Category  |  discouragement

hooks to hang your hopes on

Pastor Tim Keller says that, in life, “Fifty percent of the reason we get so discouraged and despondent is we’re shocked when something bad happens. We say, ‘This isn’t how it’s supposed to be.’ ” In other words, we tend to believe that since we’ve placed our faith in Jesus, and because we’ve tried to be “good” Christians, a comfortable…

designed for relationship

Human beings are mysteriously designed for relationship. Isolate someone in a room and eventually he or she will become stressed, and confused, and their sleep will be disturbed. The chronically isolated person will become ill more often and have a higher risk of heart disease. In fact, their genes will begin to decay—one researcher likened chronic loneliness to “premature aging.”…

strength to spare

British-born John Evans is a professional head-balancer. He has kept people, books, and other objects teetering on his dome for record-setting times. One of his greatest feats was balancing a MINI Cooper on his head for 33 seconds. Imagine the strain of holding up hundreds of pounds of automobile on your cranium!

Sometimes Christian ministry is a balancing act that…

can't stand it

While journeying down the Yangtze River last year, a Chinese ferry crew became concerned when a passenger burst out of his cabin with his hands covering his ears screaming, “I can’t stand it any longer!” Crewmembers followed the distraught passenger to the ferry’s railing, wondering if he was suffering from an ear injury. As they talked with him, the man’s…

power-trippers

Josh Evans never existed. Still, he befriended 13-year-old Megan Meier through an online network. Eventually, he sent this message, “I don’t know if I want to be friends with you. . . . I hear you’re not nice to your friends.” Josh posted increasingly cruel notes until Megan committed suicide. As it turned out, “Josh” was actually the mother of…

beyond sentimental slogans

There’s a billboard company in my area that likes to post nice slogans on its signs when it doesn’t have paid clients. “Kyoto—Targets Bring Results” declares one environmentally conscious poster. “Knowledge Speaks but Wisdom Listens” reads another. “Love Nature—Love God” says a third. These fill-in billboards are always nice, sweet, and kind.

But a strange thing happened recently. Driving to…

cement sky

My hometown is nestled between emerald cow pastures, meandering roads, and tree-covered foothills. It’s most charming on bright, sunny days, but there aren’t many of those. The Finger Lakes region of New York State has one the highest ratios of cloud cover in America. The locals call it “cement sky.”

Many of us struggle with cement sky in our daily…

July 19, 2010

From an ODJ community member: "I've experienced a number of unsuccessful dating relationships. Now, I'm feeling the pressure to get married from others and from within my own heart. What should I do?"

disappointed

Scanning my e-mail inbox, I stopped in excitement when I saw a particular name. As I opened the e-mail, I held my breath in anticipation of what I would see. Waiting to hear about a manuscript I had sent in, I read through the e-mail quickly looking for the publisher’s response. Disappointment flooded my thoughts, however, when I read the…

worn out?

I’m just so tired.” It’s a common phrase that I’ve heard from people in my counseling office over the years. Sometimes they say the words to play the “pity me” card. Others are unknowingly lying to themselves— falling deeper into discouragement and depression. But in many cases, they’re voicing a legitimate cry of an exhausted heart.

At a time when…

expansion

Looking out my back picture window, the normally peaceful view had become a bit of a wasteland.  Scraps from our now nonexistent deck lay stacked against the fence, twisted sprinkler pipes poked out at varied angles from the red clay, and the once green grass now bore the violent claw marks from a backhoe. We had entered into an entirely…

God's unobstructed view

Every Sunday I drive an overloaded car full of former street kids to church. While I try to navigate the crazy Kampala roads, the boys are constantly demanding my attention.

“Look over there, Auntie Rox!” one shouts, “That’s where we used to find scrap to sell.” “See those men?” adds another. “They beat me and stole my shoes!” “I used…

less than 1 percent

The movie Rudy tells the true tale of Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger, a smallish, walk-on (nonscholarship) player who tried to make the powerhouse University of Notre Dame’s football team. He didn’t have the size. He didn’t have the athleticism. But he had the heart to make the team and even went on to play in a game!

Gideon was also a…

an indifferent spouse

In the film The Painted Veil, an unhappily married couple—Walter and Kitty Fane—trek into China’s rural Guangxi Province where cholera is decimating the locals. Their visit is hardly altruistic. Walter has caught Kitty in an affair and this trip is her punishment.

While Walter, a bacteriologist, fights the disease, Kitty offers her services to the Catholic-run hospital. One day the nun…

lost

Soon after Charles Lindbergh completed his monumental transatlantic flight in the Spirit of St. Louis, the US Ambassador to Mexico asked Lindbergh to make another flight in order to foster positive US-Mexico relations.

Taking off from Washington DC on December 13, 1927, Lindbergh began the 24-hour flight to Mexico City. After navigating through dense fog, Lindbergh lost his bearings. With only…