3 Steps to Turn Failures to Successes

An F can serve as the foundation for an A+.

Babe Ruth, Robert Frost, Oprah, Winston Churchill, and many others, including you and me, have something in common. Failure has been a part of the life experience. Perhaps some on the list have reached great success, but it has not occurred overnight. It has taken much work and times of failing to reach the level of success now enjoyed.

Everyone experiences failures in life, and how these moments are handled is up to the individual. Here are 3 action-steps we can take to turn our failures into the starting point for the path to success.

Be honest about the situation.

Be honest, especially with yourself, when failure occurs. This will give you the proper perspective to move forward.

Take advantage of the failure.

Exploit the moment; pick it apart to learn everything you can. Ask the Lord to give you wisdom and understanding to help learn from the failure. The most valuable lessons we can learn come from the mistakes we make.

Never use failure as an excuse not to try again.

Keep trying may be the best approach. At one point in his career, Babe Ruth had struck out 1,316 times, but he did not stay in the dugout. It may take several job applications before you are noticed or it may take multiple attempts to run the marathon before you cross the finish line, but success can only come if you keep trying.

Charles Kettering suggested we must learn to fail with intelligence. He commented, “Once you have failed, analyze the problem and find out why because each failure is one more step leading up to the cathedral of success. The only time you do not want to fail is the last time you try.”

What steps are you taking to turn moments of failure into the launch pad for success?

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3 Benefits to Staying Calm in Overwhelming Situations

Clear thinking helps us get through the heaviest of situations.

It was a sunny Saturday morning, and the van made several turns before stopping. The driver said, “Let the training begin. Get out. I’ll see you back at the training facility.” The team with their guide dogs got out. They were lost.

What street were they on? What direction did they need to go? They were faced with a choice. They could panic or stay calm.

Staying calm awards, you and I benefits in overwhelming circumstances.

1. Staying calm keeps us thinking clearly.

Our minds are not fogged by panic, so we can process the situation. We can clearly see the event and any options available to us. Clear thinking will help us ask appropriate questions and develop strategies for moving forward.

2. Staying calm helps us respond rather than react to the situation.

Often reacting to a situation makes it worse. Our reaction is not thoughtful, so it doesn’t solve the problem. Responding with a thoughtful strategy can propel us forward even in the heaviest of situations.

3. Staying calm helps us communicate clearly.

One of the best resources we have in overwhelming situations is each other. Working together will help us create a better path out of the situation than we can make on our own. Staying calm helps us communicate in a more effective way.

Calm communicators think before they speak. They are not irritable and are less likely to drive teammates away by the things they say. Calmness fosters clear communication.

You and I will be placed in overwhelming situations. No one knows what tomorrow holds. The recent Corona pandemic is a good reminder we need to be ready for anything. There are benefits to staying calm when we feel overwhelmed. Staying calm will help us develop and execute a plan to get through the situation.

The lost team made it back to the training facility with no issues. We stayed calm and started walking in what we believed was the right direction. We found someone from the neighborhood, and she gave us more thorough directions. We made it back and had the confidence to stay calm if the events of the training exercise ever occurred in a real-life situation.

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This was originally posted on The Good Men Project.

 

 

Count Your Blessings

“Always take time to count your blessings.”

Song lyrics can present the Lord’s message to us in a melody which goes straight to the heart. We are reminded of timeless truth which can change our outlook and attitude.

Blessings by Florida Georgia Line has those lyrics.

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We are reminded of our blessings. “It sure ain’t hard to count your blessings,” the chorus says. An inventory of our blessings won’t fit on one hand or even two. Thinking about our blessings helps us see we have an abundance. A comprehensive list of our blessings can move us from discouraged to encouraged.

The old hymn Count Your Blessings suggests we name them one by one.

“When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,

When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,

Count your many blessings. Name them one by one,

And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Count your blessings. Name them one by one.

Count your blessings. See what God hath done.

Count your blessings. Name them one by one,

And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.”

It is not hard to count your blessings. Every good and perfect gift has come from the Lord above. Share how the Lord has blessed you in the comments below.

Blessings Is available at Amazon.

