There’s a lot of talk about what is anticipated when a new year rolls around. Let’s not forget the anticipation in the new year. New beginnings . . . new anything is great!
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Not that I LOVE things, but sometimes new stuff is glorious. For example:
- A new, soft, cuddly little baby
- A new, clean house
- A new, fabulous pair of shoes (my downfall)
- A new trip somewhere you have never been
- A new season: football and fall, swimming and summer, winter’s wonderland, and new life in spring popping up with fresh scents and colors
But there’s another truth to new stuff. Our anticipation is often colored with a lot of excitement because we somehow cling to unrecognized expectations.
Here’s the bummer: Typically the “newness” of something wears off when we realize . . .
TIRED! That was the only word I could think of. Typically, my husband—who leaves for work by 5:20 a.m.—sends me a text asking how the morning routine and getting out the door went.
For us, that can be a risky inquiry since, quite often, departing for the day is something just shy of the Exodus.
In spite of appearing quite normal, my son’s global intellectual developmental disabilities (IDD) require a lot of assistance—which isn’t that big of a deal.
The bigger deal is me: the mother who hates mornings, rarely has “anything to wear,” and struggles with ADD and focus challenges.
I kept thinking, all moms juggle morning routines. I’ve been at this for over 20 years. Why is this still such a big deal?
I don’t think there is any other time of the year when we are faced with intense conflict than at Christmas time. While we sing about it being the most wonderful time of the year, would you say that’s your experience?
If it really is the happiest season of all, why do the mental health statistics reveal December has the highest suicide and depression rates than any other month of the year?
This season of the year is not joyful for everyone. Put bluntly, some dread it. They are filled with such melancholy memories of painful days gone by, they find it hard to sing the carols.
“Joy to the World!”—not really.
“How Great Our Joy!”—well, maybe for you but not for everyone.
Now, before you call me “Scrooge,” I suggest you return to the first century and meet a disciple of Christ who fit this category. This disciple was a man who always saw the glass half-empty.
When Jesus invited the Twelve to come with Him to Bethany, where He planned to raise His friend Lazarus from death, “so that you may believe,” this downcast soul shrugged,
Let us also go . . . that we may die with Him (John 11:14–16).
Later, as Jesus spoke of His plan to leave the earth, go back to glory, and “prepare a place” for His followers before returning for them, it was the same, sad individual who failed to get it. And so he grimly sneered,
An Interview with John and Lynn Hampton
How many times have we heard someone say, “God has a wonderful plan for your life”? I stopped counting years ago; maybe you have too. Reconciling the truth that God’s plan for our lives is good when all we are experiencing is pain can cause tremendous confusion.
After all, Scripture emphatically says:
It started like most days when I work at home . . . coffee, comfy sweats, quiet music, definitely no make-up. My son Austin was home from college for a visit.
He was showing me some stuff I needed to do to be healthy—an almost impossible task—and we laughed, I listened, and I promised to give his suggestions an honest shot.
He went to grab some breakfast; I headed to my office.
That is the last thing I remember.
After my first marriage fell apart, I vowed that Christ would return before I would ever consider getting married again. Why on earth would one desire a messier life than I had created by age 40 . . . HONESTLY!
Meeting people—well, okay . . . men—occasionally wasn’t problematic. People fascinate me, and I enjoyed making new friends in the aftermath of it all.
On the Mend
One guy stood out as a fantastic, lifelong . . . friend. We could—and did—talk for hours. His kids, too, had a history of health challenges. He was . . .
We all have wondered, What would happen if I dreamt up ideas filled with spontaneity, the unknown, a bit of risk, a thrill—and actually pursued that dream?
How many of us let loose long enough to find out what would happen?
What makes cowards run and champions rise? How is it that some people can face their fears, die to their dreams, and still have an abundant, fulfilling life? The book of Daniel answers these questions.
David and Jason Benham know exactly what it’s like to live courageously—like Daniel. Their message leads us all down that path. It’s time to rise above our circumstances and trust God regardless.
Watch the Interview
The prophet Daniel lived as a slave in Babylon when Babylon ruled the known world. Commanded to adopt and practice Babylon’s carnal, cultural ways, Daniel chose to trust in the sovereignty of God.
He never compromised. In so doing, Daniel was eventually honored by all the people and by God.
- What experiences caused you to write your new book?
- What similarities do you find between Babylon and today?
- Tell us about some “oven” experiences you have been through.
- Isn’t the enemy amazing with distractions?
- What’s the difference between strategy and spiritual thinking?
- Which spiritual disciplines led you to the crossroads?
- Why does the gospel sometimes come across as offensive?
- What does it mean to stay on the altar in troubling times?
- What has been the hardest struggle besides the TV show?
Let Me Hear from You
Do you have what it takes to stand up to opposition? Would you have made the same choices Daniel made?
In our current culture, it is vital for each believer in Jesus Christ to have a solid faith; one that does not waver when the storms of life rage on. We are easily caught up in yearning to know the whys, whats, and hows of life; God calls us to trust Him alone!
Are you cultivating a courageous, committed faith or are you stuck in wanting God to answer all your questions? What part of this interview struck a chord in your life? How have you chosen to live? Do others see Jesus in you? What needs to change so you can live a victorious, Daniel-like life?
About David and Jason Benham
The Benham brothers are former professional baseball players, nationally acclaimed entrepreneurs, and best-selling authors of their first book, Whatever the Cost. Clearly, they are twins; each is uniquely gifted and passionate about helping others find an abundant life in Jesus Christ. Both of them are happily married and love life with their kids in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Benham Brothers Resources
For information, resources, links, and a Bible-study outline, please visit the Benham Brothers’ Web site. You will love it!
Insight for Living Ministries and Reframing Ministries Resources
Sometimes life just hits us like a ton of bricks. In a recent blog post titled “Triumph or Torture: Where Are You Headed?” I wrote about the importance of keeping our bodies fit.
Because we only get one body in this life, it’s pretty essential to pay attention to our physical health . . . or lack thereof!
Honestly, these days, I fall into the “lack-thereof” category. Have you been there too? I get to the point where I’m happily content if nothing is falling apart or falling off.
By the way, this mind-set applies to more than just physical exercise.