Volume 2 No. 54 February 12, 2012
Special Edition: Overcoming the Storms of Life If the Journal is not displayed properly, please click on the link below (or copy and paste) to read from web
Table of Contents
Scripture passages to soothe you when you face trials and tribulations in life.
The Gospel narrates that after a long day of ministry, Jesus wanted to cross the Sea of Galilee. While traveling He fell asleep. .. When Jesus rises from His sleep, He does not at first speak to the disciples, but to the winds and the waves, telling them to be quiet and to be still. By doing so, Jesus eliminates their reason to be afraid. ...
Suffering. It's not standard daily devotional fare, because let's face it, usually we want to begin or end our day being uplifted, or even better, lifting up God, rather than focusing on our pains and problems... Suffering is very real, and there's certainly no reason any Christian would expect life to be otherwise. We purport to follow a "Suffering Savior." ...
What God wants you to do is to call on Him. When people come to me and are suffering, when they ask me for answers, I tell them, "I don't have an answer. But here is what I have: Turn to God. Lean on Jesus. Cling to Him. Pray." ...
There is power in letting go of the past and the frustration of trying to figure everything out. When you release your questions, you are saying, "God, You are in control. I trust You." And when you put your hope in God, that's when He can heal your heart and lead you forward into His path of blessing. ...
Let us embrace whatever sorrow God appoints for us. Let us not be ashamed of tears. Let the promise that joy comes with the morning (Psalm 30:5) sustain and shape our grief with the power and goodness of God. ...
It's been said that life is a continuous process of getting used to things we hadn't expected. Here are three lessons we learn from the story of Timanthes that can help you get off to a good start. ...
How are we supposed to have joy when our cars break down, when bills pile up, when bad days just get progressively worse? For me, it's almost insulting for someone to tell me things like, "count your blessings" or, "things could have been worse" when I'm in the middle of cleaning up a crisis. ...
It is said that death and taxes are inevitable. I
another item to the list - trials and tribulations. We all will face
good times and bad times in our lifespan. It is when we go through
the bad times (described by the psalmist as 'going through the
valley of death') we often experience the grace of God firsthand.
How we react when we face bad times is a good indicator of our
character. We grow when we are at 'the valley' not
when we are at the peak. Some will get disheartened; some will
question and doubt God, asking how a kind, loving god can do
such a thing to them, etc. A true Christian will pray to God, and
surrender to God, saying, "thy will be done."
Theologians cannot seem to agree if the bad times come from God or from Satan. Some say that God gave the free will to men and it is the Satan who tests us with these bad times like he did to Job. Some say that without God's knowledge such things cannot happen as God is in control of all things in the universe. But one thing is for sure, our God won't allow us to have a trial that we cannot handle. Jews believe that bad things come from past sins. Of course, Jesus has stated that sins have nothing to do with the trials and tribulations. Some of the pillars of our faith have undergone these bad times - like Jacob, Moses, Joseph, David, Job, etc.
Of course, we cannot prevent bad things from happening to us; but we surely can learn how to respond to them. Malankara World is presenting you a special supplement with the theme, "Facing and Overcoming the Storms of Life".
The keynote and the inspiration for this supplement came from Archbishop Dr. Mor Eustathius Matta Roham when His Eminence sent us the invocation message he prepared for the WCC meeting on Syria for publication in Malankara World. Recognizing the hardships his fellow faithful are undergoing in Syria, Archbishop Mor Roham used the story of Jesus calming the storms as a teaching tool. It is a poignant lesson. We will be expanding on this theme in future editions of the Malankara World Journal. We also have special Infocenter in Malankara World that provides more articles and resources.