An Overcoming Character

The twists and turns of life often create barriers and hurtles needing overcome. The path to success is blocked by any number of obstacles forcing you and me to take a different route. The challenges posed by finding an alternate route can overwhelm and discourage us.

Thankfully, we are not alone. Many have overcome obstacles and barriers to find their way to success. Their stories can serve as encouragement to you and me. The Bible gives us examples of people who overcame life’s difficulties to fulfill their purpose.

Ruth went into the unknown.

Ruth is one of those overcomers. Her life seemed to be ordinary. A native of Moab, Ruth fell in love with a young man from Bethlehem. He and his family moved to Moab to escape a famine, and he was smitten by Ruth’s beauty and character. The two were married, but it wasn’t long before life challenged Ruth.

Her husband, brother-in-law, and father-in-law died leaving Ruth and her relatives as widows. Naomi, her mother-in-law, decided to return to Bethlehem, and Ruth had to decide what she was going to do. Ruth had to decide which direction to go; stay in Moab or go with Naomi into the unknown.

Stay or go?

For Ruth, this was a pivotal moment. The choice she made here was going to chart the course of her future. This was a big decision. It could have easily been overwhelming and discouraging. Can you relate?

Life is going well, but suddenly, it changes. You and I are pushed into a moment of change and required to make decisions charting our future. It is an overwhelming feeling and can be discouraging, especially if we thought the path to success was clear. Ruth illustrates the best approach for us.

Ruth allowed character to determine her direction.

To spite being overwhelmed, Ruth allowed her character to determine her direction. She was unselfish and loyal, so she went with Naomi into the unknown. Naomi was at an age where she was going to need help and Ruth believed she could be of assistance, so she went to Bethlehem. Her character propelled her into the unknown.

The unknown soon became familiar.

Bethlehem soon became familiar to Ruth, and she developed a relationship with Boaz. The two were married and had a son. This put Ruth in the lineage of Jesus.

The same will be true for us. If our character pushes us into unknown territory, it will soon become familiar.

Ruth’s secret to success was character.

Ruth was able to overcome barriers in life and find success. Her secret was character. Ruth allowed her unselfishness and loyalty to move her into the unknown.

Acting

Cultivate a character that’s ready to overcome barriers. Allow your character to determine your direction rather than feelings. A properly cultivated character will help us find the path to success.

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Do I matter?

Do I matter? This is a question you and I often ask, and the answer is yes, we do matter.

Significance is something we all search for. Not necessarily to always be in the spotlight as that may not be our place or personality, but to know our life matters. We desire to know our work matters. We like to know the choices we make have an impact. We want to know the act of service we offer is needed. Everyone needs to know his or her life is important and making a difference.

Unfortunately, we live in an imperfect world filled with jobs that treat us as disposable, institutions who say our contribution doesn’t matter, and bullies who treat us horribly. All causing us to struggle on our search for significance.

The Bible offers encouragement as we are on our significance search. You and I are reminded we are significant in the Lord’s eyes.

You are significant in the Lord’s eyes.

We are already significant in the Lord’s eyes. We have always been significant in the Lord’s sight.

  • “For you created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful. I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be,” Psalm 139:13-16 says.
  • Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s handy work, created in Christ Jesus, to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

The Search is Over

Our search for significance can be over. We can find our significance in the Lord.

To the employer who treats us as disposable, the Lord says he is wrong.

To a board of directors who say we have nothing to contribute, the Lord says they are wrong.

To the bullies who point and laugh, the Lord says they are wrong.

We do matter. The choices we make matter. The lives we touch matter. The acts of service we offer matter. Our lives are significant. Our significance is found in the Lord.

Acting

Try memorizing the above Scriptures so the next time you are treated insignificantly, you can remind yourself the Lord says you are significant.

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Jumping in Trust

Zack and his dad were hiking in the mountains of Tennessee on a sunny afternoon. Zack’s dad hears from above, “Hey dad! Catch me!”

Horrified to see Zack falling from an above cliff, the dad quickly put himself into position and successfully caught Zack. A moment passed while the dad calmed his nerves. Then he asked, “What happened?”

“I jumped,” the boy replied.

