Overcoming Failure

Because you’ve failed at something does not mean you’re a failure. God designed us to be renewed in every way. Restoration, new beginnings, and finding hope is what our great God is all about.

Image result for small white PopcornLast evening, I made a big bowl of the best popcorn ever! I decided that instead of supper I’d indulge in a huge popcorn treat that I have been longing for. I had purchased small tender white kernels of popcorn at a specialty store in December, popped them just about perfectly and added some butter! Wow, what a treat, I ate it with much pleasure while viewing a documentary. Before I knew it, I had finished the entire bowl! Oh, my stomach felt it… this morning as I write I feel a bit lousy for eating it all. I failed to maintain my goal of eating mindfully and in small portions.

Failure is common to all of us. In reading the book of second Peter this morning I saw the restorative way that God works within us when we fail. Setting our eyes upon greater things puts our failures (great or small) into proper perspective. As you may know, Peter himself would be considered a failure in his early journey with Jesus. Jesus told him ahead of time of this impending failure, yet because of fear, he denied he knew Jesus three times when questioned. The agony Peter went through from this experience was dreadful. Have you been through an experience of agony over your own failures? Perhaps it’s an entire season in life where you have felt it was a failure. I have and many people I know have as well. So how should we respond when this reality comes to us?

Let’s look at some of the things Peter has written, under the Holy Spirit’s direction, in his second letter. What can we learn from this man, who failed, yet became one of Jesus’ greatest servants? Peter was impetuous and deep-hearted at the same time. As you read the text, think about how we are instructed to live. Read slowly, soak it in, note the promises and the warnings he gives. I believe by the time you finish you too will see how God is able to take anyone of us and through His grace free us from ourselves, our past and our failures. God calls us higher and gives us clarity on how to walk by His divine nature at work within us. We can be overcomers, just as Peter was.

2 Peter – English Standard Version (ESV) – Chapter 12Peter1 4

1 Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ: 2 May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
Confirm Your Calling and Election
3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 11 For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
12 Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. 13 I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder, 14 since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. 15 And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.
Christ’s Glory and the Prophetic Word
16 For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” 18 we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. 19 And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. 21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

Chapter 2
False Prophets and Teachers
But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. 2 And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. 3 And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.
4 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; 5 if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; 6 if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; 7 and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked 8 (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard); 9 then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, 10 and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority.
Bold and willful, they do not tremble as they blaspheme the glorious ones, 11 whereas angels, though greater in might and power, do not pronounce a blasphemous judgment against them before the Lord. 12 But these, like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed, blaspheming about matters of which they are ignorant, will also be destroyed in their destruction, 13 suffering wrong as the wage for their wrongdoing. They count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, while they feast with you. 14 They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children! 15 Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray. They have followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved gain from wrongdoing, 16 but was rebuked for his own transgression; a speechless donkey spoke with human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness.
17 These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm. For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved. 18 For, speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error. 19 They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved. 20 For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. 21 For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. 22 What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.”

Chapter 3
The Day of the Lord Will Come
This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, 2 that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, 3 knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. 4 They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” 5 For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, 6 and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. 7 But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.
8 But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.
11 Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, 12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! 13 But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
Final Words
14 Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. 15 And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, 16 as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. 17 You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

Note: a full reading of First Peter will explain the groundwork for an overcoming life.

Photo Credit: Google Images.

Are You Struggling with Fear?

Fear filled womanHave you ever been so convinced of something, that you made a decision and took action and then wondered how or why you did that? … How could I have been so sure then and wondering why now? What can cause this to occur?

Fear is the enemy we struggle with when doubt is given a resting place. Is there something today that you are confused over or being tormented about? Perhaps a vital relationship that is in trouble; your spouse, child, parents – something is amiss and you are ready to walk away. In these moments there is only one remedy; open the Word of God and search out an answer (Hebrews 11:6). Jesus spoke in various places about His Kingdom and what it is like (Read Matthew 13). Yes, our faith-filled friends can come alongside to encourage us, but in the end we must search and find for ourselves. We must discover faith that overcomes fear.

Consider the disciples during the last week of Jesus life. Place yourself in their shoes: think about what they walked through in the days leading up to Christ’s crucifixion. They Discipleshad come to a place of believing, knowing that He was the promised Messiah, yet they struggled through feelings of doubt and fear. They saw the miracles He performed to rescue people from sickness, disease and death, yet they doubted at times… “Was He really who He said he is?”, they thought. They faced this kind of fear often while journeying with Jesus and especially after he was crucified. They were in constant threat of persecution, arrest or even death. Self-preservation was all they knew up to this point in life; it is our natural course. Yet, down the road, something would happen to cause them to become fearless (Acts 4:31), in the face of threats and death.

The battle between our natural-man and the new-man, seated in Christ, is what reveals our faith. The ability to overcome our natural fears is found through our identification with Christ Himself, living on the inside by the Holy Spirit. Jesus told His disciples, “I will not leave you comfortless, but I will come to you…” (Please read John Chapter 14.) Remember, growing our faith through wise choices is important.

If you are facing fear today, of any sort, remember that Jesus has come to give you life in Himself (John 10:10). The Holy Spirit living inside of us gives us the ability to overcome fear. There are practices that will help you become strong in your relationship with Him. Reading His Word daily and surrendering your life afresh to Him each day is the starting point. Without the power of God’s words to renew our minds, we will be subject to our own human weakness and Satan’s devices; we will succumb to double-mindedness as James tells us (James 1:6-8). The way to lay hold of stability in our thinking is by building up our faith through the scripture. Pray, talk to your Heavenly Father, just as Jesus did, and as He taught His disciples to do (Matthew 6:9-13). Confess any sin He shows you, turn from it and make things right. You will find closeness with Him greater than what you can share with any person.

We have an enemy that plays with our minds, attempting to destroy our faith andfear woman separate us from the love of God. Once you’ve entered God’s Kingdom you gain power against the workers of darkness (Ephesians 6:12). Have you discovered yet, how real they are? Perhaps not. Perhaps you’re still thinking that dark thoughts come from your own shame, but they actually are planted; sown by your enemy. Satan has a host of “workers of darkness” that come to destroy faith.

There’s a couple of songs we sing that reminds me often of how much we live in a culture filled with manifestations of the enemies success in deceiving people into fear, doubt, shame, and sin. I’m thankful for these lyrics that remind us how to counter-act the schemes of the enemy, how to fight our battles, that fear is a liar, we are no longer slaves to fear, and of the relentless, reckless love of God in seeking after us (Read Luke 15). He rescues us if we let Him; that’s what the cross for Christ was all about.

bloom-1839679__480Today, if you hear His voice, surrender to it. Do not harden your heart because of past pain, experience or failure. Come into the shelter of His arms and find rest. He will hold you there. There will still be battles until we get home to Heaven, but we will learn how to fight them and like Jesus disciples, we can become fearless in His name and by His power at work in us.

Hebrews 11:6 ESV And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

Acts 4:31 ESV And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.

John 10:10 ESV The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

James 1:6-8 ESV But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

Matthew 6:9-13 ESV Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

1 John 1:9 ESV  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Ephesians 6:12 ESV For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

Photo Credit: Canva, Pixabay

A New Year Focus

heart-1192662__480What will this new year hold for you? None of us are able to see through the portal of the future into the new year. Only God knows our journey — and His loving heart is there no matter what happens. The most important resolution you can make, is to go into this new year holding His Hand. This year, some will face greater hardship, others greater joy — some will experience the death of someone they love, others the joyful birth of a child.

Some of us have determined goals we want to achieve. Goals are good — but do they focus upon God’s mission and purpose for our life or simply our own ideas? Think for a moment, what you are really living for? Is it for God’s glory? This will play a crucial part in how we handle whatever comes our way this year.

Scripture checklist concerning our love for God and desire to glorify Him:

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. (Rom. 8:28 KJV)

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. James 1:2-4 (KJV)

 10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. 11To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. 1 Peter 5:10-11 (KJV)

Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: 1 Peter 1:6-7 (KJV)

67 Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word.71 It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes. Psalm 119:67, 71 (KJV)

Remember, God has our best interests at heart. If we have faith and trust Him, we will be able to walk through any situation with the confidence that He is in control. Keep focused upon Him and His heart of love for you.

Photo credit: Pixabay

Continue reading about Trusting God (Who Am I Trusting?)

A True Wonder-Woman

We live in a world marked by much pain and suffering, yet God’s desire is that we prosper in the midst of the situations we face.  By prosper, I am speaking of flourishing, growing and walking in victory—the Bible calls it being blessed.

My life-theme is centered in Psalm One.  This Psalm succinctly lays out the way God said things would go in life.  I love this because God is faithful to all, He is never-changing, and what He says is true.  With His help, and the Holy Sprit’s power indwelling the believer, we have all the potential to be “Wonder-Women” of God!  That brings me great comfort and joy.

Let’s look at those who are blessed (happy, fortunate, prosperous, and enviable/Amplified) and why this is.  Those who obey the instruction of our Father truly become a “wonder” to those around them.  Why?  Because onlookers observe their life and are amazed, or wonder… “How they can continue on? … happy, believing, fortunate, prospering.”  This is truly a wonder that only God can perform in us!

Let’s look at this incredible Psalm and rejoice, knowing we have the possibility to live the blessed life because of God’s great love and provision for us.


Blessed is the woman…

Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, (following their advice, plans and purposes)

Nor stands in the path of sinners, (submissive or inactive)

Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; (to relax and rest)

2 But her delight is in the law of the Lord, (instructions)

And in His law she meditates day and night. (ponders and studies)

3 She shall be like a tree, Planted (and tended) by the rivers of water,

That brings forth its fruit in its season, (evidence of spiritual life)

Whose leaf also shall not wither; (die off)

And whatever she does shall prosper. (comes to maturity)

4 The ungodly (those disobedient and living without God) are not so, But are like the chaff (worthless, dead, without substance) which the wind drives away.

5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand (justified) in the judgment,  Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous (those who are upright and in right standing with God).

6 For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the ungodly shall perish (end in ruin and come to nought).

Notes in parenthesis are taken from the Amplified Bible.

Photo credit: Pixabay