A FREE GIFT FOR CLERGY
Positive Written Sermons is a FREE service of Positive Christianity to those ACTIVE IN CLERGY MINISTRY to ease your burdens in ministry. Each positive sermon is non-denominational; feel free to tailor to your denominational needs, or personal style. We consider our sermons to be 90% complete; they await your personal stories and anecdotes.
In all circumstances, you are comforted and reassured by the tender, loving presence of God. God’s love for you is unfailing and eternal; nothing can separate you from the love of God.
A man went into a tailor shop to buy a new suit. The tailor thought, “Aha! I’ve got an easy mark here! I’ve got a suit in the back room I’ve been wanting to get rid of for a long time.” He went back, got the suit, and asked the man to try it on.
The man put it on, looked at himself in the mirror and said, “I like the suit, but it hangs down a little too far.”
The tailor said, “That’s no problem. What you do is you scoot it up like this and put your chin over here.”
The man said, “Well, there’s another problem. One of the pant legs is about three inches shorter than the other.”
The tailor said, “That’s no problem. Just pull it up here and put your knees together.”
The man looked in the mirror and said, “Wow! What a great looking suit.” He bought the suit, walked out and headed down the road.
People said of the man, “What a great looking suit, but what a shame he has so many physical difficulties.”
That is the way it is with many of us. We may think we are fooling people. We may think we are dressing up. We think we’re putting on a show, but there is no way, not really, we can hide our challenges.
As Emerson said, “What we are speaks so loudly that others can hardly hear our words.”
Sometimes, our past failures affect us at the core of our being. We don’t know how to go forward. We use the power of the mind in the wrong way. We give over all of our God-given gifts of mind to human pessimism. We might say to ourselves, “Oh well, I’ve done that before. I didn’t have any success at it, and I would never ever do that again. I’m too smart for that.”
Helen Keller had every reason in the world to be a pessimist. Deaf and blind from infancy, Helen Keller played a leading role in most of the significant political, social, and cultural movements of the 20th century. Throughout her lifetime (1880-1968) she worked unceasingly to improve the lives of people who were blind and deaf. Helen’s own approach to life can be summed up by her advice to a five-year-old blind child in 1932: “Never bend your head. Always hold it high. Look the world straight in the face.” Here’s what she said about pessimism: “No pessimist ever discovered the secrets of the stars or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened the new heaven to the human spirit.”
Today, we are asking God’s blessing for successful living. This is not a generic teaching. This is a success truth about God working in our lives, giving us new success.
I’m going to give you a definition of success that may somewhat surprise you: Success may elude you because you haven’t failed enough. People who are willing to risk failure and learn from the loss have the best chance at succeeding. The people who are a success today, if you were to read their whole story, you would find that they failed, time and time again, and that they were able to make course corrections and then go forward into their success. Failure sometimes humbles us enough to ask God for help, leading us to our greatest lifelong success.
Failure is merely the cost of succeeding. It is the cost of seeking new challenges in our lives. I’m going to give you ten steps to overcome the failure you have had in your life. I am talking to you directly on this. You know we have all had failures, because we are alive. We are in this church because we have overcome that failure. We are breathing in and out, we are thinking positively again, we are holding on to God, and we are here for a reason, seeking God’s blessing, because we do not want to remain the same, not even the same as yesterday. We want to become new, and better than yesterday.
There are steps to climb over that hill of past failure. Sometimes, even though we continue to breathe, we remain in consciousness of that failure from the past.
We must stop using the word failure. In my study of people over the years, I have found that successful people never talk about their failures. They say, “Well, I had a glitch back then … ” or “I had a bump in the road back then … ” Now, these glitches, these bumps in the road, might have destroyed an ordinary man or woman, but they had something else. They had a drive that said, “You know, I’ve got the power with me and within me from God. I’m going to go on. I’m going to make something out of myself.” And they do. Anybody who had that ingrained in the very fiber of their belief system can go on and become all that they want to become.
I want to tell you the story of the man you saw on TV years ago in countless commercials, holding up the Remington shaver, saying, “I like this so much I bought the company.” Well, here is what you don’t know about him. Forty-six years ago, Victor Kiam had a friend come to him with an idea. Victor wavered on the idea. He didn’t know if he really had it in him to take the idea, run with it, and make it a big success. So, he told his friend to find someone else. That new product that Victor turned down was Velcro. It has become a billion dollar industry – bigger than Remington.