This issue of Malankara World Journal has seven articles that examines different sides of this theme. It has a collection of soothing scripture passages you can meditate on when you are undergoing challenging issues. Can you escape from trials and tribulations?, How to move ahead by keeping your past behind you?, Is it OK to question God? etc. are some of the challenging subjects covered in this issue. We hope you will like it as much as we enjoyed producing it.
|Inspiration for Today|
Scripture Passages to Comfort You
2 Corinthians 4:8-10
2 Corinthians 4:17-18
by Metropolitan Dr. Mor Eustathius Matta Roham
Scripture: Mark 4:35-41:
A couple of weeks ago, I was in Istanbul to bless the wedding of my niece when I opened my email and noticed there was a request of me to prepare a meditation for the consultation on Syria. At first, I did not know which specific text I should reflect on; though I knew I should reflect on some biblical event in which people are in trouble and in need of God’s help. As I was collecting my thoughts, I received a call from the Syrian Orthodox Archbishop in Istanbul welcoming me to his diocese and asking about the situation in Syria—my home country. I told him that we were in need of his prayers, because the problems have no foreseeable end. We are like a boat amidst the crashing waves of the sea. At that moment, it came to my mind how Jesus rescued His disciples when they were being consumed by fear during that torrential storm out on the waters of the Sea of Galilee. I think that you will agree with me that much like the disciples on that night so long ago, the citizens of Syria are currently being buffeted by a great storm as they cross their own Sea of Life.
The Synoptic Accounts of the Storm
The miracle of Jesus calming the storm is recorded in all three synoptic Gospels (Mark 4:35-41; Matthew 8:23-27; Luke 8:22-25). For each of their own specific reasons, the evangelists were interested in recording this miracle in their accounts of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Each Gospel account demonstrates the power Christ has over nature. Matthew presents Christ as one having been born in Bethlehem, and yet is the King of Heaven and Earth. Accordingly, in his account of the storm, Jesus is the King over every storm in life. In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus is the Son of Man, and He is shown to be able to exercise power over the storm. Writing to those believers living under the tyrannical rule of the Roman Emperor Nero, Mark presents Christ as a servant to humanity—able to rescue those in their time of need.
Now, you may ask yourself, "How is it that Jesus can control nature?" The Bible emphasizes that Jesus is able to perform this miracle because He is the Creator. In his letter to the Colossians 1:16-17 St. Paul testifies, "for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together." This testimony to Christ’s central role in the act of creation is repeated throughout the Scriptures. Again in 1 Corinthians 8:6, the apostle declares, "yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist."
The place in which the miracle happened is a very familiar place for the disciples. For some of them, they knew the lake from their professional lives as fishermen. The others having grown up in the region would have been familiar with the place and its frequent and terrible storms from the days of their youth. And all of them had traveled with Jesus around the lake as He ministered to the peoples in the area.
It was here in this place that Jesus taught multitudes from the vantage point of a small fishing boat. Sitting by the lake, Jesus delivered His seven parables as recorded in Matthew 13. On these banks he called Peter and Andrew, James and John to leave their nets behind and follow Him. From the waters of this lake He commanded His disciples to throw the net "on the right side," resulting in a miraculous catch of fish. Nearby this lake, He twice fed multitudes from a few loaves and fish. On its shores, Jesus healed the man possessed by Legion. And later He would appear to the disciples after His resurrection.
I think it will prove to be helpful to take a moment or two to refresh our minds about the setting of the story at hand. On the northern end of the Sea, near the villages of Capernaum and Bethsaida in the territory of the Gennesaret, Jesus sat down by the lake and began to teach. At 15 miles in length, and 6 miles across at its widest point the lake itself is not all that large, though it is the largest freshwater lake in the region. It is located some 30 miles inland from and 682 feet below the Mediterranean Sea in the Jordan Great Rift Valley, through which the Jordan River flows. It is surrounded by mountains from which it collects surface runoff water, as well as water from underground springs. In this process, freshly melted snow from the peak of nearby Mount Hermon, via the Jordan River, descends a total of 10,000 vertical feet before it reaches its new home in the Sea of Galilee.
The reason the waters of the Galilee are made so turbulent is because winds regularly come down over the top of the Golan Heights just east of the Sea. When they hit the lake, these cold winds collide with warm air trapped in the lower basin, turning its waters into a boiling caldron. Such conditions make the lake a very precarious place to be at the wrong time.
