WORDDEVO: "The Weekly Word with Moody" [17-11 thru 11-24] DEVOTIONALS

 

Seven Days of Devotion 

 The Weekly Word is a Collection of Devotionals to be read on the Day Listed and presented freely as a service to and for the Body of Christ and Believers throughout the World that We may Hear God Speak to us as the Spirit of God gives us ears to hear and eyes to see what God would have for us daily in relationship to Him.

Read: Luke 7

TODAY IN THE WORD

Kate and David Ogg grieved. Last March in Australia, Kate gave birth prematurely to twins, and while Emily survived, doctors were unable to revive her twin, Jamie. He was declared dead. Kate and David held the boy’s lifeless body close, cuddling him. She unwrapped him from his blanket and held him against her skin. Then a miracle happened. After two hours of being talked to and touched, little Jamie began to breathe. He opened his eyes. He began to nurse. He moved his head. The doctors couldn’t believe it—the “dead” baby was alive!

The Ogg family’s joy helps us understand the joy felt by the widow in today’s passage (vv. 11-17). Widows had no social standing in that day—and to be a childless widow, well, that was the lowest of the low. Why would an up-and-coming young rabbi waste His time on such a person? To show God’s love and power, that’s why. Jesus’ “heart went out to her.” By raising her son from the dead, He performed His most powerful miracle so far. The people saw God’s covenant love in this deed, and the word that “God has come to help his people” spread quickly.

Three other improbable events in this chapter also testify to Jesus’ identity as the Messiah and Son of God. First, tremendous faith was ascribed not to a Jew but to a Roman centurion (v. 9). The man showed great humility and spiritual understanding in his approach to Jesus, and as a result his servant was healed. Second, doubt was expressed not by a Pharisee but by John the Baptist, the forerunner himself. He sent two followers to get a definitive answer, showing that no one is immune to doubt. Jesus gave him what he asked for (v. 22) and honored his ministry (v. 28).

Third and finally, respect and honor were paid to Jesus not by His own disciples but by a former prostitute. She anointed Him with expensive perfume, an act of respect and worship and an implied prayer for forgiveness. Jesus granted her prayer and taught His listeners a powerful lesson (vv. 47-50).

MONDAY

Read: Luke 8

TODAY IN THE WORD

Sweet potatoes might be an ancient solution to the modern problem of hunger. They have been grown as a food crop for more than 5,000 years. Ninety-five percent of the global sweet potato crop is currently grown in developing countries, where they rank fifth in importance as a food source. Adaptable and hardy, as well as rich in carbohydrates and vitamin A, sweet potatoes have often served as lifesavers in times of famine. The American Society for Horticultural Science recently published research that will help small-scale farmers in developing countries raise even more of this valuable crop.

Planting sweet potatoes can help fight world hunger, and planting the seed of the gospel can help fight world sin. The Parable of the Sower, the first of 29 parables recorded by Luke, is well placed in his Gospel.

The narrative to this point has revealed who Jesus was, why He came, and the central themes of His message. Jesus had already encountered the responses described in the parable (vv. 11-15). First is unbelief, as the devil “takes away the word from their hearts.” Second, people accept it—if it’s convenient. “They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away.” The third response is stunted growth. “As they go on their way, they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.” And the fourth response to the seed of the gospel is obedient faith. They “hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.” These four are meant to be illustrative rather than exhaustive. That is, they do not cover all possible scenarios, but rather represent a spectrum of possible responses to Jesus.

The rest of the chapter gives us plenty of reasons to respond to Christ in faith. We can trust in the One who rules over nature and is able to calm storms and heal diseases. We can trust in the One who rules over the supernatural world and is able to cast out demons. We can trust in the One who reverses death itself and raises a dead girl to life. If we “hear God’s word and put it into practice” (v. 21), this is the One who counts us as family!

 

 TUESDAY

Read: Luke 9

TODAY IN THE WORD

While it’s easy to focus on Jesus’ dramatic miracles and confrontations with the Pharisees, His most significant ministry—apart from our salvation—is found in His relational mentoring and teaching of His twelve closest disciples. A classic article in Discipleship Journal titled “If Jesus Led Your Small Group” suggests key principles based on how Jesus led His own “small group” of unlikely future church leaders. These principles include preparation or setting aside dedicated time, modeling what you say, room for questions, a safe atmosphere or forgiveness for failure, mutual friendship (rather than know-it-all authoritarianism), and flexibility.

We see these principles in today’s reading. Luke 9 seems to focus more on these personal dimensions of Jesus’ ministry. When He sent out the Twelve, it’s as if He were saying, “Here, you take the wheel.” This was a powerful and encouraging experience for them, so much so that Jesus afterward took them on a ministry debriefing retreat. When the crowds interrupted, He was disappointed that the disciples seemed to doubt He could do something as simple as provide lunch. His miracle told them once again that He was the Son of God. The leaders and crowds had varying opinions, but He wanted His disciples to have no doubts about His identity. With divine help (Matt. 16:17), Peter boldly declared that Jesus was “God’s Messiah” (v. 20).

Discipleship is a journey filled with highs and lows. There are moments of exhilarating insight, as in Peter’s confession. There are moments of beholding God’s glory, as at the Transfiguration. There are also times of shame and suffering as we live counter to the world’s priorities. Giving one’s life for Christ’s sake is part of what it means to be His disciple (vv. 23-26, 57-62). Following Him must be our absolutely top priority. Thankfully, it’s about God’s strength, not our own, for there will be times when we fail (as when the disciples couldn’t cast out an evil spirit) or embarrass ourselves (as when they argued about who was the greatest). Once we’ve put our hand to the plow, though, there’s no turning back!

APPLY THE WORD

It is possible to understand some spiritual truths but remain clueless about others. Though Peter knew exactly who Jesus was, he didn’t grasp what Jesus told him about the suffering and death He would soon undergo (vv. 22, 44-45). Though the disciples had experienced Jesus’ power, they didn’t grasp that this power was for love and service, not conquest or revenge (vv. 51-56). We must trust that God is the One who enlightens our spiritual understanding at just the right times. 

 

 

WEDNESDAY

Read: Luke 10

TODAY IN THE WORD

A hit-and-run driver struck a 78-year-old man on a busy city street in Hartford, Connecticut. Car after car drove by the injured man, and bystanders gawked. Several people did call 911, but a surveillance camera captured most people’s unwillingness to get involved or help. The same month, again captured by video, a woman who had been waiting for a bed for 24 hours in a Brooklyn hospital collapsed on the floor, writhing in pain. Staff and patients in the waiting room noticed her convulsions but made no move to help. When someone did check on her over an hour later, it was too late—the woman was dead.

