Tag Archives: success

Jer. 21-22; 2 Kings 24; Titus 2; Ps. 112

It’s not always easy to define success and find security. The world defines those things by what they possess: wealth, popularity, beautiful treasures. Our culture promotes a very self-centered approach to life, teaching that the key to happiness and fulfillment is found in having more. More money. More friends. More things.

Scripture says quite a different thing.

Psalm 112 reminds me of how God defines success.

This scripture says the key to success and security in life is the fear of God that leads to obedience. When I live in reverence of God, I can rest in the power of God to provide for me as I follow His will for my life.

And what is that will for my life?

Psalm 112:4-5, 9 NIV

Even in darkness light dawns for the upright,

for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous.

Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely,

who conduct their affairs with justice.

They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor,

their righteousness endures forever;

their horn will be lifted high in honor.

God’s will for my life is that I am gracious.
Do I bless those around me with undeserved kindness and understanding?

God’s will for my life is that I am compassionate.
Do I go the extra mile to care for those who are suffering?

God’s will for my life is that I am righteous.
Am I striving to honor God in the daily choices I’m faced with?  

God’s will for my life is that I am generous.
Do I give freely, or even sacrificially, for the sake of furthering the Kingdom of God?

God’s will for my life is that I am fair.
Do I make truth and honesty a part of every interaction with others?  

God’s will for my life is that I am merciful.
Am I patient with those around me? Am I forgiving those who have hurt me?  

Success in this life will be found when I love God and love others.

While the world defines success by what they take and store for themselves, God defines it by what I give away.

It’s a scary thing to be generous. It’s a scary thing to give of myself physically, emotionally, and financially. But when I trust God to provide for my needs, I can look for ways to meet the needs of those around me.

Instead of being fearful and worrying about what I have and if I’ll have enough, I must choose to fear God, live in reverence to Him, and look for ways to be generous in the lives of those around me.

When I am gracious, compassionate, righteous, generous, fair, and merciful, God blesses me richly. He provides for my needs. He brings joy into my life. He honors me for honoring Him. And what I receive from Him is so much better than anything I could take for myself.

Psalm 112 (NIV)

1 Praise the Lord.

Blessed are those who fear the Lord,

who find great delight in his commands.

2 Their children will be mighty in the land;

the generation of the upright will be blessed.

3 Wealth and riches are in their houses,

and their righteousness endures forever.

4 Even in darkness light dawns for the upright,

for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous.

5 Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely,

who conduct their affairs with justice.

6 Surely the righteous will never be shaken;

they will be remembered forever.

7 They will have no fear of bad news;

their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.

8 Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear;

in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.

9 They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor,

their righteousness endures forever;

their horn will be lifted high in honor.

10 The wicked will see and be vexed,

they will gnash their teeth and waste away;

the longings of the wicked will come to nothing.

Father, forgive me for being caught up in the world around me and believing that I need to provide for myself, take for myself, and protect myself to be safe and secure. I know that You are willing and able to provide for my every need. Help me to step out in faith to be generous to those around me. Help me to see the needs you want to use me to meet and help me to glorify you as I choose giving over taking and keeping. Thank you for all the ways you provide for me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.  

 

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Filed under 66 Books, Old Testament, Psalms

Job 28-30, Revelation 18

Success. How do you define it, measure it? According to Webster, success is:

  1. obsoleteoutcome, result
  2. degree or measure of succeeding
  3. favorable or desired outcome; also :  the attainment of wealth, favor, or eminence
  4. one that succeeds

As a parent of young children, I am often reflecting and evaluating my parenting goals and style. I look around at the culture and see the different measuring sticks for success. I read parenting articles or listen to interviews of parents on TV that say, “All I want for my children is for them to grow up to be happy and successful!” Success to Americans is healthy, wealthy and happy. It’s measured by GPA, SATs and which college they attend, by how much is in their retirement account, how big their house is and what’s parked in their driveway. It’s their job status and town they live in. To add to the stresses of success in our culture, we are now able to hide behind the mask of technology and be whoever we want to be on the outside. Facebook, Instagram, texting…..we can appear successful without actually being successful which only fuels the fire of depression and hurt as we measure our own lives based on what we see others portray.

The list of ways to measure success goes on and on but it’s rare to find someone in today’s culture who measures success by true wisdom. You rarely hear parents say, “All I want for my children is for them to be wise!” But the bible speaks to my heart reminding me that my measuring stick is not what the culture looks at but what God desires for us, wisdom. It is more valuable than all the things we work for, attain and succeed. It requires searching, seeking and waiting on the Lord.

12 “But where shall wisdom be found?
And where is the place of understanding?
13 Man does not know its worth,
and it is not found in the land of the living.
14 The deep says, ‘It is not in me,’
and the sea says, ‘It is not with me.’
15 It cannot be bought for gold,
and silver cannot be weighed as its price.
16 It cannot be valued in the gold of Ophir,
in precious onyx or sapphire.
17 Gold and glass cannot equal it,
nor can it be exchanged for jewels of fine gold.
18 No mention shall be made of coral or of crystal;
the price of wisdom is above pearls.
19 The topaz of Ethiopia cannot equal it,
nor can it be valued in pure gold.

23 “God understands the way to it,
and he knows its place.
24 For he looks to the ends of the earth
and sees everything under the heavens.
25 When he gave to the wind its weight
and apportioned the waters by measure,
26 when he made a decree for the rain
and a way for the lightning of the thunder,
27 then he saw it and declared it;
he established it, and searched it out.
28 And he said to man,
‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom,
and to turn away from evil is understanding.’” Job 28:12-28 ESV

One Day, all the measuring sticks of success will be thrown out the window and the things we thought were so valuable will be gone.

15 The merchants of these wares, who gained wealth from her, will stand far off, in fear of her torment, weeping and mourning aloud,

16 “Alas, alas, for the great city
that was clothed in fine linen,
in purple and scarlet,
adorned with gold,
with jewels, and with pearls!
17 For in a single hour all this wealth has been laid waste.” Revelation 18:15-17 ESV

Lord, who can grasp your infinite wisdom and fathom the depths of your love for us? I thank you Father that the goal for my children is not defined or measured by the people around me and that you give wisdom when I ask. Help me to remember to call on you day and night for my children that they would grow in wisdom and stature and favor with you all the days of their life and rely on your wisdom. Help me, Father, to teach my children how to use your measuring stick! Amen.

kateredding

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Numbers 3 & 4; Mark 12: 28-44

It’s weird, but the whole time I was reading Leviticus 3 and 4 this morning, I kept thinking, “What if you weren’t any good at the job your family was assigned?”  I mean, the Gershonites were basically tent makers, seamstresses, weavers, and the like, responsible for hanging the curtains and veils and tapestries, making coverings of blue and purple for the elements in the tabernacle, packing them and unpacking them as the tribes marched.  What if you couldn’t sew a straight seam to save your soul? The Kohathites were bearers of the ark, the lampstand, the altars, and other utensils in the sanctuary.  They were responsible for carrying the most holy things on poles when the tribes moved, yet they were not allowed to touch the sacred items or even look upon them casually, and death was on the line. The sons of Merari had to be wood workers and metal workers, able to carry beams, keep count of all the sockets, pegs, and cords.  What if you were scrawny or slow with numbers? What if you couldn’t perform your duties?

Recently I participated in an exercise on the difficulties faced by people with traumatic brain injuries.  Three of us at a table took turns trying to trace a star by looking at it only through a mirror.  One person took a long time, but finally traced the star with shaky lines.  The next person could not even get down one side of the star, scribbling instead in all directions.  I knew that this exercise was to demonstrate the disconnect between the brain and the fine motor skills, but when I could not force my hand to do what my brain said, my internal need to be successful left me visibly shaken.

So what if I cannot do the one job well that God gave me to do?  Not well, but perfectly…or at least better than anyone else in my immediate surroundings.  Worse, still, I feel the clock ticking on the time left to make any improvements at all to accomplishing my assigned tasks.  And what if, in the end, I do something so foolish such as Uzzah, the Kohathite who reaches out to steady the ark, but dies on the spot for touching it?

Makes a body want to pull the covers over her head and wait for the day to be over.

Fears are ancient, yet Christ said that there are only two things we need be concerned with: loving God with all our heart, mind, and soul, and loving our neighbor as ourselves. Getting caught up in performing for others, fearing the loss of competency or the disappointment of failure, looking for accolades from my peers or from those in authority, and worrying that there is always more that I should have done – all these thoughts and behaviors reflect the old ways. To challenge those fears, I will remember the chosen position that I now have in Christ.  I am accepted not by my works, but by his perfect sacrifice.  So I will learn to work without fear, as I have heard it said, for an audience of One.

Janet

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Mark, New Testament, Numbers, Old Testament

Genesis 47; Luke 1:1-38; Job 13; 1 Corinthians 1

“For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.”  1 Corinthians 1:25

I enjoy God’s “upside down” world view!   Young, petite David slaying the giant.  The stable birth of a King.  Saul (persecutor) becomes Paul (proclaimer)!

I used to like to figure things out … have a plan in place … know how “I” am going to take care of a particular situation.  Now, I love it when I am faced with a problem that I cannot figure out.  At some point in the process, I always realize God has the solution.  (I am slow like that … I often spend a lot of time thinking, rethinking and agonizing before I come to this realization!)

“Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord!”  1 Corinthians 1:31b

Father, keep me humble.  Help me to always remember, when I am strong, it is YOUR strength; when I make good decisions, it is YOUR wisdom; when I succeed, it is to YOUR credit and glory.  Thank you for showing up in a supernatural way!

byhisgracekml

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Filed under 1 Corinthians, 66 Books, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament