Friday, February 24, 2017


What I'm about to tell you could just be your passageway into a new approach to life.  Jesus is the Master teacher about authentic and productive living.  However, sometimes we are found to be merely getting through our days best we can.  

What if I told you that the secret to your success is not just the things in your life that have gone right; like winning a contest or getting a much needed raise, or a new set of golf clubs?  What if we could tap a region of spiritual ore which would lift you to even higher ground?  Well, take a gander the following concept.

Jesus died that we might have life; life abundantly.  This is his goal and the route to be taken for such included his personally backpacking a cross.  What happened on his cross?  He was scarred in order to give life to us!  We are to take up our crosses with the expectation that there will be scarring.

We.  Will.  Be.  Scarred.  As a result, we yield and endure the pain and struggle so that others may find new LIFE in God!

Have we talked/sung about the Cross with little awareness as to the call of really carrying such?  This, my friend, is the central doctrine of the church.  Each of us has had negative things happen in which we have been scarred for life.  You may not have heard me.  I said that negative things happen in which we have been scarred for LIFE!  Just as did Jesus, we can present our scars as proof of being resurrected into a new positive daily walk....which will truly bless others.

We are scarred for their life; a most exciting concept for it gives meaning to our bad days.  We experience them with grace and love that those among us who are dead (in attitude and emotion and spirit) might live again!

I, therefore, encourage you to enter an incredible, believable, hopeful zone that transforms us and then transforms others as a result.  If you are going to be hurt by others (and you are), let the scars give LIFE and hope to others.  They need it.  They want it.  They will be blessed by your scarring.

Thursday, February 23, 2017


The mind  plays a major, major role in the Kingdom system of God.  His very reach toward us comes with a package.  Within it we find helps and directives designed for us to enter an entirely new world.  Look at II Corinthians 5:16-17.  Old things pass away.  New things have come.  It's a new world.

Here's where Christianity becomes sluggish.  Rather than changing our minds, we simply top them off by adding a quart of new information.  This will help us keep running fairly good....for while.  But somewhere along the way, we are going to be required to switch minds (change our mind) ridding the old and receiving the new.  Some things in our minds are to be discarded.

I reached a point long ago where I needed to rid myself of believing that God worked only through the Bible.  I had to abandon such training in order to receive an entirely new thread of the information.  I had to empty out my mind of old thinking and refill it with the truth of the Holy Spirit working directly in our lives.

I had to empty my mind that I can't be effective because I am not worthy.  My confidence is in the Spirit of God due to changing out my mind.  I learned to empty my mind of believing that I didn't deserve to be mistreated for serving God.  I needed to replace the old thinking of my mind and refill with the new understanding that I am to take up my cross daily.

Okay, the changing of our mind won't actually be every 10,000 miles.  Rather, it will be daily.  We can anticipate learning from God very new things; several of which will require more than accumulation of information.  Rather, it will mean we pull in to God's service station for a mind-change.

Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day; II Cor. 4:16.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017


There seems to be a pattern for humans.  Birth.  Living.  Die.

Born.  Engage.  Done.

The reason Jesus should be so central to your life is that he is the only religious leader in history that was beaten to a pulp while paying for our sins, endured the death that we deserved, and then arose on the third day.  The Life-after-Death matter should stop us from neglecting him.  We are certainly sunk without him.

For those of you who aren't really into church stuff, I would ask you to begin to imagine yourself learning, just as I had to learn, about potential living beyond the grave.  It isn't an imaginary fabrication of people who don't like to sleep in on Sundays.  It is the huge gigantic conviction...that the cemetery isn't the end.

What I didn't see coming is the fact that when baptized (being born again) we arise from the grave of water to a new kind of life now; not just after the cemetery.  God changes things because His specialty is changing people.  Transformation is real.  It is authentic.  It is experiential.

Don't hesitate.  Don't offer excuse if you can help it.  Rather, ask around as to a church where you would understand new beginnings.  For so many, it isn't that you need to reform your life.  No, you need to start over by transforming your life!  Jesus went to the grave....and three days later started over!

May we continue to marvel at what he does for us day by day as we make concerted effort to learn of him smidge by smidge.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017


God is up there.  We are down here.  When it's our turn for the grave, let's hope there's something to what has been rumored about a bit later coming out of it alive.  Yet, mankind remains shut down in many areas because of that false doctrine to the point that sometimes we don't even live while we are living.