Whether in ancient or modern times, it seems that the sacrificial love of the Good Samaritan remains the exception rather than the rule. Jesus shared this parable about truly loving one’s neighbor in response to a test question from a religious leader about the greatest commandment (vv. 25-37).

The story teaches many things about love. Love is not predictable—those who might be expected to obey the commandment (two religious leaders) did not do so. Love crosses boundaries of ethnic and cultural prejudice, as the Samaritan helped the Jew. Love goes the extra mile and makes a personal investment, seen in the ways the Samaritan cared with his own resources for the robbery victim. Love loves when no one is watching, on a lonely road, not for human praise.

Jesus’ story illuminated the true nature of love, exhorted His hearers to love in this manner, and revealed the deep love and mercy of God. The “neighbor,” after all, turned out to be the one who showed mercy to the helpless man in need, just as God has done for us (vv. 36-37).

God’s merciful love enables another kind of love, that of friendship between human beings and God (John 15:15). Mary was one of Jesus’ closest friends, and at the end of the chapter she showed her devotion by choosing “what is better,” that is, to sit quietly and listen to her friend and Savior (v. 42).

APPLY THE WORD

As when Jesus sent out the Twelve, His sending out of the 72 in today’s reading was a training exercise in leadership and ministry. But even more, it was an act of love for the people of Israel. The preaching and miracles done by this larger group of disciples gave many more people a chance to learn about Jesus than would otherwise have been possible. As He so often does, God was giving people maximum opportunity to turn to Him (see 1 Tim. 2:3-4). 

 

THURSDAY

Read: Luke 11

TODAY IN THE WORD

In his book, Read, Think, Pray, Live, youth pastor Tony Jones suggested that an old approach to prayer might be just the thing for modern young people. The approach is called lectio divina, and it involves four steps: reading a Scripture passage both aloud and silently, meditating on the passage, praying aloud about issues that God puts on one’s heart during the previous step, and finally, contemplating God and resting in Him. The idea is that youth today are exceptionally busy and, thanks to technology, constantly multitasking. For this reason, they have a hard time “being still” before the Lord (Ps. 46:10). “Lectio divina” is one way for them to slow down and find silence in which they can hear God’s voice.

Jesus taught His disciples another kind of model prayer in today’s reading (vv. 1-4; cf. Matt. 6:5-13). It begins with “Father”—how gracious of Almighty God to encourage us to address Him with such an intimate term! This is not to take Him for granted, however—“hallowed be your name, your kingdom come” recognizes His holiness and sovereignty and prays for the whole world to do the same.

The first personal petition, “Give us each day our daily bread,” is a request for basic physical needs to be met. The second, “Forgive us our sins,” covers our most basic spiritual need and is followed by reminders that we, too, should forgive others and need God’s help to resist sin’s temptation. Jesus’ expanded teaching on prayer emphasized persistence (vv. 5-8), boldness (vv. 9-10), and faith (vv. 11-13). We should pray tenaciously, believing that God can and will answer.

As seen in the rest of the chapter, prayer is important because it prepares the soul for spiritual experiences and conflicts beyond human strength. This included not only demonic opposition but also human opposition, as Jesus’ enemies made the illogical argument that He was casting out evil spirits using Satan’s power, demanded a sign in addition to all the miracles already performed, and focused on legalistic trivia like hand-washing and spice-tithing rather than justice and love (v. 42).

APPLY THE WORD

Young people are not the only busy Americans who use technology to multitask. Who among us is beyond the reach of our cell phone? How often does the background noise of a car radio or MP3 player fill our ears while we’re doing something else? Is “being still” before the Lord a lost art in our daily spiritual walk? Using the “lectio divina” approach, or simply using the model of the Lord’s Prayer, might slow things down enough for us to be able to savor prayer and listen to God. 


 

FRIDAY

Read: Luke 12

TODAY IN THE WORD

Junior high school science teacher Doug Edmonds makes science “cool.” Using music, Edmonds takes popular songs and rewrites the lyrics in order to explain scientific ideas such as density and chemical bonds. Then he creates videos of himself singing the new song, complete with visual aids such as flash cards and diagrams. These music videos are posted on the Internet, where his students (and anyone else) can learn from them. The songs help his students to remember and understand complex concepts. One said, “If I’m ever struggling on a quiz, I’ll just sort of sing them to my-self.”

As seen in His parables and elsewhere, Jesus was also a creative master teacher. Even when delivering spiritual warnings, He did so in powerful language and memorable images. There are seven things in today’s reading that He warned us to be on guard against.

(1) Hypocrisy (vv. 1-3). He called this “the yeast of the Pharisees” and warned that one day their true character would be known. (2) Disrespecting God (vv. 4-12). He cares for us, but those who reject Him will themselves be rejected on judgment day. When we stand firm, by contrast, He helps us. (3) Greed (vv. 13-21). The rich fool in the parable disrespected God and put his trust in the wrong object. In the end, his material possessions couldn’t save him. By comparison, we should seek God’s kingdom as genuine treasure.

(4) Worry (vv. 22-34). Greed might in part be fueled by worry or anxiety, which shows a lack of faith in God to care and provide. A lack of generosity might also show that we’re anxiously attached to our material resources. (5) Spiritual unreadiness (vv. 35-48). The servants in the parable weren’t ready for their master’s return. Committed servants of God need to be faithful and vigilant. (6) Spiritual unfaithfulness (vv. 49-53). Faith in Christ creates difficult social and personal choices, but proper priorities mean God must always come first. (7) Spiritual blindness (vv. 54-59). We need to be sensitive to the “signs of the times” and on the lookout for what God is doing.

APPLY THE WORD

Financial worry might be high—after all, today is when personal income tax returns must be filed in the United States, though this year we actually have until Monday, April 18. Tax season is an excellent time to take to heart Jesus’ warnings concerning greed and worry. Those with more should remember that “life does not consist in the abundance of possessions” (v. 15)—those with less, that we should “seek his kingdom, and [food and clothing] will be given to you as well” (v. 31). 

