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Friday, April 29, 2016

My Choices Are The Wild Card That Affects My Hand

In review of Romans 8:29 it says, “God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity he restored. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him” (Romans 8:29 MSG).

Bottom Line:
God knew in advance his chosen ones, he chose them to become like his Son. The Son is the first of many.

What this means to me:
God knew in advance his choice for me, and he chose me to become like his Son. The Son is the first of many in which I see the original and intended shape of my life in him. The choices I make become the wild card that affect the hand I’m played.

Today's verse comes from the latter half of Romans chapter 8. In this Paul speaks to us of the "The Future Glory."   Paul says, what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. All creation is awaiting that future day when God will reveal who his children really are.

Creation looks forward to the day when it will join God's children in glorious freedom from death and decay. We all wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. We were given this hope when we were saved.

And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, when we don't know what to pray, the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying. And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to be like his Son. And having chosen them, he called them to come to him and gave them the right standing with himself.

So as I have been learning, I am wonderfully complex (Psalm 139:14). In order to fulfill God’s purpose, I have to look at every dimension of my life and understand the five factors that influence my identity. In the last few days, I’ve explored the ways that my chemistry, my connections, my circumstances, and my consciousness affect the way I’m shaped.

If these factors are like the five cards you’re dealt in a game of poker, then the fifth factor would be my wild card. Why? Because it’s my choices, and it affects all my other cards. While I may not be able to control the hand I was dealt, I can use my wildcard (choices) to change the way I live my life by the choices I make.

The Bible says we are created in the image of God. No other animal was created in the image of God! Dogs have instinct but don’t know the difference between right and wrong. Elephants have no moral compass. But you get to choose to do right or wrong. The freedom to choose is man’s greatest blessing and also his greatest curse, because we make stupid choices all the time that harm us and everyone around us.

The wild card can change the suit and number of the other cards I’m dealt. While I didn’t choose my chemistry, I can choose what you do with my body. I didn’t choose my connections, but I  can make new relationships and mend or nurture the ones I already have. I can choose how I respond to my circumstances, and I can choose to stop believing the harmful things people say to me.

My identity is shaped by my choices. So what choices will I make today that will positively affect the rest of my life?

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Learning How My Life Is Shaped By My Thoughts

In review of Romans 12:2 it says, Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."

Bottom Line:
Don’t look to the world for your value system. Rather let God and his Word transform you thinking.

What this means to me:
Since my life is shaped by my thoughts, I should never copy the behavior and customs of our culture. Rather I should let God transform and shape the way I think. If I do, then I will be able to to learn what God’s good, pleasing and perfect will is for me.

Today's passage comes from the first part of Romans chapter 12 in which Paul speaks to us about being a living sacrifice to God. Overall Paul explains that we should give our lives to God, because of all he has done for us. The giving of ourselves is truly the way to worship him. We start by not copying the behavior and customs of this world around us. Rather we let God transform us into new people. We are also reminded to not think more highly of ourselves than we should. We should use the gifts God gave us to serve those around us.

My life is shaped by my thoughts, therefore it's important that I not fill them with the things of this world. Rather I should be transformed into a new person by changing the way that I think. As I do this, I will learn to know more about what God's will is for me.

As I investigated the last few days, I cannot become all God created me to be until I understand the five factors that influence my identity. The first two were chemistry (how I was made) and connections (my relationships). I am a product of the way God created me and of the relationships in my life.

Today I explore how my identity is also influenced by my circumstances and my consciousness.

Circumstances are the things that happen to and around me; none of which I control. I am a product of the trauma, troubles, suffering, shame, shock, pressures, and pain that have shaped my life. Perhaps even a series of failures or a catastrophe, have left an indelible mark on who I am.

Consciousness is how I talk to myself (self talk.) This talk is not always so nice. For instance If I talked to my friends the way I talk to myself, I probably wouldn’t be friends anymore, because my thoughts are filled with the lies I’ve heard from other people that I’ve let simmer and fester. When I repeat other people’s thoughts in my head, they go deeper and deeper in my consciousness, and ultimately begin to shape my identity.