In his book “Live To Win”, Victor said, “I just look at that as another bump on the road.” But he also said, “If I would have allowed it, it would have destroyed me and my life. I had a choice. I had to make that choice. I realized this for several weeks, even months. I allowed it to depress me deeply. I couldn’t even get out of bed. Then I decided to use the wisdom from that to make a course correction in my life. I decided to look at it seriously, and ask myself the question, ‘Why?'” you ask this question, not as a victim, but instead as a person that is truly ready for self-examination. Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond to it.
Number #1. Have confidence in yourself. Next time – and friends there is always a next time – have the confidence to take the action that you need at the given time. When Remington came along, Victor had the confidence to buy the company and make it a success. If you want to stand out, don’t be different; be outstanding.
Number #2. Don’t take failure personally.
This is probably the most important step of all because we usually do take failure personally. One person had a failure in his life and he said, “Well, that’s it. I’m a loser. I’m just no good. I’ve had this failure and, if the truth were known, I’ve had 16,000 failures, one after another, after another. I’m just a loser. I’ll never be anything but a loser.”
A loser connected to a winner can be a loser for long. That’s precisely the time to reconnect with the ultimate winner – God.
Do not take failure in a personal way. For instance, if you are unemployed, do you think about it all the time? Do you think that because you went out to look for a job, today, without success, that you will never find a job? Do you label yourself as unemployed? What you call yourself will become a powerful reality in your life. I like to share with people that they are people with lots of open options, lots of ways to go. Always, God, has an open door for you waiting for you to find, and accept its new way.
Isaiah 60:11 states, “Your gates shall be open continually … they shall not be shut.”
New doors of opportunity are always open – a door somewhere is always opening. God is holding the door for you.
Ask yourself every day: “What if I had to buy my thoughts?” Imagine if we had to actually go down to the convenience store, reach into our pocket and say, “Well, I’ll take a little worry, about sixty-five cents of depression, and I would like to have $1.30 of crippling anxiety.”
We wouldn’t do that; you know we wouldn’t. We would go in there and ask for the good stuff. We would decide to do that, even if the thoughts were very cheap, because we were actually making the purchase.
Well, we are making the purchase. Every day, we go to the “convenience mind” inside of us, and we decide what we’re going to purchase and what we’re not going to purchase. My goodness, thoughts can become very, very expensive. Our attitude towards life determines life’s attitude towards us.
Once, when he was a little boy, the famous American Ben Franklin had a birthday party. His family and friends gave him six pennies. Well, the pennies just burned a hole in his pocket. He had to go and spend the pennies, so he went to the store and saw a toy whistle. Of course, the clerk sold it to him for the six pennies – much more than it was worth. He went home and made so much noise with his toy whistle that he drove everyone crazy. His parents, friends, and family asked what he paid for the toy whistle. He said, “I paid six pennies.”
They said, “You paid four times too much!”
As a little boy, that changed his life. Through that course correction, he remembered that lesson all through his days. Even into his old age, when men and women were spouting different philosophies and talking about anxiety and fear, Ben Franklin would say of them, “They paid too much for their whistle.”
I have a question to ask you: What is the one thing you want to achieve?
Now, I have a second question for you: What has been your greatest disappointment, or discouragement toward that goal?
Now I have a truth for you. You are not that discouragement. Even if you were, even if it was totally your fault, you are brand new, today. Every day, you are new. It is part of the Grace of God that we do not have to remain the same. We become better human beings because we become better receivers of God. That is true of everyone; it is especially true of you who are sitting in this room.
Number #3. Use your defects. You say, “I am just laden with defects. This is the reason I cannot get past failure.” Listen to this: we succeed in enterprises which demand the positive qualities we possess; but we excel in those in which we also make use of our defects.
A very famous radio announcer, who is now a minister, once admitted, “I have something called a lazy larynx. It is very difficult for me to speak. I found this out when I was in broadcasting. I would slur certain words then, and I still do to this day if I do not have enough air behind each word. The funny thing about what happened in Nashville was that once I learned that, I started to suck in air and put power behind each word. At first my style was a bit choppy. Then the strangest thing happened – advertisers started to seek this man out because people could hear every word.”
