A few days ago I posted about integrity, but the other side of the coin, for me, is honesty.
From a young age, my Daughter has known that as long as she told the truth – no matter what she had done – we’d work through it together. It wasn’t that I would reject her if she lied, but I wanted her to realise that telling the truth, would set her free…from guilt and shame, but also condemnation.
I love the saying, “A problem shared, is a problem halved.”
So often we hide the lies we’ve told, the wrongs we’ve done, or the issues we face – mostly out of fear. Now, I’m not saying to go and air your dirty laundry to everyone, but there is something about confiding in a person (we trust) to bring accountability into our lives.
I’ve lost count how many times I have said to myself, “Why did I just say that?” after maybe a fleeting comment, but I have realised, it’s not the comment I’m interested in, it’s the root behind it.
I want to encourage us today, that if we find the root cause of why we strive, why we gossip, or why we lie…that is when breakthrough can come.
We are all a “work in progress,” and God moulds and shapes our lives, day-by-day when we stop trying to make excuses.
Why does honesty guide good people? Because I’ve never met an honest person, with integrity, who strives to hurt others before! So, I want to live a life of integrity, but also one of honesty.
Therefore, no matter how hard it is, I promise to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth…so help me God!!
Exactly five years ago, we left our home in England, along with all of our loved ones, to follow God into unfamiliar territory.
New Zealand had never been on our radar, honestly, Kieren and I had dreamt of moving to Canada, after it being a honeymoon destination.
Yet, God knew otherwise, and five years ago, our lives changed forever…
Naive, but excited, we boldly took that step of faith and went where we knew God was asking us to go.
We left everything, knowing no-one, we stepped off that plane with our then four-year-old Daughter, and asked: “now what?”
God may be calling you into unfamiliar territory, destinations you’ve never even heard of, or to simply travel around the corner, but, wherever it may be, can I encourage you today…to go.
I still miss our friends and family – honestly, I don’t think that will ever change, because the cost of following Jesus is high, yet, the rewards, far exceed anything I can even put into words.
It has been – in some ways – the hardest five years of our lives, yet, we have won battles we never thought possible, seen breakthrough in areas we have struggled with all of our lives, and we have walked paths that we could never have imagined.
Would I do it again…without hesitation, because ironically, it’s also been the best five years of our lives!
We are chasing the dreams God has now placed on our hearts, the exciting journey we are about to embark on, the places we will travel, but most importantly, the people we will meet along the way, because a simple conversation, new friendship, God encounters, can change lives – and that’s why God bought us here.
New Zealand is home, simply because, for me, a home represents wherever God is, and we will follow Him anywhere.
Please don’t limit God.
There are some of you wrestling with decisions that God is asking of you and therefore, I want to say…if God has truly asked this of you, what are you waiting for?
Don’t let the urgency of daily life, choke out the priority of our eternal one…
How many of us stress, or worry about the things that we “need” to get done or the extra money we need? Not only that, but we are also looking to the life we want, rather than the one we have…does it sound familiar?
We can be so distracted by the daily grime, that we forget to “schedule” in time, for the One that truly matters.
This passage is one for us all.
If we don’t regularly spend time with Jesus, then this life will choke Him out, and His Word will no longer speak to the very depths of our soul
Jesus withdrew to spend time with the Father. He prioritised it – no matter how busy His day was looking.
Therefore, what do we need to do, to live the life God pre-destined for us, rather than the life we think we need?
Today, let’s choose Jesus over anything that this life can throw at us
”For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
When I was an unbeliever, I used to think that a loving God shouldn’t hold grudges – especially to those who “don’t deserve it”.
I mean, why should the third and fourth generation suffer for the mistakes of the family who have gone before us?
”The Lord is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.’ Numbers 14:18
The answer is in the first part of this verse
So many times we are quick to judge God in our understanding, or morals, but time and time again, there is Scripture that shows God is loving and merciful, and He does forgive and forget…but only to those who love Him. That is God’s grace to His children
We all know that a parent is more lenient towards their own flesh and blood, as love covers a multitude of things!
So many times, my own Daughter would be screaming in the playground, and I would adoringly look at her, only to have another child running past, doing the same thing, and in my head (within seconds), I would be asking why the parent wasn’t intervening?
Parents can even let go of things that our children have hurt us deeply with, because of the love we have for them. God is the same!
Yet, to those who turn away from God, it is that sin that gets taken through the generations…until one day, someone draws a line in the sand, and gives their life to Christ. Then, and only then, will the generational sin be cut from that family-line.
True freedom comes by asking for forgiveness of not only our wrongdoing but from things that we might not even be aware of because the effects of that sin might be apparent in our lives.
