Overcoming Adversity

To everyone that has ever gone through a challenge that seemed impossible (or if you’re currently going through one right now), I get it.  You’re going to get through this.

For everyone who has dealt with the pandemic, it has most certainly taken a toll on our physical health, emotional health, and for some, our spiritual health.

For me, all three was affected.  And it all started almost a year ago.

A year ago, back in September, I was planning a trip up north for Labor Day weekend, and it was going to be fun.  I called it a way that I could unwind and take it easy.  I packed everything, got my candy, and then headed up north.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t that fun at all.  The entire weekend, I didn’t get much sleep at all.  I was suffering with Insomnia, and it really took a toll on me.

So much so that I was packing to go back home in the middle of the night on the day of Labor Day.  Mentally and physically, this was starting to take a toll on me.

And then spiritually.  I was tormented on the way home, and I cried out to God for help.  I got temporary relief from what was oppressing me, but this fight continued, and it wasn’t going to be an easy one.

All throughout the week, I was not getting a lot of sleep.  And then on Saturday or Sunday, that following week, it happened.  I had a frightful vision of hell and I was attacked.  I knew that it was spiritual because I definitely felt something that night.

Since the day that happened, I have been on message boards and tried various other means to address the problem.  Everyone, if you are going through something that is similar to this, or any struggle for that matter, I advise you to do this:

  1. Surrender your control to God.

I mean, surrender everything.  The more that you try to solve the problem yourself, the less that you’re depending on God to help you solve the problem.  The book of James comes to mind here.  “Submit yourselves therefore to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.  Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.  Be wretched and mourn and weep.  Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.  Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.”  James 4:7-10 ESV

It is when we give our control to Him that we start to see a change in our recovery.  This can be delayed if we do not give our control to him.

  1. Wait on the Lord.

So you have already surrendered to Him.  Now what?  You need to wait on him!  And don’t quarrel or complain while you wait.  Play some worship music and sing praises to Him.  Is there a friend in need?  Help them.  Visit them.  Chances are that you know someone who you can help.  Babysit their kids.  Buy them some groceries.  Spend time with them and dine out with them somewhere.  They will very much appreciate all of this.  In doing this, you will be loving your neighbor (Leviticus 19:18)

  1. Surround yourself with some loving friends and share your hardships with them.

This is a big one.  The longer you wait on this one, the worse off that you’re going to be.  So if you haven’t done it today, then do it!  Attend community gatherings and find some nice Christian friends to lean on.  Find some close ones and have them pray with you and for you.  And pray for them as well.  In this way, you will be “confess[ing] your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.” (James 5:16 ESV)

  1. Seek professional help.

Don’t try to solve this problem on your own.  I will say it again.  DON’T.  Get the help of a trained psychiatrist, therapist, pastor, or Stephen Minister.  And then share everything with them.  They will listen and they will help you.  Solomon puts it best with this proverb:  “Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.” (Proverbs 15:22 ESV)

So, how did I fare with my trial?  I got help and I connected with my groups.  I’m still working through it but I know that I’m making good progress.  Everyone, it has been a rough pandemic, with all of us going through some kind of adversity.

But remember.  God is with us through it all. “For the righteous falls seven times and rises again”  (Proverbs 24:16).

What you’re going through may be something very difficult.  But take heart.  God’s got this.

Why The Fountain?

The purpose of this blog series is to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to encourage people during these dark and difficult times.

If you have never received Christ before, it is not too late to do so.  The truth is we are all sinners and have fallen short of God’s standard.  The good news is that Christ was sent to die for what we all deserved.  In believing that Christ died for you, you receive Christ and become an heir with him, with the promise of eternal life.  All you need to do is confess to him that you’re a sinner, ask him to come into your life and rescue you, and he will send you his Helper to be with you forever.  (John 14:16-17)

At the Fountain, you will always find Living Water.  Refreshing water for these difficult times.

Never give up!

What is the difference between a winner and a loser?

I think that this proverb that I have heard says it best.  “Winners never quit and quitters never win.”

Have you ever come across a task that seemed impossible?  To illustrate this scenario, I will use the example of two different mountaineers wanting to climb a mountain.

The first mountaineer is determined to climb the mountain.  He makes a little progress and then the mountain starts to get very steep.  He started to get skinned up by the brush.  He bled, fell off the mountain and broke his leg.  Thoroughly discouraged, he left the mountain and gave up.

The second mountaineer looked up at the mountain and smiled.  He thought to himself “This mountain is quite steep.  I may skin myself, bleed, and may even break a leg.  But that doesn’t matter.  I’m climbing this mountain!”  So the second mountaineer grabbed his backpack, hoisted it on his back and began climbing.  He got a few bruises.  A few cuts and a few scratches.  He even broke his leg.  But he continued.  After the leg was well enough to walk on, he tried the mountain again.  He climbed all the way to the top and thrust his flag into the top of the summit.

