How have you let your failures keep you from doing what God has called you to do?
Unfortunately, we tend to hyper-focus on our own shortcomings, and that robs us of our confidence. That’s part of what happened to the first disciples. Yesterday, I told you how amazed I was that the first disciples went from defeated to dynamic so quickly after the Resurrection. I shared with you the first of three roadblocks to confidence that the disciples illustrated: fatigue.
The second of these roadblocks is a failure. Matthew 26:56 says, “All the disciples deserted him and fled” (NIV). One of the main reasons the confidence of the disciples was so shaken was their sense of failure for having deserted Jesus. Plus, the thriving movement they were a part of — the ministry of Jesus — was seemingly dead. They were having a pity party. They were second-guessing themselves and wondering what went wrong. Jesus was supposed to be the Messiah, but then he died. I’m sure they were asking, “Why me? Who cares? What now?”
What’s the antidote to failure? It’s perseverance. You overcome failure when you admit it to God and keep doing what God has called you to do regardless of setbacks. The Bible reminds us that God specializes in using failures. The fact is, just three days after Jesus was crucified and the disciples thought their lives were in the tank, Jesus rose from the dead. God specializes in lost causes.
The Bible says in Proverbs 24:16, “Even if good people fall seven times, they will get back up. But when trouble strikes the wicked, that’s the end of them” (CEV).
Are you ready to get back up?
Every time a trial comes to me or my family, I think of the words from the Bible in Psalms 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God,” and I am often comforted. Sometimes, though, I wonder just what it means to be still and what exactly I need to do to make that happen.
When we face difficulties in our life that would make it seem as if we are on a ship being tossed upon a stormy sea, how exactly can we be still and a strength to our family while a storm rages around us?
Here are ten words and their definitions that can teach us how to be still in the times of a storm and recognize the power of God.
Still: free from noise or turbulence; untroubled
- When we are free from outside noise or turbulence, we are able to hear the still small voice of God’s Spirit as he comes to comfort and guide us through our trials. Some of the noise we experience that could be blocking our ability to feel God’s presence is our own worry. When we learn to change our thoughts from negative to positive, we are more able to feel God’s love because we are in harmony with him. The noise and turbulence is replaced by a sweet melody of peace.
Calm: a period or condition of freedom from storms; a state of tranquility
- To be calm does not mean that the storm is no longer all around you, it means that the storm is no longer within you. The storms may still rage, but you are free from the effects of them. They no longer trouble you because you know in whom you have trusted. You are in a place where you no longer fear.
Hushed: to put at rest; mollify-to soothe in temper or disposition
- Often times, when trials come, we tend to get angry with God and cry out in a complaint. When we do this, we lessen our ability to feel the Spirit, because we leave no room in our hearts for the Spirit to dwell. God cannot dwell in a heart that is full of anger. It is when we learn to put at rest our complaints and cast our burdens on the Lord, to hush our cries and wait upon him, that we will find solace. He will bind our broken hearts.
Peaceful: untroubled by conflict; devoid of violence or force
- Sometimes when difficulties arise, we allow the anger and frustrations from those trials to push us into violence, or we try to force our will upon the Lord. Neither one of these choices will bring us peace. When conflicts come and we are untroubled by them because of our faith in God, only then can we know peace.
Placid: serenely free of interruption or disturbance
- We can learn to be still as we pray, read scripture, go for a walk, meditate or give ourselves time to ponder free from interruption or disturbance. This not only allows us to communicate with our Heavenly Father, it allows our Heavenly Father to communicate with us.
Restful: marked by, affording, or suggesting rest and repose; being at rest
- Often times, the busyiness of life makes it impossible for us to truly hear what God is trying to tell us. It is when we slow down and allow ourselves the opportunity to rest that our mind and heart can focus on those things that are of the greatest importance. God wants to talk to us, but we have to be ready and available to listen.
