A Glass of Water

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Numbers 33 NIV

http://www.biblegateway.com

33 Here are the stages in the journey of the Israelites when they came out of Egypt by divisions under the leadership of Moses and Aaron. At the Lord’s command Moses recorded the stages in their journey. This is their journey by stages:

50 On the plains of Moab by the Jordan across from Jerichothe Lord said to Moses, 51 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you cross the Jordan into Canaan, 52 drive out all the inhabitants of the land before you. Destroy all their carved images and their cast idols, and demolish all their high places. 53 Take possession of the land and settle in it, for I have given you the land to possess. 54 Distribute the land by lot, according to your clans. To a larger group give a larger inheritance, and to a smaller group a smaller one. Whatever falls to them by lot will be theirs. Distribute it according to your ancestral tribes.

55 “‘But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land, those you allow to remain will become barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides. They will give you trouble in the land where you will live. 56 And then I will do to you what I plan to do to them.’”

The Israelite people have been traveling for over 40 years!  Yes, forty years. I have been on this earth for forty-four years and can’t imagine constantly moving, yet I follow in their footsteps. Constant motion, always questioning, and maybe unbelieving my path.

One sunny day I sat at my serene back patio listening to the birds chirping and feeling the warm sun on my face.  My husband stepped out to say, “Hey!”, but I turned and told him how thirsty I was due to the heat.  

I said, “Can I have a large glass of water from the fridge?”  He smiled begrudgingly and walked back into the house.

Five minutes later (that was a long walk to the kitchen) he handed me a small kid cup half full with luked warm water from the faucet.  Did I not say, “Large glass with water from the fridge?”  Yes, this was done with a snappy tone.  

He looked at me and chimed, “Be grateful you have the water and if you drink it I will get you more.”  He then closed the door quickly so not to hear my smart response.

Funny, but this is me with God.  How often do I hear him, roll around what He said, go into the kitchen maybe become distracted or just lazy and doubting His need, half remember what was said, make up what I can remember, and then give Him what’s left.  Here God… here is what you wanted.  Oh, that’s not what you wanted, well that’s what you get, and hope you like it as I run the other way.

The Israelites followed, but doubted God the whole time wondering if He would really deliver.   If they only believed, listened with dedication and determination, they would have been in the promised land a lot earlier soaking up all of God’s love.

Let’s listen, believe, and deliver God’s will.  Then we wouldn’t need to find words to cover up the mess we made.

Daniel 9:9

9 The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him;

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Failing to Succeed

erwin-lutzer-quote-failing-miserably

Psalm 40: 2-3 NIV

Biblegateway.com

He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
    out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
    and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
    a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
    and put their trust in him.

The word failure brings us to tears and hidden moments that we desperately try not to remember.  It means deterioration or decay, especially in vigor, strength. It was unexpectedly authored by our great father.  

But, isn’t our faithful walk suppose to bring success and joy?  

If we fail, how can we know that God wants us to continue the path we thought He called us to follow?

When failure happens of any kind, our human response is to become fearful of it’s resurgence, or we may become protective by guarding ourselves.  Fear leads to isolation and unwillingness to try again.  Our life becomes numb and less than what we expect. On the other hand, our need to protect ourselves, leads to our need of performing beyond expectations, and will manifest into an overly extended lifestyle filled with doing.  

Where do you stand?  

I have been both at different stages of my life.  Recently, I have been under protection.  My schedule full, my workload beyond manageable at times, and the expectations I have of my self are far beyond reach.  I would accomplish something and feel a sense of success, but that would last for only seconds when the next to do reared its ugly head.  Never enough time, never enough resources, and never enough to satisfy the need to perform to avoid failure.

Society’s norm has its own response; avoid childhood failure.  We create awards for everyone, we build each child up for their talents, we offer options so that no one feels less than successful.  We build safeguards and feed a false sense of self confidence.  These fragile children are ripe for a loss greater than they can handle as soon as a real failure occurs.  

Psalm 119:71  It was good for me to be afflicted
    so that I might learn your decrees.

2 Corinthians 4: 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

Romans 5: 3-4 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.

Why has God created failure?  What is His mission in making us fall?

Our fails lead to Him.  They makes us come to the realization that He is the only one who will save us, guide us, and make things right.  We can then embrace the less than perfect moments, and can take it graciously while turning it into hope.  Hope is the faithful response to failure.  It provides our Lord the open door He needs to come into our broken lives.  This is how our faith grows.

For following His lead and accepting the falls, he provides wonderful blessings in the form of success which our human minds can not explain.  This cycle continues, and he draws us near.  He whispers loving words of inspiration and adoring love for His new obedient follower.  

Yet, isn’t our happy ending.  Our memories will falter.  

Psalm 41:9 Even my close friend,
    someone I trusted,
one who shared my bread,
    has turned against me.

Even Jesus knew Judas would betray him even after seeing God’s greatness.  We will slip again when our successes become our weaknesses.  How we soon forget where we were, patting ourselves tenderly on the back for a job well done in the world’s view.  Who do we serve?  

Our failure is inevitable and our success comes when we realize that God is more and we are less. The world is not who we answer, it is our loving father who bears our inequities. 

Lamentations: 3:22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassion never fail.

Psalm 73: 26My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but God is the strength of my heart
    and my portion forever.

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