I have looked back and seen the ugly, but it was only after I let go of the past, that I found true freedom. So many times, I blamed God for not being loving, but it was simply because I hadn’t forgiven myself, or others.
I realise now my viewpoint of God being unloving was an oxymoron, because God is love
There are certain things within Proverbs that Solomon definitely wants to get across to us…one of them is, walking with integrity.
I spoke briefly on it yesterday, but as I was meditating on the words God spoke to me throughout the day, I thought that I wanted to actually explain it more.
Integrity isn’t something we are born with – we have to fight, to want to walk this path with God, and yes, mistakes will occur, because, we aren’t perfect, and that’s ok.
Integrity is more about a way of life. That we desire to seek God’s ways above our own and want to walk in His truth, rather than the one the world seeks us to live by.
It’s having the knowledge and wisdom to push through our circumstances, because we trust God, in that He has gone before us, and therefore we do not compromise our peace and faith, that He will come through.
Integrity is allowing ourselves to be accountable to those God has given us. That we will not fear or strive to hide our imperfection, but grow with our tribe, to become who God intended us all to be.
I want to walk with integrity, and be shielded by God, to understand that although this path may not be easy, it is so worth it!
Leah’s story is one that most of us can relate to in some way.
She was told that she wasn’t beautiful and therefore, she needed to lie her way into marriage, because no one else would want her.
Can you imagine the feeling of being unloved by your Husband, who only had eyes for her sister…the rejection she must have felt, constantly. The irony came though, when Rachel – Leah’s sister – was beautiful, and yet still barren.
How many of us think that beauty is the answer?
The Bible shows us that beauty is fleeting, and God looks to the heart, so it’s never been about beauty, but about our relationship with God.
Leah reminds me that we can be blessed through the tough times. But it took her to have her fourth boy before she praised God. Genesis 29 shows her anguish she went through when you read the meaning of her first three children, yet she named the fourth baby, Judah – which literally means, to praise. She received breakthrough!
Until then, Leah strived to be recognised by Jacob, her Husband, but in the end, her circumstances didn’t change – she did.
Leah was still just as unloved and rejected by her sister and Husband, but inwardly, she recognised her blessings through God. Those which He had given her, through Motherhood.
I wish I could say that Leah’s life became perfect, but it didn’t, yet God blessed her more than she could have imagined. Levi, her third son, became the father of the tribe of Israel that was chosen to serve the Lord in the Tabernacle, and later the temple. But also, her fourth son, Judah, became the father in which God maintained His covenant with Abraham. Yet, Leah’s ultimate blessing came from the Jesus, who was a descendant from the tribe of Judah, and therefore, in her bloodline.
Just like Leah, we need to learn to praise God through the tough times, because we may never truly know how blessed we have been, until we look back from Heaven
Recently I was asked to write on, “Why do I trust people?” I simply started with…why wouldn’t I?
We have lost the ability to take people at their word, or to put it as James 5:12 says, our yes should be yes, and no a no.
I was reminded of this again yesterday when I heard children talking and one asked the other to “swear” on what they just said.
If my Daughter wants to know if we are telling her the truth, then she will ask us to “pinky promise.”
It’s a sad world we live in when we have to teach people to become truthful, rather than to not lie or to be deceitful.
I long for a culture when our yes is a yes, or no a no. We shouldn’t have to try and convince someone over an “oath” that what we have just spoken is the truth, correct, or that it will happen, because integrity should be at play in our lives, constantly.
I trust people because I would rather see the good in people, than instantly comes up with reasons, as to why I shouldn’t take them at their word.
Let’s talk straight…let’s live that our yes is a yes, and no a no!
There will always be noise from life. Whether it’s the sound of a bird in the morning, a car honking its horn, laughter, conversations, the busyness of work, life in general…and so on.
So many of us develop a fear or doubt regarding our God-given calling. Maybe we fear that we might be too late, or that we aren’t enough, and then we doubt that we are even called at all.
But, whilst we all seek to find our purpose and direction in life, there is one thing in this world that we need to become more aware of…distraction.
Distraction is the biggest purpose killer of them all…and the enemy knows it.
Some of us may have lost hope already, and it’s only the first week of the New Year.
”What’s the point?”
”Not yet, because…”
These are the very distractions that the enemy wants us to think about.
I want to encourage us today, that God knows what we need, and how we will even achieve things…ten years from now.
Therefore, let’s look straight ahead to what lies before us, because then, our walk with God becomes simple (I didn’t say easy) when we let Him take control, and focus on taking one step at a time, towards our destinies
It’s the ol’ cliche – is it good or is it God? Not necessarily the same thing, which, unfortunately, we can have a tendency to think.
Because we can assume that all good things come from above – James 1:17 even tells us this. But we have to seek God’s will in all that we do.
