One of the greatest and most beloved characters of all time is Mickey Mouse. Walt Disney often told of how Mickey came to him in a time of adversity. Walt had invented a character called Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. Several cartoons had been produced and released featuring the rabbit. On a trip to New York, Walt learned that a co-investor had found a quirk in the law and claimed all the rights to the rabbit character.

Walt was greatly disappointed, but resigned to the loss of his cartoon character. He didn’t have the heart to tell his brother Roy what happened and merely wired him that everything was going to be all right. On the train trip back to California, Walt started doodling on a piece of paper. There on the paper was a mouse. He originally wanted to call him Mortimer, but Walt’s wife suggested Mickey Mouse. Many of Walt’s friends said Mickey was Walt. Mickey the optimist and the dreamer.

Mickey did a lot for Walt, being the foundation of his entertainment empire. Walt himself reminded people, “It all started with a mouse.” Walt would also want to remind us that just when things are at their worst, the best things can happen.
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J. Michael Shannon is professor of preaching at Cincinnati Bible College in Cincinnati, OH.

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A third generation preacher, Mike Shannon is Professor of Preaching at Cincinnati Bible Seminary of Cincinnati Christian University. He has served as a preaching minister, church planter, and college professor. His most recent preaching ministry was at the historic First Christian Church of Johnson City, Tennessee. In his nearly two decades at Cincinnati Christian University, Mike has served as both professor and Dean of the Seminary. He has also been an adjunct professor at Milligan College and Northern Kentucky University. Mike is the author or co-author of several books.

Over 2,000 years ago a young Greek artist named Timanthes studied under a respected tutor. After several years, the teacher’s efforts seemed to have paid off when Timanthes painted an exquisite work of art. Unfortunately, he became so enraptured with the painting that he spent days gazing at it. One morning when he arrived to admire his work, he was shocked to find it blotted out with paint. Angry, Timanthes ran to his teacher, who admitted he had destroyed the painting. “I did it for your own good. That painting was retarding your progress.” Timanthes took his teacher’s advice and produced Sacrifice of Iphigenia, which is regarded as one of the finest paintings of antiquity.

Adversity in life is God’s way of refining and beautifying our lives in His image. He is the Master Artist who constantly shapes the way He wants us to be. If you haven’t been walking with God, He still loves you and wants you back. It is never too late for God to refinish the colors of your heart. If you are walking with God, take comfort because He promises to love you unconditionally. (Turning Point Daily Devotional, 11/19/03)

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About The Author

A third generation preacher, Mike Shannon is Professor of Preaching at Cincinnati Bible Seminary of Cincinnati Christian University. He has served as a preaching minister, church planter, and college professor. His most recent preaching ministry was at the historic First Christian Church of Johnson City, Tennessee. In his nearly two decades at Cincinnati Christian University, Mike has served as both professor and Dean of the Seminary. He has also been an adjunct professor at Milligan College and Northern Kentucky University. Mike is the author or co-author of several books.

Face the Elements
Nature wonderfully testifies that adverse conditions are often valuable in the development of some types of trees and plants. While fire is one of the forest’s great enemies, it actually helps certain kinds of seeds to grow. The cones of some pines do not open until they are touched by the flames. Likewise, the Christian’s faith and character are often strengthened by life’s trials.

A distinguished botanist who was exiled from his native land obtained work as a gardener. On one occasion his employer received a valuable plant but was unfamiliar with its nature and needs. When he placed it in the hothouse under the glare of the sun, it soon began to wilt. It appeared to by dying. So the new gardener was asked to examine it. Quickly identifying its origin, he explained, “This is an arctic plant which cannot thrive in this tropical heat.” He immediately took it outside and exposed it to the frost, heaping pieces of ice around the flowerpot. Before long it became healthy and flourished again.

Christian character is developed in many ways. Some believers, when they are placed in the comfortable and sheltered atmosphere of earthly warmth, pleasure, and luxury, begin to lose their spiritual vitality. On the other hand, if they are faced with the icy winds of life and chilling temptations, they soon revive and renew their strength and make firm their commitment to God.

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About The Author

A third generation preacher, Mike Shannon is Professor of Preaching at Cincinnati Bible Seminary of Cincinnati Christian University. He has served as a preaching minister, church planter, and college professor. His most recent preaching ministry was at the historic First Christian Church of Johnson City, Tennessee. In his nearly two decades at Cincinnati Christian University, Mike has served as both professor and Dean of the Seminary. He has also been an adjunct professor at Milligan College and Northern Kentucky University. Mike is the author or co-author of several books.

Handling the Bumps

I was driving down a bumpy country road when I saw a bag of cement beside the road. It appeared to have fallen off a delivery truck as it hit one of the bumps in the rough road. Being a person who does not like to see anything wasted, I stopped to pick up the lost bag of cement. When I reached down to pick up this heavy bag, to my surprise, I discovered it was not soft and limber as I had expected but had solidified into an immovable piece of cement.

Often our lives are like that bag of cement. They take on shapes that were not intended and become hardened in that shape. That bag of cement was meant to become a part of some beautiful structure but because it did not reach its place of service, it became a useless rock in the form of a bag of cement.

God wants to make something beautiful of your life. Don’t let this purpose be thwarted by a bump in the road of life.

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About The Author

A third generation preacher, Mike Shannon is Professor of Preaching at Cincinnati Bible Seminary of Cincinnati Christian University. He has served as a preaching minister, church planter, and college professor. His most recent preaching ministry was at the historic First Christian Church of Johnson City, Tennessee. In his nearly two decades at Cincinnati Christian University, Mike has served as both professor and Dean of the Seminary. He has also been an adjunct professor at Milligan College and Northern Kentucky University. Mike is the author or co-author of several books.

C.S. Lewis likened God’s use of adversity to walking a dog. If the dog gets its leash wrapped around a pole and tries to continue running forward, he will only tighten the leash more. Both the dog and the owner are after the same end, forward motion, but the owner must resist the dog by pulling him opposite the direction he wants to go. The master, sharing the same intention but understanding better than the dog where he really wants to go, takes an action precisely opposite to that of the dog’s will. It is in this way that God uses adversity.

-C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

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About The Author

A third generation preacher, Mike Shannon is Professor of Preaching at Cincinnati Bible Seminary of Cincinnati Christian University. He has served as a preaching minister, church planter, and college professor. His most recent preaching ministry was at the historic First Christian Church of Johnson City, Tennessee. In his nearly two decades at Cincinnati Christian University, Mike has served as both professor and Dean of the Seminary. He has also been an adjunct professor at Milligan College and Northern Kentucky University. Mike is the author or co-author of several books.