Posts Tagged ‘Pressure at Work’

You Can Be a Hope Ambassador!

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

Having hope and offering hope to others  is perhaps the single most important key to experiencing true happiness.  I recently found a terrific description of hope written by James Goll of the Encounters Network, and published by the The Converging Zone Network.  I know you will be encouraged, as I was by Mr. Goll’s message of hope…it’s foundations, it’s benefits, and understanding how to obtain it !

Hope Ambassadors…

Theme verse: I Corinthians 13:13a (NASB): ”But now faith, hope, love, abide these three…”

In a time of great uncertainty, it is a necessity that we be people of hope. In recent years, we have had a good deal of teaching on faith and some on love, but the missing commodity in the Church is an understanding of HOPE.

It behooves us to look to the Lord in these days and call forth solutions to life’s problems. We must focus our gaze, not on the revival of evil, but we must set our gaze up higher and be a prophetic people with answers for today’s dilemmas. It is time to be Hope Ambassadors.

In my own life, I tend to be a parabolic prophetic person. As most of you know, I have gone through a severe “Job-like season” in the last decade of my life and ministry. I have been grappling with difficult things and complex questions. This has forced me to go back to the foundational bedrock of my faith. I declare that God is good all the time and that all things work together for good. Because these two foundational truths are laid firm in my life, I believe that the greatest level of purpose and impact is yet to come.

As I have found it necessary in my own life, so I believe it is necessary in many lives. It is time for teaching on good mental health in the Body of Christ! Yes, the world and the Church are both waiting for Ambassadors of Hope!

Definition of Terms:

Webster’s Dictionary states that “hope” means to cherish a desire with expectation of fulfillment.

Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Greek Words states that “hope” is a favorable and confident expectation, the happy anticipation of good.

Scriptural Foundations of Hope:

Ephesians 6:17 states as a vital part of the full armor of God, we are to put on the helmet of salvation.

I Thessalonians 5:8 gives us a commentary on this verse and tells us this is the helmet of the “hope of salvation.”

The Roman helmet that Paul the apostle makes reference to covered the ears and even the front of the forehead (or the mind). We are to filter what we hear through a positive expectation of good and thus be able to think on whatsoever things are true, honorable, right, pure, of a good report and worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8). As a man thinks so is he (Proverbs 23:7). Therefore, it is imperative that we put on our HELMET OF HOPE.

Two Pictures of Hope:

Hebrews 6:17-20 (NASB) In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before usThis hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfastand one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

Hope therefore is:

1. A place of refuge for mankind likened unto the Old Testament cities of refuge where people could flee and take hold of the “horns of the altar.”

2. An anchor of the soul – the mind, the will and the emotions.

A ship passes its anchor through the unstable element of water to the stable element of the Rock below. The world in which we live is like the water – unstable, impermanent, insecure, ever-changing and tossed around in its form. But hope in Christ Jesus is an anchor that passes out of eternity into time and fastens us to our foundation of bedrock below – to the Rock of Ages.

Hope is a Person!

Colossians 1:27 (NASB) …to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Titus 2:13 (NASB) …looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus.

The Benefits of Hope:

Romans 8:24-25 (NASB) For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.

We are saved by hope. We do not quit. We persevere because we are convinced by a greater reality than our temporary surroundings!

Romans 15:13 (NASB) Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in the hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Through faith, the power of the Holy Spirit enables us to abound in the amazing power of hope.

Colossians 1:27 says when you have “Christ in you” you have the hope of glory – a sure expectation of unending ages of glory in the presence of God.

Ephesians 2:12 (NASB) …remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.

The condition of the lost: without God, without Christ, and without hope.

Ephesians 1:17-19 says we can be filled with the hope of His calling in Christ Jesus. You are a person of destiny. Be filled with the positive expectation of good in your life. Something good is just about to happen!

Ways to Obtain Hope:

Romans 15:4 (NASB) For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

Yes, through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we have great hope! Learn from our forefathers in the faith, and let hope arise!

Lamentations 3:21-24 (NASB) This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I have hope in Him.”

