Soul-Care Articles: Christ-centered, Spirit-led, Biblically-based, Clinically-sound, Truth-oriented

Posts tagged ‘admitting failure’

“Jesus can understand you”

SOURCE:  J.C. Ryle/Tolle Lege

“If any reader of this paper desires salvation, and wants to know what to do, I advise him to go this very day to the Lord Jesus Christ, in the first private place he can find, and entreat Him in prayer to save his soul.

Tell Him that you have heard that He receives sinners, and has said, ‘Him that cometh unto Me I will in no wise cast out.’ (John 6:37.)

Tell Him that you are a poor vile sinner, and that you come to Him on the faith of His own invitation.

Tell Him you put yourself wholly and entirely in His hands,—that you feel vile and helpless, and hopeless in yourself,—and that except He saves you, you have no hope to be saved at all.

Beseech Him to deliver you from the guilt, the power, and the consequences of sin.

Beseech Him to pardon you and wash you in His own blood.

Beseech Him to give you a new heart, and plant the Holy Spirit in your soul.

Beseech Him to give you grace, and faith, and will, and power to be His disciple and servant from this day for ever.

Yes: go this very day, and tell these things to the Lord Jesus Christ, if you really are in earnest about your soul.

Tell Him in your own way and your own words. If a doctor came to see you when sick you could tell him where you felt pain. If your soul really feels its disease you can surely find something to tell Christ.

Doubt not His willingness to save you, because you are a sinner. It is Christ’s office to save sinners. He says Himself, ‘I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.’ (Luke 5:32.)

Wait not, because you feel unworthy. Wait for nothing: wait for nobody. Waiting comes from the devil.

Just as you are, go to Christ. The worse you are, the more need you have to apply to Him. You will never mend yourself by staying away.

Fear not because your prayer is stammering, your words feeble, and your language poor. Jesus can understand you.

Just as a mother understands the first babblings of her infant, so does the blessed Saviour understand sinners. He can read a sigh, and see a meaning in a groan.

Despair not, because you do not get an answer immediately. While you are speaking, Jesus is listening. If He delays an answer, it is only for wise reasons, and to try if you are in earnest.

Pray on, and the answer will surely come. Though it tarry, wait for it: it will surely come at last.

If you have any desire to be saved, remember the advice I have given you this day. Act upon it honestly and heartily, and you shall be saved.”

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–J.C. Ryle, Practical Religion: Being Plain Papers on the Daily Duties, Experience, Dangers, and Privileges of Professing Christians (London: Charles Murray, 1900), 85–86.

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Ever Feel Like You’re Ruining Your Kids?

SOURCE:  Susan Alexander Yates/Family Life Ministry

“I’m the worst mother in the world. I think I’m ruining my kids,” I exclaimed as tears began to cloud my vision.

Once again “Miz Edith,” my elderly next-door neighbor, wrapped her arms around me and replied, “Susan, you are not the worst mother in the world. You are just in a hard season and you are doing a good job. You will be alright. Your kids will be alright.”

was in a hard season. We had recently moved to a new town and I had five children ages 7 and under (including colicky twins), a husband with a demanding new job, and no friends, no family, and no help. Except “Miz Edith.”

Many times during those early years I would run across my lawn, often in bare feet and pajamas, knock on her door, and burst into tears. Edith didn’t always give me advice, but she always comforted me. What she gave me was perspective. She reminded me that although this season was hard, it would not last forever. And she reassured me that I was doing a better job than I thought I was.

One of the hardest things about raising young children is that we don’t feel like we are making any progress. We discipline them and they turn around and do it again. We teach them to speak kindly and they are rude once more. We think we are making progress in sibling rivalry and then a fight breaks out.

No matter how hard we try and how many times we tell them, we don’t seem to make any progress.

Recently a father with three young kids said, “If we didn’t care how they turned out, raising them wouldn’t be so hard!” But we do care—so much. One of the things we have to remember in this season is that we are sowing and we are not going to see results for many years. In other areas of life we often see results soon. But not in parenting. Training is a repeated endeavor—over and over and over. We will be less disappointed if we realize they may not get it for several years. We just have to keep at it and not expect fast results.

The problem isn’t just our child’s behavior. We lose our tempers. We overreact. We get frustrated and tired. And when we make a really big mistake we wonder if we are ruining our kids. Our kids are not looking for perfect parents. There aren’t any.

What they need is an honest parent. A parent who is willing to say, “I made a mistake and I am sorry. I should not have reacted that way. I need to ask you to forgive me. Will you forgive me?” When our kids see us asking for forgiveness they will be more likely to grow into men and women who are humble enough to ask for forgiveness themselves.

Seek out a “Miz Edith” for your life.

Each of us needs someone older who will give us perspective. But we can also be an Edith in a younger person’s life. I have often thought we should strive to be “sandwich women.” We are the peanut butter in the middle with an older mentor above us and then the bottom bread is someone younger for whom we care.

When you feel like you are ruining your kids remember: Your ability to ruin your children is not nearly as great as God’s power to redeem them.

