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.

The Power of Grace

O LORD, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill? [Psalm 15:1] 

Who am I to think that I can come before God?

I am nothing special. I am on the journey of knowing God better and walking well with Him. Some days I get it right. Then I have those other days.

I am a thankful recipient of grace. The undeserved, unmerited favour of God. I cannot be the kind of person that God needs to be without grace. It’s the only way I can walk and live in the presence of God.

Without grace I am not made right.
Without grace I cannot walk blameless.

Without grace I only have self-righteousness.

Through grace I have been made the righteousness of Christ, made perfect and made new.

Grace is what enables me to come before God. He doesn’t see my sin anymore. He doesn’t see my past. He just sees me, set free, He sees Jesus.

Grace changes me.

Grace changes my tongue. Grace protects my heart. Grace removes any reproach. Grace helps me to honour God. Grace is to be displayed in my dealings with others.

Grace makes me strong. If I live from a position of grace, under the cover of grace, then I will not be moved. Nothing can destroy me. Nothing can conquer me. Nothing can separate me from the love of God.

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.

Your Walk With God Will Bless Others

And Laban said to him, “Please stay, if I have found favour in your eyes, for I have learned by experience that the Lord has blessed me for your sake.” Then He said, “Name me your wages, and I will give it.” [Genesis 30:27-28]

When you walk well with God, you will be blessed.
When you walk well with God, others will be blessed because of the blessing you receive.
When you walk well with God, you will be blessed by those around you, as they have been in the arena of your blessing.

That’s what happened to Jacob and I believe it can happen for us too.

If I work hard in the place where God has positioned me, thankful for the opportunity, diligent in what I am asked to do, then I will be blessed. God honours hard work. This means those I work for are blessed, for as God prospers me, He prospers them too. This in turn enables God to bless me through those I work for because of the blessing they have already received as a result of me honouring God through my hard work in the first place.

I AM BLESSED = OTHERS ARE BLESSED = I AM BLESSED
[and so it continues]

I recognise it doesn’t always work like this but I am learning that as we walk with God plainly, honestly, with humility and with an eye on what God knows is best for our future, we are positioned for God to bring blessing to us through people who don’t recognise Him in the same way we do.

Success can come through prayer alone but it usually comes through prayer AND a willingness to be obedient, for us to put some effort in.

The thought that Solomon wrote fits well with this idea that our walk with God will bless others. In Proverbs 14:34 he wrote, “Righteousness exalts a nation”. By me living right with God, displaying justice, compassion, upholding the name of Jesus, I am playing my part which then enables God to exalt, prosper, esteem and favour the place where we live.

What will you do differently this week to be a blessing to those around you?

The Right Relationships Matter the Most

Experts say that we are the average of the five people we hang around with the most. Certainly makes you think.

Who are you doing life with?

John Maxwell talks about our inner circle and that we need different types of people in that circle, who between them will bring out the best in us, believe the best of us and build a life with us. They don’t complete us or compete with us but rather compliment us.

Brings a bunch of questions to my mind:
Who are you listening to?
Why are you listening to them?
What are they saying? 
Does what they want from life match with the core values of your own life?
From what type of values are the words they speak being spoken from?

In 1998 I made a decision to start working with someone, to be their financial advisor. We got on well, shared some common ideas for business but in hindsight it was a disaster waiting to happen.

Different ambitions. 
Different core values. 
Different intentions of the heart. 

The outcome wasn’t pretty. I took a hard hit. Lost my job. No income. I found myself having to start my own business from scratch. It was a lesson well learned.

All relationships can feel good and right. They can even be productive but that doesn’t mean you should pursue them, invest energy in them and build something with those people.

Right relationships with the right people at the right time should eventually bring the right results. In contrast, even the very best relationship with the wrong person even at the right time will not produce the right kind of results. It may seem right in our own eyes but maybe not in Gods.

The basis of any good relationship is the values that you share. From that foundation will come the intentions of the heart. If those values differ from your own then you could find yourself compromising your own values for someone else’s. Take it from me, it’s easy done, after all, they are probably not evil but perhaps not what God intended for you.

When I read in Genesis about Abraham I read about someone who chose to make his relationship with God the most significant one. Out of this pivotal relationship would flow all other relationships, all other decisions, all other outcomes. This was a covenant relationship and it  would become the filter by which Abraham dealt with all that might come his way.

When you observe Abraham’s life you see that to bring strength to this relationship with God it had to survive certain tests…

The Divine Test
The Sacrifice Test
The Test of Time

What do you think these tests may represent?

Don’t Be Flip

Sometimes we can start to take stuff forgranted. Things like..we will always have a job, we will always have our health, we will live forever, our partners know that we love them. Problem with taking things forgranted…it can catch up on us, then SUDDENLY those very same things become BIG problems.

As it is in the natural, so it is with God. We must not take God forgranted.

Matthew 7:6 ‘”Don’t be flip with the sacred. Banter and silliness give no honor to God. Don’t reduce holy mysteries to slogans. In trying to be relevant, you’re only being cute and inviting sacrilege.” The Message

Watch yourselves.
Watch the attitude towards God.
Yes, He will always be there.
Yes, He will never leave us.
Yes, His mercies are new every morning.

But…DON”T BE FLIP about these things. Don’t show inappropriate levity towards things that demand much greater respect. Our Christian walk is not to be dealt with flippantly.
Give them the correct honour that they deserve.
Remember to give God His rightful place in our life.
Honour, relevance, respect. It’s about lifestyle. It’s about consistency. It’s about integrity.
It’s not about living so close to the edge that we only look silly and misrepresent who God is and all that He has done in our lives.

Take time each day to honour your Father who heaven.
Spend time with Him, deliberately.
Don’t be FLIP with Him, just expecting that such a way is okay.

[Just my thoughts….what do you think?]

Getting on the Guest List

You don’t always need a commentary to understand what the Bible is saying. Sometimes you just need to read it. Psalm 15 is one of those times…just read it & then live it out.

The Message version puts it so well…
‘God, who gets invited to dinner at your place? How do you get on the guest list?’

How?
1. Walk straight
2. Act right
3. Tell the truth
4. Don’t hurt your friend
5. Don’t blame your neighbour
6. Despise the despicable
7. Keep your word even when it costs you
8. Make an honest living
9. Never take a bribe

Simple, eh? Or maybe the hardest things.
Not sure what my score would be…thankfully I have the Holy Spirit to help me. To change me.

How about you?

Stay on the Right Path…Day 32

In my quiet time this morning I was reminded of a scripture. Reminded that we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Eph 2:10)

Incredible when you think about it that God has prepared good works for us to walk in.
Ahead of you and me lay great things…if we only stay on the right path!

Don’t know about you but that can be a challenge at times. Easily distracted. Easily frustrated by things – just read yesterdays post. What are the things that might stop you from staying on the right path?