YOU SHALL BE REMEMBERED

Scripture: Genesis 41:8-14
"Surely he shall not be moved forever; the righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance." Psalm 112:6 (KJV)

Feedback: Share how studying the bible impacted your life this past week.
It is our nature as humans to always strive for better living, hope for a blissful life and more blessings. This is what drives us to work hard and pray that one day; God will remember us and bring helpers our way. We are also very expectant by nature; we expect the good deeds we do to someday be repaid especially when we are in need.

DESPISE LAZINESS

Scripture: Proverbs 24:33-34
”I must work the work of him that sent me, while it is day…..”  John 9:4 (KJV)

Laziness is not a trait humans are born with. It is a bad habit that people develop from procrastination and lack of discipline over a period of time. God has created us in his likeness of creativity and fruitfulness, therefore, laziness is a trait that God does not endorse because it does not lead to the progress that will cause us to be fruitful like God wants us to be.

INVOLVE YOUR FAMILY

Scripture: Acts 10:1-8
“A devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always”.Acts 10:2 (NKJV)

Devotion to God is a way to fellowship with God. In most Christian homes, parents often insist that the family come together to pray in the mornings and evenings. This was a way of bringing the family together and communing with God as one.

OBEY GOD PROMPTLY

Scripture: Judges 6:25.32
“So Gideon took ten men from among his servants and did as the Lord had said to him. But because he feared his father’s household and the men of the city too much to do it by day, he did it by night.” Judges 6: 27 (NKJV)

Obedience is critical to sustaining our relationship and intimacy with God. He is constantly speaking and instructing us. Sometimes we obey promptly, but at other times, we fail to so do. When we obey immediately, we often reap breakthroughs. However, when we delay, we give room for discouragement by the devil.

WHAT MATTERS TO GOD

Scripture: Judges 6:11-16
But Gideon replied, “Sir, how can I save Israel  My family is the poorest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least thought of in the entire family!” Judges 6:15 (TLB)

Sometimes, great opportunities come to us dressed as challenges. When we look at them, we rarely see the opportunities for what they are. After some struggles, we finally recognize the challenges as disguised opportunities and we then attempt to match our abilities to the challenges. If we feel we do not measure up, we refuse to take on the challenges (explore the opportunities).

CALL, HE WILL ANSWER

Scripture: Judges 6:1-10
“Call to Me and I will answer you, and tell you [and even show you] great and mighty things, [things which have been confined and hidden], which you do not know and understand and cannot distinguish.”   Jeremiah 33:3 (AMP)

God is more eager to communicate with us than we are, with him. It does not matter how far we have fallen, he seeks every opportunity to take us back. Though we may be slow to return to him, he is never slow to respond. When we cry out to him, he moves in mercy and love towards us. The wonderful thing about God is that anytime we call on him, he answers.

BE INTIMATE WITH GOD

Scripture: Matthew 17:1-9
“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” I Corinthians 2:9 (KJV)

When someone is a close friend, it is easy to confide in them certain matters that would not usually be shared with others. Amongst the disciples of Jesus, Peter had this great privilege when he accompanied Jesus to the mount of transfiguration.

WE NEED GOD

Scripture: Judges 6:1-6
… I trust in you, my God! Do not let me be disgraced, or let my enemies rejoice in my defeat.” Psalm 25:2-3 (NLT)

People tend to forget God’s place in their lives when they are comfortable. The Israelites did the same. Once they prospered in peace and plenty, they became self-sufficient, forgot God and did evil in his sight, so he handed them over to the Midianites.

THE ALL- SUFFICIENT GOD

Scripture: 1 Kings 3:3-14
“…and God said, Ask what I shall give thee.” 1 Kings 3: 5 b (KJV)

Here on earth, people do not always fulfill every promise they have made. This is because there is so much that is beyond our human capacity and ability. But this is not so with God. He has everything in his possession and he can provide for his children as he wills. With God, there is no fear of your request being too big, great or small. He has the ability to give as much as you want. The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof; therefore there is nothing on earth that our heavenly father cannot give to you if you ask. His power reaches from the spiritual gifts to every material gift you can think of.

