“A SUCCESSFUL FAILURE?”

“To the person who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.”  Ecclesiastes 2:26 NIV

 

Read:  Ecclesiastes 2:17-26

A television news anchor once quipped; “The only thing I have ever succeeded at was failing!”   With that once sentence, we saw for a brief moment the sad disappointment he saw in himself.  Being Known by hundreds of thousands, maybe millions did not bring him happiness.   Making over a third of a million dollars a year did not make him happy.   The trust viewers placed in him did not make him happy.

We might just say; ‘you just can’t make some people happy’.   In truth, you can’t make anyone happy.   At the same time, no one else can make you happy.   World success of fame or wealth will not make you happy.  They may brighten your mood for a short time, but the false happiness will fade.

So, what makes you happy?   In scripture, we find happiness comes from GOD.  That should not surprise us.   Everything comes from GOD.  Abraham’s success came from GOD.   Joseph was successful in Egypt because he was faithful to GOD.  David’s success was delivered by GOD.

Are you working 12 hour days to earn more money so you will be happy?  Are you working to be a success while your marriage is failing?   Are you making more money to buy your kids the latest devices and clothes, yet they are respecting you less as a parent?  Did you buy the newest car or truck and found you are still driving in the same old rut?  Is success ruining your happiness?

Turn it all over to JESUS.  Get rid of the rat race.  Find comfort in the time you spend reading GOD’S WORD everyday.   Find success in taking an early evening walk with your spouse.   Find success in listening to your kids’ screams of excitement while you play a board game with them.   Find success in helping serve your church as a leader or teacher.  Find success in a quiet prayer with your LORD.

Today’s prayer:  “JESUS MY LORD, Thank you for your patience with me as I struggle in this life.  Help me to spend more time with you learning to succeed as you would have me do.  Amen.”

“TEARS OF DISAPPOINTMENT!”

“JESUS wept.”   John 11:35 NIV

Read:  John 11:17-44

The toddler was securely fastened into his mother’s shopping cart.   As she passed the display of snacks and cookies he reached out and grabbed a package.  His mother explained that he could not have it and offered an alternative.   He refused.  As she pried his choice from his grip, the tears of disappointment gushed out!

When was the last time you cried tears of disappointment?   GOD created us with the ability to cry for a reason.    A good cry once in a while is good for us.   Just as we shed tears, we can shed the built up fears, angers, losses and disappointments.   Tears will help us, at times, to let go of the things we have bottled up.

Tears can also be tears of joy.   This seems a good time to remind you; real men do cry.

Scripture tells us important and necessary time to cry.  GOD’S word gives us good instructions and comfort.

Take a short trip through your Bible.   Esau and Jacob wept when re-united.  The Israelites wept over and over.   David wept.   Hezekiah wept.  Job wept.

Peter wept when he heard the rooster crow the second time.  Filled with disappointment in himself and his abandoning and denial of his SAVIOUR, Peter went outside and wept.

Standing outside the tomb of JESUS, seeing the empty tomb with the two angels, Mary wept.

JESUS wept.  If JESUS cried for HIS friend while knowing HE would restore the life of Lazarus, you can cry in GOD’S grace and mercy.

Today’s prayer:  “MY LORD, Thank YOU for giving me emotions and for YOU understanding my feelings.  By YOUR grace, I can praise and weep knowing YOU hear all my needs.  Amen.”

 

“BAR B Q!”

“And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it.  For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them.”  Luke 12:29-30 NIV

 

Read: Luke 12:22-34

 

BarBQ, BBQ, Barbeque or Barbecue; anyway you say it or spell it, it is good!  In south Texas, cooking on a grill and smoker is almost a right of passage.  Cooks are praised for their concoctions.   From bodacious to smokey dry, honey coated to jalapeno sauce, BarBQ is a diet staple in this area.   Some might argue a diet of BarBQ a few times a week is a necessity.

Regions and countries around the world have special foods they are renowned.   Food is a common bond around the world.  We all love to eat!

We all need food and water.  They are absolute necessities.   Clothing and shelter are nice as well.  GOD created everything we need.   Everything else are our wants and desires…not our needs.   While things we think we need may help our lives, they are not necessarily real needs.

I need a new phone.   I need a new house.   I need a new car.   These are all false statements.   We justify our wants by renaming them as needs.

Today, focus in on understanding the difference of what you need and what you want.   The one need at the top of your list should be GOD.  GOD should come before all else.   GOD should be before your family, your country, your job and yes, even before your need of food.  Depend upon GOD for all things…even your food.

More dependency upon GOD will give you a better perspective of the things you need and the things you believe you want.

Today’s prayer:  “GOD MY PROVIDER, Thank YOU for supplying all my needs.  Help me to be more dependent upon YOU and less dependent upon myself.  Amen.”