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This article originally appeared on MomLife Today, FamilyLife’s blog for moms.

FIGHTING THE GIANT OF FAILURE

SOURCE:  David Jeremiah

Acknowledge Your Failure

Overcoming failure—and profiting from it—begins with us.

Former President Harry Truman knew how to honestly evaluate things, even his own life. When asked if he was popular as a child in school, he replied, “No. I was never popular. The popular boys were the ones who were good at games and had big fists. I was never like that. Without my glasses, I was blind as a bat, and to tell the truth, I was kind of a sissy. If there was any chance of getting into a fight, I took off. I guess that’s why I’m here today.” In modern language, he “failed” at being popular, but he wasn’t afraid to admit it.

Sometimes we hesitate to admit our failure because we think of it like confessing sin. All sin is a failure of some sort, but not all failure is sin. So don’t be afraid to admit it when you fail.

Accept God’s Forgiveness

If our failure is due to sin, the only way to overcome its effects is to confess it to God and receive His forgiveness. The clear testimony of Scripture is that God is a forgiving God. He does not condone our sinful failures, but neither does He hold them against us if we want to be forgiven for them (Psalm 103:10; 1 John 1:9).

Apply the Lessons of Failure Toward Success

We should never accept failure as the final judgment or assessment of our potential. If we did that, we would never move beyond our first failure. We must learn to use failure as a resource, as an opportunity.

An assistant to Thomas Edison tried to console him after a string of failed experiments had produced no results. “Oh, we have lots of results,” Edison said. “We know 700 things that won’t work!” John Keates, an English author, once wrote, “Failure is in a sense the highway to success, inasmuch as every discovery of what is false leads us to seek earnestly after what is true, and every fresh experience points out some form of error which we shall afterward carefully avoid.”

By studying our failures we will discover what we are doing wrong which can only lead us more quickly to what to do right.

Accept Failure as a Fact of Life, Not a Way of Life

Failure is an event, not a person; failure is something that happens, not someone you become.

We carelessly use the phrase, “I’m a failure,” so frequently that we begin to believe it. A person can have hundreds and hundreds of failures in his life and still be a success. Or, if he allows just a few failures to overcome him, he could be on the road to characterizing himself as a failure.

Think about Peter’s failure to identify with the Lord Jesus on the night of His arrest. And then think about him preaching with fire at Pentecost in the opening of the book of Acts. Peter failed, but he wasn’t a failure.

Arise from Failure and Start Again

The temptation when we fail is to wallow in self-pity, to sulk, to feel sorry for ourselves (a sure sign of the influence of the giant of failure). The best thing you can do is stand up, brush yourself off, and start moving forward again.

One of my favorite characters in Scripture is Jonah. You know his story, how God told Him to go one way (east to Nineveh) and he went the other (west toward Spain). Jonah failed miserably in his role and responsibility as a prophet. Yet after he had come back to the Lord, God gave him a second chance (Jonah 3:1–2). He sent him again to Nineveh to preach and 120,000 people repented before God. It was one of the greatest responses to the Word of God recorded in history. And this from a man who just a short time previously had failed miserably.

Sometimes when you try to start over people will say, “You’re a failure.” That’s the enemy talking—don’t listen. You listen to God who wants you to succeed. If you are right with Him He will be right with you.

Avoid Judging Failure in Others

Just as others might judge us, we must be on guard against judging others as a failure. [Consider] the examples of three people who were judged by others as failures, but whom God saw as successes.

1. The rich man and the beggar.
In Luke 16 the story of the rich man and Lazarus reveals two opposite individuals. Outwardly the rich man was the success and Lazarus the failure. But God’s perspective was the opposite. The rich man ended up in agony, and Lazarus ended up being comforted in Paradise. If we had seen the two before knowing God’s evaluation, would we have been quick to judge? God’s values are often very different than ours.

2. A Pharisee and a tax collector.
In Luke 18 we have the story of a Pharisee and a tax collector. The Pharisee was the epitome of success within first-century Judaism, and the tax collector one of the most despised men in town. But when they went to the temple to pray, their true success and failure became obvious. The Pharisee was proud and arrogant, the tax collector humble and repentant. Which would we have chosen as the success and which the failure?

3. A Pharisee and a prostitute.
In Luke 7, we have the story of a Pharisee named Simon and a sinful woman, a prostitute. Simon invited Jesus to his home for dinner. A prostitute came into the dinner and anointed Jesus feet with perfume and her tears. Simon was offended because of her impropriety, but Jesus was offended at Simon’s lack of love. The man who appeared to be successful was a failure when it came to love for God. The prostitute, a failure in life, succeeded in loving God. Which would we have chosen as successful and which as a failure?

These stories warn us to beware of judging others who appear to us to be failures. The man who, from the world’s point of view, was a great failure turned out to be the man God exalted and honored by raising Him from the dead and seating Him at the right hand of the throne of God.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you are a failure when you fail. Defeat the giant of failure by striving to receive Jesus’ final words about your life, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

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Jeremiah, D. (2001). Facing the giants in your life: Study guide (111–113). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

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