Yesterday we looked at the final answer to dealing with unmerited suffering: reminding ourselves that in God’s universe, He only allows what He can use. Look again at the words of our text for today: "After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God." After the finest and truest of prophets had been put in prison and his preaching silenced by a wicked and unjust king, Jesus came preaching the good news about God. How could there be good news about the God who had allowed such a thing to happen? But that is exactly what Jesus did proclaim – and proclaimed unashamedly. And why? Because Jesus knew that everything God allowed, He would use. By His action, He rejected the idea that a man like John should be exempt from suffering, and that God isn’t good when He permits such things to happen. Can you see now why God allows us to go through suffering? He does it so that, in the fires of affliction, we learn the secret of an alchemy which transmutes the base metal of injustice, and consequent suffering into the gold of character and the silver of God’s purposes. In one place in the New Testament, Jesus refers to being "perfected" by His death on the cross (Luke 13:32, AV). Just think of it: the worst thing that can happen to a man – crucifixion – turns out to be the best that can happen to Him – perfection. This is the attitude we must cultivate if we are not only to face, but use suffering.
O my Father, how can I ever sufficiently thank You for showing me this way of life? Nothing stops it – permanently. When men and circumstances concentrate on doing their worst – You bring out of it Your best. I see, I follow, and I am unafraid. Amen.
For further study:
1. What was David’s declaration?
2. What is your declaration today?
"Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’" (Matt 14:29-30).
Jesus told Peter to get out of the boat. There is always a risk when we attempt something never done before. Naysayers seem to come out of the wood work. Why? Because it’s not their vision, it’s yours. Sometimes we fail the first time out. It’s a fact that most entrepreneurs fail before they are really successful.
"Success," said Winston Churchill, "is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm." Everybody fails. It’s part of the process that leads us to maturity and success. Most successful entrepreneurs don’t think of their failures as defeats. They think of them as lessons.
If you hope to succeed, learn everything you can from your failures. In The Three Success Secrets of Shamgar, Orlando Magic executive Pat Williams observed, "Our experiences may not all be triumphs and successes, but so what? Failure is usually a far better teacher than success – if we are willing to learn the lessons. As Houston Astros pitcher Larry Dierker observed, ‘Experience is the best teacher, but a hard grader. She gives the test first, the lesson later.’"*
God never gets mired in our past failures. He is constantly viewing our lives with future success in mind. "See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland" (Isa. 43:19). Someone once said, "When your memories are bigger than your dreams, you’re headed for the grave." God wants to give us new dreams that are bigger than anything that has ever happened to us in the past.
Don’t let past failures keep you from future successes.
Reporting on Tuesday’s Supreme Court decision that enabled states’ voters to ban affirmative action, the NBC and ABC evening newscasts featured a soundbite from the same teenage activist who called the ruling “disgusting” and charged it is “creating a new Jim Crow.” Both networks simply labeled Markeith Jones a high school student without disclosing he is an activist who recently marched protesting Michigan’s ban on affirmative action. ABC quoted Jones and other supporters of affirmative action four times in its report while giving opponents just two soundbites. World News anchor Diane Sawyer framed the decision around liberal Justice Sotomayor’s dissent, although she was only one of two justices dissenting: “In a big decision today, the Supreme Court allowed the state of Michigan to ban affirmative action at colleges. But one justice was so passionate in opposition, passionate about discrimination, even in 2014, she did something she has never done before.”
On Tuesday’s Hardball, fill-in host Joy Reid compared the Supreme Court upholding Michigan’s ban on affirmative action to upholding white supremacy. “If this court has a central narrative, it could be that those who have held the advantage for most of this country’s history deserve to have it back if they can find the legislative or political means to take it back. If they do, the Court won’t stand in the way,” Reid ranted at the end of the show. [Audio here.] The regular host of MSNBC’s The Reid Report also compared the state bans on affirmative action to Jim Crow laws, the decision being akin to “states that were once blocked from passing restrictive voting rules from the Voting Rights Act but are now free to do so.”
Jill Abramson of the New York Times denied that her newspaper has a liberal bias during a Mondays with Marlo interview with actress Marlo Thomas posted on the Huffington Post site. Abramson asserted that the Times “reflects a very cosmopolitan, inclusive outlook, which can strike some readers as liberal,” and later claimed that “the news pages are not ideological.” The executive editor zeroed in on the issue of gun control as her example of how the New York Times is supposedly balanced.
Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is often talked about as the liberal alternative to Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination for president in 2016. As such, the hosts of CBS This Morning used their exclusive interview with the Massachusetts Democrat to press her on her presidential ambitions as well as promote her liberal agenda. Appearing on CBS on Tuesday, April 22, co-host Gayle King lobbied Warren to consider running for president: “You sit today as a United States Senator. And people are already thinking, buzz, buzz, buzz, president, president, president. I have heard you say no. I’ve heard you say no. But you have said no too many things. Why would you not even consider this with the passion that you have?”
For the past seven days, ABC’s Claire Shipman has been touring the network and cable news networks to promote her new book that she co-wrote with Katty Kay entitled “The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self Assurance-What Women Should Know.” Despite the eight television appearances Shipman has made since April 14, only two interviews openly acknowledged her marriage to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney. While five of the eight programs in which Shipman appeared on to promote her book ignored her marriage to Jay Carney, all eight of them ignored the recent profile of her and her family in the Washingtonian magazine. The five programs that ignored the Shipman-Carney marriage were ABC’s own Good Morning America and World News with Diane Sawyer, as well as MSNBC’s Morning Joe, NOW with Alex Wagner and The Cycle.
Forty four people were shot over the weekend in a bloody epidemic sweeping Rahm Emanuel’s Chicago. Yet, CBS has, thus far, ignored the ignored the crime wave. In contrast, ABC’s Good Morning America and CBS This Morning on Tuesday both briefly covered the violence in the city run by Barack Obama’s former chief of staff. GMA news reader Dan Abrams explained, “Special authorities are creating a special crime-fighting unit in Chicago after a shocking spike in street violence.” [See video below. MP3 audio here.] He noted that among the victims were “six children and two more teenagers overnight.” On Today, Willie Geist explained that five children were shot in a park on Easter Sunday. Even though CBS allowed no time for tragic news out of Chicago, the network’s morning show devoted four minutes to a possible maple syrup shortage.
ABC, NBC and CBS routinely offer fawning coverage over Michelle Obama and her role as First Lady. However, a growing protest related to a planned gradation speech in Kansas has been ignored by the networks. Fox and Friends covered the story on Sunday. Co-anchor Ainsley Earhardt explained, “The five high schools in the district would have a single ceremony, limiting the number of guests that each student can invite.” She added, “Students and parents spoke out at a recent school board meeting saying that she might…upstage their big day.” [See video below. MP3 audio here.] A Change.org petition has almost 2500 signatures requesting a return to “regular graduation.”