3 things the heavens have to say to Christians…

By Bud Harris

Typically, it doesn’t take long for a person with decent eyesight to experience a sense of tremendous awe when they see the sky on a clear, dark night far away from urban light pollution.  Our minds are naturally drawn to ponder our purpose and place in the cosmos when faced with such astounding beauty and vastness.

What do the heavens have to say to mankind in general and, specifically, the bible-believing Christian?   

While there are no doubt many things, three immediately come to mind:

First, they speak of God’s immeasurable glory:

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.” (Psalm 19:1-4, NIV)

Like many of our favorite bible passages, this conveys both obvious and subtle truths.

  • A subtle truth is that the heavens DO pour forth speech and reveal knowledge.  By analyzing the light from stars, planets, nebulae and other heavenly bodies, we can determine their chemical composition, temperature, size, distance, and apparent age.  The Bible assumes and presents an orderly God who has created a vast, majestic, and orderly universe.  Our recent scientific advances confirm this fact again and again in astounding fashion!  How much more should we honor God when we realize that He has numbered and named each and every star? (Isaiah 40:26)

 

  • The more obvious truth is that the heavens most certainly declare the Glory of God given the sheer beauty and nearly unimaginable immensity of the cosmos.  In our Milky Way galaxy alone, there are estimated to be a couple hundred BILLION stars…and ours is just one of billions of other galaxies!

bud pic 2

Shown here in this simple backyard amateur astrophotography shot is one of our galactic neighbors, the Andromeda galaxy.  Much like our own Milky Way galaxy, the Andromeda galaxy is a large spiral galaxy housing a few hundred billion stars.  If we were able to visit this behemoth (it’s over 2,000,000 light years away) and look back, we would undoubtedly see something similar.  And the Milky Way and Andromeda are just two of billions!  The heavens do declare and reflect the glory of Almighty Creator God!

 

Second, they can tell us of our relationship to Him.

Imagining the vastness of the cosmos can, however, make us feel insignificant and small.  We can sympathize with the psalmist: “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” (Psalm 8:3-4, ESV).  Yes, compared to the whole of God’s creation, we are miniscule indeed.  However, our worth is not derived from our nature, actions, or accomplishments (or failures) but rather from God Himself and He deems us worthy and valuable.  Much like the psalmist, we can view our seeming insignificance through the prism of God’s Glory and Majesty and see that much like a diamond can’t determine its own worth, God set a priceless value on each and every one of us and has seen fit to step into His own creation and reconcile us through Jesus Christ!

Third, they tell us of God’s sovereignty and grand design for all of His creation.

Our natural inclination is to doubt and our myopic view of life tends to naturally focus on chaos.  However, the very first verse of scripture tells us that “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1, ESV). Considering the truth of that and juxtaposed with the vastness, beauty, and mind-boggling order exhibited in the universe, we can rest assured that regardless of what happens, God has everything under control and whatever blessing or calamity comes our way, it has all passed through the loving, nail-scarred hands of our Creator.  

Contrary to the Westernized view of what life should be like and who God should be (a false idol of self-aggrandizement, convenience, and comfort), we are not guaranteed an easy time here on earth.  That’s just not the purpose of this life. However, we are guaranteed His love and if we accept the free gift of salvation through Jesus, we’re guaranteed eternal communion with the God Who is behind every good gift and every majestic creation.  He knows every star by number and name but He also knows every thought and dream of our hearts and minds.

The heavens truly do declare the glory of God.

So should we.

 

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Just need a little direction here, God.

 

By: Amy Edmonds

What to do when you don’t know what to do?

Have you ever been in a place in your life where you are trying to make a huge decision and everything God is saying to you is completely confusing?   One second,  you are confident in what God is saying; then something happens to ruin that confidence.  I wish I had the answer of all answers to fix this problem and make all of us confident in what God is saying to us.

I am in a season where everything God is saying to me is COMPLETELY confusing. I am in a place where I need to make decisions about school, my future, and ministry. I am confident in God one day and not confident the very next day.  I know and believe that the Lord speaks to me, but this season, things are proving to be difficult.

So.

What do you do when you don’t know what to do?

I have spent many hours in prayer, talking to others, and reading the bible and this is what I have come up with…. Stop asking God to answer your prayers and fix your problems.

Crazy I know. It doesn’t make sense. We are taught our whole lives to ask God for things when we need or want them. We are told to pray without ceasing … to try and try again. But I am convinced that when we feel like God is not revealing himself to us,  that he is trying to get us to realize something else.

