Tag Archives: failure

Fortune Cookie Devotion Series: Plans of Failure

As the fortune cookie says, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” I certainly am not trying to get you to live a life without spontaneity; however, there is a big difference between not planning a day trip to the local shopping outlet and not planning as you purchase your first home. The Bible speaks often of making plans and counting the cost of our choices. 

One of my favorite moments of preparation in the Bible is when Nehemiah arrives in Jerusalem. He did not simply jump into the task of rebuilding a wall after he arrived. He took the time to walk around the entire area. He spent days looking everything over. It was important for him to be prepared for the next step. For us, it is the same. We often are led to do things in faith, where we cannot plan much if anything, and we certainly cannot control the situation. At the same time, there are moments when it is important for us to use good discernment, to way options, to count the cost, to get all our ducks in a row. This is part of giving God our best. 

This doesn’t mean you have to plan every second. This doesn’t mean you must be a time-driven crazy person who does not allow for God ordained interruptions. Just don’t let yourself be so slack in life that you live a lazy life. Plans mean having a budget. Plans mean counting the cost to decide if it is worth the investment of your time, talent, and treasure. Plans mean scheduling time throughout your day to dive into the Scriptures, to pray, to meet with God. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. 

“So I arrived in Jerusalem. Three days later, I slipped out during the night, taking only a few others with me. I had not told anyone about the plans God had put in my heart for Jerusalem. We took no pack animals with us except the donkey I was riding.” – Nehemiah 2:11-12 [NLT]

Fill Your Horn

King Saul was told to destroy the Amalekites; he was given a command from the Lord. He disobeyed that command and God said, “I regret that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions.” Samuel was angry, and he cried out to the LORD all that night (1 Samuel 15:11-12 NIV).

Samuel was greatly disturbed when the Israelites wanted to have a king over them instead of recognizing God as their King. He was upset again when the anointed king would not follow the command of the Lord. He mourned. He went to Ramah and continued to grieve. God asked Samuel how long he would mourn—because there was still more to be done. God was to have him anoint a new king, King David.

There are moments in life when we get stuck in a hole, whether it be the sinking sand of failure or frustration or mourning or comfort (yes comfort), we don’t want to move. We embrace where we are at when God wants us to move forward. God told Samuel to fill up his horn—to get prepared and press onward and accomplish the task at hand. There’s more to be done my friend. Let us keep on keeping on.

“The LORD said to Samuel, ‘How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.’” 1 Samuel 16:1 [NIV]

Old Thoughts

We are a people who focus on the past. When something is over, we keep replaying it in our minds. We continue to dwell on things of the past, things that we cannot change, instead of focusing on the here and now. A bad relationship. Hurtful words. Past failures. Bad decisions. It is so hard to let things go and move forward.

God’s Word states that he is “creating new heavens and a new earth” and because of this, “no one will even think about the old ones anymore.” No one will consider the old. Why? Because the new heavens and the new earth will fully satisfy so there will be no want of the old.

God is already making things new. As you continue to give your life to him, you will find that he is making you new. The more you grow in him, the more you will stop thinking about the old you and the things of old. You will find yourself fully satisfied with the new. God is making all things new. Amen!

“Look! I am creating new heavens and a new earth, and no one will even think about the old ones anymore.” – Isaiah 65:17 [NLT]

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Never Again

Most people have had a time when something was rubbed in their face. Think back to when you made a mistake or a poor choice. Many people will not hesitate to remind you of the bad decision. People find pleasure in bringing up your failure. To many people, you are defined by your sin. The guy on the front page of the paper is a “thief.” Your neighbor is a “drunk.” The one word description sticks like glue.

God has promised that he will blot out your sins and then he won’t think of them again. He doesn’t bring up what you have done or what you will do next. He doesn’t say, “Hey, remember when you stole that pack of gum when you were five” or “Remember when you lied to your boss,” nor does he remind you of any other shortcomings and failures.

He does remind us of something though. He promised us he “will never think of them again.” He promised that he makes all things new. He promised that we will all be white as snow. We simply need to believe him. Whenever you are reminded of your sins, remember that it is the devil trying to incapacitate you from your true calling.

“I–yes, I alone–will blot out your sins for my own sake and will never think of them again.” – Isaiah 43:25 [NLT]

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Be an Encourager

Have you encouraged someone today? This appears to be a simple question but I challenge you to honestly consider your day and if you took the time to encourage someone. People need encouragement—look around and there is no way to deny it. Negativity is everywhere. People identify with their failures. People listen to what the world says about them. People live with defeat. People are struggling.

The amazing thing is that encouragement isn’t so difficult—it’s all about being intentional. As I was reading the Book of Acts, I read about how Paul was encouraging others. In Acts 20, it mentions how he encouraged the disciples and then as he traveled through Macedonia, he continued to speak words of encouragement. Moses was told to encourage his successor Joshua (Deuteronomy 3:28). Barnabas, “the son of encouragement,” surely lived up to his name as he was the one to welcome and work alongside Paul after his conversation (see Acts 9).

Again and again we are commanded to encourage each other. This was mentioned so many times because everyone needs encouragement. Let us be encouragers. Let us spend time building each other up rather than tearing each other down. We each are a part of the same body, and as a body needs each of its parts to work together, so we each need each other to fully function. Be an encouragement.

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11 [NIV]