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Posts Tagged ‘consequences’

Failures and Sorrows

September 4th, 2015

“Simon, when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:32 NKJV.

Momentary failure need not produce consequences for a lifetime.

My thoughts and comments today are about “failures and sorrows.”

Failure comes in many forms and sizes, but inevitably comes to all. May yours be insignificant and easily redeemable. Learning from your own and others’ failures is essential. The prolific inventor, Thomas Edison, 1847-1931, held 1093 patents but failed hundreds of times before successfully inventing the electric light bulb because he didn’t stop trying until he succeeded. Edison is quoted as saying, “I have not failed 10,000 times. I have successfully found 10,000 ways that will not work.” Turning failure to success is possible.

Who does not identify with Simon Peter? His record was not flawless. When he failed, he failed publicly and on a grand scale. Despite Peter’s earlier protestations of allegiance and after Jesus’ arrest, Peter denied three times to even have known Jesus. As the day dawned, Peter heard the crow of the rooster, remembered Jesus’ words and, “went out and wept bitterly.” See Luke 22:60-62 NKJV. Failure is not final; mistakes are not fatal.

Earlier, Jesus had spoken words of warning to Peter, but also reassurance, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:31-32 NKJV. Momentary failure need not produce consequences for a lifetime. “My salvation will last forever; My righteousness will never fail.” Isaiah 51:6 NIV.

Regret is a natural reaction; repentance is a spiritual response. Though the emotions feel similar, the resultant remorse is not to be confused. Paul explains the difference in these terms, “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. See what this Godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done.” 2 Corinthians 7:10-11 NIV. Regret is a natural, emotional sorrow that you are less holy than you thought you were. Repentance is a spiritual sorrow that you loved God less than you thought you did.

May your failures be from human judgement, not lack of spiritual character. You will not always get everything right the first time, but the first time should not become your last effort. And don’t give up on yourself; Jesus doesn’t. “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail.” Lamentations 3:22 NIV. Bring every failure to Jesus quickly, Who alone can give you a fresh start. “Jesus appeared so that He might take away our sins. And in Him is no sin.” 1 John 3:5-6 NIV. Jesus appraisal and commendation of your life can be, “Well done, good and faithful servant . . Enter into the joys of the Lord forever.” Matthew 25:21 NKJV.

Today, I pray for you that your failures will be few and your successes many.

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Repairing and Restoring

June 20th, 2014

“You shall be the ‘Repairer of the Breach, Restorer of Streets to Dwell In.’” Isaiah 58:12 NKJV.

Once broken, few things are as difficult to repair or replace as trust.

My thoughts and comments today are about, “repairing and restoring.”

Broken. What image comes to mind? Discarding something that doesn’t matter and won’t be missed? Or holding something broken but now irreplaceable? Everyone has experienced something being broken. Sometimes, that may be trust, or hearts, or friendships. Sometimes, you may be responsible, or it may have been someone else. Remember this: many things can often be fixed, or easily replaced. People, not so easily.

Friendships and family relationships are the most priceless and irreplaceable things that you are ever privileged to have and hold. The longer you have had them, the more irreplaceable they become. Hold them carefully with the fondness and regard they deserve. Once broken, few things are as difficult to repair or replace as trust. When harsh words, thoughtless actions, improper conduct or just unintended neglect breach the trust level in a relationship, there comes a growing distance between hearts that is often felt even before it is known. Brokenness must be repaired and trust restored promptly and fully. Read Ephesians 4:1-6 NIV/Psalm 133:1-3 NIV.

Move wisely, but quickly, to bridge relational separation. Doing so both minimizes the damage and demonstrates the value you place on the individual and relationship. No one promises it would be easy. “It’s harder to make amends with an offended friend than to capture a fortified city. Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with iron bars. Words satisfy the soul as food satisfies the stomach; the right words on a person’s lips bring satisfaction.” Proverbs 18:19-20 NLT. Delay gives unhealthy, even unholy, opportunity for imagination to misinterpret and magnify offences.

David felt the traumatic pain of a friend’s disloyalty. “It is not an enemy who taunts me – I could bear that. It is not my foes who so arrogantly insult me – I could have hidden from them.  Instead, it is you – my equal, my companion and close friend.  What good fellowship we enjoyed as we walked together to the house of God.” Psalm 55:12-14 NLT. Misunderstandings occur between the best of people, but the person and relationship are always more important than your hurt feelings or disappointment.

You are called to live in communion with God and in unity with one another. Communion suffers where unity is lacking. “Live in harmony with each other. Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do your part to live in peace with everyone, as much as possible.” Romans 12:15-18 NLT. You cannot control what others choose, but you are responsible for what you choose to do, either initially or in reaction to another person.

