Moses and you

Exodus 3:4 NKJV

Moses had all the potential in the world at forty, but felt like a lost cause at eighty. Instead of doing God’s will God’s way, he tried to expedite God’s will and delayed it for four decades! At some point in our lives most of us feel like life has passed us by. Our dream seems like a lost cause. That crisis presents us with a choice: Throw in the towel, or throw our hat back in the ring. Many of us give up on our dreams because we feel like God has given up on us. But we serve a God of restoration (See Joel 2:25). The life of Moses proves that no matter how many wrong turns we’ve taken, it’s God’s grace that gets us back onto the parade route. Moses thought his past had disqualified him, but God leveraged it to prepare him for his date with destiny. No one knew the protocol of the palace like the Prince of Egypt. After all, he grew up in it. And after tending sheep for forty years he knew the ways of the wilderness – the wildlife, the watering holes, the weather patterns. Moses got it wrong before he got it right, and you may too. And here’s the good news: God can use your past failures to fertilize your character and equip you with the strength and wisdom needed to do what He put you on this earth do to. The saying is true: “It’s wonderful what God can do with a broken life when you give Him all the pieces.”

Soul food: 1 Cor 1-3; Luke 23:35-43; Ps 54; Prov 25:1-3

Conviction and credibility (1)

Judges 7:17 NIV

On the night before his spectacular victory over the Midianites, Gideon told his army of three hundred men, ‘Watch me…Follow my lead…do exactly as I do’ (Judges 7:17 NIV). Have a think about how you would react if your boss, a tutor, or your best friend said that to you. Would you be prepared to trust them, or would you be cautious? How about if you said it to the people that know you? Would you have to put conditions on that statement, like ‘be like me when I’m in church, but don’t follow the way I behave the rest of the time’ or ‘follow the way I behave in public, but not in private’? If we feel we’d have to add conditions to that statement, it shows us that we’ve probably got areas of our current lifestyle that we’re not proud of, and prefer to hide away. To earn respect and be worthy of following, there are two qualities we need that really matter. The first is conviction. Conviction is a set-in-stone belief that you live by and refuse to compromise on. A pragmatist adjusts their beliefs and actions to take into account things like not upsetting others, or being liked and accepted. A person of conviction won’t do that. To become people of conviction, we first need to decide that we love God and His will, and put that first in our lives. When we make that choice, and truly stick to it, we won’t want to compromise any area of our lifestyle, or do anything that separates us from God’s will. And when we have this conviction, people will recognise that we are good role-models, living out our faith, and worth following.

Hab 1-3; Luke 9:18-27; Ps 65; Prov 19:5-8

It’s not you, it’s me (2)

Ezra 10:4 ESV

When we’ve made a mistake in our lives, we can be quick to blame others. But often we’ve had a choice. And we need to take responsibility for that. So when we get to a place of realising that we’ve made mistakes, there’s three things we need to do. First, we need to refuse. Refuse to stay in that place, wallowing in self-pity and complaining that others have led us to where we are. Then we need to take responsibility. We can’t live our lives blaming others for our mistakes. We have to learn to admit where we’re going wrong. Finally, we need to rise up from the place we’ve found ourselves in. Excuses, blame, guilt and shame keep us down and trapped. We need to rise, accept God’s forgiveness and move on. When Ezra heard about the sins of the Israelites, he fell to his knees and said: ‘My dear God, I’m so totally ashamed, I can’t bear to face you’ (Ezra 9:6 MSG). He then wept, prayed and confessed the sins to God. But the people made a plan, they decided to make a covenant with God to promise that they would sort out the mess they had got in to. They told Ezra: ‘Arise, for it is your task, and we are with you; be strong and do it’ (Ezra 10:4 ESV). If Ezra had stayed in that place of shame, he couldn’t have brought justice and morality back to the people. And we can’t do what God’s calling us to do unless we refuse to get up from the place we’re in. So let’s rise up and move into what God’s calling us to do today.

Deut 25-27; Mark 8:1-13; Ps 44:9-16; Prov 12:10-11

It’s not you, it’s me (1)

Genesis 3:12 NIV

When God asked Adam if he’d eaten from the tree that God had told them not to eat from, Adam told God that it was Eve who made him do it. Eve told God that the devil had made her do it. Both were blaming others. It’s true that without Eve suggesting Adam tried the fruit, he might never have thought to. And without the devil tempting Eve, she may never have eaten it either. But, ultimately, they both had a choice. They weren’t forced to eat the fruit, they could have chosen not to. Instead of taking responsibility for their choices, they decided to blame others. We can end up doing that too. But God wants us to take responsibility for our own lives, decisions and mistakes. And until we do, He can’t bless us like He desires. So we have to make the choice to accept where we’ve gone wrong, take responsibility and then move on. We can’t keep living in our past, focusing on our past mistakes and issues. We have to focus on where we’re going and what we’d like to see happen, rather than having our eyes fixed on the rearview mirror, looking back at what was done and who did it. Looking ahead takes the power away from dwelling on the past, where we don’t have the ability to undo what was done no matter who is to blame. It distracts us from blaming others and focuses us on where we’re going and what’s to come. So let’s keep our eyes fixed straight ahead and remember what God says: ‘Forget what happened before, and do not think about the past. Look at the new thing I am going to do’ (Isaiah 43:18-19 NCV).

Deut 22-24; Mark 7:24-37; Ps 44:1-8; Prov 12:7-9

Get in the splash zone

Proverbs 12:15 NLT

You could probably spend a day at your favourite theme park without getting soaked by some passing flume ride. But ever noticed that they have a designated splash zone for people who want to? Positioning yourself to receive makes all the difference. For example, as you read this, if you position yourself to receive by saying to the Lord, ‘I’ll take action on what You show me,’ you’ll benefit much more than if you read just to get motivated or inspired. To resist or to receive – a choice we have to make every day. Nothing dies quicker than a new idea in a closed mind. One of the reasons Jesus reacted so strongly to the Pharisees was because they refused to receive what He had to say. A wrongly positioned mind is like a microscope that magnifies tiny, pointless things but can’t receive great things. Every situation, if you view it in the right way, is an opportunity. But opportunities can only drop into your lap if you put yourself where opportunities drop. Get in the splash zone. Or, even better, find the water cannon and stand in the way. Too often our minds are locked on one track. We’re looking for red so we overlook blue; we’re thinking ‘tomorrow’ and God is saying ‘now.’ We’re looking everywhere, and the answer is right under our nose. When a person is positioned correctly, they’re ready to receive all God has for them. The Bible often uses the word ‘simple’. The original term means ‘thick, dull, and sluggish’. It means those who are insensitive and unreceptive to the thoughts of others. God will speak, but unless we listen, we won’t hear what He has to say.

Jer 36:27-40:16; Mark 1:40-45; Ps 25:1-7; Prov 9:17-18