failure

What to do When You Fall Short

Worrying about what others think of us, and trying to be perfect all the time are exhausting burdens to carry. But what if our identity, worth, and value actually didn’t depend on our behavior at all? In this short clip, Frank invites us into freedom and rest as he shares how our Heavenly Father describes a righteous person.


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What to do When You Fall Short

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Today I want to share with you one of my favorite verses from the Old Testament, Proverbs 24:16. This is what it says: “The righteous man falls seven times and gets up again.” Did you hear that? It does NOT say the righteous never fall. That’s the mind of religion. That’s a lie! In that way of thinking the focus is on my behavior and the lie that I don’t sin. 1 John 1:8 says “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” Romans 2:10 says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” So it’s very important to understand that a righteous person is not somebody who is righteous by behavior because everyone’s behavior falls short. Isn’t that glorious? The righteous person is one who lives by faith and gets back up again.

There’s another part of this verse that I want you to notice. We don’t want to miss this. “The righteous man falls seven times.” Why didn’t God say four times or five times or twenty times? He said seven because seven is the number of biblical perfection. So what does this mean? It means that a righteous person is a perfect failure—a perfect failure who keeps getting back up. Now that’s a God I can follow! That’s a God I can serve!  In His eyes the issue is not that I fall, but that I keep getting back up and I keep choosing to believe in Him. My identity and my worth and my value and my salvation are not dependent on my behavior, but on the behavior of the Son of God who gave Himself for me on the cross. Isn’t that glorious?

Go tackle the world today with this as your motto; “You can knock me down, but you’ll never knock me out—I’m getting back up again.” Have a victorious day to day in Jesus’ name!

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God Commends the Weak

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Did you know that in the book of Revelation, the church in Philadelphia was commended because it had “little strength"?

In our modern world that is a very strange basis for being commended. Modern society values strength. Our media driven culture beckons us to be men of steel and women of iron. The city in which I live heralds, for example, that we are “Baton Rouge Strong” and “Baton Rouge Proud.” God, however, says that it is the weak, those that have recognized their minimal strength who are to be commended. Why is that?

Let’s ponder Moses for example; he was a man of great strength. Raised in the court of Pharaoh to be a leader in the nation, he was trained to be a warrior. When he thought the time had come for him to deliver his people, he mustered all the strength he could and killed an Egyptian, but failed to rally the people around him and ran like a scared rabbit into the desert.

There, he spent the next 40 years tending sheep and growing weak. How do we know that? Because when God appeared to Him, to call Him to lead Israel into freedom, he bemoaned that he was not the kind of man God was looking for. Early in his life, Moses thought he was that man because he was strong, but now that he was weak he could not dream of being a leader. He thought himself a nothing and informed God that he could not speak very well. Ironically, the book of Acts tells us that Moses was the most eloquent man in all the earth!

So how are we to explain that? Some say that after spending 40 years with a bunch of sheep, any of us would speak b-a-a-a-a-d too! I don’t buy that. I believe that after his failure, Moses no longer trusted in his natural resources, he recognized that he was not up to the demand, which forced him to depend on God in a way he would never have without his failure. His failure opened his eyes to his true state of weakness so that he could then see the greatness of God that would be exercised by God on his behalf; transforming him into a man who received the strength of God!

Though this is a hard lesson for most of us to learn, it is one that we desperately need to understand. The Holy Spirit told Paul that when he was weak, then he would truly be strong because he would no longer be trusting in himself, but in God. This is why God would offer that “not so strange” commendation for those who have little strength. I want to hear that commendation, and I hope you do too, for it is the true path to the strength we desperately need to secure to live victoriously in this fallen world.

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"Competitive Spirit"

Living by codes, therefore, breeds a spirit of competition and whenever there is competition, there will be the desire to win and not lose.

Living by codes, therefore, breeds a spirit of competition and whenever there is competition, there will be the desire to win and not lose.

"RELIGIOUS PEOPLE" are very often "mean people"... Please understand, it is because they have to be. 

Whenever you have people living by a code that they cannot keep there will be in those people a sense of failure. This, in turn, will breed the need to look at others to see if they can do it better than others, and thus feel better about themselves. Living by codes, therefore, breeds a spirit of competition and whenever there is competition, there will be the desire to win and not lose. Such a one will then naturally compare themselves to others with the accompanying necessity to put the other down and exalt themselves.

We see this "competitive spirit" in Luke 18 when the pharisee exalted himself and all the good that he had done over and against the "sinner" and all the evil that he had done. Even a cursory reading reveals the ugliness of this religious and competitive spirit.