Proverbs 4:23 reminds me to, “Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life” (NCV). My thoughts don’t have to be true to hurt; I just have to believe them. If I tell myself my won’t last, then it won’t. If I’m afraid I can’t do something, then I won’t. My thoughts run my life!

While my circumstances may be out of my control, I need to remember that God is in control of everything. My thoughts shape who I am, but I can change the way I think. My circumstances and consciousness have shaped who I am up till now, but the way I respond to my circumstances and the thoughts I choose to believe will shape the rest of my life.

Over the past several years I see how my natural responses to difficult situations or circumstances has changed. I’m much more apt to face it with trust in God. This is likely from a conscious move on my part to seek God and his Word daily.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Considering How Well I Love

In review of Mark 12:30-31 it says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:30-31 NIV).

Bottom Line:
Love God with all you have, and love others like yourself. There are no greater commands than these.

What this means to me:
I am to love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. The second is to ‘Love others as much as I love myself.’ There is no other commandments greater than these.

Today's passage comes from the latter half of Mark chapter 12 in which Jesus answered one of the teachers of the religious law question about which of the commandments is most important?

Jesus replied with, the most important commandment is this: 'The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. The second is equally important: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' No other commandments are greater than these.

The teacher replied, "well said, I know this is more important than to offer all of the burnt offerings and sacrifices required in the law." Realizing how much the man understood, Jesus said, 'you are not far from the kingdom.'

Life is about loving; loving God and people.  There is no form of outward expression or actions that can substitute for these.

Just yesterday, I started to investigate the first of five factors that influence my identity. First was related to knowing that I have been made wonderfully complex and yet full of flaws. Flaws and all, I just need to embrace who I am and who God made me to be.

Today, I’ll look at the second and next factor that influences my identity, and it’s related to my connections.  Connections give my life purpose, meaning, and ultimately my identity.  Jesus said that the most important thing I should do is love God and love other people (Mark 12:30-31). What I’m learning is that life is not about my accomplishments or acquisitions, my popularity or prestige. It’s all about how well I love.

There seem to be three problems that can keep me from loving fully as God intended:

First, we are all imperfect. Because of this, there are no perfect relationships because there are no perfect people. Sin disconnects us. Adam and Eve had the first broken relationship and disconnected themselves from God and from each other. We’ve been excusing ourselves and accusing the people we love ever since.

Second, the more disconnected we are, the more fearful we become. We crave intimacy, but we fear vulnerability. We crave acceptance, but we fear rejection.

Lastly, while we may not have had a say in the hand we were dealt in life, God sent his son as our Savior to transform our cards into a winning hand. No matter what connections I’ve made in life, I will be held responsible for what you do with my connections today.

So, will I let God affect my connections? Will I trust him for my future in spite of a difficult past? Will I nurture, protect, and build relationships such that God is more fully glorified in my life?

Today, with God’s help, I will resolve to build healthy and not hurtful relationships.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Even My Flaws Can Bring Glory to God

In review of Psalm 139:14 it says, “Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous — how well I know it” (Psalm 139:14 NLT, second edition).

Bottom Line:
You have made me wonderfully complex, your workmanship is marvelous.

What this means to me:
God has made me uniquely for a purpose that I can only fulfil because of the way he made me (flaws and all). When I fulfill the purpose he has for me, I reveal his marvelous workmanship and bring glory to him.

Today's verse comes from the middle of Psalm 139. This is a psalm of David in which he details how God knows everything about us no matter where we are or where we're going. God knows our thoughts and words, even before we speak them. Even with such knowledge, God places his hand of blessing upon us.  There is no escaping God, no matter where I go or try to hide. Even in the darkness or secret places we are unable to hide from him.

Furthermore God made all of my delicate inner parts and making me wonderfully unique and complex. His workmanship is simply marvelous. God saw me before I was born and every day of my life was recorded in his book, every moment was laid out before it ever came to pass. How precious are God’s thoughts about me.

Therefore I ask God to help search and know my heart; test me daily and know my anxious thoughts. Then to point out anything that would offend him, and help guide and lead me along the path of everlasting life.