Father sent earth in order to break that mistaken perspective of distance between the Creator and the created.  He became one of us.  He walked around on our streets, met our people, ate our food; all of which had not been experienced from Heaven's side.  In the process, Jesus received the Holy Spirit at baptism which was simply a sign that Father had moved into earthen-born Jesus.  Demonstration of this union (unity) impacts all of least it should.

A false doctrine that plagues us is our trying to do life without the Holy Spirit.  But because some don't know anything about Him and others would rather control their own religious life, He is basically ignored or shunned.  The Holy Spirit, though, is given that we might have confidence to get life done abundantly; never on our own scrutiny, but His dynamic infiltration of the human heart.  The Holy Spirit works directly in our lives as the Bible insists.

To believe that God is "out there" while we are rummaging around "down here" without Him is truly a false doctrine that unbelievers inside and outside of the church mistakenly absorb.  However, our God is active.  He displayed His activity in His Son for us to take personal note.  "See how Jesus does it?"  "Well then, go into all of the world and make a Kingdom difference!"  "I'll be the Something!"  "I'll partner with you as you be the nothing..and we will make an enormous difference!", says the Living God!

A terribly strange and costly belief error is strangling the world populace because believers operate in fleshly fear; not in Spirit confidence.  It is the Holy Spirit of God who has the power to override earth's discouraging frustrations of the human heart.  It is the Holy Spirit of God who brought the Son up and out of the grave and wishes to free us from daily matters of stymieing restrictions which we place upon ourselves.

And why do we remain cornered from opportunity and impact?  At times we are afraid; afraid of being noted by those around as "one of them".  So we go ahead, do our religious habitualism, and hide; hide like under a bushel basket. May we break free a day at a time in order to become the one(s) God has called to cheer on our neighbors who are just like us.  We both need to know the new confidence to be found in the Spirit of God.  He....sets us free.

Saturday, February 18, 2017


Taking the time to pray would seem to me to be one of the more challenging traits of the Kingdom life.  It takes faith to do it.  It takes patience.  It takes vision.  It takes confident trust in God.

For many, including myself for many years, prayer was that church thing that I should do; but didn't.  I could give excuses.  You've heard them; maybe even done them.  Prayer is boring.  I prayed and God didn't answer.  It seems to be a genuine struggle to faithfully enter into that God-connection zone.

For me, I was treating prayer as if I were at a McDonalds drive-thru.  I'd like a blessing here with two orders of safety there.  Hold the struggles, please.  Thank You.  Amen.  But prayer isn't placing an order at drive-thru speed.  It is communicating with God as to how you dearly treasure Him while you thank Him for His interaction with you.  Too, it is quite alright to share with God your most urgent needs.

I encourage you to pray with certain hope in the Spirit.  Not everything goes as we wish or calculate.  But we can be assured that He is responding to bless us the best.  Jesus, in the Garden, ask Father to let him skip the rigors of the Cross.  But it wasn't Father's will.  The Son, then, went through incredible suffering in order to experience the ultimate blessing....the resurrection from the dead.

 God wrote the Playbook!

Please, do tell Him your direst needs.  And when at first these prayers don't seem to be heard, be assured that His response is already activated.  Our job is to believe, endure, and watch.  God will respond on His time; not ours.  We are not driving by Him to place an order.  We are, rather, walking with God and have the privilege of watching His responses unfold.

In my early days I didn't pray, didn't like to pray, didn't see the deep need to pray.  And, I was the preacher!  Today, as I have learned to tell Him Thank You before I place my orders before Him, I will walk and talk with Him repeatedly throughout every day.  When you pray, try not to spend time with your words.  But rather, spend time with your God.  Brag on Him.  Visit with Him.  Know that He is most attentive.

We aren't approaching God to place an order.  Rather, we are interacting with Him to know His heart, His will, His call, and His direction.

Friday, February 17, 2017


Dear Wonderful Friends who want me to Copy and Paste,

I've not received a request from one person to Copy and Paste their message that I don't dearly love.  I'm crazy about people.  But, if it's okay with you, could I tell you something that you do the people like me?

Your messages include so that I will know who my real friends are.  These words are then followed by you will learn just which ones they are by those who Copy and Paste your message, send it to twenty people, and copy you.

What you don't realize is that you place guilt upon those of us who really love you, but don't want to join that zone of FaceBookism.  And, some like me don't have a clue how to Copy and Paste.

So, would you please not test me as to whether I like you on the basis of whether I Copy and Paste a style of FaceBookism that you obviously enjoy?  Because when you do, it makes me feel guilty because I don't know how to do it....and if I did, I wouldn't.

