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Success with Satisfaction

January 22nd, 2016

“Our only power and success come from God.” 2 Corinthians 3:5 NLT.

Success without satisfaction is failure not success.

My thoughts and comments today are about “success with satisfaction.”

Success is a more complex subject than might first be assumed. Sir Winston Churchill captured the process as, “moving from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.” Ultimately, success requires an untiring enthusiasm and expectation. Let success be your goal, but make satisfaction your measurement of success.

Success is a common, even innate, desire of the human spirit. God wills your success. About that fact, the Bible is clear. “Beloved I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers.” 3 John 2 NASB. God wills you to enjoy financial sufficiency, ample health and strength, measured by a singular standard, “as your soul prospers.” “Our only power and success come from God.” Read 2 Corinthians 3:4-5 TLB. Apart from the spiritual dimension, whatever measure of success you achieve will be unsatisfactory. Success without satisfaction is failure not success.

Do not let the world around you dictate what success is for you. The apparent success of others may mislead you into assuming your success will look like theirs. The Bible warned, “We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves with themselves, they are not wise.” 2 Corinthians 10:12-13 NIV. The world measures success by tangible acquisitions, notable achievements, popular approval, others’ applause, or material gain. “Then I observed that most people are motivated to success by their envy of their neighbors. But this, too, is meaningless, like chasing the wind.” Ecclesiastes 4:4 NLT. The world’s standards are different from what God values.

You must decide to which you will give irreplaceable years of effort, energy, and expense. Establish your personal definition of success. Without Godly benchmarks for measuring, you may not know when you achieve it or recognize when you have not. Contentment and satisfaction with what you achieve is a more reliable measurement of success than the tangible rewards that result.

For me, where I find the greatest satisfaction and most prize any measure of “success” are family and ministry. I will count Gayle’s and my success by the fruit of our family’s lives, the faith and values we hold in common, enjoying and loving one another’s company, and our mutual love and service for the Lord and His Church. Our family is central to my definition of success with satisfaction.

As for ministry, I evaluate ministry on the twin bases of obedience and faithfulness to God’s call, having done what He asked and been faithful where He placed me. Honest appraisal reminds me that God’s grace and people’s graciousness have been the source of success.

Today, I pray for you to measure success by the satisfaction you find in doing God’s will.

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Success and Satisfaction

April 24th, 2015

“God has given each of us the ability to do certain things well.” Romans 12:6 NLT.

Nothing is more satisfying than a job well done
and for which you are well suited.

My thoughts and comments today are about “success and satisfaction.”EDL pix satisfaction

Imagine an orchestra with all the chairs empty, except for one lone instrumentalist. However skilled the musician, a single musician and musical instrument is not an orchestra. Their individual talent and best effort would be inadequate and the composer’s arrangement unrealized. Nor would any musician attempt to play all the instruments singlehandedly. Such an intent and effort may be commendable but their ambition and ability would be questionable.

My application is this: no one can do everything equally well; you’re neither equipped to do so nor expected. You will do some things better than other things and some things not well at all. Best that you learn the difference. But everyone can do something well; that you ought to do as your stewardship of God’s grace and contribution to others’ benefit. A few words have often guided and strengthened my resolve, “I can’t do everything, but I can do something. And what I can do, I ought to do. And what I ought to do, by the grace of God, I will do.”

The Apostle Paul reminded Christians in Rome, “God has given each of us the ability to do certain things well.” Romans 12:6 NLT. Scripture is best read in the context of what precedes and follows. Paul introduced this verse with a profound understanding, “We belong to one another, and each of us needs all the others. God has given each of us the ability to do certain things well. So if God has given you the ability . . do it!” Read Romans 12:5-8 NLT.

God’s intent is clear. The abilities, skills, and experience God has provided you are for His purposes – serving Him, and serving others in His Name. “We belong to each other and each of us needs all the others.” Romans 12:5 NLT. Neither you nor I are complete separately, but together we are completed and sufficient in Christ. Read 2 Corinthians 3:4-5 NLT. You are needed even as you need others. You need the practical blessing from the giftedness of others, and they need yours.

The opportunities, abilities, and interests you possess are from the Lord and for His purpose and glory – not your pleasure or profit alone, nor to use as you will or withhold as you choose. “So if God has given you the ability . . do it gladly.” Romans 12:6/8 NLT. Don’t tout what you can do or have done, nor apologize for what you can’t do or have not done. Serve others graciously, thereby glorifying God. “For God loves the person who gives cheerfully. God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.” Read 2 Corinthians 9:6-8 NLT.

Nothing is more satisfying than a job well done and one for which you are well suited. Your preeminent satisfaction and success are when you offer what you do well, knowing you are serving as God created and gifted you, seeing others strengthened, and knowing God receives the glory. The preeminent benediction of God will be these simple words, “Well done, good and faithful servant . . enter into the joy of your Lord.” Matthew 25:11. Miss that and you miss everything that matters.

Today, my prayer for you is to experience and express joy-filled contentment each day of your life.

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Need You Can’t Ignore

September 6th, 2011

“Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany.” John 11:1 NKJV

“A need you can’t ignore is an opportunity God won’t avoid.”

My thoughts today are about “need you can’t ignore.”