When you break another’s trust, apologize quickly and ask forgiveness sincerely. When your trust has been broken, forgive unilaterally and immediately, asking God for His sufficient grace. Remember all you have been forgiven. ”Those from among you shall build the old waste places; you shall be called the ‘Repairer of the Breach, The Restorer of Streets to Dwell In.’” Isaiah 58:12 NKJV. There are blessings if you do and consequences when you don’t. And what will the Lord do for you, when you repair and restore? “’For I will restore you to health and I will heal you of your wounds,’ declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 30:17 NAS.

Today, my prayer for you is to be first to offer forgiveness and the last to inflict harm.

A personal note: today’s devotional thoughts mark a milestone for EDL of 1,100 devotionals in the archives available at the website for you at – www.allenrandolph.com.

They cover a wide spectrum of helpful Bible verses and practical topics for you to browse at your leisure, consult for personal study, share with a friend, neighbor, or co-worker, or use as a resource for leading a Bible Study. Gayle and I thank each of you for your appreciation and partnership in the ministry of EveryDay Life . . Blessings!

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A Forgiving Heart

May 6th, 2013

“If you forgive those who sin against you, your Father will forgive you.”  Matthew 6:15 NLT.

A forgiving heart offers love undeserved and unmeasured.

My thoughts and comments today are about “a forgiving heart.”

There will not be a shortage of offenses, nor a lack of opportunities – really necessities – to have and express a forgiving heart. “It is impossible that no offenses should come . . “ Luke 17:1 NKJV. Your personal experience will confirm that reality, and the Bible’s counsel is, “Get rid of all bitterness . . Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:30-32 NIV.

Relationships create an emotional proximity that occasionally results in misunderstandings, minor and major. When someone hurts or fails you, remember your own need for grace. When disappointed in a relationship, the grace of God is readily available to you; don’t depreciate God’s provision and nor delay claiming it. Pay attention to the Bible’s warning: “See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” Hebrews 12:15 NIV. The bitter fruit of an unforgiving heart is a disposition that colors your life, interpreting the past and projecting the future.

The time immediately following an offense is precarious. Don’t let moments become minutes which soon extend to hours, days, and longer until the hurt grows bigger in your thoughts and settles deeper in your feelings. Forgiveness, or unforgiveness, is not as complicated as people make them to be; it’s simple really. Jesus said, “If you forgive those who sin against you, your Heavenly Father will forgive you. If you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Romans 12:21,Matthew 6:14-15 NLT.

The Kingdom of God sets a high standard but not an impossible one. An unforgiving heart imposes self-inflicted wounds to one’s spirit. “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21 NIV. It has helped me to differentiate between forgiveness and pardon. Forgiveness is honest about hurts while releasing to God all rights of either retribution or pardon. People can forgive; only God can pardon. Only God has perfect knowledge and sufficient grace to pardon.

Forgiveness does not claim wrong to be right, nor does it deny guilt. A forgiving heart offers love undeserved and unmeasured, neither self-imposing consequences nor demanding God withholds mercy and grace. Such a benevolent act of grace releases God to pardon, if He wills. Paul understood the purpose and extent of grace; “God’s kindness leads you toward repentance.” Read Romans 2:1-11 NIV.

My prayer this day for you is that you will trust God to set wrongs right with others.

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Do the Right Thing

May 18th, 2012

“Let it be known to you . . that we are not going to serve your gods.” Daniel 3:18 NASV

Do the right thing without regard to profit or pain.

My thoughts and comments today are, “do the right thing.”

Life presents you with consequential moments of decision. What you decide at such times shapes your life from that day forward. Some decisions are just choices with multiple acceptable options. However, there are matters that draw the line between right and wrong. At the risk of being ludicrous, let me illustrate the difference. What you choose to wear may be only a matter of preference and style, or the lack of it. However, which side of the freeway you decide to drive on will seriously impact the safety of others, and your own. The latter decision is consequential.

Three Hebrews were faced with a life shaping decision. Daniel 3:1-18. By royal command, the King decreed that everyone would bow down before a golden image at his command. To obey the king would desecrate their faith and renounce their God’s command – the first Commandment, “You shall have no other gods before Me . . you shall not bow down to them or serve them.” Exodus 20:3-5 NKJV.

