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3 – 9th
Reflection: Success and Failure
I have observed something else under the sun. The fastest runner doesn’t always win the race, and the strongest warrior doesn’t always win the battle. The wise sometimes go hungry, and the skillful are not necessarily wealthy. And those who are educated don’t always lead successful lives. It is all decided by chance, by being in the right place at the right time.
Ecclesiastes 9:11 NLT
It’s easy to blame ourselves or those around us for failures. However, we should not fool ourselves into thinking that failure is always a result of our shortcomings. Nor should we believe that success is exclusively due to our merits. Success or failure may be due to chance.
For example, Microsoft had a crack at success largely because of IBM’s offhand decision to use the MS-DOS operating system for a backwater project called the personal computer. Bill Gates later reflected, “Our timing in setting up the first software company aimed at personal computers was essential to our success. The timing wasn’t entirely luck, but without great luck it couldn’t have happened.” Asked why he had started a software company just at the time IBM was trying its luck with a personal computer, he replied, “I was born at the right place and time.”
This is not to say that hard work and ingenuity aren’t important. They prepare us to make the most of the chances we get in life, and they may create opportunities that otherwise wouldn’t exist. Yet one who succeeds at work may be no more deserving than another who fails.
If our response to success is solely self-congratulation, we are practicing idolatry. If our response is thankfulness, then we are worshiping God. If our reaction to failure is despair, then we are feeling the hollowness of a broken idol. But if our reaction is perseverance, then we are experiencing the gracious power of God.
As the year is drawing to an end. Thank God for the opportunities and skills that have allowed you to succeed (in big ways and in small ways) this year. After the sting of failure, pray that God will help you to pick yourself up and move forward with what you’ve learned.
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10 – 16th
Reflection: God Accomplishes His Purposes
…Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flightHebrews 11:34
Sometimes work is thwarted by our weakness. We fall short of the mark. If we recognize that our work is hobbled by disobedience, resentment, laxity, fear, selfishness, and other ailments, we can find comfort in the stories in the Bible.
Consider the list of names in Hebrews 11: Abraham, Samson, David, and more. When we read their stories we can clearly see their failures which were often significant. For example, if we read about Barak’s timidity as a general (Judges 4:8-9, NIV) through human eyes, we likely would see no faith at all. Yet God sees these heroes’ faith through his eyes and credits their success to his grace, not their own accomplishment.
The story of Jonah is another example. Jonah ran away from God by boarding a ship going in the opposite direction God told him to go. Yet even Jonah’s small, halting moments of obedience to God end up blessing those around him. On the ship, he acknowledges, “I worship the Lord, the God of heaven” (Jonah 1:9, NIV) and sacrifices himself for the sake of his shipmates.
As a result, the others on the ship are saved from a storm, and they become followers of the Lord. “The men greatly feared the Lord, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows to him” (Jonah 1:16, NIV). God accomplishes the fullness of his mission through Jonah’s halting, flawed, intermittent service. By God’s power, even our poor service may accomplish everything that God intends.
We can take heart in these examples when we’ve stumbled. We may have spoken harshly to a family member, been impatient with a friend, ignored our responsibility to our family, or done our work poorly. But we have faith that God is able to bring about his intent for the world even in the midst of our weakness and failure.
Prayer: Father, thank you that I am no different from any other person who has served you. We have all sinned and fallen short at times. Yet, you still use our efforts to accomplish Your purposes. You are a great God. Amen.
The stops of a good man are ordered by the Lord as well as his steps.
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17 – 23rd
Reflection: God’s Appointed Time
I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry.
God can seems to be sooooo slow to us sometimes! And we can become so impatient that we run ahead of Him, thinking we can either help Him answer our prayers or force Him to act on our timetable. If we don’t learn to walk alongside Him at His pace, we end up making a mess. We may become entangled in consequences that bind and complicate our own lives and damage the lives of others to an almost unbearable degree.
If this year has taught me anything, it will be PATIENCE.
God knows our end from the beginning. And He is powerful enough to bring all His desires for our lives into FRUITION.
You have heard the saying, “God’s timing is perfect!”
Don’t forget that Jesus had to wait patiently for the appointed time (into His 30’s) to accomplish His destiny. Just like God’s timing regarding Jesus’ destiny was perfect. His plans for your life are too.
God’s delivery system is FAITH. God is interested not only in our final destination but also in the journey because on that journey He does a work in our lives that has eternal value.
The journey is actually the best part!
And we need to understand that the journey is an important process that matters very much to God. Why?
He uses the journey to teach us faith, to refine our character, and to equip us for the greater challenges that lie ahead.
Let’s go back to Psalm 40:1
“I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry.”
David waited patiently for the Lord’s appointed time. And while still waiting, David said God turned to him and heard his cry.
“With God, there’s always an appointed time for things, and when you put Him first, trust in His timing, and keep the faith, miracles happen!”
― Germany Kent
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24th – 31st
The King is Here
Kindly take this week to reflect and celebrate with your loved ones.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year in Advance!
See you in 2019!
Thank you for reading the Daily Seed | Weekly Devotional this year.
We hope you have enjoyed going through the Word of God with us as we have. We pray that God will keep you on this journey and continue with us in 2019.
I hope you have been blessed!
I pray this Word – this Seed falls on the good soil and May The Lord answer your heart cry today, Amen!