Many of us live our lives pretty well requiring or wanting a minimum of help, or so we like to think. When things are fairly normal and manageable, we can maintain the illusion of self-sufficiency, but everyone will face a need you can’t ignore – times or situations when you are way over your head, well beyond your ability, and stretched past your capacity. It must be a vestige of the common fallenness, false pride, and vain independence that lay within the human heart that we want to create and sustain an illusion of one’s individual adequacy. Read 2 Corinthians 3:4-5. NLT – “our only power and success comes from God.” Now that’s the truth all the time – good times and bad!

Every toddler wants to do things all by themselves that they are not yet capable of doing. They would love to pour their own drink but we know, on their own, they will make a mess; they want to venture off on their own to explore, but they don’t know the dangers in the street or alone in a store or shopping center. Some day they will be more ready; right now they aren’t. Sound familiar?

Where will you turn when you truly need help? Lazarus and his sisters, Mary and Martha, faced such a situation, one they had not anticipated. Who can foresee a crisis? “Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany.” John 11:1 NKJV. Such a simple statement announces a desperate family crisis, a need you can’t ignore. (Read the whole story, John 11:1-45).

A health crisis quickly exposes previous illusions, but there are many things that do so as well – a job loss, a major financial setback, a home foreclosure, a rebellious teen, an unfaithful spouse, an unexpected death, a physical disability, a natural disaster, a despoiled reputation, a false accusation, or many such things for which you had not prepared. Mary and Martha turned to Jesus; Jesus is where you should start every time, not just when you are desperate and scared.

Some observations: (1) their need did not take them to Jesus; their friendship did. They had a history with Jesus, and He with them! Relationships are invaluable, clearly evident when you are in critical need. Before they imagined a need they could not ignore, they had established a valued relationship, often entertaining Jesus in their home. (See Luke 10:38-42/John 11:2-3/12:3 NKJV). They had reason for confidence in Jesus’ particular interest in Lazarus’ well-being. They knew Jesus cared. “Casting all your care on Him, for He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7 NKJV. How would you describe your relationship with God when not in crisis mode? Need repairing? Updating?

Another observation: (2) the degree of difficulty is of no concern to the Almighty. What seems impossible for you is not even difficult for Him. Put your crisis in perspective with consideration of God’s unlimited possibilities. “What is impossible from a human perspective is possible with God . . for nothing is impossible with God.” Luke 18:27/1:37 NLT. A need you can’t ignore is an opportunity God won’t avoid. The end of their story was new life – an unbelievable resurrection, disaster averted; what will your story be – new hope and praise? Read Psalm 138:7-8 NLT.

My prayer for you today is that your story ends in an amazing miracle of grace.

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A Certain Confidence

March 29th, 2011

“Blessed is the man . . whose confidence is in [God].” Jeremiah 17:7 NIV

Confidence is the knowledge you will have what you need, to do what you need to do.”

My thoughts today are about a “certain confidence.”

Living without confidence makes life more difficult than it needs to be. Usually, a person’s confidence is a bit of a mixed bag – confident in some areas and not so much in others. There will be people and experiences that build confidence in your life, encouraging and assuring you, along with your own experiences of success that provide reasonable expectations for future accomplishment. But there are also a lot of things that happen to shake your confidence, and there are always people along the way who don’t help you develop much, even ones that should.

Have you ever wondered what makes some people confident while others struggle so much with that? I think confidence is the knowledge that you will have what you need to have, to do what you need to do. Life experience, a good education, a supportive family and circle of friends, past successes, and a healthy sense of self-esteem certainly help your level of confidence. But I would suggest one thing more that you will need; you need a reliable source of help beyond yourself in addition to all the things I just mentioned.

Your confidence needs to be centered in God! Read Romans 8:35-39 NKJV. The Bible states it this simply: “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. He will be like . .” Read Jeremiah 17:7-8 NIV. Jeremiah then describes such a person: having permanence, being in a good place, enjoying reliable and sufficient resources, reflecting stability, unshaken by adversity, and remaining fruitful throughout difficult times. Is that the kind of person you would hope to be?

Those are the characteristics that should and can describe you; but you must choose to place and keep your trust and confidence in God. “For You have been my hope, O Sovereign LORD, my confidence since my youth. From birth I have relied on you . .” Psalm 71:5-6 NIV. The earlier you learn the true source of assurance, the easier you’ll discover real confidence. Paul found his confidence in Christ, “For I know Whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that day.” 2 Timothy 1:12 NKJV.

The preceding verses describe a far different confidence: “. . who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength, and whose heart turns away from the Lord. He will be like . .” See Jeremiah 17:5-6 NIV. The contrast in this person’s situation and success is vivid and shocking: vulnerable to surroundings, unproductive, not prospering as others, and altogether on their own. If they have any confidence at all, it is a false confidence, more imagined than real.

Jesus told a story about people whose confidence was in themselves alone. Read Luke 18:9-14 NIV. When your heart is confident before God, you can live with courage and confidence in front of everyone and in everything. Read Psalm 27:10/13-14 NIV. “We are confident of all this because of our great trust in God through Christ. It is not that we think we can do anything of lasting value by ourselves. Our only power and success come from God.” 2 Corinthians 3:4-5 NLT.

My prayer for you today is that­­­­ your complete confidence rests squarely on God.

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