Right now, recall the history of the Lord in your life. Declare the testimony of His goodness over your own life and that of your family. Recall. Remember. Declare the truth that He has never left you or forsaken you. Great is His faithfulness!

5 Tips For A Happier Work Day

Saturday, June 11th, 2011

 

We have been taught all our lives that in order for us to be successful and happy we must:

 

  • Study hard to
  • Get good grades, so we can
  • Get a good job and
  • Make lots of money, so we will
  • Become Successful, then
  • Retire and relax

 

How many of you are now discovering that this is a huge lie, and, in truth, has led to a life of being busy instead of productive, frustrated instead of successful, and unfulfilled instead of happy?

I know I did, and I hear it expressed everyday from people I know and people I meet. Let me be clear, I am not saying that we shouldn’t study diligently and endeavor to make good grades, or that there is anything wrong with earning a lot of money, being successful, and eventually retiring.  But, if we are simply blindly and furiously chasing after grades, money, success, and material things we think will keep us happy once we stop working, we are in for a huge disappointment.  This is the huge lie that so many buy in to, only to end up feeling empty and as though there life has or has had no real meaning or purpose.

So, if this is a huge lie, what is the truth? I believe that the truth is this:

  • God’s love for us is extravagant and immeasurable. And,
  • God created each one of us in His image. And,
  • God desires to have a close intimate relationship with us, and
  • He has a plan and purpose for our lives;
  • To share and demonstrate his love by loving and serving others. And, in addition,
  • God created all things, including work and wealth. And,
  • Work and our careers are an opportunity to both experience God’s love and to love and serve others, and when we are able to make this paradigm shift (from the huge lie to the wonderful truth),
  • Our work and careers will have new and eternal meaning and purpose, and
  • We will begin to look at our work, our families, and are lives in a whole new, exciting, and energized way!

So how might this look practically?  Jon Gordon, speaker, consultant and best selling author offer these five tips to being happier at work (comments in italics added):

Monday-

Focus on “Get to” instead of “Have to” – While driving to work focus on what you “get to” do instead of what you “have to” do. With gratitude realize that you don’t have to do anything. You get to go to a job while so many are unemployed. Gratitude floods your body and brain with emotions that uplift you and energize you rather than stress hormones that drain you.

Plus, remember you are blessed to be able to have the opportunity serve and be a blessing to all those you come into contact with during your day. God loves it when we live an others centered life, he views our commitment to demonstrate his love to others as an act of worship.

Tuesday-

Don’t Expect your Boss, Co-workers and Customers to Make you Happy – Realize that happiness is an inside job. Our happiness has less to do with forces outside of us and more to do with what’s inside of us. The way we think about work, feel about work and approach our work influences our happiness at work. For instance, just by making yourself smile you produce more serotonin in the brain-which makes you feel happier. You’ll also be happier when you focus on what you are giving instead of what you are getting.

Only Jesus truly satisfies; let him come alive in your heart and show you how living for his glory will bring true joy into your life. Live by the spirit, and produce fruit!

Wednesday-

Don’t Seek Happiness – Ironically if you want to be happier don’t seek happiness. Instead share your strengths and decide to work with passion and purpose and happiness will find you. The research shows that people are most energized when they are using their strengths for a bigger purpose beyond themselves. Whatever your job, decide to bring passion to it and find purpose in it. I’ve met bus drivers, mortgage brokers, janitors and fast-food employees who are more passionate about their jobs and happier than some professional athletes making millions of dollars. Every job will get mundane and “old” if you let it but purpose and passion keep it fresh and make you happier.

If we are willing God can use us no matter where or what we are doing.  God is a master gardener, and if we allow him, he will equip and enable us to bloom where we are planted!

Thursday-

Focus on Excellence instead of Success – When you focus on success you can easily fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others, looking over your shoulder, feeling envious, playing office politics, and competing against coworkers instead of collaborating. However, when you focus on excellence you measure yourself against your own growth and potential. You strive to be the best you can be. You simply focus on getting better every day and this makes work more meaningful and rewarding.

God is the ultimate designer, creator, engineer, and manufacture, resource manager, and relationship builder.  He is a God of excellence; just take a look around at his creation. Follow his example by using your unique gifting to all you do well…let god take care of the rest!

