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.

 

Advertisements

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.

Influence 2017: Session 4

This session from Dr Robi was without exaggerating, phenomenal. 

Sharing about what forgiveness is and what it isn’t. 

It is making a CHOICE: we like to hold on to our pain, that it feels good to be bad. But we must choose to let it go. 

It requires a SACRIFICE on our part. 

It’s TRUSTING God to take care of the justice to avenge, that He knows what He is doing. 

It’s a GIFT given even if undeserved: only when you give it as a gift do you understand that the gift is for you. 

It is NOT an EXCUSE for what people did to you, for their behaviour. 

It doesn’t mean we have to BEFRIEND them. 

It doesn’t mean we have to continue to be ABUSED by the perpetrator. 

It doesn’t require us to FORGET what is being forgiven: instead the memory can be a great hallmark of forgiveness and be part of our story. 

—-

Amazing!!

New Mercies, Every Day

Thankful every day that God’s mercies are new every morning. Are you?

Thankful that no matter where I have messed up – in attitude, thinking, speech, behaviour or anywhere else – that God never runs out of mercy. 

Forgiveness is always available. Not to be taken advantage of, or to live how I want and then wave my ‘Get of jail free card’. Instead that I would honour the sacrifice Jesus made, repent and, with God’s help, turn from those behaviours and live completely for Him. 

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him [‭‭Lamentations‬ ‭3:22-24‬ ‭ESV‬‬]


A Little Sin, It Doesn’t Matter

Er, what?

Am I guilty of this? How often do I convince myself that it doesn’t really matter. After all, it’s only a little sin. If I’m totally honest, then the answer has to be yes I am guilty. My imperfections show more on some days than others.

I am not making any excuses for misbehaving. Sin is what it is, sin. Large or small, it doesn’t matter. One small sin is equally as dangerous as one big sin. The thin end of the wedge maybe thin but it’s still big enough to keep a door open. I’m conscious that if that some thin end of the sin wedge did that to my heart then it stands wide open to all-comers. Perhaps then I am in danger to sin becoming normal and I’m back where I started before I even knew about the saving grace of God.

It might not be right but my antidote is watchfulness.

Actually it’s forgiveness and grace. However, I have to become better at not abusing the power of both of these. I must be watchful of understanding the significance of such gifts. In addition I must be watchful to not wallow in the guilt and shame of any of my sin. I don’t need to. That’s the power of grace and to wallow is to possibly cheapen it.

So I am watchful. I need to be. The word encourages me to be.

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour [1 Peter 5:8]

 It’s the very least I must do. It’s not always easy but it is the least I can do. Thankfully the grace of God helps me in this too, everyday.

 

Messed Up Lately?

Everyday? Maybe?

Some nights I can go to sleep knowing that I have given my best for God, which I realise is subjective based on my own measure but I think we all know whether we have been good for God or not.

Other nights maybe not so clear. Come on, let’s be honest. Stupid stuff. Bad words. Wrong thoughts. Getting cross. Plain laziness. Not giving God a second thought. Nothing major but enough to make me get right with God before I go to sleep.

Messing up is normal.

Yet I have this niggle. Perhaps, messing up should bring us to our knees.

Forgiveness and grace are not a license to continue making mess. Or to even stay in the mess. Instead we get the privilege of being able to live in the knowledge that God has waded into the mess of our lives and has got involved in the cleaning up process. And for that I am extremely grateful.

My prayer is simple. Sorry for my messing up God. Thank you for your forgiveness. Thank you for your divine grace that helps me becoming more like the person you have created me to be.

You Are Forgiven, Therefore Forgive

It’s a kingdom principle. You have been forgiven, therefore forgive. 

I wonder if you consider yourself someone who has been forgiven much or just a little. Either way it doesn’t matter, the principle stays the same. You have been forgiven, therefore forgive.

To accept forgiveness but then hold a grudge (lets call that what it is, unforgiveness) towards another is a dangerous position to be in. Jesus said that everyone who does not freely forgive from their heart offends God [Matthew 18:23-35]. Forgiveness received by us should produce forgiveness given by us. I certainly don’t want to put myself in a place where I am offending God. Surely that can only end badly.

Here’s what I have learned about some of the the instructions Jesus gives us: Just because it isn’t easy doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it.

I need to remember to not act according to my emotions but according to my faith as a Christian. Forgiveness is a decision to cancel a debt. It’s more than just trying to forget it, I must cancel it.

Pray. Ask God to help you. Give it over to Him. Let Him deal with it. Choose to forgive, to cancel it and then get on with the rest of your life. I recognise that this might seem too simple for many of us but I think sometimes that can be the problem, we over think it, we don’t want to let it go, we feel right in our feelings but at the end of the day those things don’t really matter. Jesus tells us to forgive.

We have been forgiven, therefore forgive.

[If you struggle with this issue then find a Christian that you can talk & pray stuff through with. Just do whatever you need to do to get things sorted]

The Ultimate Turning Point

Easter is the turning point that everybody needs but too many still don’t understand.

Tomorrow is the opportunity to preach the Cross.
Tomorrow is the opportunity to point people towards their Saviour.

This is my first Easter preach. Want to get it right. Excited by the prospect of seeing lives transformed. The power of the Cross should always be remembered. Easier to get excited by the power of the Resurrection and the new life it brings than the pain endured on the Cross.

We can celebrate the death of Jesus. It may seem a strange thing to do but when you understand the reasons why Jesus endured the Cross, you know there is reason enough to celebrate it.

YOU CANNOT HAVE A RESURRECTION WITHOUT THE CROSS.

One leads you to repentance.
One represents forgiveness, justification, imputed righteousness, a great exchange of life transforming proportions.
One represents a new life.
One represents life reborn, a new heart imparted by the power of the Holy Spirit, adoption into God’s family.

‘The same power that raised Christ from the grave, lives in US’.

We must live a life worthy of ALL that Jesus DID for us.
We must live a life taking up our Cross, dying to self, living for Him.
It’s a challenge but one that we should literally give our all to pursue – to not live like that is to throw back into Jesus’ face all that he did for us. It’s almost like saying ‘Thanks, but no thanks’.

Let’s keep doing our best for Him. Whatever it takes!!

[Tell me why you love Easter?]