Monday, May 18, 2009


Ok so what you will read below is not my writing but I feel like it could be! I subscribe to an E-letter and this is what came today. Here is the link if you want to subscribe also! look on the left side bar this is the Reflections E-letter.

Responding to Difficulties with Discipline

Remember the old adage: “Don’t cry over spilt milk”? Adages such as these contain distilled wisdom, capsulated in pithy statements.

When milk spills, a number of responses are possible. We can cry for the lost milk and perhaps a broken cup; we can blame ourselves or someone else for spilling it. We can regret the cost of the milk.

Or we can quickly reach for a towel to wipe it up, knowing that milk gets spilled in life. We clean it up without lamenting the loss or blaming anyone for spilling it. We replace the milk and get on with living, without wasting energy on regret or blame.

Be Realistic

Sometimes in our desire to express faith, we are not realistic. We want to be positive in our expressions, but inside we are hurting. The writer of Hebrews helps us by acknowledging the pain of our problems: No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful, he tells us (12:11, NIV).

Our first step in responding to hardship is to own our situation. Yes, it hurts to lose a loved one, to be laid off of work, to see our children go astray, to learn of a terminal illness. It is painful; other translations use the word grievous. Faith does not deny pain; it recognizes pain and moves on to appropriate action.

Be Courageous

The writer of Hebrews again uses the metaphor of the race. He draws a picture of an exhausted runner with wobbly knees and hands hanging limply at his side. He exhorts the runner, saying, Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees (12:12, NIV). Sometimes we call this getting a second wind, or pushing through the hurt.

We watched a courageous runner at a middle school track meet this week. One girl just ended the third lap as the winner finished the fourth. All other runners were right behind the winner, but the courageous girl continued the lonely trek around the track. Loud cheers arose from the stand when the girl finally made it around the fourth time. She must have labored through a lot of discouragement to make it.

We read that David encouraged himself in the Lord. When circumstances all around us are discouraging, we need to know how to encourage ourselves, and allow ourselves to be encouraged by others.

Be Visionary

Difficulties may bring curves in our path of life, but it is not a time for losing our purpose for living. We may have to set some new goals, while never losing sight of our ultimate goal: being conformed to the image of Christ and living eternally with Him.

The Hebrews writer continues: “Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed (12:13, NIV). The implication is that the runner is racing along a rough road, so some adjustments need to be made in his path.

When difficulties come, we might need to set some new philosophic goals, evaluating our purpose in life and the direction we are going. We may have to set some new behavioral goals as to how we handle our difficulty.

I have read that women who walk purposefully toward a destination are less likely to be attacked. I believe that is also true in our spiritual walk; we are less vulnerable to discouragement and defeat when we have clear purpose in life.

Be peaceful

The writer concludes this segment with an exhortation to work on our relationships with God and man. Life is too short to be burdened down with bitterness in any relationship. Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord (12:14, NIV).

Some shattered relationships cannot be resolved, but the writer exhorts us to do what we can to have peace with others. This may require confrontation, assertiveness and forgiveness, but the end result of peace will be worth it

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