Looking For Some Help Regarding Adversity

So, this time around it’s not my thoughts I want to share. Instead, I want to ask a question and a follow up question. While I have my own tendencies regarding the question, I’m interested in hearing back from pastors and other leaders. Here it is:

When folks facing adversity come to you for help, where in the Bible do you turn?

And how do you help them to apply that passage?


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Second Post In One Day, But I Could Do No Less

Let me see if I can get this straight or not…

Our government cannot account for 619 Billion Dollars

( http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2014/08/05/federal-spending-transparency-money-missing/13485581/ )

Children of the Border Crossingand the complaints are few and far between, but folks in southern CA, and folks near Ft. Sill, OK, and my neighbors in Pierce County surrounding Joint Base Lewis McChord pitch hissy fits about taking care of children who are by every conceivable measure victims.

These terrible days were bound to arrive. In a 1994 brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court, Mother Theresa included the following, “America needs no words from me to see how your decision in Roe v. Wade has deformed a great nation. The so-called right to abortion has pitted mothers against their children and women against men. It has sown violence and discord at the heart of the most intimate human relationships. It has aggravated the derogation of the father’s role in an increasingly fatherless society. It has portrayed the greatest of gifts–a child–as a competitor, an intrusion, and an inconvenience. It has nominally accorded mothers unfettered dominion over the independent lives of their physically dependent sons and daughters. And, in granting this unconscionable power, it has exposed many women to unjust and selfish demands from their husbands or other sexual partners. Human rights are not a privilege conferred by government. They are every human being’s entitlement by virtue of his humanity. The right to life does not depend, and must not be declared to be contingent, on the pleasure of anyone else, not even a parent or a sovereign.”

Now, 20 years later, we are beginning to see the bottom of the slippery slope. Not only the defenseless unborn, but the defenseless already born will be forgotten.

Bureaucrats misplace, misappropriate, mis-spend, or, probably most likely, simply mis-report (who knows) $619 billion and not very many even flinch. “Oh well, what do we expect after the scandals in the Secret Service, Veterans Affairs, Home Land Security, Dept of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, General Services Administration, National Labor Relations Board, and the IRS (and all these just since 2009). Yet we whine about accepting responsibility for the compassionate care of innocent children? We use excuses like, “We don’t have enough resources for our own? Who are we trying to kid? Drive the streets of America, then look up the conditions of any third world nation.

I don’t have to be a democrat, republican, something in-between, or something to either the left or right of both to say, “Shame on us.” I need only be one of two things: an American citizen who recalls the profound words of both our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution; or the kind of follower of Jesus who at the very least “wants” to do as he does.

I’m both.
I’m praying.
I’m sending money to help.
And I’m pleading with you to join me.

Will Your Main Thing Remain the Main Thing

I once heard a preacher say, “There is an old German proverb that says, ‘The main thing must always remain the main thing.'”

Makes good sense to me.

However, what happens when the main thing goes away? We may very well want the main thing to remain. We don’t want to lose it. We cherish it above all else. Yet…there it goes…

…a relationship dries up.
…a business folds up.
…a skill shrivels up.
…one’s drive gives up.
…one’s appearance ages up.
…one’s health withers up.

What then? One or more of these often form the very foundation of the “main thing” for many people. Yet, each of them runs the very real potential of “going away.” It’s at times like these that we really start to understand phrases like…life just tossed me a curveball and it feels like the roof just caved in.

The expression, “I have a heavy heart,” takes on all new meaning because you literally feel like a stack of bricks is lying on your chest.

When you say, “It seems like I’m living in a dream world,” you mean it because to you life literally looks foggy on the edges.

The questions then are these:

  • What can really be the main thing?
  • What won’t ever go away?
  • What is there for us to cling that by its very nature will forever be a firm foundation?

Answer these correctly and adversity receives a whole new look.

3 Words That Scream Adversity Is Winning


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Adversity can make you better or bitter. Adversity can be a kick in the pants. It can also kick you in the teeth. Obviously we want the former, not the latter. But how do you know? How can you tell when adversity has become your master?

Three words can help: critical, apathetic, and sullen.

If these adjectives paint your life picture, adversity is winning.

● When finding fault sprints to the lead while compassion and understanding struggle to keep pace…adversity is winning.

● When indifference and insensitivity climb the leader board while concern and kindness fail to make the cut…adversity is winning.

