A few weeks ago, a friend and wise pastor Dr. Rick Ross mentioned at a seminar that his WORD for his LIFE is BETTER. Yesterday (Monday), I stopped by the church and saw our facility getting better! Tim and Crystal were painting parking space lines at our church parking lot. Yes, we are getting BETTER and making the most of our church facility. I received a message yesterday from Dr. Rick Ross – “BETTER than I was but not as good as I will be.” #ForwardMovement
Praise God! Success? Certainly it is not “are you better than someone else” but rather is there FORWARD Movement in our lives and church? Are we fully obeying God?
As we ponder the thought of SUCCESS and getting better, there are a few things I observed – learned from my two year old son Caleb Henry:
1. Be DETERMINED – my boy Caleb will try and try and keep trying. He does not give up. Recently he was in the back yard trying to throw balls over the fence. He was determined and next thing you know many balls ended up over the fence. He would find a way. How about us? If God has spoken and it is something we should do – FIND a WAY!
2. SMILE and LAUGH – This sounds so simple. But there are so many people that are BLUE about life. It weighs on them. What if we choose to SMILE and LAUGH? After I tuck my son Caleb into his little bed, I will say,”I LOVE YOU, I LOVE YOU, I LOVE YOU!” Which he will smile and get the giggles (laugh).
3. FULL SPEED – Yes, this does wear Melissa and I out sometimes. When our son is awake, he is FULL SPEED – FULL of ENERGY. There is not slow or even slower speed. He gives everything he has to the MAX! How about us? Are we giving our BEST? I have mentioned that part of success is giving your BEST every day!
4. HAVE FUN – Okay, I am going to give Melissa’s dad credit here and I believe my son Caleb maybe got this from him. Hank Bruining would tell many people, including his wife Marilyn,”Have FUN TODAY!” He would often say that at the start of the day. My son Caleb Henry loves to have FUN! I believe even Jesus loved to have fun and he enjoyed LIFE!
5. LOVE BASEBALL – This one is for Caleb and since the MLB baseball playoffs have started. I love to play baseball (softball), but can only really watch it once playoffs start. We live close to youth baseball fields and every time we drive by, Caleb gets excited and starts saying,”BALL” – “BASEBALL”. It looks like I may be coaching or helping Caleb one day play baseball…. But for now, I have a couple of baseball illustrations regarding failure is not final.
Here is an encouraging baseball story:
Discouraged?-“We haven’t gotten up to bat yet!”
A man approached a little league baseball game one afternoon. He asked a boy in the dugout what the score was. The boy responded, “Eighteen to nothing-we’re behind.” “Boy,” said the spectator, “I’ll bet
you’re discouraged.” “Why should I be discouraged?” replied the little boy. “We haven’t even gotten up to bat yet!” (Source Unknown).
The last couple of devotionals, we have looked at – what is success or as we will look at it today “Failure is not Final”. We have discussed and looked at ways for us to stay focused and do what God wants us and tells us to do. Too often people get excited for things in LIFE, but it is for a short period of time. We sometimes make commitments or talk big, but then when things are not easy we give up.
I remember in high school a friend and I decided we were going to go out for the football team. We were excited! We started training together. We started lifting weights, running and preparing ourselves. After about a month, he gave up. I ended up playing football on the team the next season. A key to success is to keep moving forward when LIFE is hard, when things do not go our way or when it’s not as easy as we had hoped. Many successful people have failed before they began to succeed. Babe Ruth struck out many times but he still became the HOME RUN KING. We cannot allow failure or those who may talk about us or anything else keep us from growing, learning and following God’s Destiny and purposes for our LIVES! We can have an I CAN (with GOD) attitude.
On the way to summer camp last year, I had been quoting scriptures, praying and teaching my children – while driving. My daughter Katelyn was getting frustrated about trying to put her seat belt on. I just calmly kept telling her to just keep trying and you will learn – you will get it. Have an I can do it attitude.
Recently I read the following from John Maxwell:
“If you want to take a stroll in your neighborhood, you can reasonably expect to have few, if any, problems. But this is not the case if you intend to climb Mount Everest. It takes time, effort and the ability to overcome setbacks. You have to approach each day with reasonable expectations, and not get your feelings hurt when everything does not turn out perfectly.”
To go on such a journey it is necessary to monitor our own expectations of success and failure to determine if they are realistic. This can be something of a paradox. On the one hand we need to lower expectations to the point where success is possible, so that we don’t find it non-motivating if we fail. On the other we have to aim high enough so as to accomplish something worthwhile. We need to be able to have expectations that allow us to accomplish something more difficult each time we try. Pessimists often use their poor understanding of harsh realities to lower their sights back to inactivity. But this is not solving the problem. We can be realistic and still reach way beyond what others think is possible.
The following baseball story illustrates on not that success is not based on one game or one day or one situation:
“Something that happened on baseball’s opening day in 1954 illustrates the point well. The Milwaukee Braves and the Cincinnati Reds played each other, and a rookie played for each team made his major-league debut during the game. The rookie who played for the Reds hit four doubles and helped his team win with a score of 9-
8. The rookie for the Braves went 0 for 5. The Reds player was Jim Greengrass, a name you probably haven’t heard. The other guy, who didn’t get a hit, might be more familiar to you. His name was Hank Aaron, the player who became the best home run hitter in the history of baseball.
If Aaron’s expectations for that first game had been unrealistic, who knows? he might have given up baseball. Surely he wasn’t happy about his performance that day, but he didn’t think of himself as a failure. He had worked too hard and too long. He wasn’t about to give up easily.”
Philippians 1:6 (NIV)
6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
James 1:12 (NIV)
12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
Galatians 6:9 (NIV)
9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Today, you may be going through some difficult tough situations. I am praying for you. May we not allow it to keep us down, but instead may it encourage us. To remember that God is in control!
I invite you to call or text (803-448-5699) or email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or speak with me in person for prayer or any questions you may have. I also invite you to join us at New Destiny Community Church for our Sunday Services (10:30 am) or Wednesday Night Bible Study at 7 pm.
Pastor Mike Teeter