Certainly, Jesus and His disciples knew what kind of waters they were launching their boat out onto. And yet they had no concern about the possibility that the lake might erupt into a violent storm. There are a few possible explanations for their lack of concern. Perhaps they were simply traveling at the right time of the year. Perhaps the disciples simply felt that because they were traveling with Jesus all would be well. And yet, perhaps Jesus took them out on the lake to test their faith in a time of great stress.
Back to the Story
The Gospel narrates that after a long day of ministry, Jesus wanted to cross the Sea of Galilee. While traveling He fell asleep as the disciples maneuvered through the waters. Yes, He is a perfect God, but He is still a perfect human, and according to His humanity He needed some rest like the rest of us.
As the storm set in, a panic took hold of those in the boat, and presumably the other passengers in the other boats who joined Jesus in crossing the lake. Together they faced this great danger. As the water began to come over the sides of the boat the disciples attempted to save the boat, but eventually the water inside became so much that the boat started to sink. It was only at this time that they chose to awaken their Master. But why did they not wake Him up at the very beginning? Maybe they did not want to disturb His sleeping. It was only when they were desperate and began to stare death in the face that they came to Him. They did not ask Him to come and help at the very beginning, but only as their fears became too great for them to handle by themselves. "Teacher, do you not care if we perish?" they cried. There was nothing they could do that would save them from the turbulent winds and the crashing waves. And although Jesus was deep asleep, at the same time He knew about the danger at hand.
By the fourth chapter of Mark’s Gospel, it would have been clear to the disciples that Jesus possessed a great power to heal the sick and drive out demons. But it is in this passage that they come to know his creative power covers not only the human person — body and soul — but also nature.
When Jesus rises from His sleep, He does not at first speak to the disciples, but to the winds and the waves, telling them to be quiet and to be still. By doing so, Jesus eliminates their reason to be afraid. But what did the disciples expect Jesus to do once they had woken him? After all, Jesus was not a fisherman; He was not well acquainted with managing a boat during these kinds of squalls. Yet, following His miraculous calming of the waters they are merely left to wonder in astonishment, "Who then is this, that even wind and sea obey him?" Likewise Mark’s Gospel leaves the reader with the implicit conclusion that this master of theirs truly is the Master of all creation.
So what do we learn from Jesus’ calming of the storm? Behind every literal meaning of Jesus’ healings and miracles, stands a figurative meaning. The storms of life really are quite similar to the storm on the Sea of Galilee. People regularly endure the destructive power of tornadoes and hurricanes, they face life-storms such as sickness, war, unrest, economic crises, scandals, and all sorts of painful life experiences. As long as we live on Earth, as long as we live near the Sea of Galilee, we ought to continue to expect raging storms. For, as we are reminded in 1 Peter 5:8, "the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking some one to devour." We are continually surrounded by the powers of Satan.
Often our immediate response is that we are afraid of his attacks. But we must trust in the presence of God, turning to Him in search of His help. But what happens when God does not come to our rescue immediately? Do we not begin to question God? "Are you there at all, don’t you care about us?" But we would be remiss to overlook God’s response: "Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?" Have you forgotten that the One who has power over life also has power over death?
What does this miracle mean for us who are meeting together in consultation on Syria? How should we react as believers in God when we see our homeland going through such dark times? We are praying for peace, and we believe that no resolution to the current situation will emerge except by peaceful dialogue. We cannot solve these troubles by making war and hoping that peace will follow. War will bring an even greater storm — it will break the boat and it will destroy the country and all its neighbors.
In many ways, we are like the disciples. We are terrified of the prospects of war, because it will mean our destruction and that of our neighbors. And still we believe that God and only God can prevent war and its destructive fallout. God can turn the hearts of people from hardness and selfishness to gentleness, peacefulness and creativity. Proverbs 21:1 reminds us that, "The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will." And again Malachi 4:6 tells us that, "he will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of children to their fathers"—that is, the heart of the king to the hearts of the population.
