Tag Archives: Challenges

Surviving the Council

February 7, 2013

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Proclaiming Jesus is dangerous business. I don’t know if it will ever come to a trial like Peter and John had to face (Acts 4:1-7), but paying for it in respect among peers or opportunities in the work place is very possible. In fact, fellow Christians may go on the attack if you stand your ground on difficult matters based on what the Scriptures say rather than what they feel “in their heart”. Work on your faith daily so it grows (Romans 10:17) to where you could survive a difficult test. Could you defend an attack on the Bible in a one-on-one debate?

Daily Bible reading for Feb 7

Jacob’s daughter is defiled. Rehoboam fortifies his kingdom. Peter begins his ministry

Psalm 37
Genesis 34
2 Chronicles 11
Acts 3:1-4:31

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Challenges For Growth

November 13, 2011

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  1 Anyone who loves learning accepts correction,
but a person who hates being corrected is stupid. – Proverbs 12:1 NCV

1 Wise children take their parents’ advice,
but whoever makes fun of wisdom won’t listen to correction. – Proverbs 13:1 NCV

18 A person who refuses correction will end up poor and disgraced,
but the one who accepts correction will be honored.  – Proverbs 13:18 NCV

Disturb Us, Lord

Disturb us, Lord, when
We are too well pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we have dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, Lord, when
With the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wider seas
Where storms will show your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.

We ask You to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push into the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.

– Sir Francis Drake  – 16th century English sailor

Our Bible study leads us to think a lot about gracefully facing our daily challenges. Our text leads us down a slightly different path. How can we benefit when we seek correction, or seek to be challenged, or seek to learn more? The selected Proverbs hint at some of the benefits, but look at what the Hebrew writer says:

“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? – Hebrews 12:5-7 ESV (Note that he is quoting Proverbs 3:11-12)

Doesn’t a healthy loving household result from the discipline of a godly father? Do the members love each other less because of the discipline?

The poem/prayer attributed to Francis Drake is a very bold request to force us out of our comfort zone. Like Romans 5:3-5 it recognizes that in order to grow, to build patience and hope, we need to be tested. We don’t need to wait on life to bring these challenges to us. It would be much better to dream a little bigger, sail out a little further and be a little less satisfied.

How much more honorable is the Lord’s correction when we ask for it?

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Proverbs 10:22 – God Didn’t Do It

November 10, 2011

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 22 The Lord’s blessing brings wealth,
and no sorrow comes with it
.  – Proverbs 10:22 NCV

Solomon asked for wisdom rather than wealth and the Lord blessed him with both.

He learned that sorrow comes from sources other than the Lord, and probably from our own actions. For more information, see the book of Ecclesiastes.

So what do we do in the face of challenges and hard times? Paul says rejoice in them and be glad for the lessons we learn, and the experience we can pass on! (Romans 5:3-5)


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Blackberry Jelly

April 6, 2010

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I have tested every blackberry jelly sold in stores and I have never found one that comes close to the jelly my grandmother used to make. It had the perfect combination of tartness that caused your jaw muscles to contract and intense sweetness that would rescue those muscles just before they became too uncomfortable. One year, the quest for that seasonal treat in my childhood led to a find much sweeter than any jelly.

The summer before I went into the sixth grade I noticed the berries were getting pretty ripe. I ran to grandma’s house to let her know the berries were coming in nicely and how I bet this was going to be a good year for jelly.

If she said anything, I didn’t hear it. She had bent under the sink and I heard her digging that pan out. That pan is the pan that comes out when someone is going to have to go to the garden – and it held at least 40 gallons. Any twelve year old that hears that sound would know to run the other direction, but I was trapped. She sent me down to the bushes to fill the pan with blackberries

I had been out there for what had to have been hours and the bottom of my pan was barely covered.

The briars that berries grow on seem to scratch me no matter what I tried to avoid it.

My hands were sticky from broken berries and burning from the scratches.

Then, a most joyous site! Grandma was coming out to rescue me! In a matter of minutes, the pan was full enough for her and she invited me back up to have something to drink. On the walk up I asked her how long I had been out there and she thought maybe a little more than a half an hour.

The answer to the next question became part of the fabric of my life. “Why does it have to be so hard to get the blackberries?” With a soft laugh she replied, “So you’ll remember to be thankful for them.”

I’m sure I didn’t have a lot of use for that answer as a sixth grader. The first time I read and understood James 1:2-4 and even Romans 5:3-5, I went back to that day, though. I’m sure Grandma would be proud to know she was first to introduce me to the idea that life’s challenges happen for our benefit just like these passages teach us.

I am sure too, that the jelly was the best ever that year.

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