Why on earth did you jump,” the dad inquired.

Zack answered, “Because I know you are my dad and I knew you would catch me.”

Zack had complete trust in his dad because he was Zack’s father.

Trust is Foundational

Trust is the foundation for any relationship. Friends must trust each other. Parents and children must trust each other. Husbands and wives must trust each other. Our relationship with Jesus requires we trust him.

Jesus Requests Our Trust

Jesus requests in John 14:1 we trust him.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me.”

Jesus is having a conversation with his disciples, and he is giving them much to consider. He’s telling the disciples what is going to happen soon, but from their vantage point, there is still a great deal unknown. Jesus knows it is perplexing, maybe even frightening, for the disciples, so he makes a request that they trust him. The same request Jesus makes of us.

What’s going to happen in the future? If you could know the answer, would you want it? I wouldn’t, but the unknown is nerve-racking too. We dislike the unknown. We find it perplexing and frightening just like the disciples, so Jesus says, “Trust me.”

Jesus asks that we trust him. Trust him with our jobs and careers, our families and relationships, our money and financial health, and our lives. Jesus asks that we trust him with everything.

Why can we trust the Lord?

Romans 8:32 says, “He who did not spare his own son, but gave him up for us all. How will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”

The Lord has proven himself trustworthy by giving us his son. So, the question you and I need to answer is do we trust him? Do we trust him with our jobs and careers, our families and relationships, and money and financial health, and our lives? Do we trust him with everything?

Do we have the complete trust Zack did?

Acting

Make a list of the areas of your life where you may need to trust the Lord more. Ask him to help you build that trust. Share your experience in the comments below.

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Worried? Here’sSuggestions

You and I are not the only ones who worry. We can safely say worry is common and has negative effects. Here is some encouragement to help cope with the problem of worry.

A Professional Worrier

Two friends were having lunch and discussing the state of their lives. One friend said he was having a rough time. “I just lost my job, my savings account is empty, the bank has repossessed my car, and the lender is threatening foreclosure on my home. I’m not worried though.”

“You are not worried,” the other friend exclaimed! “How can you not be worried?”

“I’ve hired a professional worrier,” the other friend explained. “He does my worrying for me, and he only charges me 50 K a year.”

Surprised, the friend asked, “How can you afford to pay him?” “I don’t know. That’s not my worry,” the man answered. “It is his.”

The Problem of Worry

Worry can cause many problems.

Physical Health Concerns

Worry has many implications on our health. It can cause heart issues, migraines, and cause our bodies to produce too much of a stress hormone.

Mental & Social Concerns

Worry can influence our mood causing problems in social situations. A worried person can be irritable, and worry can be a starting point for depression.

Takes Tomorrow’s Thrill Away

Worry causes us to think of the worst-case scenario and traps our focus there. The problem is these scenarios rarely occur, and when they do, worrying excessively does not help change them. Worry has the power to rob us of the thrill found in the future; paralyzing us so we can’t enjoy the adventure of tomorrow.

3 Encouraging Suggestions to Help Cope with Worry

Here are 3 encouraging suggestions to help us cope with worry.

Look at Nature’s Example

Matthew 6:26 encourages us to look at the birds. They do not plant, harvest, or store food in barns, yet they have food. Jesus says the Lord feeds them. Birds have what they need. If the Lord will take care of the birds, he will care for you and me as well.

Matthew 6:28 challenges us to look at flowers. They do not worry about their looks, yet they are stunningly beautiful. If the Lord puts this much time and attention into a flower which is here today and gone tomorrow, he will take care of you and I as well.

Concentrate on Today

Jesus says, “So don’t worry about tomorrow. For tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” In other words, don’t bring the worries of the future into the present. We are encouraged to plan, not be paralyzed by worrying about the future. Concentrate on today. What good things have happened to you today? How have you been blessed today?

Replace Worry with Prayer

Do not worry about anything, Philippians 4:6 encourages, but in everything present your requests to God in prayer. Replace the time we spend worrying with time in prayer. Praying through worries will bring us peace.

You can find some more tips to stay positive here.

Our Professional Worrier

Like the man in the story above, we have a professional worrier. The Lord is our professional worrier.

  • “Come to me all you who are weary, and burden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me. For I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29).
  • “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you. He will never let the righteous be shaken” (Psalm 55:22).
  • “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

Acting

Try these suggestions this week to reduce the time you spend worrying. Share how it goes in the comments below. If you know someone who could be encouraged by this post, please share it with him or her.

 

 

3 Responses to Procrastination

I don’t know about you, but I procrastinate sometimes, particularly when I need to do something I am dreading. It seems our natural response to dreaded life change is procrastinating if possible.

 

This may be especially true when we believe the Lord is calling us to a life change, we do not understand or a project for which we feel ill-equipped. The good news is we are not alone. Moses shared in this experience.

 

“The good news is we are not alone. Moses shared in this experience.”

 

Moses was tending sheep one day when a nearby bush was ablaze but not consumed by the flames. Moses’ curiosity got the best of him, so he walked over to see what was happening. Moses walked over to see a burning bush but had an encounter with the Lord. The Lord revealed his plan, and Moses made every attempt to tell the Lord why it would not work.

 

When I arrive at my “burning bush,” I often procrastinate by telling the Lord I am not the right person. What about you?

 

Moses tried to convince the Lord he was not the right person, but for every reason Moses offered, God provided a response. It seems we offer the same reasons, and God offers the same responses. Here are 3.

 

No one’s listening.

 

Moses said no one would listen to him. They would just accuse him of being in the sun too long. God dismisses this reason by obvious work in Moses’ life.

 

Do you ever feel like you are talking, and no one is listening, so you just stop talking? Maybe you ask yourself, “Why do I even say anything? It is like talking to a brick wall.” Like Moses, the Lord’s work in our lives is obvious. And, while it may seem no one is listening, it turns out they are paying attention.

 

Reimaging Faith Formation for the 21st Century cites studies showing our family members are listening. For those of you who are grandparents, you are the second most influential person in your grandkids’ life. You follow only their parents, and in some cases, you are in the number one slot. You sit in a position to speak a lot of wisdom into their lives as they witness the Lord’s obvious work in your life. Just when you think no one is listening, it turns out they pay much attention.

 

The work the Lord is doing in our lives is obvious. It stands as a testimony to the words we say.

 

I can’t.

 

Moses tells the Lord he is not a good speaker, so how can he stand before Pharaoh and say anything. God responds by saying, “I gave you the abilities you have, so go, and I will help you.”

 

We may feel we are inadequate for God’s calling. We know we should do something, but we try to convince ourselves and the Lord we are not capable. We identify a barrier that could cause us to fail, and instead of jumping it, we hide behind it.

 

Moses identified a barrier of speech. What is your barrier? It could be any number of things. No matter the barrier, the Lord’s response is the same. “I gave your abilities and I will help you, so go.”

 

Not me, please.

 

After other reasoning failed, Moses simply asks the Lord to send somebody else. The Lord tells Moses to stop procrastinating. He has already put provisions for him in place. Moses is the one God called for this purpose, and the Lord will help Moses accomplish it. He began a good work in Moses, and he will bring it to completion.

 

Can you relate to Moses? “Lord, I just don’t want to,” you say. Perhaps we can all relate to Moses. The Lord’s response is always the same; he has called us each to a unique spot in his plan. Therefore, he will help us accomplish the purpose. He, who began a good work in our lives, is bringing it to completion.

 

Moses was in a special place in time to perform a special task for the Lord. His biography records Moses leading God’s people out of Egyptian bondage and guiding them to the border of the Promised Land. He may have felt inadequate, but God used him in a mighty way. God completed a good work in Moses’ life.

 

Acting

 

We are in a special place in time to perform a special task for the Lord. Each of our biographies will record how we served in the Kingdom. What is the Lord calling you to do? You may feel inadequate, but the action step you can take is growing in the Lord. Paul tells the Philippians to grow.

 

  • “Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose” (Philippians 2:12-13).
  • “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me…. I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12-14).

 

Continue to walk with the Lord and fulfilling your purpose. Again, what is the Lord calling you to do? How have you responded to your “burning bush?” Share in the comments below, and remember, he, who has begun a good work in you, will bring it through to completion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 Tips for Maintaining a Positive Attitude

A family who had twin boys wanted to teach them a lesson about attitude. They took each boy and placed him in a room by himself. The room was full of horse manure. They told the boys they had to stay in their rooms for an hour, then they would come get them. When the family returned to the first boy’s room, he was sitting in the corner of the room just watching the clock, but when they returned to the second boy’s room, he was shoveling the manure out the window. “why are you doing that?” they asked. He replied, “With all this manure in here, there has to be a pony at the bottom of the pile.” The boys were in similar situations but took completely different approaches.

 

Attitude determines how we approach life. Our attitude determines the approach we take to life. Paul, the writer of Philippians, gives three suggestions to help us take the right approach.

 

1. Don’t Worry (Philippians 4:6)

 

Do not worry about anything. A scholar did a word study on “anything,” and discovered it really means, “anything.” Don’t worry, that sounds an awful lot like what Jesus says, “do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.”

We see this idea lived out in nature all the time. Jesus uses birds for an example; they do not go out and sow seed in the spring, and water the seed all summer so they can reap a harvest in the fall. They don’t do that, yet they still have food to eat. God provides for them, and if he will provide for birds, why wouldn’t he also provide for us?

 

Check out these tips to combat worry.

 

When we worry, we are putting God into a box and slamming a lid on it. This problem is too big for me to handle, so it must be too big for God. We can’t go there; we can’t raise that much money. In all honesty, that is what we – me included – think sometimes. Yet, Ephesians 3:20 says God can do immeasurably more than we can imagine.

Think about that for just a moment. Immeasurably more than we can imagine; you can’t measure something that is immeasurable – it is impossible, and we can imagine some pretty big things. That means God can do immeasurably more than we can comprehend. When things come up that are too big for us, we should be asking, “How big is God?” The answer is, he can do immeasurably more than we can imagine. Jesus says if we seek after the Kingdom first, all our other needs will be met.

 

Stop and think. There is not anyone who has added time to their life by worrying about it. Jesus says we shouldn’t worry about tomorrow, because today has enough troubles of its own.

 

2. Pray about everything (Philippians 4:6)

 

Instead of spending time worrying about tomorrow, Scripture suggests that time would be more wisely spent praying about it. Paul says the result of carrying everything to God in prayer is that his peace will guard our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. A peace that we know no matter what comes our way, we’ll be able to get through it with the help of Jesus. We may not understand it or comprehend how this is possible, but we know that it is true. We should not worry about anything but carry everything to God in prayer through Christ.

 

3. Be Positive (Philippians 4:8)

 

We should have a positive outlook. We are encouraged to dwell in the following territory: whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.

 

Every adjective in this list points to something good, something positive. The opposite of things that are good and positive are bad and negative. The question is, which one are we going to concentrate on – the negative or the positive?

 

Two men attended the same church service on the same Sunday morning. The first man noticed the organist missed a note during the prelude, the music was too loud, and the preacher had a slip of the tongue six times. The second man enjoyed the prelude because it was one of his favorite hymns, was deeply moved by the music, and listened intently to the sermon because it answered a question that had bothered him for a long time. The difference between these two men is what they concentrated on. The first man took a negative outlook, while the second man took a positive outlook. Which outlook in life are you taking?

 

There will always be things wrong in life. Illness and economic hardship are just two examples. And, I’m not saying if we get up in the morning and think it is going to be a beautiful day, that it will automatically become a beautiful day. We will experience trouble from time to time. We will face trials of many kinds, but how we respond to these trials is up to us. We can either sit around dwelling on the negative, or we can concentrate on the positive.

 

We all have something to thank God for. Here are some stats.

 

  • If you were able to get up this morning in good health, you are better off than 2 million people around the world.
  • If you are not persecuted, you are better off than 3 billion others in the world.

 

Acting

 

Attitude determines a lot in life. Put yourself in the story of the twins. Which boy are you? Are you the one sitting in the corner absorbed by the smell and watching the clock? If so, consider putting one or two of these suggestions into practice for the next week. Share how it helps you in the comments below.