Friday, April 28, 2017

How to be an Un-leader

John Ruskin has been quoted as saying, "When a man is wrapped up in himself, he makes a pretty small package." 

In John's 3rd letter, verses 9-10 (NASB), he wrote about an un-leader. "I wrote something to the church; but Diotrephes, who loves to be first among them, does not accept what we say. For this reason, if I come, I will call attention to his deeds which he does, unjustly accusing us with wicked words; and not satisfied with this, he himself does not receive the brethren, either, and he forbids those who desire to do so and puts them out of the church."

What is an un-leader? The prefix "un" means not. So, an un-leader is someone who is not a leader. The best definition of a leader is given by Dr. Howard Hendricks, "A leader is someone who leads." A great definition - short, sweet, and to the point. Diotrephes was a first century example of someone who pushed himself as a leader, but in reality in God's view he was an un-leader. What made him so?

Quickly, consider he was an un-servant. He wanted to be first all the time. He was un-teachable. He refused to listen to the teaching of John. He was un-just. He used verbal bombs against those he did not like or who opposed him. And, he was un-hospitable. He didn't like making others feel important because he always sought the importance.

Take a quick inventory today. Honestly. Be truthful. Do any of these accusations fit me, or you? If so, can we learn from this and let God change us. Can we let Him make us into the leaders that He has called His followers to be.

Prayer: Gracious Lord, I want to be what You want me to be. As Your child, You have placed me in leadership for those around me. I may not want to be a leader, but You have saved me and sanctified me to lead others to You. Lord, if any of the above areas are true in me, make it known, cleanse me, and use me for Your honor and glory. Amen.




Thursday, April 27, 2017

Do you have a PhD in faith?

Hebrews 11:1 (Message) - "The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see."

I have been told that there are three kinds of faith. There is the "I'll believe it if I see it" kind of faith. This is a faulty type of faith, because it is based on what can be seen. In fact, we must be careful, because as magicians have proved, we can't always believe what we think we see.

The there is the "believer" type of faith. They can only believe in what they can't see. However, this kind of faith is also faulty, because generally it is a faith in faith itself. 

Finally, there is the PhD type of faith. The faith that relies strictly on God is the only legitimate form of faith. Why is this the Phd faith? The Phd stands for Past Having Doubt. In other words, when you know God is as real as the chair you are sitting in, or the floor you are standing on - then and only then do you have genuine faith.

Another way of seeing this is the way the Amplified Bible translates this verse - "Now faith is the assurance (title deed, confirmation) of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed), and the evidence of things not seen [the conviction of their reality—faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses]." we have a divine guarantee that is confirmed, even if we can't see it, yet we have no doubts about it at all.

So, today begin to work on your PhD in faith. Memorize Heb. 11:1 (NLT) - "What is faith? It is the confident assurance that something we want is going to happen. It is the certainty that what we hope for is waiting for us, even though we cannot see it up ahead." Muse over it, and begin to apply it. Having a Graduate-level faith can't be upstaged by anything else.

Prayer: Holy Spirit, teach me the fulness of having this PhD faith. I want to graduate from my weak faith to one that is full of the glory and power of God. I am willing, make me able. Amen.



Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Building Birdhouses with God



Psalm 127:1 (CSB) Unless the Lord builds a house, its builders labor over it in vain; unless the Lord watches over a city, the watchman stays alert in vain.


Recently, my grandchildren came and stayed while they were on Easter break from school. Wesley, my grandson, had said in the past that he wanted to build a birdhouse when he came. So, what would any grandfather do - we built a birdhouse.

Now, for those who know me, they know that I am about as handy with tools as a blind proofreader. So, my wife and I sought out a kit that I would be able to do with him. we checked all the home improvement stores in the area, and no one had a kit that we could do. So, going to Amazon.com, we were able to find a kit that would work - however, we weren't sure it would arrive in time. My daughter, Grace, was able to order it for us and it did come on Monday, just in time.

