8 Steps to Recover from Failures

Let’s not sugarcoat this fact, we all fail. Sometimes. We don’t have a problem telling anybody that we’re not perfect; but, it’s hard to even form the words, “I failed.” While there are varying degrees and types of failures, none are so important to have a template to guide our recovery from than the failure of sin.

Sin is missing the mark. We are challenged by Paul’s words to PRESS for the mark. Anything less than hitting that mark is sin. In contrast, we don’t hear much talk at church about failure. There is a human & church folk tendency to parade our pretty sins; the ones we really think are strengths that initially appear to be a weakness. I get it why we don’t talk about failure much is, we don’t want to glorify sin. But we must discuss failure, specifically how to recover from it. Because one thing is certain, just as much as death and taxes, where there is flesh there will be failure.

Jesus knew we would sin. He told Peter as much. But His prayer request was that when Peter failed, his faith would not fail.

A great way to avoid a failure of faith is to have a clear plan of action for when we mess up and find ourselves sorry that we let God down.

Paul let us know and all the believers at Corinth a simple 8 step plan to recover from failure. It is found in II Corinthians 7:11.

It was the first time, as an adolescent that I saw an 8 step plan in my personal study of the scripture. At the time, my family was attending a church pastored by Pastor Clifford Readout, who teaches extensively on the 8 Steps from Death to Life. If you’ve never heard that powerful lesson on salvation, you should.

Here are the 8 steps for Recovery from Failure:

“For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.” II Corinthians 7:11

1. Godly Sorrow – There’s a heaviness that accompanies genuine repentance that our world and carnal nature thinks is wrong. It is the correct human response to Holy Ghost conviction, as was shown in Acts 2:37.

2. Carefulness – The meaning here reflects an earnest diligence. A picture of the earnestness is given in Luke 1:39, when Mary found she was expecting and went with haste/carefulness to see Elizabeth. Immediately and without delay. The diligence is to be the same care shown towards the doctrine as mentioned in Jude 1:3. A thorough treatment of the matter. Partial or delayed treatment of failure will only compound it.

3. Clearing of Self — But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: ( I Peter 3:15). The “clearing of our self” and “an answer” is the same root word. Our answer points to the grace and mercy of God. It’s not defending our mistake, it’s a humble, yet confident, answer of the certainty of our forgiveness.

4. Indignation – The same displeasure that Jesus showed when He rebuked those in Mark 10:14 who tried to prevent the children from coming to Him. It’s the righteous indignation of a Phinehas (Numbers 25:7) directed at the sin in our own lives. Strongly refusing to allow it to gain a stronghold or any returned entrance. We must intentional sabotage any future desire for that sin in our life (Romans 13:14)

5. Fear – This was also one of the characteristics of the Book of Acts church (Acts 5:5 & 11). This same root word of our word “phobia” indicates a constant and even trembling fear, both at the awesomeness of God and the frailty of our flesh. This awe of Him should cause us to tremble, not the fear of man. So often we allow the fear of man to rule our lives, but the right Godly fear will allow us to live above that (Matthew 10:28).

6. Vehement Desire – A picture of this desire, is a baby that wants milk. All of us, who have witnessed that desire denied, have seen what “vehement desire” looks like. It’s the same hunger we had as a babe for the milk of the Word (I Peter 2:2).

7. Zeal – This root is also translated as jealous, and shows the vital importance of faithfulness to a vow that is expected in a marital vow. In fact the same root appears in II Corinthians 11:2 when Paul mentions his desire to be zealous/jealous of the New Covenant Believers at Corinth to present them in purity to Christ.

8. Revenge – Not only is the enemy not going to take me out or capitalize on the frailty of my flesh, but I’m going to help someone else overcome this same frailty or failure. In doing that we become more than a conqueror (Romans 8:37), by being one who births other conquerors.

We will have experiences of failure in our flesh. Jesus was the only perfect human. So when we fail, we have this template from the Word to guide us in recovering from any fall.

Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen. Jude 24 & 25

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The Struggle is real…

More than one believer has been rudely awakened to the reality that living for God is not without struggle. In fact the struggle is a war. Ground zero of that war is the mind.

The Warring Mind ~
For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. Romans 7:22,23

Paul’s writings in Romans chapters 6-8 capture so many key truths about this struggle. Especially for a brand new believer understanding this truth is critical to surviving that war within. The enemy would love you to believe that you’re the only one struggling. Many have thought that they just weren’t cut out for this Christian life because they struggle to be spiritual.

Highlights from these chapters include:
1. Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? 2 Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? (6:1,2)
2. For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives. (6:4)
3. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. (6:7)
4. Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God. (6:13)
5. Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living. (6:16)
6. Sin will enslave you and then continuously take you deeper. (6:19)
7. Through the new birth we identify with the death of Christ and are freed to serve Him by living in the Spirit instead of striving to follow the letter of the law. (7:6)
8. Sin will try to twist good things, even the Word of God, to heap condemnation on us. (7:16)
9. There is nothing good in my sinful nature. (7:19)
10. The internal conflict between my sinful nature and my desire to please God can make me miserable. (7:24,25)
11. Those sold out to Jesus have power over sin. (8:2) What controls you? (8:5)
12. Christ lives in you (8:10)! That Same Spirit (8:11)!
13. The Children of God are led by the Spirit of God! (8:14) Abba Father! (8:15)
14. Today’s suffering doesn’t compare to the future glory. (8:18)
15. We must wait patiently and confidently (8:25) for the blessings of full adoption (8:23).
16. The Spirit will help with our human frailties (8:26).
17. All things will work for our good (8:28)!
18. God is for you! God is for us! (8:31)
19. Nothing can separate us from the love of God manifest to us in and through Christ (8:35 & 39).
20. We are more than conquerors through Him that loved us (8:37)

The revelations that come from the Word of God will always require action. Unpracticed truths are no better than idolatry. We know that knowledge of truth is not enough. We must be doers of the truth. So my prayer for you today is that revelation will come as you study these chapters from this simple outline; and that revelation will help you to be victorious in living for Christ!

The Shadow of Truth

The New is in the Old Concealed,

The Old in the New is Revealed.

This letter from Paul is written to all of us who are a part of the church of this New Covenant of grace.

I Corinthians 10:1-15 – Lessons from Israel’s Idolatry

1 I don’t want you to forget, dear brothers and sisters, about our ancestors in the wilderness long ago. All of them were guided by a cloud that moved ahead of them, and all of them walked through the sea on dry ground.

Paul telling them all of their forefathers, came through the Spirit (Cloud) and the water (Sea); He is talking about both Israel and to us – anybody that has not come through the Spirit and the water is not our forefather in the faith. Don’t just consider anybody a forefather. He goes on to make it plain.

2 In the cloud and in the sea, all of them were baptized as followers of Moses.

3 All of them ate the same spiritual food,

4 and all of them drank the same spiritual water. For they drank from the spiritual rock that traveled with them, and that rock was Christ.

5 Yet God was not pleased with most of them, and their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.

Every child of God, from Israel coming out of Egypt to those baptized in 2017 will pass through a wilderness. What you do as you pass through the trial must be that which is pleasing to God. Nobody gets to make up their own religion. God was not intimidated by Cain’s bad attitude, and He won’t be by our 21st century demands, culture, or ideas. If we are to come to God we will have to come to Him, His way. If we want to reach our personal promise land, that divine destiny on earth that He has called and promised us, we will have to honor the Lord’s desire and design.

6 These things happened as a warning to us, so that we would not crave evil things as they did,

7 or worship idols as some of them did. As the Scriptures say, “The people celebrated with feasting and drinking, and they indulged in pagan revelry.”

8 And we must not engage in sexual immorality as some of them did, causing 23,000 of them to die in one day.

9 Nor should we put Christ to the test, as some of them did and then died from snakebites.

Scripture is pretty clear, nobody should be playing with snakes. Anyone who does is dumb and doesn’t know the Word of God.