Friday-

Celebrate Together – While we shouldn’t depend on others to make us happy, by building a positive team or support group at work we will be happier. So instead of expecting others to make you happy, you proactively create the positive relationships that enhance your engagement, productivity and happiness. One great way to do this to huddle with your team/group at the end of the week and have each person share their accomplishments, victories, and great moments of the week. This will produce great feelings on Friday that inspire you and your team to come back to work and make a difference on Monday.

God is a God of relationship; he wants to know each of us intimately, and he wants all of his children to enjoy fellowship with one another, sharing our lives, praying for one another, encouraging one another, exhorting one another, and lifting our hearts up in praise!

What makes you happier at work? Share your thoughts…and have a happy week at home and at work.

Hope Our Anchor Of Life

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” – Hebrews 6:19

When you hear the word anchor, what images and thoughts come to mind? A large heavy object used to secure and hold a boat securely in place, keeping it from drifting off into danger? A large, heavy secure bolt, beam, or brace used to ensure a building is strong, stable, and safe? A strong device, that when fixed, ensures a rock climber is held safely and securely while dangling perilously high above the ground? A key military defensive position critical to protecting an important area, troops and/or citizens?

Another definition offered by dictionary.com is “a person or thing that can be relied on for support, stability, or security; mainstay.”

We have all had times in life when we needed and “anchor”; those times when we feel helpless and seek support, security, and stability in the people, things, and places familiar to us, that have always been there for us, and that we feel we can most trust and rely on to support us and make us feel safe and good. It is great to have these “anchors” in our lives, and they can be very helpful and comforting in dealing with some real rough storms in life or at work, but just as with the physical and mechanical anchors used by sailors or boaters, contractors, rock climbers, and our military the people, things, and places we put our trust in sometimes let us down, disappoint us, and fail us because they just aren’t capable of meeting the need, filling the void, and providing the true hope that our hearts really need and thirst for.

That is exactly what God offers us in his promises; a firm and sure anchor of hope! In The Message a modern translation of the Bible, Hebrews 6:15-20 tells us:

When God made his promise to Abraham, he backed it to the hilt, putting his own reputation on the line. He said, “I promise that I’ll bless you with everything I have—bless and bless and bless!” Abraham stuck it out and got everything that had been promised to him. When people make promises, they guarantee them by appeal to some authority above them so that if there is any question that they’ll make good on the promise, the authority will back them up. When God wanted to guarantee his promises, he gave his word, a rock-solid guarantee—God can’t break his word. And because his word cannot change, the promise is likewise unchangeable.

We who have run for our very lives to God have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go. It’s an unbreakable spiritual lifeline (anchor), reaching past all appearances right to the very presence of God where Jesus, running on ahead of us, has taken up his permanent post as high priest for us…”

So, the next time you find yourself needing an “anchor” grab hold of the only person, place, or thing that offers us true unshakable security, strength, safety, stability, rest, peace, and comfort. Reach out and grab hold, tightly, to God, your creator and Heavenly Father. He will not disappoint you, fail you, leave you or forsake you. He will be an “anchor” for your soul, and make you more happy in life and at work.

Rest For Your Soul

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

I used to race bicycles competitively. From 1990-1997 I raced in over a dozen states. In order to do so, I trained regularly and rigorously. You may be familiar with cycling, if only from watching the Tour de France on TV. In cycling, the riders will form packs or groups to work together and conserve energy. Each rider taking a turn in front then slipping back to take shelter and rest until it is again their turn to “take a pull”. Riders in groups will even share food and water, knowing that they are stronger as a group.  They will watch after each other and work together in hopes that the group will be successful and make it to the finish ahead of the other riders.

In some cases riders who become fatigued get “dropped” from a group and are left alone. They may, for a while, attempt to work very hard to maintain the pace of the group, and even hope to rejoin the group, but invariably the physical and mental demands to maintain such a pace can cause them to “crack”.  At that point the wise tactic is for that single rider to drop back to another group, take shelter from the new group, rest, and recover.  If you race long enough, it happens to everyone. From experience, I can tell you that, when you are “dropped” and left alone, it is an awful feeling. The feeling of being “dropped” and left alone is difficult to overcome. The physical weariness is one thing, but mentally motivating yourself to continue and finish can be a great battle of will.

