Posts Tagged ‘Mark 11:24’

Success from failures

May 24, 2018

The journey continues--ever upward toward the light

This morning while preparing for the day, I came across a statement from Dale Carnegie which will serve as the Quote of the Day for May 24, 2018:

“Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.”

The comment brought to mind one of the first blog posts entered on Dr. J’s Apothecary Shoppe, as I shared a valuable lesson that I was learning about failure and success. At that time I had always thought of success and its antonym failure as mutually exclusive entities. Generally, you were considered a failure or a success, but I have come to embrace both concepts in my assessment of myself. After some serious consideration, I have changed my thinking from accepting the duality of “either/or” to embracing concept of “both/and.” In the process I have gone from the designation of being a “total failure” to “not being as successful” as I would like to have been in certain categories. I have come to see that success and its polar opposite, failure, are connected in this definition which introduces the last stanza of a familiar poem of great inspiration entitled “Don’t Quit.”

Success is failure turned inside out—
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,

The Quote of the Day reminds us that failure and its traveling companion, disappointment, can lead us to success rather takes us further away from the victories we desire to achieve. What could be perceived as obstacles or stumbling blocks that keep us from our destination could also be seen as stepping stones that will take us to successful outcomes.
At the time I was thinking deeply about these two concepts, I received an email asking a probing question in terms of my own perceived shortcomings.

What is failure?
________________________________________
Failure doesn’t mean that you are a failure;
it does mean you haven’t yet succeeded.

Failure doesn’t mean that you have accomplished nothing;
it does mean you have learned something.

Failure doesn’t mean that you have been a fool;
it does mean you have a lot of faith.

Failure doesn’t mean that you have been disgraced;
it does mean you were willing to try.

Failure doesn’t mean you don’t have it;
it does mean you have to do something in a different way.

Failure doesn’t mean you are inferior;
it does mean you are not perfect.

Failure doesn’t mean you’ve wasted your life;
it does mean you have a reason to start afresh.

Failure doesn’t mean you should give up;
it does mean you must try harder.

Failure doesn’t mean you will never make it;
it does mean it will take a little longer.

Failure doesn’t mean God has abandoned you;
it does mean God has a better way.

Author unknown:

The last line of the statement about failure brings to mind this poem:

We Pray—God Answers

Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray,
believe that you receive them, and you will have them.

Mark 11:24

We pray, asking to receive and seeking to find.
If we knock, the door shall be opened all our days,
For God answers prayer in one of three sovereign ways:

Sometimes we pray and find that the answer is “yes.”
In Christ each promise is “yes” and “amen”,
For God is not a man that He should lie.
He has already spoken—What shall we say then
But give thanks, for when we call Him, He hears each cry.

Other times we find that the answer is “not yet.”
We need more patience so that after we have done
All the will of God, as sons we might be instilled
With confident assurance given to each one,
Set as an empty vessel, yet to be fulfilled.

Or God may say, “I have something better in mind.”
Before we abandon hope, feeling left behind,
Though it may seem we cannot pass another test,
But if we stop and think a moment, we will find
God, our all-wise Father, really knows what is best.

In closing, let me make this final statement about what appears to be failure. I’m sure that if we scrutinized our lives closely we could easily be overcome by a sense of failure in light of the circumstances that surround us. We can take courage and be strengthened, however, by the example of someone whose life ended most tragically without apparent accomplishment of his mission. He died a shameful and painful death, and those who believed in him, deserted him. Yes, Jesus Christ, in the eyes of the world was a disastrous failure at the end of his life. However, we know “the rest of the story,” and I am writing these words of exhortation to you because of his triumph over the worst possible circumstances—even death itself. Because he was a super-conqueror, in all these things we are more than conquerors.

So take heart, my brothers and sisters, and be encouraged. The best is always yet to come. So we must take heart and remember that when we experience what seems to be failure, that “a set-back is just a set-up for a comeback.”

We also take comfort in the timeless universal truth that “This too shall pass.” This expression is set to music and rendered in a most inspiring manner as Yolanda Adams reminds us:“This Too Shall Pass”

Just ask: It’s just that simple

June 13, 2015

Luke-11-13-kjvThe Verse of the Day for June 13, 2014 is found in Luke 11:13 (KJV):

If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

The context of the statement made by the Lord Jesus Christ is found in Luke 11: 1-13 where he teaches what it means to pray. Here we find Jesus Christ praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples asked him to teach them how to pray, “as John also taught his disciples.” The Lord goes on to teach them what has become known as the Lord’s Prayer. He goes on to offer an illustration of what it means to pray in Luke 11:5-13. A key component of prayer is asking, which is emphasized in verses 9 and 10, leading up to verse 13.