I am not saying we should stop praying for things all together, but maybe we need to change our heart behind our prayers.

Isaiah 43: 1-7 says:

But now, God’s Message,
the God who made you in the first place, Jacob,
the One who got you started, Israel:
“Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you.
I’ve called your name. You’re mine.
When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you.
When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down.
When you’re between a rock and a hard place,
it won’t be a dead end—
Because I am God, your personal God,
The Holy of Israel, your Savior.
I paid a huge price for you:
all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in!
That’s how much you mean to me!
That’s how much I love you!
I’d sell off the whole world to get you back,
trade the creation just for you.

5-7 “So don’t be afraid: I’m with you.
I’ll round up all your scattered children,
pull them in from east and west.
I’ll send orders north and south:
‘Send them back.
Return my sons from distant lands,
my daughters from faraway places.
I want them back, every last one who bears my name,
every man, woman, and child
Whom I created for my glory,
yes, personally formed and made each one.’”

 

By this passage alone,  we know that God wants us. He would sell the whole world for you. I don’t know about you but I think that is pretty amazing. I believe if he would sell the whole world for me, then he wants to be close to me, he wants to hear my voice, he wants to put things in order in my life. But most importantly, he wants me to hear His voice.

So here is what I believe. I do believe that God wants to answer our prayers, but I think we need to know his heart for our lives first.

It is clear that God wants to pursue us, but are we pursuing Him? Are we being selfish and demanding of God to answer our prayers before we know his heart for our lives?

I know I am. I forget that God is in control. I forget that He holds my life in his hands. I forget that it is all about Him. I forget to pursue His heart just as much as He is pursuing mine. I forget that He wants the best for my life.

Here’s the bottom line:  We can’t control how fast or how slow God moves.  However,  we can control the context of our prayers.  We can control how much we pursue his heart for our lives.

So…. are you frustrated with God?  Are you frustrated that He is not telling you what to do with your life? I believe He doesn’t want us to sit in frustration because He loves us.

Stop being frustrated.  Just pursue his heart. Pursue his character traits. Pursue his timing. He will show up because He loves us. He will sell the whole world for you.  Just sit in His love and eventually He will answer your prayers.

Amy Edmonds

Confessions of a worshiper.

by Jennie Tolbert

What is worship?

What does it look like for you?

I’m a worship leader, so my obvious, go-to answer is…singing. But, that can’t be all there is to it.

I was created FOR worship…designed specifically TO worship, so it has to be more than just singing.

Right?

Worship isn’t something we are just “supposed to do” on Sunday mornings or Wednesday nights or at a conference or a night of worship. It’s not just about singing…whether you’re a worship leader or not.

Worship…true worship…is a lifestyle.

I love this quote by Louie Giglio that says, “Worship is our response to God for who He is, and what He has done; expressed in and by the things we say and the way we live.”

It’s not just that one “thing.” (For me, singing.) It’s not just the way we “feel” closer to God.

It’s the way we live out our life, day in and day out.

If I’m truly seeking God and pursuing an intimate relationship with Him, then my heart is His. My heart is overflowing with joy and gratitude and peace. And if my heart is His, then my only response is worship…in everything I say and do.

This is TRUTH.

But if I’m being honest…this isn’t my every day.

Confession: All of my actions aren’t meant for worship.

Sometimes I make bad choices or stupid decisions…I sin.

I FEEL unworthy.worship 2

So, am I? Does He still want my worship? He surely doesn’t want me to lead OTHER people in a time of worship if I can’t even get it together myself. Right?

Do you ever feel this way?

I can get consumed with “not being good enough”, but when I shift my focus from myself to Jesus, my reality becomes much more beautiful.

JESUS.

I AM unworthy – without Jesus. But, He has sanctified me and, even on my worst days, made me worthy to worship Him.

If you know Jesus as your Savior, then when God looks at you, He sees Jesus. He doesn’t see your sin. He sees His beloved. He sees His child.

He created you to worship Him…on your good days and your bad days.

Worshiping him doesn’t have to look one specific way.

Worship means a heart focused on Jesus. A life lived for His glory and demonstrated through…

Singing? YES!

Praying? YES!

Struggles? YES!

Parenting? YES!

Giving? YES!

Serving? YES!

Everything? YES!

It doesn’t have to look a certain way. It doesn’t have to happen at a certain time.