So when people are hurting, they need simple truth, not simplistic truth. It’s not enough to tell them to pray, read the Bible, or go to church. What they need is help in knowing how to make changes.

The first part of making changes in our lives starts with understanding our unique identity. It is difficult to become all that God created us to be until we embrace our identity; the unmistakably unique and flawed you that God made for a purpose.  We can’t be someone else.

Psalm 139:14 says, “You are wonderfully complex..”. So in order to fulfill God’s purpose, I need to look at every dimension of my life and understand the five factors that influence my identity. Then, I need to make the most of what I’ve been given. We may have all been given different parents, pains, problems, and potential, but ultimately each of us will be held accountable one day for what we did with those factors. I just need to play the hand I’m dealt.

The first factor that makes me who I am is my chemistry. This is my DNA, genes, hormones, and chemical makeup. Some are born with hypersensitivity; others have an extremely high tolerance for pain. Some have a low energy level; others are bouncing off the walls. Some have backs that are prone to fail, weak eyesight, or brittle bones. Some have low levels of oxytocin, a hormone that affects how to relate to other people.

What I’m learning is that there is no flaw that is sinful or shameful; it’s just the way God wired me! My gene’s have flaws that make me unique. Those flaws are part of my custom design, and God planned them for his purpose and glory.

I may never be able to make a change in my life or fulfill God’s purpose for my life until I understand that I am wonderfully complex and uniquely flawed for God’s glory.

The question for me to ponder today is: What will I do with the hand I’ve been dealt?

Monday, April 25, 2016

Learning to Stay Enthusiastic for a Lifetime

In review of Romans 12:11-12 it says, “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” (Romans 12:11-12 NIV).

Bottom Line:
Don’t lack zeal, be eager to follow the Holy Spirit and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in your confident hope, be patient in times of trouble and keep on praying.

What this means to me:
Don’t be lazy or lack zeal in what you do, rather eagerly follow the Holy Spirit and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in your confident hope you have. Learn to be patient in times of trouble and never stop praying.

Today's passage comes from the middle part of Romans chapter 12 in which Paul speaks to us about being a living sacrifice to God. Paul explains that we should give our lives to God, because of all he has done for us. The giving of ourselves is truly the way to worship him. We start by not copying the behaviour and customs of this world around us. Rather we let God transform us into new people. We are also reminded to not think more highly of ourselves than we should. We should use the gifts God gave us to serve those around us.

When it comes to live, we should not just pretend to love, but really love them with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.  We should not be lazy but work hard serving the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God's people are in need, be ready to help them, and be always eager to practice hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you and pray that God will bless them.  Celebrate with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with each other. Don't be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. Don't think you know it all.

Don't seek payback or revenge. Do things in a way that all can see that you are honorable. Do what you can to live in peace with everyone.

In order to fulfill the mission God has for me, I need to learn how to maintain my enthusiasm over the long haul.  A quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson says, “Nothing great is ever accomplished without enthusiasm.” I need to learn to adapt and adopt this into my daily routine. Having and maintaining the passion and enthusiasm will help me reach the finish line.

So how do I stay enthusiastic day after day, considering what life throws my way (delays, difficulties, dead ends, problems and criticisms)?  Positive thinking is not enough. Pulling myself up by my psychological bootstraps will not be enough. Talking myself into optimism will not be enough.

What I’m learning is that the way I stay enthusiastic for a lifetime is found in the root of the word “enthusiasm.” The word “enthusiasm” comes from the Greek word “en theos.” “En” is the Greek word for the English word “in.” “Theos” is the Greek word for “God.” So “en theos” means to be “in God.”

When I get in God, I will be enthusiastic. It’s the kind of enthusiasm that isn’t affected by the economy or the weather or my circumstances. It’s eternal because I’m tied to the eternal God. I am in Christ.

Paul tells us how to do this in passage from Romans 12:11-12. He says, “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” (NIV).

To reach my goals this year, I need to get God’s power by being joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer.

