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Deal or no deal? (a Timeless Truths blog post)

cardsDo you like to play cards? Do you like the excitement of being dealt a good hand … a hand you just know you can win with? Do you feel the frustration when it seems there’s nothing in your hand you could possibly use … nothing worth anything? If so, you can relate. In life, sometimes it seems like we’ve been dealt a good hand … everything seems to be going well … everything seems to be going according to plan … everything seems like it has value … like it’s something we can use to navigate the waters as we sail across the ocean of life until we get to the other side. Other times, however, it may seem like we’ve been dealt a bad hand … a hand where nothing seems to have any value … any purpose … where there’s nothing helpful about whatever hardship it is we’re going through … where we really wish things were easier … where we really hope and pray God would deal us new cards to replace the current cards we already have in our hand. In that scenario, if someone were to ask us “deal or no deal” we’d most likely be tempted to say “no deal” (I don’t want to play this game … I don’t want to deal with these issues … I don’t want to work things through … I just want it to be easier … I just want to have a better hand so it doesn’t have to be so hard). Is that the case? Is that how you feel? Do you just wish everything were better? Well, unfortunately, we can’t always have everything we think is best. However, the good news is that God is still in control … and He always desires His best for us. He always knows, wants, and does what is best … according to His version of what truly is best (not our version). And since God is God (the Creator of all things) He definitely knows better than we do (after all, He is the Source of all wisdom, not us). 1 Thessalonians 5:18 The Message (MSG) says, “thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.” Therefore, whenever we don’t particularly feel like dealing with the hand we’ve been dealt, we need to remember the importance of making a choice. We, as God’s children, have the ability to choose to take things that come to us (even difficult things) as an opportunity to give thanks. We have an opportunity to learn and grow and change as we go through whatever experience we may need to go through. We may feel like something we’re going through doesn’t have any value whatsoever. However, from God’s perspective, it may have all the value in the world. Remember, God knows what’s coming next … He knows that what we’re going through now has the potential to help us in the future (if we let it)… and all because we went through what we’re going through now (rather than trying to get out of it). So, today, the timeless truth to remember is to choose to give thanks … no matter what you may be going through, no matter what hand you may have been dealt. You can choose to say, “deal” to God’s plan for your life (even if you don’t understand what’s going on) because you know in the bottom of your heart that you can trust God and that He’ll always help you through whatever it is you’re going through. So, don’t try to make everything easier or more perfect just to avoid going through things (that will only cause more problems). Instead, deal with the hand you’ve been dealt by leaning on the grace of God that will give you all you need to overcome and win this hand of life!

 

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Competence (a Timeless Truths blog post)

“There’s no way I can do that!” “You’ve gotta be crazy if you think I can do that!” “I’m never going to be able to do that!” Have you or someone you know said these words when faced with a seemingly insurmountable task? Have you felt like, no matter how hard you tried, it just wasn’t good enough? Have you felt incompetent? Well, if you have, there’s good news. Our competence doesn’t have to come from ourselves. In fact, it shouldn’t. 2 Corinthians 3:5 (NIV) reads, “Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.” So, this timeless truth lets us know that our competence does, indeed, come from God. What a relief! God doesn’t expect us to do everything all on our own. He expects us to turn to Him in our weakness and receive strength. After all, God is our source of strength. We are not meant to do anything of lasting value apart from His enabling power at work within us. We are meant to depend upon Him. In a world of increasing independence, that may sound counter-intuitive, but, in reality, it is a safeguard for us. When we draw our power and our strength (and our competence) from God, there’s no way we can lose. As we continuously learn to live our lives this way, it won’t matter what the next seemingly insurmountable obstacle is in our path … we will be able to trust that, whatever it is, with God on our side giving us the enablement to persevere and do whatever it is He’s called or led us to do, we will be able to get through it. Since Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever, when we remember His faithfulness in helping us in the past, we can confidently trust that He will help us in the present with whatever we are facing today as well. It’s all the same concept. If we can trust Him for one thing, we can trust Him for everything. The situation and circumstances may be different, but God is the same – forever dependable, trustworthy, and true. He is who He says He is and He does what He says He will do. Isaiah 41:10 (NIV) says, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” With a promise like that, how can you lose?

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