GREAT FAITH

Scripture: Luke 7:1-10
"…Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word and my servant will be healed." Luke 7:7 (NKJV)

Faith is believing God without wavering. This belief propels physical manifestation of that which has been received in the spiritual realm. There are so many who profess to have faith, but their actions negate what they say. When faced with crisis and challenges, they run helter-skelter seeking for a solution because they do not have a good understanding of whom and what they believe.

STAY CONNECTED

Scripture: JOHN 15:1-8
“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 (KJV)

Everything on earth, whether spiritual or physical, has a source. This source gives it life and productivity. Therefore, for anything to prosper, it must remain connected to its source. To create fishes God spoke to the seas, fishes have to be connected to water to prosper. God spoke to the earth to make animals and the earth is the source of their sustenance. When God made man he spoke to himself, and man must remain connected to God to prosper.

YOUR COMFORTER

Scripture: John 14:22-26
“But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me;” John 15:26 (KJV)

Jesus came to earth with the goal of reconciling mankind back to God. To do this, he came bearing the gospel of truth and righteousness. He reached out to many with signs, miracles and wonders. With his touch, the blind saw, the lame walked and the dead came back to life.

PREVAILING GOSPEL

Scripture: JOHN 15:18-21
“But the Jews incited the devout women of prominence and the leading men of the city, instigated a persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their district.’’ Acts 13:50 (NASB)

Over the years, the gospel has faced different kinds of oppositions and challenges. Jesus prepared the minds of his disciples, so when the persecutions started, they would not be surprised and it would not stop the gospel from advancing.

DO YOU HATE HIM ALSO?

Scripture: JOHN 15:22-25
“He that hateth me hateth my father also.’’ John 15:23 (KJV)

Some people in the world today just hate to hear the name “Jesus” as a result of their religious beliefs. Some others have no genuine reasons for their resentment, but just despise hearing anything about the saviour of the world. Some have sealed their heart against the light of the glorious gospel of our Lord Jesus that could have penetrated through their heart to make them a new person in Christ Jesus.

DO NOT TAKE OFFENCE

Scripture: JOHN 16:1-4
“And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.”  Matthew 11:6 (KJV)

One of the enemy’s strategy is to cause believers to take offence either with God or servants of God in authority over them. Taking offence denies believers the opportunity of receiving their blessing from God through his servants. This is because the moment people believe they have been offended by others, they cease to function at their best for that person or for God.

PARTNER WITH CHRIST

Scripture: JOHN 15:7-8
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit.’’ Matthew 28:19 (NJKV).

Avine is a climbing plant that produces grapes. Jesus said he is the true vine, we are the branches and God is the husbandman or gardener. In reality, the branches take their nutrient from the main plant and the farmer ensures that everything is made available for the plant to guarantee it’s well-being.

GOD’S LOVE

Scripture: John 15:12-17
“My command is this: love each other as I have loved you” John 15:12 (NIV)

Feedback: Share how you share the love of God to others this past week.

The love of God is very powerful. No power in existence can tamper with the love of God over His children (Rom. 8:37-39). Your victory in life lies in his love for you. When you receive and walk in God’s love, it becomes easier to share and spread the love of God yourself. A person that has not recognized the love of God can hardly give it out himself. The depth of love and affection you develop for God will thoroughly equip you with the capacity to guide others into his love.

SPIRITUAL COLLABORATION

Scripture: John 15:1-3
“Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. John:15:2 (KJV)

This scripture often draws a parallel relationship between divinity and man. God is the head of the trinity which includes Jesus Christ, who in turn  is the head of the church; we are the church. Thus, Jesus is our head. He uses an analogy in our text here calling himself ‘the vine’ and believers ‘the branches’.

