Bible Top 1000

Turning Problems into Opportunities
...with God's help, of course

[ Selected ]

Needless ta say, we have choice about how we're going to respond to difficulty when it comes our way. We can choose to ignore at least some of our problems and hope they'll go away. We can blame them on someone else and relieve ourselves of any responsibility. We can solve the pain by drugging ourselves into a haze. Or, we can face them, and grow from the experience.

Sometimes we want to know the why of our problems. But more important than the why is the what. What is it that makes this a problem? When we push all our feelings to the limit, what's left? Maybe it has to do with a sense of helplessness or the lack of control that emerges. Something happens and we feel uneasy because we question who's really in charge. That fosters another question: Who really does rule the problem?

If we're in charge, we can tap available resources. Other people have had similar problems; we can talk to them or read what they've written. We can learn confronting skills, if we need them. We can join a support group. We can become accountable to someone to evaluate our progress. We can call on professional help (a sign of strength, not weakness). We can use or rekindle our faith in God. A reservoir of wisdom is waiting to be tapped by faith. God's wisdom, says James, is "first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere"---and it's available.

It was Benjamin Franklin who said, "Those things that hurt, instruct." We can learn something from the problems we face. We can learn how we cope with situations and use some of the resources available to us.

Life at times seems full of problems, but it does go on. Let's accept that, painful as it may be. We (and we're the only ones who can) have to take the initiative to discipline ourselves to suffer through them and learn what we can, which in turn puts us that much more ahead when the next problem comes along.

Win SomeÖ Lose Some --

Every Sunday morning a few subscribers to our weekly emails will unsubscribe. Iíve come to expect that Ė and it no longer bothers me. While a few people opt to unsubscribe, others forward our Sunday Morning Inspiration to friends and family members. Ironically, we almost always gain more subscribers than we lose. We currently have 7,384 subscribers to our weekly emails.

Last week, I received a flaming email concerning my Sunday Morning Inspiration. I have to presume this email came from someone who claims to be a Christian. I wonít share his name or the details of his email. I will, however, share a couple of statements and use them as a foundation for this weekís devotion.

He said, ďWhile I enjoy most of your messages, I am NOT interested in hearing your church doctrine. If you want to keep me on your email list, please refrain from engaging in this. If you feel you cannot quit promoting your church doctrine, I regretfully ask you to remove me from your email list.Ē

By the way, I spent over an hour replying to his email, but I suspect he was so mad and close-minded that it did no good.

Before I get started, I ask you to PLEASE not allow my Sunday Morning Inspirations to upset or offend you until you have studied the scriptures for yourself. I may challenge some of your traditional beliefs -- but before you lose your cool, I ask you to examine the scriptures to see if what I am saying is true or not (Acts 17:11). Remember, it doesnít matter what I say, or what some preacher says, or what anyone else says. You need to find out what God says.

Church Doctrine --

I almost never talk about church doctrine Ė at least not in a positive way. I donít believe in church doctrine. I believe in biblical doctrine or Godís doctrine. The fact that this man refers to church doctrine tells me that he is involved with a denomination of some sort that does have its own church doctrine.

Everything I wrote in last Sundayís devotion was based on the Bible. I provided over 20 scripture references. In my response to this manís email, I said, ďI donít make this stuff up to fit some church doctrine. It is all in the Bible, and it is not that difficult to understand.Ē

In my opinion, most (if not all) man-made denominations have a few church doctrines that differ somewhat from what the Bible says. I presume that is why we have so many different denominations. People want a religion that is Bible based -- but some of the things in the Bible just donít fit their way of thinking or their lifestyle. Church doctrines were created to fix what they didnít like in the Bible.

Some of what modern-day churches and church goers practice and teach is based on man-made traditions and worldly principles. Therefore, it contradicts what Jesus and the apostles taught. That is what the apostle Paul warns about in the verse below.

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. Colossians 2:8

The apostle Paul also wrote the following two verses.

For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 3:11

(You are) members of God's household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. Ephesians 2:19-20

Although nearly all churches are based on Christ and Christian principles, many have deviated from the original plan, as set forth in the New Testament. That, in itself, may not be bad -- but some have chosen to leave out or change some key biblical truths and teachings. In other words, they are trying to build their church on a revised or modified foundation.

Unfortunately, many modern-day church goers have very little knowledge of God's word, the Bible. They are biblically illiterate. They don't know what is truth and what is not truth. They don't know what has been built on the teachings of Christ and what has been built on the teachings or traditions of man. They are willing to blindly accept what someone else tells them.

Many modern-day church goers were physically "born" into the denomination of their parent's choice. They have never experienced the spiritual rebirth talked about in the New Testament. Their relationship with God is second- hand at best. They have been deceived and they donít know it. Jesus warned that many who claim to be a Christian will NOT enter heaven (Matthew 7:21).

I have to be very careful about what I say in these inspirational messages. I try to let God's word do the talking and the convicting. I try to encourage you to find out for yourself what God's word word says. Please don't take my word for it. Don't take anyone else's word for it. It is up to you to find out what the truth is. Godís word, the Bible, is the truth -- and the truth will set you free (John 8:32).

Please take time to read your own Bible. I would suggest you start by reading one of the four gospels (Matthew, Mark. Luke or John) and then read the book of Acts which provides the history of the original church. If you read with an open mind and pray for understanding, God will reveal His truth to you.

I also suggest you search for a church in your community that preaches and teaches 100% from the Bible. As I have said many times, the best indication of whether a church is biblically based or not is whether or not those in attendance bring their own Bibles. If nearly all the people, including kids, bring their own Bible, you may have found the right church. It wonít be perfect, but at least it has been built on the right foundation (Jesus Christ).