Faith in Failure

Failure is a word most, or many would just assume skirt around. How many times must we fail? There may be a job and home losses, relationships gone awry, wars, or even deaths of loved ones. God didn’t prepare us for such horrible conditions, as satisfaction had its limits. Only now do we turn to God with outstretched arms and give it all to Him. Don’t you know, in those unsuspected times of remorse, God loves using failures for His glory? Yes! It is time to watch and listen for His message. Have faith in failure!

“My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.”  2 Corinthians 12:9

Our Father chooses those who are NOT perfectly polished and prepared for a purpose. The people you least suspect will be His chosen ones. A perfect biblical example was the Jew called Saul of Tarsus. Saul murdered and tortured Christians, yet as he walked to Damascus, God blinded him with a light, and Jesus appeared before him. Saul converted to Christianity and ultimately became an apostle.

Saul of Tarsus Image Courtesy of Sweet Publishing/FreeBibleImages.org

Many people walk the earth today with a torrid past, yet they turn their lives over to God. I am one such example. I went to bed a carpenter and was awakened and told to write His messages to the world. It did not behoove me to argue with the Lord despite being dyslexic. For being a faithful servant, God has adorned me with countless blessings – it was my faith in failure.

Never give up on your faith… this is my best advice. What if the Wright brothers gave up, or Thomas Edison, Steve Jobs, and Henry Ford? Sam Walton filed bankruptcy three times before he started Walmart. Look how their faith amidst catastrophes made them successful. As their failures came, their faith drove their power.

Humanity is born to fail, and it is only by faith that we learn we can do anything our heart desires. Pick yourself up, brush yourself off, pray for answers, and wait for God’s whisper. Adverse events can bring such love if you receive the confidence from our Almighty Father. We can either believe in the lies we are not good enough, or draw closer to God.

Let the Lord fill us with thankfulness and humility. As long as we fail, we know God is in control of our destiny. Stand against the tide in the turmoil of life and watch faith in failure grow more robust than ever.


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Focus on humility with its 8 solid benefits

Quite often, we hear that we should be humble. The question is: does humility really help?

Will you not instead suffer if you are humble?

Let us see what the one who created the universe gives as instruction concerning humility. In addition , let us see what some great men and women have taught us about humility.

Humility is meekness;

Behind down to earth;

Lowly;

Modest;

Unassuming;

Unpretentious.

First, let us visit the Gospel of St. Luke and go straight to Chapter 14 verse 11:

“For those who make themselves great will be humbled and those who humble themselves will be made great.” (Luke 14:11)

This tells us how valuable humility is. It is a master of virtues and so God gave us very clear instructions about it. That is not all. Jesus Christ went on to show us an outstanding example of humility. He washed the feet of his disciples; and accepted to die a humiliating death on the cross.

If you consider yourself more important than others, you are mistaken. To God, we are the same, with different roles to play on earth.

If you think that you can do all the things you like to do by yourself, you are mistaken. Nobody knows it all. Nobody can do everything by themselves. We need God. We need others. We have to be humble and accept that fact.

Do you try to do everything by yourself? Do you think you are always right and every other person around you is always wrong. That is pride.

It is an easy way to hit your head on a hard rock.

We need others. You need your spouse so that you can have the kids.

You need neighbours to form a community.

You need students to have teachers.

You need followers to be a leader.

As you go about your life, spare no opportunity to learn so that you may grow. If you don’t learn, you don’t grow.

Know that you can learn from everybody that you meet.

You can learn from your driver.

You can learn from you car repairer.

You can learn from your house help.

Do you know why you have to go to a barber to have your hair cut? Because you cannot cut your own hair. You need a barber.

In life, we have distribution of labour. You do some things and others do some. All of us combine our efforts and do the things that we have to do.

You go to your hairdresser for your hairdo. It’s your tailor or seamstress who does your dresses.

What of your shoe mender? Well, you don’t repair your shoes by yourself. He does them for you.

That is life. We do some things; others do some.

We learn from others. Don’t forget. Even the smallest person you meet can teach you an important lesson.