10 And don’t grumble as some of them did, and then were destroyed by the angel of death.

Neither should believers be a grumbling, complaining, murmuring, cynical, critical group of people.

11 These things happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us who live at the end of the age.

A second time, verse 6 said it and here again we are told: everything written about Israel in the Old Testament was written for us living in this final dispensation of man.

12 If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall.

13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.

One of the most misquoted scriptures in the Bible. You have probably heard it said, “God won’t put on you more than you can bear.” Not true. The Bible says, He won’t allow a temptation that is more than you can stand. But He is clear, if anyone will follow me, let him take up his cross and follow me. What is the cross? It is the instrument that is intended to kill our flesh. God still wants our flesh to die. Believers, would you please quit glorifying your flesh. Jesus wants your flesh to die. And any temptation that the enemy throws at you; every evil desire your flesh is attracted to – God will give you a way out of every temptation.

14 So, my dear friends, flee from the worship of idols.

When you are tempted to bow in worship at the idol of You; yes, the idol your most tempted by is the one you see in the mirror every morning. Make yourself god, worship your desire, exalt your thinking – NO, NO, a 1,000 times NO!! FLEE, RUN in the opposite direction

15 You are reasonable people. Decide for yourselves if what I am saying is true.

So Paul is clear, the Old Testament is written as a symbol for us to learn from. They lived through it in real physical life, so we could learn spiritual truths from the Old Covenant or Testament here in the New Covenant. As with all history, those who refuse to learn from it will be required to repeat it.

In the Old Testament we see the shadow of truth, in the New Testament He is manifest in the flesh.

His Word stands declaring today to every hungry soul, I AM THE WAY THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE!!

Full Court Press

The coach called a timeout, like many have done before. It’s purpose was to regroup and give the whole team strong encouragement to get on the same page strategically. The coach called for the strategy of a full court press. Here at POGH, I was that coach calling a timeout this past Sunday. Unintentionally, but consistent with the sports analogy I directed our team to a PED. We invite the entire Body of Christ to join us in this PRESS!

As we enter 2018, it is time for the church to go on a full court press. Six months ago I shared two key words I felt from the Lord for His Body; they are “Teamwork” and “Urgency.” Now, specific instructions are added to those words.

This hour demands that the Church dramatically increase our urgency!

Specifically, in three areas:

PRAYER – It’s time for the travail of intercessors to be heard throughout the land! God’s people, called by His Name must pray the effectual fervent prayers that avail much. Daily we must break through in prayer! Intercede for your children. Intercede for our country. We must have a great outpouring! It will not come through programs, marketing, or intellect – the sovereign move of God will be birthed in prayer as it always has been. Would you PRESS in prayer like you never have before in your life!

EVANGELISM – Why should the Kingdom of God be the best kept secret in our city? I am calling every believer to personally invite 5 people to church every week. Tell them why they should come. The story of what Jesus has done in your life has great power! Would you join in this PRESS and reach out to your world? 100 Believers who will do this can reach 26,000 people in one year. 26,000 mothers and fathers, sons and daughter, grandparents and grandchildren.

DISCIPLESHIP – It is certain that the outcome of the first two aspects of this PRESS will result in the demands of discipleship. The Church is compelled to come alongside our newest brothers and sisters and mentor them in the faith. This will require what we often call sacrifice. However, like all sacrifices in the Kingdom of God, the blessing you will receive will exceed the one you give. The relationship and revelations you will receive as you guide a new believer through a study from Genesis to Revelation will exceed everything you give.

The timeout has ended. The time to execute the strategy the Spirit is declaring to the Church is beginning. It will be most effective if the whole TEAM engages in the URGENCY of this PRESS! We can. We shall. We must. FULL COURT PRESS in Prayer, Evangelism, and Discipleship.