It’s simply YOUR response to God for who He is to you, and what He has done in you.

Oh how much sweeter life is when we live our lives doing what we were created to do.

Worship.

Jennie Tolbert

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Is “loving God & loving others” part of your New Year’s resolution?

By Mike McCord

Here we are again.  A new year is about to begin and it is resolution time.  It makes sense I guess.  It is a new year and this is a great chance to start something fresh.  What is it this year?  Get in shape?  Save more money? Read the Bible all the way through?  Maybe something really important like watching the new Star Wars movie every day until it leaves theaters or you go broke. If you’ve been to many movies lately you realize you’ll go broke first, but I digress.  

I’m not a big resolution guy.  It’s an almost universal rule of resolutions that they are going to be broken by the end of January, probably sooner.  I would rather set goals and see what happens.  Goals you can start any time and can go for as long as you want.  When you think about it, we all live like this in our lives.  If you’re in sales, goals are how you live and die.  If you’re an athlete, you know what you want to accomplish this year.  Goals are important because they give our lives structure, order, and…wait for it…purpose.  

So here’s a question. 

If we do so well at ordering our life by our goals, even if the goal is simply to drive to work without getting in a wreck, why are we so bad at setting goals for our Spiritual lives?  We plan out the rest of our lives, but we often have no direction in our Spiritual lives.  Fortunately, Scripture tells us exactly what our goal needs to be.

In 1 Timothy 1:5 the Apostle Paul tells his young protégé, Timothy, what he needs to know about pushing back against false teaching in the church.   “The aim of our charge (or “GOAL of our instruction” as some translations say) is love that issues from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith.” (1 Timothy 1:5 ESV).  This has immediate implications for me as a pastor.  The goal of what I teach is to instill love in the church, to instill love in you.  Here’s the thing, I can teach you about it but WE have to have to act on it.  Your goal and my goal as Christians is to love God with everything we’ve got and to love people like you love yourself (Matthew 22:37-40).  

In the original greek, the word translated “love” in 1 Timothy 1:5 is the word “agape.”  Scripture uses agape to tell us when we’re talking about the selfless, God-like love Paul describes so well in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (Love is patient. Love is kind. Etc. Etc.)  There is no way we have a chance to love like that unless we have the Holy Spirit in us.  

We do get a small glimpse of what agape love looks like when we see the sacrificial love a parent has for a child.  This is the love that sacrificially gives up time, money and sleep.  This is also the love that helps you tell your kids the truth and discipline them knowing that it may make them mad.  As the parent, you realize the loving act is not always the one that gives the instant “warm fuzzy” to your kid.

You may be asking at this point what does that look like for me specifically. To be honest, I don’t know what that looks like for you.  There are as many ways to love God and people as there are grains of sand at the beach.  The good news is that God is not going to hide this from you.  If your desire is to love like God wants you to, He will honor that desire and show you what He wants you to do.

Not only is God going to tell you how He wants you to love, He is also going to work in your life so that you can love well.  Remember the last part of 1 Timothy 1:5.  Our goal is to love FROM a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith.  Without getting into a lot of detail, what that boils down to is that God-like, sacrificial, agape love flows from Godly living.  

Our trouble is that we can’t live a Godly life by ourselves because, in our own power, your heart and my heart are desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9).  Therefore, by ourselves, we also have a conscience full of guilt and our faith is anything but sincere.  We are total hypocrites.  

Jesus rescues us! When we trust in Him and have the Holy Spirit, He changes us.  It is Jesus who creates a clean heart in in us (Psalm 51:10).  It is Jesus who gives us a clean conscience and frees us from condemnation (Romans 8:1).  Ultimately, it is Christ/God who gives us the ability to have a sincere faith because it is Christ/God who gives us the faith necessary to believe in the first place (Romans 9:16).  

Christ empowers us to live the Godly lives necessary to love the way He wants us to.  What a load off!  Love is one resolution, or at least a goal, we just might accomplish yet, thanks to Jesus.

As we prepare to close out 2015, ask God to help you take your Spiritual life to a new level in 2016.  Ask God to help you love Him, His people and the world as He would have you.  Ask Him to empower you to live the Godly life necessary to truly love like He wants you to.  
Mike McCord

New Years: Here we go again.

By Julie Bowmar

Are you one of those people who set New Year’s resolutions? Maybe you are like me. Maybe the finality of Christmas…the letdown…the sadness of it being over is just…sad. So much anticipation and then…BAM. It’s over. My brain and body just can’t cope.

