Now isn’t that amazing

The solution to our problems and despair may not be as hard as we imagine.

Let’s say you’re going through a desperate time and have lost your bearings, or are experiencing loss, suffering, grief, or big changes in life, to the point that you question how you’re going to go on.  Sometimes in the midst of problems and hopelessness, you can barely even have faith that God will hear you. What can you do?

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One hundred percent

by Steven Furtick

I’ve told the story of my grandfather before in different venues. Papa, as we called him, was one of the greatest men of God I’ve ever known. But he also experienced one of the greatest hardships I’ve ever seen. Papa watched his wife of over 50 years slowly lose her mind and body to Alzheimer’s. By the end, she started to literally scream curses and obscenities at him. But he handled it with more grace and faith than you can imagine. Regardless of grandmother’s condition, he would go every day to the nursing home and comb her hair and tell her she was beautiful until they would kick him out.

Papa died about eighteen months before Grandma passed away. The final scenes of their marriage were pitiful, really, from a purely earthly perspective. Healing never came. And it broke Papa’s heart. But still, surprisingly, every time you would ask Papa how he was doing, he’d always say the same thing: 100%.

As a kid, it always bothered me that he said

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Beauty for ashes

By David Berg

We used to sing a little song about the Lord:

He gives me joy in place of sorrow,
He gives me love that casts out fear,
He gives me sunshine for my shadow,
And beauty for ashes dear.

In order to bring forth the sweetness, there has to be some suffering. To bring about the beauty of the flame, something must go to ashes. Blessings come from suffering-“beauty for ashes” (Isaiah 61:3). This is borne out so well in Hebrews 12, verse 11, which says: “Now no chastening seems joyful for the present, but painful: nevertheless afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”

It’s like a giant hand taking a honeycomb and squeezing it – and out comes the honey. Or it’s like when Moses smote the rock: The rock received a blow, but out came the water (Exodus 17:1-7). The heart of stone has to be broken before the water of God’s Spirit can flow out to refresh the people. It’s like a beautiful flower that’s pressed and crushed, but out comes the perfume. Or like the beautiful music that comes from the throat of the bird, almost as though it’s in pain, yet it comes forth with song. Even though the bird’s song may be sad, it’s so sweet. The groans are not murmurs, but songs of praise and thanksgiving to God – a sad, sweet song! As the great poet Shelley once said, “Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thoughts!”

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Trust God anyhow

Victory from Seeming Defeat
By David Berg

The Lord lets us go through tests sometimes. He can even make it appear as if He is being a little too hard on us, so that we’re tempted to think, “How could God let us suffer like this? How can He let that sort of thing happen?” The Devil is always around to try to make you doubt and even criticize the Lord, like he did with Job.

God said about Job, “There is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil” (Job 1:8).  But the Devil challenged God, “Well, You just let me work him over and we’ll see!” So God allowed the Devil to put Job through many tests and afflictions. Job lost his family, his wealth, and his health – and that’s when his sin came to the fore. The Devil had been right about that. Job’s sin was self-righteousness, self-perfection. His sin was that he didn’t think that he had any sin, and he couldn’t understand why God was doing all this to him.

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