When I was a kid my mom used to say, “That boy can do anything he put his mind to.” Those words catapulted me to accomplish things I never thought were possible. As a child I would always take things apart (electronics) to see how they worked, then put them back together again. Hah hah! When I was in the 7th grade I won the school’s science fair (1st place). What was my project? I wrote a poem about roaches of all things. Yes, roaches. At age 16 I beat my chess instructor 3 games in a row. Then I went on to beat a powerful chess computer on it’s highest level (tournament level). I learned how to create and produce music because of my mother’s inspiring words. I received many accolades in my field of endeavor (Salesmanship) as an adult inspired by my mother’s words. I became a # 1 sales rep at a Fortune 500 company.
You know, upon writing this a thought occurred to me: “This is one of the reasons why you’ve had to endure many trials since you’ve come to Christ. Throughout your life you’ve been so self-reliant because of your natural abilities. And God has to whip that thinking out of you to teach you how to rely on him.” (Hebrews 12:5-11) Amen!
Mom used to say, “If you know how to read you can learn anything.” Reading was my favorite subject in school. I have fond memories of my mother and I going to the library and checking out books on everything from dinosaurs to outer space. Anything I wanted to learn or master I went to the library or bought a book on it. And I was amazed at how following simple instructions could net positive results.
But now that I’m older I’m learning something else. That is, despite my best thinking or knowledge there are certain things I can not do. I’m now sometimes amazed at how we (I) can be so smart in some areas and be so dumb in others. My mother meant well by what she taught me. It did help me build confidence. But to be painfully truthful I’ve put too much confidence in my own abilities. It’s with tears that I write this and say I’ve been very proud.
OLD DOGS CAN LEARN NEW TRICKS
I’m now learning something new and VERY EXCITING:
Philippians 4:13 KJV “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
This is the real way to do all things and succeed in life, through Jesus Christ. Through belief in Him and His omnipotence, not in ourselves and our abilities, is the true way to success. There have been days (you might be able to relate to this) that I’ve been faced with challenges, and in spite of my best thinking I could not figure a way out. In fact the more I tried to find a solution to the problem the more depressed I became. Sounds familiar? So you see I can not do anything that I put my mind to, truthfully. But I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. 😉
A TRUTH WE MUST ACCEPT
Ecclesiastes 7:13-14 KJV “Consider the work of God: for who can make that straight, which he hath made crooked?  In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: God also hath set the one over against the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him.”
You and I will not always get what we want. There will be times of prosperity and times of adversity. God is in charge of both times. Being a Christian does not mean you have a get out of jail free card. On the contrary for many it means the very opposite. (Revelation 2:10) But just as God was with Joseph in the prison (Genesis 39:20-21) he will be with you and I in whatever we go through.
Most folks don’t know that when the apostle Paul said the famous phrase, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” he wasn’t just talking about prosperous times. He was also speaking about enduring hunger, yes famine, and other needs. And that through Jesus Christ he learned how to be content in whatever situation he found himself in. Here’s the proof. Paul said:
Philippians 4:10-13 NLT “How I praise the Lord that you are concerned about me again. I know you have always been concerned for me, but you didn’t have the chance to help me.  Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have.  I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.  For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”
For the Christian there is much more to life than physical prosperity. We must learn to do ALL THINGS, good and bad, with plenty or little, through Christ Jesus who strengthens us, just as Paul learned. And we must recognize that we don’t have the ability to think our way out of every situation. Man’s pride likes to believe he does. It’s a lie! But we do have the ability to pray in every situation:
Philippians 4:4-7 NLT “Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again-rejoice!  Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon.  Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
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