This is why grace is such an incredible necessity for the body of Christ to live in harmony. Grace puts every believer on the same playing field. Grace removes the competitive spirit because it also removes the code by which we seek to exalt ourselves at the expense of others. Grace, when it is really understood and appropriated can only lead to the exaltation of one individual --- the person of grace ---Lord Jesus Christ.

ALL OTHERS are humbled in the presence of grace. 

Sadly, there are people who are making "grace" the new law, using grace as a new standard by which to measure others and put them down for their lack of understanding and as a tool to exalt themselves for their enlightened understanding. Such "grace" is no grace at all but the spirit of religion and competition wrapped up in the glory of grace, which in fact distorts and corrupts grace so that it is no longer really grace at all. This is religion of the worst kind...and it too is mean!

The real test of whether it is grace we are proclaiming is that Jesus will be exalted and we ourselves humbled by the glory of real grace. If a man or woman is really walking in true grace, mercy and compassion will flow from their lips and lives and others will always feel safe around them, even those who disagree with them. 

Have you ever noticed that even the enemies of Jesus felt safe approaching Him? 

Do you want to know if you are walking in real grace? Ask those around you if they feel safe in your presence.  If they can relax around you.  If they can let their hair down and just be themselves in your presence. Ask them if they feel like they have to guard their words and actions around you, and give them the freedom to answer honestly.

Rich Mullins wrote these words longing to see the glory of the kingdom in the people of God:

"I see a people, who have learned to walk in faith,
with mercy in their hearts and glory on their faces..."

I too long for the day to see the body of Christ expressing such glory ---
When the mercy of God flows freely from the lips and lives of the saints of God.

MAY WE BE A GRACIOUS AND MERCIFUL PEOPLE!

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Never Going To Leave You

Jesus says, if that is what you are going to do, I am going to be right there with you the whole time.

Jesus says, if that is what you are going to do, I am going to be right there with you the whole time.

One of the most common fears I hear voiced is that "this time I have really done it!" The dear one making that statement has made a choice, a really bad choice and entered into such poor behavior that they are sure God is going to abandon them, and deservedly turn His back on them.

In I Corinthians 6, Paul addresses such a poor choice with a response that has scandalized the religious world for centuries.  If ever there was an occasion where God would, dare we say "must" reject His sinning child, it would be this one! BUT HE DOES NOT DO SO!

What did they do? They had sex with a prostitute. Now, finally, we are going to see it said! Right? Surely for this sin, God is going to separate Himself from the sinning one, at the very least for the time that this sin is occurring. Right? Jesus is going to say, "If that is what you are going to do, I will wait for you outside. Right? NO! DEAD WRONG!

Jesus says, if that is what you are going to do, I am going to be right there with you the whole time. When you unite yourself to that prostitute, you are going to be uniting Me to that prostitute.

Oh my friend, Jesus said He is never, NEVER going to leave you or forsake you. NEVER!

A friend of mine says it this way, "When you backslide,
He is going to backslide with you."

When you became His child, nothing can ever separate you from the love of Christ! NOTHING!

Now, grow up in this love, rest in this love, embrace this love, affirm how secure and significant you are in Him. You have not, nor can you ever separate yourself from His love.

And by the way, as you learn of this love, I believe you will find that your pursuits of other counterfeit life and love, will dissipate and you will not be making those poor choices, because they really do not satisfy the desperate need of your soul to find life and love, for you will have found it in Him!

My Name is Branch Frank.

Ours is a multi-faceted identity.

We are not only called saints, we are called slaves of righteousness. Did you know that when we were born again and freed from sin, that we really just exchanged Masters? Then, where is our freedom? The glory is that now, finally, we can be what we were created to be – vessels of righteousness, the very slaves of righteousness. GLORY!

We are also called “children of God” and that is glorious because it provides us with a family and especially a real Father instead of our former father the devil.

We are called soldiers because we must never forget that we are in a war. If we are not prepared for and ready to fight at any moment, there is a very real danger that we will become a casualty and fall into a sin that might have devastating consequences.

We are called the light of the world, we are called vessels of mercy, we are called living letters and on and on it goes.  Father wants us to understand the full glory of Who He is, who we are in Him and ALL that He longs to do in and through us as we trust Him by faith. I will say it again as I have said it so often,

“God wants to be ALL that He is, to all that we need, at the moment of faith.”

That is why I would share with you today, one of our identities that I don’t believe we hear enough about. We are “BRANCHES!” John 15 records how important this aspect of our identity truly is. Jesus told us in that passage, that we are branches, and that He and HE ALONE is the true vine. Please understand that a branch does not produce fruit because it cannot produce fruit. A branch is just a branch, something that really is worthless without being connected to the vine.

