Archive for Hardships

Why God Took Care of Nebuchadnezzar

Nebuchadnezzar never qualified as Mr. Nice Guy. Mr. Mean Guy, yes, but certainly not Nice Guy. About 600 years before Jesus, Nebuchadnezzar and his Babylonian army cruelly oppressed all Middle Eastern Countries.  In fact, his meanness motivated him to roast Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.

But listen to this! Read More→

Benefiting From Your Mind Time

“Think about such things,” Philippians 4:8.

What things?

Things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy.
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Submitting Our Thoughts to the Lord of Pleasantness

There is plenty of unpleasantness in our world.  Well, there is also plenty of pleasantness.

On a cloudy Monday morning, Delores and I sat down to breakfast in a bayside hotel restaurant.  While sipping coffee and waiting for our meals to arrive, we excitedly chattered about the beautiful morning.  Although a blanket of clouds hid the blue sky, small gaps in the cloud cover permitted shafts of brilliant sunlight to shine upon the bay’s rough surface.  Seagulls soared overhead, fishing pelicans crashed into the water and shrimp boats puttered about.  What marvelous displays of Father’s splendor! Read More→

Attached to the Blessed One

Potiphar worshipped the crocodile god, prayed to the sun god and trusted in all the gods of his Egyptian forefathers.  He knew nothing about the one true God, who created the universe.

Potiphar had one thing going for him: he attached himself to a young Hebrew slave named Joseph.  Joseph trusted in the one true God, the God of his forefathers: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  The true God loaded Joseph down with divine blessings which spilled over into Potiphar’s life.  From the time he put him in charge of his household and of all that he owned, the Lord blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph,” Genesis 39:5. Read More→

Uncle Charlie’s Purple Poodle

 

“My uncle Charlie took his black poodle to the veterinarian the other day.”

“No, Hon, uncle Charlie’s poodle is brown not black.”

“He’s my uncle; I know his poodle is black!”

“I distinctly recall its color!”

Pettiness.  That’s right.  This couple is involved in pure pettiness.  Who cares if the poodle is black, brown or purple?  We still don’t know why uncle Charlie took his poodle to the vet.  But we do know that these two people are very small.  Self-interest occupies their attention; selflessness never enters their mind.

Friends, God put us on earth so we could contribute to one another’s welfare.  Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others,” Philippians 2:3-4. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others, 1 Corinthians 10:24.

Arguments over petty issues reveal that we remain self-centered.  God plainly wants us to be others-centered.  Why is it so easy to be self-centered?  Because we aren’t God-centered.

You see, God-centered people trust God to meet their needs.  This trust frees us from depending only upon humans.  When people fail us, we remain confident in God.  We don’t use petty arguments to force others to meet our needs.  God is going to take care of us even when humans fail us.  We give ourselves to blessing those who fail us.  God-centeredness always keeps us selfless.

Incidentally, I still don’t know why uncle Charlie took his poodle to the vet, LOL.

Doing Good When It Isn’t Easy

It’s fun to do good when doing good is easy.  When rewards for well-doing abound, we rejoice in our labor.  We gladly look forward to carrying out our responsibilities and finishing “to do” lists.  Work seems like recreation. Read More→

Feeling Positive About Your Loss

After his team lost a game, I heard a basketball coach say, “I’ve never felt so positive about a loss.” I don’t know if the man was a Christian, but his statement is very Scriptural.  Every born again, Jesus-loving Christian can have the faith to feel positive about the losses that life brings. Read More→

In the Process of Succeeding

The four Gospels show us twelve apostles who stumbled through life from one failure to another.  Yes, they did some things right but the Gospel record emphasized their failures.  Then we turn to Acts and see the apostles racing from success to success.  Why such a contrast between the Gospel narrative and the Acts record?  I think God planned this to show us that we are in the process of succeeding. Read More→

When You Don’t Feel Blessed

Two thousand years ago God’s people felt unblessed.  Sure, they repeatedly read the promises God pronounced upon their ancestors Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, but where were the blessings?  A foreign government manipulated their lives and ruthlessly repressed all yearnings for independence.  Poverty afflicted almost everyone and religious leaders used their influence for self-gratification. Read More→

Feeling Helpless But Never Hopeless

Panic stricken, fear filled messengers burst into King Jehoshaphat’s throne room.  “A huge enemy army from three hostile nations is marching against us, oh King,” 2 Chronicles 20:2. Read More→