Accountability Conversation

ConversationI would rather hold someone else accountable than to be held accountable. Accountability works best as a “two-way street”. Accountability requires truth, courage and patience among other attributes. I think for accountability to work in my Christian journey, there must be love, kindness and gentleness.

The Apostle Paul writes two letters to the church at Corinth. He writes in a very personable way. I can feel his love for them, even when he’s “pouring it on”. He loves them too much to let them live however they please. He keeps reminding them of meeting Jesus and the change that the Lord brought about in their lives. Check this out…

18 Some of you have become arrogant, thinking I will not visit you again. 19 But I will come—and soon—if the Lord lets me, and then I’ll find out whether these arrogant people just give pretentious speeches or whether they really have God’s power. 20 For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God’s power. 21 Which do you choose? Should I come with a rod to punish you, or should I come with love and a gentle spirit? (1 Corinthians 4:18-21 NLT)

I was speaking with a man a day or so ago, whom I believe to be a Christ follower. I’m not sure how our conversation got to this place, but I told him that I wanted anyone who saw something in me that wasn’t Christ-like, to please “call me out”. I can be blind to my own behavior and issues. Accountability is not optional for Christians. We sometimes act all “high and mighty”, when we should be “low and weak”. I don’t EVER want to come across to others as prideful and arrogant. If you are reading this and you know me and you’ve seen this in me – PLEASE connect with me and call me out.  I believe pride is at the heart of ALL sin. I believe pride is very self-destructive. It doesn’t matter how large my leadership platform, if I’m full of pride instead of gratitude and humility – I will fail as a leader.

I want to live like the Lord called me to live.

I want to love like the Lord loves.

I want to lead others, by following the Lord.

I want to be humble and kind just like the Lord.

I want to live out my faith daily with the Power of God overflowing from my heart.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

The Odds

 

Life and deathEvery major sporting event seems to have odds set by the people who handle the betting process for the event. For example in the most recent super bowl the odds on favorite was the Carolina Panthers. It simple meant that the bookies and the people placing bets picked Carolina to beat Denver by at least 5 points. As the game was played, it was a bit lopsided toward Denver because of the Denver defense rising up to stop the powerful offense that Carolina was known for. The odds are always calculated by bookies and then by the participants in some sort of mathematical way so that the people handling the betting also make money no matter who wins or looses. Sometimes when the team that is the underdog hears the odds of them loosing, it motivates them to reach down and step up their game.

Gideon was God’s chosen leader to take on the Midianites who had “taken over” their land. They Midianites had moved in and stolen their crops and anything of value. The Lord tells Gideon to assemble an army and he starts out with 32,000 men against an army at least 3 or 4 times their size. The Lord tells him that there is too many men, so he tells them if they are scared, they can go home. I’m not sure he was expecting 22,000 of them to go home. The Lord told Gideon that there were still too many. Check this out…

5 So Gideon took the men down to the water. There the Lord told him, ‘Separate those who lap the water with their tongues as a dog laps from those who kneel down to drink.’ 6 Three hundred of them drank from cupped hands, lapping like dogs. All the rest got down on their knees to drink.

7 The Lord said to Gideon, ‘With the three hundred men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. Let all the others go home.’ 8 So Gideon sent the rest of the Israelites home but kept the three hundred, who took over the provisions and trumpets of the others.

Now the camp of Midian lay below him in the valley. (Judges 7:5-8 NIV)

The Lord pared down the number from 32,000 men to 300. I believe the Lord was teaching Gideon and the Israelites something about the odds. The odds were heavily favoring the Midianites, but that was just the way The Lord wanted it. He sends Gideon down to do reconnaissance before the attack and the Lord has already instilled a healthy dose of fear into the Midianites.

Gideon took 300 men and divided them in the three groups of a hundred each. They had torches and trumpets instead of chariots, spears and swords. The Lord used those 300 men to rout an entire army. The army of Midian mostly self-destructed thanks to the Lord fighting on Israel’s behalf.

This passage made me realize that the Lord completely flips the odds upside down in my life all the time. If I were a betting man, I might bet against me pretty often. I’ve learned that I would never bet against the Lord. The odds are always on the side of the Lord, therefore I want to always be on His side. He can help me walk through any trouble I face. He can help me walk through suffering. He can help me walk through the darkest night. His Presence always moves the odds into my favor.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Consequences

 

businessman making decisionThere are times when the consequences of my choices are very hard to take. I don’t always calculate properly the “fall out” from a decision I make. More often than not if I make a decision in haste, I will miscalculate the consequences. I know of people who repented and were forgiven of sin, but the consequences are real for the rest of their lives. Sometimes the choices I make today have life-long implications.

The people of Israel faced one of those life-altering decisions. The 12 men who went in to explore the land came back to report. I remember a simple song I learned in camp years ago about these men.

Twelve men went to spy on Canaan

            10 were bad and 2 were good

            What did they see when they got to Canaan

            10 were bad and 2 were good

            Some saw giants big and tall

            Some saw grapes in clusters fall

            Some saw God was over all

            10 were bad and 2 were good

These men spent 40 days in the land exploring and yet they were paralyzed by fear that they couldn’t take the land. Their faith in God was weak beyond words. Only Caleb & Joshua felt differently. They believed that God could do anything.

When the people grumbled against the Lord, He was ready to punish them on the spot and Moses begged for their forgiveness. The Lord forgave, but the consequences of their blatant rebellion were still coming. Check this out…

20 The Lord replied, ‘I have forgiven them, as you asked. 21 Nevertheless, as surely as I live and as surely as the glory of the Lord fills the whole earth, 22 not one of those who saw my glory and the signs I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness but who disobeyed me and tested me ten times – 23 not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath to their ancestors. No one who has treated me with contempt will ever see it. 24 But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it. (Numbers 14:20-24 NIV)

I am inspired by Caleb & Joshua. I want to see the road ahead of me from God’s view point. I want to trust Him without fail. I want to act on what I say I believe. I want to trust the Lord radically with my everyday walking around decisions. I want to trust Him in the smallest detail or in the largest decision. I want to have a different spirit in me like Caleb and follow the Lord wholeheartedly. I can accept the consequences of my decisions to follow the Lord without worry. He’s got those covered too!

Pressing On!

Dwayne