All this tells us that we need to be humble.

Humility is a great virtue, indeed. I like what Rabindranath Tagore says about it:

” We come nearest to the great when we are great in humility.”

Humility is a worthwhile virtue to acquire and to pass on to our children.

As Zig Ziglar says, “Humility will open more doors than arrogance will ever do

Remember “It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels.” St. Augustine of Hippo

I very much enjoy Dave Kerpen’s narrative of how he learned the virtue of humility.

Dave tells us how he was a top salesperson in his country for Radio Disney at age 25. As he was making great money, he became arrogant and cocky.

One day, he appeared on national television drunk and, hear him:

“I totally humiliated myself in front of millions of people.”

That humiliation turned out to be one of the best blessings in his life. It taught him the virtue of humility.

Today, Dave teaches other people to be humble.

This is what he says:

“…no matter how smart, successful, good looking or special you are, nobody likes a braggart. Nobody likes cockiness.”

I also got this from him:

“It’s really important that you practice humility, to develop into a better leader and a better person.”

Dave has compiled a list of 15 quotes on humility that he hopes can inspire readers to learn to be humble.

It is from that list that I got two great quotes which I love to share with my friends. They mean so much to me. One is by Jackson Brown and the other by Jesse Jackson.

“Every person that you meet knows something you don’t; learn from them.” (H. Jackson Brown)

“Never look down on anybody unless you’re helping them up” (Jesse Jackson).

Each time I think about humility, the image that comes to my mind is the mosquito. There is a quote which says

“If you think you are too small to create an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito.”

This version is attributed to Anita Rodick. There are other versions of the same quote attributed to other authors.

Another author asks why you should be afraid of facing a giant when the mosquito doesn’t.

All this goes to teach us that even if you are a giant be humble because a mosquito can defeat you.

Some historians have attributed the death of Alexander the Great to malaria which would have been caused by a mosquito bite.

Be humble! Do not underestimate anybody. Respect even the most common or smallest person you come across.

Elephant learned this was the best thing to do only when it was too late.

Because he was the biggest animal in the forest, he was too proud and wicked.

The little animals and birds feared him because of his wickedness and pride.

When ever the small animals saw him coming, they ran for their dear lives.

One little bird was not afraid and decided to build her nest on a tree near the stream when Elephant used to go and drink water.

After a while Little bird laid eggs and hatched beautiful baby birds.

One day, Little Bird went to hunt for insects for her young ones. While she was away, Elephant came by to drink water from the stream near by. On passing, he shook the tree with his big body and the nest fell off. Seeing the baby birds, he was angry and shouted, “What nonsense is this?” So saying, he crushed all of them with his heavy pad.
When Little Bird returned, she found all her children dead. When she asked, Elephant did not only shout but also insulted and threatened to crush her as well if she dared to ask more questions.
Little Bird was so angry she swore to teach Elephant an unforgettable lesson. She hatched a plan. One day, when Elephant was sleeping, she invited the other birds to join her to teach Elephant a lesson. They came and all fell on Elephant and started pecking his eyes. Elephant could not defend himself against an army of birds. They pecked and pecked till the eyes burst and Elephant became blind.
All the birds were happy.
Little Bird went to Father Frog and told him what they had done. He asked them to support him to get rid of wicked Elephant once and for all. He accepted and rallied all the frogs in the stream. When he announced to them what Little Bird had requested, they were only too happy to cooperate. They had suffered so much in the hands of proud and wicked Elephant and wanted an end to it. He had often walked on them mercilessly and many of them had been killed that way.
Little Bird told them her plan which was that they should all leave the river and go up to the cliff and see what would happen. They obliged.
It was not long when Elephant became thirsty. Now blind, he could not locate where the stream was. Then he listened and heard the croaking of the frogs and said to himself.
“I can now find my way. Frogs live in water. That must be where the stream is.” So saying, he took his heavy body to go and drink water. Before long, he found himself rolling down the cliff. At the bottom, he was dead.

