>When Walking through "Stuff"

>Most know I’m not at all a fan of the unbiblical concept of Your Best Life Now in its various disguises. (By the way, have you considered the only people who can say they are having their best life now are the people enroute to hell???).

Jesus said following Him would involved persecution, hatred, struggle. Perhaps best to take Him at His Word?

Here’s some tremendous and comforting counsel from C. H. Spurgeon:

“The lesson of wisdom is, be not dismayed by soul-trouble.
“Count it no strange thing, but a part of ordinary ministerial experience. 
“Should the power of depression be more than ordinary, think not that all is over with your usefulness. Cast not away your confidence, for it hath great recompense of reward. Even if the enemy’s foot be on your neck, expect to rise and overthrow him. Cast the burden of the present, along with the sin of the past and the fear of the future, upon the Lord, who forsaketh not his saints.
“Live by the day—ay, by the hour. Put no trust in frames and feelings. Care more for a grain of faith than a ton of excitement. Trust in God alone, and lean not on the reeds of human help. Be not surprised when friends fail you: it is a failing world. Never count upon immutability in man: inconstancy you may reckon upon without fear of disappointment. The disciples of Jesus forsook him; be not amazed if your adherents wander away to other teachers: as they were not your all when with you, all is not gone from you with their departure. 
“Serve God with all your might while the candle is burning, and then when it goes out for a season, you will have the less to regret. Be content to be nothing, for that is what you are. When your own emptiness is painfully forced upon your consciousness, chide yourself that you ever dreamed of being full, except in the Lord. 
“Set small store by present rewards; be grateful for earnests by the way, but look for the recompensing joy hereafter. Continue, with double earnestness to serve your Lord when no visible result is before you. 
“Any simpleton can follow the narrow path in the light: faith’s rare wisdom enables us to march on in the dark with infallible accuracy, since she places her hand in that of her Great Guide. 
“Between this and heaven there may be rougher weather yet, but it is all provided for by our covenant Head. In nothing let us be turned aside from the path which the divine call has urged us to pursue. Come fair or come foul, the pulpit is our watch-tower, and the ministry our warfare; be it ours, when we cannot see the face of our God, to trust under THE SHADOW OF HIS WINGS.”

>Don’t Dalmationize the Word!

>In other words, take the Word as the Word, not “inspired in spots!”

D. A. Carson has an important word for us:

“However hard some things are to understand, it is never helpful to start picking and choosing biblical truths we find congenial, as if the Bible is an open-shelved supermarket where we are at perfect liberty to choose only the chocolate bars.
“For the Christian, it is God’s Word, and it is not negotiable. What answers we find may not be exhaustive, but they give us the God who is there, and who gives us some measure of comfort and assurance.
“The alternative is a god we manufacture, and who provides no comfort at all. Whatever comfort we feel is self-delusion, and it will be stripped away at the end when we give an account to the God who has spoken to us, not only in Scripture, but supremely in his Son Jesus Christ.”
http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=jacksjots-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0801031257&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr

>Battling Cancer by Focusing on Gospel

>I’ve never met Matt Chandler, but I’ve read his blog for a long time; and thus have followed his encounter with brain cancer. This young pastor is astoundingly gospel-centered in the midst of this trial. This video update is well worth four minutes of your time: (you can click on the video at the end to see links to the other video updates if you’d like to catch up…it will amaze and strengthen you…and, if you’re like me; make you feel like a jerk for whining about little things)

>Give Them Back – Good Stuff from Warren Wiersbe

>Read Psalm 55:22-23

“Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved” (v. 22). This promise tells us that Christians do have burdens. David is not talking about concern for others, although it’s good to bear one another’s burdens. Instead, he means the burdens that the Lord allows each one of us to bear. One translation reads, “Cast what he has given thee upon the Lord.”

Burdens are not accidents but appointments. The burdens you have in your life today are what God has ordained for you–unless they are the result of your own rebellious sin against Him. Burdens help us grow; they help us exercise the muscles of our faith. They teach us how to trust God and live a day at a time.

This promise also tells us that we can cast these burdens on the Lord. Peter said, “Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (I Pet. 5:7). The Lord gives us the burden, and then He says, “Now give that burden back to Me. But don’t stop there; give Me yourself as well.” If we try to give Him our burdens without giving Him ourselves, He really can’t help us. It’s like stepping onto an elevator with many heavy packages and failing to put them down on the floor until you reach your destination. Let the elevator carry both you and your packages.
Notice that the verse doesn’t say He’ll keep you from problems all the time. He’s going to use problems to build your character. But he’ll make sure the righteous will not be moved. Cast your burden on the Lord. Let Him sustain you today.

Giving your burden to God is an act of faith. But giving yourself to Him and letting Him use that burden to help you grow is taking an extra step of faith. He will invest that burden in building your character. Give your burdens to the Lord today.

>So What Do Health/Wealth/Prosperity Extremists Do With This?

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“It is clear from Scripture that suffering is a significant thread that runs through the story of God’s people. In Jesus and because of his resurrection, the saints long for the time when ‘there will be no more death or mourning or crying of pain’ and God ‘will wipe away every tear from their eyes’ (Rev. 21:4). But meanwhile, believers suffer as people united to the Savior, who endured suffering prior to his glory.”http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=jacksjots-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=1935273124&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr
– Michael R. Emlet

>More Valley Stuff

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Andy Stanley: 

“All of us have wondered at times why God doesn’t do more to fix our problems. But our human eyes often fail to see that God isn’t rushing to change our circumstances because he is concerned with a much more serious problem – our character. While you struggle with the woes of this world, God’s main occupation is preparing you for the world to come. The focus of what God is doing in your life takes place in you, not around you.”