Washing or Breaking

1/3rd of the first close band of Jesus’ disciples were commercial fishermen. There is no doubt that God chose them intentionally. They fished the way He likes to. They had a core skill set that He planned on using in a totally different application. As commercial fishermen of their day, there were two tasks connected to their nets that regularly were a part of their work life. Often after a day (or night) of fishing they had to spend time doing the chore of washing their nets. This was especially true when they didn’t catch anything. The action of a net full of fish had it’s own way of getting rid of the debris and junk of the sea from the nets. The 2nd common task (the one that they hoped for) was the need to mend the nets, most often caused by a catch so large it broken them.

Washing nets was a common chore for fishermen. They could know almost perfectly from past experiences how much time and effort it would take. Net-washing was a comfortable routine, a traditional part of the fisherman’s life, and a predictable experience.

Broken nets were unpredictable, a catch so great that it tore the nets was a big unknown. How many tears, how bad the tears would be, how much materials would be needed for the repairs were all questions caused by such a tremendous harvest of fish. Tending to the tears always had to wait for the abundant catch to be taken care of first.

As individuals, we prefer the comfort of known routines, predictable tasks and traditions. Organizations, like individuals, resist change and unpredictable tasks. Activities like washing nets are easier to manage, supervise, and measure. Challenging opportunities represented by broken nets require difficult adjustments and sacrificial effort.

Growing individuals, churches, and organizations yearn for broken nets. God’s Word shows His special love for broken things. Jesus loves breaking nets. He specializes in exceeding human expectations and capacities.

Never settle for a life spent just washing nets.

Believe God for a net breaking miracle in your life this week!

Scripture Text: Four Fishermen Called as Disciples

So it was, as the multitude pressed about Him to hear the word of God, that He stood by the Lake of Gennesaret, and saw two boats standing by the lake; but the fishermen had gone from them and were washing their nets. Then He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little from the land. And He sat down and taught the multitudes from the boat.

When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”

But Simon answered and said to Him, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.” And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. Luke 5:1-6

The Holy Ghost – Our Advocate

The accused entered the room for visitation. In a glance through the somewhat darkened glass between he and his Advocate, he realized he could see both his own reflection and make out the form and face of the Public Defender given responsibility for his case. Looking through the glass the young man could see the gentle smile of the the elderly Advocate.

Sitting down, he took the phone which would be the means of communicating their whole conversation. So close, just feet away from each other and yet their words traveled miles to reach each other.  

The Advocate told the accused, “The news is not good.” He proceeded to let him know there would be no escaping the penalty of death for the crimes charged. Beyond the criminal charges the civil aspects of the case would take the entirety of his earthly goods, depriving his wife, children, and grandchildren. Though small, their little home and treasured possessions meant the world to them.

The final and full weight of his crime was more than he could bear. If only he had known, it would cost him everything. Every position, every possession, every part of personal health and wealth was the cost of payment for his sin. As a poor man, the cost in relationships was his greatest treasure lost. None survived, even though they had been everything to him.

The Advocate looking through the darkened glass shared news that was unbelievable. The Judge had offered a plea deal, that He was very hopeful the accused would accept.

A glimmer of hope rose in the heart and mind of the accused. Even if all it meant was his family could keep the meager possessions to comfort them that would be enough to let him die happy. He asked the Defender what the deal offered. His Advocate told him, the Judge had said He would allow the Advocate to die in the place of the accused, and also allow the Advocate to pay the full civil cost of the crime. And the Accused could walk free at that very moment if he would accept this gift of love from his Advocate.

The accused asked the Advocate, “Why would You agree to such a deal? How could YOU do this? What will I owe you?” The Advocate looked at the accused with eyes of a love deeper than any ocean, and said, “All I ask is that you walk worthy of the freedom I give you. That you live your life reflecting an indebtedness to My love for you.” The accused, somewhat like a child, said, “But You won’t even be around to see if I do.” The Advocate told him, “I have chosen to trust you.” Stunned the accused asked again, “Why would you do this for me?”