“God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”(Jam.4:6)

If you are an important or strong person in your community or country because of your position or wealth, do not be proud. Do not look low on those who are not as fortunate as you. Do not maltreat them or trample on them. Treat them kindly. Do not think that you are more powerful than all. If a mosquito can kill a giant, a little person can pull you down.

“Humble yourselves, then, under God’s mighty hand, so that he will lift you up in his own good time.”

(1 Peter 5:6)

Know that as a mosquito can kill a giant, a little hole can sink a ship.

What are the benefits of humility?

  1. It makes you listen to others
  2. It enables you to understand people better.
  3. People appreciate you because people do not like haughty people.
  4. You excel in leadership because people are willing to cooperate with you.
  5. You easily fix relationship with people if there is stres gives self control.
  6. You handle anger better.
  7. Humble people have strong faith. They do not let pride stand between them and God.
  8. They are very prayerful and that places them well to win God’s favour.

Mother Teresa has named humility the mother of all virtues. She is the Patron Saint of humility. She lived an exemplary humble life. And teaches by her life and achievements that humility is the way to greatness.

Humility is thus, a virtue to acquire. It will take you places. The greatest men and women if the world were humble. Examples are Jesus Christ, Mary, the Mother if Jesus, Joseph the foster father if Jesus and in modern times mother Teresa and Saint John Paul II.

Be humble and God will reward you. Be humble and be great.

The 8 Most Powerful Women in the Bible: Part Two

What makes a woman powerful? Is it money, fame, a political position, or is it an Oscar-winning actress? Any of these attributes may be true in today’s society, but not in biblical days. Many excellent examples of strong, influential women grace the pages of the Bible. Everyone today, now two thousand years later, may find much wisdom in the biblical females. Use them as a guiding tool in your personal lives and to develop a relationship with God.

The last point I want to express is “behind every successful man is a strong and wise woman.” So true of these most powerful women in the Bible! I hope you enjoy my review of this week’s next two women.


Did you miss Part One? Click HERE.


ESTHER

This biblical story begins in the time of King Xerexes, who ruled from India to Ethiopia in 486 BC to 465 BC. In the third year of his reign, he gave a luxurious banquet for all his officials and ministers in the garden courtyard. His wife, Queen Vashti, threw a separate party for women in the royal palace. As he became drunk, he ordered his personal servants to bring his wife to him. She was gorgeous, and he wanted to show her off to his proteges. Queen Vashti refused to show off her beauty, and the king lost his temper at her disrespect of his orders. He wanted to avoid his embarrassment, so he ruled her to leave his premises. “Every man is master of his own house; whatever he says, goes.”

King Xerexes’ young royal attendants suggested he search the kingdom for beautiful young virgins to replace Vashti. Soon, a woman named Hadassah, otherwise known as Esther, was brought to the palace and given over to the overseer of the women in the harem. She stayed twelve months for beauty treatments and for visits with the king in the evenings. Esther soon won the admiration of everyone, including the king. He placed a crown on her head and proclaimed a holiday for all the provinces. But she had a dark secret…

Her older cousin, Mordecai, raised Esther after her parent’s death. He was a member of the Jewish community who had an ancestor captured and taken away from Jerusalem. Her rearing was in exile, and Mordecai begged her never to tell a soul.

Mordecai often walked in front of the palace, hoping to glimpse Esther. He still felt responsible for her welfare. One afternoon, he made his usual trek to the palace gates. He overheard two guards plotting the death of King Xerexes, so he quickly sent word to Esther, who told her husband. In the king’s investigation of the incident, she told her husband that Mordecai, “her cousin,” heard the conversation, but this was all the details she gave him.

Sometime later, King Xerexes promoted a man named Haman to the highest-ranking official in the government. He required everyone at the palace gates to kneel before Haman, but Mordecai refused repeatedly. Haman learned Esther’s cousin was a Jew, so he devised a plan to kill all Jews throughout the kingdom.

