Fail Foward

Don’t waste time rolling your eyes.
I heard a teacher once say, “I expect my students to fail. In fact, I hope they do.” He now had his audience’s full attention.
He went on to explain that he uses the word fail as an acronym. It stands for First Attempts At Learning. He stated we should learn from our mistakes, not be afraid of making them.
We are humans. We will fail. But the key question is, will we make better choices next time?
I was recently in a training situation where I failed miserably. Instead of quickly regrouping and learning from the mistake, I wasted time by rolling my eyes and getting frustrated at myself.
The instructor gave me a ration of “motivation”. He was right. I should have used that time to correct it instead.
Jesus will not finish the job of perfecting us until we see Him face to face. Obviously, He knows we will make mistakes from today until that point in time. He also knows that He covered those mistakes at the cross.
So, don’t be afraid to fail! Instead have the mindset to Fail Forward. Learn and keep walking with Jesus with the next choice you make. At such time, you’ll put that mistake to good use. You’ll build Jesus character that will last eternally.

Peace Through Preparation

To walk in peace, one must be prepared.
When I saw the words Krav Maga in an article, my interest piqued. A friend of mine had trained in this style of self-defense.
I learned it was originally developed to “combat the gangs of thugs in Eastern Europe” who hassled Jews in the 1930’s.
The mindset behind it, though, was that you never looked for a fight, never started a fight, but were always prepared if you had to fight. This way one could walk in peace.
Believers need to have this same mindset: walk in peace through being prepared to fight.
You might be saying, fight? Yup. Think about the following. Why didn’t Joshua take out all the cities and giants before turning the Land over to the 12 tribes? He certainly had the faith to do it.
Scripture gives us the reason. The Lord wanted to teach each generation about warfare. Satan didn’t want the Israelites in the Land…at all. He knew Who would be born in the Land if they stayed – Jesus, the one who would crush him.
Even if all the giants were gone, he would bring other nations to get rid of them. Therefore, they would need to know how to fight if they were to live peacefully in the Land.
We live on a planet where the prince is a thug. And the only way to walk in peace is to be prepared to fight him using your Spirit-given tools, specific truths (see Ephesians 6).
Most of your battles will be emotional, intellectual and spiritual. Are you armed with the specific truths the Spirit is waiting to put into your shield of faith?
Peace of mind, despite trying times, comes through preparation. Stay in and with the Word of God – Jesus. He knows your future battles. Let Him prepare you for tomorrow’s fights today.

Growth Through Discomfort

Civilization cannot grow and thrive if lies and distortions rule the roost.
And neither can becoming more like Jesus and/or reaching a God-given vision. Let me explain.
I believe the Spirit told me to enter a certain program in order to reach a “Philippian Jailer” type of person. Sound crazy? Yes, but is it a lie?
Naw. This vision passes the truth test as there are just too many biblical stories (Samaritan woman, demoniac man, Ethiopian eunuch, Roman Centurion, etc.) where just such a thing occurred.
This type of vision, though, often requires one to get out of their comfort zone, culturally and sometimes physically. In my case, in order to get into the program, I would have to change my lifestyle and mindset to physically train. Distortion?
Nope. Paul let himself be physically beaten to get close to the jailer. He even let go of his cultural rights (i.e. Roman citizenship) to get it done.
These past eight months of training have caused all kinds of emotional, physical and spiritual pain. I experienced aches and pains, doubts, and fears of being wrong. I’m not proud of it, just being real, I even had less than stellar conversations with Jesus.
Yet, through Spirit powered faith, I kept trying to hold onto the truth that I heard correctly in order to keep training when I certainly didn’t want to do it.
And because my Bible Impact partners and those at my home church shared this journey with me through prayer and encouragement, I experienced a miracle. I literally flew through the physical test. Jesus got me into the program!
You can’t grow in your faith without truth. Why? Change brings discomfort with it. You need it to fight the lies and distortions your enemy will use to get you to stop growing through that discomfort to do what Jesus is asking you to do. Get it and hold onto it.
“Now Lord, where is that jailer?!”

Work the Problem

Expectations can lead to fewer distractions.
I was reminded of an important truth as I read an article on the Yukon Quest – a 1,600km dogsled race from Whitehorse, Yukon to Fairbanks, Alaska.
The author wrote, “The question is not whether bad things will happen during the Yukon. It’s how the mushers (dogsled drivers) will react to those bad things.”
Mushers must physically and mentally prepare for bad things to happen on the trail. This allows them to stay focused on finishing the race by working the problem and moving forward.
We live in a fallen world. Life happens to every single Jesus follower. Why, then, should we be distracted from loving Jesus when bad things happen?
If we’re mentally prepared, we’ll allow the Spirit to use those “bad things” to transform our lives into more Christlike character qualities.
Bad things come from one of three sources: our bad choices, other’s bad choices or the enemy throws the kitchen sink at us (Job 1).
If the problem is self-inflicted, be prepared to ask the Spirit to expose the lies in your thinking and exchange them with truths from God’s word. Then when similar situations arise, ask the Spirit to empower you to obey the newly inputted truth.
This way, you eliminate the bad thing from happening in the first place as the truth set you free from the bad choice that caused the bad thing to occur.
If the problem arises from without, ask the Spirit to show you something about Jesus you need to know. This way you can make a good choice to love Him in the midst of the bad situation.
In so doing, you become more like Jesus despite what others do, which keeps you free from the negative emotions, thoughts, words and actions that others wanted to create in you.
So, don’t be surprise when bad things happen. Work the problem and keep moving toward becoming more like Jesus in the midst of them!

Complaining to Changing

Oh, cool your jets!
One year my family took a vacation to Arizona…in the summer! Yes, it was hot and muggy and we loved it.
While there, we visited a cavern near Williams. It was fantastic! One minute you’re sweating bullets and the next you’re putting on a sweatshirt.
It was funny, though. One minute we heard people complaining about the weather; and then, a mere few minutes later, we could hear praises coming from their lips.
Yes, they were complaining as it was hot. But, they did something about it! They went to a place that was cool, a savior if you will.
Jesus is The Savior. He is the one who can fix our hot challenges through being our refuge – a cool cavern of escape.
Prayer is not a cliché. It’s diving into the cave to cool off. Meditation on the truths the Spirit gives is not Christianeze. It’s the solution that keeps our minds at peace when we’re hot from losing.
If want to stop losing, don’t complain about it. Do something. Go to the cool cavern of Jesus and the Truths He gives you to make you more like Him.
To complain or to get better – that’s the question. Your Savior is the answer.