When did we stop realising that yes, God made the world, but Satan is the Prince of it, so, therefore, he can make something seem, ”really” appealing to us.
Plus, Satan knows the Bible better than we do, so throw a few Scriptures in the mix, and 95% of the time, we usually instantly think – this opportunity…this blessing…this promotion…this ______(fill in the gap), must be from God!
Especially as it’s come at a time when life is tough…our circumstances look bleak…or we’ve been waiting long enough.
Lot must have thought that all of his blessings had come at once when he looked to the East and saw the lush plain of the Jordan – as good as Eden. It was at the time when his relationship with Abram (his Uncle) had become strained.
So many of us part ways with family and friends from petty quarrels, rather than loving one another, as God commands – it’s easier that way, right? We forget that God will provide, even when things get tough if He has given us the assignment.
So, Lot decided to take the East of Jordan, but, behind this beautiful land, was Sodom, a city that constantly went against God…
Interestingly, moving East was at a time where it could be seen as moving away from God’s presence – something that becomes clear, quite quickly, within the rest of Lot’s journey.
How often does something look too good to be true, yet, we ignore what God previously told us, and forge onwards, in a quest to make life, “just that little bit easier”?
There are so many lessons that we can take from this passage but today, I want us to ask…
Does the opportunity before us seem too good to be true? Is it the easy way out? Has God actually said to “Go”, or are we looking for a way out of an uncomfortable situation?
My best piece of advice…
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)
God is a good God, but sometimes the easy way, isn’t necessarily, His way, and as we can read with Abram…I’d take living by faith any-day, over the devastation that Lot experienced, by going East
It’s the 4th January and usually, by now, a lot of New Year’s resolutions have started to dissipate.
That sounds overly negative, but the truth is, we all have good intentions, yet there is always a reason “not too”, and most of the time the New Year’s bubble bursts quite quickly.
I made a resolution a few years ago that I wasn’t going to make any more resolutions…it sounds weird, I know, but I realised that it shouldn’t take New Years Day to decide that I want to make my situation better…for myself to want to become healthier…or even, to spend more time with God in the mornings.
We can get bogged down with the details, that everything becomes “too much”.
Whatever God is pressing on your heart in the next season, we need to endure and continue to press in. Make sure that we are spending time with Him regularly because if you don’t understand the “why” behind the “what” – things get mundane.
Yet, when you build your relationship with God and the “why” does become clearer, it gives you a passion to continue, no matter what
Therefore, today, I want to encourage you to keep going with whatever God has asked, and don’t give up!
Four years ago, I had four prophetic words specifically using the word “catapult”, and in God’s timing, He would release me into my full-time call
God has shown me things that both scare and excite me (at the same time) with what is to come, but His timing is always perfect.
Am I still on God’s path for my life…absolutely, does it look like I thought…absolutely not, but that’s ok because I am loving the journey anyway.
And whilst, I wait, the season of preparation has been longer than I hoped or dreamed, but the point is, I’m still waiting, and I have realised that we can develop a resentful heart in the season of preparation, or we can choose joy!
When God speaks, we initially assume that the word is for the now, but God rarely takes someone immediately into their ultimate purpose, because there are tests along the way
Some of us stay the course, others lose hope and dreams ultimately die, but I want to encourage us this morning, to reignite that fire and passion inside of us, that desire and longing to see our purpose in this world come to pass, because you were created for glory, God’s glory, and there are some world-changers that feel their time has passed.
Friends, I would much rather stay on the path that God has for me, no matter how long it takes, and see His plans for my life unfold – in His timing – than try to run ahead of time, or worse, give up altogether.
He is always on time, and His faithful love endures forever, so dig in, and let’s do this together
If you have followed me for a while, you will know that one of my favourite places to be, is by the Ocean…to hear the rhythmic sound of the waves, or to watch the motion of God’s creation come crashing into the shore, is breathtakingly beautiful, to me
But one of the experiences I will never forget, was when my Husband and I went snorkelling, in Egypt. Again, the coral reef and the marine life were stunning, but I remember distinctly being under the water with the sound of life, as I know it, becoming quieter and muffled, only to cease to exist the deeper I went under, and I felt so peaceful.
This Scripture in Proverbs bought back to life that experience, this morning…
Scripture has the power to muffle out the noise in our world. We can become so consumed with events around us, but the deeper we go into the Word of God, the quieter life, and the enemy’s distractions become.
The ocean is a force that will never run dry, and therefore, we need to meditate it on day and night because wisdom from Scripture brings knowledge and understanding.
Wise words can mean that we no longer need to make noise because we understand God in all circumstances, we become content in all seasons, but most importantly, even when we are in the desert, we never run dry.
Those are the days, where we draw from the Scriptures that have been written onto the very depths of our hearts, and just like that day in Egypt, you find peace.