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Posts Tagged ‘mistakes’

A Fresh Start

January 27th, 2017

Today can be an exit from your history and entrance to your destiny

 “His compassions are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23 NIV

My thoughts and comments today are about, “a fresh start.”

Life can feel unmanageable, your past cluttered with unfinished business and the path ahead filled with responsibilities. But life is not lived in yesterday or tomorrow; life can only be lived today. Your life is more than the facts of your history or your unrealized destiny. Positively or negatively, both of those are greatly affected by anything, or maybe everything, you do today. You can reinforce your history or rewrite its predictions. You can sell your future cheaply or invest yourself in achieving its potential.

This day is a fresh opportunity to write a new chapter in the ongoing story of your life. Sure, you have made mistakes. There are things you would have done better if you had been wiser. The remedy for regrets is simple. Enjoy a fresh start. Do better; learn from your mistakes rather than repeating them.

King David’s story is a record of repentance and redemption. In repentance, he embraced a greater future. Learn from his example and rejoice with him: “The Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:23-24 NIV.

Recognize God as Lord of this day and rejoicing becomes the appropriate response. In grace, your history becomes His story. Today can bring a fresh start. Stop rehearsing your mistakes, regretting your failures, or reliving your record. Your God has a record of redeeming tragic histories. And your God is equally adept at crafting unimagined destinies. Both of those the Holy Spirit accomplishes in the context of today.

The Apostle Paul had history that God covered in grace and mercy. “I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy.” Read 1 Tim 1:12-17 NKJV. On that road to Damascus, Paul met God face to face and his history was redeemed and his destiny assured. Read Acts 9:1-6 NKJV. People do not turn their life around without divine intervention. Only ignorance or arrogance – or both – would make a person attempt such a life change without God.

Paul found there was only one answer for spiritual transformation and subsequent conformation to Christ-likeness. “I am still not all that I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to Heaven.” Philippians 3:13-14 NLT.

Notice that Paul mentioned, “one thing,” and then proceeded to talk about, “forgetting, looking forward, and straining to reach.” The one thing Paul believed crucial was expressed in three equally essential actions: laying aside everything inhibiting about yesterday, living with anticipation today, and giving Godly effort to fulfill God’s calling every day that follows. Today can be an exit from your history and entrance to your destiny.

Today, I pray for you to trust both your history and destiny into Jesus’ capable hands.

Christian Communications 2017

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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.

Christian Communications 11216

EDL PIX remorse

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Be Exemplary

June 24th, 2014

“In everything, set them an example by doing what is good.” Titus 2:7 NIV.

Be exemplary; follow Christ fully and consistently.

My thoughts and comments today are about, “be exemplary.”

Mistakes. Everyone makes them. You can learn from mistakes, yours and others. In fact, you should learn from your mistakes; if you don’t, you are destined to repeat them. It’s best if you learn to minimize the number of mistakes you make, especially the ones you seem to repeat. However, there is a better way. You can and should learn from the example and instruction of others. The example of others can teach you what to do right, as well as what to avoid.

The Apostle Paul was bold to say, “Pattern your lives after mine, and learn from those who follow our example.” Philippians 3:17-18 NLT. There are plenty of opportunities if you are willing to look, listen, and learn from the example and experience of others – valuing their successes while avoiding their failures. Read 1 Corinthians 10:6-13 NIV.

I count myself as fortunate. Across my lifetime, God has sovereignly placed Godly examples in my life. I still have plenty of room for improvement but I am far better than I would have been without them. Regrettably, I have not always lived up to their standard, but I steadfastly value their experience and example. My goal is as Paul’s focus, “I keep working toward that day when I will finally be all that Christ Jesus saved me to be.”  Read Philippians 3:12-14 NLT.

From my Dad and Mom, I learned a lot about life and integrity in relationships and ministry. From spiritual fathers, I continue to learn about personal and spiritual disciplines and the sacred priority of marriage and family. From friends, I am learning about the importance and responsibilities of meaningful friendships. From pastoring those who entrusted their souls to my care, I continue to learn the sanctity and sacrifice of ministry.

I have a great debt to repay, which suggests another side to consider in this matter. Are you helping others learn from your experiences? Read 2 Thessalonians 3:7 NIV. Be exemplary. “Set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12 NIV. Those certainly were not intended as an exhaustive list you can check off and be done with it. Those are the elemental and essential qualities of spiritual life, upon which all other Godly behavior rests.

Spiritual growth rests solidly upon the fundamentals of practical, spiritual life. Without those you may work diligently on correct conduct apart from the underlying strength of Godly character that sustains such behavior. “God has chosen to make known the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory . . so that we may present everyone perfect in [their relationship with] Christ.” Colossians 1:27-28 NIV/NLT.

Apart from “Christ in you,” there can be no “hope of glory,” in the lives we live. Jesus left you a sure path to follow, “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” John 13:15 NIV. Be exemplary; follow Christ fully and consistently. Paul got it right, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 11:1 NIV.

Today, my prayer for you is to be sure whose example you follow and who is following yours.