Esther’s maids told her of Haman’s plan, and she was shocked and scared for her relatives. So she sent a servant to find Mordecai and find out the whole story. She also handed the servant clothes for her cousin to wear, which would hide his Jewish roots. But, Mordecai refused to wear it and relayed a message to her, “Do not imagine that because you are in the king’s palace you alone will escape the fate of all the Jews.…” He encouraged her to talk to her husband.

Esther sent a strong message back to Mordecai.

“Go and get all the Jews living in Susa together. Fast for me. Don’t eat or drink for three days, either day or night. I and my maids will fast with you. If you will do this, I’ll go to the king, even though it’s forbidden. If I die, I die.” Mordecai followed her instructions.

Three days later, Esther dressed in her royal robe, visited the king on his throne. She asked him to arrange a dinner with Haman, of which he obliged her request. Meanwhile, Haman was building seventy-five foot high gallows. He would soon hang Mordecai.

The day of the dinner party arrived, and King Xerexes, Esther, and Haman gathered for the feast. The king asked Esther, “What would you like? Half of my kingdom? Just ask and it’s yours.” Her charm beguiled him. She broke into tears and revealed the horror of her people’s fate at the hands of their dinner guest. Haman was now terror-stricken. The king raged with fury and stalked out into the palace garden. He saw the gallows structure and came storming back into the banquet room when he noticed Haman on the floor in front of his wife. Haman was pleading for his life at Esther’s feet, and the king exploded with anger. King Xerexes ordered him hanged at the very gallows meant for Mordecai… and so it was done.

Later in the day, the king presented Queen Esther the estate of Haman, archenemy of the Jews. She admitted her background to him and the story of her cousin. Mordecai came before the king who took off his signet ring and handed it to him in a loving gesture. Esther appointed Mordecai over Haman’s estate. Then, she pleaded with her husband to please revoke the plan plotted against the Jews. “How can I stand to see this catastrophe wipe out my people? How can I bear to stand by and watch the massacre of my relatives?”

King Xerexes allowed Esther and Mordecai to write whatever she deemed necessary to stop the massacre on an order, and he signed it. Their city exploded with joy for Esther saved their lives. Celebration, cheering, and feasting took to the streets. Many non-Jews became Jews on this day. Mordecai also became a mighty name in the palace. The king, with love on his face, turned to Esther and said, “What else would you like? Name it and it’s yours. Your wish is my command.”

Mordecai soon released a notice calling for an annual celebration of the Jew’s freedom, and it became a tradition. He soon ranked second in command to King Xerexes for the peace and prosperity he brought to his race.


I found it interesting God is not mentioned in the Book of Esther, however, the protection of His chosen people is implied. The Jewish religion was an ethnic choice rather than a religious practice in the era of Esther. When the Bible was interpreted, many rabbis were troubled by Esther’s failure to live as a Jew, so her story suffered in its religious connotation.

Why was Esther a powerful woman?

Esther was a female hero, for women in Persia were a low species in society. Whatever power she did have was earned through manipulation of higher forces (such as her husband). Esther used her beauty, charm, and political intelligence to save the Jews. She fought for her objectives.

Queen Esther was a positive role model for Jewish women during her lifetime. She was courageous to approach the king about the death plot of her race. Her life was on the line and it was risky but Esther stood up for what she believed in, even though it was dangerous.

Though God was not mentioned in the Book of Esther, Esther used fasting and prayer for clarity. It placed her in the path of humility.

Esther is a powerful example that our background does not determine God’s plan for us, only faith. She was an orphan and lived in exile, but God brought her to redemption and freedom.

Not many details are known about Esther after the story written in the Bible. However, Jewish scholars claim she had a son named Darius who became a king. He lifted the ban against the rebuilding of the Holy Temple, which led to the building of the Second Temple.

According to Wikipedia, Esther is commemorated as a matriarch in the Calendar of Saints of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod. She is also recognized as a saint in the Eastern Orthodox and Coptic Orthodox Churches. It is believed Esther’s son buried her, with Mordecai, in a mausoleum in Hamadan, Iran. In 2009, Iran added it as a Jewish holy site on their National Heritage List.