They were captives in a foreign land. In spite of that beginning they had risen to places of privilege and prominence there. Everything they had gained and currently enjoyed would be forfeited. Of even greater gravity, to disobey the king would risk their lives. This was no small matter to the King, nor to them. Choices have consequence, immediate as well as eternal. They could make the right choice when it counted most because they had established a record of doing the right thing. See Daniel 1:3-8 NKJV.

What did they do? More importantly, what would you have done? Thankfully, the Bible records their answer. “Our God, Whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O King, But if not, let it known to you that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the golden image which you have set up.” Daniel 3:18 NKJV. These Hebrews did the right thing; they obeyed God rather than man. See Acts 5:29 NKJV/Proverbs 29:25 NIV.

They could make a right choice because they knew that was the right thing. They knew the right thing in the clutter of conflicting demands and inherent self preservation because they knew their God. Here is the secret to their moral and spiritual strength. They knew God’s ability and power, “Our God . . is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace.” They long before made a non-negotiable commitment, “Our God, Whom we serve . .” But as importantly, they knew God’s character, “He will deliver us from your hand, O King.”

When you are certain about God and your convictions, doing the right thing is simpler. They understood their deliverance from the furnace was not assured, but their deliverance from the King was. They trusted themselves to God’s hand, not the king’s. You can’t really know who you are until you are sure who God is. What is the thing with which you are struggling? Do what’s right.

Moses’ instruction to Israel is wise advice still today, “Listen to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His eyes . . Do what is right and good in God’s sight, so that it may be well with you.” Exodus 15:27/Deuteronomy 6:18 NIV. When tempted to do what friends pressure you to do, or what your own desires dictate you do, do what God wants you to do. That’s always the right thing. Doing the right thing is neither convenient nor always spares you hurt. You do the right thing because it is the right thing to do, without regard to profit or pain.

My prayer for you today is that you will never shy from doing what’s right to say or do.

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Choices Have Consequence

March 13th, 2012

“Don’t be misled . . you will always reap what you sow.” Galatians 6:7 NLT

“Choose well and wisely what you want to reap before you sow, not after.”

My thoughts and comments today are that “choices have consequence.”

Life presents you with choices; choices have consequence. Your choices determine either reward or loss; they always affect you and sometimes include others, whether intentionally or not. It is this simple. Do what is right and wise and reward comes your way, as well as blessing upon others. Choices from selfish insistence can have collateral damage beyond what you anticipate. The moral of this principle is: choose carefully and prayerfully, making corrections quickly when needed.

Wrong choices will be made, some out of ignorance and some of stubborn self-will. When you make a wrong decision and recognize it as such, correct your decision as quickly and honestly as you can. Doing so minimizes the effect and reduces the reach of an unwise choice.

The Bible teaches a “law of reaping and sowing” that is as old as creation. When God created the world, He established a principle that “seeds will produce the kinds of plants and trees from which they came. And so it was . .their seeds produced plants and trees of like kind. And God saw that it was good.” Genesis 1:11-12 NLT. An apple seed will produce an apple, which reliably will reproduce apple seeds! Choose well and wisely what you want to reap before you sow, not after. All the hope or regret in the world will not change the result from the seed you choose to plant. Seeds when sown can only produce what is their nature to produce, nothing more, nothing less!

Wrong choices result in negative consequences; Godly choices create positive results. “Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful desires will harvest the consequences of decay and death. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. So don’t get tired of doing good.” Galatians 6:8-9 NLT. God as faithfully rewards righteousness for “those who live to please the Spirit,” as He punishes unrighteousness justly for “those who live to satisfy sinful desires.”

The Bible warns, “Don’t be misled. Remember that you can’t ignore God and get away with it. You will always reap what you sow . . don’t get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time.” Galatians 6:7/9-10 NLT. This principle is not only with negative effect; it will work powerfully for you with positive force.

When I was young, I was warned about the foolishness of “sowing wild oats,” and the folly of then “praying for a crop failure.” Have you ever done that? You knew you shouldn’t, but you did anyway. In doing so, some folk, both young and old, have had to learn the hard way. Justice delayed is never wrong indulged nor right forgotten. Solomon learned from the pain of such an experience, writing, “Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.” Ecclesiastes 8:11 NKJV. When the inevitable occurs, every person hopes to avert the reality.

Be encouraged; sin and wrong do not have to be fatal unless you allow them to become final. Sometimes people are too late smart, as was Esau who “found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.” Read Hebrews 12:14-17 NKJV. However, there is grace and forgiveness, “For all have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious standard . . The Lord is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” Read Romans 3:23-26 NLT/2 Peter 3:9-14 NIV.

My prayer for you today is that you remedy wrongs by sincere repentance, confession, and real change.

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