Let us pray. O Lord God, during these difficult times, we see that Syria, as well as many other countries, is suffering because of the need for peace. We ask that you would turn the hearts of leaders of this world to their people; to look after them and pursue justice and peace. Not just for their own countries, but for all humanity. We ask you, Lord, to turn the hearts of the children to their father’s, so that they may walk along the path of God. We pray that the hearts of the children and the fathers will each turn toward the heart of God, so that His name will be glorified forever and ever. Amen
(Delivered on Friday 9 December 2011 at the World Council of Churches, Geneva,
during the "Consultation on Syria".)
Archbishop Eustathius Matta Roham was consecrated as the Archbishop of the
Syriac Orthodox Archdiocese of Jazirah & Euphrates, Syria on July 1, 1990. He
was awarded the Grand Cross of the Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch by HH Moran
Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas on April 5, 2009. HE is a Member of the Central
Committee of the World Council of Churches and Ecumenical Officer in the WCC and
served as a delegate member of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch for
numerous ecumenical meetings. HE has a Ph D from General Theological Seminary in
New York City and prior to consecration as an Archbishop has served as
Patriarchal Secretary in Damascus, Syria and as Secretary of Arabic for the
Syriac Orthodox Archbishop of USA & Canada. He had served as a parish priest at
St Peter's Church in Detroit, Michigan, USA. HE has established numerous
churches, schools and monasteries including Patriarch Zakka I Iwas Community
Cultural Centre in Hassake, Syria.]
Archbishop Eustathius Matta Roham was consecrated as the Archbishop of the Syriac Orthodox Archdiocese of Jazirah & Euphrates, Syria on July 1, 1990. He was awarded the Grand Cross of the Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch by HH Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas on April 5, 2009. HE is a Member of the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches and Ecumenical Officer in the WCC and served as a delegate member of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch for numerous ecumenical meetings. HE has a Ph D from General Theological Seminary in New York City and prior to consecration as an Archbishop has served as Patriarchal Secretary in Damascus, Syria and as Secretary of Arabic for the Syriac Orthodox Archbishop of USA & Canada. He had served as a parish priest at St Peter's Church in Detroit, Michigan, USA. HE has established numerous churches, schools and monasteries including Patriarch Zakka I Iwas Community Cultural Centre in Hassake, Syria.]
by Shawn McEvoy
Suffering. It's not standard daily devotional fare, because let's face it, usually we want to begin or end our day being uplifted, or even better, lifting up God, rather than focusing on our pains and problems.
But there's the rub... we all have pains and problems. Christian and non-Christian. Lifelong disciple and baby believer. Red and yellow, black and white. Everyone, from the moment he or she was born, has struggled, tried, failed, hurt, sinned, misunderstood, and reacted. Humanity shares a true brotherhood over suffering, one that we might understand a lot better if suffering weren't also so relative. By which I mean, one person's issues may sound simple, easy-to-solve, even petty to another. "That's nothing compared to what I've had to endure!"
But the fact is, your sorrows and difficulties are real to you. It's one reason why I'm no fan of when people say a certain place or time in their lives isn't "the real world," as if the spot they are currently tucked away at is immune from any degree of difficulty.
Suffering is very real, and there's certainly no reason any Christian would expect life to be otherwise. We purport to follow a "Suffering Savior." His stripes have healed us, and wow do we seem to feel them sometimes, which is as it should be, as we deserved them instead of Him. If we agree that no person but one - no matter where they lived or how easy or hard they had it - has escaped sin's corruption, then how much more must we agree that truly NO person has escaped suffering?
Look at what Peter suggests in today's verse: you can suffer for doing good, or you can suffer for doing bad. By extension, some of the problems in your life may be a result of your own rebellion, while other hurts may naturally result from walking so closely with Christ that you ache at the injustice and hardship around you, with the world despising and persecuting you.
In the classic allegory Hinds' Feet on High Places, Much-Afraid journeys with companions named Sorrow and Suffering, and these two assist her in her climb up the Injury Precipice, which is a part of her transformation into "Grace and Glory."
