Encouragement

The Trials, Sorrows and Losses in Our Lives


"I am the true vine, and My Father is the gardener. . . . He prunes every branch that produces fruit--so that it will produce more fruit." John 15:1-2

Expect OppositionPremium Content

Nehemiah 4:14 NIV "Don't be afraid of them. Remember the Lord who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes."

When we strive to rebuild our lives because of the loss of a family member, marital conflict, divorce, economic instability, addiction, betrayal or some other challenge, we can expect opposition. The devil hates us and uses people to mock us, to threaten us or to block our rebuilding. Nehemiah faced the ridicule and the threats of Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites and the men of Ashdod.

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Patience Doesn't Develop in 5 Minutes

Hebrews 11:1
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

God isn't McDonald's.

Most fast food joints are now promising your meal within so many minutes or it's free. And you get it: all the sawdust, processed sugar, and dirt (yes, dirt!) you can eat and within five minutes, no less. And I think we've become so accustomed to having what we want when we want it that we've forgotten: God isn't McDonald's. (Thank goodness.) The really good things in life most often don't come in five minutes.

Sickness is Discouraging But.....

A poor shoemaker in his dreary little shop in a great city, one day noticed that there was one little place in his dark room, from which he could get a view of green fields, blue skies and faraway hills. He wisely set up his bench at that point, so that at any moment he could lift his eyes from his dull work--and have a glimpse of the great, beautiful world outside.

Moving from Passive Victim to Active SeekerPremium Content

Curiosity has its own reason for existing. Albert Einstein.

I’ve been thinking a bit (an unusual and dangerous development) about the notion of overcoming adversity. As a paraplegic, I’m often asked questions like: How did you deal with it? How did you get past it? What helped you move forward?

When I recall twenty-one years of adjusting to life in a wheelchair, first impressions include frustration, anger, and isolation. Each challenge seems to elicit a sense of impossibility and hopelessness, and my initial reaction is capitulation. It’s as though I’m programmed to greet difficult circumstances with: I’ll never be able to …

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The Worm became a Splendid Butterfly

Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your hearts on things above! Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things! Colossians 3:1-2

Paul reminds us that those who believe on Christ--should live a risen life.

We live on the earth at present. We walk on earth's streets. We live in material houses, built of stones, bricks, or wood. We eat earth's fruits, gathering our food from earth's fields, orchards and gardens. We wear clothes woven of earthly fabrics. We adorn our homes with works of art that human hands make. We engage in the business of earth. We find our happiness in the things of this life.

Why Do We Have to Suffer?Premium Content

Jesus said "Blessed are the poor in spirit." Matthew 5:3

How can this be? How can I be blessed if I am suffering? What good does suffering do? . Philip Yancey says:

    "Blessed are the poor in spirit." Why? Because "theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:3)
    The poor, the hungry, the mourners, and those who suffer are blessed (Matt. 5:3-6) because their lack of self-sufficiency is obvious to them every day. They must turn somewhere for strength. People who are rich, successful, and beautiful may go through life relying on their natural gifts. But people who are needy, dependent, and dissatisfied with life are more likely to welcome God’s free gift of love.

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Flowers And New LifePremium Content

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.
Isaiah 43:19

“Everything’s just so hard!”

My friend was sharing about a million things that seemed to be going wrong all at once. A couple of big issues and a bunch of smaller ones piled on her shoulders until she felt buried. She knew intellectually that it would eventually pass, that things weren’t as awful as they seemed, but knowing couldn’t halt the emotional, gut-churning fear and resentment.

Ever been there? (Yes, I see all those nodding heads.)

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When We Wrestle with OurselvesPremium Content

It's really hard to keep remembering that my fight isn't against those around me who oppose me, but rather is about whether or not I can stand in the will of God. Sometimes, I think, that the devil, he is me, that when I look into the mirror, my worst enemy is my own desires. I simply have a hard time waiting and waiting is what I need to do to allow God to work in the lives of those around me to do His will for me.

Ephesians 6:11-12 NKJV

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God Waits for Us to Draw Near to Him

When all the fighting and protesting is done, God waits for me to draw near to Him. I think that I make more trouble for myself than my own circumstances ever do. I try to control, to manipulate, to manage. And all that is so painful because I am working in a realm where I have no ability and certainly no talent. When I'm honest (which I'm finding isn't nearly as often as I'd like it to be), I can admit that I'm really not very good at decisions. Many of the ones I've made have been simply horrible with drastic results. But when I wait on God and allow Him to make the decisions, things work out so much better. He's really so much better at decisions than I am, and rightly so, because He sees the future and knows what's best for me.

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