Sunday, March 3, 2024

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葡萄樹傳媒

逆境是成長的機會──ADVERSITY: AN OPPORTUNITY TO GROW

作為一名超過40年的財務金融顧問,我親眼看到了經濟的多次轉變,有些甚至是在極短時間內發生的。當外在的經濟因素,出現突然變化時,很多投資者會產生一種很不安的情緒 – 恐慌。當我們無法掌控的因素,對金融市場造成嚴重的影響時,要對投資保持信心是很困難的。

即使是信奉耶穌基督的人,當逆境來襲時,無論是影響我們的財務或是生活的其他方面,同樣也會感到不安。大多數基督徒在某些時候都會想問上帝,為什麼祂允許痛苦和失望降臨在祂的兒女身上呢?或許祂的答案會是:「那些事情會發生,就是因為我正在應允你的禱告,並賜給你所祈求的!」

當你思考在一天中遇到所有逆境時,你能想像上帝會對你說:
「你不是禱告要變得成熟嗎?我正在教你如何更倚靠我。」
「你不是禱告要更有信心嗎?我正在給你一個更多信靠我的機會。」
「你不是禱告要更認識我嗎?我正在幫助你更多地尋求我。」
「你不是禱告要用你的生命榮耀我嗎?我正在更多地煉淨你。」

當我們的禱告包含這些「屬靈」的請求時,我們可以確信我們正在按照上帝的旨意禱告。我們指望祂賜給我們所追求的基督徒生命品格。但潛意識中,我們可能也在想,上帝會用某種超自然的力量,來回應我們的禱告。比方說,祂會說:「好的,親愛的孩子,祝福你,這裡有你所需要的所有信心、愛和像基督般的品格。」然後,剎那之間,神蹟就完成了。但事實上,情況往往不是這樣的。

你想在基督徒的生命旅程中變得更加成熟嗎?那麼,你就要預期會遇到一些苦難。「不但如此,就是在患難中也是歡歡喜喜的;因為知道患難生忍耐,忍耐生老練,老練生盼望;盼望不至於羞恥,因為所賜給我們的聖靈將 神的愛澆灌在我們心裡。」(羅馬書5章3-5節)

你想讓你的信心更加堅定嗎?那就要預期你的信心會受到試驗。雅各書1章2-4節說:「我的弟兄們,你們落在百般試煉中,都要以為大喜樂。因為知道你們的信心經過試驗,就生忍耐。但忍耐也當成功,使你們成全完備,毫無缺欠。」

你想更深地認識神嗎?那就要放下,這個世界阻礙你前進的一切事物。「不但如此,我也將萬事當作有損的,因我以認識我主基督耶穌為至寶。我為他已經丟棄萬事,看作糞土,為要得著基督;並且得以在他裡面,不是有自己因律法而得的義,乃是有信基督的義,就是因信神而來的義,使我認識基督,曉得他復活的大能,並且曉得和他一同受苦,效法他的死,或者我也得以從死裡復活。」(腓立比書3章8-11節)
你想讓你的生命得到神的稱讚嗎?那麼,就要預備經歷試煉。彼得前書1章6-7節說:「因此,你們是大有喜樂;但如今,在百般的試煉中暫時憂愁,叫你們的信心既被試驗,就比那被火試驗仍然能壞的金子更顯寶貴,可以在耶穌基督顯現的時候得著稱讚、榮耀、尊貴。」

奧斯汀·普萊爾(Austin Pryor)擁有超過40年的投資顧問經驗,是《理智投資(Sound Mind Investing)》通訊和網站的創始人。他是《理智投資手冊(The Sound Mind Investing Handbook)》一書的作者,該書獲得了受人尊敬的基督教教師的支持,已售出超過10萬本。奧斯汀和他的妻子蘇西居住在肯塔基州的路易斯維爾

備註:如果你有聖經,想閱讀更多相關的內容,請參考下面的經文:

詩篇 37章3-7節
37:3 你當倚靠耶和華而行善,住在地上,以他的信實為糧;
37:4 又要以耶和華為樂,他就將你心裡所求的賜給你。
37:5 當將你的事交託耶和華,並倚靠他,他就必成全。
37:6 他要使你的公義如光發出,使你的公平明如正午。
37:7 你當默然倚靠耶和華,耐性等候他;不要因那道路通達的和那惡謀成就的心懷不平。
箴言 3章5-6節
3:5 你要專心仰賴耶和華,不可倚靠自己的聰明,
3:6在你一切所行的事上都要認定他,他必指引你的路。
耶利米書 29章11節
29:11耶和華說:我知道我向你們所懷的意念是賜平安的意念,不是降災禍的意念,要叫你們末後有指望。
耶利米書 33章3節
33:3耶和華說:你求告我,我就應允你,並將你所不知道、又大又難的事指示你。
耶利米書 32章40-41節
32:40又要與他們立永遠的約,必隨著他們施恩,並不離開他們,且使他們有敬畏我的心,不離開我。
32:41我必歡喜施恩與他們,要盡心盡意、誠誠實實將他們栽於此地。
但以理書 4章35節
4:35   世上所有的居民都算為虛無;在天上的萬軍和世上的居民中,他都憑自己的意旨行事。無人能攔住他手,或問他說,你做什麼呢?

反省與問題討論

  1. 當經濟意外的衰退,並且似乎對你的財務造成不利的影響時,您通常會有什麼反應呢?
  2. 一般來說,當遇到逆境時,不僅僅是財務問題,還包括職場上的挫敗、健康出問題、家庭關係上的衝突、突發的意外事件等,你會有什麼反應呢?
  3. 您是否認同上帝可以使用 – 甚至是特意的安排 – 我們生命中的艱困時刻,來實現祂更偉大的目的呢?請解釋您的答案。
  4. 您認為信心和逆境之間有什麼關聯呢?您能舉出自己經歷過的例子嗎?


ADVERSITY: AN OPPORTUNITY TO GROW

By  Austin Pryor 

As a financial advisor for more than 40 years, I have witnessed many shifts in the economy, sometimes happening very rapidly. When economic factors make sudden changes, many investors feel a very uncomfortable emotion – fear. It is hard to feel confident about investments when factors outside our control wreak havoc on the financial markets.

Even those who worship Jesus Christ can feel distress when adversity strikes, whether it affects our finances or other areas of our lives. Most Christians, at one time or another, would like to ask God why He allows pain and disappointment to touch His children. Perhaps His answer would be: “Those things happened because I was answering your prayers, to give you what you asked for!”

As you consider adverse events in a typical day, can you imagine God saying to you:
“You prayed that you could become mature, didn’t you? I’m teaching you how to depend on me more.”
“You prayed for more faith, didn’t you? I’m giving you a chance to trust me more.”
“You prayed that you might know Me better, didn’t you? I’m helping you to seek Me more.”
“You prayed that you might glorify me with your life, didn’t you? I’m refining you more.”

When our prayers contain such “spiritual” requests, we can have confidence we are praying according to God’s will. We expect Him to grant us qualities of the Christian life we are seeking. But subconsciously we might also be thinking God will answer them with a kind of supernatural lightning bolt. Something like Him saying, “Well, bless your heart, dear child, here’s all the faith, love and Christlikeness you will ever need.” Zap! But it does not usually work that way.

Do you want to mature in your Christian walk? Then expect some suffering. “Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us” (Romans 5:3-5).
 
Do you want to have your faith strengthened? Then expect your faith to be tested. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4).
 
Do you want to know God better? Then expect to give up the things of this world that are holding you back. “I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, so that I may gain Christ and be found in him…. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings” (Philippians 3:8-10).
 
Do you want to receive His praise for your life? Then expect to go through trials. “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith — of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire — may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed” (1 Peter 1:6-7).

Austin Pryor has more than 40 years of experience advising investors and is the founder of the Sound Mind Investing newsletter and website. He’s the author of The Sound Mind Investing Handbook which enjoys the endorsements of respected Christian teachers with more than 100,000 copies sold. Austin lives in Louisville, Kentucky, with his wife Susie.

Reflection/Discussion Questions

  1. What is your typical response when the economy unexpectedly turns downward, and it appears your own finances will be adversely affected?
  2. In general, how do you respond to adversity, not only financial problems but also in other areas of your life – professional setbacks, health issues, conflict in the home, sudden emergencies?
  3. Do you agree that God can use – might even orchestrate – difficult times in our lives because He has a greater purpose He intends to accomplish? Explain your answer.
  4. How do you think faith and adversity are connected? Can you give any examples of this from your own experience?     

NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more, consider the following passages: Psalm 37:3-7; Proverbs 3:5-6; Jeremiah 29:11, 33:3, 32:40-41; Daniel 4:35


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