LIVE WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT

Scripture: John 16:7-14
“My soul, wait in silence for God alone for my expectation is from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation…” Psalm 62:5-6 (AMP)

Jesus did not abandon us to ourselves when He left the earth, He sent another One, who is like Him, to be with us, in us and for us. The Holy Spirit is our comforter, the one who convict the world of sin and exposed them to the provision of redemption. His office also involves convincing the world of Christ’s righteousness, justification and salvation. The Holy Spirit is our guide today. He shows us the way and continually aids and influences us. What would we do without him?

VENGEANCE IS THE LORD’S

Scripture: Romans 12:17-21
“To me belongeth vengeance, and recompense; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste.” Deut 32:35 (KJV)

It is natural for the human flesh and mind to feel hurt when abused, insulted or betrayed. It is also natural to want to strike back at the one who has caused the hurt or simmer in bitterness. These responses make us human, however, God expects differently from a renewed mind.

THE APOSTLE OF HOPE

Scripture: ACTS 2:22-41

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:” Matthew 28:19 (KJV)

Peter was very efficient in bringing many to the knowledge of Christ. He did not just tell them how they crucified the Master, but he also share the good news of how they can reconcile with him. He became an Apostle of hope to the Gentiles and preached to them on several occasions, telling them about the love of God. Despite being put in prison and asked not to preach again, he continued, causing many to receive the gospel and get baptised. As a result, many were added to the church daily.

DO NOT TAKE OFFENCE

Scripture: JOHN 16:1-4

“And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.”  Matthew 11:6 (KJV)

One of the enemy’s strategy is to cause believers to take offence either with God or servants of God in authority over them. Taking offence denies believers the opportunity of receiving their blessing from God through his servants. This is because the moment people believe they have been offended by others, they cease to function at their best for that person or for God.

BUILD A RELATIONSHIP

Scripture: Luke 7:1-5
"And a certain centurions' servant, who was dear unto him, was sick, and ready to die...beseeching  him that he would come and heal his servant". Luke 7:2-3 (KJV)

Relationships oil the engine of life. As humans, we cannot afford to isolate ourselves from engaging and interacting with others. The key, to maintaining good relationships is how we treat others. Some have taken to the habit of treating others harshly and without empathy. This does not please God as his desire is that we treat others with care and love because we are all created in his image and likeness.

DOING GOOD ALWAYS


Scripture: 2 Samuel 21:1-9
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not  give up.” Galatians 6:9 (NIV)

Our actions today are seeds for the future. Every good thing we do has its reward. Some may be in our life time while others may be in the lives of our children. Keep doing well irrespective of the timing of the circumstance, for good deeds outlast their performers.

FORGIVENESS; NOT DENIAL


Scripture: 2 Samuel 3:23-27
“…. Joab took him aside in the gate to speak with him quietly, and smote him there…”
2 Samuel 3:27 (KJV)

It is commonplace for us to say we have forgiven those who hurt us when in reality, we still harbor the emotions, the hate and the hurt in our heart. We tell the offender that he or she has been forgiven, but whenever we see the person that hurt us we are filled with resentment and all the bitterness and pain rise up within us leading to anger and revenge.

SERVING WITH REVERENCE


Scripture: 1 Samuel 6:13-20
“Ye shall keep my Sabbaths and reverence my sanctuary: I am the LORD.”Leviticus 19:30 (KJV)

In our society today, a lot of people know exactly what the law says, yet, they go ahead to break it thereby attracting judgment. Some find themselves in prison, others end up being killed. In like manner, Christians who know what God’s word says but do contrary will face God’s wrath in their lives.

WAITING FOR GOD


Scripture: Exodus 32:1-4; 35
“Look to the Lord and his strength, seek His face always” 1 Chronicles 16: 11(NIV)

It is human nature to want a quick fix to every situation. What we usually forget is that there is a time and season for everything and God does not always work according to our time. We must be careful not to let our impatience and quest for instant gratification lead us against the will of God.

