A tip for when you suffer

Remembering our co-sufferers

Photo: https://flic.kr/p/a88G2h

Photo: https://flic.kr/p/a88G2h

I’ve been thinking a lot about suffering – something that affects all of us in different ways. Some people suffer from illness, others from injustice, poverty, or any number of other causes, like being worried about the future.

Sometimes, suffering jolts you from a peaceful sleep. And just as the memory of your burden returns, so also does that pit in your stomach. Others wake up from physical pain. Still, others can’t sleep at all.

Suffering steals our minds and attention.

Nearly everyone suffers, at some level or another. Our own personal suffering may be far less than the suffering of others, who have different pains and worries. Yet, it is still suffering.

Our times of suffering allow us to re-connect with God in important ways—to trust God to pull us through.

When we suffer, I think it is helpful to remember the suffering of others. Our own suffering can remind us of the pain that others are going through. These are our co-sufferers. They include people who are suffering from struggling to make ends meet, losing a friend or family member, experiencing unemployment, being a victim of a crime or injustice, enduring illness.

We all suffer. So let us remember that we are suffering together.

6 Tips the Writer of Ephesians Taught Me About How to Pray



My wife and I began reading the book of Ephesians yesterday – the next book in our daily reading through the New Testament.

In the first chapter, the writer says a few words about how he prays for this group of Christians (in Ephesus, a place in southwest Turkey).

In these few sentences are some valuable lessons about what to pray for, and how.

–He says that, when he prays, he always thanks God for the people to whom he was writing.

–He says that he prays that God will give them a spirit that will make them wise in the knowledge of God.

–He says that he prays that they will have greater understanding in their hearts; then they will know the hope that God has given to them.

–He says that he prays that they will know that the blessings God has promised to his holy people are big and beautiful. (Personal note: I don’t think of blessings as specifically material ones.)

–He says that he prays that this group will know that God’s power is great for those who believe.

I’d guess that Paul also prayed for many other things—their health and obedience to God, and so much more, probably.

But the phrases above, in particular, are what he emphasized in this passage.

So, here are my 6 takeaways:

1) In our prayers, it is important to be thankful for others.

2) It is good to ask God to give people a spirit that makes them wise.

3-4) It is valuable to pray that people will have more understanding; that will help them to know hope from God.

5-6) It is wise to consider the connection between our holiness and God’s blessings on, and God’s power for, us.

May Paul’s prayer be yours today. Here is the text, from Ephesians 1:15-19:

“That is why I always remember you in my prayers and always thank God for you. I have always done this since the time I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people. I always pray to the God of our Lord Jesus Christ—to the glorious Father. I pray that he will give you a spirit that will make you wise in the knowledge of God—the knowledge that he has shown you. I pray that you will have greater understanding in your heart. Then you will know the hope that God has chosen to give us. I pray that you will know that the blessings God has promised his holy people are rich and glorious. And you will know that God’s power is very great for us who believe.” (Version: ICB)


How to Meet your Summer Goals (Part 2)

Photo: https://flic.kr/p/HrvYD

Photo: https://flic.kr/p/HrvYD

Last week, I detailed out the first part of a plan to help you make and meet your summer goals.

It starts by completing these two short sentences:

I would feel better about myself if I  ____________.

I would feel better about myself if I did not  ____________.

The objective is to complete the sentences simply, with one idea.

For example, you may have said:

I would feel better about myself if I rode my bicycle more often this summer.

I would feel better about myself if I ate more salad.

I would feel better about myself if I spent more time with my niece.

And you may also have said something like:

I would feel better about myself if I did not buy potato chips from the vending machine at work every afternoon.

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How to Make and Meet your Summer Goals (Part 1)

Photo: https://flic.kr/p/fHpE4m

Photo: https://flic.kr/p/fHpE4m

With summer now upon us, there may be some goals–perhaps still lurking from your New Year’s Resolutions–that you’d like to conquer over the next few months.

One thing I’ve learned over the years is to be systematic when completing tasks or working towards meeting goals.

In my free e-guide, I explain an easy way to meet goals and be productive. In a post about writing out your goals with a pencil, I talk about the importance of using the eraser.

In this two-part blog post, I provide another simple methodology that can help you make and meet your summer goals.

What I present below

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Setting goals with an eraser

Photo: http://mrg.bz/8Og813

The other day I walked around our new neighborhood in Istanbul to buy a pencil. I needed a pencil for my calendar, as I’ve found that using an old-fashioned calendar–the kind with a metal spiral, and a large picture that your turn over each month–helps me plan and schedule my daily tasks. It helps me meet daily goals. I use a pencil to write my goal for each day; I use a pen at the end of the day to check it off.

But what I’ve found myself doing

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