● When pouty pessimism scores all the goals while cheer and hope get shut out… adversity is winning.

It means you’ve lost purpose. You’ve lost your way. Helen Keller once said, “True happiness… is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.”

If a worthy purpose puts criticism, apathy, and sulleness in their places, imagine the power of ultimate purpose.

“Higher than the mountains that I face
Stronger than the power of the grave
Constant in the trial and the change
One thing… remains…”
by Jesus Culture

What if I don’t marry?


Yeah, I know her. Just sayin.’ Seriously, the young people in our church sometimes take my breath away. Keep on keeping on, Miss Hyla. Eph. 3:14-21

Originally posted on hylachamberlain:

In spite of my purity ring, people have asked me what I will do if I do not get married. This is a great question! My answer is, wear it of course! Yes, even if I am sixty and if I do not marry I will be wearing my purity ring. As I have mentioned in my other writing I Wear This Ring I do not only wear mine as a reminder of sexual purity before marriage, but also for purity in all areas of my life. Say I do marry, then what happens? Some people add to their purity rings, or save it to pass down to their children. In my case, I will replace it with an engagement ring, and then add the wedding band to it. I’ve explained to other girls that a wedding ring is just another purity, but within marriage. 

I’ve broken it down…

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CBF field personnel reflects on immigration crisis in McAllen, Texas


Diann, thank you. And thank you Cooperative Baptist Fellowship for all you are doing. Reports like these are sweet water to thirsty and discouraged souls. Keep on keeping on. You are all in my prayers.

Originally posted on Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Blog:

Diann Whisnand is one of CBF’s field personnel serving in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. Her efforts are mostly in Hidalgo County, which is top in the U.S. for concentrated poverty, and she works on several levels addressing the issue of systemic poverty.

Whisnand’s main focus—the Rio Grande Valley Literacy Center—is a development ministry specifically targeting Latino adults who want to address their lack of education or English skills. Recently, she has also helped CBF to coordinate aid given to refugees crossing the border after the huge influx of families and children entering the U.S. from Central American Countries.

Learn more about Diann Whisnand and her ministry with CBF at thefellowship.info/whisnand, and check out a recent story on Whisnand’s advocacy work on CBFblog.

 By Diann Whisnand

Central American Refugee

Central American Refugee

As a field personnel with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, I’ve been ministering in the Rio Grande Valley…

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Adversity: An Opportunity or an Ogre?

I’ll be blunt, adversity stinks.

You lose…
…your job.
…your health.
…your wealth.

…thing you cherish goes missing.
…hope you grasp slips away.
…one you love suddenly dies.

And… adversity becomes your up-close, personal, unwanted guest.

It more than stinks.
It hurts…
It bewilders…
It depresses…
It pervades…
It lingers…
…a lot…too much…too long.

You know it and I know it, because we’ve been there. Perhaps, you’re still there. If you’ve not been there. Hang on, it’s coming.

So, for just a few moments think about this question: “what do all those items above have in common? Slow down for just a bit. Try not to read on. Can you think of at least two things they have in common?

Okay, you’ve probably arrived at the same thing, but just in case here it is:

1.  They all represent loss and loss requires grief.
2.  They all fill a part of your soul and what fills the soul produces purpose.

So, will forgetting the loss heal the grief? No, because forgetting will never fill your soul and therefore will produce no purpose.

So, will time heal all wounds? No, because time is just a prolonged encounter with the pain.

So, will something new and similar to the thing lost fill the void? Maybe in part, but not completely, because it’s never quite the same

Then what? What will help?

One thing. Purpose. Ultimate purpose.

People, pursuits, and things pass away. The result. They never completely fill the holes in our souls. Please don’t get me wrong. They are beautiful and wonderful. We desire them and need them. They complement us. They often bring out the best in us. However, by their very nature they are not permanent. They may not outlast us. When they go they leave holes in our souls. Joy flows out. Pain rushes in. Grief.

Maybe you recall a famous scene from the Billy Crystal movie, City Slickers.

Curly: Do you know what the secret of life is? [holds up one finger]  This.
Mitch: Your finger?
Curly: One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and the rest don’t mean s____.
Mitch: But, what is the “one thing?”
Curly: [smiles] That’s what you have to find out.

So one question needs an answer if adversity is to become an opportunity rather than an ogre. Got purpose…ultimate purpose?