PLAN AHEAD


Scripture: Genesis 6:13-22
“Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he” Genesis 6:22 (KJV)

To achieve success in anything, proper planning is a must. It is very wise to plan ahead and be prepared for every task. By planning ahead, you will be able to spot obstacles before they come, make hay while the sun shines and make the most of every opportunity.

WATCH YOUR STAND


Scripture: Matthew 26:69-75
“Peter answered and said to Him, "even if all are made to stumble because of you, I will never be made to stumble." Matthew 26:33 (NKJV).

It is very important we guard jealously the salvation we have in Christ. The devil is always looking for an opening to spoil our testimony. We may face certain situations that test our faith in God and because of this, we may pull back to protect ourselves from attack or discrimination.

WHOM GOD CLEANSES


Scripture: ACTS 10:5-28
“Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons” Acts10:34 (KJV)

Sometimes, despite giving our lives to Christ, we may still carry along our old belief system, superstitions and norms of the society. That was exactly the case with Peter.

BE INTIMATE WITH GOD


Scripture: MATTHEW 17:1-9

“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” I Corinthians 2:9 (KJV)

 When someone is a close friend, it is easy to confide in them certain matters that would not usually be shared with others. Amongst the disciples of Jesus, Peter had this great privilege when he accompanied Jesus to the mount of transfiguration.

Being intimate with God always gives the individual first class information, God always reveals himself to such available vessel.  He reveals the mysteries of his kingdom to those that constantly have intimate fellowship with him. Peter was just a fisherman, but when he forsook everything to answer God’s call, God used him mightily. Being with Jesus made the difference in his life (Acts 4:13).

BE AVAILABLE

Scripture: LUKE 5:1-4
“And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking.” Luke 5:6 (NKJV)

Although resources are abundant on earth, accessing them to meet our everyday needs will require divine assistance.
When Jesus needed a boat so He could reach out to the multitude that followed him, the fishermen made their boat available to Him. After using their boats, Jesus did not leave them empty. He blessed them beyond their imagination. The widow in Zarephath experience the same overflowing blessing after she opened her doors to the man of God, Elijah (1 Kgs. 17:12-15) and obeyed his instructions. Her blessing was evident for all to see.

HE QUALIFIES THE CALLED

Scripture: LUKE 5:1-11

“When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” Luke 5:8 (NKJV)

God is merciful and his love is from everlasting to everlasting. He is not looking for perfect people to use, but for repentant and willing souls that will obey his commandments and do his will.

DOUBT NOT

Scripture: MATHEW 14:22-31

“But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind" James 1:6 (NIV)

Lack of confidence, disbelief and uncertainty about life sometimes deprive us from receiving from God. We have to exercise total faith in God because He is able to do and bring to perfection that which He has started in our lives.

GOD’S COVENANT

Scripture: Gen. 9:8-17
“Be strong and of good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, He it is that doth go with thee; He will not fail thee, nor forsake thee” (Deuteronomy 31:6 KJV)

Noah had been in the ark for forty days and forty nights in the midst of a terrible storm. It must have felt like the end of the world, all of them wondering if they would ever see the sky again. God promised that he would never again destroy the world by flood, and the sign of this covenant of peace was a rainbow (Gen. 9:12-15). It certainly was a huge relief for Noah to finally be able to walk on dry land after being confined for long. When we see the rainbow, we are assured of God’s covenant that he will never flood the whole earth again.

REST ASSURED

Scripture: Genesis 5:28-29
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”(Matthew 11:28-29 KJV)

Noah’s name means “rest” or “comfort”.  Lamech, his father must have believed his son would provide “comfort” or “rest” from the labours of farming and give him some relief. Noah ended up providing more than physical rest; he represented righteousness and brought rest and peace to humanity in the midst of God’s judgment. Noah’s life brought rest to the earth from the curse of sin which would have destroyed humanity. He was a preacher of righteousness and God’s agent of peace. He was called by God to build an ark that would save himself,  his family members and enough animals to preserve all species, thereby making it possible for humanity to thrive till today.