 

SATURDAY

Read: Luke 13

TODAY IN THE WORD

Author and pastor John Piper wrote: “We were made to know and treasure the glory of God above all things. . . . The sun of God’s glory was made to shine at the center of the solar system of our soul. And when it does, all the planets of our life are held in their proper orbit. But when the sun is displaced, everything flies apart. The healing of the soul begins by restoring the glory of God to its flaming, all-attracting place at the center. We are all starved for the glory of God, not self. . . . Into the darkness of petty self-preoccupation has shone ‘the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God’ (2 Corinthians 4:4).”

Genuine faith keeps God at the center. When we sin, genuine repentance restores the relationship (vv. 1-9). In the thinking of Jesus’ day (and perhaps in the thinking of some in our own day), people who suffer tragedies must have done something wicked to deserve it. Presented with an example, however, Jesus essentially said that all people are sinners and equally deserving of divine punishment unless they repent. We cannot say that bad things happening show that a person must be especially bad. We are all sinful (Rom. 3:22-24). Like the fig tree in the parable, we all will be held accountable for our actions.

At present, the kingdom of God (vv. 18-30) is about people’s inner faith. The Lord can take faith as small as a mustard seed and turn it into a huge tree, or faith as small as a bit of yeast and mix it throughout a large batch of dough. Initially small and unimpressive, the mustard seed and bit of yeast will be victorious in the end, just as faith will be. In the future, the kingdom of God will be like a celebratory banquet of the faithful, global in scope but also full of overturned expectations. People who think they should be “in” will turn out to be “out” because they neglected the only banquet invitation that mattered—the “narrow door” of faith in Jesus Christ.

APPLY THE WORD

If “God so loved the world” and the kingdom banquet will welcome guests from all over the world, why did Jesus speak of faith as a “narrow door” (v. 24)? Because there is one and only one way to God—belief in His Son, Jesus Christ (John 14:6). No other way will do, no matter how “spiritual” or well intentioned. This truth offends many in our pluralistic age, but it reminds us of the rich necessity of “seeing and savoring Jesus Christ” (the title of a book by John Piper). 

 


THE WEEKLY WORD WITH MOODY

Can be found here:

http://theweeklywordmoody.blogspot.com/

 


WORDDEVO: "The Weekly Word with Charles R. Swindoll" [11-17 thru 11-24] DEVOTIONALS

 

Seven Days of Devotion

  The Weekly Word is a Collection of Devotionals to be read on the Day Listed and presented freely as a service to and for the Body of Christ and Believers throughout the World that We may Hear God Speak to us as the Spirit of God gives us ears to hear and eyes to see what God would have for us daily in relationship to Him.

Heat but No Light
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read Exodus 2:11--14; Acts 7:20--29

Moses believed he was to be the deliverer, many years before he received his recommission at the burning bush. He assumed everyone else would realize it too.

The passage goes on to tell us, "On the following day he appeared to them as they were fighting" (Acts 7:26).

Now why did he go back to the scene of the crime? I think he returned to carry out his plan. He'd proved his loyalty to the Hebrews by striking down an Egyptian official. That was Plan A. Now for Plan B. He would return to the scene of his action and rally the troops. But they didn't listen to his counsel. In fact, they didn't respect him at all. "But the one who was injuring his neighbor pushed him away, saying, 'Who made you a ruler and judge over us?'" (Acts 7:27).

How those words must have stung a man who had just risked everything.

It's a pretty simple plan, isn't it? A meat-and-potatoes sort of proposition. If you're a spiritual leader, spiritual people will follow you. That's true of any leader. If you've got the goods, people follow. But they didn't follow Moses. At that point, the prince of Egypt led a lonely one-man parade. The bills of the flesh are now coming due.

Let's level with each other. Have you ever experienced something like that? Most of us have been there. You get all ready to pull off something big for God. You set goals. You spend time and money. You tell a bunch of people. But as painful as it may be for us to admit it, goals not bathed in prayer or brought before the Lord in humility turn out to be downright useless. They don't go anywhere. They don't accomplish anything. They generate heat but no light. And you're left with confusion and defeat.
 
Bottom line: If you are moving in the energy of the flesh, your efforts are doomed to fail. But when you trust the Lord God to give you the next step, when you wait in humility upon Him, He will open the doors or close them, and you'll get to rest and relax until He says, "Go."

 

 

MONDAY

Bumps in the Road
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read Exodus 2:11--15

First surprise. Next confusion, followed by fear, like icy fingers around the heart. When Moses' well-kept secret hit the prime-time networks, he got the shakes. And acting on fear, the biblical account states that "he fled from the presence of Pharaoh." Why did he run? Verse 15 tells us, "Pharaoh tried to kill Moses." Now that Moses had tipped his hand and shown his true loyalties, Pharaoh couldn't stomach having such a threat around. In the king's eyes, a disloyal and out-of-control prince was better off dead. What awful repercussions grew out of Moses' ill-considered action.

It is very possible that you, too, have been forced to deal with such consequences. Your track record may reflect a pattern of great ambition but little knowledge. Great desire but little discernment. Great aspirations but little humility. Great zeal but little wisdom. And so you have to run the rabbit trails right to the bitter dead-ends, one after another. You've run faster each time, but never succeeded. None has taken you where you wanted to go. And if the truth were known, your impulsive actions have resulted in an unbearable situation.
 
In my book, there's only one thing worse than being at the end of a self-directed life, and that's being in the middle of one.

You say, "Well, I'm in my thirties, I ought to know better than that." Moses was forty.

You say, "Hey, I'm no novice! I've got education and training like you wouldn't believe!" Better than Moses? Remember, by this time in his career, he was "educated in all the learning of the Egyptians."
 
Our impressive resumé is part of the problem. Sometimes we're educated beyond our own intelligence. We know more than we're safe to handle! The truth is, when you rely on the flesh to get a job done, you don't need more schooling. You don't need another degree. You don't need more training seminars. Plain and simple, you need wisdom. So do I. So do all of God's people.

But discerning wisdom takes time. It takes some major bumps in the road. It takes enduring some failures and swallowing big and bitter doses of humility. Welcome to reality

 

TUESDAY

Sit Down!
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read Exodus 2:11--15

Moses was a frightened and disillusioned fugitive running, escaping for his very life. His vaunted education now meant nothing to him. His knowledge of hieroglyphics and Egyptian culture gave him no comfort. His military victories seemed hollow. Thanks to his rash act of violence, that same military wanted to kill him. And with every step, he probably groaned within himself over his untimely deed, saying things like, "Life is over. God can never, never use me. I'm absolutely finished."