However, when another group comes along and you are able to join them, you become re-energized, refreshed, and recommitted to finishing the race. The new group accepts you,  welcomes and encourages you, provides you the relief and rest you need, they pull you along, they nourish you, and there is exchange of important race information and friendly conversation. They are just what you need to finish the race you started!

Something else I know from experience is that sometimes in life and in our careers, we can get “dropped”; we become both physically and mentally weary and fatigued; the burden becomes so great that we feel as though we just can’t continue or finish; we want to give up. In those times, God wants to be that group that comes along when we most need it. He will always accept us right where we are, there is always a warm comforting spot for us in his arms, he wants to give us the rest we need, he wants to renew our strength, he is “the bread of life and wants to nourish us, he offers the peace we are looking for, and he wants so much for us to talk and share our lives with him. He is the one who can help us, not just continue the race, but to finish it…and finish strong!

Go to him, find rest for your soul, and allow him to help you find happiness in life and at work.

Leave The Stronghold – Enter The Land Of Judah

Monday, January 10th, 2011

 

“Do not stay in the stronghold. Go into the land of Judah” 

David is one of the most colorful and controversial people written about in the bible.  1 Samuel 22:5 is one of my favorite versus about David; I believe it describes why God called David “a man after my own heart”.  You see, David, even though he messed up a lot, had many fears, and was often beat down and troubled never stopped, seeking God, listening to God…following God…moving toward God…pursuing God…chasing after God…and most importantly praising God!

In 1 Samuel, David and his fighting men had been hiding in the cave of Adullam. He was fleeing Saul. Many of life’s down-and-out had come and joined David’s army. David was content to stay in the stronghold of safety. Then, God’s prophet came to David and told him that he must leave the stronghold and go into the land of Judah.

When life beats down on us and we get to the place where we want to hide in a cave, God often places people around us who prod us into moving in the right direction. He does not want us to remain in the place of discouragement. He wants us to move into the land of “praise.” Judah means “praise.”

I recall when I went through a very difficult time. It seemed to drag on and on with no change until finally I wanted to retreat to a cave and forget pressing on. It was a great time of discouragement. A godly man came to me and said, “You must keep moving! There are too many who are depending on you..now and in the future.” I didn’t totally understand what he meant at the time. Now I know he was saying that God is preparing each of us to be the vessel He wants to use in the life of another person, but we will never be that vessel if we give up and hide in our cave of discouragement. Not only must we keep moving, we must move into a new realm. Our attitude must move from discouragement to praise. It is when we move past discouragement to praise that we begin living above our problems. Make a decision today to go into the land of Judah.

Stand By Me, You, Somebody

Monday, January 3rd, 2011

“As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Joshua 1:5)

One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. (Proverbs 18:24)

Take a look at that first verse again; “I will never leave you nor forsake you”. It says “never”. That has been a tough one for me at times; admittedly, there have been times when I have been unhappy, sad, hurt, discouraged, dissapointed, disillusioned, afraid, lonely, or angry, and I have felt like God had foresaken me. But, without fail and at just the right time God always shows up! Oftentimes, he shows up in the form of a friend or family member, who knows just what I need, or don’t need.

Sometimes in life we just need someone to stand by us, not to do anything specifically, but just to know that they beleive in us and are willing to stand by us and with us. Do you have a friend or family member like that? I pray you do, and If so, I hope you recognize and acknowledge how blessed and fortunate you are. If you don’t, I pray God will meet that need; send you that special someone to stand by you, love you, and encourage you. I want you to pray for that too, then have faith and believe that God will help you find that “friend that sticks closer than a brother”.

Secondly, and just as important, I hope you will take the time to be that friend for someone else in their time of need…because no matter who we are or where we go…at some point we all need somebody to standy us. Do this and I know you will be happy in life and at work.

Playing For Change: Song Around the World “Stand By Me” from Playing For Change on Vimeo.

