Adversity, Bible, Life's Moments

If You’re Going Through Hell…

One reference attributed the following quote to Winston Churchill, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” Seems they were wrong. Upon further research, it seems the quote’s been used, modified, and used yet again over and over. The best I am able to tell, the original came from the Christian Science Monitor from sometime early last century. I decided against using the quote. Why? Well, not so much because of its dubious background, but on account of the simple fact that it is so terribly incomplete. Sure, such platitudes are nice…
“When the going gets tough the tough get going.”

“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

“Just do it.”

However, that’s not how the Lord sees it. When adversity is due to no fault of your own, the Lord never asks you to plow through, to find your way through on your own, to light your own way through. In fact, to do so will make things worse…

Isaiah 51:10,11

10  Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the voice of his servant? Let him who walks in darkness and has no light trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God.

11  Behold, all you who kindle a fire, who equip yourselves with burning torches! Walk by the light of your fire, and by the torches that you have kindled. This you have from my hand: you shall lie down in torment.

Simple…don’t fight darkness with the wrong source of light…keep trusting him.

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Adversity, Bible, Life's Moments

Adversity Diminished

Paul, my Dad, knew adversity. As a youngster, he faced down the real great depression (the 1930’s). As a young man, he served in the 81st Infantry as they joined in the terrible battles of the Palau Islands and Leyte. As a young husband and father, his days as a combat medic were not over… he was reactivated for the Korean War. Again he was called up in 1960 for the Berlin Crisis. After a year of blessed non-deployment he was allowed separation. With four children ranging from 5 to 13 he and Mom said, “Enough,” and back to South Dakota we went. However, the siren call still beckoned…back they went. In 1966, Dad obeyed one final time as Uncle Sam sent him to Viet Nam with the 1st Cav. In 1978, he hung up his helmet and boots for the last time. Dad knew adversity. During the months of March through July 5 of this year he fought yet another battle. One he could not win. He failed to thrive. He went home to Jesus. It wasn’t pretty. Through it all another battle raged…inside. It was his. It was internal. He struggled to see the hand of God’s love. Yes, he bowed before the King of kings. Jesus was his Savior, but it was an uneasy truce.

Jeremiah also knew adversity. Oh man, he knew it well. You might be unfamiliar with his life. If so, consider reading two books in the Bible: Jeremiah and Lamentations. Needless to say he had much to say about a hard subject during a hard time.

I have poured his words into my heart. Hurtful words. Sad words. Hard words. Yet words dripping with hope. They are in fact the Lord’s words…and I need them. Dad needed them.

I need them for multiple reasons, but mostly because I want joy and laughter to increase and sorrow and tears to decrease. Don’t we all.

Just this morning adversity came knocking again. I’ll spare you the details. No more had it made an attempt to camp out in my soul…when God’s word through Jeremiah flooded my spirit…

“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:21-23).

I’ll leave it to you to discover just how miserable Jeremiah had become through no fault of his own. Read Lamentations. It’s short. It won’t take long, but hang on. It’s a difficult journey. Pay very close attention when you get to 3:16-18. Jeremiah could not have been lower. His hope in the Lord was gone. It’s as though he shook his fist toward the sky and shouted, “God I’m through with you!” Dad did this too.

The Lord’s word through Jeremiah ringing as a reminder in my mind was the Spirit of God whispering yet again to my spirit, my inner true self. What was true for Jeremiah is true for every believer in Jesus Christ. God’s love never fails. His mercy never ends. His love and mercy are new every day, because he is faithful. He doesn’t change. However, more than that, his presence is always with us. The word of God, tucked away in my heart, cascading like a river of fresh cool water over my troubled thoughts was God’s way of showing in real time that he is here…always, ever, in joy and in sorrow.

