Can’t find the reason

How could it come to this? You’ve done nothing of such high magnitude to deserve what you’re going through. In fact, you’ve done good all your life. You have been kind to those who suffer. You’ve done everything you know to do good.

But life turned sour. Situations turned for the worse. The unexpected happened. And now you are in shock over the events of your life.

This is the exact place in life that Job has come. He responds:

“Here is my signature! Let the Almighty answer me! Oh, that I had the indictment written by my adversary! Surely I would carry it on my shoulder: I would bind it on me as a crown; I would give him an account of all my steps: like a prince I would approach him” (Job 31:35-37).

But there was nothing he could do because God seemed like his adversary. So he waited – and trusted in God!

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Give the next generation a head start

But we often get hung up with our own stuff. Our day to day tasks burden us to the point where we can’t even pay attention to the next generation. Thus we become incapable of showing the way.

It is our task to give the next generation a head start by preparing them and pointing the way to their future. Without this, they may end up taking an extra ten years or more to get a grip on how they need to move forward.

Learn to be a mentor or coach to the younger generation. But first, you’ve got to learn to listen to their dreams and their passions. Identify those things that make them tick and get them moving.

The next step is to help them see the big picture of the world and where they fit in. How do their dreams fit into the overall flow of what’s happening? Once they get that, things become clearer, and they are ready to move forward.

But this doesn’t happen overnight. The vision unfolds gradually as they experience life. Your task is to be there for them as a coach and as a cheerleader.

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When the tables are turned

But they’re turned against you. You are now on the lowest rung of the ladder. Can’t go any further down. At one time you were further ahead than everyone else. Now they’re so much further up that you can’t even see them anymore.

When Job was at his lowest, he cried out to God – and there was silence. He felt as if God was looking at him in his misery, but with no response.

“God has cast me into the mire, and I have become like dust and ashes. I cry to you for help and you do not answer me; I stand and you only look at me” (Job 30:19-20).

In spite of all this, Job remains faithful. He knew that God sees. He notices Job’s misery is not out of God’s sight.

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Confined to the pastoral ministry?

Is it some kind of a prison sentence? I’ve heard this statement from people who feel that the pastoral ministry is somewhat of a limitation. The pastoral ministry is only limited as you limit it by your mindset. If you can somehow free your mind to think openly and broadly, the future can be without limits.

I’ve heard it from many people. Their words are often filled with a sense of trepidation. There seems to be a fear that if they step into the pastoral ministry their life would somehow be limited.

What type of ministries are in your heart? What passions grip your heart for people in your community? Or, do your dreams take you across the globe?

Whatever your dreams for ministry, it is best done from within the context of the local church. The best option is to plant a church and from the beginning, set the pace for outreach. Set the DNA of the church towards openness to the community and to the globe. Then, You’re not following your dreams all alone. You have an entire congregation with you.

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Deserted by God

Recently I saw the frantic struggle of a young pigeon as its mother pushed it out of its comfortable place in the nest. The young one landed safely on the ground, but ran around trying to fly, and also trying to hide under a bush.

It was fearful of people, and fearful of being out of the comfort of its nest. The mother was preparing its young one for the next level of its life.

On the cross, jesus said, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? (Matt 27:46) The Father was preparing Jesus for the next level. He would be glorified. But at this point, Jesus experienced desertion.

Job said, “Oh, that I were as in the months of old, as in the days when God watched over me” (Job 29:2). He also experienced desertion by God and by people.

In the examples above, all three felt deserted and rejected. They were ready for the next level, but their experiences were desperate to severe. Keep looking up. God has a plan. For you, everything may seem out of control, but everything is under God’s control.

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More Jesus stories

While he was on the earth, his presence impacted people everywhere he went. For many, it was physical healing and for others, he cast out their demons, gave forgiveness of sins, brought peace, gave food, and in numerous other ways Jesus impacted the people.

What’s your story? What has Jesus done for you? Has he brought healing? Your story with Jesus is precious to you. A meeting with  the almighty is a precious and memorable experience. But it doesn’t remain as a one-time event. Rather it has repercussions that span our lifetime.

All over the world, people are experiencing the love of Jesus in many ways. Each person’s encounter produces another Jesus story.

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Alternate wisdom

There’s always an alternate view for everything. Usual, it goes against common understanding. Thus the Alternate is often hard to swallow. But if you dig deep enough, you’ll find another view that opens up new doors.

It’s like finding precious stones and metals. Gold and Silver can be found through the hard work of mining. It’s dangerous, tedious, and risky in many ways. But when you strike gold, it’s worth the effort.

Wisdom also can be found in a long, tedious, and dangerous path. Well, that’s the common understanding. Everyone seems to believe that. But there is an alternate way. There’s an alternate reality. Maybe we can call it Alternate Wisdom.

“Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding” (Job 28:28).

Alternate doesn’t have to be suspect. It may be a reality beyond our grasp. Maybe we haven’t seen it. We haven’t lived it.

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Situational faithfulness

They’re faithful and loyal. You can count on them. Well, it depends. It depends on the money. If there’s popularity attached to the task, they’ll work day and night. Literally. If the money is right, they’ll give their heart and soul.

Then there are others who are intrinsically faithful. It’s just part of who they are. They don’t really need the popularity – in fact they may prefer not to get the limelight. They’re simply faithful.

For such people, money isn’t such an issue. It doesn’t matter. They will serve if the money is there or not. They are faithful because of who they are.

Looking and searching for the faithful ones. The real ones.

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How much can you suffer before giving up?

I remember the old Popeye cartoon where he says “I’ve had all I can stands, and I can’t stands no more.” When his patience gets tested to the limits, he opens his can of Spinach for extra power and pounces on his opponents. And what a wonderful ending to the episode as he and Olive Oyl walk away hand in hand into the sunset.

How long can you stand trouble and heartache? How long will you hold onto your integrity? To what limits will you keep trusting God? Actually, we’ll never know till we get there!

Job said “…till I die I will not put away my integrity from me.” Sure, any one of us can say those words. But it’s different when it comes from Job. His integrity is the “tested” kind.

Suffering clearly tests your integrity. Tested integrity is genuine. Before God and before people, the genuineness of your integrity is clear. Those whose integrity is tested can be trusted.

Allow God to transform you through pain. We know that gold that’s tried in the fire comes out as pure gold.

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How to feel good

Make everyone else feel bad. Then, at least you’ll feel better than others.

Not really, but only in your mind. It’s sort of a mental adjustment due to your insecurity. Some verbalize this, but for many, it’s only a practice of the mind.

As soon as insecurity shows up, you think of something negative in them. It’s usually something in the past. But if you don’t know their past, you assume something based on their outward appearance.

The other option is for you to think “I’m not as bad as they are.” I’m in the “good” category. Or, at least the “not so bad” section of society. Not at all like others.

Now, I feel better.

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