Get The Most Out Of Life

Sunday, October 3rd, 2010

I have always been a very active and competitive person.  Beginning when I was very young I loved to compete at everything I did; I always expected to perform well and hated to lose!  I was up to competing at anything; I swam, played golf, played football, baseball, and basketball, I ran, and I cycled.  And, as I moved from athletics to career, I  loved to compete in business; always trying to do my best, do it better, do it faster, do it safer, etc.

I’m not sure why God has given me such a competitive drive, but he has.  In most instances it is a good thing, but it can be a problem at times.  I can get disappointed, discouraged, and unhappy about my performance, if I do not get the results I expect or want.  If I am playing golf, working out, cycling, or even just pitching to my two baseball playing sons I have high expectations.  If I am working on a deal or a project I have high expectations.  It can often be difficult for me to accept that I am getting older and can’t do the things that once came so easily.  I still want and expect to do well.  My perspective has had to change as my abilities and energy have changed.

I have learned to look at three important aspects of performance and be realistic about the results:

1. Ability – What am I genuinely and honestly capable of doing.

I used to be able to ride a bike 125 miles while averaging 22-23 miles per hour…not any more!  I used to be able to push myself at work, staying up late and getting up early to work on big deals and critical projects; not so much any more!

2. Motivation – How driven am I to accomplish something and why.

I used to live to hit the road on my bike and destroy anyone who dared to try to keep up with me; now I just ride on a trainer indoors to maintain fitness.  I once stepped on the golf course with the expectation of shooting 72-76 and beating whoever I was playing with; I now enjoy the opportunity to be outside and enjoy great fellowship with family and great friends.  I once could not stand it if I was beat out for a deal, order, or project; I now enjoy having a full but reasonable workload with deals and projects I enjoy and that allow me time to relax, refresh, and recharge.

3. Attitude – Determines how well I do what it is I am doing.

This has remained consistent because I believe it is still important to do things well.  Although I ride my bike much less, I still ride with a purpose; I spend 45 minutes instead of 5 hours, but still enjoy getting specific and purposeful workouts in.  I take on less accounts and projects, but I am focused and enjoy the relationships that come with those more than I ever did.

So as you seek to be Happy in life and at work, consider honestly and sincerely your ability, your motivation, and your attitude as you endeavor to take on your life and career challenges. Strive for excellence, but learn to enjoy what you are doing and to appreciate the people God has placed in your path along the way.

You Were Meant To Be

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

I had lunch with someone I love today; a very special person who has been through a very difficult stretch of life over the last 18 months or so. She is a single mom. Her kids are 18, 12, and 8 years old. She and her three kids were all but abandoned by her ex-husband. He has continued to be engaged with her younger kids to some extent, but for some reason has chosen to remain very distant from her 18 year old son (I’ll call him Bobby). As you can imagine, this has affected Bobby greatly. He has experienced much pain and struggled to make sense of all that has happened in his life over the last two years. At a time when he expected and really needs his dad as a significant strong role model to finish raising him, affirming him as a young man, and releasing him as mighty man of God to be who God has purposed him to be, his dad has all but disowned him. Bobby, although he has experienced some victories and joy recently, has struggled to believe he is valued, to figure out his place in this world, to succeed in school, to stay out of trouble, and to see his future as anything but uncertain.

That mat have changed today! I beleive God has answered prayer and intervened for Bobby. He recently took a career assesment test and met with the career counselor for the results today. For the first time in a very long time, Bobby is beginning to beleive what the Bible tells us about about how God feels about all of us.

God tells us very clearly that we are his sons and daughters and that he loves all of us and has a good and perfect plan for our lives. He tells us that we have been fearfully and wonderfully made; knit perfectly in our mother’s womb! He tells that no matter what he will never leave us nor forsake us! God tells us that we are more than conquerors, and that all things are possible with him! He tells us that he knows every hair on our head! God has created us all, given us all life, you, me, and Bobby! he has a very special purpose for each of us, and has given us very different but wonderful gifts to use for this very special purpose.

Bobby had an “aah ha moment” today, as he began to see and hear from God what his spiritual gifts are and how God can use him and those gifts to serve others and make a future for himself and the family he will have one day. Suddenly Bobby has hope and sees a certain future; God has made him a new creation, and Bobby can see that throughout this time of difficulty God has been right there, in fact, if you look real close, you can see the fingerprints of God all over Bobby.