So I usually find some furniture to rearrange and then I set my mind on the future. If I can just find something to LOOK FORWARD to then I can usually make it over the depression hump.

So I reflect…

I spent too much money this year. I didn’t make much of a dent in my debt to income ratio. I didn’t spend enough time with the kids. We didn’t sit around the table enough. We were too busy. I didn’t exercise enough. We ate too much fast food.

Enough of that. I’m already depressed. I need to find something to look FORWARD to. Something that will make me FEEL BETTER.

So I set goals…

To make a better me. A healthier me. A better mom. A better wife. To set a budget and stick with it this time. To spend more intentional time with the kids…maybe even around the table. To BE better. To look better. To FEEL better.

Fun statistic… Only 8% of people who set New Year’s resolutions actually succeed.

Awesome. Fantastic.

Why do we do this to ourselves? Are we just setting ourselves up for failure? Is this entire resolution thing just a game?

The truth is that there is a much deeper underlying issue…

We all want our lives to matter. We all are designed to love and be loved. We all long to feel valuable and worthy and accepted. It is our “fix-it” mentality and false sense of “control” that gives us the impression that the only way to feel our value and worth and acceptance is by being skinnier, healthier, less busy, less in debt, or more productive, etc. And that we have control over it. And that we are qualified to even measure our own worth.

This is a lie. A set up!

Don’t accidentally think that your value or worth comes from yourself or from any other person. You will be sorely disappointed. Often. Your creator is the only one who gets to do that. You will let yourself down. You will mess up. People will let you down. They won’t appreciate you. Temptations will run rampant around you and you will find yourself weak.

Again…please don’t accidentally give yourself or others the job of setting your value and worth. I gave myself that job years ago. I thought that if I were skinnier that I would be prettier…and that I would be more acceptable and worthy of love to others. Could I control my skinniness? You bet. In my mind at this time of my life, I could control just about anything. I controlled my value, I measured it, I weighed it, I starved it…and ended up battling an eating disorder for years. Could I control my productivity? You bet. Sleep became optional. With enough diet pills and caffeine pills, I could control when and if I slept. Until my body protested. And started to get sick. And I was rendered useless with NO control.

Your value, worth, and acceptance is NOT yours to give or control. It is only God’s. He says you are PERFECT. You are PRICELESS. You are WORTH dying on a cross for. Enough said. 

So what do we do about these New Year’s resolutions? I mean, they aren’t all bad. Is it ever bad to want to be healthier?

No. Of course not! Your body is your TEMPLE…you only get the ONE. If you don’t treat it well and if you waste it, then you will not be able to fully do the thing that you were designed to do here on Earth. It’s your vehicle. Put the good gas in it! Treat it well…but don’t look for your VALUE and WORTH in what it looks like or feels like. Your value has already been determined by your creator.

So…do we set goals?

I am. But here is what I am remembering while I set my goals…

I am a spiritual being living in a physical body in a broken world. My value and worth come ONLY from the ONE who created me and loves me unconditionally.  This world is broken. It is difficult. It screams at me that I am not enough. It distracts me from my purpose while I’m here.

So we need to set goals and be intentional. 

Our goals should be spiritual first…then physical. Here are my goals…

  1. It is my goal to be INTENTIONAL about time spent listening to God. His voice is the ONE that matters. I often spend most of my time in prayer talking. Listening is my goal. How will I be intentional? I will set a reminder on my phone. Every day. For five minutes, I will turn everything off and just listen.
  2. Yes…I want to this year to be a healthier year. I will sit less. How? I will walk while I work more. Treadmill desk? Yes.
  3. I want to spend less so I can give more. How? I will set a budget. And stick to it.

That’s it. Goals are not bad. I believe we should always be setting goals for ourselves. I believe that it is God’s desire that we live this life to the fullest. Life does not accidentally happen. Relationships don’t accidentally grow. Be intentional. 

If you don’t reach your goal? If you only make it three weeks into the new year before you mess up?

It’s ok. Remember what your Creator says…

You are God’s masterpiece. Ephesians 2:10

You are chosen and you belong to Him. 1 Peter 2:9

You are forgiven. Colossians 2:14

You are never alone. Hebrews 13:5

 

Happy New Year!

