Sentence Sermons (Christian Inspiration) #113 --- Failure

Quotations on Failure

Many times the only thing that keeps us from getting in the midst of the action is fear.

The Bible says, "God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and a sound mind." (2 Timothy 1:7.)

That means when we surrender to fears, we can be sure the fears did not come from God. For God does not give us the spirit of fear.

I admire people like the boxers ... who aren't afraid to "mix it up" a little.

I think it's necessary to stick our neck out sometimes. Whether it's Buster Douglas, George Foreman or Mike Tyson, they all "hit the deck" once in a while!

The mark of a champion is to get back up!

We all are knocked down occasionally, but the sign of godliness is to get back up!

Be sure and test yourself on the following:

Failure doesn't mean we have been a fool. It does mean we had a lot of faith.

Failure doesn't mean we have accomplished absolutely nothing. It does mean we have learned something.

Failure doesn't mean we've been disgraced. It does mean we are willing to try.

Failure doesn't mean we lack in intestinal fortitude. It does mean we need to develop tenacity.

Failure doesn't mean we are inferior, but it does mean we are not perfect.

Failure doesn't mean we've wasted our life. It does mean we have reason to start afresh.

Failure doesn't mean we surrender or give up. It does mean it will take a little longer.

Failure doesn't mean we'll never make it. It does mean it will take a little longer.

Failure doesn't mean God has abandoned us. It does mean God has a better idea.

And please note: Most people don't plan to fail. They fail to plan.

—Jerry Davey, Amarillo Globe-Times, Amarillo, Texas, Feb. 8, 1991.


One of our most sickening fears is that fear of failure. It has made invalids out of many healthy people.

We have made success one of our gods and we fall down and worship before it. Parents are often overt ambitious for their children. Not having reached the goals in life they desired, they relive those ambitions in their children.

And many children have been driven into this paralyzing fear of failure. I have talked with people who were afraid to attempt even the simplest undertakings. Often you find that parents or teachers ridiculed them as children for even the smallest of failures. Many children have had this fear instilled in them by being unfavorably compared with more brilliant or capable children.

That is always the wrong approach. A person hungers for appreciation just as he hungers for bread and without appreciation no person can be his best. Some people think that if you compliment a person it will make him conceited. That is silly.

Look into your own heart and you will see that expressed appreciation makes you humble, never conceited. But because our hunger for appreciation is so great, if we do not receive it from others, we will bestow it upon ourselves. We will praise and magnify ourselves and self-conceit is the result. ...

"Perfect love casteth out fear." (1 John 4:18.) A little appreciating love [will] cast out fear.

—Charles L. Allen, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Ga., June 17, 1953.


"Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind . . ." (Philippians 3:13.) Paul did not consider himself to have arrived. But he was on his way. Commencement for him was not the end but a beginning. He did not punctuate life with a period but with a comma.

To Paul "forgetting" did not mean to put out of his mind that which he had learned. He simply meant that he would not rest on his laurels. I have known people who were miserable failures simply because the world did not recognize their past achievements. Because you have a diploma does not mean that the world will fall at your feet. ... The world does not ask what you were, but what you are, and what you are becoming.

So, like Paul, make a firm resolution. "This one thing I do." Forgetting, remember the past for what it is worth. But remember that its value is only to be realized as you properly relate it to the present and the future. The past can become a millstone about your neck or a steppingstone for your feet. The former chains you to the days that are gone. The latter enables you to rise to the days that are yet to be.

". . . reaching forth unto those things which are before . . ." This figure belongs to the realm of the athletic. Paul sees himself as running a race. Behind him are his days of training. The race is at hand. In the running of it he does not forget the discipline involved in preparation, nor the rules of the game. But he brings all of that to bear on the race to be run. He forgets it only in the sense that he is not content to point to the past as sufficing for the present or the future. Instead he strains every nerve and brings every developed muscle to bear on the task at hand. ...

"I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." Before Paul ever beckons the goal that is ahead. And that goal is "the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." This suggests the will of God for your life. More than any other, this should be the goal of your being.

The greatest failures in life are those which endeavor to run at cross purposes to God's will. Perhaps you have given little thought to the matter of God's will for you. You have thought in terms of a profession or a job. I can think of nothing more monotonous than that. But if you link your life with the Eternal, it becomes a joy and a song.

—Herschel H. Hobbs, The Beam, Fort Worth, Texas, June 1962.


We hear of poverty, and want of opportunity, or lack of education. ... There are others who talk about disappointment and failure. How many men have failed, and like the fabled bird, have risen from the ashes of their ruin? Failure is but a stepping stone to success. Oftentimes an eagle may be beaten to the earth by a fearful storm, his plumage wet and torn, his body shivering with cold, and he may be forced to take shelter, in company with bats and owls, under some lowly ledge. We ask, has he failed? No, he is only drying his feathers and will gather strength. Watch him; he will soon rise again and soar away upon the loftiest and grandest of flights, far above the storm that crashed him to the earth. So it ought to be with men. Failure should only nerve them to greater deeds. ...

