Turning Stumbling Blocks Into Stepping Stones (1)
"...We are more than conquerors..." Romans 8:37 NKJV
How would you describe somebody who was an accomplished pianist at ten, a professional organist at 11, had compositions published at 13, and was a member of the royal court musical staff at 14? Privileged? Born with a silver spoon in his mouth? Hardly! Ludwig van Beethoven was a black-haired, swarthy-complexioned, pockmarked boy who endured taunts and name calling in his hometown along the Rhine River, an area of mostly blond, fair-skinned children. His alcoholic father decided that Ludwig would support him, so he made him a slave to the keyboard. Looking back, Beethoven couldn't recall a single moment of childhood happiness. His life was comprised of work, tears, beatings and angry tirades. In his twenties he encountered another more insidious enemy: deafness. When he could no longer play publicly he put all his energies into composing. His years of deafness were his most prolific. Although at the time his works weren't well received, he influenced many of the great composers like Brahms, Wagner and Schubert. Nearing death and recognizing that the world had never fully understood or appreciated him and his music, he said with a smile, "I shall hear in Heaven."
When life knocks you down don't stay down, bounce back! Everybody stumbles or gets knocked off their feet from time to time; the winners are just the ones who keep getting back up! That's what Paul meant when he said, "In all these things we are more than conquerors." If you pray and look hard enough, you'll find the seed of good in every adversity (See Gen 50:20). The difference between winners and losers is their ability to turn stumbling blocks into stepping stones.
Turning Stumbling Blocks Into Stepping Stones (2)
"None of these things move me..." Acts 20:24
We don't hear much about Abraham Lincoln's defeats because his victories were so notable. But for much of his life the odds were against him. His mother died when he was nine. In 1832 he lost an election to the Illinois State Legislature. In 1849 he was rejected as Commissioner of the General Land Office. He lost Senate races in 1855 and 1858, and in between failed to win a vice-presidential nomination. However, his most painful losses were the deaths of his four-year-old and twelve-year-old sons. Born in the backwoods of Kentucky, Lincoln had only a few months of 'blab school' - one without books where students repeated the teacher's words. He taught himself mathematics, read the classics and worked on his writing and speaking skills using the Bible as his model. His philosophy was, "I'll study and prepare, and when the time comes I'll be ready." He told a friend, "Bear in mind, your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other one thing." His Gettysburg Address is one of the most notable speeches in history. During the darkest days of the Civil War he said, "I do the very best I know how...and I mean to keep on doing it to the end."
Paul didn't say, "None of these things hurt me," he said, "None of these things move me." Big difference! Paul refused to let life's problems derail him. He understood that what happens in you is more important than what happens to you. He also understood that when you look to Jesus as your role model and draw strength from Him each day, He'll give you all that's needed to overcome in life.
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