Use your defects. Use everything because what seems like a defect to you may be the answer to your whole career. It may be uniqueness that comes out. It may be the specialness that is you. You are a fingerprint on the universe – individual, special, and unique. People love you for your defects more than they do for your perfection. They love your little quirks, the little special things you do. Use them to your advantage.
Number #4. You will get another chance. If there were a tattoo artist in this room, right now, I would have this tattooed on everyone who was willing: I WILL GET ANOTHER CHANCE!
You will get another chance if you can accept it. You have to accept the chance. You have to be willing to see the chance, go after it, and accept new ideas.
Listen to this: God is continually on the birthing bed. God never rests. God is continually birthing in you new ideas – for you, your life, and your career that can transform your life and everything you’re doing in your life.
Number #5. God is with you, not to commiserate, but to co-create. God is your help in every need.
There was a man on Long Island who bought a barometer around the turn of the century. He had wanted this barometer for a long, long time and paid good money for it, from a mail order house in New York City. When the barometer was delivered to his home on the east coast, he noticed the needle was pointing toward “hurricane.” He looked outside and it looked fine. He shook the barometer, and the needle appeared to be stuck pointing to hurricane. Well, the man went into a tirade. He paced up and down. He wrote a scorching letter to the company saying, “Everything I buy is defective … ” The next day when he traveled into town, he mailed the letter to the company. (That’s why we know this story.) Later on that afternoon, the barometer was missing, and so was his house. The hurricane had hit.
You have a “barometer” inside of you, too. The needle is stuck and here is what the needle is stuck on: God is with you.
A lot of times you will shake it and say, “My life is so out of order. I can’t believe God could possibly be with me.” You are shaking it but the needle stays right there and will not move. It never will, because God is with you every moment of every day.
Number #6. With God at your side, be brave. Take an honest new look at an old problem. Here is how you do this. First of all you might say, as one man did, “It’s not easy taking my problems one at a time, because they refuse to stand in line.” Whatever position they are in, look at them, one at a time, and examine them, not with human consciousness, but with God’s eyes. Ask God for illumination, guidance, inspiration, and understanding in solving the individual problem. Then, on one piece of paper, write down exactly what the problem is. Define it. On another piece of paper, write down, “What do I think about this problem? What is its cause?” On a third sheet of paper, write down, “What are my feelings about this problem?” Then, on the fourth sheet of paper, go into the following steps you will take to solve the problem:
With God at your side agree to stop worrying, fretting, blaming, or feeling guilty, angry, or afraid.
With God at your side re-establish joy, excitement, and faith in your life.
With God at your side discuss a plan of action with positive people who support you.
With God at your side you are a positive person for others. If you want to be a friend to somebody, support somebody, unconditionally. Be with them. Listen. Pray with them. If you don’t have someone like this, find someone and make that person very valuable in your life. You will become very valuable in their life, too.
With God at your side: Write: “I will go into action in the following ways,” and then wait in the silence of prayer for God to give you ideas.
God will never let you down – ever. God will give you ideas. They will pour forth. You will be blessed by God. You won’t be able to contain the ideas on the page.
Then, give thanks to God for the perfect answer that is already there. Tell yourself, That’s no hill for a climber; that’s no step for a stepper, because I am blessed by God.
Number #7. Don’t just wonder what your purpose in life is. Ask yourself, “What do I love in life.”
What do you love in life? What do you have a passion for in life? There’s a huge difference between just living and having the passion for life. Here is the difference. It is like a song that makes you dance in comparison to a song you dance to. Do you see the difference? So often we are compelled to do things, and then if we find our passion and our love, we just flow. We can’t contain ourselves because so much good is happening through us.
God can only give to you what God can get through you. Don’t quit on God. A man and his wife said they used to get into the back seat of their car, sit back, relax, cross their legs and say, “Okay, God, if you love us you will drive me to California.” Here they are, in the back seat of their car, waiting for God to get into the car, take the wheel, and drive them to California.
