Larry Fapohunda

The Scarlet Thread

So the men said to her: “We will be blameless of this oath of yours which you have made us swear, unless, when we come into the land, you bind this line of scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and unless you bring your father, your mother, your brothers, and all your father’s household to your own home. – Joshua 2:17-18

The scarlet thread represented the channel or instrument for the escape of the two spies from capture in Jericho, and later the escape from death by Rahab and her family.  This is an encouraging word: God has a scarlet line for all of us. Before we get into that in detail, though, what are the things that entrap us?

Things that entrap

  1. Sin is one thing that ensnares us and opens us up for the devil to ensnare. Heb 12:16 refers to Esau’s sin of sexual immorality for which he despised his birthright for a meal’s sake.
  2. More powerful people entrap the weak, as Egypt did to Israel, for which God sent Moses to set them free – Exo 3:1-9. Also, Sennacherib laid siege against Israel in Isa 36 and 37.  God sent an angel to kill all his soldiers and they were set free (Isa 37:36).
  3. Disobedience, knowing what God says and doing something else, is another entrapment – Heb 4:1-11. They heard what God said but disobeyed it and so they perished.
  4. Ignorance is a trapper. God said His people are destroyed for lack of knowledge – Hos 4:6.  Hence we need to get knowledge and understanding (Pro 4:5-7).
  5. Fear entraps. Pro 29:25 says the fear of man entraps.  Gen 20:11 – Abraham said his wife was his sister because he was afraid they would kill him.  It was the same fear of man that made Saul to disobey God by listening to the people – 1Sam 15:14-25.

God’s Ways of Escape for Us

  1. God has provided His Son as atonement for sin, to restore us back as though we never sinned. Jesus has paid for the sins of the whole world (1Jn 2:2), and if we accept Him, He is able to save us to the uttermost (1Jn 4:14; Heb 7:25-26).
  2. God sends angels to us. Heb 1:14 says they are ministering spirits sent to us.  Daniel said God sent His angel to shut the mouth of the lions (Dan 6:22). Sennacherib’s army was wiped out by an angel (Isa 37:36).  God will give his angels charge over you to protect you (Psa 91:11).
  3. God’s word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path (Psa 119:105). David said, “Your word I have kept in my heart, that I may not sin against You” (Psa 119:11).  When we spend time reading, meditating and doing what the word of God says, we become evergreen (Psa 1:1-3).
  4. Prayer is how we allow God into our affairs. One who refuses to pray is saying, “God, I don’t need you. I can handle it on my own.” But when we pray, we see God doing exceedingly, abundantly, above what we can think (Eph 3:2).

Conclusion

In reflecting over this text, we can see that as far as God is concerned, there is no case beyond redemption.  No matter how bleak things may seem, God has a way of escape for us.  As His children, He has put things in place for us to bring us out.

 

The Difference Between Winning and Losing

In life, success is synonymous with winning. Success is not a one-time thing as we often erroneously think. Rather, it is a culmination of little steps that we take daily. Achievements in life are the results of several steps taken in the right direction.

“For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept,
Line upon line, line upon line,
Here a little, there a little.”
Isaiah 28:10

We must stop falling for prophecies and pronouncements of instant success—these are frauds. Success is a process, not an endpoint. It only comes from taking predictable steps consistently toward preset goals. When you fall for promises of instant success without the process, it leads to loss—since you failed to exercise the due diligence needed for your undertaking to succeed.  This is the reason why successful people do not play the lottery. They know that making wealth is a process, and that when that process is followed, success is predictable.

There are certain characteristics that distinguish winners from losers. Let’s take a look at some of them:

  1. Winners Are Driven. Winners are ambitious and driven about what they want to achieve. They do not take no for an answer, and are self-motivated to keep going.

“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed”. – Michael Jordan

  1. Winners Take Responsibility. Winners hold themselves accountable for what happens in their lives and don’t blame external factors. They decide that they are in control of their destiny, and do not let others decide that for them.
  2. Winners Are Eager to Learn. Winners are always learning, and are always looking for new ways to challenge themselves. They never feel like they know enough, and they truly understand that knowledge is power.
  3. Winners Are Positive Thinkers. Winners always take an optimistic perspective towards life, and are always trying to leverage the field in their favor.

Watch your thoughts, they become words;
Watch your words, they become actions;
Watch your actions, they become habits;
Watch your habits, they become character;
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.

  1. Winners Are Humble. Winners never let their ego get in the way of their success. They know what is more important. Also, they don’t keep a short-term mentality. While they are modest, on the inside they know their worth and are confident in their abilities.
  2. Winners Are Certain. Winners do not doubt their actions or decisions. They focus on what they are going to do next and “Pull the Trigger”. They don’t overthink negative thoughts and stand by their actions.
  3. Winners Set Goals. Winners are very goal-oriented. They decide on what they want and when they want it, and then do whatever they morally can to reach it.

Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment. – Jim Rohn

  1. Winners Focus on Solutions. Rather than focusing on the problem, winners focus on how to solve the problem. They don’t let the past hang over them—instead, they work on solutions.
  2. Winners Work Hard. Winners put in their best effort and never run away from work. They have a relentless engine and they keep pushing forward no matter what they face. They are driven and yearn for success.
  3. Winners Act. Winners never refrain from action and are always the first to start. They don’t need a reminder to begin working and become legendary.
  4. Winners Listen. Winners pay attention to others and think before they speak. They know that don’t have all the answers and know that they need the help of others to reach their goals.

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” ― Stephen R. Covey

  1. Winners Are Passionate. Winners love what they do and are passionate about life. They use this inner obsession to fuel them and push them forward; especially when the going gets tough.
  2. Winners Are Willing to Stand Alone. Winners are very independent, and they understand that the path to victory is sometimes a lonely one. While they are great at communication and networking, they are the best lone wolves.
  3. Winners are Self-Motivators. Winners can motivate themselves when it gets tough and are able to keep going. They have a permanent fire inside of them that always burns for success.
  4. Winners Constantly Expand Their Comfort Zone. Winners constantly explore challenges and opportunities to expand their comfort zone. They know that being satisfied means you’re not improving. They strive to stay on the edge.
  5. Winners Have Strong Willpower. Winners can withstand all kinds of hurdles and hardships. They have good self-discipline and can control their mind and body.
  6. Winners Have High Self-Esteem. Winners know what they are worth, and they feel good about themselves. They are self-assured and don’t need external approval to keep them steady.
  7. Winners Are Persistent. Winners do whatever it morally takes to achieve their goals. They don’t easily give up and don’t let small obstacles get in their way. They push and push and keep pushing until they reach their goal.
  8. Winners Aren’t Afraid of Failure. Winners know that to reach success, they will have to at one time or another face failure. So rather than fear failure, they embrace it and learn from it. Winners use failure to motivate themselves even further.

“Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker.
Failure is delay, not defeat.
It is a temporary detour, not a dead end.
Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” – Denis Waitley

  1. Winners Don’t Procrastinate. Winners don’t put things off; they try to get things done as soon as possible. They understand the value of time, and try to make every second count.
  2. Winners Are Focused. Winners are always dedicated and focused towards whatever they are doing. They know that “multitasking” is a myth, and they try to be as productive as possible.

Conclusion

Brethren, success is not magic, but rather a process. Whatever you may have woken up with this morning—failed opportunities, disappointments, lack—do not let it stop you from running your race. You can experience more in life if only you are willing to get over excuses and get on living. You can have reasons, or you can have results—but you can’t have both.

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