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Archive for the ‘Difficulties’ Category

“For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls. — 1st Peter 2:25

We all have our list of “Don’t Wants” — things we don’t want out of life, things we are afraid of happening and try to avoid.

Sometimes we’re more motivated by our “Don’t Wants” than by our wants and that has to change.

Giving our lives and future to Christ means we not only allow him to align our wants to his will but our “Don’t Wants”, too.

– fritz

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Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies – Psalm 23:5

Rejected applications, separation and/or divorce, those dissatisfied no matter what, sarcastic teens letting you know you are out of touch, a snub here, a lack of coöperation there, even downright hostility — hey, it’s a fact of life.

Even in the midst of God’s banquet-like blessing the Psalmist pointedly adds, “my enemies all around!

Why can’t we all get along?! There could be lots of reasons or no reason, it’s life. While the Bible doesn’t say why, it does says what to do about it.

Don’t pay people back with evil for the evil they do to you. Focus your thoughts on those things that are considered noble. As much as it is possible, live in peace with everyone. Don’t take revenge, dear friends. Instead, let God’s anger take care of it. After all, Scripture says, “I alone have the right to take revenge. I will pay back, says the Lord.” — Romans 12:17-19 (God’s Word Translation)

  • Be as friendly as you can — work on your people skills
  • Don’t retaliate, turn those feelings over to God (he judges what’s right better than you)
  • Choose to not let it bother you, in fact, choose to happily move on with Christ ready to help even your enemies find the life changing power of Jesus

–fritz@langgang.com

Related post: “The Most Misunderstood” – June 7, 2012

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Shake it off!

Paul gathered a pile of brushwood and, as he put it on the fire, a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand…But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects. The people expected him to swell up or suddenly fall dead; but after waiting a long time and seeing nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god. — Acts 28:3-6

The Apostle, Paul, writer of much of our New Testament, had a tough few years.

Unjustly imprisoned, shipwrecked, stranded on a remote island He was then bitten by a snake while trying to get warm. Everyone expected him to die.

His response — he just shook it off!

That’s what we have to do when things get difficult — shake it off.

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“John (the Baptist) wore a garment of camel’s hair and a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey” — Matthew 3:4.

A former beekeeper, myself, I know bees don’t take kindly to being robbed. We wore special clothing and took special precautions to avoid being stung — but John ate wild honey. He would just reach in and get some! Why?

Evidently he valued the taste of honey more than the sting.

Now let’s focus on a passage from Saint Paul:

We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.” — 2nd Corinthians 4:7-10

For the Apostle, following Christ sometimes stung — troubled, perplexed, persecuted, cast down. Yet he kept at it! Why?

Evidently he valued the taste of Christ more than the sting.

There is sweetness in Christ found nowhere else that, once tasted, causes some to value it more than anything else. That’s what we have — Wild Honey, and it’s great!!

— fritz

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Shimei cursed, cast stones at David, and said “Come out, come out, thou bloody man, and thou man of Belial. The LORD hath returned upon thee all the blood of the house of Saul!”

Then said Abishai unto the king, “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? let me go over, I pray thee, and take off his head.”

And the king said, “Let him curse, because the LORD hath said unto him, Curse David. It may be that the LORD will look on mine affliction, and that the LORD will requite me good for his cursing this day.” — 2nd Kings 16-17

It seems there’s always someone adding insult to injury. So, how do you handle difficult people?

King David gives the right example.

Fleeing for his life from his own son he was followed by someone taking the opportunity to add his own cheap shots.

Instead of responding in kind, however, David offered it as a sacrifice to God! He knew God has compassion on suffering and recognized his need for that compassion. The Bible says,

If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there; if you’re kicked in the gut, he’ll help you catch your breath. – Psalm 34:18 (Message Bible)

Offer suffering and the rudeness of others as a sacrifice to God — he sees and returns compassion.

— fritz@langgang.com

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At a local scooter club I heard a safety saying, “Dress for the fall, not the ride”. I took it to advise being prepared for difficulties not just the enjoyment. Today my daily Bible reading surfaced a scripture with a similar message but in a larger context.

Two are better than one … if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up … and a threefold cord is not quickly broken. — Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

My culture values independence and, certainly, we all are sometimes forced to stand alone in difficulty but all too often we do so unnecessarily and to our peril.

We dress our lives, so to speak, for the ride and don’t consider the fall. This is why it is essential to pick (and be) a good spouse, one with godly character who will follow through with the vow to love for better and for worse. This is why it is important to actively seek a good church and a good pastor, people who can say the hard things without offending. This is why it is essential to be and actively seek friends with godly character, who can give the right kind of encouragement. All three (spouse, community, friends) together should be sought for strength like a three strand cord, holding should any single strand fail. Going it alone easily ends in disaster!

Anyone can follow Christ when living is easy. Don’t wait for a storm, take the easy times to prepare for when it gets hard — “Dress for the fall not the ride.”

— fritz@langgang.com

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Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox. – Proverbs 14:4

I am often amused how the Bible has a sanitized way of conveying simple truth.

To an agricultural society, very familiar with the chore of mucking out the barn, it communicates that to make money or conduct business one must put up with a lot of unpleasant things we wish we didn’t have to deal with — no use complaining, it’s just part of the job.

— fritz@langgang.com

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