Walk With God: Don’t Be a Jonah

I think it comes naturally to be a Jonah. To run from the call of God rather than towards it. To disagree with what we are being asked to do. To dare to believe we know better.

You cannot outrun God. You cannot outrun the call of God. 

Haven’t we all been there, wondering how we ended up where we did. We should have gone in one direction but we chose another. We find ourselves in a dead end or  simply in the wrong place and in trouble.

That’s Jonah.

So, let’s not do a Jonah.

He found himself inside a giant fish.

He never needed to wonder how he got there, he knew.

It’s a rough moment for Jonah. A 3-day rough moment until the fish threw him up but God has a myriad of ways to capture our attention. And more importantly, a second chance to be obedient.

Lesson learned, you would think.

Jonah continues to be frustrated by the way God behaves. God doesn’t do what we would do. Where we would call for judgement and punishment, God provides love and forgiveness. In our way of thinking this is not fair yet to God, it’s the perfect illustration of fairness.

We want fairness to be toward us but then to determine whether it should be given elsewhere. That is not fair.

God’s long arms of abounding love and slow anger is completely fair. Everyone can receive it, especially those who respond to the call to repent, who turn their heart back to God. It doesn’t seem fair but it is, and I am a thankful recipient of it.

When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that He said He would do to them, and He did not do it [Jonah 3:10]

So, let’s not be a Jonah. Instead let’s be more God-like in our working out of fairness in the way He deems things to be fair.

Maybe we should check our hearts today. Is there something God asked to do which we have our done best to ignore, turn away or even run from. Repent, then go for it and get back on the job for God.

 

Walk With God: Get The Word In

I am currently reading through the Bible and journalling thoughts, comments and notable verses as I read. It’s an interesting journey. Today included Psalm 86. Here is my paraphrase…

Preserve my life

Be gracious to me

Gladden my soul

You (God) are good and forgiving

You (God) abound in love

Give ear to my prayer

No works are like Yours

You (God) are great and do marvellous things

Teach me Your way

I give thanks to You

You (God) have delivered me

You (God) are slow to anger and abounding in love

Show me a sign

Show me Your favour

In my walk with God, as I take time to pause I have always been amazed and reassured how the perfectness of Gods word can bring encouragement to me every day. The simpleness of these statements make them even more powerful and when I speak them over my life I am giving them permission to change me.

Why not take these 4 words and use them to bring the word of God alive in your own reading.

PAUSE and wait on God. Reflect on the PERFECTNESS of His word for you right where you are. Acknowledge how POWERFUL those words are. Give them PERMISSION to work in you and through you throughout your day.

Lead Well: Repentance & Forgiveness

Leading well in life can be a challenge, even at the best of times. We will enjoy great days, followed quickly by what I lovingly refer to us ‘other days’.  We can create success out of nothing, yet sabotage ourselves just as easily.

And the biggest of sabotages will not come from problems we cannot solve, or from people who refuse to work with us, and not even from missing out on the success we consider we deserve. The greatest of sabotage will come from ourselves and how we respond to the mistakes we make along the way.

Will we cover up? Will we keep living like the other stuff hasn’t really happened? Or will we face the truth of it?

These are pivotal moments. Back in my twenties when I was confronted about certain lifestyle choices I had a decision to make. Ignore it or do the right thing. I had lied, covered up, behaved badly and now it had finally caught me out.

What I did was the hardest thing I had ever done, yet at the same time, it was the best thing I have ever done. I had some really difficult conversations with people I loved and asked them to forgive me.

It was a journey of repentance and forgiveness which was excruciatingly painful but beautifully liberating, all at the same time. I had learned one of my best lessons and I acknowledge that without travelling this path, I may not be leading the life I now am.

Be ready to repent. Be ready to ask for forgiveness. These two might be our greatest defence, helping us to keep leading well in life and to fulfil our true potential for God.

Repentance breaks the hold of whatever it is that has a hold of you.

Repentance disarms those things which can sabotage your God-given potential.

Repentance brings the truth out in to the open where it can then be dealt with.

Repentance gives God permission to get involved and to turn things around.

Repentance leads to forgiveness which leads to an outpouring of grace which sets you up for the future.

Repentance reminds you how much God loves you and how much those closest to you love you as well.

Let today be a pivotal moment kind of day. Be willing to be confronted or to confront yourself. For what and where do you need to say sorry? Who do you need to ask for forgiveness? Take the first step on this journey and don’t allow them to control you anymore.

Walk With God: Repentance

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord [Acts 3:19]

A walk with God begins with repentance. In fact, it begins and then continues with repentance. It is the beginning of a journey of discovery, understanding what we have been forgiven. It is a continual process, keeping the connection between ourselves and God clear of any rubbish.

To repent is to be convicted.

Conviction leads to repentance, which leads to admittance, which leads to forgiveness, which leads to a new pathway to walk on.

To repent is to deal with stuff.

Turning away from an old life, which comes from confronting old habits, which can mean dealing with some of the awkward stuff, which empties life, making room from something new.

To repent is to be honest. 

Honesty that opens the way for God to enter our lives in a meaningful way, which leads to transformation, which leads to a life, full in the way God wants us to experience it.

The power of repentance should never be taken forgranted.

What do you think?

Build Church: Pray

It’s so simple we may actually forget to. Yet with all the very best of programmes, plans, and ideas, without spending time with God we create and build solely on our own strength and imagination. And that is never enough.