God, today I pray that I don’t want to go another day without you in my life, controlling every part of my heart. I offer you my body. I dedicate myself to you. In light of all you’ve done for me, I give myself as a living sacrifice to you as a spiritual act of worship. I humbly admit that I need help. I want you to help renew my mind. Help me to think the way you want me to think. Please forgive me for my pride and how it gets in my way. I don’t want to think more highly of myself than I should. My faith needs to grow, and I need your help to set goals that can be measured so I can manage them. Forgive me for trying to change on my own.  I want to fill my life with love. I want to fill my life with you. Help me to get group support. Help me to take delight in honoring other people, to focus on giving my life away so that you can take care of my needs. I want to nurture my enthusiasm by being in you. Help me to be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer. I give myself to you. In your name I pray. Amen.

If I truly strive to live this way, I know it will bring enthusiasm that can last my lifetime.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Learning to Take Off the Old and Put On the New

In review of Ephesians 4:22-24 it says, “22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”

Bottom Line:
Put off our old self, which is being corrupted by deceitful desires. You heart and mind must be made new, created in God’s likeness and reveals itself in a life that is upright and holy.

What this means to me:
I need to let go of my old self, which was influenced by the world and its deceitful desires, and put on my new self with new thought processes like God that reveals itself in a lifestyle that is upright and holy.

Today's passage comes from the second half of Ephesians chapter 4 in which Paul is giving us what it looks like to live as children of light.

He first instructs us to no longer live as the Gentiles (our worldly culture) do, for they are hopelessly confused. They are full of darkness; far from God because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. They have no sense of shame. The live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity. [Seems not much changes, a lot of those around me are the same way.]

But this isn't what we've learned about that truth that comes from Christ. Paul therefore encourages us to "throw off our old sinful natures and former ways of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Rather we are to let the Spirit renew our thoughts and attitudes. We are to put on our new natures, created to be like God; truly righteous and holy."

We are to tell the truth and stop telling lies to those around us, for we are all parts of the same body. Don't let anger control us, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.

Use our gifts and talents for good hard work, and give generously to others in need. Stay away from foul or abrasive language. Instead let everything we say be good and helpful, words that build up with encouragement.

He goes on to tell us not to bring sorrow to God's Holy Spirit by the way we live. He then explains that we are to get rid of bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, we are to be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven us.

So, in order to have any kind of lasting change in my life, I need to start with my body, and that includes changing the way I think so that what I let into your mind and the things I think about honor God.

Ephesians 4:22b-24 says, “Put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and ... put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (NIV).

There is a putting off, and a putting on. My health really comes down to stopping some stuff I need to stop doing and starting some stuff I need to start doing. Mainly to stop putting negative, hurtful things in my body, and start putting in things that edify.

Likewise I need to stop putting negative, hurtful things into my mind, and start watching and listening to things that edify and make me more like Christ. In the renewal of my mind, I’ve got to put off before I can put on.

In summary, I need to take off the old before I can put on the new. That’s true spiritually and emotionally and mentally.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Learning To Exercise Faith By Setting Goals

In review of Proverbs 17:24 it says, “An intelligent person aims at wise action, but a fool starts off in many directions”

Bottom Line:
Aim at what is wise, not at meaningless direction.

What this means to me:
The sensible thing for me would be to keep my eyes on a wise course of action and not drifting off in many meaningless directions.

Unfortunately most of what I do on a daily basis won’t matter in five minutes, much less five years from now. There is a lot a I do that really doesn’t matter.  As I think about fulfilling the purpose God wants me to achieve I have to consider doing what is wise in light of the goal versus pursuing the trivial and less important.

This means I’ll need to decide what really matters and what will last, and then focus on that. Today’s verse reminds me that, “An intelligent person aims at wise action, but a fool starts off in many directions” (Proverbs 17:24 GNT).

Once I’ve figured out what matters most, I should set goals big enough to require faith. Jesus  
tells me in Matthew 9 that he will bless me as much as I want. His blessing depends on the size of my faith. Jesus says, “According to your faith let it be done to you” (Matthew 9:29b NIV).