I imagine that many of you are facing some of the very things Bobby has been facing and struggling with. My hope is that you will know that God loves you, created you with a wonderful purpose and the gifts to accomplish that purpose, and wants more than anything for you to discover what that purpose is and use it to serve others and him every day. I encourage and exhort you to turn to God in prayer, tell him you are tired struggling and striving to blaze your own trail and do what you think is best, tell him that you want to discover his perfect purpose for your life and use your special gifts to serve him, ask him to reveal that to you, allow him to put his fingerprints all over you! You might be surprised, and it might seem crazy, but please trust him and follow his direction…I know if you do you will be Happy in Life and at Work!

To help get you started and excited about knowing that You Were Meant To Be, I have included a great song by Steven Curtis Chapman titled “Meant to Be”. It was recorded specially for Veggie Tales, but is very applicable to all of us, regardless of age. Enjoy!

Success or Failure…It’s Up To You

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

We have all likley taken tests in school; some that we prepared for and others we did not prepare for. If you were like me, I always did better on the tests that I prepared for.

And, if you have ever participated in competitions involving academics, sports, speach, music, business, etc., you also know how important it is to put in the work to prepare before you compete.

This timeless principle that preparation is critical to overall success is described well in the scripture that states:

“A man reaps what he sows.” (Galatians 6:7)

I discovered the following short movie and resource that I beleive helps us realize how important it is for us to be very intentional and careful about what we “sow” into our minds, and how critical this is to being successful no matter what endeavor we pursue. I hope you enjoy it, and that it motivates you to “sow” healthy, good and positive seeds into your mind.

As you view and consider the message in the video, please consider these words:

“whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:8-9)

Hammer and The Chisel

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

“A sculptor does not use a ‘manicure set’ to reduce the crude, unshapely marble to a thing of beauty. The saw, the hammer and the chisel are cruel tools, but without them the rough stone must remain forever formless and unbeautiful. To do His supreme work of grace within you, God will take from your heart everything you love most. Everything you trust in will go from you. Piles of ashes will lie where your most precious treasures used to be!” (A.W.Tozer)

I love this Tozer quote which is used in the opening monologue of the movie the Heart Of Texas”. Today’s thought is not about this movie, but I would highly reccomend seeing it; to see a promo, click hear.

Now, back to the message for this post…

How do you respond when your husband or wife, friends or family trample your emotions? When your child rebels? When you lose a big deal or important client? When your boss fires you unexpectedly? In this very difficult economy, you may have lost thousands in savings or in the value of your 401K or other investments? When disappointments like these smash into your life, you may want to scream, “How could God allow this to happen?”

But, what if God didn’t just “let it happen?” What if the things you treasure the most and hold on to the tightest are damaged or destroyed? What if what you call disappointments are really God’s appointments? What if like a skilled sculptor, He is using your disappointments like the sculptor’s hammer and chisel to chop and carve away the undesirable elements in your life, leaving you pure and radiant…His beautiful masterpiece?

Life’s disappointments can destroy you, or you can become stronger because of them. The dangerous spiral of disappointments can lead to discouragement, disillusionment, depression or even despair. But you can learn to break that cycle and embrace the disappointment and trails with a faith that recognizes that they are the hammer and chisel God uses to make you a reflection of Him. We can follow the selfish course of our natural reactions and be subtly trapped in a downward spiral that swiftly leads into depression and discouragement. Or, we can take those trials and count them all joy, knowing that our faith and endurance will be strengthened. Our disappointments are the stone that God will use to sculpt us as a sculptor would his rough stone. If we respond by taking the steps of trust, obedience and relying on His grace , we will discover that we are being sculpted into His masterpiece that reflects the radiance of His image and character. Knowing this, today as you face those trials or are in the pit of despair, what will be your decision? To continue on that road of despair, or make the turn and trust Him and His grace?

I offer these scriptures to encourage you:

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”(James 1:2-4)

“Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”              (2 Corinthians 12:8-10)

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.”(Romans 8:28-29)