Archives For Failure

I have had the distinct opportunity to witness some very funny things at my gym. Before I begin my story, I want to tell you that I have lived a sheltered life because until July 2010 I had never stepped foot in a gym, unless you count the one time in college when one of my “friends” attempted to get me on a weight lifting program before I got married. It obviously didn’t work. I was pretty comfortable allowing Leah to see my concaved chest. Ha! Since I have never been exposed to gym life, I feel like it is a visit to the zoo where lots of surprises await me. The other day a young couple entered the gym and very happily stepped onto the treadmills…beside each other. How sweet. They kept looking at each other and smiling. I wanted to throw up. I guess that’s one way to get rid of some calories. After about 15 minutes of walking/goggling over each other, the guy finished and began to step off the treadmill but he must have pressed the wrong button because it shot him right off the backside. Luckily he caught himself before the treadmill belt ripped his face off.

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If I have confessed my past sins to God and if I have sought reconciliation with the people from my past, then why can’t I forgive myself? It’s a valid question since, in my opinion, people have an easier time receiving God’s forgiveness than they do forgiving themselves. Maybe it’s because we still live with the consequences of our sin or maybe it results from being disappointed in ourselves. I’m not sure if I have all the answers. What makes matters worse is that the Bible never speaks concerning “forgiving yourself,” so the follower doesn’t really have a reference point…or do they? Although the Bible never specifically mentions forgiving ourselves, the Bible provides numerous examples of people who moved on with their lives after a shameful event. The past is the past and will never change no matter how much you beat yourself up. If you grieve every single day of your life for the sins of your past, it still won’t change what has already been done. Please listen to me. It’s time to move on. You cannot change the past, but you can change today and tomorrow and the next day if God grants you life.

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There are no do-overs in life. None. Expired days and moments cannot be relived. They are now a part of your past. Words and actions cannot be rescinded. Once in a lifetime opportunities have vanished. Sinful deeds are now a part of you. There is so much finality to the past, which often leads to ongoing feelings of guilt, shame, and regret. How would you feel if I told you that your past could be erased? What if the sin and shame that taints your past could be removed from your record? You can be released from your past and I’m going to tell you how. The apostle John writes the following words to believers in the first century, “But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness” (1 John 1:9, NLT). Forgiveness of your past sins is simply based on whether you are willing to agree with God about your wrongdoing and take responsibility for your disobedience. When David’s sin of adultery and murder was discovered, he prayed these words, ” Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, ‘I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.’ And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone” (Psalm 32:5, NLT). In the midst of his prayer of confession, he offered advice to the godly who found themselves guilty of sin, “Therefore, let all the godly pray to you while there is still time, that they may not drown in the floodwaters of judgment” (Psalm 32:6, NLT).

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We like to talk about the past. Well, I guess that statement is only half-true. We actually like to discuss the good memories in our past and forget about the bad ones. It is much easier to relive accomplishments, successes, and happy times while doing our best to erase the inabilities, failures, and disappointments. Our trophies are on display for everyone to see, but our shame is hidden away. We’ve become experts at hiding things, especially the things we do not want others to discover. Here is the problem with this thought pattern. You cannot hide the past from yourself. No matter how hard you work at tucking the past away, it always has a way to resurface. Why do shameful parts of our past reappear? The answer is simple. Guilt and shame return when the sins that haunt our past have not been properly handled. Rather than facing the past, we bury it in a shallow grave.

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My phone showed that I had 6 text messages. The sender? My wife. Her shift began in ten minutes and her computer was infected with some type of virus which was preventing her from performing any tasks. I placed a call to her but the problem could not be solved over the phone so I hopped into my car and hurried home hoping to resolve the issue. Upon my arrival I discovered that Leah was right. Nothing was functioning properly on her laptop. Using my phone I googled (what did we do before Google?) the issue and within seconds I found that this virus had been experienced by many other users in the past few weeks. Luckily, I also found the solution. In order to get rid of the virus I had to perform a system restore. By definition a system restore “…allows for the rolling back of system files, registry keys, installed programs, etc., to a previous state in the event of malfunctioning or failure.” In other words, I could return the computer to an earlier point in its life when the virus did not exist on the computer. Ten minutes later, the virus was gone and the computer was back to normal.

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My kids had some Christmas money left over so they decided that they wanted to buy two mini-trampolines. These trampolines are technically considered exercise equipment, but my kids thought they could use them for an indoor circus in our living room. They absolutely loved them. The more I watched them jump, the more I wanted to try it out. I asked my wife about the weight restrictions and, luckily, I checked out. The kids thought it was funny to see ” fat daddy” jumping on the trampoline. After a few minutes I was out of breath and stepped off which allowed the kids to continue their fun.

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My garage door opener broke over Christmas break. Bummer. I have never been a handyman (which you can read about here, here, and here) so I hate it when things break. Instead of repairing it, I told Leah that we were just going to operate the garage door the old-fashioned way. The way Charles Ingalls would have done it had he been alive during this era. I have to admit that operating the garage door manually was not that bad until we arrived home one cold, snowy night. As we pulled up close to the garage, I politely asked Leah to get out of the car and open the garage door.

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Whenever I need a new beginning with God, I always turn to Psalm 51. Although the words written there are David’s specific confession for his sin of adultery, they provide a beautiful picture of a heart broken over sin and a man in pursuit of a fresh start with God. If you need a fresh start today, speak these words to God from a humble heart.

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Each day I’m reminded about far I am from actually living up to God’s standards and some days I honestly feel like a failure. It seems as if I overcome one obstacle just in time for my next weakness to be exposed. I have confidence that God is working in my life and changing me, but I’m always aware that I have a long way to go. I’ve become accustomed to feeling a little behind and I believe a lot of Christians feel the same way. During these times of guilt and frustration, we must remember that God does not love us based on performance. Performance based love is human. God’s love is supernatural. He loves us even though we are not deserving.

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You left church yesterday with the best of intentions, right? Your Pastor talked about something relevant to your life and you decided to make a change in response to the truth of God’s Word. You really meant it. This week was going to be different…but then you woke up this morning…Monday morning. You already feel horrible because you aren’t sure that you can make a change in your life. Doubt starts creep in and you begin to question if you really meant it. Before you know it, you have given up and rationalized away those feelings of yesterday. That morning after feeling is normal for all of us, including me. So, how do we fight off these feelings and submit to God’s work in our heart?

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