shadow of its former glory.  In fact, the Bible record that the people who had known the glory of Solomon's Temple wept because the new Temple was only a shadow of it's former glory.  The reality is the Jews were “slaves in the land” of Israel (Nehemiah 9:36). They remained vassels, subjugated to the more powerful Kingdoms around them.  Throughout the 400-500 year period between the Old and New Testaments, the Jews were passed around between the various empires that rose to power in the region.  They were not treated with dignity or respect. They were merely pawns in an international chess match. They were disposable, vulnerable, and a commodity to be used by more powerful people.  Nehemiah 9:37 says, “We serve them at their pleasure, and we are in great misery.” And that about sums up the Jewish people’s 400 year experience from the time they returned from exile until the time when Jesus was born—the entire period between the Old and New Testaments.

And while in former times, God had sent prophet's like Isaiah and Jeremiah and Hosea and Micah to speak His word to them--words so powerfully inspired people collected them in our Bible--no one spoke inspired words worthy of being included in the Bible for 400 years after the completion of Malachi.  It seems as if God was silent.

This was not the first time God was silent.  It also wasn’t the first time God’s people had to wait.
Remember, the Israelites were slaves in Egypt for 400 years before God sent Moses to deliver them.  At least during the intertestamental period they were slaves in their own land.

Still, it’s hard to patiently suffer and wait on God when it feels like He is being silent and doesn’t care.  God does care, but sometimes, He has to let us wait and ripen until the time is right to fulfill His plan.

In the meantime, we have to be patient and wait on the Lord.  Psalm 27:14 says, “Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.”

And James 5:7 says, “Dear brothers and sisters, be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return.”

Even if you suffer while you wait, God can use it to bless you when you trust Him & are faithful.  God gives you time to think and grow while you wait for the right opportunities and pass on the wrong ones.  God helps you when you are really hungry and waiting for good food. He teaches you, “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every Word that comes from the mouth of God."  Waiting for God gives you time to realize, He is Your only hope.  

Sometimes, people pause for effect before they say something really important.  After the Old Testament, God paused to let people know He was about to speak the most important Word He woudl ever give--the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ.

The Israelites had to wait for 400 years before their Messiah came, but that 400 years was time for important work in the hearts of HIs people.


First, the pause between the Old and New Testaments gave Israelites time to exhaust all their own schemes and realize, they were hopeless without God.

Israel was a small, insignificant land stuck in between massively powerful empires.  They were never going to have enough resources or a powerful enough army to dominate others.
Their only hope was the Lord.  
Again and again the Jews tried to establish their own kingdom by their own hands, but again and again they failed.  By the time Jesus came, most people realized their only hope was the Lord.  It would only be by the direct intervention of God Almighty that they would find salvation.  The name “Messiah”, means the one chosen by God to save.  Jesus is the Messiah.


What about you?  Do you realize your only hope is the Lord?
Have you been trying to make your own plans work by your own hand?
Don’t you realize, any “kingdom” you build will not stand.  It will fail.
But the plans of the Lord will last forever.  Learn to wait on the Lord.


Second, the time of waiting in between the Old and New Testaments gave the Israelites time to discover their “line in the sand”.

Since Israel had to compromise on many things in order to survive in a hostile world surround by more powerful nations, they really had to learn their core values—the essentials of being faithful to God that they could not compromise.  Not everything is worth fighting about.  But some things are worth dying for.  It's critical to know the difference.

What about you?  Do you know who you really are? 
What are the core values you can’t compromise?  What are the deal breakers for you? 
How do you deal with people who cross the line?
Romans 12:18 says, “Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.” 
How do you live that out?  How do you know if it’s time to compromise or take a stand?
How do you avoid sin and honor God when you take your stand?

Third, the time of waiting in between the Old and New Testaments helped many Israelites grow closer to God.

Waiting for something important can either drive you away from God or draw you closer.  Some Israelites tried to build their own kingdoms.  In the weeks ahead, we will learn about some of the different political and religious groups in Israel and how they tried to build their own kingdoms of Israel.  Thanksfully, there were also many people (like The Wisemen in the East, and Simeon and Anna in Luke 2) who grew closer to God by waiting on God, praying, worshiping, and patiently trusting God's plan.

How about you? 
How can you grow closer to God as you wait faithfully through prayer, study, fasting, and serving?

Closing Thoughts to Contemplate
Contemplate how
you can grow closer to the Lord as you prepare for Christmas?
What will it take for you to finally realize you are hopeless without God?
What are your core values?
What practical steps could you take this season to truly depend upon God, discover who you really are, and prepare for the coming of the Lord?