The same is true for you. Your sufferings have informed you, educated you, helped you along in your journey. You may despise them, but they are yours. And they will be with you whether you are doing right, or not. Of course, the nature of them will be quite different.
There may be one way, though, to avoid suffering. There's a third option, left out here by Peter, but not left out by John in the Revelation. It's the lukewarm response to life, the do-nothing approach. This is the approach that cocoons itself off from life and all of its pain. And make no mistake, "Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something," says that famous theologian the Man in Black in The Princess Bride.
You may not feel anything from inside a cocoon; in fact, it may be an abundance of pain and suffering that forced you in there. But remember, no creature that cocoons itself is intended to stay locked up forever. The point is to be rested, healed, matured, transformed. To become more beautiful, useful. Even the emerging process itself carries a degree of struggle, but one that, if the insect did not go through itself, would leave it too weak to fly.
So be lifted up in your suffering today.
It is a companion.
It is designed to transform you.
It gives you a share in the inheritance of Christ and the brotherhood of humanity.
And it gives you empathy, which gives you every excuse for ministry.
God's Undeserved Gift to the World: Christian Sufferers
Source: crosswalk.com The devotional
by Greg Laurie
Not long ago, a woman who had lost a child told me, "Greg, all I can ask is, 'Why? Why?' " Then she said, "Is it wrong to ask why?"
I told her, "I don't think it is wrong. You can ask why all you want. Jesus asked it: 'My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?' " I added, "Don't necessarily expect an answer. And even if God were to give one, I don't know if you would really like it."
Why? Why? What if God actually answered that question? It happened to Habakkuk. He was asking God why certain things were transpiring. They didn't make any sense to him, and so God said, "Look around at the nations; look and be amazed! For I am doing something in your own day, something you wouldn't believe even if someone told you about it" (Habakkuk 1:5).
Habakkuk essentially answered, "Try me."
And when God told him why, Habakkuk didn't like God's answer. He didn't agree with it.
God could tell us why. But we are never going to get it until we get to heaven and see things as they really are.
So maybe instead of asking why, a better question would be, "What?" as in, "What do You want me to do?"
What God wants you to do is to call on Him. When people come to me and are suffering, when they ask me for answers, I tell them, "I don't have an answer. But here is what I have: Turn to God. Lean on Jesus. Cling to Him. Pray."
One day, the whys will be resolved. Until then, it is all about whom and what. It is about whom we turn to and what we do. So when tragedy hits, don't run from God; turn to Him.
Copyright © 2012 by Harvest Ministries. All rights reserved.
by Joel Osteen
We all go through disappointments, setbacks and things that we don't understand. Maybe you prayed for a loved one, but they didn't get well. Or maybe you worked hard for a promotion, but you didn't get it. You stood in faith for a relationship, but it didn't work out.
One of the best things you can do is release it. Let it go. Don't dwell on it anymore. If you go around wondering why things didn't work out, all that's going to do is lead to bitterness, resentment and self-pity. Before long, you'll be blaming others, blaming yourself, or even God. You may not have understood what happened. It may not have been fair.
But when you release it, it's an act of your faith. You're saying, "God, I trust You. I know You're in control. And even though it didn't work out my way, You said, ‘All things are going to work together for my good.' So I believe You still have something good in my future."
There is power in letting go of the past and the frustration of trying to figure everything out. When you release your questions, you are saying, "God, You are in control. I trust You." And when you put your hope in God, that's when He can heal your heart and lead you forward into His path of blessing.
A Prayer for Today
Father God, I come to you in the precious name of Jesus Christ. Help me to forgive and release the past. Heal my heart and restore my soul. Show me the good plan You have for my future as I keep my mind stayed on You in Jesus' name. Amen.
by John Piper
Christian Hedonists embrace necessary sorrow for the glory of God. On the one hand, we are utterly committed to pursuing joy in God at all times. But on the other hand, we know there is more to the emotional life of godly people than joy. Joy is not the only good emotion. But without delight in God, no emotion would be good. Either as component or the concomitant of all godly emotions, it is joy in God that makes them good.