ABIGAIL

Image of Abigail courtesy of Pinterest

Abigail’s short, but compelling story, is in 1 Samuel 25, and written about 960 BC. It occurs in the town of Maon, a Jewish settlement in the West Bank.

Nabal was a very wealthy, yet obstinate and harsh man, who owned three thousand sheep and one thousand goats. His wife, Abigail, was an intelligent and beautiful woman. One afternoon, Nabal was shearing his sheep in the wilderness. A young warrior named David was hiding in a nearby town, and he heard of Nabal’s huge undertaking. He sent ten of his men to visit Nabal; after all, he guarded Nabal’s sheep on more than one occasion.

“Go and approach Nabal. Greet him in my name, ‘Peace! Life and peace to you! When your shepherds were camped near us we didn’t take advantage of them. I’m asking you to be generous with my men – share the feast! Give whatever your heart tells you to your servants and to David, your son.”

Nabal was furious and began insulting the men while demanding to know the identity of David. He yelled, “Who is this David? The country is full of runaway servants these days. Do you think I’m going to take good bread and wine and meat freshly butchered for my sheepshearers and give it to men I’ve never laid eyes on? Who knows where they’ve come from?”

David’s men ran back to tell him of Napal’s arrogance. “Strap on your swords!” he called out to four hundred of his men. “What a slap in the face! May God do his worst to me if Nabal and every cur in his misbegotten brood isn’t dead by morning!”

Meanwhile, a young shepherd ran back to Abigail and told her of the confrontation in the fields. He begged Abigail to do something before they killed everyone. She immediately took action by gathering two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five sheep ready for cooking, a bushel of roasted grain, a hundred raisin cakes, and two hundred fig cakes. She loaded all the food on the donkeys and had her servants lead the way to David. No one could say a word to her husband.

Image courtesy of timothylutheranbiblestudy.com

As Abigail was riding her donkey into a large ravine, David and his men were descending from the other end. They all met in the middle where Abigail quickly climbed off the donkey and fell on her knees before David. With humility, honor, and respect, she humbly spoke to him of her husband’s faults.

“My lord should not pay attention to this wicked man Nabal. He simply lives up to his name! His name means ‘fool,’ and he is indeed foolish!” David immediately recognized Abigail was sent by God. He apologized and thanked her for stopping him from murdering all of them. He accepted the food she brought him and said, “Return home in peace.”

Abigail arrived home, and Nabal was eating a huge spread of food and was very drunk. She left him be… until the next morning when she told him what she gave David. Nabal’s raging face turned red, and he grabbed his heart and fell onto the ground. For ten days, he laid in a coma until God took his life.

When David heard Nabal was dead, he said, “Blessed be God who has stood up for me against Nabal’s insults, kept me from an evil act, and let his evil boomerang back on him.” He sent for Abigail to propose marriage to her, and she didn’t linger. She climbed onto her donkey and rode to David.

Abigail was David’s second wife, as he was also married to Ahinoam of Jezreel. Both women accompanied him while they sought refuge in a Philistine territory, and their life wasn’t easy. But, soon after settling in Hebron, Abigail gave birth to their only child, who was named Chileab (also called Daniel).


In case you did not make the connection in Abigail’s story, the man who she married was none other than a young King David, one of the most well-known figures in Jewish history. He was promised by God that his children would rule Israel forever. If we delve into Bible scriptures, Abigail was one of eight wives to David.

She suffered the consequences of an arranged marriage to Nabal. She could not blame or fight their choice. But, her story reveals why women should follow God’s guidelines for a partner. Though he was an abusive husband, she remained dedicated to him until God’s perfect timing played out.


Why was Abigail a powerful woman?

Abigail was a very humble woman. Though she was wealthy, she did not let her riches interfere with the welfare of her family. Not only did she save her family, but she saved David from committing murders.

She was fearless as she rode to find David and give him her offerings. It was perilous for her to face a man with an army of four hundred men.

Abigail had an attitude of humility, honor, and respect as she approached the man who would one day rule Israel. I think David knew Abigail was the kind of comrade he needed to be a successful king.