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Errors and Faults

October 11th, 2013

“Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults.” Psalm 19:12 NKJV.

Good friends can help you; God’s Word will guide you.

My thoughts and comments today are about “errors and faults.”

Mistakes are a part of life, made by imperfect people in an imperfect world. “No one can see his own errors; deliver me, Lord, from hidden faults! Keep me safe, also, from willful sins.” Psalm 19:12-13 TEV. Try to avoid mistakes when possible, manage them when they occur, and always learn from them because you will make others. May your mistakes be small, quickly remedied, and cause no loss to you or others.

Let me share a few practical things I have learned from mistakes, which I admit have not been infrequent. Serving in a conspicuous and public position, my errors of judgment have not gone unnoticed, but thankfully have usually been viewed with understanding – even grace and forgiveness from God and people. Mistakes are not permanent or final unless you allow them to be.

Don’t be afraid of making a mistake. Fearing mistakes is the surest way to make one. You will make mistakes, small and large. No one can prevent every mistake, but you should be clear about obvious choices of right and wrong. “Anyone then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.” James 4:17 NIV. Better that your mistakes are errors of judgment, rather than failure of character. Character failures are far worse.

Admit your mistakes. Why try to hide them? That never works well. See Proverbs 28:13-14 NLT. Remove any pretension that you are incapable of making them. A mistake is rarely any surprise to those who know you well, and doesn’t typically matter to those who don’t. Failure to admit your mistake is a vain attempt to preserve an illusion that you are incapable of being wrong. Sadly, that is not true of any of us. Why waste valuable time acting as though it is? The quickest way to correct an error is to recognize it, learn, and move on.

Learn from your mistakes. It is said that mistakes are often the price of progress. “Learn from science. In science mistakes always precede the discovery of truth.” Author William Saroyan. It is not how few or many mistakes you make that matters; it is how few or many times you make the same mistakes again. Learn from your failures so as not to repeat them. Good friends will help you; God’s Word will guide you. Read Psalm 119:9-11 NKJV. Welcome honest input from others you trust, valuing their objectivity, experience, and advice. See Proverbs 19:20-21 NIV. No one can make decisions for you, but the best decisions will include wise counsel. See Proverbs 11:14 NKJV.

Mistakes always cost somebody something. Limit them when you can, and correct them quickly when they occur. Don’t be cavalier about your own mistakes as though they don’t matter; they matter to someone. If you depreciate their seriousness, you will not be as careful to avoid them. Be more generous with others’ mistakes than you allow for your own. Don’t be casual about them. Humility and honesty are the best way forward.

My prayer for you today is that you learn from your mistakes and rise above every failure.

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Today

June 6th, 2012

“This is the day that the Lord has made.” Psalm 118:24 NKJV

Today holds the remedy for your checkered history and the point of entry into your destiny.

My thoughts and comments today are about “today.”

Life can seem unmanageable, often more than you think you can handle. Your past can be cluttered with too much unfinished business, the path ahead filled with too many responsibilities. Life is about today, who you are and what you do today. Your life is not altogether about the facts of your history or the potential of your destiny, yet both of those are greatly affected – positively or negatively – by anything, and maybe everything, you do today. You can reinforce your history or rewrite its predictions. You can sell your future cheaply or invest in achieving its potential.

Today is your opportunity to write a new chapter in the ongoing story of your life. Sure there were mistakes you’ve made, things you would have done better if you had been wiser. Well, today is a great time to fix that. Do better; don’t repeat your mistakes; learn from them. The Psalmist David knew about destiny and history. No one was promised a greater future; few have had a more irregular history. To David’s credit, he would not let the story of his life conclude with his failures. Read Psalm 32/51. His story is a record of repentance and redemption.

Through repentance and redemption, your history can become His story. Listen and learn from David’s counsel: “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24 NIV. Today can be your fresh start. Stop reliving your record, rehearsing your mistakes, regretting your failures. Today is all you have been given right now. It is not about what you did in the past or how well you intend to do in the days ahead; it is just about this one day! God has a sterling record of redeeming people’s sad histories, and is equally adept at engineering magnificent destinies. “This is the day the Lord has made!”

Like David, the Apostle Paul had some history he would like to have forgotten as well. Read Acts 9:1-6 NKJV. On that road to Damascus, Paul met God face to face and everything changed. I have found that most people cannot turn their life around without divine intervention. Either arrogance or ignorance, or both, would make a person want to attempt such a life change without God. Paul found the answer to successful conformation to the likeness of the Savior, “I am still not all that I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to Heaven.” Philippians 3:13-14 NLT.

Notice that Paul mentioned “one thing,” and then proceeded to talk about “forgetting, looking forward, and straining to reach.” The one thing Paul thought crucial was expressed in three equally necessary actions: laying aside everything inhibiting about yesterday, living today with faithfulness and anticipation, and filling tomorrows with Godly effort to fulfill God’s calling. Today holds the remedy for your checkered history and the point of entry into your destiny.

My prayer for you today is to live this day rejoicing and each that follows with gladness.

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