Maybe that's where you are today as you read these words. This man Moses lived thousands of years ago, but the situation I've just described may seem as contemporary to you as today's stale bread in your kitchen. You say, "I've worked so hard. Tried so many things. Pushed myself so relentlessly. But it's gotten me nowhere. Nothing has worked for me. It's curtains."

Believe it or not, you may be closer than ever in your life to a spiritual breakthrough. You won't quit running in the flesh until you get to the endless, waterless sand dunes. When you finally get there, when you finally stumble to a stop in the pitiful shade of some sun-scorched rock, you will be saying to yourself, "Will God ever, ever use me?" And there you'll sit.

When the self-life finally sits down, the well of a new life lies near. When will we ever learn that? Highly qualified, capable people prefer to be on the move; sitting down goes against the grain. Yet when that broken forty-year-old named Moses finally slumped to the ground at the end of a self-driven life, fresh, cool drinking water was available right next to him.

Sit down. That's right, my friend, sit down!

You have run far enough. You have pushed long enough. You have fought, demanded, and manipulated your way for too many years. God has finally grabbed your attention. He is saying, "Quit! Stop! Let Me handle it! Sit there on the hot sands of the desert where you have brought yourself. Look at what lies next to you. It is a well, full of fresh water." Soon it will be God's delight to bring up the bucket and refresh your soul. Sit still. Stay there. Be quiet. Listen.

 

WEDNESDAY

Shrink-Wrapped Salvation
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read Exodus 2:15--25

Moses took a forty-story fall. As we pick up the biblical account, he's a heavy-hearted, bruised-and-battered soul who has come to a sudden stop at the bottom. In a matter of mere days, he has stepped off the top of the pyramid as Pharaoh-designate and down to a bedraggled, penniless fugitive on the backside of Zipville.

Living as we do in a product-oriented culture, we like to package our faith too. We prefer to sell a slick, shrink-wrapped version of salvation that includes prosperity and peace, endless happiness here and now, and heaven by and by. While there is nothing wrong with teaching principles that can result in genuine, God-given success, there is something wrong if we neglect to mention the process, which must inevitably include times of defeat and failure.
 
I wouldn't have to go back very far on my calendar to revisit a week where I missed the mark---missed the whole target---more than I hit close to the bull's eye. And I don't have to be a prophet to proclaim that you have experienced the same. Of course you have. You may be having such a week even as you read these words.
 
What I'd like to know is who erected such a happily-ever-after standard of perfection in the first place? God knows very well we aren't able to produce perfection; that's why Jesus, the perfect Son of God, graciously died in our place. That's why He gave us a position of perfect righteousness in Him, reminding us by contrast that our own daily experience will constantly fall short.

If you're waiting for a seamless, blemish-free week, friend, you're going to wait in vain. There is no such thing. And until we learn how to derive lessons from seasons of failure and loss, we will keep repeating those failures---digging ourselves into an ever deeper hole---rather than moving on as we grow up.

What you and I need is the reminder of the process that leads to times of victory and success. Then, with memories of those golden moments shining in our minds, we'll learn how to avoid some of those valleys, or how to climb out of them more quickly. That process, I believe, is every bit as important as the product.

 

THURSDAY

Selfless Dedication
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read Exodus 2:15--25

Moses, the Prince of Egypt, alias Prince Charming, watering animals? Why? Because Moses had just choked down the biggest wedge of humble pie you can imagine. By now, the man was ready to do anything. Isn't it interesting, though, that in this incident Moses was allowed to be a deliverer on an immensely smaller scale? Earlier, he had thought he was going to deliver a nation. He had grand dreams and mighty schemes. But this time God said, "You want a job as deliverer? Then stand up and do it, son. Start here. There are seven women here in Midian who need a champion at this moment."
 
Moses could have shrugged it off. He could have said, "Aw forget it. I'm out of the delivery business. Let someone else do the job." But he didn't. It was here Moses took his first steps in becoming a man of selfless dedication. The young women would later tell their father, "An Egyptian delivered us from the hand of the shepherds, and what is more, he even drew the water for us and watered the flock" (v 19).

That thought moves me. If you can't do the good you would, do the good you can. You may have had big-time plans in your life---major league dreams that haven't panned out. You were going to write a best-selling book, but the opportunities just haven't come along. Are you willing to write for your church newsletter?

Maybe you wanted to teach in seminary or Bible school, but the pressures of life forced you in a different direction. Are you willing to teach a fourth-grade Sunday school class? Are you up for leading a small group Bible study? Is it really the teaching that draws your heart, or is it the prestige that goes along with the position?

Failure, you see, teaches us a servant's attitude. And what does a servant do? He does "the next task." She does what is available and ready for her to do. Those without such an attitude resist getting their hands dirty. They never want to get involved in the messy part of working with people. They always want the polished part, the popular part. But the tough stuff behind the scenes? Well, give that to someone else.

God, however, will use our failures and setbacks to cultivate within us a servant's heart. That's step one. It's all part of the process.

   

 FRIDAY

Living in Obscurity
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read Exodus 2:16--25

Pay close attention to that last sentence. "Moses was willing to dwell with the man." How good that is. Here is a man he had never met; an obscure desert priest and shepherd, who had spent a lifetime raising sheep (and daughters!) in the desolate patch of land known as Midian. "And he gave his daughter Zipporah to Moses. Then she gave birth to a son, and he named him Gershom, for he said, "I have been a sojourner in a foreign land" (vv. 21--22).

Moses, who would have been in line to marry an exotic Cleopatra-type beauty back in Egypt, settled down with a shepherdess. And when she gave birth to their firstborn, Moses gave him an unusual name: Gershom. It means "a sojourner." That's what Moses had become---a sojourner in a distant land, forgotten and obscure. He came into Midian not knowing anyone, not knowing the ropes, not even knowing where he was going to live. But when Jethro said, "Young man, would you like to live with us?" Moses replied, "Yes, I would. I'll live anywhere."

Let me ask you directly: Are you willing to be obscure? A servant's mindset will teach you what that attitude is all about. To put it in simple terms, in the Body of Christ some people are called to be the toes. Not everyone can be a right hand, an eye, or an ear. Some people have to be the toe, or the heel, or the kidney, or the liver. These members are (hopefully) seldom seen. But just let one of them stop functioning for awhile and watch out! The whole body is in trouble.

Moses was willing to be obscure, to dwell apart from the limelight, to accept his new status. I ask again: Are you? God will use failure in your life to break down that strong desire in your heart to see your name in lights. And when he finally breaks you of that lust for recognition, He may place you before the lights like you could never have imagined. But then it won't matter. You won't care if you're prime time or small time, center stage or backstage, leading the charge or cooking the food. You're just part of the King's army. People of selfless dedication are mainly available. That's plenty!


