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Monthly Archives: April 2010

Last summer I was with my family up above 12,000 feet in the mountains near Breckenridge, Colorado.  We had ridden our four-wheelers up the trail and found ourselves above the tree line yet staring at a tree that looked like it had been there for a hundred years.  Where no other trees stood, this particular tree leaned over, swept by the wind and storms.  It looked tired, but strong.  It turns out that this particular species of tree is the only tree that grows above the tree line and the tree we were looking at was indeed several hundred years old.  It has stood through time, day after day, through storm after storm.

My family rode on down the trail, but I sat there on my four-wheeler and wondered how much longer the tree would stand.  How much more wind and how many more storms would it stand against?  This was not a tree that was beautiful, full and tall.  It was bent over, beat up, and rough looking.

All of us face storms in our lives.  Those storms may be financial challenges, issues with our kids, or problems at work.  Years from now, will you still be standing?  Will you have withstood the windy days filled with daily challenges and the storms of life that seem to continually test our faith and resources?

It is during the storms of life that we typically seek the help that faith in God provides.  Our faith is the root system that holds our lives together even though we may look bent over, beat up, and rough.  The Bible says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” James 1:2-4

Feel like giving up?  So many people eventually get to a place in their lives where they just don’t feel like they can go any farther.  Things pile up, stress builds, anxiety overwhelms, and peace of mind disappears.  Don’t give up!

I have a friend who always, in saying good-bye, says, “Hang in there!”  He is telling me, “Don’t give up!”  Sometimes his “Hang in there,” seems a little trite or empty in the face of what I may be dealing with at the time.  However, “Hang in there!  Never give up!” is exactly what the Bible teaches us.  James 1:2-4 says, “…when trouble comes your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.  For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”

Winston Churchill

When we are feeling challenged to the point of giving up, Scripture and history both teach us that perseverance is the key to success.  So no matter what you face, there is always a way to deal with it.  What you are facing may be the consequences of foolish decisions or irresponsible behavior on your part.  Your difficulty my be caused by someone else in your life; a former spouse, cantankerous work associate, or an argumentative family member.  There is always a way through your difficulty!

I know that when things get burdensome in my life, I turn to God and those around me who are wise and loving.  Many times God meets my need through their resources, counsel, and provision.  When considering all that England faced early in WW II, Winston Churchill said, “Never, never, never give up!”  God has a way for you to get through what you are facing.  Persevere! Don’t give up!

I have a friend who is 57 years old and a voracious reader!  I asked him one time how he learned to love reading so much.  He said it was his mother’s fault!  On the first day of every summer, right after the school year had ended; his mother would take him to the public library where they would spend the entire day.  He would select all the books he would read that summer, and with his mother’s approval, begin the process that would have him sitting for a time each day, reading, reading, and reading.  He loved it!  That time each day was a time to rest and nap, and read his book before going back outside to play with his friends. 

 By the end of summer he would have read many books and sharpened the skills that would make him, in the years ahead, a better student, father, friend, and employee.  In some ways reading made him a better communicator.  He had something to say about the things he was learning from books.  His mother got him started but it was his love of reading that kept him going summer after summer.  Today books are a big part of his life.  There is a stack of reading on his office desk, his nightstand, and beside his chair in the den at home.

 Words are important. Good communicators are comfortable using words to craft what they want to say. Good communicators make confident leaders.  People typically understand what good communicators expect and believe.  Reading polishes one’s use of words and makes one a better writer.  Pick up a good book or magazine and get started reading today.