Monthly Archives: September 2014

How we handle failure may be our success

Winston Churchill said, “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm. It is so hard to keep a positive attitude in the midst of failure. None of us like to fail. We are judged based upon our performance. We are applauded when we win. We are paid when we are successful in our jobs.”

How do you view success and failure? Is it based on money? Gold medals? Status? Power?

Proverbs 29:18 reads, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”

God knows the importance of goals. He knows that as human beings we need to have plans and desires to strive to be better people. Sometimes though, it is our failures that make us the people God wants us to be. How we handle failure is more important to God; in fact, how we handle failure may be our success.

Thomas Edison, the inventor of the light bulb, and an incredibly intelligent man stated, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” We need to understand sometimes when our plans do not work out the way we wanted, it brings us closer to where God wants us.

Oral Roberts, an evangelist, used to open his sermons with, “Something good is going to happen to you today!”

All of us have expectations and when those are not met we feel weary and disappointed. But God tells us in Galatians 6:9, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

If we do not give up… the key to success…the answer…

Nelson Mandela said, “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling but in rising every time we fall.”

Do not give up. See what the world deems as failure as your step up to what God has for you next. Rely on Him when you feel weary and know that He will deliver in His time.

A Change of Outcome

Psalm 103:20-23, “Praise the Lord, you his angels,  you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word. 21 Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will.”

Do you realize, when you speak God’s Word, when you do His will, when you declare His Name over your situation, angels will respond? It is a very important part to know. What comes from our mouths is pretty significant. It can change the outcome of our situations.

If you will, consider that words are secondary to our thoughts. We think and then respond. Sometimes, it may appear as if we put no thought into what we are saying, but words come from the thoughts we have. It is important to meditate on the Word of God; to fill our thoughts with God’s Word so that when we respond, it will reflect Him. How we filled our minds shows in our words.

Psalm 91:10-12, “No evil will befall you, Nor will any plague come near your tent. 11For He will give His angels charge concerning you, To guard you in all your ways. 12They will bear you up in their hands, That you do not strike your foot against a stone.…”

There is a great deal the Lord is telling us in these two scriptures. When we praise Him and when we declare His word over our lives, He instructs His angels to protect us. That in and of itself gives me reason to sit up and take note. The times we need to praise Him the most are the times we don’t feel like praising Him. I’ve learned over the years in ministry, when people are in trouble or hurting or confused, they tend to run away from God. They tend to shake their fists at God. Those are the times His people need to shout out His name in praise because His angels will come to their defense.

One of the greatest weapons of warfare we have is praise. Psalm 34:1, “I will extol the LORD at all times; his praise will always be on my lips.” Not sometimes on my lips or just when things are good and I feel happy, we are to declare I will praise the Lord ALL the time and His praise will ALWAYS be on our lips.

Today, thank God for the blessings of your life. Thank Him for the discipline He has given you. Thank Him for the trials and struggles that you will overcome because of Him. Thank Him for His ability to heal you. Praise Him that He is the ultimate victor and glorify His name because Satan can’t have you. You are God’s child.

As Jesus described Him

I saw a familiar bumper sticker from years back the other day. It read simply, “GOD IS LOVE.” Amazingly, it prompted me to research and delve once more into who God is according to Jesus, His Son.

The Character and Integrity of God according to Jesus.

1. God  is dependable. Matthew 6:26, “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”

2. God is a giver. Matthew 7:7-11, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!”

3. God is merciful. Luke 6:35-36, “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”

4. God is faithful. Luke 12:29-32, “And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek His Kingdom and these things will be given to you as well. Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the Kingdom.”

5. God is good. Luke 18:19, “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good except God alone.”

6. God is to be respected. Luke 12:4-5, “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear; Fear Him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear Him.”

7. God is just. Matthew 7:12, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”

8. God is trustworthy. John 14:1-2, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in Me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.”

