A Quick Thought…

Encouragement for difficult times.

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Life is not fair. From birth we are not promised a comfortable and easy life. Along the way, we will face adversity. Some of it will be our own doing and some of it will be through no fault of our own. I’m everything, God promises to be with us but Ge doesn’t promise to take away every difficulty. The apostle Paul uses his own life as an example of this.

“Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” (‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭12:8-10‬ ‭NASB‬‬)

How many times do we ask God to take away our problems? How many times has He answered with “no.” Paul asked for a burden to be lifted not once but three times, signifying his earnestness in seeking relief. Yet God still said “no,” not because He’s mean or wants to withhold deliverance from us for some vindictive purpose. God allows difficulty in our lives so that we can grow and mature; exposing our weakness and forcing us to rely on Him and His power. Paul was content to rely on God for strength to live with his difficulty and we must learn to do the same. Whether it’s physical, mental, spiritual, or any other situation or hardship, we must remember to rely on God first and foremost. “Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD.”
‭‭(Psalms‬ ‭27:14‬ ‭NASB‬‬)When difficulty times come our way, the question we should ask is: what can I learn from this, not simply: when will this be over? Please be encouraged and remember that in every situation God is with us. In dark times and times of joy, He loves us and wants to see us grow and rely on Him.

Tempted to Surrender

“Real courage is when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.” -Harper Lee

Here are a few quotes to encourage you and help you persevere through the difficult times. Remember that great and admirable accomplishments were always achieved by taking one step at a time. Trust in God’s plan and He will see you through.

“A bend in the road is not the end of the road…Unless you fail to make the turn.” -Helen Keller

“Perseverance is a great element of success. If you only knock long enough and loud enough at the gate, you are sure to wake up somebody.” -Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“Everyone has noticed how hard it is to turn our thoughts to God when everything is going well with us… While what we call ‘our own life’ remains agreeable, we will not surrender it to Him. What, then, can God do in our interests but make ‘our own life’ less agreeable to us, and take away the plausible sources of false happiness?” -C. S. Lewis

“Disappointment is inevitable. But to become discouraged, there’s a choice I make. God would never discourage me. He would always point me to himself to trust him. Therefore, my discouragement is from Satan. As you go through the emotions that we have, hostility is not from God, bitterness, unforgiveness, all of these are attacks from Satan.” -Charles Stanley

Hope in the Midst of Despair

In life we will inevitably encounter seemingly impossible situations and circumstances. The paths we have chosen in life, however carefully, will at times lead us to confront insurmountable obstacles. These obstacles may take the form of people, events, places, or situations even when we think that we’ve plan for every contingency. When we inevitably fail to find solutions to our circumstances, our first instinct is to despair and seek someone to blame. We blame God, the people around us, even ourselves.

Billy Graham tells the story of a man who became shipwrecked on a deserted island many years ago. Upon reaching safety, the man built a hut and filled it with all the supplies he’d managed to save from his boat before it was wrecked. He built a fire and each day he would watch and wait for some sign of a ship or airplane passing by. He prayed to God for help. Some days he would get discouraged and wonder if he would ever get off that island, but still … he prayed.

Then one day while he was exploring the other side of the island, he noticed some smoke coming from the direction of his hut. With sudden realization and horror, the man ran as fast as he could back to the hut only to find it and all his supplies caught in a blaze of fire. He sank to his knees, realizing that everything he’d needed to survive had gone up in a pillar of black smoke.

He shook his fist skyward demanding to know why God had allowed this to happen. Then he lowered his head in dispair.

Several hours later as the man gazed out into the endless ocean, a small speck appeared on the horizon. The man watched elated as a ship grew closer and closer. He yelled greetings as a landing party arrived, took him onboard, and told him that they were plotting a different course but noticed smoke off in the distance and thought the smoke was a signal for help.

It was then the man knew that God had sacrificed his meager possessions on the island for a much better future elsewhere.

This life is full of trials; storms that erupt suddenly leaving us to struggle to merely stay afloat. We may not understand what God is doing, but we can keep our confidence in His plan for our lives.

“‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.'”

(‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭29:11‬ ‭NASB‬‬)

So where do you go to find peace and security in the midst of the struggles of this life? There is only One who can provide lasting refuge. Just One! His name is Jesus Christ. In the midst of the storms of this life, I choose to place my hope in Jesus.

Hope in the Midst of Harvey

For the past three days I have watch, and experienced, the catastrophe known as “Harvey” as it unfolds in the Houston area and other areas of Texas and Louisiana. Fear, dread, hopelessness. These emotions wash over us here in Houston as we watch our city sinking beneath the floodwaters. I see on TV entire neighborhoods vanishing beneath the floodwaters; people in neighborhoods just down the road from our home needing to be rescued by boat. And the worst news of all comes as the meteorologists remind us that there’s more to come…

So, what do we do? Get mad? Shake our fists at heaven? Play the blame game? 

No. 


This life is full of trials; storms that erupt suddenly leaving us to struggle to merely stay afloat (metaphorically and literally). When this occurs, we find the things that we believed would hold us up and keep us afloat fail miserably. So what can we do? Where do you go to find peace and security the midst of the struggles of this life? There is only One who can provide lasting refuge. Just One! His name is Jesus Christ. 

Please, in the midst of this crisis, keep your eyes on Jesus and He will see you through. 

Praying for all of us. 

Hurricane Harvey

A prayer request: 

For those of us living along the Gulf Coast, there is a very real danger approaching. The first major hurricane to hit our shores in 11 years; likely to cause flooding across the coastal region. Please pray for all of us as we brace for this storm.

Heavenly Father,

We humbly come before you in time of need, know that You alone are creator God of all the heavens and the earth. Though this storm may rage, yet we still find Your grace and mercy. You are our refuge and strength. May You stretch out Your hands and keep us all from harm. May You give us strength and peace in the midst of this storm. May our hearts be for others in their time of need. May Your kingdom be furthered in this time of trial. In Jesus name I pray. Amen. 

“The LORD bless you, and keep you; The LORD make His face shine on you, And be gracious to you; The LORD lift up His countenance on you, And give you peace.’”

‭‭(Numbers‬ ‭6:24-26‬ ‭NASB‬‬)

A Christmas Carol, Another Look

“Oh!  captive, bound, and double-ironed,” cried the phantom, “not to know, that ages of incessant labour, by immortal creatures, for this earth must pass into eternity before the good of which it is susceptible is all developed.  Not to know that any Christian spirit working kindly in its little sphere, whatever it may be, will find its mortal life too short for its vast means of usefulness.  Not to know that no space of regret can make amends for one life’s opportunity misused!  Yet such was I!  Oh!  such was I!”  – The Ghost of Jacob Marley, A Christmas Carol

One of Dickens’ most beloved tales and a personal favorite of mine, A Christmas Carol, is a relatively simplistic allegory and seldom considered one of Dickens’ important literary contributions. The importance of the tale lies in the emotional depth, descriptive narration, and endearing characters. The novella was written in 1843 with the intention of drawing attention to the plight of England’s poor. In the tale, Dickens combines a description of hardships faced by the poor with a sentimental celebration of the Christmas season. The calloused character of the penny-pinching Ebenezer Scrooge, transforms into a generous and joyous individual after his confrontation with three spirits of Christmas.

The true message of the entire work can be found in the above quote, that there will always be those who need our help and that regret cannot make up for missed opportunities to extend aid or comfort to our fellow man. Every year I read this, I try to think of ways I can extend my faith and hope to others.

Though this novella was published over 170 years ago, the question remains: how can we help those less fortunate this Christmas?

This year:


Please help me help others. 

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(Much of this post was taken from an article I wrote for Clio’s Eye back in 2009. You can find the full text there)

Bibliography:

Kaplan, Fred. Dickens: A Biography, 1st ed. New York: Morrow, 1988. p 1- 607.

Gullett, Ryan. “A Christmas Carol-A History in Film.” Clio’s Eye. December 1, 2009. Accessed November 5, 2015. (Read More Here)