What did the second mountaineer do differently from the first one?  He didn’t give up.  He didn’t let a fall destroy his dreams.  He let his leg heal and he tried it again.  He never gave up.

In the bible, Romans 8:37, it says that “we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”  God loves us, and he gives us the ability to conquer any of life’s problems.

So the next time you think of giving up, remember the story of the two mountaineers.  Which one are you?  The winner or the loser?  It’s up to you to decide.

Why The Fountain?

The purpose of this blog series is to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to encourage people during these dark and difficult times.

If you have never received Christ before, it is not too late to do so.  The truth is we are all sinners and have fallen short of God’s standard.  The good news is that Christ was sent to die for what we all deserved.  In believing that Christ died for you, you receive Christ and become an heir with him, with the promise of eternal life.  All you need to do is confess to him that you’re a sinner, ask him to come into your life and rescue you, and he will send you his Helper to be with you forever.  (John 14:16-17)

At the Fountain, you will always find Living Water.  Refreshing water for these difficult times.

Why you should not focus on results

Have you ever been in a situation where you have given it your all and you have not produced a single result?  You decide to throw a block party and you tell all of your neighbors about it.  You buy food, decorations and set it all up.  You turn on the music.  The salsa, queso, and chip bowl is all sitting there on the table.  The punch bowl is on another table.

The music continues playing.  Cars drive by, but not into your driveway.  Hours go by.  Full of regret, you turn off the music and you start putting away all of the food.  The block party is a disaster.  Or was it?

You through all the trouble in creating a party that no one would attend.  You even invited everyone too!  But no results.  But did you really fail by having no one show up.  Can someone fail by having no results?

For me, the answer to that is no.  The reason is that while you didn’t have anyone show up, you did succeed at throwing that party.  Situations like this happen all the time in life.  You try to produce the intended result, and that result does not happen.  Does no results equal failure?  By no means!  Failure is only if you give up.  The problem with so many of us is that we’re too fixated on the results.  If we stop worrying about the results, we can begin to learn from situations where we have no results.

Jeremiah was a prophet that prophesied to the Isaraelites, but no one listened to him.  Talk about no results?  But was his focus on results?  Not at all!  Jeremiah did his job, even though there was no results.

Sometimes, we have situations where we do things and end up with little or no results.  You go for a fishing trip and catch no fish.  You go bowling and score a low game.  Or that presentation didn’t go as planned.  What really matters in these situations is that you did your job.  You fished.  You bowled.  You gave that presentation.  What can we learn from the results that we produce?  For some, it may be that we’re too fixated on results.  For others, it may be that results don’t matter.  Getting good results can feel good sometimes.  But what if we get bad results?

At the end of the day, all we can do is do our jobs.  To look in the mirror and say that we have tried.  The fact that we did something is a lot more meaningful than not doing that thing at all.  Results are great, but they are not things that we should get hung up on.

Do results matter?  What matters is that I did my job and gave it my 100% effort.

I’m not afraid

Are you?

When we think of fear, it usually has to do with the things that we are unable to control.  Things like the unknown.  Things that we may not have the courage to face.  Things that can very well have the potential to overwhelm us.

The pandemic happened around three and a half months ago, and I’m sure that most of you were afraid when that happened.  Who would not be?  All of us were encountering a situation that we were never in before.  A situation that had us fighting an invisible enemy that we knew nothing about: the novel coronavirus.

But looking at today, who is still afraid?  Paul says in 2 Timothy that “God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self control” (2 Timothy 1:7)

I will be honest.  We are all living in different times.  Trying times that we are not used to at all.  But we all have a decision to make.  Do we give in to fear, or do we overcome it?

I have made my decision.  I’m not afraid.  I’m not afraid of anything that can cause disease.  I am not afraid of the present situation, or what can happen in the future.

Where does fear come from?  It comes from another invisible enemy that we can’t see.  The devil is the enemy that we can’t see, since he’s in the spiritual realm.  He uses lies and fear to control people and weaken them.

But fortunately, we have the LORD to help us in times of trouble.  When fear arises, God can bring an end to it.  He is bigger than our problems.  Bigger than any coronavirus and bigger than anything that can ever happen to us.

And for this reason, I am not afraid.  The only one that I fear is my God.  He provides me with all the courage I need to face any fear that comes along.

So fear, you are not welcome here.  You are a liar and a sworn enemy to peace.  I’m not afraid.

Are you?