Summary: Trouble will make you better if you do not allow it to make you bitter.

From Bitter And Better

Exodus 1:11-14

11 Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh treasure cities, Pithom and Raamses.

12 But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were grieved because of the children of Israel.

13 And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigour:

14 And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in morter, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field: all their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigour.

Romans 8:28

28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Constructive Contention

• One of the hot new buzz phrases in business is Constructive Contention.

o It is a concept that is kind of like Constructive Criticism but focused around controversy or adversity that plays a positive role in business.

o It seems that one of the major reasons that businesses fail is that they cannot readily adapt to their changing environments.

• When an organization figures out what works, and settles into a successful paradigm, it is incredibly difficult to compel that business beyond that paradigm.

• The problem is that what once worked well may not work in the future.

o Newspapers, all over this country, are closing their doors because they failed to embrace the changes brought about by online news service.

• The days of newsprint and ink are quickly passing and, those businesses that have failed to successfully transition to an online presence are fading.

o The idea behind Constructive Contention is that the only way an organization can keep up with a changing world is by encouraging challenges from within.

• It has been discovered that the essential activity for encouraging growth is persistent internal conflict.

• Contention, it turns out, fuels the engine of growth.

o Businesses that don’t embrace constructive contention, the popular theory declares, run the risk of falling into decline as they fall behind the times.

• It may seem strange for businesses to embrace conflict and contention but the undeniable truth is that conflict incites growth.

o This is one of those universal facts that are so elementary that they are often overlooked.

• Any athlete or body builder can tell you that without resistance muscles don’t grow.

• Without opposition, strength can’t be increased.

• In order for our physical bodies to get stronger they must struggle against a resistive force.

o As it is in nature so, apparently, it is in business.

• An organization develops its strongest growth in the face of its greatest opposition.

o The same principle holds true in spiritual matters.

• Trial and trouble serve to strengthen our spirit and cause us to grow.

• Conflict is the engine that fuels growth.

Born To Trouble

• In spite of this truth, conflict is an uncomfortable thing and for the most part we do everything we can to avoid it.

o Like the couch potato that avoids physical exertion, we tend to do everything in our power to escape problems and contention.

• However, unlike the couch potato, we generally have little say in the matter.

o There’s a reason why Job says that “man is born to trouble, as the sparks fly upward.”

• The natural state of affairs for us humans is trouble and controversy.

• It is an inevitable part of life.

o As bright as your future may look right now, I can tell you with certainty that there will be dark days ahead.

• Somewhere over the horizon there is a storm brewing that will endeavor to destroy you.

• I wish I could tell you that life is a bed of roses, but it isn’t.

• I wish I could tell you that it will all be sunshine and smiles, but it won’t.

• Just as surely as I’m standing here right now life is gonna throw you a curveball or two.

• There are going to be moments that try your faith, trials that dim your spirit, and struggles that sap your strength.

o I don’t mean to be the herald of bad news and it isn’t my purpose tonight to simply rain on your parade.

• I want you to know that trouble is a part of the universal experience of humanity because I have a word from the Lord.

• In those times when trouble and trial seek to destroy you, you must remember that God is in charge of your life.

o God is the one that determines the affairs of day-to-day living.

o God is the one that directs your footsteps and, even when you can’t see it, He’s working in your life to bring all things together for good.

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