Serene: shining bright and steady
- While reading with my children during home-school, I learned that the sun does not rise and the sun does not set. It is an illusion. Instead, the Sun stays still, steady and bright, and as the Earth turns to face the sun, that is when the morning comes. The darkness of night comes when the Earth turns away. It is the same with us. In our trials, when we turn to face the Son, who is steady and bright, just like the Earth, we are filled with light. If instead, we choose to turn away from him, the darkness of night will surely come. Choose to face the light.
Quiet: gentle, easy going, i.e. quiet nature
- When we are gentle and easygoing, we are more able to hear God’s commands. He gently persuades us to love him and serve others. We are more able to ease our own troubles, and we will carry God’s spirit within us, which will aid us in easing the burdens of others.
- Stilly: in a calm manner
- When we approach life, and our trials, in a calm manner, we are more able to see the bigger picture and outline a plan of recovery. Not only does it allow us to have a clear mind, but it allows us to help calm the fears of those around us.
- Tranquil: free from agitation of mind or spirit
- When our mind and spirit are still, our whole body is at peace. We are able to see things with a clear mind, feel things with a pure heart and hear the voice of our Heavenly Father with ears that are open and in tune with his spirit. We will know God because we will be one with him.
“Be still and know that I am God,” is not just a saying, it is a state of being. It is the ability to know God well enough to trust in his abilities to rescue you. As we learn to be still and trust in God, we come to know and understand that we are God’s children. We are never alone, never unaided and never forgotten. He will come to us. All it takes is for us to be still.
“My intent will be evident in the results.” ~ Thurgood Marshall
Phase 1—Dream: Do I have a dream planted in me by God? If you don’t have a dream, start praying, “God gives me your dream.” If you can’t write down the dream God has given you, you need to be praying. If you don’t have a dream, you’re not living, you’re just existing. God placed you on this earth for a purpose.
Phase 2—Decision: Do I need to make a faith decision that will help that dream become a reality? Some of you have a dream from God, but you haven’t made a decision to follow it. You’re still on the fence. God’s word for you is “Go for it!” Some of you may need to make the decision to give your life to Christ. Some of you may need to make the decision to join a church. Some of you may need to make the decision to get involved in ministry.
Phase 3—Delay: What has caused my dream to be delayed? If your prayer hasn’t been answered, that’s okay. It just means you’re in God’s waiting room. Now is not the time to detour. When things don’t happen on our timetable, we tend to run ahead of God and create detours to make it happen. You may end up making the wrong decision. Wait, wait, and wait for God to work in his hand.
Phase 4—Difficulty: What difficulties have I faced waiting for the dream to be fulfilled? You are being tested, but it’s not going to be the last time. You’ll go through many, many tests in life. God says, “I know exactly what you’re going through. I see it. I’m watching. Don’t think I’ve forgotten you—I haven’t.”
Phase 5—Dead End: Have I come to a dead end yet? Some of you are there ready to give up. But the truth is—you’re right where God wants you. You’re getting prepared for deliverance. God’s word for you is “Hang on! Keep on believing! Don’t give up!”
Phase 6—Deliverance: Do I expect and trust God to deliver me? “According to your faith will it be done to you.” (Matthew 9:29 NIV) God is faithful. What he tells us to do, he will do. But it doesn’t happen overnight. You go through the faith-phases of
Dream, Decision, Delay, Difficulty, and Dead End . . . and then comes Deliverance.
There are some basic rules that everyone needs to follow in order to successfully manage their money. It starts with managing your income. The key to financial success is to spend less than you earn. If you can do that, you can begin to build success through saving and investing your money. However, that is not always as easy as it sounds, and the key to doing it is budgeting successfully. A budget is more than a list of categories and amounts for your money. It is your monthly guide and your plan to help you reach your goals.
A budget works best when you write it out each month.
You set the amounts, you prioritize your spending and saving based on your goals and circumstances, and then you track your spending. This lets you know when you need to stop spending in a certain category. You can adjust your categories as needed, but you should try to stick to them for the most part. Once you get control of your budget, you w