So God is saying choose your cup, and he’ll fill it. Whether I have a little teacup, a five-gallon jug, or a 100-gallon barrel of faith, God will fill it up according to my faith. How much I trust God determines how much God blesses me.

I exercise faith by setting goals. I set a goal when I say, “God, I believe you’re telling me that you want me to accomplish this by a particular date. It’s really going to stretch me to do it, but I believe this is what I need to do.”

Rick Warren has an acrostic for what a goal set in faith (F.A.I.T.H) is:

Focused: It’s specific, something I can measure.
Attainable: It’s possible and practical. If I set an unrealistic goal, I won’t accomplish it.
Individual: It’s personal. I can’t set goals for others. I have ownership over my own goals, not someone else’s.
Trackable: My goal needs a deadline on them. Without a date on it, it’s not a goal.
Heartfelt: Never set a goal I’m not passionate about, because I’ll never accomplish it without the desire to do so.

Goals will help give life to the dreams I’ve given up for dead. So I should consider taking a look at the dreams I’ve given up on. Add a goal, and see what God can do.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Learning To Seize the Moment and Fulfill A Purpose

In review of Ephesians 5:15-16 it says, “Be careful how you act; these are difficult days. Don’t be fools; be wise: make the most of every opportunity you have for doing good.”

Bottom Line:
Think about how you live, be thoughtful and not foolish. Understand what God would want you to do and make the most of opportunities that come your way.

What this means to me:
I’m encouraged to be careful in how I live, not foolish, but wise. I am to make the most of every opportunity that I’m presented with.  I am to not act thoughtlessly, but to really understand what the Lord wants me to.

Today's verse comes from the middle of Chapter 5 in Ephesians. It follows a passage about living in the light, in which Paul encourages us to imitate God in all we do, living a life filled with love by the Spirit's power.

Paul encourages me to be careful in how I live, not like a fool, but rather wisely. I am to make the most of every opportunity that comes my way.  He then goes onto to remind me not to act thoughtlessly, but to really understand what the Lord wants me to. He concludes with the recommendation that I give thanks to God for everything.

This reminds me recently of an older message series I have been listening to on “Living a Purpose Driven Life.”  There is a strong point made that I should be living my life for the purpose that God made me for.  It’s important to realize how he’s gifted me and to use it fulfill the unique purpose He gave me.  Part of this is the dream he has implanted in me.  The question is “What am I doing with this dream?”

Sadly most dreams never come true. It’s likely that its not from being smart enough, outgoing enough, or spiritual enough. Usually, a dream won’t come true because of an unwillingness to take the necessary risks to reach it.

I’m reminded of a sad one-sentence commentary about a king who failed to achieve an important ambition in his life: “[King] Jehoshaphat built a fleet of trading ships to go to Ophir for gold, but they never set sail — they were wrecked at Ezion Geber” (1 Kings 22:48 NIV).

While it’s a tragedy for your ship to never come in in life, it’s a greater tragedy for me to build a ship and never set sail. Imagine the energy and expense expended by King Jehoshaphat. He built an entire fleet of ships to go after the gold, and not one of them set sail. They never got out of the harbor. Evidently a storm came up and, while these ships were in the harbor, they slammed against the rocks and were destroyed.

I think a lot of people spend their whole lives waiting for their ship to come. But what I’m realizing is that God isn’t waiting for my ship to come in. He’s waiting for me to sail it out of the harbor.

What I’m learning is that the Bible’s antidote to that kind of tragic procrastination is as simple as an overdone catchphrase, one that is difficult to apply at times: “Just do it.” Today’s verse reminds me to, “Be careful how you act; these are difficult days. Don’t be fools; be wise: make the most of every opportunity you have for doing good” (Ephesians 5:15-16 TLB).

I’m urged to seize the moment and act now. To live a life with unfulfilled dream / purpose would be a tragedy. Ships aren’t made for the harbor. They’re made to set sail.    