Wes and I worked off and on all day Tuesday in gluing, nailing, and putting this little house together. We has a glorious time working together on this project. He did a great job selecting his paints and was able to produce a cute birdhouse to take home with him.

As I thought back over that experience, I realized how much my Heavenly Father enjoys working with me on the projects in my life (and at times, I can really be a project for Him to work on). Will I do everything exactly perfect? No. However, with Him reading to me the directions (the Bible), I can begin to work on the project He has for me. He even let's me choose the right "paints" at time to make it original with me.

I don't know who had more fun, Wes or me, and that made me stop and think, when I work under God's direction, who enjoys it more? Me or Him? Ponder on that today.



Prayer: Father, I want to work on some projects in my life with You. Guide me and give me Your directions. I praise You. In Your Precious Son's Name, Amen.




Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Step 5 to Fearlessness

Finishing today our study in the Old Testament account of King Jehoshaphat and his nation facing a vast and unnumbered set of armies bent on their destruction (2 Chron. 2:20). We see a massive challenge - I can truly say I have not had to face such a challenge yet in my life. However, in preparation for any large challenges, I can learn from the 5 steps to fearlessness that this King took.

Step 1 - Take your problems to God.
Step 2 - Turn to God for the answers.
Step 3 - Remember the battle is God's, not yours.
Step 4 - With God be fearless.
Step 5 - Let God be glorified in the victory, and let the blessings flow.

The Lord gave them instructions on what to do. They placed the choir at the front, and when the people started to sing praises to God, then He moved. And did He ever.

Read on in 2 Chron. 20:24-26 (NLT) - " So when the army of Judah arrived at the lookout point in the wilderness, all they saw were dead bodies lying on the ground as far as they could see. Not a single one of the enemy had escaped. 

King Jehoshaphat and his men went out to gather the plunder. They found vast amounts of equipment, clothing, and other valuables—more than they could carry. There was so much plunder that it took them three days just to collect it all! On the fourth day they gathered in the Valley of Blessing, which got its name that day because the people praised and thanked the Lord there. It is still called the Valley of Blessing today."

When God fights the battle, be sure that you give HIm the glory, don't try to take it for yourself. When you do give Him the glory it can be like verse 30 - "So Jehoshaphat’s kingdom was at peace, for his God had given him rest on every side."

Want to live a fearless life? Follow the pattern given in this passage of 2 Chron. 20, and watch God reduce your stress and give the victory.

Prayer: Spirit of the Living Word, let me take the lessons I have learned from the Written Word and apply them in my life. May I trust the Living Word to fight my battles and receive all the glory. Amen.




Monday, April 24, 2017

Step 4 to Fearlessness

Continuing in our study in the Old Testament account of King Jehoshaphat and his nation facing a vast and unnumbered set of armies bent on their destruction (2 Chron. 2:20). We see a massive challenge - I can truly say I have not had to face such a challenge yet in my life. However, in preparation for any large challenges, I can learn from the 5 steps to fearlessness that this King took.

Step 1 - Take your problems to God.
Step 2 - Turn to God for the answers.
Step 3 - Remember the battle is God's, not yours.
Step 4 - With God be fearless.

"Tomorrow, march out against them. You will find them coming up through the ascent of Ziz at the end of the valley that opens into the wilderness of Jeruel. But you will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the Lord’s victory. He is with you, O people of Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Go out against them tomorrow, for the Lord is with you!” (2 Chron. 20:16-17, NLT). We can face our problems with a strong courage when we understand the fact that when we are following His plan and He is leading the fight.

Don't take back the control, follow Him even when we may not understand how this will work (remember Joshua and the Battle of Jericho). We can walk without stress when we truly place it in the Lord's hands.

Prayer: Jesus, Captain of the Hosts, I place my trust in You. I place my problem of ____________ in your hand, and I leave it there. I will follow Your lead, I will go with You. I need not fear anything, because You are fighting the battle for me. Amen.



  

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