The world may not call us great, but it matters not, greatness is true goodness, and whether the world calls us great or not, if we are truly good and faithful in the eyes of Him who made us. I know not what others may think, but I would rather be a good man in the eyes of God than to wear the honors of the world. The world's judgment is worthless and does not make the man. ... Many a man, great in the eyes of God, has gone to his reward unhonored by the world.

"Come ye blessed of my Father, for ye have been faithful over a few things, and I will make you ruler over many things," said the Master.

—J.E. McClurkin, Childress Index, Childress, Texas, May 24, 1916.


Success and failure cannot be always estimated by results. The world often applies a wrong gauge. Success and failure are to be properly reckoned in well-directed efforts and judged by the character; and let us remember that if our work be good and true and has not its legitimate and due reward immediately and at the hands of men--it will still have its ripened fruit to be seen and enjoyed of all men, though it be when we have long since been numbered with the dead. The world's standard of success is often wrong. By that standard St. Paul's life would be a failure. But it was a grand success!

—Tullius C. Tupper, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Ga., June 18, 1900.


The building which houses my office has a lot of clear windows and what those windows do to bring the beauty that's outside inside is wonderful. But there's a downside to those windows. Birds often fly into them. I don't know if they think there's nothing there or they see the reflection and think it's one of their buddies or just what but they fly into a window and often do themselves a lot of harm.

I was sitting at my desk one morning and watched a woodpecker flying around outside when she suddenly did an impression of a dive bomber and flew right into my window. I quickly got up from my chair and ran to see the result of such an assault. One a few occasions I have gone out to rub a bird and speak words of encouragement. I watched to see if that would be necessary. It wasn't. The woodpecker managed to raise herself up on her legs, wobble back and forth until she was erect, hop slowly and then quickly, and next fly away.

As she glided back past my vision I thought of setbacks and comebacks. Times when we get down but then get up. Disappointments that detour but do not derail us. Mistakes we make and we think it's all over but some things have only begun. Failures and we start a pity party only to remember failure is not a person but an event and it is not final.

Setbacks and comebacks.

Proverbs 24:16: "Don't you know that this good man, though you trip him up seven times, will each time rise again."

—Phil Barnhart, Leisure, Delavan, Wis., July 15, 1991 .


When failure seems inevitable–look backward at your triumphs.

—Dewey O. Miller, Wesleyan Young People's Journal, Syracuse, N.Y., October 1941.


No man is a failure who is himself a moral success and is a victor on the battlefields of the heart, as Christ directs.

—T.H. Sherrill, The Bison, Searcy, Ark., Feb. 23, 1943.


"Nothing succeeds like success"–except failure. Success is a supply, failure a demand. Success pours the gold into the lap of self. Failure may find gold in self to give to others.

—H.W. Knickerbocker, Houston Post, Houston, Texas, March 17, 1924.


The only real failure in life is success in a bad cause.

Failures in good causes are but suspended successes.

—George H. Brimhall, Long and Short Range Arrows, Provo, Utah, 1934.


Life has its disappointments, but there's no reason for you to be one of them.

—Zoe Powell Gibson, Nephi Times-News, Nephi, Utah, Oct. 24, 1968.


More than half our failures are due to our inability to learn from our hard knocks.

—Roy L. Smith, Tampa Morning Tribune, Tampa, Fla., June 15, 1939.


The secret of failure is usually found in some small fault.

—Roy L. Smith, Tampa Morning Tribune, Tampa, Fla., Feb. 6, 1940.


The saddest failures are those who blame their failures on other people.

—Roy L. Smith, Tampa Morning Tribune, Tampa, Fla., March 6, 1940.


The first step toward failure is in our unwillingness to face the truth.

—Roy L. Smith, Tampa Morning Tribune, Tampa, Fla., March 11, 1941.


The saddest failures are among those who thought they were great successes.

—Roy L. Smith, Tampa Morning Tribune, Tampa, Fla., March 6, 1940.


Chances are the man who blames the world for his failures won’t be a success in the next.

—Jack Warwick, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Pittsburgh, Pa., Sept. 24, 1936.


Some of us are inclined to use fate as an excuse for failure.

—Jack Warwick, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh, Pa., Jan. 15, 1945.


There is the man who talks so much about his failures that he gives the idea that he is proud of them.

Carson City News, Carson City, Nev., Nov. 28, 1923.


More men fail through ignorance of their strength than through knowledge of their weakness.

Nevada State Herald, Wells, Nev., May 10, 1907.


A man is never a complete failure until his chief pleasure is in telling the faults of his successful friends.

Pocatello Tribune, Pocatello, Idaho, April 15, 1937.


An honest failure is much better than a fraudulent success.

Salt Lake Mining Review, Salt Lake City, Utah, July 30, 1921.


Ridiculing another for doing something is a good way for a person to advertise his own failures.

Saturday Evening Post, Philadelphia, Pa., Oct. 14, 1899.


Mediocrity requires aloofness to preserve its dignity.

Charles Gates Dawes, New York Times, New York, N.Y., Jan. 22, 1928.


When we criticize a successful man, it is an open confession that we are flat failures ourselves.

—Bert Moses, Lake Charles American Press, Lake Charles, La., Aug. 19, 1942.

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