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Activated June 2011

Life’s Challenges - June 2011

Our reaction to life’s reversals has a major bearing on how quickly we recover from them. Be happier by cutting your turnaround time.
 

01-06-2011
Life’s Reversals
Life’s Reversals

The evening of December 9, 1914, an explosion set fire to a large scientific laboratory in West Orange, New Jersey. At least ten buildings were destroyed, along with years of research and development. Property loss alone was estimated at $7 million ($148 million in today’s dollars). “There go all our mistakes,” the laboratory’s founder and CEO said as he watched the blaze. “Although I am 67 years old,” he told a New York Times reporter who was at the scene, “I’ll start all over again tomorrow.” The next morning’s newspaper included a notice that all 7,000 of the lab’s employees...

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01-06-2011
The Rock
The Rock

“Devastated” doesn’t begin to describe how I felt that day four years ago. Circumstances beyond my control had seemed to conspire against me. I had been laid off from a job to which I had given my all for almost fourteen years. I can’t say that I took it well at first, alternating between anger and depression. I simply couldn’t see my way forward, nor could I come to grips with how my family would manage without the income we were accustomed to. Did the sun even shine that summer? I can’t recall.

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01-06-2011
All Things Change, But Jesus Never
All Things Change, But Jesus Never

As sure as the night follows the day, light follows darkness. As sure as the sun rises, it must also set. As sure as the rain falls, it must also rise again. As sure as “dust you are, and to dust you shall return,”1 there must be a continual birth, life, death, resurrection. The cycle must be completed—the perfect circle of eternity—of which God is the designer, the beginning and the end, the Alpha and the Omega.2

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01-06-2011
Progress Can Get Messy
Progress Can Get Messy

Progress can be a two-edged sword. On one hand it’s wonderful because it brings us closer to our goals, but on the other hand the change it entails can make us feel uncomfortable, destabilized, insecure. We want the benefits, but we wish we could skip the difficult transition phase. That would be nice, but it’s not realistic.

It’s human nature to resist change, but we can override that impulse; we can each choose to be a change proponent.

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01-06-2011
Desert Places
Desert Places

Camino tedioso. ¡No se duerma! (Spanish for “Monotonous road. Do not fall asleep!”) It wasn’t the first such warning sign we had passed. For several hours, as far as the eye could see, there had been little but unending stretches of desert, saguaro and candelabra cactuses, and the occasional mesquite bush. My husband and I were crossing Mexico’s Chihuahuan Desert, the third-largest desert in the Western Hemisphere.

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01-06-2011
Getting Up and Going On
Getting Up and Going On

If you feel that you have made mistakes, taken wrong turns, even failed miserably at this or that, you’re in good company. Many of God’s heroes in the Bible did too, but they learned from their mistakes. And God came to them, sitting in the midst of failed dreams or disappointed hopes, and gave them a new reason to live. That’s what He can do when we give up on our own plans and projects and decide to try His. He gives us goals to help us grow and move in the right direction, and then He helps us attain...

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01-06-2011
Stepping Stones
Stepping Stones

The next time you find yourself feeling down and out, you may be about to discover just how close and caring God is, because it’s through life’s most trying times that we learn He is always at our side. He loves us, wants only the best for us, and is able to bring about positive results from everything that happens to us—even troubles. Each difficulty or disappointment can become a stepping stone to lead us to higher ground.

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01-06-2011
When Things Go Wrong
When Things Go Wrong

The Old Testament prophet Habakkuk knew what it meant to trust in God no matter how badly things were going.

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01-06-2011
The View from My Window
The View from My Window

Month by month, season by season, the view from my window is constantly changing.

In January the trees are bare and the grass is faded, stubbly, brown.

In March there is evidence of new life. Tiny buds have appeared on branches. Flowers struggle to poke through rain-sodden soil still tinged with early morning frost. Birds have returned and are busy searching for food and building nests. The distant hillside has a faint green tint—new grass growing through last year’s brown remains.

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01-06-2011
The Serenity Prayer

God, grant us the...

Serenity to accept things we cannot change,

Courage to change the things we can, and the

Wisdom to know the difference

Patience for the things that take time

Appreciation for all that we have, and

Tolerance for those with different struggles

Freedom to live beyond the limitations of our past ways, the

Ability to feel your love for us and our love for each other, and the

Strength to get up and try again even when we feel it is hopeless.

—Reinhold Niebuhr (1892–1971)

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01-06-2011
Shaken by Life’s Changes
Shaken by Life’s Changes

Question: I prefer stability and routine to big changes and drama, but the latter seem inevitable. That’s unsettling. How can I learn to handle changing circumstances so they don’t rock my world so much?

 

Answer: You’re right; change is inevitable. In fact, life is a never-ending series of twists and turns. Growing up takes about 20 years; growing into the person God wants takes a lifetime. Helping our children through their growing pains changes us nearly as much as it does them. When those dearest to us go through upheavals, it affects us too. Relationships at every level evolve continually. Big-picture...

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01-06-2011
A Prayer for Times of Change

Heavenly Father, Your creation is changing continually—seasons and cycles in perpetual motion. Help me to flow like that, to not be afraid to let go of my comfortable habits and routines in order to discover new things. Instead of holing up in the security of the familiar, help me to venture out into new territory. Help me to not stagnate, but to progress and continue to grow. Most of all, help me to change in the ways You want me to change, so I can become all You know I can be.

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01-06-2011
Growing Together
Growing Together

It’s not only children who grow. Parents do too. As much as we watch to see what our children do with their lives, they are watching us to see what we do with ours. I can’t tell my children to reach for the sun. All I can do is reach for it myself.

—Joyce Maynard

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01-06-2011
The 5 Ws and 1 H of Praise
The 5 Ws and 1 H of Praise

Who?

“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.”1 Are you breathing? Then that includes you.

 

What?

In this context,“praise” means “grateful respect or reverence.” Praise is a celebration of God’s goodness and grace. It turns our attention away from our problems and on to the nature and character of God Himself. It’s not exactly the same as thanking Him. When we thank God, we acknowledge the things He has done for us; but we praise God for who He is and for the virtues He embodies, independent of our circumstances.

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01-06-2011
The Way Home
The Way Home

I was listening to Frankie Miller singing “A Long Way Home” when the lyrics took on personal meaning.

 

Oh, it’s a long way home

In the night alone

When your songs are all gone

And your life runs on;

It’s a long way home.

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01-06-2011
Seasons of Life
Seasons of Life

When you hit bottom, when dreams give way to disappointment, when all you’ve worked so hard for goes to pieces, you are tempted to despair. In extreme situations you may even be tempted to end it all yourself, right now.

That’s when you must remember that you were created for a purpose, and that purpose isn’t a single, one-time thing; it’s multifaceted and complex. As long as you live, there will be something more you can accomplish, something more you are meant to accomplish, and there is always more to get out of life. The end of one dream doesn’t mean...

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