The Baptists are in it to Serve

Check out the article at this link: http://www.bpnews.net/42964/child-refugees-summon-ministry-compassion. Wonderful.

Pastor Shannon Talley of the First Baptist Church in McAllen, Texas has mobilized his church to help meet the needs of thousands upon thousands of children who have crossed the border. From the Baptist Press article referenced above:

“For Talley and his church, ministry has taken precedence regardless of their opinion on the government’s policies on immigration and the border.

‘While politically I think that what has been allowed to happen is incorrect … I’m not a politician. I’m a pastor,’ Talley has said to his church, he told Baptist Press Monday (July 14). ‘And whatever laws are written and whatever the government is allowing is not something I can fix. But there are people that are here, and these children especially need our help.'”

Hat’s off and please join me in thanking God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit for Pastor Talley and the hundreds of folks stepping up.

However, notice one further thing found in the article:

“First Baptist Church in McAllen, which is affiliated with the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention (SBTC), has responded generously in giving and in time, Talley said. While they have no access to the unaccompanied children, teams of church members are in their third week of going to a nearby processing center to assist and minister to parents and their children.”

It’s beautiful they are “allowed” to serve the children accompanied by their parents. It’s wrong they have no access to those children in greatest need. Good, decent citizens are always better than bureaucracies when it comes to the care of those in want.

Praying for the walls and halls of the bureaucracies to fall. Asking you to pray. Praying for the churches of southern Texas. Asking you to pray. Praying for the children. Asking you to pray also

The search continues.


Permission to Help Children In Need?

From a statement released by the North American Mission Board:

“At this time, volunteer and faith-based organizations are not permitted to engage or provide care until federal and state authorities agree on a plan.”

Excuse me. Since when did volunteers, faith-based or otherwise, need government permission to help anyone? Does anyone remember this: “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” It’s the ninth amendment to the U.S Constitution. James Madison (and others) insisted on its inclusion, because they knew these rights to be unalienable and granted by the Creator. It was not conceivable that there were but nine.

Permission is not needed to offer a cup of water. Please pray with me that the walls and halls of bureaucracy will fall. Please pray with me that we can get past these over-sized stumbling blocks for the sake of children.

Maybe my part or your part is small. Maybe it will be large. Doesn’t matter. The border crossing crisis is now about needy, frightened children. The Savior said, “Suffer the children to come to me.” And to those who would cause them harm he said, “Tie a millstone around the neck and jump into the deep.”

Please pray. We (as in America, but more pertinent to my radar screen, as in Church…with either a small or Capitol C) can do better.

The search continues. Ricki.


The Walls Need to Fall

Dear ones, I’m not sure where everyone falls on the debate regarding the “flood” of children crossing our southern borders, but I have a few reflections. It seems to me we have the resources (and I’m not talking about government resources) to offer our hands of love to 50,000 children. We should do so. However, the whole thing has become, yet again, a socio-political quagmire of debate, debasement, and deceit. Caught in the crossfire: the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the ones considered the wretched refuse of another country’s teeming shore, the homeless, and the tempest-tossed.

These are God’s children. And God knows these children do not have the privileges of ours. We the people can do this. We can love them. We can help them. We just need the socio-political bureaucracies to get out of the way. Of course, this would be an undetaking of far greater motivation, creativity, momentum, and sustainability than the actual care of these precious children. I do not pretend that I have an idea for how to produce that kind of change. I don’t. I feel another letter to an elected official is pointless…another letter to the editor the same. The halls and walls of bureaucracy have become entities unto themselves. We the people need another approach.

So, I’ve committed to several things:

1. I will pray fervently. I will pray for the walls and halls of bureaucracies to fall. I will ask God to remove them.

2. I will look fervently. Is there a way that I can, at least, get past those walls and halls? Is there someone in Texas who can help me help one, or two, or three, or more of these brave yet frightened children? I will look and I will call.

3. I will pray again. I will pray for the children. I will pray for their parents. I will pray for the less than kind adults who may be transporting, accompanying, or receiving the children.

4. I will pray for myself. “Oh God, break my heart and keep it broken.”

5. I will pray for the Church. I will pray that true followers of the Savior will fill the breach. I will pray that we stand up.

Yes, I want to help ours. I know there are great needs in our communities. And we are working to meet those needs. However, this should not stop us from helping all the rest. So, I ask you to consider. Will you join me in praying for the walls and halls of bureaucracies to fall?


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