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Success: It’s a Lot More than Good Genes

1 Apr

Delve into the area of “genetics jokes” and you’ll find some doozies! (I have to admit, I didn’t understand most of them.) But here are two:

Question: Where would a person find genes that are retired from the human genetic pool?

Answer: In an old folks genome.

Question: Why did the geneticist go to dental school?

Answer: He was looking for an oral high gene.

I know. Silly.

But speaking of genes . . .

Entrepreneur Darren Hardy, an author, speaker and former publisher of SUCCESS magazine, once said, “DNA has nothing to do with success. Turn your genes into overalls and get to work.”

People have some strange ideas about success. Most are surprised it seldom happens automatically.

Success has more to do with faithfulness and perseverance than our genes and even exceptional gifts.

History is full of people who failed and later succeeded. Here are only a few examples among many:

  • Abraham Lincoln “failed” in the military, in business, as a lawyer, and initially, in politics. but he went on to become President of the United States.
  • Inventor Thomas Edison, labeled as “stupid” as a child, made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb before his invention was deemed a success.
  • Henry Ford went broke five times before he succeeded in building a productive car manufacturing enterprise.

Failure is often the training school for success.

As in the business and scientific world, in the Christian life, success also has more to do with faithfulness and perseverance than genes and gifting.

Faithfulness is steadfastness. It’s being reliable, unwavering. God is faithful (Psalm 89:8; Hebrews 13:8), and He wants us to learn faithfulness.

We see examples of faithfulness in the Bible in Tychicus (Ephesians 6:21), Epaphras (Colossians 1:7), Onesimus (Colossians 4:9), Moses (Hebrews 3:2) and Silvanus (1 Peter 5:12).

Though they are not well-know to us, they made the “faithfulness headlines” with the Lord.

Faithfulness will always be rewarded (Luke 19:17; Matthew 25:23). Why?

Faithfulness is God’s definition of success.

God wants us to be faithful to read scripture and pray; and to live by faith in every aspect of life (Habakkuk 2:4b).

Combined with perseverance, faithfulness allows us to serve the Lord in powerful ways. Perseverance makes us overcomers. We can become people who are holy and above reproach (Colossians 1:23).

It’s like pulling on spiritual overalls and getting to work for God and His Kingdom!

We work and persevere not to earn right standing with God, but rather out of our secure position with Him. We are already redeemed and accepted in the Lord (Ephesians 1:3-14).

It is the Lord who begins and completes His good work in us (Philippians 1:6); but believers–especially those in leadership–must also persevere in godliness and sound doctrine (1 Timothy 4:16; John 8:31; Romans 2:7); because, again, there is great “reward” (Psalm 19:11).

There may be many walls and hurdles to overcome in our walk of faithfulness–including deep persecution and afflictions–but the Lord encourages us to stay faithful and persevering, and the Holy Spirit will help us. Those who persevere in suffering, James says, will receive a “crown of life” (James 1:12).

Be faithful to the Faithful Father, and don’t give up pursuing His purposes for your life.

Put on your spiritual overalls!

Can you think of an area where you are not being faithful? Not persevering? How can you turn that around today?

 – Dawn

Graphic: Overalls are from Sears

 

3 Things God Remembers and 1 He Forgets

22 May

In her clever book, author Karen O’Connor lists 365 Senior Moments You’d Rather Forget. Some of my favorites:

  • Rolling on Biofreeze pain medication instead of deodorant.GladGodDoesntHaveAnySeniorMoments_LOLwithGod
  • Spritzing your plants with hairspray.
  • Forgetting, while in the middle of a staircase, whether you’re going up or down.
  • Dropping the mail you just got from your post office box into the mail slot, and taking home the ones you took to mail.
  • Planting sunflower seeds–and when they sprout, pulling them, because you think they’re weeds.
  • Offering to teach a class on memory enhancement, and then forgetting to show up for the first session.

LOL!

I’ve had my own senior moments, and two of them involved the automatic door lock button on my car’s keyring.

Once I pointed and clicked at my post office box–waiting for it to open magically. Another time, I aimed at my mailbox at home by the street. I was so glad none of my neighbors saw that!

I may be getting forgetful, but I’m glad God doesn’t have any senior moments. He is faithful to remember.

Three things God says He Remembers

1. He remembers His covenants.

God is faithful to keep what He has promised. We see this throughout scripture (Genesis 9:14-16; Exodus 2:23-25; Psalm 105:8; 111:5, etc.).

2. He remembers His own.

We are precious to our Father. In Isaiah 49:15-16, God says of Israel, “Can a woman forget her nursing child and have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you. ‘Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands ….”

We see this remembering in Jesus on the cross in an interchange with a dying thief who asked Jesus to remember him when He came into His kingdom (Luke 23:39-43). Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Jesus will remember us too. He’s preparing a home for His  spotless Bride (John 14:1-3) and He will come for her.

3. He remembers His mercy.

Luke 1:54-55 describes God’s remembered mercy to Israel–to all the Patriarchs in the Old Testament. And Christians can approach God’s throne with confidence because of that same mercy (Hebrews 4:16).

We receive mercy when we don’t suffer God’s wrath, even though we deserve it. Believers receive this mercy at Jesus’ expense (John 3:16-17; Titus 3:4-5). Because of God’s mercy, we are “born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus” (1 Peter 1:3-4).

