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Showing posts with the label Challenge

Is it really a way of escape?

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. (James 1:2-3) Is anyone else like me, trying to get out of something a bit 'prematurely' because they are harder than you expected when you went into it? Trust me on this one, you and I will just find the next challenge a bit harder, so we might as well buckle down and finish this one! There is something that is 'required' of us and we need to see it through, or else face the next 'something' in order to do it all over again. What is required? I don't know what your particular 'challenge' is right now, but whatever it is, God has a plan in it. That may seem a little hard for some to swallow, especially when the issue at hand seems kind

Challenged to Run Well

Time is short - what are you doing with yours? This may not seem like a very significant question when you are twenty and going strong, but the recent passing of a young man just barely in his forties made me realize we cannot take life for granted. Chances are he arose every morning living life to the fullest, but none of us knows when our last breath will come. We all run this race - with urgency and equally with responsibility to run it well. When time is short and a solution is imperative, how do we run? Likely we run with a determination - because we know we have limited time and we want to be sure whatever needs to be done is accomplished. A race is more than a contest in speed - it can also be one of endurance and perseverance. How well we run is often determined by our "interpretation" of the need to run - the thing that is right in front of us that we are running toward, or the thing behind us that is making us run! If we have a wild animal charging at us, intent on

Do you clam up?

How good of a test-taker are you? I have met individuals who really struggle with this one because as soon as they get that exam in front of them they kind of 'clam up' and shut down. They just cannot focus and their efforts toward studying / preparing for the exam all go out the window. They are frozen in time. They have an anxiety moment that initiates the 'shut-down' and then they cannot seem to 'reboot' to get back on track. The testing challenges of life can sometimes put us into a mode where we find it hard to 'reboot' and get back on track again, right? There are just some challenges we don't imagine we will ever make it through, but let me assure you of this - you are prepared more than you will ever know! Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life. ( James 1:12 MSG ) Let's face it - testing is hard - even a b

We need zero skipped beats!

God is not after a big church or even 'big names' in Christian circles - he is after an obedient church and obedient children who are not concerned with making a 'name', but in sharing his love in big ways. It really doesn't matter the size of the church or the years we have been a believer. The number of pews or the size of the building really doesn't matter - nor the number of times we have read through the Bible from cover to cover. The thing that matters is the condition of the hearts that make up the "church" - the condition of our hearts - yours and mine. God often deals with obedience as he speaks with his kiddos - "Do what I tell you". There is to be evidence of obedience in our lives. The first evidence we should see is that we "treasure" God's instructions. They are not given haphazardly - they are "careful" instructions. The requirement of an obedient heart is first to learn to treasure the things that bring

Current strong?

It was the late Woodrow Wilson who said, " The man who is swimming against the stream knows the strength of it. " I imagine there are more than a few individuals in my circle of influence today who feel like they are swimming against the current - toughing it out and trying to battle to the other side. A long time ago, I learned if you'd 'tie off' on one side of the river to a sturdy tree or large rock, you could use the momentum of the river's current to carry you across to the other side, all while still tethered to the anchor on the side you were abandoning. That tether could serve as the guide to help others get across, because you would solidly secure it to the opposite side of the strong current's flow on the other riverbank. The next behind you could then 'tether on' and be guided safely across. Many times we are the ones taking the first risk to cross those troublesome currents of life, but as long as our anchor is secure, we can prepare th

Squeeze me - go ahead!

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. ( James 1:2-3   MSG ) What tests have you done rather well on recently? What challenges came at you that you just faced head on and mastered without even looking back? We remember and rehearse the ones we failed, or that did us in, right? Do we do a good enough job celebrating the ones we "pass"? It is likely we rehearse the failures way more than we celebrate the successes. Why? We aren't satisfied with the outcome! We want to see that altered in some way when that challenge is faced the next time - we want to get a much better "grade" on the test! You know me...I had to look up the difference between these two words because I didn't rea

I hear the thunder!

5  His voice is glorious in the thunder. We cannot comprehend the greatness of his power.  6  For he directs the snow, the showers, and storm to fall upon the earth.  7  Man’s work stops at such a time so that all men everywhere may recognize his power. (Job 37:5-7 TLB) Ever notice how thunder gets your attention? I have been so absorbed in fishing at a stream on occasion, not even noticing the storm clouds gathering in the skies behind me, and then all of a sudden there is this huge rumble of thunder that manages to call me back to awareness. It wasn't that the storm wasn't there already. It was that I wasn't aware of it coming my way! The thunder alerts me to the approach of the storm oftentimes in enough time to "shelter" prior to the downpour. Yet, there have been the occasions when the thunder came so close to the downpour that I just didn't escape it! In both cases, if I had been paying attention, I would have observed the signs of the impending storm!

Slip sliding away

When I said, “My foot is slipping!” Your unfailing love, O Eternal One, held me up. When anxiety overtakes me  and worries are many,  Your comfort lightens my soul.  (Psalm 94:18-19 VOICE)     Martin Luther King said, " The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. "  We have a moment of success and feel like we are standing on the top of the world - as though nothing could "undo" the feeling we are riding high on for that moment in time.  We also all know just how fleeting "riding" on success can be - for nothing soars forever - all things must return to ground level!  Comfort and convenience can be the enemies of challenge and controversy as much as the other way around.  We don't want to move when we are comfortable, much less find ourselves in a position in which we might actually feel the footing going out from underneath ourselves!  It is

Prepare to develop

I recently saw a post on my social media feed with a simply phrase:  "You were given this life because you were strong enough to live it."  It was set over a simple photo of a farm and farmhouse.  I think it probably had a couple of messages behind it, such as farming is not for wimps!  It probably had another meaning closer to the passage below - we don't receive lessons in this life through osmosis, but because we walk through them and learn from them.  Someone might think they were given the life they were given because only THEY could live up to the challenge.  The challenge wasn't given to you because you had the strength, it was given to you to reveal the strength the Almighty would give you to walk through it. Those who learn from the lessons of life will join the others who are wise.   Those who disregard discipline sabotage themselves, but those who are open to correction gain understanding. Reverence for the Eternal is the first lesson of wisdom, and hu

Another wilderness journey?

Have you ever really considered the lessons you have learned because of the experience of another?  You know, the stuff you just never really explore because you see how the exploration of another left them kind of unfulfilled, reasonably sane, but just so not excited about their experience?  Well, I think this is all part of God's plan for us in life - to learn from the experiences of those who go before us.  The first astronaut into space paved the way for all the others who came behind.  The first one to fly above the earth had a whole lot of failures before there was truly lift-off.  The experiences of the first made an example of both what not to do and what to do in the midst of the experiences of the many who followed.  I think the same is true in our spiritual lives - we learn a great deal about what not to do and what really is the best path for us simply by looking at those who've gone before us. When  God , your God, ushers you into the land he promised through you