SHOWING KINDNESS FOR THE RIGHT REASONS

Scripture: 2 Samuel 15:1-14
“Don’t associate with evil men; don’t long for their favours and gifts. Their kindness is a trick; they want to use you as their pawn…” Proverbs 23: 6-8 (TLB)

Kindness is the quality of being friendly, generous and considerate. God expects us to show kindness to one another Ephesians 4:32 (NIV). Some people show kindness for different reasons, however; our reasons for showing kindness must always be pure, selfless and in line with the teaching and person of Jesus before it will ever merit God’s approval.

TAKE CHARGE THROUGH CHRIST

Scripture: 1 Kings 2:1-4
“For I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength” Phil 4:13 (NLT)

Some people who understand true leadership would rather follow than to lead. They believe true leaders have to live by strict principles and high standards as everyone looks up to them. Hence they are criticized and frowned at for the slightest mistakes.

A LIFE THAT GUIDES OTHERS

Scripture: Ruth 1:1-22
“...thy people [shall be] my people, and thy God my God:” Ruth 1:16b (KJV)

Feedback: Share how your relationship with God was strengthened this past week.

The story of Ruth is symbolic of the access that Gentiles would have to God after Christ. Born in the land of Moab, an idolatrous nation full of wantonness and sin, Ruth would later become part of the genealogy of Christ after she willingly followed Naomi.

BE YOUR BROTHER’S KEEPER

Scripture: 2 Samuel 13:7-15
“But those who won't care for their relatives, especially those in their own household, have denied the true faith. Such people are worse than unbelievers.” 1Timothy 5:8 (NLT)

Our siblings are gifts from God. We are expected to look out for them and care for them in any way we can because they are a part of us. They are our family. Molesting and abandoning our siblings or those placed under our care is wrong. Such actions work to our disadvantage and bring judgment (Prov. 11:29).

FIRMLY ESTABLISHED

Scripture: 1 Kings 2:10-12, 44-46
“Remove the wicked from the King’s court, and his reign will be made secure by justice.” Proverbs 25:5 (NLT)

The word “established” means sufficiently successful leading to continuation or permanence. When backed up by the word “firm”, the result becomes the position many people seek once they attain success or a certain level in life. Consequently, efforts have to be made in order to ensure that the success is not short-lived, but rather secured and firmly established.

GENUINE FRIENDS

Scripture: 1 Samuel 19:1-6
“One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” Proverbs 18:24 (NIV)

We have been created as social beings with the ability and need to interact with one another. As we go through life, we come across different people that we eventually become attached to and grow to become friends. A friend is someone whom you know and with whom you share a bond of mutual understanding. A true friend is reliable, sincere and dependable. That is such friendship that will benefit both parties involved. We all need genuine friends.

PRAISE GOD

Scripture: Acts 16:25-26, Habakkuk 3:17-18

“Enter His gates with a song of thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, bless and praise His name.” Psalm 100:4 (AMP)

Praise is the expression of admiration, approval, appreciation and love for someone. Praising God is not an option for us. It is a command that we must obey (Ps. 100:4). God requires praise from us not just for his own glory and enjoyment, but for our own good. Praising God in and out of season is the key to getting God to listen to our heart’s cry (Jer. 29:12-13).

USEFUL COMMUNICATION

Scripture: 1 Samuel 19:4-7
“There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing” Proverbs 12:18 (NASB)

When God created all living things, he put in them the ability to communicate to one another. Even the animals can send signals to communicate how they feel. It is the same for humans. Humans can send messages across to each other in various forms. How we do this, however, is very important because we can gain or lose a lot by how we communicate.