Monday, August 27, 2018

The Fruit of the Spirit - Patience

Galatians 5:22-23
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

Today, We Learn About Patience
As a pastor, I have done my share of funerals and been in many different funeral processions from the funeral service to the cemetery. However, I've never seen anything quite like I did this past weekend. As we were driving a few cars behind the hearse toward the seminary, our headlights were on and our hazard lights were flashing and we moved along in a solemn train toward the cemetery. Normally, cars will pull over to the side of the road as a sign of respect to the family of the deceased. But this weekend, so many people must have been in a real hurry. It seemed like at least have the cars we encountered did not pull over or slow down at all. I lost count of how many cars even sped up and passed our procession. At first, I thought they didn't realize we were conducting a funeral. Maybe when they see the hearse at the head of the parade, they will pull to the side. Nope. They just passed the hearse and kept right on going! I even had one car rudely squeeze in front of me in the middle of the funeral procession! Really? How impatient are you that you butt in on someone else's funeral train?

We are all guilty of being impatient at times. And when we are, I suspect we can be pretty rude too. We all need a little more patience. And that's what I want to talk about today.

What is Patience?
In a recent Bible study, I learned the Greek words commonly used in the New Testament for patience are Makrothymia and Hypomone. Makrothymia literally means long anger; i.e. it takes a long time for someone with patience to get angry. The other word for patience is hypomone which means to remain under; you get the image of a person carrying a heavy backpack, but they don't put it down; they patiently continue to carry it even though it's difficult. These two concepts together give us the picture of Christian patience--to persevere for a long time while carrying a heavy burden 

Longsuffering and perseverance are the two elements that bring balance to Christian patience. Some fear being patient means you must let people walk all over you. What keeps you from just being a doormat? It is the second element of perseverance. Perseverance means you aren’t just ignoring troubles or troublesome people. Perseverance means you’re going to keep a cool head methodically work your way through it.

There is a kind of patience that can just ignore trouble and tune it out, but this is not Christian
patience. That is escapism and it's not very healthy. People may turn to drugs or alcohol or other substances to help them cope and numb their discomfort. Others build an emotional wall or just run away. I can relate. I grew up in a turbulent home. I learned to cope by tuning out. Rather than boiling over with rage or acting out, I just shut down and ignored it all. I was just a kid, but that's the best thing I knew to do. People often thought I was being patient, because things just wouldn't bother me. But I eventually learned, that's not real Christian patience and it's not healthy. The problem for me--and for others who cope this way--is that people who bottle up their frustrations or who run away or tune out of conflict are like volcanoes. All that bottled up pressure is going to come spewing out somewhere eventually. They may remain dormant for a few days, weeks, months, or even years. However, the explosion is coming and you better watch out. Have you ever known someone who is always sweet and easy-going? It's like they never get upset. And then one day, some small irritation sets them off and they go into a rage. And you're thinking: "What's their problem? It's so unlike the, and they're getting upset over such a small thing." Well, they're erupting and it's not just the small thing that set them off they're spewing about. They're blasting out all the pent up emotions from from months or years of built up frustrations.

Christian patience means we can’t just tune out or bottle up or run away from your problems. Christians must endure their burdens and bear up under them. We must carry the load with patience. If our burden is dealing with a difficult or mean behavior, we deal with it. If it is physical suffering, we bear up under it. If it's deep grief, we go through the grieving process. We don’t ignore our troubles. We carry them patiently until God takes them away or shows us a way to eleviate them in a healthy way.

The perfect picture of patience is Jesus hanging on the cross. It was a terrible ordeal, but Jesus didn't cope by tuning it out. He experienced the full agony of it all because he knew it was God's plan. He didn't run away and try to avoid it. He prayed for a way out of it ("Father, if there's any other way, let this cup pass from me. However, not my will, but Your's be done."), but followed his Father's plan instead of running away. He could have called down an army of 10,000 angels to rescue him from the cross and destroy this evil world. Instead, he patiently endure the cross for our sake and salvation. That is the perfect picture of Christian patience.

Our Spiritual Garden
Gardening takes patience.  You can’t make the garden grow; only God can do that. You have to be patient, but that doesn’t mean you do nothing.  Right?  You have to be active in your patience to do what you can to create an environment for growth—fertilize your garden, water and weed it, get rid of pests, etc.  There’s a lot to do while you wait. 

Christian patience is a fruit of the Spirit.  You can’t make it grow. You have to trust God will make it grow in His timing, but that doesn’t mean you do nothing.  Maybe you have a situation that requires patience.  That doesn’t mean you do nothing.  You pray.  You prepare.  Maybe even prepare your own heart.  Then you will be ready when God reveals His plan. 

While You Wait… (How to Nurture Christian Patience)
So let me give you a few things to practice while you wait that help nurture a space where Christian patience can grow. 

First of all, be thankful. Don’t ignore your troubles, but don’t fixate on them either. When you give thanks for your blessings, it helps put your burdens in proper perspective. They are there and you have to carry them, but they are not as heavy as them seem if they are all you think about. When you are thankful and recall how God is walking with you and has blessed you, you're burdens seem lighter.

Breathe and Pray. Take some slow, deep breaths. This physically slows your heart rate and calms you down. It clears your thoughts and releases the stressful buildup of impatient pressure. Breath God's Spirit in, and breathe out the stress and toxic feeling bubbling up inside you. As you breath out, carry your burdens to God in prayer. He will help you carrying them or take them away completely.