And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

A similar expression is used in Matthew 7:7-8:

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

The passage from Luke 11: 9-10 and Matthew 7:7-8 brought to mind a scripture memory song that I composed more than 10 years ago. The arrangement of the lyrics shows an acrostic poem that spells out the word “ask,” the first three letters of which form the three verbs found in verse 7. In a prayer notebook that I once had, I recall having a card with the words “Ask God” on one side and Matthew 7:7, 8 on the other.

In thinking about the two passages, I recognize that in the Greek New Testament the three verbs are expressed in the present progressive tense: meaning keep on asking, keep on seeking, keep on knocking. In the same manner that a child will keep asking for a treat while shopping with his or her parents, Jesus Christ says to continue to ask, continue to seek, continue to knock:

Always ask, no matter how great or small the task.

Serve the Lord God with a pure heart and remove the mask.

Keep trusting in the Lord–all you have to do is ask.

*******************************************

Someday soon we shall stand on top of the mountain peak.

Every golden promise God has fulfilled, as we speak.

Each day adds another victory toward your winning streak.

Keep pressing toward the mark to obtain the prize you seek.

*******************************************

Keep renewing your mind, assess your thoughts and take stock.

Never give up–build your hope on Christ, the solid rock.

Overcome the odds–by faith get around any roadblock.

Count your blessings with every tick-tock of the clock.

Keep this in mind and call on the Lord: ask, seek, and knock.

To ask is to articulate a request, to put in words your heart’s desires. Philippians 4:6-7 in the Amplified Bible (AMP) puts it this way:

Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God.

And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

The essence of the discussion regarding our asking in the context prayer or letting our requests be made known to God is found in Mark 11:24 expressed in three different versions:

24 For this reason I am telling you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe (trust and be confident) that it is granted to you, and you will [get it]. [Amplified Bible]

24 Therefore I tell you, all the things you pray and ask for—believe that you have received them, and you will have them. [Holman Christian Standard Bible]

24 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. [New King James]

To end this entry Kim McFarland and the Thompson Community Singers offer this stirring reminder: “Just Ask in My Name.”

We pray: God answers

May 6, 2015

James_5-16

The Verse of the Day for May 6, 2015 brings to mind the power of prayer. A published Examiner.com article on prayer is adapted as the following blog is re-posted on Dr. J’s Apothecary Shoppe on the day before the National Day of Prayer:

In its simplest form prayer is communication with God. For the Christian believer, however, this conversation should not always lapse into a monologue of personal petitions. Brother Lawrence reminds us, prayer is a unique privilege: “There is not in the world a kind of life more sweet and delightful than that of a continual conversation with God.” Indeed, prayer should be ongoing in every Christian believer. Jesus Christ declared that men ought always to pray and not to faint. The subject of prayer has been examined over the centuries, and believers today seek to more fully comprehend its amazing power.

The Bible has also revealed a number of kinds of prayer which form the bedrock of our relationship with God through Jesus Christ in whose name we pray:

1 Timothy 2:1 introduces four types of prayer or ways of communing with God.

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men.

  1. Supplications
    With these prayers we entreat our Father with specific requests. Such petitions focus on our necessity, expressed as a personal need, rather than God’s sufficiency to supply it.       White-hot zeal and insatiable hunger ignite prayers of supplication. Strictly speaking supplication also conveys an accompanying attitude of prayer, noting the “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” (James 5:16)
  2. Intercessions
    To intercede means to plead or mediate on behalf of another person. Intercession will involve meeting with someone on behalf of someone else. Those who act as intercessors are also described as “standing in the gap” or “making up the hedge” which provide protection. (Ezekiel 22:30)
  3. Prayers
    As we acknowledge the magnitude of God, we offer prayers as an expression of our personal devotion. Other examples included in this category are the “prayer of faith,” “prayer of agreement” and “prayer of dedication or consecration;” also the prayer Jesus taught his disciples or “The Lord’s Prayer.” Paul reminds believers to be “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— ” (Ephesians 6:18)
  4. Thanksgiving
    Thanksgiving should be an essential part of our ongoing conversation with God. Literally it is “giving of thanks” as an expression of “showing oneself grateful.” It is an all-encompassing “attitude of gratitude” involving everything we do and say: “In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.(I Thessalonians 5:18)

This introductory discussion of prayer is by no means exhaustive. Countless volumes have been written and continue to be produced on this topic of vital concern for Christian believers who are exhorted to “Pray without ceasing.”