God, who is waiting to give, who is so willing to inspire, just shrugs. God finally says to the back seat drivers, “I can only give to you what I can get through you. If you’ll get in the front seat, if you’ll take the wheel in faith, I will give you the ways to go to California. I will give you the motivation to go to California. I will give you the means to go to California. If you start to move, I will tell you where to turn, how fast to go, and when to stop.” We have to get out of the back seat.
In faith, we must take the wheel.
Number #8. Have lasting power. Some of you who are fans of auto racing remember the name Mickey Thompson. He created the fastest cars ever created. In the twenty-nine races he started, he had the fastest car. The car immediately went to the front of the line, but he never finished a race. The cars always broke down. Something always happened to the cars. The fastest car did not have the lasting power. You have to be willing to finish the race. God will inspire, through you, if you do not quit on God. You see, we say all the time, “Oh God, why did You quit on me?” when, if the truth were known, it is the reverse. We have to finish our course, finish our race, and believe.
Number #9. You have only one product to sell, one product to improve, and that product is yourself. Always market a new self. I’ve said many times that what you are looking at today is the best (your name) that has ever been, but it’s nothing like what is coming out in this fall. It’s going to have a new grill, a new dashboard, etc.
It’s not even going to look like the old (your name).
In every part of your life, become that which you want to be. You have to believe it. You have to become that which you are seeking. Then, like a magnet, it is already drawn to you. It is going from the back seat to the front seat, taking the wheel, and saying, “Okay, God. I believe in You and I know You ARE with me in my life.”
Number #10. Become the success.
We live according to our self-image, the pattern we create daily, and we project it into tomorrow. Most of us imagine ourselves to be less than we are. The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge – but imagination. Imagine yourself as successful and become that – and it will become you. You have the blessing of God.
#1. Stop using the word failure.
#2 Don’t take failure personally.
#3. Use your defects.
#4. Accept new ideas.
#5. Accept the fact that God is with you, your help in every need.
#6. Be brave; really brave. With God, take a new look at the old problem.
#7. Do what you have a passion for doing.
#8. Have a lasting power in doing it.
#9. Market a brand-new you.
#10. Be the success you seek.
God bless you!
PRAYER / MEDITATION_______________________
What an opportunity we share, to go to God and to know God on a personal basis. Right now, you are drifting away from past thoughts and opinions of who you think you are. You are drifting in spiritual consciousness into the light of truth, the truth that God speaks to you about you and for you. You are drifting away from past limitations that you have placed upon yourself.
You are directly blessed by God.
Jesus Christ is here in our midst, raising us up.
Rest in the silence of prayer …
With God, you are going beyond the failures you have had in your lifetime, and you are receiving a spiritual course correction. In prayer, you receive the illumination and the guidance, along with the incredible comfort of God.
In reassurance of resting in the power of God in the silence of prayer …
Jesus said, “You are a child of the living God. You have, within you, the all-creating power of the Christ. This power of the Christ radiates from you and blesses all you contact. We are connected in prayer. And in that connection, we are both agreeing to God’s will and God’s good.
Your life is God-given life and abundant living. Your life is made up of God’s strength. And your life is made up of new God-given courage because you know, without a doubt, that God is with you. You are patient. As you pray this day, you rest in God. You are not anxious about anything. You realize that God is working; you let go and you let God. God is magnificent. “How great Thou art!”
You are blessed by God.
Rest in the silence of prayer …
There is a peace inside of you that passes human understanding. It is at the core of your being. It is a well-being. You decree in prayer, in Jesus Christ’s name, that this feeling of well-being will stay with you, all the hours and minutes of this week.
You have a power inside of you to rise above past failures, to realize that it is nothing at all for a God connected spiritual person. And you are a spiritual victor, because there is that within you that is helping you now and going higher.
In the silence of prayer you are agreeing with God …
Dear God, I wish to go up higher than I have ever gone before. I have realized Your presence, many times, in my life. I consent now to realizing it more. Dear God, I consent this day to realizing God in a new profound way. I know, dear God, that You are always fresh, new, and exciting. I pray that You are all those and more inside of me, this morning. I give thanks for Your presence.
Rest now, once more, for a holy moment, in the silence of prayer …
The grace of God is working in your life. The grace of God is alive. The grace of God is your assurance of all good things.
You are blessed by God.
In Jesus Christ’s name, we give thanks … Amen.
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