Tag Archives: success

A Thought on Peter

I don’t know about any of you, but I have a habit of looking at my past, and when I do, I admit that I often see my failures far more often than I see my successes.  Ask me how I’ve failed, about my short comings, my temptations, my lack of confidence, and I can tell you all of them.  Seeing myself and all the bad things about me has never been my problem, but seeing the good things about myself has been, and quite truthfully still is.

I don’t like admitting this, but it is what it is.  Tonight I was reading about the apostle Peter.  There are times when I see a lot of myself in Peter.  I can look at his life with Christ, and I can see many of his failures in myself.  Peter denied Christ three times.  He told Christ Jesus he would never deny Him.  He did.  I have too.

I don’t like admitting this either, but it’s true.  Like Peter, I didn’t and don’t intend to, but it’s happened, and happens.  Do I go around telling people I don’t believe in Jesus.  No.  Maybe not with my voice, but in so many ways.  There are as many ways to deny love as to accept it, and there are as many ways to express hate, prejudice, bigotry, selfishness, and disdain and intolerance as there are ways to express the opposite.

Peter knew these things, felt these things, showed them in his life-even as He walked with Jesus.  Peter knew his failures.  Jesus knew them, too, and forgave them.  Peter was transformed by the love of Jesus.  Peter in the beginning was as we all are…an enemy…and yet through the love of Jesus became a pillar of the early church, and was so steady and brave in his devotion and love of Christ that he helped to change the world he lived in for Christ.  He lived and died loving Christ Jesus because He had experienced grace in His presence.

In the beginning Peter knew failure…In the end He knew success…in the middle grace had its affect, and it’s effect, and it still does…

 

 

From “The Word For You Today” by Bruce Christian

BE HAPPY FOR OTHERS

William Barclay said: “It’s more difficult to congratulate another on his success if it involves disappointment to us, than to sympathize with his sorrow… Only when self is dead can we take as much joy in the success of others as in our own.”  Karen Ehman’s home had been for sale twenty months when a friend called to say hers sold in twenty days.  Ehman says: “Although I was thrilled…I was a tad jealous…that ‘poor me’ mentality when God answers someone else’s prayer and my answer seems to be ‘no,’ or ‘not right now.’  As a child I envied kids from two-parent homes…in high school it was other girls’ looks and cute clothes…I was average looking, and although I was every guy’s pal, I was nobody’s gal.  In college I envied girls whose prayers for a knight in shining armor were answered…Once married, I struggled with miscarriage and dashed dreams of motherhood…I slapped a smile on my face and attended yet another baby shower.  The cure for envy isn’t easy…but when you call on God He will ‘tell you…things…you could [never figure out on your own]’ (Jer 33:3 NIV).  Instead of begging Him to sell my house, take away my pain, and fix my kids, I need to ask what He’s trying to teach me that I won’t learn if He rescues me; and what qualities He’s trying to grow in me.  God’s willing and able to answer our prayers as He sees fit…[His goal is] growing us to be more like His Son.”  Paul writes, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.”  To be Christlike, you gotta be able to do both.

From “Rylisms” by James Ryle

Uncovering Lost Secrets of True Success

“For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” (Joshua 1:8).

Nordstrom’s, one of the most successful retail companies in the world, hosted the top executives from J.C. Penny’s at a business luncheon held in the Nordstrom corporate offices. Penny’s, a company once at the forefront of commercial success, but whose profit margin had now been in steady decline for years, was in desperate need of some sound business advice.

During the lunch one of the execs from J.C. Penny asked his Nordstrom counterpart, “What is the secret of your company’s success?” It was an awkward moment, to say the least; for it is not always prudent to share company secrets with your potential competitors.

Nevertheless, after a slight pause and without saying a word, the Nordstrom executive got up from the table and walked out of the room. Moments later he returned with a large, old book and placed it on the table in front of his counterpart.

“This is the secret of our success,” he said. The Penney’s executive was dumbfounded when he saw that the book before him was a 100-year-old copy of the Franchise Manual for J.C. Penny’s!

Nordstrom was simply doing well what Penny’s had once done – but somewhere along the way had stopped doing. Nordstrom had found and followed the values and guidelines that Penny’s had lost.

When Joshua was divinely chosen to succeed Moses in leading the children of Israel into their Promised Land, God charged him with a single responsibility — “Study this Book of the Law continually. Meditate on it day and night so you may be sure to obey all that is written in it.” The charge was then followed by a powerful promise, which holds true even to this very day — “For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall deal wisely and have good success.”

That’s the bottom line every man and woman seeks.

There is an ancient, time-tested and time-proven manual for success in life. It is the Bible, and we can advance our lives in ways that are pleasing to God and prosperous to ourselves by following the teaching of this Book — just as others have done who have gone before us.

Why not give it a shot and see what happens?

From “The Word For You Today” by Bruce Christian

HAVE YOU LOST YOUR FOCUS?