But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

So keep fronting me, Adversity. Keep stepping in where you do not belong. You will continue to be escorted right out the back door. And that rushing wind you feel and hear pushing you away? It’s name is Pneuma…Spirit… the Holy Spirit…the One who leads and guides and reminds…the One who illuminates our minds with the eternal word of God…the One who testifies with my spirit that I am a child of God. The One who, finally, helped Dad see just how greatly he was and is loved.

My heart both broke and soared on July 5th. It hurt knowing in this life Dad never won the love battle. He simply could not see what Jeremiah knew…“the steadfast love of the LORD never ceases.” It soared knowing in heaven the war finally ended…his hope was no longer dashed. He doesn’t even need hope, because he knows face to face, heart to heart, from the eyes and lips of Jesus, “(my) mercies never come to an end, they are new every morning.”  

How about you? What does your battle look like? When adversity comes calling, what do you do? 

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Culture

The Eugenics of Down Syndrome

Iceland Downs Syndrome

“My God, oh my God, my Father, Savior, my Holy Spirit, forgive them.” This is not causing Down Syndrome to disappear, it’s eugenics.

While the story line is about Iceland, look further in the article for this paragraph, “Other countries aren’t lagging too far behind in Down syndrome termination rates. According to the most recent data available, the United States has an estimated termination rate for Down syndrome of 67 percent (1995-2011); in France it’s 77 percent (2015); and Denmark, 98 percent (2015). The law in Iceland permits abortion after 16 weeks if the fetus has a deformity — and Down syndrome is included in this category.”

Please, please, where are the social justice warriors now. Stop leaning left or right. Stop buying your party lines. See and receive the heart of Jesus. Save the children…

…all the children.

You can see this dreadful reality at…

CBS News

Youtube

 

 

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Adversity, Bible

A Great Reminder About a Great Man Who Needed a Savior

You won’t be disappointed in an article by Randy Alcorn at Eternal Perspectives Ministry: Charles Spurgeon’s Joy and Fruitfulness in Ministry, Born Out of Suffering and Sorrow. (see link below)

The life of C. H. Spurgeon is both inspirational and sobering. He knew something about adversity…if you want to thrive you need the Lord. I have long appreciated this quote from him: “No stars gleam as brightly as those which glisten in the polar sky. No water tastes so sweet as that which springs amid the desert sand. And no faith is so precious as that which lives and triumphs through adversity. Tested faith brings experience. You would never have believed your own weakness had you not needed to pass through trials. And you would never have known God’s strength had His strength not been needed to carry you through.”

Just follow the link…

http://www.epm.org/blog/2017/May/22/spurgeon-ministry-suffering

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Bible, Culture

Maybe We Just Say No

naybe-we-just-say-no

Quoted from a Fox news source:

“Earlier, Trump called the judge who issued the temporary restraining order a ‘so-called judge’ and vowed that the order would be ‘overturned!’

 Trump’s tweet about Robart also resulted in criticism from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

 ‘The president’s attack … shows a disdain for an independent judiciary that doesn’t always bend to his wishes and a continued lack of respect for the Constitution,’ the New York Democrat said.”

 This is a perfect example of what we’ve become. A President with poor public manors and a Senator who seems to manufacture Constitutional notions from thin air. We really must once again become an informed and modest citizenry. We need to read and study the founding documents in their historical and grammatical contexts. We must do our own fact checking: where possible, find and read original sources; discredit so-called news agencies; refuse to take up the offenses of others without first knowing true truth; and, perhaps above all, refuse to pass on anything for which we would not be absolutely willing to die to defend. Finally, until such time the right, the left, the libertarians, the greens, and all the rest (whether politicos, pundits, or pedagogues) cease their propagandistic ways and return to honorable and honest exchanges of ideas and ideals, we should stand shoulder to shoulder demanding our public institutions and public servants stand down…and until they do we should ignore them.

Maybe what we really need is a “Just Say No” campaign against bureaucracy.

  • Turn off the television.
  • Turn off all links from any and all bureaucracies posting anything at all on the internet.
  • Tell the permit profiteers they are no longer allowed to have their way with our property, our hopes, our dreams, and our futures.
  • Stop paying taxes.

