Archive for Hardships

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→

Let the Star Filled Sky Speak

While living in Tokyo, Delores and I rarely saw the stars and moon.  Dense air pollution and frequent cloud cover obscured heavenly objects from view.  When we returned to America, I began thoroughly enjoying the Lord’s star-filled sky!

One evening I realized that the star-filled sky speaks in God’s behalf to us earth-bound humans. Read More→

Seeing the Cure Without Understanding the Cause

“If you understand the problem, you’re halfway to solving it.” Ever hear that before?  Such beliefs teach us to rack our brains so we can understand the cause of problems.  We expect that understanding the cause automatically leads to the solution.

It doesn’t always work that way!  Striving to mentally grasp the cause of life’s problems often intensifies the problem’s adverse effect on us.

True, when repairing an automobile we must first discover what’s broken.  Replace the defective part and, presto, it works again.

What must we do when the cause of life’s problems defies human understanding?Open Bible

Quit depending on your ability to understand causes.  You may think, “That suggestion is crazy!  How do you expect me to not depend upon on my own understanding?” Start depending on God’s superior, infinite understanding.  He knows everything about everything including all the hidden causes of each problem in the entire universe.  So, when all our worry and anxious thoughts fail to understand causes, it’s time to obey Proverbs 3:5: “Do not lean on your own understanding.” “Well,” you may wonder, “what should I do with my human understanding?”  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart.”

No one event constitutes a lifetime.  Therefore, we should move on with life and not dwell on individual events.  Don’t fear events or they grow out of proportion to their actual importance.

Depending wholly upon God’s understanding redirects your attention from causes to cure.  The cure is a Person we call Heavenly Father.  Don’t we call on him during life’s difficulties and frustrations?  Why not call upon him when you can’t comprehend causes of struggles, difficulties and heartaches?  Let him figure it out!  He is more than willing to help humans who admit their inability to understand causes.  Don’t be distracted by “impossible to understand” causes.  Just look up to your heavenly Cure.

Please remember, “Those who hope in Me will not be disappointed,” Isaiah 49:23. God is the cure which annihilates incomprehensible causes.