Sometimes after “giving it your all,” you can end up totally drained.  Look at Elijah.  God used him on Mt. Carmel to call down fire from heaven on the prophets of Baal.  Yet he fell apart under Jezebel’s threats.  Fleeing for his life, he “sad down under a broom tree… and said, ‘It is enough!  Now, Lord, take my life.'”  The moment his focus changed from God to the enemy, he became overwhelmed.  So God spoke to him again.  This time it wasn’t in a spectacular display.  Instead, He spoke in a “still small voice” (v. 12 NKJV), drawing him aside to rest and spend time with God.  The next time the nation saw Elijah he was spiritually on top again.  So  answer this: has your focus shifted from God to all the “stuff you have to do”?  If so, you need time out, time alone with God.  When He calls you aside to rest, do it!  Vic Pentz says, “Nothing fails so totally, as success without God.”  The twofold danger in the aftermath of any success is: (1) spending too much time listening to the accolades of others; (2) presuming you have what it takes to succeed on your own.  As a result you disconnect from God, Who is the source of your strength.  David said, “The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”  (Ps 27:1).  Fearlessness is foolishness, unless it’s based on faith in God.  And one more thought: God sent Elisha to assist Elijah, and he can send the right person to help you too.  He knows what to do to get you moving again.

A Thought on Anxiety

      We live in a world ridden with anxiety; people who are anxious, filled with fear, worry, and doubt, suspicious of everyone and everything, and quick to defend or take action against any perceived wrong, any questioning of our beliefs.  All searching, looking, wanting that some ONE thing that we hide in our heart of hearts thinking that if we have it then we’ll be satisfied.  We look for it in people, in possessions, in power, in money, in business, in education, in every conceivable nook and cranny in the world.  We flip over every card in the deck, buy lottery tickets for the power ball, fill casinos to the brim, bet on every game, horse race, and athletic event in hopes of hitting it big, and then when we do – if we do – it’s on to the next thing.
       Some of us – all of us – have been successful in our lives, on some level, perhaps at just one thing, at one time, but we’ve all experienced success.  Some of us have been successful at a great many things in a multitude of areas, and yet we still want more; are still anxious; uneasy, fearful, afraid, unsure, only to ready to believe that it can all vanish in a millisecond.  We live with that nagging, shadowy voice in the back of our minds that says “this isn’t enough.”  “Better work harder,” or some such thing.  
     Like the gerbil on the wheel, we keep running through the routines of our lives scarcely taking notice of the people and things around us, and then when we do stop (though we don’t really) it’s never a complete stop – just a slowing down – a switching of gears, and we call it relaxing, taking time off, but it’s really just taking away time from something or someone else.  We don’t dare stop, not intentionally at least, because to stop – to stop completely – creates a vacuum, an empty space, a place in which, just maybe, another voice can be heard, a very faint, very far off, voice that says wait.  A voice that very softly asks us in that rare undefined moment “Why are you doing this?”   That with each beat of our hearts says, “Is this all there is,” and saturates each breath we take with the rhythmic “why can’t I be satisfied?”
     We live with the “I wants,” “I have to have’s,” and the “I can’t live without’s.”  Then when we feel the pain (and there’s always the pain – though we deny, hide, avoid, and disavow it –  it’s undeniably there) we do everything in our power, use every means at our disposal, to try to kill it, to get rid of it, and yet it’s always there.  Entertainment, sports, illicit drugs, and alcohol are the great narcotics we use to deaden , dull, and desensitize our hearts and minds to it, and to the voice, the very gentle, very soft, very forceful voice that keeps repeating the questions – the ones we can find no satisfactory answer to – that haunt us in the most importune moments.
     We live in a state, a country, a world of anxiety.  We worry about worrying.  We live in, with, because, and in spite of it.  Yet we don’t do any of them well.  Why anxiety?  Why this unease, this disquieting spirit, within us?  Perhaps the answer lives in the silence of those very rare moments, in the solitude of reflective thought, in the quiet contemplation of creation, in that lone voice that speaks to us all at one time or another.  Perhaps, as gravity holds us to ground, as an anchor steadies a ship among waves, as a compass guides on an unknown path, the answer lies in the connections.  I’ve often wondered and thought of anxiety as a disconnect for isn’t that in reality what it is?  Can any musical instrument play beautiful music when it’s out of tune?  
     We look at anxiety as a bad thing, but as in so many things, definition is determined by design.  It is said that anxiety is the handmaid of creation, that all art, in part, stems from it, and I can see where that might be true.  Yet, I also believe, that anxiety serves as a herald, that it rides on our hearts and minds as Paul Revere rode through the darkness of night warning and giving notice to those who would listen that something was amiss and not right.   
     As any electrician knows the power goes out when there’s a disconnect, and I believe that’s what anxiety is to the human being.  It’s a failure to connect.  As a christian, I know that my power to live comes from my connection to Christ, and it’s in my relationship with Him that I find and am connected to the source of my strength.  

Here’s some food for thought:

The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith, and the beginning of true faith is the end of anxiety.

George Muller.

Anxiety is a thin stream of fear trickling through the mind. If encouraged, it cuts a channel into which all others thoughts are drained.

Arthur Somers Roche.

An average person’s anxiety is focused on :

40% — things that will never happen
30% — things about the past that can’t be changed
12% — things about criticism by others, mostly untrue
10% — about health, which gets worse with stress
8% — about real problems that will be faced

     100% of the above can be alleviated and resolved through prayer.