Adversity

From the Archives – Finding Happiness in Difficult Times

We’re a week or so into February, so today’s article has a bit of romance for Valentine’s Day and much application (finding happiness in life) for the other days of the year. I came across this true account from Reader’s Digest:

My cell phone quit as I tried to let my wife know that I was caught in freeway gridlock and would be late for our anniversary dinner. I wrote a message on my laptop asking other motorists to call her, printed it on a portable inkjet and taped it to my rear windshield.

When I finally arrived home, my wife gave me the longest kiss ever. “I really think you love me,” she said. “At least 70 people called and told me so.”

In Genesis 29, Jacob initiates what will be one of the great romances of all time; no cell phone message could compare to it. Although this romance had a happy ending (he did marry his beloved Rachel), Jacob’s life was complex, stressful, and messy. Despite great hardships, his life was rich and filled with happiness. How can this paradox be? The answer is no surprise: God.

Jacob had been scared, lonely, probably overcome with guilt, and walking into the unknown. He had stolen both the family birthright and Isaac’s blessing from his brother Esau; Esau was so angry with Jacob for his low-down scheming that he planned to kill him. To preserve his life, Jacob hurriedly exited Canaan and headed toward relatives in Haran (what we now call Iraq).

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Trust the God Who Provides (Not the Means He Uses)

"If you have had a stable and steady job for 5, 10, or 20 years, it’s easy to get the idea that the job that is what provides for you. No, God provides for you. ...You may say—God has provided a small group for me, a dear friend for me, a healthy church for me, a wonderful ministry for me. These are the means of God’s supply. The way God supplies will change." - Colin Smith

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On Healthy Minds in Troubled Times, Part 2: Confidence

"On the day Christ commissioned Saul as apostle to the Gentiles, he told him he would suffer. He told Ananias, the believer who healed Saul of his heaven-sent blindness....And Saul, now Paul the apostle, tells the believers in the little church at Philippi that this is the common fate—no, the 'privilege'—of all believers" - Olinger

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On 2 Corinthians 1:8 – “We were so utterly burdened beyond our strength.”

"When we’re overwhelmed––perhaps by many changes, or by one major change with seismic effects––Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 1:8 will resonate with us: 'We were so utterly burdened beyond our strength.' What an apt description of a full load and a heavy heart: utterly burdened." - TGC

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Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled

Sermon No. 730 delivered on Lord’s-day Morning, January 20, 1867, by C.H.Spurgeon at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington

“Let not your heart be troubled: you believe in God, believe also in Me.” — John 14:1.

THE DISCIPLES had been like lambs carried in the warm bosom of a loving Shepherd. They were now about to be left by Him and would hear the howling of the wolves and endure the terrors of the snowstorm. They had been like tender plants conserved in a hothouse, a warm and genial atmosphere had always surrounded them—they were now to endure the wintry world with its nipping frosts. And so it was to be proven whether or not they had an inward vitality which could exist when outward protections were withdrawn.

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Roller Coaster Faith

From the archives…

There are basically two ways to ride a roller coaster. The first is to resist the ride. You can press your feet against the floorboard and arch your back. You can grip the handle bar so hard your knuckles turn white. You can tense your jaw, tighten your abdominal muscles, and scream bloody murder as you descend the precipitous drops and are flung around the death-defying turns.

Somewhere in my rather limited experience of roller coasters, I discovered a second approach. You can actually relax on a roller coaster. Really! You can loosen your grip on the bar, relax your jaw, legs and abdominal muscles. In fact, you can take a roller coaster ride in the same physical condition and mental state of a couch potato.

Obviously, your physical state will have no influence on the roller coaster. No matter how tense or relaxed you may be, the roller coaster will not alter its route one inch or adjust its speed one iota. Either way, you will be delivered to the platform on time and in one piece. You cannot control the ride, you can only control the rider.

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