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Fail Forward

It doesn’t matter what you’re doing in life, missing the mark is always a possibility. In fact it’s inevitable that we’re going to fail at something. Whether it’s not making the 5th grade basketball team or coming up short for class president. Most of us experienced the heartbreak of not doing quite good enough early on in life. You know, if it’d just stop there it wouldn’t be too bad. We could surely overcome that class president thing and move on wih life. But, challengingly enough, it doesn’t stop there.

Every single thing we do in life the possibility of failure is staring us square in the face. It can be distracting and downright intimidating. Get yourself two or three of those heartbreaks in a row, which is not hard, and it makes for a really tough patch of life. It would be easy for anyone to get stuck in that same old pattern and let it set the course of their entire life. It’s happened all too many times.

But it doesn’t have to happen that way. Actually, failure has some profound potential if we just don’t allow it get the best of us. Failures provide some amazing learning opportunities and they can give us some incredible perspective if we’ll just let it.

Peter was one of those guys that failed. He didn’t just fail a little….he failed BIG! At the time Jesus needed him most he folded like a cheap lawn chair. Three times he denied that he even knew Jesus, once to a little 12 year old girl. You may have had some major blunders in your life but I’m bettin’ you haven’t had one that big. It would have been easy for that failure to define the rest of Peter’s life. But he had an encounter with Jesus after the resurrection and something miraculous happened; something so miraculous, in fact, that for the next 25 years he was the most important man of the planet as it related to the plan of God! That should be a source of great encouragement to people like us.

Failure is a strong word; and, just because you failed at something doesn’t mean you’re a failure! We shouldn’t allow our failures to define us. We should use them as a stepping stone to greatness. Learn your lesson, get back up and get going again, use your bad experience to help someone else. 

You’re gonna miss the mark; you’re gonna fall short, you’re gonna fail occasionally. But when you fail, …….fail forward! Failure is not final…..unless you let it be!

Oh, and don’t forget what really made the difference for Peter! That encounter with Jesus is the ‘clincher’!

It’ll work for you, too!

Here’s a couple more you might like:

Critics……..There’s One On Every Corner

“Nothing I Can Do About it Now”

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An Often Neglected Part of Prayer

Most everyone’s aware of the importance of prayer. And, the Bible is clear, for those of us who believe….it’s not “if” we pray….but “when”. It’s one of those non-negotiables for us. Like the Nike slogan….we “Just Do It”! It’s how we appropriate that which is already ours’ but which we haven’t attained, as of yet. Interesting thing about prayer….faith is ‘built into’  the activity of prayer. In essence you’re asking Someone you can’t see….to do something you can’t do. And, that right there…..that’s faith!

He must love answering our prayers! In fact the Bible says that before we say it….He’s busy about doing it. He’ll take every opportunity He can to grow and nurture our faith. It’s just more evidence of how good a Father He actually is. We’re encouraged in His Word to  ‘let our requests be made known to God’. My experience has taught me that when I pray in generalities…He answers in generalities. But when I pray in specifics…..He answers specifically!

But, there’s a part of prayer that I hardly ever hear anyone talking about. Simply put, prayer is how we communicate with God. And, if you’ll think about it….genuine communication, productive communication is always a two-way street! Good communication involves a balanced mixture of talking and listening. And, while expressing your heart to Him is important….it just might not be as important as what He has to say to you. I’ve learned that the more time I take to ‘listen’ to the Lord…..the less things I need to ask Him for! It’ll work that way for you, too!

With that in mind it makes all kinds of sense to work on perfecting our ability to hear Him. In doing so there’s a few things that’ll help. 1) Understand that He wants to ‘talk’ to you even more than you think you need to hear from Him! 2) Don’t make it difficult! He’s a Father…you’re His chosen kid!  3) He’s not limited to ‘speaking’ in an audible voice. Learn to notice all the ways in which He speaks. (your circumstances, dreams, visions, through other people, through His Word…and the list could go on and on!)

The Father doesn’t waste words. He always speaks the things we need to hear the most. He always knows just the right thing to say at just the right time!

So, the next time you pray…invest a little time in listening. You’ll be glad you did!

Here’s some more that’ll be helpful:

Listen More …….. Learn More!

You’re Better at Hearing the Lord Than You Think!

“What’s The Lord Telling You?” Part 1

“What’s The Lord Telling You?” Part 2

 

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Your Heart – The Control Room of Your Life

Your heart; arguably the most important organ in your body. If it’s not working, and working correctly, nothing else works very good either. But as long as it’s beating like it’s supposed to everything else has a good chance to be working, as well. It makes sense to have some kind of regular checkup to make sure your heart is performing like it should.

