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.

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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?

Lead Well: Repair Your Integrity

Lead well in life: keep your integrity intact.

But you have upheld me because of my integrity, and set me in your presence forever [Psalm 41:12 ESV]

In Psalm 41 David lets us know how God has upheld him because of his integrity, which allowing for how David behaved at times may seem a little incredible. Or does it rather point to a different way to view of integrity.

Integrity is not about perfection. Instead it’s about how we deal with situations when we don’t behave with perfection. Wholeness is difficult to attain and even harder to maintain. So when things break that, how we respond will either preserve our integrity or if we are not careful, maybe damage it beyond repair.

David messed up. But when confronted, he responded. He prayed. He called on God. He wept. He repented. He repaired his integrity. And God upheld him. More than that God set him in His presence forever. I can definitely relate to the messing up part and am a thankful recipient of Gods endless grace

Repair your integrity.

It may not come naturally. Be willing to be honest. Things happen, so let’s learn to respond well. To ask for forgiveness. To forgive. To repent from patterns of behaviour. To work hard at lining your life up with the Word of God. Integrity is hard won, easily lost. When a chip appears, fix it. Otherwise, a chip becomes a crack, which if left untended becomes a break which could be impossible to close.

The world needs people who are willing to work at protecting and maintaining their integrity. The world especially needs Christians who are able to stay strong, and who when they make a mistake, deal with it, get right with people and with God, and by doing so, protect and maintain their integrity. God rewards those with such a heart and sets them in His presence forever.

What do you think to todays thought?

 

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]


Proof of Repentance

It’s a definite challenge. Repentance. And John the Baptist was taking no prisoners.

In Matthew 3:8 it says that when the Pharisees came he challenged them to prove themselves repentant. ‘Bring forth fruit that is consistent with repentance [let your lives prove your change of heart].’

Harsh but true.

Even today that same call goes out. It can be too easy to be somewhat like a Pharisee, full of opinion about how others should be living, posting views about how you can’t call yourself a ‘proper’ Christian if your life is about the ‘wrong’ things and not ‘spiritual’ enough.

I think the words of John the Baptist are a great reminder to us all. Let YOUR life prove  YOUR change of heart. Maybe it’s a call to each of us as individuals to concentrate on ourselves and how we live out our faith rather than being too concerned with how we think everyone should be doing.

Things to Help Keep you in Step With the Spirit

Continuing with some previous thoughts.

Remember that when you became a Christian: YOU CHANGED. Something happened. Your spirit came alive to the things of God. Easy really. Or maybe that was just the choice. The daily management of that choice is where the battle lays. Being lead by your flesh or being led by the spirit.

Paul wrote in Galatians 5:25 ‘keep in step with the spirit’. Maybe its like the spirit that is alive in you is calling you forward into the things of God but the flesh is holding you back. Sometimes I feel like I’m playing catch up with what God has for me.

What can I do to make sure I keep in step with the spirit? To tip into the things of God?

Remember whose KINGDOM you are in
We know we are part of God’s kingdom. We have been transferred from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light. A transfer price paid through Jesus.

Why do live some days as if we have forgotten this?
Why do we try & fit God into our kingdoms instead of remembering that we are in His?

Knowing whose Kingdom you are in creates confidence. It brings assurance. It’s why David could stand in front of Goliath and tell him that he was ‘going down’.

Let go off ME
Read this ‘I cannot embrace the Kingdom of God if my arms of full of ME’.

We want all that God has for us but we are too consumed with getting everything we want. You can’t have both. We cannot pursue our dreams and God’s dreams at the same time.

Letting go of ME makes space for God to move. It’s scary. It’s not easy. But a rush. What an adventure.

REPENT
This is the tough one.

We repent. We turn away from our old life.
We get on with life.
We then turn round and go back to the old life. [Or is that just me]

Maybe repentance is a one-off. I would like to suggest that we need to repent more often.

We need to repent…
…of our lack of desire
…of turning back
…of allowing ‘others’ to cut in on us while we run the race
…of thinking the pursuit of our dreams & Jesus can live in harmony when that’s impossible
…for saying we seek first the kingdom of God as in Matthew 6:33 but then not fully trusting God to fulfill it

Keep in step with the spirit…
…remember whose Kingdom you are in
…let go of ME
…Repent

Let’s see what difference it might make.

Matthew 3: John the Baptist Meets Jesus

You know what, it doesn’t matter that when you read the Bible something amazing doesn’t jump out of every verse. Sometimes just reading it is enough. The stories become familiar and a picture of God’s sovereignty is painted. That can only be good for you.

I love John the Baptist. He didn’t care what people thought. He cared that he did what he was called to do. His job…to shout about the Lord. To make way for Jesus. Love the brutalness of it. A no nonsense message…

Stuff like v8…’Produce fruit in keeping with repentance’. Now there’s a message!! There’s a challenge to actually not only be productive but to be productive in the right things. How many times I don’t hit the mark on that one.

Then the exchange between John and Jesus. How incredible is that. I wonder, is it a picture of integrity on Jesus’ part, to be baptised by John? I don’t know. It was obviously a significant moment for them both. If Jesus needed baptism how much more do we need it. His though was not for repentance as he had no sin to wash away but maybe it was more for God to reveal Himself, to make a declaration to the world about who Jesus was.

Wesley describes the heavens opening as ‘a glorious manifestation of the ever – blessed Trinity: the Father speaking from heaven, the Son spoken to, the Holy Ghost descending upon him’. (v16 & 17) Now he could enter into that which he had come to accomplish.

Thank you God for your Son.
Thank you God for your Holy Spirit.
Thank you God for baptism – not just for repentance BUT in the power of the Holy Spirit so that I can accomplish all the things that you need me to.

Pushing Through…[Day 31]

I think God hit me this morning with some reminders. If I’m honest I was allowing some frustrations to start to dominate my thinking, maybe even infect my heart. Thank God for the slap – I must keep my heart right!!

Put a worship song on and got down on my knees and repented!! Ouch. Emotions are a defining part of being a human and is one of those qualities that means I am not an animal but they do get in the way of living right for God at times. Nothing wrong with being frustrated. Its what it makes you do that matters. I had the potential to get angry, actually I had probably crossed over.

Thankful for Gods word that reminded me this morning…
Thankful that God knows what I have need of. That I should seek first His kingdom and righteousness, then all these things will be added to me.
Thankful that He who has begun a good work in me will bring it to completion.
Thankful that my help comes from the Lord, that He will not let my foot slip, that he never slumbers, that he watches over my life, over my coming and going.

I am so thankful that if I confess my sins – He is faithful and just to forgive me of those sins.

To repent is not easy.
To repent is a must.
To repent keeps me right with God and therefore makes sure I don’t end up saying or doing something I might regret. (Realise that sounds really dramatic. I was just a bit out of whack this morning and God brought me back into line)

I am pushing through.
I am keeping on going.
I am keeping on believing.
I am standing in faith.
I am not letting the flesh rule me but being led by the spirit.

Hope that’s not too honest for you. Just where I am at. I may be a Pastor but I still feel things the way everyone else does. Any comment?