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The Word For Today

How to solve problems 6



'I told you... (these things) so you can have peace.' John 16:33 NCV

Sixth, you must try to keep your problems in perspective. You've probably heard the saying: 'I grumbled because I had no shoes, then I met a man who had no feet.' In a Peanuts cartoon, Snoopy looks in and sees the family sitting around the table enjoying Thanksgiving dinner while he's outside eating dog food. 'How about that?' he thinks. 'Everybody's eating turkey today, but because I'm just a dog I get dog food.' Then he suddenly regains his perspective. 'Of course, things could be worse - I could have been born a turkey!' How big or how difficult our problem appears to be is often a matter of perspective.

Most difficulties we face are pretty insignificant in the larger scheme of things. When a friend gets cancer or loses a loved one, we're reminded of just how petty our issues are. Author James Agee recalled how he once struck up a conversation with an impoverished elderly woman in the heart of Appalachia during the Great Depression. She lived in a tiny shack with dirt floors, no heat and no indoor plumbing. 'What would you do,' he asked, 'if someone gave you some money to help you out?' The woman thought for a moment and answered, 'I guess I'd give it to the poor.'

Realising there are people around you who have much bigger problems than yours brings gratitude and perspective. Jesus told his disciples, 'These things have I spoken to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world' (John 16:33 NKJV).

Soulfood: Lam 1:1-22 Lam 2 Lam 3:1-39 Matt 19:15-30 Ps 119:121-128 Pro 18:13-20,

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How to solve problems 5



'A man's heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.' Proverbs 16:9 NKJV

Fifth, don't just see the problem, look for the opportunity. When President John Kennedy was asked how he became a war hero, he smiled and quipped, 'It was easy. Somebody sunk my boat!' While it's true that certain individuals have a vision and pursue it, many times adversity paves the way to success. This was the case for a man whose small business was failing: 'I was paying a sheriff five dollars a day to postpone a judgement on my small factory. Then came the gas man, and because I couldn't pay his bill he promptly cut off my gas. I was in the midst of certain very important experiments, and to have the gas people plunge me into darkness made me so mad I at once began to read up on gas technique and economics, and resolved I would try to see if electricity couldn't be made to replace gas and give those gas people a run for their money.' That man was Thomas Edison, founder of General Electric.

Problems are wake-up calls for creativity. If you choose to wake up, and get up, problems will prompt you to use your God-given abilities, rally your resources and move forward. The truth is, without certain problems we would end up in the wrong place, with the wrong people, doing the wrong thing. 'A man's heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps' (Proverbs 16:9 NKJV). Out of pain comes purpose, and out of devastation comes direction.

So talk to God about your problem; let him show you the potential it holds and what he has in mind for you.

Soulfood: Gal 4-6 Matt 19:1-14 Ps 119:113-120 Pro 18:10-12,

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How to solve problems 4



'The prudent give thought to their steps.' Proverbs 14:15 NIV

Fourth, evaluate the problem carefully and prayerfully. Here's what King Solomon said about reacting impulsively instead of taking time to get all the facts. 'The simple believe anything, but the prudent give thought to their steps' (Proverbs 14:15 NIV); 'To answer before listening - that is folly and shame' (Proverbs 18:13 NIV ).

When patients are in pain they want quick relief. But the doctor knows that the pain must be diagnosed correctly in order to prescribe the right medication and make the patient whole. For you that means asking yourself, 'Who or what caused this problem? Am I making a mountain out of a molehill? Has it the potential to do real damage, or will I have forgotten about it this time next week?' If you don't diagnose the problem correctly you'll have to go back and start over again, at which point the solution will probably be more painful and costly.

Mike Leavitt, former United States Secretary of Health and Human Services, said, 'There is a time in the life of every problem when it is big enough to see, yet small enough to solve.' The key is to find the right time and be patient when implementing the solution. Inexperienced people expect problems to be settled instantly. But experienced people are like the master sculptor who keeps striking the marble block with steady blows of the hammer. Unlike the rookie who expects to split the stone with one blow, he knows if he just keeps working at it he will eventually succeed.

Soulfood: Gen 6:9-22 Gen 7 Gen 8:1-4 Matt 24:37-51,

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