The Advocate told him the words that would forever change his life, “What you haven’t known throughout this whole case is what I need to tell you.” The accused asked with anticipation, “What’s that?” “I’m your Father” said the Advocate.

My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. I John 2:1,2

The word “Advocate” here is the fifth and last occurrence of the Greek word, “Parakletos.” The other four occurrences of the word appear in John’s gospel as Comforter. This final appearance deepens our understanding of the great comfort God offers to us. I pray you accept
the plea deal offered you!

The Wonderful Holy Ghost

John 14-16 
Jesus teaches powerful principles in these three chapters about how the Holy Ghost will work in our lives. A brief aside, both the terms Ghost and Spirit are used interchangeably in English Bibles. Acts 2:4 contains both words, and both come from the same Greek root, pneuma. If you’re more comfortable using one term instead of the other, either is fine.

If you have ever experienced the infilling of the Holy Ghost as the believers in Acts 2, you too know what a revolutionary moment that is in life! Feeling the wonderful power of God, fill you and from out of your belly, rivers of living water flowing is an amazing moment!

The real power of that experience is how it changes our lives after that moment. What a tragedy if we limit the experience to that moment, and fail to allow it to become a part of every day of our life. In the discourse recorded in these chapters, Jesus teaches four powerful principles about the daily work of the Holy Ghost in our lives.

PRINCIPLE 1 – Abides with you forever.

If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. John 14:15-17

Jesus comes to live inside you forever! A Friend that will stick even closer than a brother. A Heavenly Father who will love with a perfect love, provide all that you need, and never abandon you. This presence of God in your life cannot be matched by anything else in the world. The disciple were told they would recognize this Spirit, because He had dwelt with them, but now would dwell in them. The world can’t receive Him, because they can’t see Him. Revelation will precede reception. Once you receive Him, the journey to truly knowing Him begins. A sometimes uncomfortable aspect of the Holy Ghost abiding forever is that He doesn’t abide just at church on Sunday, or ministry conference, or Bible camp. Sometimes that’s inconvenient to our flesh, when we would rather hide the fleshly/carnal desires, actions, and words. Our hunger and thirst for His presence will make the Holy Ghost welcome in our lives and be invite Him to abide in us.

Principle 2 – Will teach you all things.

But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. John 14:26

The Master Teacher comes to take residence in our lives to instruct us in every area of our lives. He will guide us in every human relationship in our home, as an employee or employer, instruct us as citizens and ministers. The Holy Ghost is a very personal Help Desk, Who you should have on the line (Old School reference) at all times. Praying without ceasing. Not only will the Comforter teach us all things, He will supernaturally bring to our remembrance what we need for a particular moment.
The Word we’ve read, heard preached or taught will come to mind at just the right time.

Principle 3 – Will testify of Jesus.

But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: 27 And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning. John 15:26,27

Dear Beloved Believer, there are many spirits in the world. There are some who have come preaching another Jesus. We are cautioned to try the spirits (I John 4:1). It doesn’t matter how powerful a spiritual experience may have been, if it contradicts the Word of God it must not sway us or blow us off course. In the beginning the Word was with God and was God; the Word made the world, and the Word became flesh. Everything from the Holy Ghost will bear witness with the Word. We are compelled to grow in experience and in knowledge. Growth lacking that balance is unstable.

Principle 4 – The flesh must go for the Spirit to come.
Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. John 16:7

Jesus example teaches us, you can’t fulfill the work of the Spirit in your flesh. Just as Jesus could not be in them and with them; you and I can’t be in the flesh and in the Spirit. The following verses from Romans 8 further expound on this;

  • 5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
  • 8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
  • 13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.

We are finite vessels. More can’t be poured into us, until something is poured out. The only way the Holy Ghost can increase in our lives is if we will decrease. What a Treasure we have the honor of carrying in this earthen vessel. I pray your day and life is filled with the wonderful Holy Ghost!!

Let’s go be great for God!