The Bible often refers to our ‘heart’ in verses that are extremely important. But it’s not that beating ‘muscle’ that lies there inside your chest it’s talking about. It’s more accurately referring to the deepest, most ‘real’ part of you,…. your spirit. For it’s there that the Spirit of God dwells….and rules the really important things in your life. (but only if you allow it!) It’s your heart that ‘governs’ your mind. I mean, your mind can come up with all kinds of scenarios….but it’s your heart that decides if you should entertain those things, ….and if you should act on them or not! It’s like a compass that can quickly detect if, or when, you might be off a degree or two. And, just like having a regular checkup on your heart, it would serve you well to make sure this ‘heart’ is as good as it should be!

When we’re born again it’s like having a ‘heart transplant’. There’s some real supernatural things that take place at that point and a good deal of it happened in our spirit. Our spirit is instantaneously transformed. Our perspective changes on just about everything. We begin to notice our ability to see things like the Lord sees them. And, as we continue our walk of faith and our deepening relationship with Him….our entire life takes on a whole new dimension. We begin to fulfill the incredible destiny that He’s purposed for us.

It all started with Him…and His relentless desire to have you as His own. He’s given us His own Spirit….Who’s entered our heart, the ‘control room’ of our life!

You’ll like this one, too:

Workin’ it Out

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The Sound of Silence

If you were around in the 60’s you’ll remember that song*(click here to listen) It was written by Paul Simon and recorded by him and Art Garfunkel, aka, Simon & Garfunkel. An interesting thing about the song is that the album it was originally released on in 1964 was a total flop and actually led to the breakup of the S&G duo. But the song, after hardly any airplay, began to pick up steam around Harvard University. The producer did a remix adding some electrical instrumentation and it ‘took off’!! The Sound of Silence hit #1 on the Billboard Charts in January of 1966! The duo immediately reunited and recorded their second album. You can still hear it on classic rock stations today. And just recently a group called Disturbed, released another version of the song.

Sound….of Silence; that’s kind of an oxymoron when you think about it. Silence actually has no sound, whatsoever. Silence is something we don’t experience much these days. On a personal note, Julie and I raised 5 kids, 4 boys, and a daughter. And, as you can imagine, there’s not much silence in a household like that. It was challenging, we loved it….but not much silence, if you know what I mean. And now with 9 incredible Grandkids….again, not much silence. We love the activity…and the noise that goes along with it! 

Most of us, when given the opportunity for silence, almost feel the need to turn on the TV, whether we’re watching it or not, just so we don’t have to deal with the deafening silence. But, we could be missing out if we’re not getting at least a little bit of silence now and then. If you think about it, embracing silence is one of those things we probably ought to consider. The clatter of everyday life has the potential of drowning out the, sometimes very quiet, voice of the Father. The Bible calls it, “the still, small voice”. God’s not limited to speaking to you in the silence….but the natural noisiness of life makes it a lot harder for you to hear.

Learn to ‘deal’ with the distractions, ‘make’ time for some silence….and hear what the voice of the Father is saying to you!

 

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He Won’t ‘Put More On Ya’ Than You Can Stand

There’s a common misconception, in my opinion, on a certain passage of scripture that’s used over and over. It’s usually construed this way, “God won’t put more on you than you can stand”, or “more than you can handle”. And, while that’s a nice thing to consider, I submit that the truth of it is not nearly as clear as most would like for it to be. In fact it’s not what the verse is talking about at all. (The verse in question is 1 Cor 10:13)

For starters, just so you won’t get the wrong impression of God, it’s not the nature of a father to put unreasonable, or unbearable things on their children just for the heck of it. That doesn’t make sense at all. And, don’t forget….He’s a lot better Father, by far, than we could ever be. And, the folks that say God puts hard things on you to teach you a lesson……are a ‘long ways off’ from reality! They really need to STOP it!

But here’s something that experience has taught me. He really doesn’t ‘put more on you than you can handle’, but He consistently allows you to go through things that you don’t think you can handle! In fact, and don’t get the wrong idea here, I actually think He kinda likes it! For, it’s in those times of desperation that you’re reminded of how much you really need Him. You’re a lot more prone to trust Him at times like that. THAT’S what He likes!

So, don’t be so quick to blame Him for ‘putting something on you’….and remember, as a Father, He’s a lot more interested in building character in you, than making you comfortable!

