Lead Well: 10 Steps Towards Gods Future For Us

 

 

 

 


We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps [Prov 16:9 NLT]
We plan the way we want to live, but only God makes us able to live it. [Prov 16:9 Message]

When I was younger I don’t remember having any great ambition to be something or someone in the future. Maybe you did. I would have loved to have been a sportsman of some sort as I was pretty good at a few. I can complain about lack of opportunity but I lacked the discipline needed when the opportunity came along.

Since then I have discovered that leading well is less about the destination and more about the steps along the way. It is less about what I achieve and more about who I become along the way.

Don’t get me wrong, we need the big dreams and a vision of a preferred future but it is the steps we take along the way which determine where we get to. And then we need to happy that when we get ‘there’ the preferred future may doubtless look different to what we anticipated.

Dreams are exciting and in reality, quite easy. We can all imagine great things. Steps though are more tricky, they represent where the rubber hits the road.

Steps take courage.
Steps involve action.
Steps are time consuming.
Steps demonstrate our faith in God.
Steps will grow us.
Steps can be hard work.
Steps can be quick sometimes or slow at other times.
Steps are often lonely.
Steps take us somewhere.

Steps are Gods to determine. After all, He wants to get us to where we ‘need’ to be more than we want to get to where we ‘think’ we should be.

At the age of 47 I never imagined I would be where I am, doing what I do, but I am. God’s plans have worked out how He saw best. To say I have faith in Him means trusting where I am and the journey I am walking are the steps He is wanting me to take.

My responsibility is simple ~ keep walking, one step at a time, with God very much in the lead position.

Why not take a moment to thank God for where He is brought you to?
Then pray and give Him permission to keep ordering your future steps.

 

 

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Trusting God vs Trusting Yourself

Is not the whole land before you? Separate yourself from me. If you take the left hand, then I will go to the right, or if you take the right hand, then I will go to the left. [Genesis 13:9]

At time of writing I have just been preaching a series of messages in our church all geared around Godly wisdom for knotty problems. I used a jigsaw puzzle to make the point that at times we can find ourselves holding a piece in our hands that we just don’t know how to make fit. We don’t know what to do with it.

Other times we have a piece that we are utterly convinced fits and we put all our effort in to try and squeeze that piece in to make it fit because we just feel it really is the perfect piece. It’s almost like we are saying to God, ‘I know you gave me these pieces but just hang on a moment, I’ve nearly sorted it. If you could just get this piece in here everything will be fine’.

Trusting yourself or trusting God? That may be one of the hardest lessons we have to learn as we walk with God.

Abram got it right, and he also got it wrong. Personally I take some comfort from that. We can look at these Bible giants sometimes and forget they were just like us, just people doing their best to follow their God and to live for Him.

Trust is a foundational aspect of any important relationship and that is no different when it comes to the relationship with God. To trust is to have faith.

Faith that He knows better.
Faith that He can work it out.
Faith that He can make the pieces all fit together perfectly.

Faith that He will come through for us.

Abram trusted God when it came to his provision. He didn’t just look at things from his own perspective and make a choice of which would be better, instead he left that in God’s hands. He had faith that God would work things out according to His purpose and that He didn’t need Abram to have to act on His behalf. The same attitude should be ours today.

Trust God, completely.
Trust God, completely, even when it just doesn’t seem to make sense.
Trust God, completely. It really is the best way to live.

God is For You

You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore [Psalm 16:11]
 
3 simple truths jam-packed full of power.
David may have been speaking prophetically about Jesus in this Psalm but he was also speaking from his own experience and personal revelation of who God was to him. He may not have known about Jesus like we do but he recognised the way God is on our side.
 
God helps us know our paths. Life brings its twists and turns. The confidence of knowing that God is in our world, in our plans and in our purposes can bring extra assurance to each step. Man makes his plans but God ordains the steps.
Gods presence is a place of full joy. We think we know happiness but maybe we only know it partially. The devil steals our joy, and many times we willingly hand it over. Yet Jesus came to give us life in all its fullness, which comes by knowing Him personally. I pray that…you would be filled with the fullness of God.
 
God at your side brings great reward. Striving for wealth and prosperity is one thing. Keeping God by your side brings it own kind of wealth and prosperity. A different sense of satisfaction, appreciation and fulfilment. We are blessed with every spiritual blessing.
 
At times we need to choose to be more like David, to acknowledge the beauty of our God, to stand in awe and wonder of how knowing Him can transform our lives. I am thankful for Gods guiding hand, His leading, His presence and to know that He with me, always, right by my side, before me and my rearguard too.

Nobody is a Nobody to God

We may feel unworthy of Gods love. Our friends and family may think that God would never want anything to do with them. Often people think that they are too far gone for God to really care.

Why would God be interested in me? I’m nobody special.

Here’s the thing that I have discovered as I am praying for the names of people I don’t even know, nobody is a nobody to God. Every nobody in their own opinion is a somebody to God, somebody worth sending His son Jesus to die for.