SATURDAY

Through It All
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read Exodus 2:15--25

You'd better believe that Moses, though tucked away in a corner of that wasteland, heard the latest news from the travelers in caravans making their way up from Egypt through the Midian desert. When Moses learned the Hebrews were crying out, his heart must have turned over within him. But unlike before, he rested and relied upon God. He didn't try to organize a rescue party. He didn't slip back into Egypt as an assassin or saboteur. Not him! He'd learned that lesson.

Do you know who it is who keeps erecting all those unrealistic standards in your life? Do you know who keeps raising the bar beyond all hope of clearing it?

It's you. You do. And so do I. Our Heavenly Father doesn't. The psalmist tells us, "He knows our frame. He remembers that we are dust." We think we're finished because of our failures, but God says, "No, you're just getting started. Press on!"

Our problem isn't that we've failed. Our problem is that we haven't failed enough. We haven't been brought low enough to learn what God wants us to learn. We're still trying to redeem Egypt single-handedly.

So what are you trying to prove? Who are you trying to impress? Why don't you step off that treadmill and just be yourself? Plead with the Spirit of God to prepare you, then use you, however He pleases, dark side and all. You'll be amazed how that takes the pressure off.

This very moment, you and I are the recipients of a gift from One who loves us just the way we are: warts, cracks, failures, and all. Since it is a gift, you might as well open your hands and receive it. Look, there---that's your name on the tag, just underneath the ribbon.

The gift is called grace.

 

 

 

 THE WEEKLY WORD WITH CHARLES R. SWINDOLL

Can be found here:

 

http://theweeklywordcharlesrswindoll.blogspot.com/

 


WORDDEVO: "The Weekly Word with Bob Coy" [11-17 thru 11-24] DEVOTIONALS

 

Seven Days of Devotion

  The Weekly Word is a Collection of Devotionals to be read on the Day Listed and presented freely as a service to and for the Body of Christ and Believers throughout the World that We may Hear God Speak to us as the Spirit of God gives us ears to hear and eyes to see what God would have for us daily in relationship to Him.

A TRANSCENDENT TIE

When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take care of me. -Psalm 27:10 (NKJV)

Relationships differ in their degree of reliability. Some relationships, just by virtue of what they are, are going to be more reliable than others.

For example, you're not going to depend on the cashier at the grocery store the same way you're going to rely on your life-long friend. Both people represent a relationship, but one is professional and passing, while the other is personal and enduring. You can rely more on your friend because...well, he or she is your friend.

But what happens when a relationship that's supposed to be reliable isn't? What happens when a person's relationship with his or her parents isn't what it should be? What happens when this relational "safety net of last resort" is removed? What happens when your own father and mother forsake you?

David has the answer. When the strongest natural bond between child and parent is broken, there's a supernatural tie that can never be severed. Even when one's own father and mother have fled or forsaken, God will still be there to care for those who belong to Him.

Our family tie to Him is transcendent and stronger than any relationship this world can ever produce. No matter how many people have turned their backs on us, our Heavenly Father is always there with arms wide open. That's a relationship we can rely on like no other. Our associates and acquaintances, our closest friends and family, even our own father and mother will never be as relationally reliable as the Lord...because He's the One who will be there when no one else is.

What does this passage reveal to me about God?

What does this passage reveal to me about myself?

Based on this, what changes do I need to make?

What is my prayer for today? 

 

MONDAY

GOD IN 4 ACTS

Save Your people, and bless Your inheritance; shepherd them also, and bear them up forever. -Psalm 28:9 (NKJV)

One of the great things about God's Word is that it's able to say so much with so little. Here in this single verse, we're introduced to four distinct roles God faithfully fulfills for His people.

First, we see God as our Savior: "Save Your people...." Where would we be if God didn't save His people? We'd be on a collision course with condemnation and eternal punishment, and rightfully so. If the Lord hadn't chosen to step in and save us from our sins, every point in life would be a moot one. But God, knowing and seeing our need for eternal life, did what it took to spare us and save us.

Next, God is shown to be our Blesser: "...and bless Your inheritance...." The Hebrew word here for bless conveys the idea of speaking peaceably towards someone. It means God's heart is always benevolent and beneficent toward us. He's on our side. He never curses or condemns us but instead blesses us and builds us up.

Third, we're introduced to God as our Feeder: "...shepherd them also...." In the Hebrew, the word for shepherd primarily refers to a shepherd's responsibility to feed his sheep. The Lord doesn't leave us to feed ourselves. He's always there, providing for us, making sure we're well fed and filled up with what we need.

Finally, we see Him as our Bearer: "... and bear them up forever." When we're feeling overwhelmed and overcome by the stresses of life, when we sense we're about to sink, God is there to lift us up and carry us. In fact, the word for bear can be rendered "to wear on one's shoulder." What place could ever be more secure than on God's shoulders?

What does this passage reveal to me about God?

What does this passage reveal to me about myself?

Based on this, what changes do I need to make?

What is my prayer for today? 

   

TUESDAY

WOW!

The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is full of majesty. -Psalm 29:4 (NKJV)

Many of the Psalms are just an extended and eloquent way of saying "WOW!" Psalm 29 is one such Psalm. It looks at a particular aspect of this great God we serve-His voice-and leaves us in such a state of awe and amazement that the only real response we can exclaim is "Glory!" That's a biblical way of saying "Wow!"

An ear-splitting, heart-stopping thunderclap that rolls and reverberates from horizon to horizon...the unrelenting force of a hurricane that strips the very skin off of the proudest trees...an earthquake that shatters the strongest foundations of the world... they're all mere whispers of the might and majesty of God's voice.

Couple this with the reality that we're steeped in a society where so many people are struggling and striving to have their voices heard. Our eyes and ears are constantly being ambushed by talking heads, spin doctors, and flavor-of-the-month pundits who are fighting for market share when it comes to our attention. No expense is spared in getting us to listen to their opinions and to hopefully adopt them. There's no void of voices in our world today.

But the voice of the Lord drowns them all. The voice of the Lord is powerful and full of majesty. It rises above anything we could ever speak or say. It shakes the ground we walk on and splits the sky we live beneath. God's voice can't be censored or tamed any more than a volatile volcano in full-fury can be silenced. When God wants to be heard, He is, and the only reasonable response is "Glory!"

