MAKE THE CHOICE TO REJOICE: No Matter What — Happiness is fine, but you can’t depend on it. It’s cool, but it comes and goes. The great challenge of life is to constantly, at every turn, choose joy, especially when we’re not happy. Happiness always fades away. It changes as circumstances change. Sometimes the wind blows favorably, and other times it blows contrary. Happiness is as dependent on circumstances as a sailboat is to the wind. Joy, however, is the real deal. Whether there is wind, no wind—or even a fierce storm. And here’s the awesome thing—we can experience joy every day. So just how do we tap into the power of joy in real-time? Joy is triggered when we make the choice to rejoice.
I AM PRODIGAL: Moving from Shame to Grace — The British novelist Charles Dickens (1812-1870), famous for many works including A Tale of Two Cities, once remarked about a short story that could be titled A Tale of Two Sons, the story of the Prodigal Son, that it was the greatest short story in history. Mark Twain agreed. Though it’s only about 500 words long depending on the translation, it’s filled with powerful imagery about love, family, home, God, us, rebellion, redemption, righteousness, self-righteousness, joy, sorrow, sin, salvation, confession, and so much more. You may be tempted to think, “Been there, done that,” but please try to resist the notion that because the elements and scenes of this epic story are familiar, we have exhausted its value to us. We haven’t. Don’t let familiarity breed indifference. The nuances in this story will be of great benefit to everyone, from the secular seeker, to the scriptural novice, to the advanced student of the Bible.
WHEN GOOD SAMARITANS GET MUGGED: Hope & Healing for Wounded Warriors — Your mother probably said it maybe your grandmother, too. They parroted the overused maternal maxim: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” They meant well, but let’s just say that they were not being completely truthful. They wanted us to be strong in the face of criticism, verbal abuse, and the bullying behavior of others. It was like, “Hey, if there’s no blood it’s no big deal.” But we all know better. When was the last time a stick or stone was hurled at you? Now, when was the last time what someone said hurt you? There is a certain feeling of unfairness when people who are trying to do good even trying to serve the Lord get hurt along the way. We get depressed. We think about getting even. We think about quitting. In fact, one of the most common reasons people stop trying to make a difference has to do with getting hurt and not getting through or over it. Good Samaritans get mugged. All the time. WHEN GOOD SAMARITANS GET MUGGED, by best-selling author David R. Stokes, details practical strategies for overcoming the depression, frustration, anger, fear, and discouragement we experience when we feel the pain of criticism, rejection, and personal attack even though we are trying to do the right thing. There is hope, and there can be healing, WHEN GOOD SAMARITANS GET MUGGED.