Nobody is too far gone.

Nobody is out of the reach of God’s grace.

Nobody is so unloveable that God cannot God love them.

Every nobody needs us to pray for them, that they would come to know the somebody who has done everything for them.

When I Don’t Know What to Do

Toward evening the disciples approached him. “We’re out in the country and it’s getting late. Dismiss the people so they can go to the villages and get some supper.”  But Jesus said, “There is no need to dismiss them. You give them supper.” “All we have are five loaves of bread and two fish,” they said. Jesus said, “Bring them here.”  Then he had the people sit on the grass. He took the five loaves and two fish, lifted his face to heaven in prayer, blessed, broke, and gave the bread to the disciples. The disciples then gave the food to the congregation. They all ate their fill. They gathered twelve baskets of leftovers. About five thousand were fed. [Matthew 14:15-21]

Stories like this encourage me. The Bible has a way of doing that.

The disciples are in a bit of a flap, faced with the mother of all dilemmas. What should we do with all these people? How do we feed them? How do move them on without offending or upsetting them?

What should I do? How will I? Common enough questions for us all. When I become overwhelmed by any of life’s challenges, when I can’t seem to see a way through, or when an answer looks unlikely, this story provides me great confidence.

Three small words. Three small words which begin a miracle. Three small words which Jesus took a hold of and was able to do the seemingly impossible with.

‘ALL WE HAVE

Ever felt like that. ‘All I have’. You look at what’s available and kind of say to yourself ‘All I have is this’. Maybe you look at it and say to yourself, It’s not much, it won’t really make any difference, it can’t match the problem, it’ll never work.

I love that this doesn’t bother Jesus. Instead He just desires that we give what we have to him and then to leave the rest up to Him. It means our responsibility is simple ~ bring what we have, even though we may consider it small & insignificant, and trust Him to use it well. Only then can the miracle begin. Something beyond our imagination may just start to unfold.

Don’t know what to do? Can’t see a way through? Then ask yourself the question ~ what do I have? What small thing can I put in the hands of Jesus? Then wait in faith and see what might happen.

An Important Question

This seems a little cheeky but that thing that bothers you, I hope you don’t mind but I have a question for you.

The job that frustrates you.

The marriage that seems lost.

The neighbour from hell.

The sickness that just won’t go.

The kids and their behaviour.

The financial decisions that are causing you so much stress.

The habit that has such a stronghold.

That tested friendship.

The miracle you so want to see.

Those people you would love too see become Christians.

The decision that needs to be made.

Have you prayed about it?

I’m sure you have, so ignore me. Yet I’m just curious, because if you are anything like me then sometimes we work really hard at trying to sort these things out for ourselves, we exert unending amounts of energy to resolve certain situations but we don’t spend the same levels of energy asking God.

Working hard is important. Praying is important too. Don’t stop doing either. But pray more.

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. [Matthew 7:7-8]

God First

Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me [Matthew 10:37]

Hang on a minute Jesus, this is a bit full on, this seems a bit harsh. Surely you didn’t get that right. Or maybe He did.

This can be a struggle. God first, family after. I think sometimes I get this the wrong way round. Maybe we all have. At times we let the kids rule us. At time we have allowed family to lead our life.

Yet here it is – God first, others next. It’s not that we don’t care for our family. It’s not that we don’t spend time with them. It’s not that we don’t love them.

Perhaps it’s more about not letting anything or anyone else for that matter get in the way of our relationship with God.

Perhaps it’s more about intentionally not making it about ourselves and putting our needs first and then trying to convince God that our way is best.

Perhaps it’s more about making difficult choices in regard to the importance of our faith even when those closest to us don’t always understand it.

Perhaps it’s more about trusting God that when we live like this, when we carry our cross, when it seems like we may be losing some of life, we see that really we are gaining it. To echo the words of Jesus after He said that first challenging sentence…

Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. [Matthew 10:39]

It definitely tough but here’s to finding life, and apologies family but for me, it’s Jesus first, everything else second. Just my thoughts and my daily choice as I walk with God to put Him first.

And Release

If you grasp and cling to life on your terms, you’ll lose it, but if you let that life go, you’ll get life on God’s terms. (‭Luke‬ ‭17‬:‭31-33‬ MSG)

Hold on tight. When that rides about to begin this is one of those phrases we hear quite often and eventually just becomes second nature. It goes against all natural sense to enjoy the ride with your hands in the air, arms raised heavenward. It may add some excitement but it maybe adds a little bit of scariness too.

When it comes to the way God wants us to live we have to go against what seems right. We have to not hold tight. We have to let go. It’s the scary ride, hands free, releasing your life into Gods hands. It takes faith to live this way. It involves trusting God, completely.

Hold on tight to your life and you lose it.

Release the grip on your life and you live it.

Me in control or God? I know which one brings the best out of me despite it being the tougher, less natural choice.

Your thoughts on living for God?