Sometime ago I heard the story of someone who had prayed, and God answered her prayer in a most unexpectant way. A statement was made at the end of the story which inspired this poem:

We Pray—God Answers

 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray,

 believe that you receive them, and you will have them.

 Mark 11:24

We pray, asking to receive and seeking to find.

If we knock, the door shall be opened all our days,

For God answers prayer in one of three sovereign ways:

Sometimes we pray and find that the answer is “yes.”

In Christ each promise is “yes” and “amen”,

For God is not a man that He should lie.

He has already spoken—What shall we say then

But give thanks, for when we call Him, He hears each cry.

Other times we find that the answer is “not yet.”

 We need more patience so that after we have done

All the will of God, as sons we might be instilled

With confident assurance given to each one,

Set as an empty vessel, yet to be fulfilled.

Or God may say, “I have something better in mind.”

 Before we abandon hope, feeling left behind,

Though it may seem we cannot pass another test,

But if we stop and think a moment, we will find

God, our all-wise Father, really knows what is best.

The accompanying video features the song “Pray for Me” by Michael W. Smith who reminds us to pray for one another:

To be who you want to be: pay the price

June 2, 2014

Proverbs 23--7

“What you have become is the price you paid to get what you used to want.” This thought-provoking quote by Mignon McLaughlin brought to mind another familiar saying, “Everything has its price.” Many times we have a mental picture of ourselves as we would ideally like to be. The road to success in going from the “real” to the “ideal” can be quite arduous. It takes considerable time, energy, and effort to bring those mental pictures into reality. To achieve success in any endeavor, one must be willing to pay the price.

In the public speaking classes that I teach, I sometimes introduce the concepts of affirmation and visualization, whereby students can improve their speaking ability through using these techniques: through what they say about themselves and how they see themselves. Claude M. Bristol states, “It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.” In addition, Paul J. Meyer says, “Whatever you vividly imagine, ardently desire, sincerely believe, and enthusiastically act upon… must inevitably come to pass!” In Mark 11:24 in the Amplified Bible, Jesus Christ boldly declares:

For this reason I am telling you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe (trust and be confident) that it is granted to you, and you will [get it].

I encourage my students to spend a few quiet minutes each day visualizing themselves as successful in speaking before the public or in whatever activity they may undertake. I also encourage myself by speaking positive affirmations and developing positive mental images of the person that I desire to become.

Many times in the morning as I rise to use the bathroom and refresh myself to start the day, I often recite a statement made by Kim Clement, as I look in the mirror and wash my hands: “I see myself somewhere in the future, and I’m looking so much better than I look right now. . .” I go on to attach this personal addendum: “But right now, I’m looking good!”

The mental picture that you carry of yourself is what you will become. The Scriptures confirm that “As a man thinks in heart so he is.” As believers we are to look into the mirror of the Word of God to see who God says we are.

The recent documentary series on “The Sixties” shown on CNN brought to mind that pivotal decade that formed the backdrop for my coming of age as a Christian believer who was impacted by The Jesus Movement. I recall the lyrics to one of the songs written and performed by the Christian rock group of that era Cookin Mama: “You can be who you want to be/when you find out who you are.” Lyrics from another song from Ted Ferrell also make known this truth:

You are what God says you are

Just believe it and you’ll go far

Don’t sit around feeling blue

You can do what God says you can do

As I reflect upon my life that continues to unfold as a scroll, I see that I am still in the process of becoming the man I have desired to be. In the midst of these most turbulent times of crisis and seemingly overwhelming circumstances, I anchor myself in the truth of God’s Word that tells me in no uncertain terms exactly who I am. In the last stanza of the poem “Be Still and Know” I refer to “the man I thought I could be.”

Be Still and Know

Psalm 46

Be still and know that I am God, that I am the eternal one.

Though your cherished dreams have faded and long since gone

The way of all flesh, my divine plans you shall see,

As I weave the tapestry of eternity.

Though you seem forsaken, you are never alone,

Even when the burden of dark sin cannot atone,

And the hearts of men have hardened and turned to stone:

Be still and know that I am God.

Though storms may overwhelm and friends may abandon

When diseases surface to assault flesh and bone.

These scenes will reveal the man I thought I could be,

As words of the Psalmist comfort and remind me,

When this life is over and all is said and done:

Be still and know that I am God.

 

The accompanying video by Steven Curtis Chapman is inspired by Psalm 46:10, the verse from which the title of the poem is taken.

Effectual, fervent prayer

May 6, 2014

James_5-16

The Verse of the Day for May 6, 2014 brings to mind the power of prayer. Five years ago, I published an Examiner.com article on prayer which is adapted as the following blog entry on Dr. J’s Apothecary Shoppe.