I don’t know…maybe you can think of a few more…

Then how about we step out our front doors, start talking to our neighbors, and better than talking, start listening to our neighbors? How about we take the lead and make the insiders follow? Maybe it will help to detoxify ourselves from the clap-trap that passes as news and public discourse these days. Maybe it will strengthen our resolve to not be led into their histrionics.

Finally, on a personal note to my brothers and sisters in Christ, how about we remember…

…our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:21)?

…blessed is the (one whose) delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither (Psalm 1:1-3)?

…let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person (Colossians 4:6)?

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Bible

The Greatest Gift Of All

crimas-eve-2016

“In all of my years of service to my Lord, I have discovered a truth that has never failed and has never been compromised. That truth is that it is beyond the realm of possibilities that one has the ability to out give God.”  ~~Charles Spurgeon

During the Christmas season our thoughts turn to gifts. We like to give them. We like to get them. There’s the wrapping. There’s the bows. There’s all that business about hiding them until Christmas morning…especially from the littles.

During the Christmas season, if we’re fortunate, someone will remind us that the best gifts come not from the K-Marche or Bon Mart, but from the heart. If we’re blessed, others will remind us about love and kindness, and hope, and peace…and God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

During the Christmas season, hopefully, everything will slow down enough for each of us to catch our breath…both literally and figuratively. Yes, we’ll be encouraged with the familiar warning, “Tis better to give than to receive.” Hopefully this little warning may reduce our stress load over what lies under the tree for “little ‘ol me.” And yes, we’ll be exhorted to remember the less fortunate as we gather around tables heavy with calorie laden plates. Hopefully such a warning may reduce our stress by enticing us to give to strangers one of those beautiful blessings that just might light their hearts and bring smiles to their lips.

During the Christmas season, if things really go right, we’ll be inclined to listen. We’ll listen when God breaks through with a powerful message… “it’s all in the relationships.” No other gifts matter when the relationships are right. Our loved ones, our friends, our co-workers…relationships are the true gifts. Relationships are the “stuff” (excuse the necessary poor grammar) upon which peace on earth, good will toward men can ever hope to flourish. We need them, but…but, we do not need them most of all. We need something else more than our loved ones. We need the Loving One.

During this Christmas season, if everything lines up perfectly, we will know without doubt the baby once wrapped in swaddling clothes in the manger, draped in ripped and tattered rags on the cross, now arrayed in robes of righteousness on the throne is the Greatest Gift of All

During this Christmas season, let’s turn our hearts here. In fact, let’s remember it always. The Apostle Paul did. Right in the middle of reminding folks about needs and giving, he wrote…

The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.  As it is written, “He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.” He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you.

Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!  (2 Corinthians 9:6-15)

That last line was his heart breaking out with Spirit-induced praise for the greatest act of giving ever. It is the heart of God’s word, the Bible! That gift is not others, or stuff, it’s not even salvation…that gift is Jesus.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”   ~~John 3:16

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Bible

Hyperactive or Leisurely?

where does this road lead 150

What is it about a really long day that makes it so much better than a short one? Yesterday was filled to the brim beginning with morning church admin business, moving directly into a lengthy hospital clinic visit–including the long drive to and from Lakewood, rushing back to Silverdale so as not to miss little Rachel’s birthday party, then home to watch the news with an unintentional, brief interlude of dosing off (apparently the news wasn’t very exciting), and then off to my room for several hours of reading. In contrast, today’s schedule calls for a few errands and one joyfully anticipated lunch appointment with a good friend and ministry partner. Of course, I’ll find productive ways to use the “empty” hours, but I know late tonight will feel less satisfying simply because every moment was not hyperactive. Is this a good thing or not?

I think both. What do you think?

The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied. Proverb 13:4

The fear of the LORD leads to life, and whoever has it rests satisfied; he will not be visited by harm. Proverb 19:23

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