Tag Archive | Falling Short

The Most Powerful God, 1 Samuel 5:1-6

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Buddy depends upon me to take are of him. It would be foolish for him to run off and take his chances on moving into a stranger’s home. The stranger doesn’t love him and hasn’t sacrificed for him over the years like I, who love him dearly, has.

One of my favorite stories from the Old Testament (Tanak) is from the time period before kings ruled over ancient Israel, when the nation was ruled by a series of judges appointed by God. When Samuel the prophet was a youth, the Philistines captured the ark of the covenant of the Lord and brought this holy seat of God Almighty into the house of their god, Dagon. Dagon was considered the “Lord of Many Cities” according to Wikipedia, or a god over many gods. Some archeologists believe it was a fish-god, or Merman, or, most likely, an agricultural god of grain.

By capturing the ark, the Philistines thought that their god, Dagon, had defeated the god of the Hebrews. But they  quickly discovered that they were very wrong.

“When the Ashdodites arose early the next morning, behold, Dagon had fallen on his face to the ground before the ark of the Lord. So they took Dagon and set him in his place again. But when they arose early the next morning, behold, Dagon had fallen on his face to the ground before the ark of the Lord. And the head of Dagon and both the palms of his hands were cut off the threshold; only the trunk of Dagon was left to him…Now the hand of the Lord was heavy on the Ashdodites, and He ravaged them and smote them with tumors, both Ashdod and their territories. When the men of Ashdod saw that it was so, they said, ‘The ark of the God of Israel must not remain with us, for His hand is severe on us and on Dagon our god.'”–1 Samuel 5:1-6

The Philistines thought they had defeated the God of Israel because they had defeated His people. But God had permitted it, one reason being, because the sons of the head priest, Eli, had taken the ark into battle and they had disgraced themselves with ungodly conduct as God’s representatives. God Almighty demonstrated which god had the real power.

This actually wasn’t my original point in writing this blog, but there are some who think that because Christians fail, morally or intellectually or in some other personal habit, that means that God Himself is flawed or not real. Nonbelievers judge God Almighty by the behavior of imperfect persons. No, it means that a mighty God has chosen to love and appoint as His ambassadors people who are totally incapable of meeting or living up to His holy standards 24/7. Just because God’s people are defeated doesn’t mean that God is any less totally holy or omnipotent. “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)

What amazes me is that God Almighty, the Lord of Hosts, who created the universe and exists outside of time, space and His creation, would even bother with us. Yet, He extends His grace and mercy to every person every day. He sustains life on the planet and allows people the freedom to choose Him or not to. Every breath is a gift from Him. And everything we use in our daily lives originates from this planet that we did not create, but He created and allows us to rule over and utilize its resources.

I could go on but you get the point.

The failure of God’s people doesn’t mean God has failed; it means that God chooses to call Christians His children and extend His love to people who are totally unworthy of it, people totally incapable of being as holy, good and kind as He is.

God bless you. Dawn and Buddy

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Jesus provided a way for unholy people to approach a holy God. He is the “merciful and faithful high priest” (Hebrews 2:17) who intercedes for us with the Father. Because God cannot tolerate evil and must punish it, yet loves us, Jesus took on human form and accepted humankind’s punishment for our sin. All we have to do is admit we’re sinners who require Christ’s sin sacrifice to pay for our sinfulness and ask Him to govern our lives. When we give our lives to God, the Holy Spirit enters into us, which makes us “born again”. We become new creations by the presence of the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 5:17) and our trespasses are no longer counted against us (2 Corinthians 5:19). God is so holy that we can never meet his standard of perfection to be granted eternal life. (Matthew 5:47). It’s totally impossible. We cannot work for our salvation or earn the right to enter God’s presence.

If you haven’t, please invite Him into your life.

And if you do know Christ, please remember that you are also imperfect before you’re tempted to judge someone harshly. I also have to remind myself to be kind because I also fall short of God’s standards every day and need His grace too.

 

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Falling Short of Expectations, Ephesians 2:8-10

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Do you ever feel like Buddy in this photo: There are good things in life you could enjoy if you’d just make the effort to grab onto it?