My friends are dear to my heart.  To be told that I must Copy and Paste to prove it?  Well, I don't know just how serious you are about such.  But when I don't, I'm not meaning to hurt your feelings.  I like you.

 Copy and Paste this memo to twenty of your friends....but not to me.

Thursday, February 16, 2017


It's pretty fascinating to me to consistently learn of amazing works for God that are going on all over the world.  We will never grasp the ties and connections to one another as we strive to serve from a basis of faith.  It's just too much to grasp because it's more the size of God than or our collective selves.  As partners within the Kingdom, we participate in fruitful miracles to win in ouk communities while we remain oblivious to His so very much that He has going on.  So be encouraged, your efforts matter...your faith efforts.

I toss an idea your way.  It's nothing new; but it is always valuable to consider as a reminder.  God's ways are not ours.  I continue to expect, even desire, that God operate from our business mind.  The "You make x amount of calls and you'll get x amount of sales" mentality leaves us stuck on our own muscle and steam.  The Spirit is the Refueler and the Redirector.

To wait on God seems to bug our carnal bent for being in control.  All the while we want to be the churches of "What's Happening Now".  I surely do, don't you?  So with this awareness of our inner wrestlings, I remind you that God is working.  I have learned to reevaluate my concept of "work" due to John 6:29.  Our work is to believe in Jesus.  Our struggle is that the flesh would rather have a tangible result to show for/to ourselves that we are effective.

I encourage patience.  Sometimes we sow seed only to hit the field the next day and dig up the seed to see how it's progressing....which will never hit growth by such a trend.  Dare to believe in the invisible.  We operate by faith; not by sight.  The temptation is so strong to quote such a passage and then hit the pavement with our own agenda and muscle.

Lean into God.  I want to learn to lean into Him more.  He is our hope through the Spirit of Jesus.  Let Him do His stuff by getting our stuff and ourselves out of the way.


Nobody likes bad days.  But the truth is that whether we like them does not stop them.  What we choose to do with them is, fortunately for us, optional.

I encourage you today to view your stresses as a fuel for growth rather than as reason for a downer.  We have the power to reverse the setting; any negative setting.  Insult and injury can be transformed to power and blessing.  Bad days are bad days.  We don't try to relabel them.  But we can learn how to make them serve us rather than us serve them.

Life isn't an arrival where we are never called any longer to grow up.  Life is a process that moves us forward and upward by the route of challenges.  First graders don't live the rest of their lives in first grade.  Nor do these same ones get to remain in eighth once they get to that level.  And what takes place in this procedure?  Each student is challenged (by things that they do not understand nor even like in some instances) in order to mature.  Maturing is always challenged to mature even more.

The reason for this particular post is that I know that many of you encounter powerful stresses.  Turn such on its head.  Train it to serve you rather than boss you.  You are not to be a slave to trouble.  But rather you are to transform it into a renewable energy that takes you even farther and higher than if you had not encountered such.

Trash can be converted to fuel.  We have the choice.  Let's dare to go for it!

Friday, February 10, 2017


It's that time again at my house.  We've accumulated too many items.  The house is full.  The garage is full.  And, now my little barn is full.  It's time to de-clutter.  Therefore, a Garage Sale is in the works.  Of course, we will take the money we make from de-cluttering to go buy more things in order to eventually re-clutter.

This concept caused me to wonder if we ever have a serious Garage Sale of the mind where we de-clutter in order to take in more positive and upbeat ideas of genuine faith?  Could it be that we struggle to take in new information about the Kingdom and its potential because we are trying to cram it into our "upstairs" which is already packed full?

Of course this is the case.  We tend to, I believe, forget to de-clutter our minds.  There are so many facts and callings and disturbances and "to do" lists that one can hardly walk through these rooms of our minds and hearts.  And it is God who calls us to shed the fearful thoughts (de-clutter) and absorb faithful thoughts by refilling the new space which can now concentrate on matters that....matter.

Philippians 4:4-9 is an everyday life-adjuster for me.  Before I met God, I lived counting the injuries and insults that came my way.  I did more than encounter them.  I stored them.  I keep them in the attic of my mind so that I could rehearse before others how I had been hurt, why I was distracted, and on and on my sob story could go.  But God said to de-clutter.

Now reality is that a Garage Sale needs to be held in the mind and heart.  We can shed the negative thoughts.  We can do as the Apostle said and think on the things (and people) which bring peace as is declared in the above text.  And of course, in the process, we will find that eventually our minds will need another good house-cleaning in order the store the kind of information the Spirit would prefer.