What does this passage reveal to me about God?

What does this passage reveal to me about myself?

Based on this, what changes do I need to make?

What is my prayer for today? 

 

WEDNESDAY

TRIUNITY

Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness." Genesis 1:26 (NKJV)

Yesterday, we considered the oneness of God. We saw that the scriptures very clearly define Him as the one and only God. And yet, we don't get very far before we start to notice something unusual about Him. It first shows up in the verse above, as God identifies Himself with the plural pronouns us and our.

It happens again later on in Genesis 3:22 when He says man has become "like one of Us." And again it shows up in Genesis 11:7 as He says, "Let Us go down" to confuse man's language at the tower of Babel. Why does God, who is One, identify Himself this way?

Here's what we can determine based on what the rest of God's Word reveals to us: Although He is one and only one being, there are also three separate and distinct persons that simultaneously exist.

These persons are revealed as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. They are distinct from each other and yet they aren't three separate gods. They are three yet one, and the term we use to capture this concept is triunity, meaning three and one.


Sounds pretty confusing...how can we buy into something so mind-bending? Although the triunity, or the Trinity, is a challenge to our finite minds, we know it to be absolutely true because Scripture says so. 


One of Jesus' final commands to His disciples on earth was to make disciples of all nations and to baptize them in the "name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (Matthew 28:19). Notice the singular form of the word "name," pointing to the oneness of God, and yet the three persons are clearly distinguished. We also have plenty of passages that identify each person of the Trinity as being God (John 1:1, Acts 5:3-5, Colossians 2:9).


So while we embrace the oneness of God, we also recognize the triunity of God as one of His essential attributes.

What does this passage reveal to me about God?

What does this passage reveal to me about myself?

Based on this, what changes do I need to make?

What is my prayer for today?

 


THURSDAY

ETERNALITY

And God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." Exodus 3:14 (NKJV)

Moses found himself in the uncomfortable position of being called on by God to do an impossible task. In his mind, there were a myriad of reasons why he wouldn't be able to deliver the Israelites from Pharaoh's vice-grip.


As Moses went back and forth with God, he eventually asked, "What if people ask me your name? What should I tell them?" God answered the question, and in so doing uncovers an amazing attribute about Himself. "I AM WHO I AM."


By identifying Himself as "I AM," God is declaring that He always is existent in the immediate now. He isn't bound or trapped by time like we are. There was never a time when God wasn't. He has no fixed point when He was born or brought into being. He has no beginning or end. He just...is.


We use the word eternality to describe this divine attribute. It reminds us that God is eternal and everlasting; a truth attested to by Abraham in Genesis 21:33, Moses in Deuteronomy 33:27, David in Psalm 41:13, Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4:34, Paul in Romans 16:26, and John in Revelation 1:8. 

The eternality of God is also part of one of the most important prophecies in all the Bible. Micah 5:2 not only tells us that Jesus would be born in the unassuming town of Bethlehem, but it also states that He would be brought into this world "from everlasting," pointing to His eternal existence from eternity past. 
We're so governed by time that it's hard to imagine anything else, but what a comfort it is to know that the God who ultimately governs over us isn't.


Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. (1 Timothy 1:17 NKJV)

What does this passage reveal to me about God?

What does this passage reveal to me about myself?

Based on this, what changes do I need to make?

What is my prayer for today?

 

FRIDAY

 

OMNIPRESENCE

Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? Psalms 139:7 (NKJV)

Have you been sucked into the phenomenon known as Google Maps yet? It really is remarkable. With just a few clicks, you can get a bird's eye view of just about anywhere in the world. Technologically, it's an amazing advance for mankind. But practically, it really can't do much else. You can look at another county, state, country,or continent, but it doesn't actually allow you to be there. You can only be in one place at one time, and as long as you're using Google Maps, that one place is sitting at your computer.


Now take a moment to mull this over: God is always everywhere. He is always present, or the term we frequently employ is omnipresent (omni meaning all). There's not a square inch on this planet (and there are 1.96 x 100,000,000,000,000,000 of them on land alone) where God is absent. But beyond that, there's not a single square inch in the entire universe (the number would fill out the rest of this page), where God isn't present.


God is absolutely everywhere, always, and He expresses His omnipresence quite poignantly in the Book of Jeremiah: Can anyone hide himself in secret places, so I shall not see him?" says the LORD: "Do I not fill heaven and earth?" says the LORD. (Jeremiah 23:24 NKJV)


But God's omnipresence isn't just impressive, it's also comforting. One of the last things Jesus did for His followers before returning to heaven was to point them to His omnipresence by promising, "I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:20). No matter where we might be in this world, it's encouraging to know we're always in the midst of God's presence.

What does this passage reveal to me about God?

What does this passage reveal to me about myself?

Based on this, what changes do I need to make?

What is my prayer for today?

SATURDAY

 

Who can say to Him, 'What are You doing?' Job 9:12 (NKJV)

God's sovereignty is closely linked with His omnipotence (see yesterday). But there's an important difference between the two. God's omnipotence speaks of His sheer ability, but sovereignty speaks of His authority to act upon that ability. Not only can He control everything, He actually does control everything.


For some, that's a scary thought. When they think of God being in absolute control over all things, they begin to sweat. They don't like it. They don't like Him being in control. They'd rather control things themselves, they'd rather be in authority and make the decisions. But that's only because they don't know Him.


Admittedly, God's sovereignty would be a scary thing if it stood all alone. But when it's combined with His other attributes-His holiness, His mercy, His love, His patience, His faithfulness, etc.-it becomes quite clear that there's nobody better suited to be in complete control.


There's no other hand we'd rather have on this world's wheel, and God's sovereignty is something that ought to bring joy instead of apprehension.


Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, 'My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure....' (Isaiah 46:10 NKJV)

What does this passage reveal to me about God?

What does this passage reveal to me about myself?

Based on this, what changes do I need to make?

What is my prayer for today?

THE WEEKLY WORD WITH BOB COY

Can be found here:

 

http://theweeklywordbobcoy.blogspot.com/

 


WORDDEVO: "The Weekly Word with Leadership Principles" [11-18 thru 11-24] DEVOTIONALS

 

Seven Days of Devotion

 The Weekly Word is a Collection of Devotionals to be read on the Day Listed and presented freely as a service to and for the Body of Christ and Believers throughout the World that We may Hear God Speak to us as the Spirit of God gives us ears to hear and eyes to see what God would have for us daily in relationship to Him.

 

 

Do you feel your situation is hopeless

and your team will never respond?

