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Posts Tagged ‘Romans 15:4’

 

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My knowledge of boat parts is limited, but this much I know: throw an outboard motor in the water; it will sink. Throw a propeller in the water; it, too, will plunge to the bottom. So will seats, cleats, and other parts. But when they are assembled together on a strong hull, the boat floats.

Similarly, our lives are comprised of a variety of experiences: some heavy and hurtful, others light and joyful. When properly assembled as a whole, they create a life that floats, and one that’s headed on a course toward worthwhile purpose.

Proper assembly of negative as well as positive events requires the trait of resiliency—the ability to press on through setbacks again and again.

Do those words, press on, sound familiar? The great missionary-adventurer, Paul, said he pressed on toward the goal of becoming what God intended for him (Philippians 4:12-14).  Paul is a worthy case-study for resiliency.

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(The apostle Paul by Rembrandt)

 

He suffered plenty of hurt, disappointment, and failure. For example, Paul was:

  • stoned (Acts 14:19),
  • flogged and imprisoned (Acts 16:23),
  • unjustly charged with treason (Acts 18:13),
  • nearly killed on at least several occasions (Acts 21:30-31), and
  • rejected by many, even after brilliantly preaching about God and his Son, Jesus (Acts 17:16-34).

 

How do you bounce back from such defeats? Researchers have identified the following ways to cultivate resiliency:

 

  1. Get real.

No one sails through life problem-free. Accept the reality that troubles will come, then apply those strategies that provide relief, strategies such as: exercise and proper nutrition, sufficient sleep, laughter, and meaningful activity, including acts of kindness each day.

 

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  1. Get hope.

Be watchful for God’s blessings in spite of the circumstances, and thank him for his loving attention. Gratitude does indeed transform attitudes.

Find fresh strength in God’s Word, especially in his promises and assurance of his faithfulness to keep those promises (Romans 15:4; Psalm 145:13; 1 Corinthians 1:9).

We can ask God to help us set new, worthwhile goals, then look forward to the day when those goals will be met.

Researchers have noted that resilient people do not strive for riches, fame, power, or recognition. Instead they are focused on their legacies—what contributions their lives will make to those around them.  Hope in God—in all circumstances—is in itself an invaluable legacy.

 

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  1. Get in community with other Christians—not just by being present, but by actively participating.

Years ago while I was dealing with an ongoing disappointment, Sunday morning worship on the praise team and mid-week rehearsals did much to recharge my spirit. (Not that all was smooth sailing in between! I still struggled to stay on an even keel; but with God’s help I didn’t stop trying.)

In addition, when we contribute hope to others through listening and encouragement, we find our own outlook much improved.

 

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A boat that floats is not built by just lining up the various parts in the boatyard. It requires the hands and expertise of a master boat builder, to craft a skiff of beauty, function, and purpose.

 

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A satisfying, meaningful life cannot be achieved by mere acceptance of the various events in our lives. It requires the hands and expertise of the Master. He takes all of it—the delightful and the demoralizing—to craft a life of beauty, function, and purpose.

 

(The boat metaphor idea came from Ralph W. Sockman, author of The Higher Happiness (1950).

 

Art & photo credits:  www.inland-boats.com; http://www.slideplayer.com; http://www.wikipedia.org; http://www.pinterest.com (3).

 

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My sister-in-law sent me this Hallmark card for my birthday:

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Mary is my kind of person. I’ll bet she’s your kind, too. We tend to appreciate positive people, especially since negative input seems to bombard us continually. We’re not thin enough, smart enough, tech-savvy enough, confident enough, spiritual enough, disciplined enough, efficient enough, successful enough, patient enough, persevering enough, ad nauseam.

Positive people neutralize the impact of all that negativity. It’s not just their pleasant company that brings uplift to our spirits; they often exhibit the gift of encouragement.

That gift includes the ability to:

  • relate to others in positive ways
  • be optimistic, and cheerful
  • listen attentively and make others feel understood
  • be patient and generous with their time
  • make others feel special
  • genuinely celebrate the successes of others

But there’s one more behavior to add to that list, and it’s undoubtedly the most important. Beyond uplifting and motivating, we can infuse others with our faith.

Anyone can offer encouragement; only people of faith can offer faith.

You see, encouragement may not necessarily be based on fact. For example:

  • A mom says to her son, “You’re a fantastic soccer player. Of course you’ll make the team.” Only he doesn’t. Mom’s optimism wasn’t based in reality.
  • “After what you’ve told me, I just know you’ll get the job,” says one friend to another. But it doesn’t happen. The friend listened and understood, but her intuition proved false.
  • “Oh, that solo was wonderful, Katie!” when it clearly wasn’t.

However, statements of faith based on scriptural fact provide absolute truth and a much stronger foundation for hope than empty praise.

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(“Everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” — Romans 15:4).

Everyone needs hope, especially those in crisis.

Centuries ago, the people of Jerusalem needed hope as they faced the possibility of annihilation by the Assyrian army. King Hezekiah gathered the people in the open square of the city gate and addressed them:

 

“Be strong and courageous.

Do not be afraid or discouraged

because of the king of Assyria

and the vast army with him,

for there is a greater power with us than with him.

With him is only the arm of the flesh,

but with us is the Lord our God

to help us and to fight our battles.”

–2 Chronicles 32:7-8

 

Hezekiah was not simply offering optimistic encouragement. Those bold statements were based on earlier scriptures, some of which you may recognize:

  1. “Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6).

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  1. “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God” (Psalm 20:7).
  1. “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel” (spoken by David to Goliath, 1 Samuel 17:45).
  1. “Do you have an arm like God’s” (Job 40:9a)?
  1. “Do not be afraid of them; the Lord your God himself will fight for you” (Deuteronomy 3:22).

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You and I can follow King Hezekiah’s example and share the positive, factual truth of God’s Word. We can be the encouraging voices that help others thrive, especially to those whose faith is beginning to falter.

The scripture-seeds we plant may spur a person to persevere or take a step in a new direction. And who knows where that perseverance or step might lead?

(Art & photo credits:  Nancy Ruegg, http://www.allaboutgod.net; http://www.quotationslibrary.com; http://www.crosscards.com.)

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What scripture truth has been an encouragement to you?  Share with us in the Comments section below.  Perhaps your contribution will be just what someone else needs to hear/see!

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