In its simplest form prayer is communication with God. For the Christian believer, however, this conversation should not always lapse into a monologue of personal petitions. Brother Lawrence reminds us, prayer is a unique privilege: “There is not in the world a kind of life more sweet and delightful than that of a continual conversation with God.” Indeed, prayer should be ongoing in every Christian believer. Jesus Christ declared that men ought always to pray and not to faint. The subject of prayer has been examined over the centuries, and believers today seek to more fully comprehend its amazing power.

The Bible has also revealed a number of kinds of prayer which form the bedrock of our relationship with God through Jesus Christ in whose name we pray:

1 Timothy 2:1 introduces four types of prayer or ways of communing with God.

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men.

  1. Supplications
    With these prayers we entreat our Father with specific requests. Such petitions focus on our necessity, expressed as a personal need, rather than God’s sufficiency to supply it. White-hot zeal and insatiable hunger ignite prayers of supplication. Strictly speaking supplication also conveys an accompanying attitude of prayer, noting the “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” (James 5:16)
  2. Intercessions
    To intercede means to plead or mediate on behalf of another person. Intercession will involve meeting with someone on behalf of someone else. Those who act as intercessors are also described as “standing in the gap” or “making up the hedge” which provide protection. (Ezekiel 22:30)
  3. Prayers
    As we acknowledge the magnitude of God, we offer prayers as an expression of our personal devotion. Other examples included in this category are the “prayer of faith,” “prayer of agreement” and “prayer of dedication or consecration;” also the prayer Jesus taught his disciples or “The Lord’s Prayer.” Paul reminds believers to be “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— ” (Ephesians 6:18)
  4. Thanksgiving
    Thanksgiving should be an essential part of our ongoing conversation with God. Literally it is “giving of thanks” as an expression of “showing oneself grateful.” It is an all-encompassing “attitude of gratitude” involving everything we do and say: “In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.(I Thessalonians 5:18)

This introductory discussion of prayer is by no means exhaustive. Countless volumes have been written and continue to be produced on this topic of vital concern for Christian believers who are exhorted to “Pray without ceasing.”

Sometime ago I heard the story of someone who had prayed, and God answered her prayer in a most unexpectant way. A statement was made at the end of the story which inspired this poem:

We Pray—God Answers

 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray,

 believe that you receive them, and you will have them.

 Mark 11:24

 

We pray, asking to receive and seeking to find.

If we knock, the door shall be opened all our days,

For God answers prayer in one of three sovereign ways:

 

Sometimes we pray and find that the answer is “yes.”

In Christ each promise is “yes” and “amen”,

For God is not a man that He should lie.

He has already spoken—What shall we say then

But give thanks, for when we call Him, He hears each cry.

 

 

Other times we find that the answer is “not yet.”

We need more patience so that after we have done

All the will of God, as sons we might be instilled

With confident assurance given to each one,

Set as an empty vessel, yet to be fulfilled.

 

Or God may say, “I have something better in mind.”

Before we abandon hope, feeling left behind,

Though it may seem we cannot pass another test,

But if we stop and think a moment, we will find

God, our all-wise Father, really knows what is best.

 

The accompanying video features the song “Pray for Me” by Michael W. Smith who reminds us to pray for one another.

From failure to success: another view

November 23, 2009

This morning I happened to come across a blog entry originally posted more than five years ago. As I read the comments that seemed custom-crafted just for me at this present time, I felt like David, who encouraged himself in the Word of the Lord. I thought this entry might also be a source of encouragement to others as well, and so I am re-posting this discussion of the term “failure,” as viewed from a different perspective. This two-part entry is based on Romans 8:35, 37:

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

The journey continues--ever upward toward the light

Part 1

Many times as I go through life and encounter situations that I do not totally understand, I will from time to time write down my thoughts while endeavoring to process the experience that I am going through. After some serious consideration, I have changed my thinking from accepting the duality of “either/or” to embracing concept of “both/and.” In the process I have gone from the designation of being a “total failure” to “not being as successful” as I would like to have been in certain categories.

I think of the lyrics to a powerful song called “Lessons to be Learned”:

Why did that right road take that wrong turn?
Why did our heart break, and why did we get burned?
Just like the seasons there are reasons for the path we take:
There are no mistakes, just lessons to be learned.

What are the lessons God is teaching me during this season of my life? I am a life-long learner, an ever-eager student in the University of Life, and I am continually learning more about God and my relationship with Him. For me, one of the verses that I so often share has become more than just a cliché. Romans 8:28 for me is “life verse”, a constant reminder that God is good and that all things work together for the good, no matter the circumstances.