 

Even the best leaders are unable to turn some situations around.

Read Ezekiel 14:12-23.

The Lord came to Ezekiel when he was speaking to the elders of Israel exiled in Babylon and gave him a message of condemnation for their ongoing practice of idolatry. God named three of His best from their Jewish history including Daniel, a very familiar one who was a well-known leader during the exile, and stated that even they would not have been able to save this rebellious people from themselves. Even though all three were full of integrity, character, and discipline, totally competent and responsible to do the right thing; God says even they could save only themselves because the people would not listen to them. 

Leaders are designed by God to do what they do – lead! If their team is not responding they assume that the application of more leadership, closer supervision, more and closer checkpoints to monitor progress, seeking different counsel, or a myriad of other techniques will help them gain momentum and bring a situation under control, and generally it does. But, there are times, according to Ezekiel 14, when people’s hearts become so hard that no leader can succeed.

I have seen times when a leader has had their head down for days, months or years looking inward because they could not get a team to respond. Truth be known, no leader could turn some of these teams around. It should and generally does take an experienced leader, who has seen success, a long time to give up on trying to turn a situation from chaos to productive but according to Ezekiel, there may arise a situation where people won’t change. In Matthew 10 when Jesus sent His team out to various towns and gave them supernatural authority over the spirit world and disease and sickness, Jesus told His team there would be a time they may have to leave a town or individuals that were hard hearted (v 14).

Do you feel your situation is hopeless and your team will never respond? Do you think it may be time to move on for your own sanity and self-preservation? Today’s study contains elements that can be tricky. Leaders’ emotion to the lack of success can convince them they are in an impossible situation and should leave. That may be true or like with Joseph in the Bible, God may have you in a specific situation for a period of development for greater things in the future. If there is ever a time for a leader to seek the heart and wisdom of God it is when they are determining to give up on an individual or a team. Wise, God-honoring leaders pray they stay in God’s will, seek God’s wisdom, pray for discernment and don’t make emotional, rash, knee-jerk decisions when it comes to giving up on a team.

Psalm 94:14 “For the Lord will not reject His people; He will never forsake His inheritance.”

 

MONDAY

Are you experiencing a high rate of turnover

among the senior leadership?

 

A leader will attract like minded individuals.

Read Ezekiel 16:23-29.

God delivered a strong message of condemnation of the city of Jerusalem through Ezekiel to the Jews exiled in Babylon. It was meant to dash the hopes of those who still had dreams of returning to their homeland and once again living in the glorious city of Jerusalem. Through Ezekiel God explains to the people the many ways those living in the city had broken their covenant with Him and just why Jerusalem would be destroyed. Verses 23-29show how the attitude of the religious elite in Jerusalem toward honoring the gods of other nations had given rise to construction of images of pagan gods in public areas of the city and had attracted worshipers of the gods from Egypt, Assyria, and Babylon. 

Leaders establish the organizational climate that attracts or repulses certain kinds of individuals. This is a law of behavior that functions as surely as the law of gravity. I have seen times when, for appearance, a leader desired to have people on their team with God-honoring core values. They sought out those kinds of individuals and hired them but there was high turnover. They could hire God-honoring individuals but they couldn’t hold them because their inner-hidden-deeper-secret core values were not God-honoring but self-serving. I have seen other times when an individual desired to work for an organization because of their great reputation and managed to gain employment there but soon left because they really had no desire to live under God-honoring core values.

A leader’s defined values are like a GPS unit that electronically controls the rudder of a ship; once values are established, if there is any change of an organization’s behavior consistently violating those established values, a leader’s internal alarms go off and the leader takes action to steer the organization back on course. When the leader and team have the same values the team functions well together in the midst of this value course correction; when the leader and a team member have different values there is frustration and a questioning of the reason for change. Team members tend to stay with leaders and organizations that function in unity and tend to leave when major philosophical differences continue to be the order of the day.

Has your team been put together based on needed skills but ignoring individual defined values? Are you experiencing a high rate of turnover among the senior leadership based on philosophical differences? Wise leaders understand that when they live by specific values they will attract individuals that have the same core values and repulse those of different core values.

 

 

 TUESDAY

 

Are justice and fairness hallmarks of your leadership?


 

 

Leaders will be held accountable by God for how they deal with justice and fairness in their leadership.

ReadEzekiel 16:49-50.

While Ezekiel, speaking for God to those exiled in Babylon, was describing the ways Jerusalem had offended God he makes some comparisons to other cities God had destroyed for their evil practices. One of those cities the Jewish people in Ezekiel’s audience knew well was Sodom because it was directly tied to the father of their faith, Abraham, and his nephew Lot. Of all of Sodom’s sins (Genesis 19), notice which ones God singled out. Their arrogance and self-centeredness brought about a failure to use power and resources that gave justice to the poor and needy. 

If after honest self-evaluation of the core values a leader admits their heart desires power, wealth, or fame more than anything else, it will be impossible for that leader to be a leader who strives for justice. When a leader’s focus is on self, justice and fairness rarely advance their cause.

Justice is a by-product of the pursuit of God and the pursuit of God is the antithesis of putting self first. God’s prophet Zechariah, when writing to Israel’s religious leaders, addressed justice and mercy as elements that are irreplaceable in the foundation of moral leadership. Zechariah said, “This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor. In your hearts do not think evil of each other’” (Zechariah 7:9-10). Even a leader’s religious observances are of little value if the community has no concern for social justice.

Real justice involves the application of power and influence to other-centered concerns. This kind of justice is counter-intuitive and only appears when a leader has Christlike attitude toward self and others. According toPhilippians 2:3-4 a leader should “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

Are justice and fairness hallmarks of your leadership? Do you struggle to be fair? If when you look back over your decisions in the last 12 months you can see your track record would not pass God’s tests for justice, seek God’s wisdom and guidance to make changes that make justice a mainstay of your leadership. According to Proverbs 16:11-12tlb, your right to lead depends on being just and fair: “The Lord demands fairness in every business deal. He established this principle. It is a horrible thing for a king (a leader) to do evil. His right to rule depends upon his fairness.”

 

 

WEDNESDAY

 

Do you have situational leadership skills?

 

 

The best leaders assess every situation and respond appropriately.

Read Ezekiel 18:1-32.