In the next few days I’ll be considering more what purpose God had created me to do. It’s built around how he made me, my passions and the talents his given me. He wants to use me in a way that only I can fulfill. I just need to identify it, understand what God’s will is and act wisely toward accomplishing it.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Developing A Safety Net

In review of 1 Peter 3:8 it says, “And now this word to all of you: You should be like one big happy family, full of sympathy toward each other, loving one another with tender hearts and humble minds.”

Bottom Line:
We need others in our lives to share in the good and in the bad times.

What this means to me:
Today’s verse reminds me that I need strong committed relationships in my life. The relationships should be life family, with us showing sympathy toward each other and being loving with tender hearts and humble minds.

Nobody should have to face difficult situations alone. Life’s tough times and tragedies are inevitable; and each of us will face them (regardless of whether we are his disciples or not.) But we don’t need to go through them alone. We need God’s safety net to help hold us up through the difficult times.

So what is God’s safety net? I’m learning that this safety net is a group of other believers, a handful of people who are really committed to me and my well being. This kind of group is called a community. As I understand it, this is God’s plan for community: “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it” (1 Corinthians 12:26a NIV). Community is God’s answer to despair.

Romans 12:15 expresses a similar idea: “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” Now the first part of that verse is easy. When something good happens to someone, it’s often easy to join in on the party. However, when someone is having a tough time, it can seem more difficult.

But, it doesn’t need to be complex. When going through a crisis, advice is not what you always need; many time you just want somebody to be there to sit with you, put an arm around your shoulder, or cry with you.

As Paul tells us, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11a). Interestingly enough, encouraging someone else doesn’t always mean giving a pep talk or words of wisdom. Sometimes the best kind of encouragement I can give is just sitting in silence, waiting and maybe even weeping with a friend.

So the question today is, do I have a safety net, a group of fellow Christians I know I can count on in life’s toughest times? Today my answer is “yes” I have some fellow Christians I know who I can probably count on, however, I have not drawn that close to them.  

I’m going to go out and begin building those closer friendships. The hard times in life are inevitable, and it would be foolish for me to go into them unprepared.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Reducing The Fear of Failure By Redefining It

In review of Proverbs 24:16 it says, “No matter how often honest people fall, they always get up again; but disaster destroys the wicked.”

Bottom Line:
A godly and honest person may fail, but they will always get back up again. A wicked person will fail at the first sign of disaster.

What this means to me:
No matter how often a godly and honest person falls, they will always get back up again. On the other hand a wicked person will stumble when calamity or disaster strikes.

What I’m learning is that failure will probably never kill me. Unfortunately the tendency is to always greatly exaggerate the effects of failure, blowing the prospects of failing all out of proportion. However failing is not the end of the world, rather the fear of failure is far more damaging than failure itself.

Today’s verse from Proverbs 24:16a says, “No matter how often honest people fall, they always get up again” (TEV). Even good guys will stumble, make mistakes, blow it, and or stub their toes.

A successful person is not one who never failed. They are just the people who get up again and keep going. A successful person just doesn’t know how to quit.

I’m reminded this morning of the following famous failures?

George Washington lost two-thirds of all the battles he fought. But he won the Revolutionary War and later became the first U.S. president.
Napoleon graduated 42nd in a class of 43. Then he went out and conquered Europe!
In 21 years Babe Ruth hit 714 home runs, but he struck out 1,330 times. He struck out nearly twice as often as he hit a homerun.
The famous novelist John Creasey received 753 rejection slips before he published 564 books.
Rowland Hussey Macy failed seven times at retailing before starting Macy’s department store.

Great people are simply ordinary people who have an extraordinary amount of determination. They just keep on going. They realize they’re never a failure until they quit.  And this is how I can reduce the fear of failure. I simply redefine it.

You don’t fail by not reaching a specific goal. Instead, failure is not having a goal. Failure is refusing to get back up again once you fall. It’s refusing to try.

So, I am to keep going. If at first I don’t succeed, it’s no big deal. I’ll never be a failure until I give up.

Look for Ways to Bring People Together

In review of 2 Corinthians 5:18-19 I'm reminded that “ God has restored my relationship with him through Christ , and has given me a mi...