Tag Archives: risk

Risk Everything

  

With one year winding down and another about to begin, I think it’s always good to look back and reflect on the previous year. Ask yourself, “What went well? What do I wish would have happened differently? What changes do I need to make to have a better year next year?” You may be able to answer the first two pretty quickly, but take your time on the third. I would even recommend fasting and prayer so that you do the right things to get the right result.

When you read the story of Esther, you find that in the first month of the year, Haman sent out a decree to kill all Jews. Her first response was that she couldn’t do anything to change the course of her fate. She opted to stay silent and do nothing out of fear. What her uncle Moredecai knew was that if she did nothing, she would reap the consequences of doing nothing. If there was going to be a change, it required her to do what she had never done. It required great risk.

If you want a greater change in your life, you’re going to have to take a great risk. You can only guess what will result from the changes you make. Esther knew this too. That’s why she didn’t do it without seeking God first and having others pray with her. In Esther 4:16, she sent word to Moredecai saying, “Go and gather together all the Jews of Susa and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will do the same. And then, though it is against the law, I will go in to see the king. If I must die, I must die” (NLT).

She was willing to risk everything to change everything, but she wasn’t willing to do it without fasting and prayer. If you feel like a major change is needed in your life next year, let me encourage you to seek God through fasting and prayer. Ask Him what you need to risk and change so He can do the miraculous for you. Ask Him to open doors that seem shut. Then, you will have to do what Esther did and take that step of faith that God asks you to do. Esther saved her people, not just because she prayed, but because she took a risk and went before the king uninvited.

I don’t know what stepping in front of a king looks like for you, but God can reveal it to you though fasting and prayer. Hebrews 11 is a chapter that reminds us of people who stepped out in faith and risked everything. They are the ones in the Bible who trusted God above all else, and they took risks without knowing they would get the reward. Verse 6 says, “And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.” If you will have faith and seek God, He will reward your faith.

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Free From Drifting

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It’s Free Friday! Today is the day you let go of the things in your life that keep you down or hold you back. To celebrate, I’m giving away “Great Leaders Grow: Becoming A Leader For Life” by Ken Blanchard and Mark Miller. Keep reading to find out how to enter.

I grew up playing in creeks that were near my house. When I would visit my grandmother, we would cross a huge cow pasture and go down to the creek to swing on vines and jump in it. Later in life, I went to the Frio river in west Texas to float down it. I’ve even been to the Nile river and taken a sail boat out on it several times. One thing I’ve learned about creeks and rivers is that they always take the path of least resistance. The get to their destination, but it takes a lot longer than it has to because they twist and wind instead of going on a straight line.

In life, I’ve found that I’m not much different than a river at times. I’ve let my life wander and meander wherever it took me. I’ve lost site of where I was going a time or two. I’ve been beat against the rocks and sent a different direction. I’ve forgotten where I was headed and pooled up at that spot. Something will inevitably happen, the dam will break and off I go again to wherever life takes me. Does that sound like you too? I don’t think that’s how God intended us to live our lives though.

I believe we are to live our lives on purpose. I believe we are to make paths where there aren’t any. God doesn’t want us to meander through life taking the path of least resistance. He wants us to pursue Him and go to the places where others won’t. He wants us to be leaders, not followers. He put in each one of us the ability to grow and the ability to lead. Too often we only think of ourselves as followers because we’re all following somebody. We forget to look behind us and see that there are others who are following us. Don’t believe me? Look at your Facebook page. How many friends do you have following you? Exactly! Some may have more than others, but each of us have someone following us.

It’s important that we lead with purpose and conviction. It’s important that we grow. I heard Harry Connick, Jr. say something profound this week. He said, “Do the things that are hard. Do the things that are uncomfortable and you’ll get better.” He’s saying that we won’t get better or grow unless we’re willing to do things that are not on the path of least resistance. He’s saying we have to do things that push us out of our normal, every day routines if we’re going to grow. If you want a better relationship with God, get up earlier and spend more time with Him. If you want more understanding of scripture, take a Bible course. If you want to be a better leader, force yourself to grow.

I like to tell people that I grow the most when I fail. I only fail when I take risks that put me in position to fail. I also gain the most ground when those risks pay off. It’s all about perspective. Failure to me is an opportunity to grow and get better. It’s a way to learn how not to do something. I don’t look at it as embarrassing or demoralizing. It’s actually energizing and challenging. Whether you fail taking a risk in life or for Christ, you will learn something new. You will find growth. Don’t just take the path of least resistance. Make a straight line for your goal and get there. Paul said that he pressed on for the (not drifted to the) high calling and we should too!

If you would like to win “Great Leaders Grow” by Ken Blanchard and Mark Miller, all you have to do is go to my Facebook page here and “like” it. I will randomly pick one person tomorrow (March 8, 2014) who has liked my page. If you have already liked my page and enjoy reading these daily devotionals, you are already entered. Please invite your friends to like my page so they can receive encouragement from God’s Word too.

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Taking a Risk for Jesus

I’m sure you are well aware that today is Good Friday. This is the day that Jesus was crucified. The nailed Him to the cross around 9:00 AM and He hung there being ridiculed for six hours. Around 3:00 PM, He released His spirit and died. I’m not going to focus on that today though. What I am going to focus on is a verse in Mark 15. Verse 43 says, “Joseph of Arimathea took a risk and went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. (NLT)”

I was being interviewed for a position with the company I work for and the person doing the interview broke script. He said, “Chris, I really just want to know one thing. What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?” My mind raced. Was he talking personally? Did he mean in business? Was he referring to helping a customer? I couldn’t think of anything right off the bat. If he was to have asked Joseph, this would have been his answer.

First of all, he approached Pilate who was ruthless and had no problem killing people. I’m sure Pilate was on edge because of the mob mentality that had gone on the night before. He was probably cranky from getting little to no sleep. Now, one of the Jewish leaders, a secret follower of Jesus, came in uninvited and was asking for the body of Jesus. Joseph’s mind was probably racing thinking of all the possible outcomes of this meeting. Only one had a positive outcome.

Pilate agreed to release the body to him. Joseph purchased a linen sheet to wrap jesus body. The book of John tells us that Nicodemus helped Joseph. Both men had been secret followers of Jesus up to this point. When all of Jesus’ outspoken followers were to scared to come out of the shadows, two men who could have lost their positions risked their lives, their income and their families in order to see to it that Jesus didn’t hang there through the Passover.

When’s the last time you took a risk for Jesus? Don’t just move on here. Think about that for a minute. Are you like I was in that interview? Is your mind racing trying to think of something? Anything? It’s tough. We are conditioned not to take big risks in our life and in our faith. We’re taught to look out for ourselves first, but that’s not what Jesus taught. Even the night before His crucifixion, He was teaching them to put others first as He washed their feet.

What risk can you take today for Him? I’m not asking you to put your life on the line, but I am asking you to put your foot in a door that has already been opened. You’ve just been too scared to say anything about your faith. You’ve been too afraid to invite them to church. What better time than this weekend? They’ll hear the true reason for Easter and that someone else risked their life for theirs. Isn’t eternity for someone else worth the risk? Jesus thought it was and we should too.

I wrote another post a couple of weeks ago that would be great to read today. It’s called Playing Pilate. Click here to check it out.

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