Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Success and Failure is part of Life

It’s easy to blame ourselves or those around us for failures. However, we should not fool ourselves into thinking that failure is always a result of our shortcomings. Nor should we believe that success is exclusively due to our merits. Success or failure may be due to luck.

For example, Microsoft had a crack at success largely because of IBM’s offhand decision to use the MS-DOS operating system for a backwater project called the personal computer. Bill Gates later reflected, “Our timing in setting up the first software company aimed at personal computers was essential to our success. The timing wasn't entirely luck, but without great luck it couldn't have happened.” Asked why he had started a software company just at the time IBM was trying its luck with a personal computer, he replied, “I was born at the right place and time.”

This is not to say that hard work and ingenuity aren’t important. They prepare us to make the most of the chances we get in life, and they may create opportunities that otherwise wouldn’t exist. Yet one who succeeds at work may be no more deserving than another who fails.

If our response to success is solely self-congratulation, we are practicing idolatry. If our response is thankfulness, then we are worshipping God. If our reaction to failure is despair, then we are feeling the hollowness of a broken idol. But if our reaction is perseverance, then we are experiencing the gracious power of God.

A good piece of advice take from You version.

Eugene Thompson

ET This I Believe

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Luke 22

In Luke 22, we glimpse a conversation between Peter and Jesus. It begins with bad news, namely, that Satan intends to “sift all of you as wheat” (Luke 22:31, NIV). Peter boldly claims that he is ready to go to prison with Jesus, even to die with him. Jesus responds with a chilling prediction: “Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me" (Luke 22:34, NIV). Luke does not report Peter’s response, but surely Peter is distressed, whether he believes Jesus or not.

However, we find encouragement in this passage. Right after Jesus says that he has prayed for Peter, he adds, “And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:32, NIV).

Jesus is certain Peter is going to fail. But it doesn’t keep him from assigning to Peter the task of strengthening his fellow disciples. Jesus sees beyond Peter’s obvious faults and upcoming failures. He sees that which is good in Peter, his strength, faith, and compassion. He knows that Peter will be the one to build up his fellow disciples, in spite of the fact that Peter himself will fail along the way.

What an encouragement this is for us! We know our weaknesses. We know how many times we fail to live up to God’s standards. We are broken, sinful people. Yet Jesus sees beyond our faults and failures. Jesus calls us into his service, not because he has an unrealistic picture of us, but because he sees us fully. He sees that we are bound to make mistakes. At the same time he sees us as gifted for service in his ministry.

It’s important to learn from our mistakes, but we can’t let them become obstacles. We have to move forward, trust God for both forgiveness and guidance, and prepare for what's next. There are so many times that I have beat myself up over something I've said or done that I knew wasn't in line with God's commandments but did it anyway. What makes us do this? I feel that I can't see the big picture too often when that's what I should be doing everyday. Instead I get dragged into the muck with everyone else and my goals become distorted. That is until I raise my head and refocus on the true destination. Once I do that my path is clear.


Heavenly Father, help me learn from my mistakes. And when I’ve received your forgiveness and guidance, strengthen me to move forward, knowing that you see me and call me into a life of purpose. Amen.

Maybe a helpful and encouraging thought for others today.

God bless you all.

Eugene Thompson

ET This I Believe