Sometimes I get discouraged when I read about the great heroes of the Bible: Job, Esther, Daniel, Nehemiah, Noah and Joseph. They seem so perfect, so heroic. Job who suffered so greatly yet would not curse God nor lose his faith in God’s goodness; Esther, who was willing to sacrifice her life to save the Jewish people; Daniel, who was such a good person that his enemies could find nothing to accuse him of to get him into trouble with the king; Nehemiah, who had the wisdom to pray on the spot for God’s help in a precarious moment and to ask the king to assist him in a great and mighty task; Noah, who spent over a hundred years building a boat with absolutely no evidence there would be a flood yet believed God anyway; and Joseph, who didn’t grumble and complain no matter how unfairly he had been treated and maintained his faith in God, despite his adverse circumstances.

Sometimes I feel that being of use to God in furthering His kingdom is just beyond my grasp. I want to pick up that bone and run with it and be faithful and a good Christian. But I grumble and complain when work sucks or life doesn’t go my way; I get discouraged when I don’t see God answering my prayers; I forget to pray when under stress; and people could easily find fault with me. Despite my best efforts to serve God, I feel like I fall short every day.

Way, way short of God’s standards of how I should behave.

And then, when I start to look upward and not at myself, I remember what God says in Ephesians 2:10:

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are HIS WORKMANSHIP, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we would walk in them.” (NASB, CAPS my emphasis)

  1. God didn’t choose to save me because he thought I was so wonderful. But I am HIS creation. He chose to make me and save me because He loves me. And He is the one who accepted me. He’s totally 100% good and kind, yet He chose this sinful person to be in communion with Him and His Holy Spirit indwells me.
  2. “There is no condemnation in Christ Jesus.”–Romans 8:1 God knows I cannot live up to His righteous standards. That’s why Christ had to die and take the penalty for my sin, because there’s no way I can earn God’s favor. He freely chooses to love me, despite my faults, flaws and failures.
  3. Because I’m so flawed, I can boast in a good and loving God.
  4. God loves variety. I’m different from other people because God designed me that way. I’m unique and my job to do on this earth is, therefore, unique to me.
  5. God chose what works I am supposed to accomplish in my lifetime. His plan for me is not the same as the pastor’s or my friends or my fellow Christian believers. “He who began a good work in (me) will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”–Philippians 1:6  I can trust that God, as my good Shepherd Who leads me in the paths of righteousness for His namesake” (Psalm 23:3) will guide Me into accomplishing the deeds/works He wants me to accomplish.

Sometimes we feel bad because we don’t have the gifts or the accomplishments that other “Super Christians” seem to have and we don’t win those great battles. Yet one man led Billie Graham to Christ and because of that one man’s faithfulness, Mr. Graham accomplished great things for God. (I was saved through Billie Graham’s TV ministry in 1989.)

As my dad has often told me, “There’ll always be someone greater or lesser than yourself.” If I compare myself to the superstars, I’ll feel discouraged.

I have to remind myself that my relationship with God is a personal relationship and that “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14a); God didn’t make a mistake when He made me and chose me.

“Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”–Psalm 46:10

So I need to stop striving and trust that God will accomplish His good purposes in my life, and when I’ve completed my God-assigned tasks, He’ll call me home to eternal joy.

God bless you, my dear reader.

***PS. If you follow my site regularly, thank you. I try to follow your site back, but sometimes I have trouble finding the follow button.

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If you aren’t born-again, you’re missing out on a wonderful love relationship. Becoming a Christian doesn’t mean that life becomes gravy street, but God will give you strength to face life. You’ll no longer be alone. You were born with a piece of your inner life puzzle missing, and only He can complete it. Please say this prayer below to begin your faith journey.

“Lord, I’ve offended you by my sin and fallen short of your standards. I accept that I can never be good enough to atone for my sins so that Jesus was punished on the Cross on my behalf. Please forgive me and save me from myself. Change me by sending the Holy Spirit to live Your life through Me.”

“Your heavenly Father (will) give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him”–Luke 11:13

Congratulations, brother or sister on becoming born-again. Please begin to read your Bible and pray that God will lead you to a Bible-based church where you can grow and fellowship with other believers. God bless you richly. Love you, my fellow believer, Dawn