This week I attended an excellent one day conference that CMDA sponsored for pastors and doctors.  The first talk was delivered by Bert Jones, who is on staff with CMDA.  He spoke on difficulty —you know, a topic that none of us has any personal experience with.  His talk is available for free mp3 download here.  I’ll think you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.

To whet your appetite a little bit, here is his outline:

God will not permit any troubles to come upon us, unless He has a specific plan by which great blessing can come out of the difficulty.   Peter Marshall

difficulty by gopal1035 via flickrDifficulty is not something that should surprise you. (Matthew 7:13-14; 2 Timothy 3:1, John 16:31, Mark 4:16)

Difficulty is an opportunity to display leadership. (Exodus 18:22,26; Daniel 4:9; Daniel 5:12,16; Acts 27:7-8)

Difficulty is not something you have to dread (2 Corinthians 12:10; Philipians 4:14; 1 Thes. 3:4,7)

Difficulty does not have to be dealt with alone (Gen 18:14; Jer 32:17-27; Zech 8:6; Isaiah 41:10; 1 Kings 1:29; 1 Samuel 30:6)

When you go through deep waters,
      I will be with you.
   When you go through rivers of difficulty,
      you will not drown.
   When you walk through the fire of oppression,
      you will not be burned up;
      the flames will not consume you. (Isai 43:2 NLT)

Friends, when life gets really difficult, don’t jump to the conclusion that God isn’t on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner…So if you find life difficult because you’re doing what God said, take it in stride. Trust him. He knows what he’s doing, and he’ll keep on doing it.  (from 1Pet 4 The Message paraphrase)

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