Check this one out, too:

Making the Best of a Bad Situation

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Making the Best of a Bad Situation

One sure fire thing you can count on in life is the inevitability of problems. It’s universal, in fact, and no one’s immune! These challenges come in a broad variety including, but not limited to, physical challenges, relationship challenges, health challenges, financial challenges and many, many more. Problems come in all shapes, sizes and forms, some are temporary while others may last a lifetime. Some might have simple solutions without a lot of stress, while others can be life altering, and in some remote cases…..even life threatening.

The list of root causes of these trials we experience in life is not a long one:

  1. We may be experiencing hardship because of our own decisions/actions
  2. It could be the result of someone else’s actions
  3. Happenstance (Stuff just happens!)
  4. Demonic activity
  5. The sovereignty of God

Nobody likes problems; I’m no exception. But what if these trials of life afford us an extreme opportunity to grow spiritually, …and as a human being?? If that’s true, and I believe it is, maybe our problems are not as bad for us a they ‘feel’. Here’s a few ways to look at your dilemma, to help you ‘make the best of a bad situation’.

Your trials:

  1. Tests your faith; God wants you to ‘know’ the quality of the faith you have!
  2. Helps build character; Few things are more valuable! It’s simple; trials build character!
  3. Help to ‘mature’ us; It helps immensely to bring us into our true identity!
  4. It may feel like it’ll ‘break’ you…..but it has the potential to ‘make’ you!
  5. Reveals impurities. It helps to reveal our ‘blind spots’.
  6. Have great potential to uncover ‘good things’ in you that are waiting to be exposed
  7. Some of the Father’s best work in us occurs during these times!
  8. In times of ‘desperation’ we’re likely to consider God. The Lord is ‘there’ in the midst of your trials!!
  9. Conforming Value; It’s all part of us ‘being conformed into the image of Jesus’!
  10. Experience is a great ‘teacher’! Gives you experience to help others with similar problems.

So, you see, our problems hold some great opportunities if we can make the ‘stretch’ to look at them from a little bit different perspective. How you react/respond to your problems could very well determine the duration of them. They have the potential to bring out the best in us. And, …..your perception of how bad your situation is…..may actually be miles away from reality!

 

What If It’s Not to ‘Break’ You,….but to ‘Make’ You?

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Shift Happens!

 Well, I bet that got your attention….for all the wrong reasons, too, no doubt! Lol. I’m not talking about the bumper sticker that you’re so familiar with, although there is some common ground between that and what I’m writing about today.

I was having a conversation with a young guy about a week ago. He’s a very sharp young guy…and one that I’d consider a ‘son’ in the Lord. He has tons of potential, and for his age displays a lot of character and maturity. I often think about how far ahead of the ‘curve’ he and a bunch of other young ones, are….compared to where I was, spiritually, in my mid to late ’20’s. It’s truly a blessing to see…and to know that I at least have had a little bit of influence with them is extremely rewarding.

He’s at a ‘juncture’ in his life; not a bad place at all but a place where he really doesn’t know exactly what to do. It’s the Lord that has brought him to this place….and it’ll be the Lord that’ll direct him from here. I do appreciate these young guys ‘leaning’ on me at times like this but I’m determined to never take the place of the Lord in their lives. And, while, many times I know exactly what decision they should make….I nearly always think it’s best to let them…and the Lord flesh it out. It seems to work and I really think the Lord likes that scenario a bunch better. But the most important thing that happens is the person learns to put his dependency on the Lord…..and not on me. That’s very, very healthy!

Times like these form and shape young believers (old ones too!) into their true identity. That’s where the title of this blog comes into play. When we’re faced with an issue, a problem or a dilemma and we arrive at the point of decision….there’s a ‘shift’ that takes place. The new understanding brings us into a ‘new’ place, a new point of perspective; we automatically begin to see things different. And in more ways than one….everything changes!

So, roll with it! And, keep in mind that anyone who’s serious about following the Lord is going to face a lot of times like that. It’s just a normal part of ‘the journey’. So the next time you see the ‘other bumper sticker’, let it be a reminder that ‘Shift Really Does Happen’!!

If you’re interested in one of my very favorite topics, “Hearing the Lord”, you really should read these:

“What’s The Lord Telling You?” Part 1

“What’s The Lord Telling You?” Part 2

If God Has Your Heart, He Can Get Your Feet Where They Belong!

You’re Better at Hearing the Lord Than You Think You Are!

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