Encouragement When Nothing Seems Right

Nearing the end of a career can be heart-wrenching. Have I done anything worth doing? What am I going to do now? Why did I do so much wrong?

Last week one of the women who works for me was despondent. She is approaching retirement and has worked on a major project for many years, but some people in another organization seem to oppose it at every turn. “It has become hard to come to work” she said, “and it is hard not to think that most of my efforts for the past five years in this area have been in vain.” This woman is a true professional and her discouragement was palpable. I replied with one of the most encouraging passages in Scripture, “Let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap.” I reminded her of the good she was doing and her personal excellence in doing it. Nonetheless, she found it hard to be encouraged. “How can you be so sure,” she demanded, “that this will turn out alright and that my work has not been for nothing?” I replied with a favorite story of mine that demonstrates how tiny causes, given the right timing and conditions, turn out to have huge effects.

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Hellenization After Alexander – What was it, and Why Did it Matter?

When conquerors want to subdue a foe, they crush their armies. If they want to rule a conquered land, however, they must displace the culture of that land. Alexander the Great knew this, and as he wanted an empire that would outlive him, he needed to displace conquered cultures with his own. This was especially urgent to him due to the diversity of his empire, including Assyrians, Jews, Egyptians, Persians, Parthians, Armenians, and a host of others. Hellenism is Greek culture, and is the primary weapon, even more than his armies, that Alexander used to influence Middle Eastern and European history for millennia.

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