Thursday, November 19, 2009

Quote of the Week

"God works strangely. He brings order out of confusion, harmony out of discord... God often helps when there is least hope, and saves His people in the way that they think will destroy.... God's ways are past finding out (Rom 11:33). They are rather to be admired than to be fathomed"

Thomas Watson, All Things for Good, p. 60

Saturday, November 14, 2009

How to Fail Like a Christian

Failure - we've all had to deal with it. Even if you consider yourself to be successful, you've probably had to deal with some failure at every stage of life. The big issue for us isn't whether we fail but how we respond when we fail.

I've found that how I actually deal with failure says a lot about what I really believe about God and His work in my life. While I neither seek failure nor prefer it, it's helpful to view failure with a Biblical perspective when I confront it. Here are three "good" things that can be accomplished through failure.

First, we learn of our limitations. We're limited in our talents, limited in our effort and even limited in our character. We are reminded that we're finite and God is not. God is unlimited in His ability to affect His universe:

"Our God is in the heavens and he does all that he pleases" (Psalm 115:3).

God never tires or sleeps:

"He will not let your foot be moved. He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold He who keeps Israel who neither slumber nor sleep." (Psalm 121: 3-4)

Second, through failure, we are disciplined and refined. God often works in our lives more prominently through hardship and failures than through prosperity and success. Through failure, God works to free us from the siren songs of this world - particularly the love of the "praise of men". I've discovered that much of my "fear of failure" actually stems from a craving for recognition and praise. Understanding this brings forth the seed of repentance and I'm comforted that God is at work even in the midst of failure.

Finally, failure draws the Christian to God because we are one step nearer to the end of ourselves. We better understand our limitations and our weaknesses. We are not crushed by failure but humbled by it. When we experience the pain of failure, we are drawn to trust in our Savior who died a failure in the sight of men but accomplished more than anyone perceived at the time.

By responding to failure in this way, we testify to the reality of the invisible God we love and serve.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Quote of the Week

The experience of our modernized world leads us to think of it not only as the absence of God but, as it turns out, the absence of human nature. This is no coincidence. The death of God is always followed by the death of the human being.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Don't Waste Your Recession

Perhaps we're not quite out of that recession after all - now that unemployment has hit a 26 year high. Let's face it - economic downturns are not fun - companies fail, real estate prices plummet and hardworking men and women lose jobs. Yet, even in the midst of financial trials, God is faithfully at work to accomplish His purpose.

Where do you see God at work even in the midst of rising unemployment and financial uncertainty? What is He teaching you?

Here are a few ways that God uses financial trials to instruct our hearts -

1. We learn that wealth is fleeting - nothing like a loss of carefully cultivated nest egg to remind us of how fleeting wealth is ... how temporary its satisfaction. We are provoked to treasure Christ - the promise of the One who never fails, never loses value or beauty. We are reminded to find our joy in Him.

2. We learn to trust God - ever notice how we don't really exercise faith in the midst of prosperity? On the other hand, we are often compelled to turn to Christ when things are not going well..when we lose our jobs or when we're under stress.

3. We learn to testify to the Hope that is within us. We can proclaim the gospel by virtue of our response to the prevailing financial crisis. Instead of fretting over the loss of earthly treasure, we can testify to Christ, the eternal, incomparable Treasure - we can be otherworldly.

Here are a couple of resources on not "wasting" the recession.

What have you learned? How has God met you in the midst of this recession?