July 3, 2015 Brethren Letter
Today, I watched a short video posted by a friend on “Facebook”, showing some famous individuals who experienced personal failures in their lives before achieving success. Here are two examples:
“He wasn’t able to speak until he was almost 4 years old, and his teacher said he would never amount to much.”
It was Albert Einstein – Theoretical Physicist and Nobel Prize winner.
Another example was:
“A teacher told him he was too stupid to learn anything, and that he should go into a field where he might succeed by virtue of his pleasant personality.”
This famous person was Thomas Edison – Inventor of the incandescent light bulb.
Several years ago while attending a ministerial conference in the Church of God, a regional director began his lecture by describing a person who had suffered several human “defeats.” Yet, this man went on to achieve human success.
Here is his example:
Who Was This Courageous Man?
He drifted through his 20’s. When he turned 31, he thought: “I’ve got to get myself going and do something!” He formed a partnership and went into business, but in 18 months he was bankrupt. Then, he decided, since he was broke anyway, he would go into politics. In his first local election he lost badly. Two years later, aged 34, he went back into business. Bankruptcy again. A year later he thought things were improving when he fell in love with a beautiful woman. She died.
At 36 he suffered a nervous breakdown and was confined to bed for six months. He recovered and went back into politics, running for another local government post. He lost again. He started another business, with a little more success this time. So, at 43, he decided to run for Congress. He lost. At 46, he ran for congress again, and he lost again. At 48 he ran for the Senate, and lost that as well. When he was 55, he tried for his party’s nomination for vice-president. He was badly defeated. At age 58, he ran for the Senate again, and again he lost.
Finally, at age 60 years of age, Abraham Lincoln was elected to his first office – President of the United States. Lincoln told his friends late in life that he had had a lifelong battle with fear and depression, but he wouldn’t quit. Lincoln was a fighter, a man of courage … a WINNER!
The minister used Abraham Lincoln’s story to show how people everywhere suffer setbacks and defeats in their lives. However, Abraham Lincoln wasn’t a quitter, he was a fighter – a man of COURAGE!
As we know, men and women of God also experience many difficulties in life. “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy” (I Peter 4:12-13).
But, as God’s people we must not let those trials send us into a downward spiral, spiritually. God DID NOT call us to fail. Rather, He called us to succeed! We were called to remain steadfast, fight the good fight, and endure to the very end! We must never lose sight of that!
Recently, I was talking with a Church member who thought of themselves as being a “failure,” and even had a list of their supposed failures. Well, they were wrong. That person is NO failure! The first thing I told them was, “That’s what Satan wants you to think. He’s the source of this discouragement. His goal is to get your focus off of Christ, and your future ahead, into a world of discouragement. NEVER allow that – not even for a moment!” Then I went on to tell them some of the wonderful qualities I could see in them, and reminded them that God didn’t call them to fail, but to SUCCEED.
I think of the apostle Paul and some of the severe trials he experienced as shown in the book of II Corinthians:
(24) From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one.
(25) Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep;
(26) in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;
(27) in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness–
(28) besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches.
(29) Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation?
(30) If I must boast, I will boast in the things which concern my infirmity.
(31) The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying.
(32) In Damascus the governor, under Aretas the king, was guarding the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desiring to arrest me;
(33) but I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall, and escaped from his hands (II Corinthians 11:24-33).
Yet, at the end of his life, Paul stated this in the book of II Timothy:
(6) For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand.
(7) I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
(8) Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing. (II Timothy 4:6-8).
Brethren, in the beginning of tonight’s letter, I gave some examples of persons in history who found success in this world, even after they had suffered some serious setbacks. We as God’s people have GOD’S HOLY SPIRIT available to us to fight our every day battles. “Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (II Timothy 1:6-7). Keep your focus brethren!
Please have a wonderful Sabbath, everyone!
Your Brother in Christ,