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Daily Encounter: A Week-day Devotional by Richard (Dick) Innes of ACTS International.

Thursday, December 11, 2014


Getting It Right When Things Go Wrong Part II

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."1

It is true that everybody has times when things go wrong. These times can either make us or break us. The following steps will help us to benefit and grow through these times.

First, attitude. If we respond to our difficulties positively, determined with God's help to overcome them, we will. If we react negatively with a defeated attitude, we will be defeated.

As Zig Ziglar says in his book, See You at the Top, "Attitude is much more important than aptitude.... Despite the overwhelming evidence which supports the importance of the right mental attitude, our entire educational system from kindergarten through graduate school virtually ignores this vital factor in our life. Ninety percent of our education is directed at acquiring facts with only 10 percent of our education aimed at our feelings—or attitudes.

"These figures are truly incredible when we realize that our thinking brain is only 10 percent as large as our feeling brain. A study by Harvard University revealed that 85 percent of the reasons for success, accomplishments, promotions, etc. were because of our attitudes and only 15 percent because of our technical expertise."

Ziglar also pointed out that William James, the father of American psychology, stated that the most important discovery of our time is that we can alter our lives by altering our attitudes.

Second, being realistic. To grow through our problems it is also critical that we face them realistically.

A doctor friend of mine tells about a family where the mother broke her arm. The husband and son had to force her to the doctor and hold her while the doctor put her badly broken arm in plaster.

"There's nothing wrong with my arm, Doctor. It's perfectly all right," she insisted.

"I see," said the doctor setting the badly broken arm. Several weeks later the woman returned to have the cast removed and the arm was healed.

"There," said the woman, "look at that. I told you there was nothing wrong with my arm!"

This woman was of a certain religious conviction which led her to believe that there was never anything wrong with her. Fortunately, her family was a little more realistic. We also need to be realistic about our problems if we are going to resolve them.

Third, acceptance. Furthermore, whatever happens to us needs to be accepted. It's no use saying, "If only...."

Several years ago a close relative suffered a massive stroke and was left partially paralyzed. Doctors felt that the stroke could have been avoided so it was extremely tempting to say, "If only we would have known."

However, it's useless to say, "If only." The family couldn't go back and do things differently. We all had to accept the reality of what had happened, pick up the pieces, and go on.

And as I like to say to my son who is Bi-Polar, "In your thinking remind yourself that you are living with a challenge—not a problem." That's something we all need to do when things go wrong and we are facing difficult times. We may not be what we think we are, but what we think, we are—or will become. Our thinking makes it so. To be continued....

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, when things go wrong in my life please help me to have a constructive attitude, be realistic, and accept what has happened as an opportunity for both personal and spiritual growth and therein become a stronger, healthier person as a result. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus's name, amen."

1. Philippians 4:8 (NIV).

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