winter season

Present Through Suffering

“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance…” – Romans 5:3 We talked yesterday about the importance of not asking too many questions during the winter seasons of our lives. Today, I want to provide another tip that can aid us in navigating the difficult times we are in: be present in your suffering. I’ve previously told the story of a boy and a silver ball on a string, and it perfectly illustrates the argument I want to make today. It’s a Russian tale about a school-aged child who meets a fairy while roaming through the woods. She gives him a present during the encounter, which appears to be a simple silver ball on a piece of string but is actually a magic wand that allows him to pull the string and fast forward past difficult aspects of his life. While

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A Blessing in the Desert

“Against whom has the king of Israel come out? Who are you pursuing? A dead dog? A flea? May the Lord be our judge and decide between us. May he consider my cause and uphold it; may he vindicate me by delivering me from your hand.” – 1 Samuel 24:14,15 We discussed King David’s wilderness experience between the time he was called and the fulfillment of his anointing yesterday. Today, I want to share with you another significant life lesson gained by this young leader as he observed a great man collapse during the winter season. King Saul used to be a perfect model of a leader. He was Israel’s and Judah’s first king, and he witnessed the Hebrew nation grow from a tribe to a state. Yet, from a clever, noble, and fearless ruler, he deteriorated into a jealous, spiteful, and insane commander who spent years following a shepherd

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Winter Creates Willpower

“It was you who set all the boundaries of the earth; you made both summer and winter.” – Psalm 74:17 It’s January, and many of us are in the midst of the cold season. I recall moving from Southern California to Oklahoma for school; I hadn’t really appreciated the benefits of California weather until then. When I went outside one day, the temperature was probably no more than three degrees, with a windchill of minus one million (just kidding). As I neared my car, there was a thick coating of ice on the windshield, and as I tried to get it off, I sliced my knuckle on a portion of the car and collapsed to my knees in agony. “Why am I here?” I remember exclaiming at the time.  I believe that our life’s winters can be similar. Perhaps you’re unemployed, suffering from a persistent illness, or going through a

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A Vow of Devotion

“During the entire period of their Nazirite vow, no razor may be used on their head. They must be holy until the period of their dedication to the Lord is over; they must let their hair grow long.” – Numbers 6:5 There’s something in the Bible that I’ve preached about before called the Nazarite vow. While there are a number of things that we don’t know about this ancient tradition — like its duration and who exactly was supposed to partake — we know that it was a period of time set aside in dedication to the service of God and neighbor, and that it encompassed three distinct disciplines. For as long as a person was adhering to this ancient practice, they couldn’t touch any dead thing (which means they weren’t eating meat), they couldn’t drink any wine or alcohol, and they couldn’t cut their hair. The latter was the

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