GOD SPEAKS TO EVERYONE

Scripture: Genesis 41:1-5
"And it came to pass at the end of two full years, that Pharaoh dreamed: and, behold, he stood by the river." Genesis 41:1 (KJV)

Feedback: Who among your friends encourages and influences you positively.

When God made man, he created him in his own image and likeness (Gen 1:26-27) and he would come regularly to the Garden of Eden to fellowship with him. Today, God wants us to have this same fellowship with him. When we fellowship, we reflect on his majesty and greatness. We draw strength and receive direction from him as we express deep and sincere love and respect for our creator. His protection and guidance also keep us from missing our direction.

VICTIM OF SIN

Scripture: 2 Samuel 11:14-27
"For which thing’s sake, the wrath of God is coming…". Colossians 3:6 (KJV)

Many people have become victims of circumstances they had nothing to do with. Some are in prison for crimes they did not commit. Some have lost relationships and loved ones in the process. Sin has consequences and the effect of sin can be overwhelming without the grace of God.

THE DAY OF THE LORD

Scripture: Genesis 7:1-23
“But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of man be.” Matthew 24:37 KJV

God sent his son to die for the sins of men, promising that whoever believes and receives him as lord will receive eternal life (Jn. 3:16). Despite this free gift of salvation to man, many choose to remain distracted by the pleasures of life, forgetting that there will be a day of reckoning.

Just like in Noah’s time, a lot of people today are busy enjoying the pleasures of life not concerned that judgment is coming. The general population in Noah’s day refused to honour God and his laws. Noah’s labour on the ark should have been a strong warning to them that there was going to be a flood, but the people could not care less. The same scenario is playing out today: people are hardening their hearts towards the word of God and salvation.

It is folly to think that something will not happen because it has never happened before. This is what worked against the people of Noah’s day who dismissed the idea of the coming flood. Many people today are making the same mistake by not preparing themselves for the Lord’s return. God’s judgment is coming, but he offers reconciliation through Jesus Christ. Jesus described the events that will surround his second coming using the life of Noah as an indicator (Matt. 24:37-39). Do not be caught unprepared and do not harden your heart towards the gospel. Reconcile with God and be at peace with him. He will never reject a contrite heart. He awaits you with loving arms if you will turn your life over to him today.

PRAYER
Lord, help me to be ready for your return, so I will be a partaker on that joyful day in Jesus name.

FAITH BYTE
My heart is open to the word of God; I am at peace with him.

OBEDIENCE THROUGH FAITH

Scripture: Genesis 6:13-22
“By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not yet seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith” Hebrews 11:7 (KJV)

Choosing to obey God always produces positive benefits. It should be the heart desire of every Christian to walk in obedience to God at all times and have faith in him, even in the midst of uncertainty. God’s faithfulness is unceasing when we obey him, (Deut. 7:9) and his protection is sure (Ex. 23:22), therefore, it is necessary to have the kind of faith that leads to obedience and pleases God (Heb. 11:6)

DIVINE GRACE

Scripture: Genesis 9:20-25
“My help cometh from the Lord which made heaven and earth” Psalm 121:2 (KJV)

Everyone faces a constant struggle against sin. Even the best of Christians cannot stand upright except they depend on divine grace. This is because the devil is constantly on a mission to bring believers down. The believer therefore, cannot overcome the devil by their effort or righteousness. The believer needs the grace of God to overcome him.

THE CURSE OF DISHONOR

Scripture: Genesis 9:18-27
“Honour thy father and thy mother; that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee” Exodus 20:12 KJV

The law of honoring one’s parents is a commandment with an express reward for compliance. The rewards are long life and prosperity. This is the fifth commandment and the only one that comes with a promise. We bring God’s curse on ourselves and our generation when we disrespect our parents. God has mandated that we should honour our fathers and mothers as long as we live. Many, today, breach this law and as a result are experiencing failures in life.