Consider sorrow. Neither Jesus nor the Holy Spirit has ever sinned. But both have grieved. Both have been sorrowful. Therefore, godly sorrow is possible.
Not only that, godly sorrow is possible also for sinners. It is possible precisely because of our sin. One form of sorrow is sorrow for doing something wrong. So Paul writes to the Corinthians:
At least two things govern what makes sorrow good. One is the cause, the other is the outcome. The cause of godly sorrow for our own sin is the spiritual perception of its moral ugliness, not just its negative consequences. We see it as morally repugnant. This repugnance is owing to our spiritual preference for the taste of the truth and beauty of God. Therefore our sorrow for sin is rooted in our savoring of God. Sin is a revolting flavor in the feast of godwardness. Therefore, sorrow over this is a signal that we delight in God. That is what makes the sorrow good.
The outcome of good sorrow for sin is repentance and holiness. In fact, repentance includes sorrow for sin and extends it to a more durable experience of holy living. This holy living is the outward form of delighting in God above all sin. Therefore delight in God is what makes the sorrow and repentance good.
But what about sorrow that is not for our own sin, but for the way we are sinned against or the way we are hurt by calamity and loss? Jesus sorrowed like this. For example, when he saw the Pharisees murmuring about his healing on the Sabbath, "He looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart" (Mark 3:5). And in the garden of Gethsemane, he said, "My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch" (Mark 14:34).
Jesus' sorrow was not owing to his own sin, but to the sins of others. This is the way it is with the Holy Spirit as well. Paul calls us to put sin out of our lives so that we do not grieve the Spirit: "Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption" (Ephesians 4:29-30).
In the same way believers embrace godly grief not only for our own sins but for the sins of others and for the pain that loss brings us. For example, Peter speaks of our grieving over trials: "In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, as was necessary, you have been grieved by various trials" (1 Peter 1:6). Paul speaks of our grieving over lost loved ones: "We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope" (1 Thessalonians 4:13). And Paul refers to his own grief over the lostness of his kinsmen: "My conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit—that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart (Romans 9:1).
Nevertheless Paul makes the astonishing statement in 2 Corinthians 6:10 that what marks his life and should mark ours is "sorrowful, yet always rejoicing." This is what makes our sorrow godly. I do not claim that this experience is simple or that we can even put it into adequate words—what it means to be joyful in sorrow. Heaving sobs at the loss of a loved one does not look like joy. Indeed is not joy in its fullness, as we will know it when "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away" (Revelation 21:4).
Rather the joy that endures through sorrow is the foretaste of that future joy in God which we hope for in the future. When Jesus was "very sorrowful, even to death" in Gethsemane he was sustained by "the joy that was set before him" (Hebrews 12:2). This does not mean that he felt in the garden or on the cross all that he would feel in the resurrection. But it does mean that he hoped in it and that this hope was an experienced foretaste of that joy.
Therefore, we groan here, waiting for the redemption of our bodies and for the removal of all our sins (Romans 8:23). This groaning and grieving is godly if it is molded by our delight in hope of glory (Romans 5:2-3). The delight is muffled by the pain. But it is there in seed form. It will one day grow into a great vine that yields wine of undiluted delight.
So let us embrace whatever sorrow God appoints for us. Let us not be ashamed of tears. Let the promise that joy comes with the morning (Psalm 30:5) sustain and shape our grief with the power and goodness of God.
© Desiring God; desiringgod.com
by Doug Dickerson
A story is told of a young Greek artist named Timanthes studied who under a respected tutor some 2,000 years ago. After several years the teacher's efforts seemed to have paid off when Timanthes painted an exquisite work of art. Unfortunately, he became so enraptured with the painting that he spent days gazing at it.
One morning when he arrived to admire his work, he was shocked to find it blotted out with paint. Angry, Timanthes ran to his teacher, who admitted he had destroyed the painting. "I did it for your own good. That painting was retarding your progress. Start again and see if you can do better," he told him. Timanthes took his teacher's advice and produced 'Sacrifice of Iphigenia', which is regarded as one of the finest paintings of antiquity.