Three scriptures come to mind as a reminder of the power and importance of building through prayer, building with the Lord, seeking Him and leaning on His understanding.

Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labour in vain. [Psalm 127:1]

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God [Philippians 4:6]

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. [Proverbs 3:5-6]

Prayer acknowledges that earthly wisdom is sufficient only for limited purposes.

Prayer says I am not enough but God is more than enough.

Prayer causes me to lift my eyes heavenward, to look higher and to look to God.

Prayer is to be fulfilled in combination with all diligence on my part towards what I am looking to build.

Prayer is bringing heaven to earth into the building of my own home and into the building of Gods house.

Prayer is me making sure I hear Gods voice on how things should be done.

Prayer is the antidote to my worries.

Prayer is a demonstration of my trust in God and His ability to do what I cannot.

Prayer leads me as I enjoy conversation with my heavenly Father. 

Prayer works.

Let’s be a people who don’t just build what we would like to fashion but instead be the people who get God’s insight into how things should be. As we play our part in building church, let’s pray. Let’s invite God in. Let’s ask for His kingdom to come on earth, as it is in heaven. From my own experience, I know it will make all the difference.

What’s your experience with prayer?

 

Lead Well: Embrace the WHOLE Process

Before we became Christians life was complete. Or at least we assumed so.

We were seemingly ‘whole’ without realising we were in fact incomplete, broken. We were spiritually dead, not understanding we had been created to be alive to God. A paradigm shift was needed, as it is impossible to know we are spiritually dead when we are spiritually dead.

We fill life with anything other than God in the hope those things will complete us, fill us, satisfy us. We place huge amounts of energy and behaviour into the pursuit of what should make us whole. But when we have them, we crave just a little bit more so will then be satisfied, again.

Yet, something seems to be missing. We can’t put our finger on it but we ask questions like, ‘Is this it?’ ‘Is there more than this?’ The promise of our deepest needs being met by all that the world has to offer is found to be untrue. The picture we think is real begins to show some cracks.

Then we encounter God. Our spiritual antenna begins to receive a signal and how we perceive everything starts to change. For the first time we question. We start on a journey where we have to acknowledge that nothing truly satisfies except God alone.

Significance, acceptance, security. Other things may temporarily fill these needs but only God can truly provide them.

We become whole. By faith in the complete work of Jesus Christ we are made whole. Inviting Jesus into our lives is the beginning of a journey from ‘whole’ to what I am calling a another level of ‘whole’. From WHOLE 1.0 with our basic faith, to WHOLE 2.0 as we add to this basic faith.

The journey is a lifetime long. Our role is simply to be willing to participate in the process. The process of growing in character and more importantly, becoming more like Jesus.

At WHOLE 1.0 when life takes a bite out of us we may still endeavour to cram it with temporary fillers. As we grow and mature in our experience of Jesus our sense of WHOLENESS changes. When life takes a bite of us we discover new qualities come into play. We have hold of our basic faith and see that through life’s moments God is adding to us. We display the characteristics of someone who has embraced the process, moving to WHOLE 2.0

Would love to hear what you have learned on the journey from WHOLE 1.0 to WHOLE 2.0. How has God added to your basic faith so you are growing in character and becoming more like Jesus?

 

 

Lead Well: Store Wisdom

To lead well in life, wisdom is essential. Check out my previous thoughts about seeking wisdom.

But where does great wisdom come from? We can have genius thoughts on occasion but let’s be honest, those times of absolute clarity and inspiration can be pretty rare.

Wise people place themselves in the right environment where there is opportunity to receive such new understanding. Wise people have their antenna up, looking to capture wisdom and store it up for future opportunities. As we go through life, each day and each experience provides us with wisdom gathering moments by which we can learn and grow.

Be on the look out today for any of these places where wisdom is stored up for us to glean from and access for ourselves whenever the moment calls for it…

Wisdom from our past experiences. Nothing is wasted.

Wisdom from when we have had success.

Wisdom from when we have failed.

Wisdom from trying. Just ask Thomas Edison how that worked out for him.

Wisdom from feedback. Both the asked for and the sort people just love to give you.

Wisdom from reading & learning.

Wisdom from the right people.

Wisdom from starting. Stepping into something new. Doing something for the first time.

Wisdom from Gods word.

Wisdom from hearing God’s voice.

Where would you go for wisdom? And why not share the best piece of wisdom you have been given?

 

Walk With God: Seek Wisdom

Reading through Proverbs at the moment and being reminded that the greatest of wisdom is often found in the simplest of truths.

When it comes to walking well with God, wisdom definitely plays its part. An essential part at that. After all, right at the start of this particular book is a very clear instruction

Let the wise hear and increase in learning and obtain guidance

The power of simple wisdom should not be underestimated. We just need to be careful from where and from whom the so-called wisdom is coming.

10 truths about the power of good wisdom I am rediscovering through the book of Proverbs…

Wisdom should be sought after like silver and gold.

Wisdom of the greatest value comes from the Lord.

Wisdom increases knowledge and learning.

Wisdom helps us to understand.

Wisdom creates opportunity.

Wisdom protects.

Wisdom in God helps us trust Him more completely.

Wisdom works hard and brings reward.

Wisdom dwells with prudence.

Wisdom discovers.

And this kind of wisdom influences every aspect of who I am and could possible become, along with every sphere of influence I may enjoy. Wisdom centred around people, communication, money, life, humility, integrity, honour, healing, discretion, work, laziness, relationships and God.

What has Godly wisdom brought to your life? And what wisdom would you share with others?