Dear Harmony Plains Singing School Friends,
The 55th session of Harmony Plains Singing School will be held Sunday evening, July 15 through Friday night July 20, 2018. We greatly look forward to seeing everyone, singing praises, and enjoying the presence of God. Our theme this year is Love and Patience, and the text is II Thessalonians 3:5, “And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ.” Our Hymn is “Be Still My Soul,” number 179 in the OSH #11.
Christianity is definitely love, God is love and God loves us (I John 4:8,10), and we are to love God and our neighbor (Matthew 22:37-40). In all actuality, we all love singing school for this very thing—it is a place of love.
Christianity is definitely patience; we are to run our race with patience, be patient, and to add patience to faith virtue, knowledge, and temperance (Hebrews 12:1, James 5:7, II Peter 1:6). We all know that much of the evidence of loving someone is being patient with them, and I sure need loved ones to be patient with me and especially for the Lord to be longsuffering with me.
So how does one love the Lord and be patient in waiting for Christ? Not a minor point!! Growing as a Christian is not going out and getting what we don’t have, getting more patience, obtaining more of God’s love. Christian growth is growing in living in the reality of what we already have.
The love of God is not His giving us anything and everything we want. Our love of God is rooted in an humble and moving realization of his love for us. Patience in waiting for Christ is not His revealing to us the time and place of the events of our lives. Our patient waiting for Christ is deeply trusting his wisdom and faithfulness day by day and remembering that as he was taken up so will he come again and receive us unto himself.
Gaining love and patience, then, is not about our striving for it. Growing in love and patience is about our hearts being directed into the realization of how much we already possess. We grow to be more like Jesus the more we come to understand what we already have in Jesus.
One reason we may not have love to the degree we ought is because our hearts are not directed or focused as deeply as they could be on the love that it took to cleanse us from our sins. Christian joy is the direct result of remembering deeply God’s love for us. If we fail to remember our justification, redemption, reconciliation, and glorification we will struggle in our sanctification.
One reason we may not have patience as fully as we ought may also be our heart’s direction. Perhaps we need to be more directed into the patient waiting for Christ when he will be fully revealed in us. With our hearts more focused upon him we would find the world less drawing, the minutes less fleeting and our nerves less taunt. With our hearts upon him, we would be less directed on what depresses us.
All through the bible there are exhortations for us to become practically what we already are positionally in Christ. Learning gospel truths initially and rediscovering gospel truths ongoingly is the heart of every aspect of our service to our Lord and one another. The gospel first revealed we were in Christ and revealed how much the Lord loved us. It is the gospel that reminds us of the very same truths again and again. It is in the gospel that our heart’s patient waiting for Christ goes from hazy to clear, from black and white to color.
We all know we don’t love as we want to love and are not being as patient as we want to be. God says we will grow in our understanding of his will, we will be filled with spiritual wisdom and understanding, and we will be strengthened with his love and patient waiting as our hearts are directed to the understanding and realization that we are already presently qualified, delivered, transformed, redeemed, and forgiven (Colossians 1:9-11).
I pray you are making plans to come to Cone, Texas this summer. I also pray that during our time together we will be strengthened in our fellowship with each other and be direct more into love and patience.
Can’t wait to see you.
Brother Dickie Halbgewachs