The Jewish people used a proverb that said the next generation would suffer the consequences for the actions of the current generation. Ezekiel was directed to tell the people that this proverb will no longer be used by the people. The goal was to let the people living in exile in Babylon know that if they lived a God-honoring life they would flourish as a people even though their relatives living in Judah were still in rebellion against God. Ezekiel was to make it clear that God looked at each specific situation and it was their own actions that would determine their blessing or curse not the actions of the generation before. Chapter 18 makes it clear that God discerns each individual situation and responds appropriately for each situation. 

Situational leadership is not easy. Every leader develops patterns and instinctively reacts from those patterns. Situational leadership requires a leader to use their discernment and to do the work to gather accurate information on the current information. The leader cannot act or react on a desire or whim but must determine a specific intelligent action plan based on this situation. Effective leadership is driven by the situation and what the team needs to do this time around. Situational leadership requires watching, listening and investing time and energy to analyze the facts as they are. Wise leaders don’t throw out the lessons of experience or stop listening to their gut instincts but rather selectively apply them based on their discernment of specific needs for this current situation.

When a new situation arises are some of your first thoughts “we have never done it that way”? Do you have a pattern of reacting to new situations with solutions used in earlier days? Have you seen limited success with new situations from your first actions and consistently having to revise the plan after an initial failure? These are signs that you are not an accomplished situational leader.

Since life is full of unexpected circumstances and situational twists the wise leader takes the time to develop situational leadership skills. Just as Ezekiel told the Jewish people living in Babylon that God would handle each situation based on its merits and would not judge the son for the father’s crimes, effective leaders are very intentional to handle each situation on its own merits.

 

 

THURSDAY

Have you found yourself without self-control in various situations?

 

If leaders can’t rule themselves they can’t rule others.

Read Ezekiel 19:1-14.

Ezekiel wrote an allegorical lament in chapter 19 concerning the princes of Israel. He pictured them as out of control roaring lions that were eventually caught in a net and taken into captivity. Because none of them had the self-discipline to rule themselves they were removed from leadership and not allowed to rule others. 

Self-discipline is the ability to do what is necessary or sensible without needing to be urged by somebody else even when the assignment is unpleasant. Self-discipline is one of the fruits of the spirit and generally leaders who can demonstrate self-control are productive, dependable, influential leaders. When a leader develops self-discipline they apply it to all areas of their life and it is as beneficial in their home and social life as it is in the workplace. Self-discipline affects productivity, financial accountability, physical fitness, the ability to stick to a strategy or task and a hundred other areas of our life.

Anyone who has served in the military understands that consistent training can develop self-discipline. During my time in the Marine Corp we were trained to be so self-disciplined that we would move under fire at significant personal risk on command no questions asked. None of the guys I served with would have considered such an idea practical prior to our training but because of the repetitious training to control our emotions, trust our leader, and respond to instruction in any given situation; after just a few months we developed self-control that dominated our decisions even when we were in harms way.

Have you found yourself without self-control in various situations? Do you seem to give up easily when the physical or emotional job conditions become extremely difficult? According to Ezekiel this lack of self-control could eventually remove you from leadership. Effective leaders identify the habits they need to change to be self-disciplined and find ways to build them into their life so they can lead with diligence. Self-control isn’t a “just add water” kind of fix. It will take work but the wise leaders know disciplined habits will give them the momentum they need to not only move forward, but also to live their life with strength and purpose.

 

FRIDAY

Do you have an ever growing awareness that you are accountable to God?

 

Every leader, no matter their understanding or belief in God, will ultimately be accountable to Him.

ReadEzekiel 21:1-23.

God had Ezekiel prophesy that He would bring a destroying force against Judah. His intention was to use Babylon, a pagan nation, to fulfill His judgment against Judah by having Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, attack Jerusalem, the capitol city of Judah. The great Babylonian king was God’s instrument and he didn’t even know it. Even leaders who fail to acknowledge God’s existence are ultimately accountable to Him. 

In its most basic form accountability is simply being responsible to somebody or for something. In a world where virtually everyone desires the freedom to be accountable only to himself, every created being, whether humans or angels, are accountable to God. Nebuchadnezzar was the most powerful individual in the known world and was treated like a god by the people of Babylon and every nation he captured. Yet in verses 18-23, God directed his path to set up siege ramps against Jerusalem, gave him an assignment to take the city with his sword, and held him accountable for the results.

The mind and ways of God are hard to interpret. God’s judgments are beyond human investigation and understanding. He does not consult with any leader and He does not explain Himself to any leader. Rather, it is every leader’s responsibility to trust Him and submit to His purposes. This is true whether a leader understands where God is leading them or not.

In today’s world where people want to make truth relative to current circumstances, understanding and interpretation, the real truth of the Bible is that every knee will bow before God and “each of us will give an account of himself to God” (Romans 14:12). Christian leaders must have an ever-growing awareness that “…we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad” 2 Corinthians 5:10.

Hebrews 4:13 “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”

 

SATURDAY

 

God-honoring leaders will stand in the gap for their team.

Read Ezekiel 22:1-31.

Through Ezekiel God describes the leaders in Judah and Jerusalem. They oppressed and destroyed those God had given them influence over. God contrasts that in verse 30 with the kind of leader he is looking for that will “stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land (and the people) so I would not have to destroy it.” Because there were no leaders who were not self-serving, God brought judgment on the entire nation of Judah. 

In his study notes in the Maxwell Leadership Bible John Maxwell lists 10 traits of leaders God affirms:

  1. Consecration: They set themselves apart and remain committed to their call.
  2. Discipline: They do what is right even when it is difficult.
  3. Servanthood: They model a selfless life, lived for the benefit of others.
  4. Vision: They see what God sees and live off the power of potential.
  5. Compassion: Love for their cause and their people moves them to action.
  6. Trustworthiness: They keep their word regardless of what others do.
  7. Decisiveness: They make good decisions in a timely manner.
  8. Wisdom: They think like God thinks and avoid impetuous moves.
  9. Courage: They take risks for what is right.
  10. Passion: They demonstrate enthusiasm for their divine calling.

When your team comes under scrutiny from senior management is your first instinct to stand in the gap and defend your team’s actions or is your very first instinct to protect yourself and toss them under the bus? If your first thought was to protect yourself rather than stand in the gap for your team, your attitude would disqualify you from being counted with the leaders God called for in verse 30. The good news is there is time to change should you sense the conviction that you are wrong. The list above from John Maxwell can become your vision targets for change.

 


THE WEEKLY WORD WITH LEADERSHIP PRINCIPLES

Can be found here:

 

http://theweeklywordleadershipprinciples.blogspot.com/

 


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