“ARE YOU FLOUNDERING?”

“I instruct you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths.  When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble.”  Proverbs 4:11-12 NIV

 

Read:  Proverbs 4:10-17

 

Flounder:  A flatfish normally found along the bottom of bays and oceans.   The fish is born looking like any other fish and swims upright.   As the newborn develops, its eye on one side physically moves itself to join the other eye on the other side of the fish.  This movement actually twists the fishes skull.  When fully developed the fish swims on its side, actually flat, ‘floundering’ along the bottom.

 

We get our phrase ‘floundering around’ from this fish.   Floundering around usually means someone is clumsy, stumbling, having difficulty thinking or unsure of their purpose in life.   These definitions can apply to physical or emotional situations or problems.

Floundering around can also refer to someone’s spiritual walk.  Are you floundering around with your faith?   Faith will change a floundering life to a life of stability.   Have faith in your Saviour.

Paul wrote the letters to Timothy to instruct him so that he would not flounder in his ministry.  Paul did not write the letters to Timothy because he believed Timothy was not or could not do his best.   Paul wrote the letters as guidance and support, reminding him of the strength of the gospel.

Our Bibles are just that, GOD’S word of guidance and support.  GOD loves you and does not want you to flounder around.   If you don’t want to flounder around trust in your SAVIOUR, read your Bible every day and pray continually.

Today’s prayer:  “MY GOD, Thank YOU for YOUR guidance and support.   Help me to be more dependent upon YOU so that I don’t flounder.   YOUR way is the best way for me.  Amen.”

 

“SATAN LIVES NEXT DOOR!”

“‘I [Satan] will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’ But you are brought down to the realm of the dead, to the depths of the pit.”   Isaiah 14:14-15 NIV

 

Read: Isaiah 14:12-20

 
Satan may not physically live in the house next door, but he is closer than you think.   Satan and his band of angels are all around us every day.   Don’t believe they are going to walk up to you and introduce themselves telling you who they are and they want your soul to rot in hell.

GOD cast Satan from Heaven to roam this earth.  It is believed his casting from Heaven was during the period of creation, during the time of Genesis 1-3, before the tempting of Adam and Eve.

Satan is believed to have been the most beautiful of GOD’S angels.   His pride and vanity led him to attempt a war in Heaven.

Revelation 12: 7-9 tell us:  “Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down-that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.”

Notice, the war was fought by Michael and his angels against Satan.  The battle was not fought by GOD.   Satan was defeated in Heaven and was cast to earth by GOD.

We have good and evil in our daily lives.   We do not have an ongoing war between GOD and Satan.   Satan is still under the authority of GOD.   Do not give Satan too much credit.   He is evil, but he is not equal to GOD in any manner.

Today’s prayer:  “Eternal GOD, Thank YOU for teaching me right from wrong, good from evil and that YOU are in control.   Help me to discern the evils of this world that Satan would have me believe.  Amen.”

 

“LOVE IS A FOUR LETTER WORD!”

“Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”  John 14:21 NIV

Read: John 14:15-21

English is a difficult language.   We have many words that can be used interchangeably and other words that have many different meanings.  We can confuse others in our speech so easily.  We can also confuse ourselves by using one of these words with multiple meanings.

Love is one such word.   Who do you love?  Perhaps, you can also ask yourself what do you love?   Chocolate comes to mind.   Loving someone is very different than saying you love a thing.

Do you love someone?   Do they love you as much as you love them?   Love is a choice.  Are you too busy to stop and pick up flowers for your wife or are you too busy to leave work and attend your kid’s soccer game?   Is your failure to do these things indicators of your lack of true love?

GOD created you and loves you.   GOD’S love is a love which we cannot define or even comprehend.   GOD wants your love.

Do you love GOD?   Is every thought and action you have proof that you love GOD?   How can we say we love GOD, when our actions are proof that we love HIM on a very measured timetable?

When we don’t worship GOD with other believers is that loving GOD?   When we don’t take the time to go to HIM in prayer, is that loving GOD?   When we continue those ‘little sins’ instead of stopping and asking GOD to forgive us, is that loving GOD?

When we fail to love, it is by our choice.   No one can force you to love or not love another.  No one can force you to love GOD.   It is your choice…yours alone.

Today is the day to tell GOD you love HIM.  Ask GOD to forgive you (HE WILL) and show HIM how much you love HIM.

Today’s prayer:  LORD GOD, Thank YOU for loving me.  Please forgive me for not telling YOU how much I love YOU and for living my life in ways against YOUR will.  Help me to show my love for those I truly love.  Help me find the words to express my love to them.  Amen.”

“ARE YOUR EARPLUGS IN?”

“Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.” Isaiah 6:10b NIV
Read:  Isaiah 6:9-10

With summer upon us, it is time for all those outdoor projects.  But unlike generations before us, we must be properly equipped.   With protective gloves, safety glasses and proper head gear we are ready to work.   Wait…don’t forget the earplugs.

As much as we can be protected with all this, we can be in jeopardy as well.
Earplugs can protect our hearing from the loud noises and high pitched whine of motors.  But, we must be consciously aware of all around us.  Just as we can’t hear the damaging sounds of equipment, they prevent us from even hearing a warning voiced from others.

Do you put your earplugs in when those who care for you are trying to give you their best advice?   Sage words of advice are easy to ignore when you don’t want to listen in the first place.

We are like that sometimes with GOD.   Have you ignored GOD?   or better asked: Are you ignoring GOD today?  Are you putting your earplugs in so that you intentionally block HIM out?  Do you stand in the presence of GOD while claiming you can’t hear HIM?

Take your earplugs out.  What GOD has to tell you, you need to hear!

Today’s prayer:  “DEAR GOD, Thank YOU for hearing me when I call out to YOU.  I need to be more attentive to what YOU want for me.  Help me to hear YOU when you call to me.  Amen.”

“SEVEN GRAINS OF GOLD!”

“But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”  Matthew 6:3-4 NIV

Read:  Matthew 6:1-6 and 19-21

There is an old Chinese story of a man who had searched his barren rice field for enough grains to make a dinner.   On the way home, a beggar in tattered clothes on the side of the road asked him for ‘anything’ the rice farmer could spare.

The farmer, afraid of not having enough rice for himself, gave the beggar six grains of rice.  He never realized the beggar was an angel of GOD.

Upon pouring his bag of rice into the pot to cook, he found seven grains of pure gold.   He remembered giving the beggar only seven grains of rice.  The farmer wept, thinking of how much more gold he would have if he had given more of his rice to the beggar.  The farmer’s concern was for himself, never thinking of the hunger the beggar still felt with only seven grains of rice.

Scriptures tell us over and over to be generous.   We are not to give so we might have more.  That would be the wrong reason.   We give so that others will have more.   When we do what is right, GOD will provide all we need and will reward us with more.

Are you holding back in your giving?   Ask GOD.   Listen to what HE tells you.  You may be giving more than you think you can afford at the same time GOD is telling you that you are not giving enough!

Today’s prayer:  “LORD GOD, Thank YOU for supplying all my needs.  Please remind me when I am being selfish with all YOU have entrusted to me.   Guide me to give as YOU would have me.  Amen.”

“KEEP ‘EM COMING!”

“But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”  Matthew 13:23 NIV

Read:  Matthew 13: 18-23

I often receive encouraging notes from readers of how these devotionals have lifted them or a loved one up.  Last week, I received a note from a faithful reader that simply read:  “Keep ’em coming!”  A lady of few words, but the message was clear.

Her note was appropriate since last week was the third year anniversary of the ‘Wednesday Minute’ devotionals.  GOD used a special friend to prod me to send out the first devotional three years ago.   I remember thinking; How can I ever write a devotional every week?   “Oh, ye of little faith” was me!

Week after week, GOD supplied the stories and HIS Bible verses.   Soon, by demand, it was no longer just once a week.   By GOD’S lead, ‘Sunday’s Sermon’ was born to make it two devotionals a week.   GOD had a plan!  Now, Revival Ministry is helping churches bring those who don’t know JESUS into their family of believers and we are now on the radio every Sunday morning with a new sermon for those not in church.

The first devotional was emailed to just 6 friends.   I was thinking small…too small.  Within the first year, we were sending a few outside the United States!   Today, the numbers are growing.   The same devotionals you are reading and praying over are now being read and prayed over by pastors and individuals in at least 10 countries that we know…from the U.S. to India to Canada to China to several countries in Africa to Pakistan and more.

These devotionals are being received by believers and non-believers.  JESUS gave us the parable of casting seeds.   These devotionals are ‘casting seeds’.

You can fulfill the gospel of JESUS by casting even more seeds, just like today’s scripture verse describes.  Send me the first names, last names and email addresses of those you would like to receive their very own ‘Wednesday Minute’ and ‘Sunday’s Sermon’ devotionals.  Sow the seeds!

You can also help us with the ongoing costs.   Please consider clicking the ‘Donate’ button below and setting up a monthly gift.  You can also mail a check to the address below.  100% of all donations go towards the ministry.   No salaries are ever paid to anyone.   I personally support the ministry financially and have never taken any income from the ministry in any manner.

Today’s prayer:   “LORD, Thank YOU for giving us your word to grow and understand how much YOU love us.   Help us to take these devotional messages to others.  Amen.”