9. God is forgiving. Matthew 6:14-15, “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

10. God is LOVE. John 3:16-17, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.”

Today, reflect on who God is to you and how He participates in your daily life. Pray and ask God to help you to know Him as Jesus has described Him.

Life is like football

Have you ever thought what the flip side of victory is? Some of you may say defeat but actually it is warfare. Without a fight, there is no victory. 1 Corinthians 15:58, “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

When we stand firm it means we are unmovable, steadfast, and faithful. Like David who charged after Goliath, in order to experience victory, we must not give up the battle. We cannot let the enemy wear us down.

I’m a sports fan, particularly football and baseball. Like football, in order to win the game there has to be an opponent. What would it be like if our favorite team walked out on the field, threw a few passes to one another, and the coach shouts, “Alright team! Good game! Shower up!” Would you even be a fan?

Life is like football. The battles bring the victories. The question arises though, who is the enemy and what is our weapon? Since the rebellion of Satan and his dismissal from Heaven by God along with 1/3 of the angels, we have been engaged in combat. Satan’s mission? “to steal, kill, and destroy all that belongs to God and is Godly.

The weapons at your disposal? Prayer, scriptures, fasting, faith, the name of Jesus, the blood of Jesus, the gifts of the Spirit, and anointing. You are also not alone. Jesus tells us that He is our advocate and He actually prays for all believers from the time He leaves the earth until He returns, so we will stand as one against Satan. John 17:20-23, “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” He is praying for you and me.

When we fight for the Lord, our labor is not in vain. Victory will come to us, as long as we do not quit. Isaiah 40:29-31, “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. 30 Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 31 but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”     

Remember you are fighting the good fight. Today, focus on the weapons you have to defeat the enemy of your soul. Arm yourself and charge. Victory is at hand.

It is that simple

Psalm 20: “May the Lord answer you when you are in distress; may the name of the God of Jacob protect you. May He send you help from the sanctuary and grant you support from Zion. May He remember all your sacrifices and accept your burnt offerings. May He give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed. May we shout for joy over your victory and lift up our banners in the name of our God.

May the Lord grant all your requests.

Now this I know:     The Lord gives victory to his anointed. He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary with the victorious power of His right hand. Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm. Lord, give victory to the king!  Answer us when we call!

Anxiety hits all of us at some point in our lives. Some of us have learned to handle it better than others. God does not want us to be anxious about anything. When we find ourselves in distress, Psalm 20 can bring us the comfort we need. I used to have a friend who carried this Psalm around in his wallet. I often saw him pull it out before football games. The greatest part of this scripture is found in verse 7.

Some of us trust our cars more than God. Some of us trust our jobs more than God. Some of us trust our homes, our education, our friends, our looks or our money. We are putting our faith in the wrong things. None of those things can save you!

God tells us the way to attack anxiety is to trust in the name of the Lord our God. It is that simple.

Today, reflect on Psalm 20. Outwardly speak the words of affirmations – “I do not trust in chariots or horses…NO! I trust in the name of the Lord my God.” Try it the next time you feel worried. See what a difference it can make.

There is someone you need to forgive

Ephesians 4:31-32, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

What interests me the most about the Apostle Paul’s comments is his contrasts of emotions. He is suggesting that we get rid of destructive behaviors such as bitterness, rage, anger, brawling, and slander and replace them with kindness, compassion, and forgiveness. Easier said than done, isn’t it?

I saw a quote recently. It was actually on a shower curtain in the guest bathroom of a couple with whom Connie and I spend time. “Forgiveness is admitting we are like other people.” The phrase stuck in my head for several days until I could rationalize what it meant to me. Interestingly, we see others for what they are. We see ourselves for what we are striving to become. When others make mistakes, we measure them by the mistake they made. When we make mistakes, we reconcile the action with our circumstances and strive never to do it again. We find the potential in ourselves and disregard the potential in others.

Forgiveness comes when we see ourselves in others.