And what does God choose to forget?

He “forgets” the sins of His confessing children.

How is “forgetting” possible? How can an omniscient God–the Creator who forgets nothing–forget our sins?

Because God remembers mercy, He can choose to forgive our sins in Christ.

That is clear in these verses:

I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins” (Isaiah 43:25). For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more” (Hebrews 8:12).

Ever had someone beg for mercy? You had a choice. You could hold it against that person or say, “Awww, forget it. It’s all good.” You purposed to forgive and put the person’s offense behind your back.

It’s the same with God, only on a much grander scale. It’s not that He can’t recall the offenses we’ve committed against Him. Rather, God chooses to put our sins behind His back.

The Bible explains God removes our sins “as far as the east is from the west” (Psalm 103:12). We are completely forgiven because of Jesus’ one-time sacrifice and declared righteous before God. There is no more condemnation (Romans 8:1).

It’s “all good.”

The incredible exchange wrought in Jesus’ sacrifice (2 Corinthians 5:21) made it possible for God to make this choice. It’s the same process that continues for us on a daily basis. If we agree with Him about our sins, He is “faithful to forgive” and cleanse us (1 John 1:9).

How are we to respond to God’s remembering and forgetting?

Because God remembers His promises, remembers us and remembers mercy, we can stand secure in the Lord. And because He “forgets” our sins, we are free in Christ. We can move forward in becoming more like Him (Philippians 3:13-14; Ephesians 4:22-24). We can gratefully spread the “fragrance” of our merciful God everywhere; and become “imitators of God, as beloved children” (2 Corinthians 2:14; Ephesians 5:1-2).

Christian, take a moment to thank God for all the ways He remembers you . . . and that He chooses to “forget” your sin!

– Dawn

Graphic: Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Missing God’s Signs

5 Oct

StoveNoteA busy, often distracted mother sometimes accidentally left pots and pans on the stove with the burners on. Concerned about the possibility of a fire, she resorted to posting this reminder on the kitchen door: “STOVE?”

One day her daughter, just back from college, noticed the sign.

Beneath her mom’s note, the daughter taped her reply: “No, it’s a DOOR! (Trust me. I went to college.)” *

Some signs in life are obvious. Others can confuse or misrepresent.

But there are some signs we might miss entirely.

God gives us signs every day that declare His love, His goodness, His grace, His mercy, His wisdom, His faithfulness and so much more. The enemy, Satan, wants us to DontMissGodsSignsmiss those signs. The devil wants us to miss all the signs of the glory of God in our lives.

If we have doubts about our Father in Heaven, it’s often because we’ve read some of the enemy’s misleading signs about God. We look at our current circumstances and “read into them” something that simply isn’t true.

For example, if our finances suddenly take a downward turn, the enemy would like us to believe this is a sign of God’s unfaithfulness. And we may give a nod to this lie because we tend to be proud and selfish, and we don’t like inconvenience or difficulty.

But if we took a moment to REFLECT on all that God has done in our past to show His daily faithfulness (Lamentations 3:21-23) and love (Ephesians 3:18-19), we might RECOGNIZE God’s presence in our lives. And when we recognize His presence – and all that comes with that (God’s power, provision, peace, etc.) – we can REJECT the enemy’s lies.

Just because we can’t see God’s purpose in allowing inconvenience, difficulty (and even suffering) in our lives, this doesn’t mean God stopped loving and caring for us – any more than a parent stops loving a child when it’s time for that child to get some tough medical care or experience situations the parent knows will bring growth and maturity. Our loving God may be allowing a tough time simply to strengthen us (James 1:2-4).

We need to look outside our current circumstances to the signs of what our loving, all-wise Father God has done for us throughout our past … how He brought us through tough times, how He answered prayer, how He met a need, how He displayed His power and glory. God wants to help us, but we need to learn His ways (Proverbs 3:5-7).

We need to turn to the scriptures, which can dispel our doubts and encourage our faith.

The truth is:

Armed with this truth, we can praise God and give Him glory for His faithfulness (Psalm 71:8; 103:1-2). We can look to scriptures about what He will accomplish in and through us in the future (1 Corinthians 2:9).

Be encouraged! If God gave Jesus to deliver us, we know we can depend on Him in all of life’s circumstances (Romans 8:32).

A good example of this is the life of John, the beloved disciple (Matthew 11:1-6). We know Jesus loved him, but can you imagine how John might have felt sitting in a jail cell. Satan surely brought him signs that said, “You’re all alone” or “God has forgotten you.” Just as Jesus encouraged John to look beyond that Jail cell by faith, He encourages us to look past the darkness in our lives to His light.

Jesus ends with these encouraging words – “… ‘Blessed [Happy] are those who don’t doubt me'” (Matthew 11:6, The Living Bible).

Are you struggling with doubt in a tough circumstance? Cast away any thoughts that rise up against God as He truly is (2 Corinthians 10:5).

Reflect on how God has been faithful to you in the PAST, and His promises for the FUTURE; and use these signs of His love and care to encourage you in the PRESENT.

* Humor adapted from Cybersalt Digest Issue #3730, 8/23/11

PHOTO of Sign: Image courtesy of scottchan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

— Dawn

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