It's been said that life is a continuous process of getting used to things we hadn't expected. Here are three lessons we learn from the story of Timanthes that can help you get off to a good start.
1. You can't live in the past so reset your priorities.
Timanthes spent days admiring his work to the point where it ultimately became a distraction. Harry Truman once said, "Men who live in the past remind me of a toy I am sure all of you have seen. The toy is a small wooden bird called the "Floogie Bird." Around the Floogie Bird's neck is a label reading, "I fly backwards, I don't care where I am going. I just want to see where I've been." Flying backwards is not an option for moving forward today. Priorities today must be honest, realistic, transparent, and flexible.
2. You have to embrace challenges so reset your attitude.
Timanthes was upset when he discovered that his work was blotted out with paint. Faced with the challenge his tutor presented him, he turned his disappointment into a masterpiece. How you respond in the face of adversity will determine your path forward.
The noted English architect Sir Christopher Wren was supervising the construction of a magnificent cathedral in London. A journalist thought it would be interesting to interview some of the workers, so he chose three and asked them this question, "What are you doing?" The first replied, "I'm cutting stone for 10 shillings a day." The next answered, "I'm putting in 10 hours a day on this job." But the third said, "I'm helping Sir Christopher Wren construct one of London's greatest cathedrals."
The first step in your recovery begins with a change of heart; a change in attitude. Resilient leaders embrace challenges and overcome obstacles with the big picture always in view.
3. You have a fresh slate so reset your vision.
Timanthes embraced the challenge from his tutor and painted his finest work. He reset his priorities by not living in the past. He reset his attitude by overcoming great disappointment to paint at a new level of perfection he had not previously known.
T.E. Lawrence once said, "All men dream but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds awake to the day to find it was all vanity. But the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for the many act out their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible…"
We may not have chosen the challenges that we face today but creating a masterpiece is our choice. The opportunity of today is to be what Lawrence described as "dangerous men" dreaming with open eyes to create something they never would have imagined in better times.
If you find yourself living in the past, with a bad attitude, take heart. You can turn your crisis into an opportunity and begin with a clean slate. With a clean slate your finest work may now be in the making.
© 2011 Doug Dickerson
by Ryan Duncan
I am a pessimist, just ask anybody I know. For me, the cup will always be half empty and whatever's in the cup will probably be backwash. So you can imagine the concept of joy has always been rather hard for me. The Bible, particularly the book of Psalms, is constantly telling Christians to have joy. Reading about joy is easy though, putting it into practice is a lot harder.
How are we supposed to have joy when our cars break down, when bills pile up, when bad days just get progressively worse? For me, it's almost insulting for someone to tell me things like, "count your blessings" or, "things could have been worse" when I'm in the middle of cleaning up a crisis. I've often wondered if this makes me a bad Christian. Over time, I did realize my attitude could certainly use some work, but I also learned that our idea of joy has become somewhat skewed.
Take a look at these verses from the book of John:
A pastor of mine once told me being joyful is not necessarily the same thing as being happy. We live in a fallen world, and odds are, we are going to have tough times over the years. So when the bad times come it doesn't mean we have to dance around and be happy about it, you just have to remember that these moments won't last forever. The bad things in our life cannot become what define us, instead, we have to trust God and remember the grace he has shown us. He will help us endure and won't abandon us to sorrow or despair. So take a moment, whatever your situation, to be joyful. No matter how bad things get, God is with us.
Further Reading: Psalm 132
Source: Crosswalk.com Devotional
Many of us face challenges in life. It may be
financial, job related, about children, health, marriage, etc. etc.
In fact, it is clear that it is not a question of if we will face
these storms of life if we are not already, it is only a question of
when. How do we handle this? Malankara World has a special
infocenter with more detailed articles, meditations and strategy to
overcome life's storms here:
Bookmark this page so you can come back to it easily. This is a work in process and will be added to frequently. We also plan to have at least one more special issue of Malankara World Journal themed on Trials and Tribulations.
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