2 Corinthians 5:18-19, “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.”

Christ came to us in human form to experience our struggles, our temptations, our grief, our mistakes. He came so that He could connect to us in a way no one else ever could. And because of His willingness to do so, He paid the price for our sin – IN FULL – accepting the pain and suffering for us. It is difficult to relate His action with ours but I see it in this way, when someone apologizes to us for hurting us, we tend to respond, “It’s ok. No worries.” In actuality, we’ve probably told 3 people what they did to us. We don’t really want to be around that person and while we think we’ve forgiven them, we really haven’t.

Forgiveness comes when we say, “Yes. You hurt me deeply. But I am willing to pay the price and love you. I’m willing to accept the pain and the betrayal and continue our relationship.” That is what Paul meant when he wrote those words in Corinthians.

But how do we truly know we have forgiven? 3 Ways to be assured you have forgiven a wrong doing.

1. The act does not consume your thoughts any longer. When we are betrayed, we tend to play it over and over in our minds. We talk about it and refer to it on a regular basis. Sometimes it becomes who we are. It is how we relate. When we forgive, we are able to put the action aside.

2. It doesn’t hurt anymore. While forgetting would be a great thing, most of us don’t have the ability to erase our past; but, when we forgive, we remember the action, but it doesn’t have power over us anymore.

3. We can love the offender. The toughest part of forgiveness is willingly showing our love for the one who hurt us. We do not react differently in their presence. We display genuine acceptance when they are around.

Today, realize there is someone in your life you need to forgive. Start on the path to turning “bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander” into the kindness and compassion of God

Go tend to your sheep, Brat!

1 Samuel 17:28, “When Eliab, David’s oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he burned with anger at him and asked, “Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the desert? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle.”

I can imagine the scene in my head – older brother scolding the younger – “Go away! What are you but a shepherd boy! Go tend to your sheep, BRAT!”

But David was on a mission for God. The Philistines occupied one hill and the Israelites occupied the other. A champion warrior named Goliath from Gath taunted the Israelites. The Bible tells us he was 9 feet tall!  “He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a coat of scale armor of bronze weighing five thousand shekels; 6 on his legs he wore bronze greaves, and a bronze javelin was slung on his back. 7 His spear shaft was like a weaver’s rod, and its iron point weighed six hundred shekels. His shield bearer went ahead of him.” (This guy is one bad CAT and nobody wants to deal with him!) Goliath shouted to the Israelites for someone brave enough to come and fight him. If the Israelite wins, the Philistines will be subject to them; but, if he wins, the Israelites will become subject to the Philistines. Saul and his army were terrified. Nobody wanted to take this guy on, and I can’t say I don’t blame them.

David is the youngest of eight boys belonging to Jesse from Bethlehem – three of the sons are in Saul’s army, Eliab, Abinadab, and Shammah. For 40 days the taunting had been constant, and daily Saul could not produce someone to fight Goliath. Jesse sent his son David to bring his boys food. When David arrives, it is early morning and he hears the words of Goliath.

Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?”  David asks the men.

Eliab, his older brother, overhears the questions and angered by David, attempts to get rid of him. But David hears a word from God. David knows Who he serves. His God can defeat this uncircumcised Philistine!

Some of us can be Eliab’s in other’s lives. The negative, “you can’t do it!” “get out-of-the-way!” “you are incapable!” voices which interfere in the plans God has for people. Some of us don’t want to defeat the giants in our lives because we don’t believe we can.

And then, some of us listen to the Eliab’s of our lives. We listen to those who are the nay-sayers and we buy into the doubt of our abilities to do all things through a mighty, powerful God.

Which are you?

God has a purpose for every one of us. He has a plan. He needs to use our abilities to benefit His Kingdom; but, first and foremost, we have to tune our hearing into Him. Selective hearing – directed toward the Word of God – removes the Eliab’s of our lives. Pray today about what God needs you to do. Ask Him to remove the voices of Eliab in your life.