Julie

happy new year 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seek Peace

By Dana Popham

It’s December 23rd and my boys are running around so filled with joy saying “merry christmas eve eve”… and then laughing. They are so excited!!! The have so much expectation and anticipation of the next few days and I feel like it’s my job to create the MOST memorable experiences and memories that all my children will look back on and get that really fuzzy warm feeling in their bellies when they are 40. Why do I put that expectation on myself??? My mind is racing with… “Did I get everyone enough? Is everything even? Did I stay within our budget of $250 per kid because we aren’t going in debt this year for Christmas… What do I get my parents and Randall’s parents in love? I wish I could get Randall something ‘real nice.'” Man, I wanted to wear a Christmas apron (I saw in Marshalls the other day but didn’t buy it because it was $12 that could go towards a gift) and bake all kinds of yummies that I know aren’t healthy but are soooo good…. I wish my kids were smaller and get excited about making hot cocoa and getting in the car in our pjs and drive around listening to christmas music looking at lights… I’m wondering what the next year will look like with Savannah coming home from college and this being the last Christmas that our family will have with us all 6 living under one roof…These are the thoughts that race through my mind over and over. I realize that Christmas triggers some negatives for me… see I believed in Santa BIG TIME… when I was 11 I found out he wasn’t real. I was devastated. Christmas wasn’t magical anymore… (who said it ever was suppose to be?! ) I don’t want to sound like Mrs. Scrooge but why in the H-E-double-hockey-sticks do we put so much pressure on everything being so *magical*. It’s not reality. I also lost my precious Grandmother 2 days after Christmas when I was 12 years old. I remember the stress she put on herself about finding everyone the perfect gift that year and she died of a heart attack 2 days later. Christmas was forever changed. So, when my brain thinks about Christmas it’s a battle of the stressers and the magic that I feel like is my responsibility to make happen.
This year… this year is different… I’m declaring it on December 23rd 2015… I seek peace. Love has come… hope is here. My kids will most likely remember the tone of our home, how I made them feel rather than all the gifts and baking. I want them to remember laughter, JOY, praise, peace, love, happiness…. those are the gifts. Those are the things that my heart longs for. I want to be expectant of that…. The only place I know that those things exist like for real is in JESUS. Not just the baby Jesus that we all celebrate but in the Jesus that came to this earth for my place to take on all my crap… that is my rescuer, my redeemer, my hope, my freedom… May my expectancy be only for HIM and all the gifts he has for me and from that may my heart be filled up and overflowing…. I trade this stressed out, tired, depressed mama to a mama that is full of love, peace, praise, and JOY.

Merry Christmas from my heart to yours ❤
Dana Popham

A note to my daughter…

 by Julie Bowmar

Sweet girl.

You are loved. You are valuable. You have a special mix of gifts and talents and ideas and dreams and stories that are completely and wonderfully unique and specific and necessary to who you are and what it is that God has planned for you here. Now.

You are more than able. You are ready.

You do not need to be older. You do not need to be smarter. You do not need to be prettier. You do not need to be skinnier. You do not need to be stronger. You do not need to be funnier. You do not need to be richer. You do not need to be more talented. You do not need to be better with words. You do not need to be…different than exactly who you are. Right now.

What are you waiting for? You have a voice. You have things to do and things to say. You were made for this. On purpose.

No man. No woman. No ONE is more able to do the thing that you were designed to do. Do it.

P.S.
It is quite possible that this note is just as much for the writer as it for the reader.

Love.

The Dark Room

By Randall Popham

There’s a growing interest among young adults who were born after the invention of the digital camera. They are quickly finding an interest in developing their own film in a dark room. In the rush to have instant photography and to see the image we just shot with our camera, we’ve left behind a tedious but beautiful process of watching an anticipated image appear before our eyes in a dark room.

There’s something wonderful about snapping a photo and then working with your hands to develop your own picture. I know. I spent some time in a dark room in college at North Greenville University where I studied Fine Arts and Religion. I remember the hours spent shooting the perfect picture and not knowing if you actually captured the image you wanted. After taking the picture, you had to take special care of the film so that you didn’t expose it to light. After that, you removed the film in a dark room that was lit only by a small red bulb. The film was then transferred onto photo paper and then carefully submerged into the right mix of photography chemicals. After placing the image in the pan, you swirled the chemicals over the paper until the magical moment happened. Then, after a few moments and all the hard work, the long awaited image would appear and the next Ansell Adams was born. Processing film in a dark room is a lot of hard work for just one picture. It takes lots of time and resources to simply see one image.