So maybe this weekend you could have your own personal Garage Sale.  Maybe you could rid yourself of negative, hurtful, frustrating thoughts in order to have the room in your mind to enjoy ideas and concepts which would be productive.

We all do it.  We all sort through the junk..and determine to keep a bit of it.  My word of encouragement for you today is to decide that while you, in all honesty, go through some pretty bad stuff, you don't have to store it.  This stuff clutters.  Clutter distracts.  Distractions discourage.

Let them go.

Rejoice in the Lord, Paul insisted.  And he repeated the very same sentence!  We are made for rejoicing.  And when we follow his Philippians admonition, he insists, Let your mind dwell on these things.  So think about the things going right in your life.  Think about the encouraging colleagues; not the discouraging ones.  Ponder the neighbors who bless; not those who scowl.  Fill your minds with joy and thrill and life!

De-clutter.  Quit rummaging through injuries of the past!  Conduct a Garage Sale of your mind!  You'll be richer for it because now you will have more room to take in the matters you appreciate and find to be abundant n blessings.  Yay you!!

Thursday, February 09, 2017


The realm of God is indefinable, unlabelable, and profoundly uncapturable.  How about those words?

The reason for mentioning this trend is that there is a tendency for a few of us who are deeply engaged in the world of church to responsibly establish and then  firmly defend our positions.  And yes, the Bible calls for us to defend our faith; but that faith is to be an expandable and growing entity rather than a locked-down shut-down dispensary of elementary rules.

Jesus died fighting the very nature of religious men who strove to put a grip on the realm of explanation of God's approach.  Are we, then, not able to know Truth?  Oh, may such never be the case.  Rather, we will want to live as students more than rule-keepers.  Our bent will be from a hunger to continue the learning curve of Heaven which is thrilling and absolutely, even contagiously, very alive.

Some are quite able to simply read the Bible and move upward into a newer understanding than the day before.  Praise God for such spiritually aligned minds.  However, some of us need to hear ideas from gifted authors who have such a knack for opening our hearts toward God by the wonderful truths they have discovered.  I am grateful for both camps of learners.

For those who find it valuable to learn from spiritual teachers, I would recommend the following books:
  1.  For the Love by Jen Hatmaker
  2.  The Emotionally Healthy Leader by Peter Scazzero
  3.  When the Heart Waits by Sue Monk Kidd
  4.  The Last Addiction by Sharon A. Hersh
  5.  The Importance of Being Foolish by Brennan Manning

(The first two are newer and the latter three are older works.)

May the Kingdom of God perpetually be a true and ever expanding actuality for your courageous walk with the King.  We aren't in this to take up either time or space.  We are in this to grow closer to Him and in that process we might help one another along the way.  Love God and love people...I believe was a concept that Jesus put forth for our consideration.

Enjoy...really enjoy...the unfolding nature of the Kingdom of God.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017


There is a major part to the Christian belief system that tends to get past some; well....maybe all of us.  That would be the truth, the fact, that in Christ we are new day by day.  Oh how we struggle to live this out.

At County Fairs some have a competition called a Tractor Pull.  One by one, each tractor is at the starting line pulling a cart with weights that transition into a heavier load as the trek progresses.  Eventually, the tractor stops in its tracks because it can no longer pull the load.  The one that travels the greatest length gets the trophy.

Our daily walk is sometimes just like a Tractor Pull.  The further into the day, the heavier the load until we are shut down in our tracks.  God is very much  aware of our dilemma and is devoted to its reversal.

If God is anything, He is all about new, renewal, renewing.  Bible expression and confirmation is there for a reason.  He knows we will experience deep stress and provides a way out.  This isn't just church chatter.  This is to be life...your life...renewed after day.

Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day (II Cor. 4:16).

Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come (II Cor. 5:17).  

It is for this very reason that Jesus called for our new beginning by being born again. Such isn't a church doctrine as much as it is designed to restart our engines when we do more sputtering than effectively moving forward.'s a daily look toward it.  Experience it.  And tomorrow?  Start all!

Tuesday, February 07, 2017


Boredom comes when we are constantly either drifting in thought to the past or envisioning  the future while forgetting to recognize the pure dynamic of the moment.  These two polarizing directions cause the present to basically go blank as our minds give it little attention instead of deserved awe.

Someone once said, Life is what happens when you're making other plans.  Regarding this idea of not really being in tune to the present, Sue Monk Kidd wrote, After a while this disengagement creates a spiritual boredom, even though we're living busy, goal-oriented lives crammed with people, events, and places.

The wow of now is to be secured by our divine awareness minute by minute, moment by moment of the absurdly wonderful lives we lead!  Now is to be treasured.

To be honest, I'm writing this because my day has not felt very much like what I'm writing; not at all.  I'm struggling with the simplest things regarding memory this morning and, to be even more honest, I've mostly cried out of frustration.  What's weird is I am not feeling handicapped or as if I'm withering.  It's just that some things  remind me of details that I knew a few days ago...and am clueless now.  But....I will recover.

Sue continued in detail about how a lot of us go about our days when not really here at all.  We're disengaged from life happening right now.  She goes on, then, to describe that while rehashing something in her mind that had happened earlier that morning that she found herself in front of her daughter's school where she always picked her up five days a week.  The problem was that this was Saturday and I was on my way to the dry cleaner.

Regardless of interfering, disruptive causes (memory issues, heavy schedule, etc.), the call to recenter in order to live in the now will always be significant.  Loving right now is capitalizing with gratitude for the privilege and glory of getting to do the moment.  Don't just get through the during it.

Saturday, February 04, 2017


Have you ever wondered why it is that one of the strongest doctrines of the Living God--that of being invited by God to pray--is so greatly ignored?  I don't mean that it is neglected by a few who seem to be unattentive to Bible ways; but rather, I include of leaders as myself.  Why is it that prayer was pushed out of our churches--so to speak--long before it was eliminated from our public schools?

I'm going to give this a shot.  You use what you deem valuable.

It seems that the more we gain confidence in our way of spirituality (our way of believing, our way of serving, our way of controlling) the less one prays.  Why would this be true?  I think that, for we Americans, much of the abandonment of prayer is because we pride ourselves in self-sufficiency and then we bring such to the church table.  Seeking has been replaced by directing.  Learning has taken a back seat to giving correction.  In these very channels, prayer diminishes as self-assurance that we've got a grip on this develops.

Thus, we find that we are in a religion---believing it to be the true one, no less---where our dependency is on our personal assessments and achievements all-the-while losing many of our children.  We are left scratching our heads as to why they find church to be unalive; never suspecting ourselves who neglect/avoid prayer as the cause.

Did we learn to pray because we were found empty of anything we could contribute from our Christian wellspring?  Many don't because we have stocked our believing shelves by believing that we are among those who believe right.  Why would "standing for Truth" while being engaged in very little prayer come off as godly?  We believe that we believe correctly which includes little or no prayer?  Yes....that is the sort of self-rightness that will not, cannot, bear the fruit from the Spirit.

To be up front, even as a beginning minister, I did not like to pray...and I did not pray.  It was boring; plus it took up time that I would rather spend elsewhere.  But then God placed me in a setting where I was in far over my head.  The work was too big and I was far too small.  The only thing left for me was to talk with Him as if He were on staff of sorts....for He is.

As you and I gain momentum in prayer, the weird, the unusual, the unpredictable will take place because prayer means that we relinquish control which has seemed to be a quite demanding human necessity.  May we make progress in applying ourselves less and depending upon Him more.  Such a move will create an open door for meaningful, useful, prayer.

Be blessed.  He runs the show.

Friday, February 03, 2017


Church is hardly what I assumed it to be when I was a kid growing up.  I saw it, first, as the most boring part of our community.  That didn't make it true, understand; but it was my take.  Too, I basically saw that it made little difference.  Some of the religious could match some of the non any day on negativity and self-centered behavior.  But then, as an adult, I began attending regularly only to be called into a ministry that I would have not believed you had you suggested that it might be my kind of thing.

If it's okay, I'm going to share my (biased, of course) observation as to what will launch the church into a more prominent and stronger community role.  We have unintentionally groomed a basic error in that we don't believe that we signed on for the tough stuff; tough stuff like loving your enemy and meaningfully carrying our crosses which means we will die to what we prefer so that enemies can have a glimpse of hope.

No, we have, rather, opted for ways to fit into the church scene that seems to be our passion without demanding personal interior adjustment and growth.

When one is baptized into Jesus, it is not for the sake of joining a church and getting a framed certificate.  Rather, we are declaring, Count me in when life isn't easy; when people are difficult and when I'd rather skip the risk and/or the ridicule.  Church is anything but handy, selective, or sweet.  It is life-saving of others because life-giving is declared from our crosses.

My word for those who are out there dying right now over hardship in the church is, Don't run.  Don't hide.  Don't look back.  And, don't live in anger.  Drop the resentment of being offended.  Learn to die that your opponents might live.  We've got a world of wonder to reach.  Never give up.

Our distraction from the true trek of a reality cross has developed generations of touchy personalities who would rather win an argument than win a soul.  Not good.  Certainly not of God.  May we not only move forward; but may we move up.  May we step up to the tough stuff which would mean that we sacrifice ourselves that another can find victory in life.  This is what and who....we are about.

Thursday, February 02, 2017


I don't know of one person who does not face constant stress.  Whether I'm in the presence of prisoners serving long sentences or one high-profile individual who lives in constant public view, all are identical when it comes to being treated by someone(s) harshly and unfairly.

I want to be a part of our world that helps.  From the High-Profile to the Low-Pauper we are fundamentally all the same; the same in condition and the same in need.  We each do what we can to hide our insecurities (and we have many) while we individually had hoped we would have greater impact upon this gigantic world of ours.

Therefore, I encourage you to join life by discontinuing your habit of fighting it.  Don't waste a good Thursday because you are living for next Saturday to get here.  Try to capture the treasure of now.  Surely, it is permissible to make statements like, I just can't wait for........(you fill in the blank; for your baby to walk, for your birthday to get your license, for your vacation).  Practice liking (no, loving) right now.

I just returned from baseball camp.  One foot is increasing in size and bruise color.  Bruises and pain happen.  I shall celebrate; not complain.  Some people wish they could go to a camp like that and never get to....once...while others just wish they still had their feet.  I'll view my swollen and colorful foot as a reward for getting to live on earth.  We have much to celebrate AT THIS VERY MOMENT!  So why not join in?

You...who read this post...need to know that whether you are famous or un, you really are a big deal.  I'm not kidding.  You are key, important, necessary, and have much living to do.  For those who live with inner depression, I would suggest that you look around to find one who is more depressed than yourself and take them for a Coke or buy them flowers.  And don't talk about your aches; rather listen intensely while they talk about theirs.  This will cause you to feel better while you will give others comfort that someone really cared.

Everywhere we turn, men, women, and children are being whittled either by people or by circumstances.  This is life.  What we can and should do is to make and effort to do something about it.  Think about it.  God created the world by saying so; He spoke the world into existence.  By our own speech, we create worlds of hope and life and rebound and love....simply by saying so.

Yes.  Some of you are very hurt.  No, you didn't deserve your pain.  To rid yourself of your misery try giving attention to others who are far worse off....for they are, you know.  Speak words of hope and watch new life arise in the eyes of those who hear you.

Wednesday, February 01, 2017


An important factor breeds among us.  If unaware of such tendencies, we will apply serious misjudgment.  You need to know that mankind has been hacked.  The thief intends to steal our confidence, our stability, and our joy.  This is a very real threat to every individual.

This mockery passes our stations under the guise of troubling times.  Full of arrows and other very mean artillery, anyone is vulnerable to experience rough times; while feeling we never deserved them.  Deserve them, we don't.  Yet, we must not waste them.

The deceit of troublesome times is that they pose as useless.  It is assumed their goals are simply to interfere with our minds and hearts.  But, not true.  Troublesome times are at the very core of strengthening we soldiers of the Cross for we will most definitely encounter battles.  If not in condition, we will tuck our tails between our legs and run screaming Foul the entire time.

But trouble isn't foul.  Trouble is basic training just as is the rudimentary principles of Basic Training in the Armed Forces.  Trouble is our conditioner for waging war where we eventually save people's lives by wading into fiercely intimidating settings.  It is from struggle that we decide one of two ways: quit or fight for life.  Too many quit; quit on goals, quit on relationships, quit on being happy.

I would urge you to learn that you are advantaged when matters don't go as you had hoped.  Disappointment is a very personal trainer so that you can assist the next generation who runs into disappointment and feels they'll not survive.  Show them your Survival Card.  

The grand deceit of troublesome times is that such appears to be a waste of a good day. Yet, it is the opposite.  It is the trainer of endurance so that we can, in turn, help others who are limping along.  We train these to lift their heads and step up their pace.  We learn to cheer one another on with, You can make it! because we once were tempted to mope in their shoes.  But instead, we learned a secret. We learned a reverse approach where we force trouble (instead of it using us) to make us into a much stronger people.