This reality should put a lot of preachers out of business. Can you hear them? “You wicked branch! Look at you! You haven’t produced any fruit! You are lazy and slothful, are you even born again?” And the poor little branch speaks in a muffled voice, “But I tried!” And the preacher screams back, “You need to re-dedicate your life to God and try harder!!!” And now, with tears streaming down his/her cheeks, the little branch “rededicates” his/her life to go back out into the world and try harder to produce fruit, which of course, they will NEVER be able to do on their own. Their Christian life will be lived in perpetual frustration and failure. They may even reject the faith and claim that Christianity does not work.

That is so very sad. They are trying to do what they can never do because they do not understand who they are. They are a BRANCH! End of discussion! God said it is so. A branch does not produce fruit. The only responsibility a branch has is to connect to the Vine. When connected to the Vine, the LIFE that is in the Vine will flow through the branch and that Vine LIFE flowing through the branch will produce the fruit that the branch will now bear!

Please hear the words of Jesus. It is not your job to produce fruit. It is your job to bear fruit, but that will only occur when you are intimately connected to and dependent on our Vine Jesus, to express His life through you as you trust Him by faith. I don’t believe Jesus could have made it more clear than when He said in John 15, “Without Me you can do nothing!”

I believe that we have a two-fold problem. Far too many people just don’t believe or appropriate what He said, and then off they go to try and do what they cannot do because they don’t understand who they really are. You are a weak, frail, branch! End of discussion! But, when you connect to the Vine and His LIFE is flowing through, you are strong, complete, and so full of life bearing fruit that others can come to you and experience God Himself living His Life in and through you.

My name is Branch Frank, and I hope that I have encouraged you in our own “branchness” to abide in Him that you might bear much fruit.

'Your failure has done nothing to change my mind about you.' - Jesus

We as believers have all taken our turn at making great boasts for God. Lord, I will follow you no matter what! Lord, I will go through whatever you have for me, trusting you all the way! Lord, I will do whatever you call me to! And... we have all failed so often in our boast! When that has occurred, the enemy of course has been right there to whisper in our ears, perhaps even shout into them, that God could never use us again. Perhaps he has even slandered us by calling into question if we are even the children of God. After all, how could we be people of faith and yet live so faithlessly?

Well, to all of us who have been so boastful and failed, to all of us who have been slandered by the accuser, take comfort from the life of a man named Peter. Peter had made great boast before God, only to have denied Jesus three times. How does that bring comfort you might ask?

In John 21, sitting around a campfire, Jesus asks Peter, whether or not Peter loves Him. The kicker in this passage is that Jesus asked this question three times... THREE TIMES! Obviously, Jesus was reminding Peter of his failure (as if he needed reminding)...

No, my friends, that is not really the issue. The key is that each time Peter answered the question, that yes, he did love Jesus, Jesus responded by saying, "Feed my lambs!" Why is that significant? Because that is exactly what Jesus had commissioned Peter to do before he failed so miserably. In other words, Peter, even though you were so boastful and prideful, and even though you failed so miserably, you are still my guy that I have chosen to use in my kingdom work. Your failed boast has done nothing to change my mind about you! One thing we must once and for all lay hold of if we are to stand against our accuser,is that there is no one who can "outsin" the grace and calling of our Lord Jesus. NO ONE!

Get Off the Treadmill of Having to Be Like God!

I once had a young minister in my office that I was seeking to lead into the LIFE that Jesus wants us all to experience... I asked him to turn to a particular passage, and he could not find it. As he searched frantically, he blamed the Bible I had handed him, saying he was not used to that Bible. Hmmmm.... What was the issue here? He was embarrassed that he as a pastor could not find the passage quick enough.

Naturally, I sought to lead him into an understanding that God was trying to reveal to Him in that moment how "blitzed" he was by the fall of man into rebellion against God. His thought process was that he should be able to find it quicker --- HE SHOULD KNOW WHERE THAT PASSAGE WAS!!!

Remember what the lie was that we were all birthed under? "You shall be as God!" Oh, what a horrid thing... I have to be strong! I have to be in control! I have to know all things! Oh my goodness, do you realize the burden that is on us because of that lie? We have to be like God, when we lack the resources to be God!

NO! That is a lie! We were never created to be strong, we were created to be dependent on the One Who is strong! We were not designed to be in control, we were designed to be dependent on the One Who is in control. And we were never supposed to know everything, we were supposed to be dependent on the One Who knows all things. We were designed to be children, who have a really great Father!

Take yourself off the treadmill of having to be like God, that is way too much pressure for anyone to live under. Decide to be what you were created to be... a weak human being, who doesn't know very much at all, but oh what a God you have... He offers to be all that He is, to all that you need at the moment of faith... 

In other words, relax! Do not take yourself too seriously. God has built His church just fine without you for 2,000 years. I have a feeling He will continue to build it just fine long after we are gone.