Trust in God’s Timing. We don’t like to wait. We want to solve the problem (right now!); but do you realize, God may work out many of your issues all on His own without any help from you at all? When you jump ahead and force a solution on your own, in your own way, by your own impatient timeline, you usually end up making a huge mess. Galatians 5:17 reminds us that there’s a spiritual war going on inside us between God’s Spirit and our sinful nature. Our timeline seeks to do things to satisfy our sinful, selfish nature. God’s timing satisfies the Spirit. Which side do you want to support in this battle—the Spirit or the sinful nature? Every time you choose to do things your way on your timeline, you are just empowering your sinful nature. We have to let go and trust God.

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff. People sometimes say with exasperation, “Yes. But this is really important. It can’t wait. It has to be settled right now!” Does it? I know there are some things that have to be attended to right now. (When your baby is screaming because it needs a diaper change, you need to settle that right away!) However, not everything we think fixate on is as important as we think it is. There are many things in life that seem urgent, but they are not that important. A simple example is when your cell phone rings. Do you really have to answer it every time? What about text messages, Facebook notifications, etc.? And their are many other things, situations, and people in life that beg us to attend to them right away that really are not that important. Meanwhile, there are many other things in life that aren't as urgent, but are very important--getting the oil changed in your car, annual checkups with your doctor, spending time with your spouse, taking time to regularly rest and pray and study your Bible and worship God at church. Neglect these unurgent things for too long and your will have a very urgent emergency before too long. So, don’t let the small stuff bother you. You’ll have more inner peace and you’ll have more time to focus on the important stuff. As you are being patient, walk closely with the Lord in prayer. Then you will know the Lord’s timing and you will know the difference between what really is important and what isn’t. And you will know when to wait and when to move forward. Walking daily in harmony with the Holy Spirit through prayer is the key.

Be Patient
Think about how patient people have been with you.  Think about how patient God has been with you (and is being with you even now).  Can’t you extend the same grace to others?

I will leave you with a story I heard at my Bible study last week.  A middle aged man took his aged mother in to live with him.  She was growing old and feeble and needed people to help look after her.  Every night, the mother and her son and his family would sit down at the table for a family dinner together.  But she was very feeble and clumsy and would often make a mess or spill her drink or drop a plate that was handed to her.  Over time, this frustrations began to irritate the son more and more.  One night, the mother dropped a dish of steak on the floor, ruining the meat and making a huge mess.  The impatient son angrily barked, "That it!  From now on, you are gong to have to eat at a table by yourself so we can enjoy our meal in peace!"  Sure enough, the next night, the son had setup a seperate card table for the mother in another room.  He sat her down there and brought her plate of food to eat by herself.  As the son returned to the family dinner table, his own son asked a question, "Dad, did you make grandma sit a table by herself because she made a mess last night?"  Stubbornly, the father replied, "Yes son.  I did.  Why do you ask?"  "Well," said his son, "I just want to know how I'm supposed to treat you when you're old and come to live with me."

Offer patience today so that you others will be patient with you tomorrow.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Proverbs Day 13

Read Proverbs 13
Wisdom requires discipline, self-control, patience, and persistence.  You need to take a long-view of things.  What you want right now is not necessarily what you need in the long run.  What feels good right now may damage your long-term goals.  Fools are impulsive.  Wise people are patent and persistently work hard for the future.

Pastor Chris' Paraphrase with comments:
Proverbs 13:3 - Watch what you say and how you say it; your life may depend on it. People who speak without thinking get into big trouble.

Proverbs 13:16 - Smart people think before they act, but fools are impulsive and everyone sees it.

Your natural inclination may be to pop off with the first thing that comes to mind or to respond harshly when someone is rude or wrong.  Some think it's an attribute to have "no filter", but a wise person thinks before they speak.  A wise person knows when to be blunt and when to be smooth and when to gentle or hard and when to just keep quiet.

Proverbs 13:4 - Lazy people want it all and never feel satisfied, but hard work pays off for people who keep at it.

Proverbs 13:11 - If you get rich quick, you will spend it quick; but if you earn it over a lifetime of hard work, you will have even more.

Impulsive desires drive people to waste time, resources, energy, and money on things that don't really satisfy. You never have what you want and when you get it, you realize it wasn't what you really wanted anyway. Wise people learn to control their impulses and work steadily for things of lasting value. Through hard work, they learn to value what's really important and take care of it. It takes longer, but they are more fulfilled in the end.

Be wise.  Take the long view of life. Be patient and persistent.  Work hard.  Succeed.

"Father, help me to control my impulses.  Help me think before I speak.  Help me to control my cravings.  Help me to focus on what's really important--things with lasting value.  Motivate me to work hard and be persistent for the right things and so be fully satisfied with a life well lived and an eternity with You.  Amen."