She always acted in wisdom, for God was building character in her heart. Living with an abusive man, she still grew into a respectful woman, even amid adversity.

Please join us again next Sunday for two more powerful women in the Bible. God bless!



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The Hardest Thing To Do Is… Listen

We found our way around the yachts parked in their cradles. An empty spot was right next to the dock. We quietly got ready to embark, and the cloudless skies made us wonder how far off heaven was from the pier. The snoozing seagulls perched on the post tops. As we set sail, the gentle breeze bellowed the fabric, and God became our propulsion. The shores of the water looked so endless. It was a beautiful Saturday morning, and no place would I’d rather be than with my love and God at the helm. He created this perfect world of pristine water, and all we had to do was sit and watch Him work.

Sometimes it is difficult to accept God is with us day in and day out. Just as sailing into the open blue, we do not realize we are always at His mercy. Many times our sails luff and we pray as though we ran aground. As hard as life is, even doctors can do little to relieve discomfort. In the distress of my wife’s health, I’m left standing in a vacuum for everywhere I look, I see the remnants of the doctor’s aura.

So, I turn to God and ask Him if He has a minute. The hardest thing to do is… listen and wait for His messages. Our faith is only part of the process. Listening for His answers and reacting accordingly is the trick, so we must have a seeking heart. We should talk to Him as though he is a brother and reveal our frustrations, fears, and doubts. God will teach us how to recognize the difference between His voice and just our thoughts.

Find a location to be with Christ and His great mercy. The Lord always has a place open to sit with me, especially on this endless journey my wife and I have encountered today. I wish I could run away and take her sailing to the place called heaven, but it’s not time yet. God gave us responsibilities we must partake and fulfill. Instead,  I will sit with God and try to understand what advice I need to listen to and praise His great gifts. He united the two of us for some much-needed healing in our difficult road of life. So, I will carry her in every way I can possible. In His strength, we will travel as far as the Lord’s work will need us to go for He isn’t done with either of us yet.

The hardest thing to do is listen for God’s words, but if you acknowledge His involvement in your life, you will always recognize His heaven sent voice. Praise God! It’s our intimate relationship with Him that counts.

www.danabicksauthor.com

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Greatness from humility

It is humility that gives greatness;
Greatness comes from humility;
The humble best recognize the awesomness
Of the Almighty Creator;
And give him the glory he is due,
Reaping, therefrom, abundant rewards;
The haughty believe in their power alone
To achieve the success they desire;
The humble know
There is a God so mighty they are insignificant
In relation to him; 
The humble do not boast of their possessions,
They know everything they have 
Comes from an awesome Lord;
"What have you that you did  not receive?
If then you received it, why do you boast
As if it were not a gift?" (Cor. 4:7)
You were humble Mother Mary, the hand maid
Of the Lord,
And you were raised to become the mother
Of the Saviour of the World;
You were humble O Saint Joseph,
And you were made great,
Becoming the custodian of the Son of the Almighty;
Moses, the humble one was honoured
To be given the Ten Commandments;
Jesus Christ, God himself was humble
And came down on earth
Passing through the womb of a mere woman. 
Heed ye the words of Saint James,
"Humble yourself before the Lord 
And he will exalt you" ( James 4.10).

Go to Humility College

Do you know Humility College?
If you want to go to
Humility college;
But don’t know where
It is located;
I can tell you where
To find it.
I can equally give you
The conditions
Of admission into
This college?
If you want to learn
About humility;
To be humble;
And enjoy the benefits
Of humility;
That is the place for you.
Ask if there are benefits;
And tell me you really want
To be humble;
Yes, to be humble;
As Jesus Christ taught;
I will tell you truly the school of humility exists;
The school of St. Joseph
Is the school of humility;
The school of St. Joseph;
Is where you will be taught
All that you need to know
About humility;
You will see humility;
Learn about humility;
Talk about humility;
And practice humility.
All that
In the school of St. Joseph;
Humility College;

Go to Humility College.