Failure is much like the process of developing film in a dark room. Just as an image on film must go through the tedious and costly process of a dark room for its image to be exposed, God allows us to go through the darkness of failure to bring out his image in us. God knows what he wants to make of you and he’s working your failures to develop his image in you. You see, God has a purpose for your failure. Failure is one of the means by which God reveals his image in you. You might only become the person God wants you to become because of the failure you are facing today. The thing God wants you to learn might only be learned through today’s disappointment.

Failure is often so unpleasant we want to quickly move on, but doing so hinders the process of what God desires to do in us. When we fail we want to hurry through our “darkroom.” But, just like developing film, you can’t rush the process or you won’t get the right image. If you remove the image from the chemical bath too soon, your photo will not fully develop and you’ll be left with an image that lacks depth and beauty.

You’re in the dark room for a reason. God wants to develop something in you. It’s something beautiful and eternal. The Bible says, “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” 2 Cor 4:17 (NIV) Notice the many powerful things this verse says about your troubles.

First it says – Your troubles are momentary. Your failure won’t last forever. When you are in the dark room it can seem you’ll never see the light of day again. But, just as the photograph is only in the dark room for a short period you too are only this dark period for a short season. There is an end and there will be a day when you look back and think, “That went by faster than I imagined.” Remember God is working to develop something in you and when it is complete the season will be over.

It also says – Your failures are accomplishing something for you. When we experience failure we think we are taking a step back but God has a different view. God sees a setback as a setup for comeback. The verse says that God is accomplishing something for YOU. Hear that again – God has something for YOU. It’s something that can only be learned through failure. It’s something you will never have unless you fail. Instead of viewing your troubles as a setback, start to view them as God wanting to accomplish something for you.

Sometimes failure is the very thing God desires for you. Read that again. Let that soak in. SOMETIMES FAILURE IS THE VERY THING GOD DESIRES FOR YOU. That’s hard for us to imagine in our world of Name-It-Claim-It theology. It’s as if God is the kind, rich, white-bearded Grandpa in the sky waiting to give us the gifts we desire. That type of thinking says – if you pray the right way, have enough faith and do the right things, then God will give you what you want. It has left many people broken and feeling hopeless when their efforts were not meet with success.

There’s a common lie that God wants to give you success. At the root of that lie is the belief, “If God is for me, I will be successful.” The problem is in the way we define success. God’s definition of success and our definition of success don’t always match up.

Success in God’s book isn’t you achieving your goals, dreams and agendas. Success in God’s book is the development of his character and glory in you. He desires to see you become more like him in your thoughts, words and actions. Failure is a great developer of character. You can be sure God will use the darkness of your failure to develop his character and glory in you.

The verse also reminds us – The growth God is doing through your failure far outweighs your current discomfort. The darkness is never pleasant but it has a purpose. God is developing something greater in you. In most of our lives we can look back and see that our greatest growth usually came as a result of failure. It’s through failure that God usually teaches us the most about ourselves and about him. We make a mistake when we believe God is only at work in our lives when we have success. He is also just as much at work when we experience failure. Barbara Duguid emphasizes this in her book Extravagant Grace: God’s Glory Displayed in our Weakness. She says, “It is a radical and almost frightening thought to see that God is actually as much at work in our worst moments of sin and defeat as he is in our best moments of shining obedience.” The work God is doing in you through your failure will be greater than the pain, fear and doubt you are experiencing.

Should we then attempt to fail on purpose? No. The “darkroom” process of learning through failure takes patience and is never easy. It would be best if we just learned the lesson God wants us to learn without all the pain, but sometimes the only way we’ll get it is if God takes us through the darkness. That means we should strain toward becoming more like him in our thoughts and actions everyday and if we fail we can be sure God will still use it for our good.

Your failure has purpose and God is developing something in you. In our success and performance driven culture it’s hard to understand that failure may be the thing God desires for you. He is working and he’s taking his time to get the perfect image. If you want to see the end result of your growth, then don’t waste your pain. Slow down. Sit a while in the dark room and start to develop. Start by asking God some questions. Start with these…

  • God why am I going through this failure?
  • God how are you using this failure for my good?
  • God what do you want to say to me about my failure?
  • God what actions and beliefs are you wanting to change in me so I can become more like you?

Pastor Randall

This an exceprt from his upcoming book “Bounce Back: Failure Does not Equal Finished”