Romans 8:28

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

In the minds of many I am a failure. . . Does it really matter what “people say”?

Here is an-mail that I received that I will include at this point. Most providentially I received this email at a time when I was asking this very question in terms of my own perceived shortcomings.

What is failure?
________________________________________
Failure doesn’t mean that you are a failure;
it does mean you haven’t yet succeeded.

Failure doesn’t mean that you have accomplished nothing;
it does mean you have learned something.

Failure doesn’t mean that you have been a fool;
it does mean you have a lot of faith.

Failure doesn’t mean that you have been disgraced;
it does mean you were willing to try.

Failure doesn’t mean you don’t have it;
it does mean you have to do something in a different way.

Failure doesn’t mean you are inferior;
it does mean you are not perfect.

Failure doesn’t mean you’ve wasted your life;
it does mean you have a reason to start afresh.

Failure doesn’t mean you should give up;
it does mean you must try harder.

Failure doesn’t mean you will never make it;
it does mean it will take a little longer.

Failure doesn’t mean God has abandoned you;
it does mean God has a better way.

Author unknown
________________________________________

The Living Word Library © 1996 – 2008
editor@wordlibrary.co.uk

The last line of the statement about failure brings to mind this poem:

We Pray—God Answers

Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray,
believe that you receive them, and you will have them.
Mark 11:24

We pray, asking to receive and seeking to find.
If we knock, the door shall be opened all our days,
For God answers prayer in one of three sovereign ways:

Sometimes we pray and find that the answer is “yes.”

In Christ each promise is “yes” and “amen”,
For God is not a man that He should lie.
He has already spoken—What shall we say then
But give thanks, for when we call Him, He hears each cry.

Other times we find that the answer is “not yet.”

We need more patience so that after we have done
All the will of God, as sons we might be instilled
With confident assurance given to each one,
Set as an empty vessel, yet to be fulfilled.

Or God may say, “I have something better in mind.”

Before we abandon hope, feeling left behind,
Though it may seem we cannot pass another test,
But if we stop and think a moment, we will find
God, our all-wise Father, really knows what is best.

Part 2

Success and its antonym, failure, are connected in this definition which introduces the last stanza of a familiar poem of great inspiration entitled “Don’t Quit.”

Success is failure turned inside out—
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,

Here is a video adaptation of the words of this popular poem:

As I was thinking about the entire subject of failure and success, another poem came to mind, a very penetrating expression of the view of life through the eyes of the noted 19th Century poet, Emily Dickinson, who wrote these words:

Success is counted sweetest
By those who ne’er succeed.
To comprehend a nectar
Requires sorest need.

In response, I wrote this poem to express my view regarding success in light of those who fail to achieve it:

I Have Sipped a Sweetness

Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete,
but [only] one receives the prize? So run [your race]
that you may lay hold [of the prize] and make it yours.

Now every athlete who goes into training
conducts himself temperately and restricts himself in all things.
They do it to win a wreath that will soon wither,
but we [do it to receive a crown of eternal blessedness]
that cannot wither.
1 Corinthians 9:24-25 Amplified Bible

Said the fragile lady who never knew such bliss,
“Success is counted sweetest by those who ne’er succeed.”
In her enigmatic style went on to say this:
“To comprehend a nectar requires sorest need.”
Said the dark poet of another time and place,
I have sipped a sweetness beyond any honey,
The rush in the blood of the one who wins his race,
A foretaste of the glory to come that inspires
Self discipline to sublimate carnal desires,
Casting aside every weight, each besetting sin,
I press toward the mark, the prize now set before me
And run with patience the race I’m destined to win.
Then shall I know ultimate ecstasy of victory
And savor God’s goodness for all eternity.

In closing, let me make this final statement about what appears to be failure. I’m sure that if we scrutinized our lives closely we could easily be overcome by a sense of failure in light of the circumstances that surround us. We can take courage and be strengthened, however, by the example of someone whose life ended most tragically without apparent accomplishment of his mission. He died a shameful death, and those who believed in him, deserted him. Yes, Jesus Christ, in the eyes of the world was a disastrous failure at the end of his life. However, we know “the rest of the story,” and I am writing these words of exhortation to you because of his triumph over the worst possible circumstances—even death itself. Because he was a super-conqueror, in all these things we are more than conquerors.

So take heart, my brothers and sisters, and be encouraged. The best is always yet to come. So we must take heart and remember that when we experience what seems to be failure, that “a set-back is just a set-up for a comeback.”

I also take comfort in the timeless universal truth that “This too shall pass.” This expression is set to music and rendered in a most inspiring manner, as Yolanda Adams reminds us: