What God Expects!

What God Expects!

“And now, you priests, this warning is for you. If you do not listen, and if you do not resolve to honor my name,” says the LORD Almighty, “I will send a curse on you, and I will curse your blessings. Yes, I have already cursed them, because you have not resolved to honor me. “Because of you I will rebuke your descendants; I will smear on your faces the dung from your festival sacrifices, and you will be carried off with it. And you will know that I have sent you this warning so that my covenant with Levi may continue,” says the LORD Almighty.“My covenant was with him, a covenant of life and peace, and I gave them to him; this called for reverence and he revered me and stood in awe of my name. True instruction was in his mouth and nothing false was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and turned many from sin. “For the lips of a priest ought to preserve knowledge, because he is the messenger of the LORD Almighty and people seek instruction from his mouth. But you have turned from the way and by your teaching have caused many to stumble; you have violated the covenant with Levi,” says the LORD Almighty. Malachi 2:1-8 NIV [Read all for clarity]

The most important leadership to whom we should trust is the leadership in the church. From this point forward–all other leaders are measured–by The Word of God.

Simply put–when the church–the body of Christ–corporately, gets its act together, the world will become a better place.  Why? When people are “grounded in The Word” they take what they know and understand into all areas of their lives–from keeping peace, harmony and order in their home to the highest place of government. When we know God, we do what is right at all times, for all people.

With that premise in mind, we can safely conclude (by what we see) that we have strayed far from God’s Word in our daily living and as a result–chaos and confusion reign–in the hearts of men/women and all across the land.

When the prophet Malachi was admonishing the priests who had let the temple far into disrepair, he was also warning all who followed–those of us right now–that when we don’t do what God expects us to do–He takes a hands-off approach to us. When we do what He expects–we are blessed and when we don’t–the curses fall upon us and since God is not a respecter of persons–the blesses fall upon all who obey and the curses fall upon all who disobey. As Children of The Most–Believers should understand when we are blessed, we are to be a blessing to others–for when we are cursed–the curse also falls upon others.

Throughout biblical accounts of history we see how entire nations either rose to greatness or fell in despair because of the leadership–those in positions of authority and entrusted to guide the people according to God’s Ways, and not their own. When the leadership was obedient–all the people were blessed and rejoiced and when the leadership ignored God–all the people suffered and wailed in despair and hopelessness.

We have to know God in order to hear God and when we hear God, we must obey God–not those who have agendas that do not lead to a nation being blessed.

This is what God expects from those who are in leadership positions!

Do We Have The Gift of Leadership?

And we have different gifts according to the grace given to us. If the gift is prophecy, that individual must use it in proportion to his faith. If it is service, he must serve; if it is teaching, he must teach; if it is exhortation, he must exhort; if it is contributing, he must do so with sincerity; if it is leadership, he must do so with diligence; if it is showing mercy, he must do so with cheerfulness. Romans 12:6-8 NET

God has given us all specific gifts and with the empowerment of Holy Spirit, we should be able to function in our gifts–with a goal of excellence–to His glory!

There’s a reason why all of us do not have the same gifts. Within a specific body, there is no need for duplication of effort with too many chiefs in one place. Having too many leaders in one environment could be as hazardous as too many cooks in the kitchen–at the same time. The end result is chaos and confusion and eventually angst that sometimes spills over into other venues.

In order to see the gifts given function at maximum potential, we must know what our gifting is and fine-tune it so God will not regret what He’s given. Though this passage of scripture is primarily about the spiritual gifts needed for any local church to thrive, it can also be applied to other areas of our lives–in the workplace or with other social groups or organizations. The thing is we must know the gift in order for it to benefit the masses.

How do we know what gift resides within us? We seek God for revelation and understanding and then allow Holy Spirit to guide us in all we do. In the natural, what we have been gifted to do shows in our lives by what we’re drawn to do and have a unique proclivity to do and do it well.

When it comes to operating in positions of leadership, we really need to know that God has placed that gift in us and that we are listening to Him. If we don’t understand that being a leader–does not equate to being a dictator–we’ll mess up what could have been a good thing for ourselves and others. Not everyone is equipped–spiritually or naturally to be in a leadership position and only those God intends to lead–should ever attempt to do the job.  Do you have the gift of leadership? Know what it entails before making a mockery of the position.

 

On The Journey–Kaph!

My soul faints for Your salvation,
But I hope in Your word.

My eyes fail from searching Your word,
Saying, “When will You comfort me?”

For I have become like a wineskin in smoke,
Yet I do not forget Your statutes.

How many are the days of Your servant?
When will You execute judgment on those who persecute me?

The proud have dug pits for me,
Which is not according to Your law.

All Your commandments are faithful;
They persecute me wrongfully;
Help me!

They almost made an end of me on earth,
But I did not forsake Your precepts

Revive me according to Your lovingkindness,
So that I may keep the testimony of Your mouth. Psalm 119:81-88 NKJV

The eleventh letter and the eleventh stanza–the continual plea for God’s intervention.

Salvation–being saved–comes from The Lord. From whom do we need to be saved? From those who attempt to belittle us, mock us, ridicule us or is it that we need to be saved from ourselves more than anything else?

The enemy can kill the flesh, but when our soul is right with God, there is nothing anyone can do to hinder what God has for us.

We see the writer exclaiming how his soul longs for salvation–literally from his enemies and figuratively for the appearance of Jesus. We see how he has searched God’s Word until the strain has affected his vision.  He’s tired and admits he’s having a hard time holding onto hope, dried out, but he perseveres–holding onto the promises in The Word.

Have we become “dried out” when it comes to living for God? Have we succumbed to the pits the enemy digs for us–especially those in the church (Body of Christ) who claim to know God?

When I look at some of the things that “Believers” post on social media, my heart hurts. I am crushed that they do not understand who it is they’re supposed to be representing and when others–who claim to be Christians–attack–unmercifully–those in leadership or anyone else who disagrees with them–I cringe and pray.

The Word tells us to pray for our leaders and all those in authority over us. It does not tell us to belittle, ridicule, lie about, and paint such a picture of ugliness OF OURSELVES when we do it, other people. I am so tired of the disrespect shown to President Obama–and it’s not because I agree with everything he does. Instead of talking about him and belittling him, that time and energy would be better served in praying for him–which I do. I pray for leaders everywhere–that they will be still and hear the voice of God and obey.

Those who support the NRA–pray. They who support the right of all living–pray. (Somehow the right-to-lifers and are the same people who support the NRA appear to be a bit paradoxical–on one hand they say don’t kill the babies who are not born and on the other hand, they approve taking a life of one who is already here). I don’t support either group. I support and proclaim the Word of God and in it–He gives us CHOICE, with clear consequences of those choices. Democrats/progressives and Republicans/conservatives all have a lot to learn about what it means to be a true Believer!

It is the attitude of those who proclaim to be Christians that cause my soul to dry out and thirst for the re-appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ. But while I wait, I am yet searching God’s Word, seeking understanding, and proclaiming all that He reveals to me.

Are we who claim to be His children on one accord yet? If not, how can we ever expect to benefit from the miraculous as those who witnessed the outpouring of Holy Spirit–so long ago. They were all on one accord and received the promise. Until we are all on one accord, the promise will be delayed and it is up to us to be the change the world needs.

Twelve Days of Kindness-Day 8!

We give no offense in anything, that our ministry may not be blamed. But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in fastings; by purity, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love, by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, 2 Corinthians 6:3-7 NKJV

On this 8th day of kindness, we are reminded by Paul that everything we do–EVERYTHING–should align with the Word so that we don’t offend anyone by what we do. This is especially true for those who are called by God to teach His Word and are walking–in life–according to His Word.

Sometimes, the truth offends people, but the truth must be told anyway. Now, do we sugarcoat truth or just tell it like it is? If a person is offended by truth, no matter how we try to water it or soften the blow–they’re going to be offended. As one actor poignantly stated, “You can’t handle the truth.”

Why is it that people cannot handle truth? Our perceptions of truth or what is true, are not always based upon truth as it really is. If we are blinded by our bias, our perceptions are cloudy and when people speak truth to us–we don’t accept it as truth because it is in opposition to how we want to conduct our lives.

For instance, there are some people who are natural leaders and some who simply want to be leaders, but they lack the intellect to know what true, effective leaders do. But because they have convinced themselves they know more than those who try to assist them, they become offended by truth because the truth reveals to them what they lack.

The truth reveals to all of us what we lack and what we must change within ourselves and how we do things. Since none of us knows everything there is to know, we must count on others to keep us honest by reminding us when we’re headed in the wrong direction. Considering our own ineptitude about so many things, someone has written a book about everything any of us could ever experience in life. Their opinion in what they write doesn’t necessarily constitute truth, but it is enough to make us think and either confirm or refute what we think we know.

But if our desire is to please God, then we should demonstrate our ability to be patient and kind, as it pertains to what we must accomplish in our ministry that honors Him.

Are we ready to demonstrate all that God desires for us to do? Today is a good day to honor Him by our extending kindness in showing patience, and acting in truth, according to God’s Word, and not our feelings.

 

Accepting Advice!

Listen to advice and accept discipline and at the end you will be counted among the wise. Proverbs 19:20 NIV

To whom should we accept advice? Not every person to whom we run with a problem is a problem-solver, but they are problem-causers and we know this by their conduct.

Some people–are problem causers–they spread gossip faster than the wind creates havoc in a storm and the results are just as deadly. The intent is to create a hostile environment in which they think they will be victorious, not realizing that they are simply exposing their true character.

The problem-causers have not solved problems, but created them and they tend to think they are a great source of counsel–wanting attention from everyone–when in fact they need to be counselled. They do not want advice because they think they are great advisers and they resent any attempt by anyone to point them in the right direction.

Problem-solvers analyze information and events and research solutions that will benefit all; they have demonstrated ability and integrity in all they do and have no need to seek any glory for themselves.

Before we accept advice from people we must consider the source. Can this person (or people) provide wise counsel and direction if they do not demonstrate knowledge of such?

In this society–we elect a president of the United States based upon their ability to get the job done–not how much they know, but their willingness to heed wise counsel in making decisions. Therefore, every elected president of the United States must choose a cabinet of advisers who know what they’re doing.

On a smaller scale–anyone in a position of leadership should know to seek sound advice and to listen to it. When they’re headed in the wrong direction, they should be willing to hear and change course, based upon the sound advice.

One of the biggest mistakes people make–on almost any level–is putting unqualified people in qualified positions of leadership.

The most effective leader in any given situation is not the one who assumes the position to make something of themselves, but the one who is more concerned about the entire purpose or mission of the organization. They do not dictate what others should do–they facilitate joint agreement and progress.

Dictators are small-minded people (and many are short in stature) who think they have a right to “tell” others what to do rather than seek agreement about what needs to be done. They are quick to draw conclusions without sufficient evidence and just as quick to manipulate the truth in order to garner support for their position (when they shouldn’t have a position or side to take). We see this in the behavior of Hitler, Stalin, and Napoleon–from a historical perspective.

So let’s listen to those who have demonstrated an ability to know what they’re talking about and when we’re wrong–let’s just accept the corrective counsel and seek to do better. It is only when we admit what we don’t know and accept wise counsel that we too, will be considered wise.

Leader or Dictator?

“Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.” {Hebrews 13:17 NIV)

Having confidence in leaders who care about those they lead is easy when their leadership ability is evident. However, not everyone in a leadership position is a true leader, as defined by The Word.

People in leadership positions, enabled by God as His appointed ones–seek His wisdom in all decisions and never do things that cause the people they lead grief. Dictators cause grief because the only person they care about is them and their own agenda, not what is best for the people. They seek the counsel of those who are like-minded–greedy for power, not understanding that most dictators are not loved, but hated.

What is sad to me is that many people in leadership positions–don’t understand the role in which they find themselves. A true leader–takes the initiative in understanding exactly what their role is and in finding ways to enhance what they do to enhance the benefit of all they lead. They seek Godly counsel in all matters before making decisions that would harm anyone. They are facilitators, not dictators because they seek input from all involved and encourage involvement by all in making decisions. True leaders–do not attempt to abuse or misuse their positions nor do they manipulate others, abusing the authority they have been given.

But the one thing that most “hired help” forget is just like they were hired to fulfill a position of leadership, they can be fired from it and usually are when they abuse the authority of the position.

I’m sure we all know such leaders–they come in all forms and capacities. They are the leaders in the police departments, the leaders in school districts, the leaders in churches, and the leaders in corporations–all hired and all should be fired when they do not know how to lead, and choose to dictate to others–with no regard as to what is best for the people they lead.

The Word of God tells us to pray for those in authority over us and I do. However, we are not told to just lay down and allow hired help to walk all over us. We must take action and they must realize their position is tenuous at best–especially if they develop dictator mentality.

One of the saddest things to see is a leader who professes to know God, get high-minded and abuse their positions, becoming dictators and not leaders.

When should we have confidence in leadership? When the leadership has earned our confidence as demonstrated in their ability to lead–with the best interest of those they lead–then we can confidently follow their example. If they are incapable of demonstrating ability to lead, we should not follow them blindly because the blind leading the blind, usually end up in a rut, going nowhere.

Pray for leadership and when it is necessary to act when they demonstrate their inability to lead, get up and get busy, doing all that is necessary to remove them to save all from becoming victims of dictatorship.

Guarding What We Have With Care!

“Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed and in so doing have departed from the faith. Grace be with you all.” (1 Timothy 6:20, 21 NIV).

Within the context of the instructions given to Timothy regarding how he was to conduct himself within the church, we find those instructions relevant to everyone who is in leadership, now.

Though many may argue that the bible is “simply a book of myths,” those who know Truth, know better. And as such, we can always go back to the bible–for instructions in our daily living, understanding that what God inspired others to write-no matter when it was written–is still good for us, today.

An interesting conversation occurred yesterday when someone said to me, they didn’t finish reading a certain book years ago because of the book’s doctrine. Since I was familiar with the book, I couldn’t understand the reference, but was able to determine that the person meant, “they didn’t want to be indoctrinated” by what was being disclosed in the book. It struck me when it was said and I responded that perhaps, that’s why many people won’t read the bible–fear of indoctrination to a sound belief system.

I know many could argue why the bible is outdated, but they could not argue that with me. I don’t argue over what’s in the bible because of my relationship with God. I know and understand the bible is a summary of historical events, demonstrating God’s love for mankind from the beginning, and is sound–for the day in which we live. If all understood the context of events noted in the bible and what happened and what was said, when–we’d understand that careful study of where we are today, is depicted in the bible–a history that covers about 3500 hundred years of man’s behavior and God’s response.

We learn how God expects us to honor Him and honor parents as well as one another–still relevant today. We learn how we are conduct ourselves with one another–with integrity. We learn what happens to people who do not honor God and those He has chosen. We learn how we are to respond to those who are different and respect them for who they are. We learn about politics and leadership, taxes, and love relationships–culminating in marriage as part of His plan to see mankind continually perpetuated by new births. We learn how much He loves us through His death on the cross, His resurrection, and His ascension with the promise of His return. We learn how to operate in the gifts and power He has given us through Holy Spirit. We learn to love the unlovable and to pray for our enemies. And everything we learn now, is referenced in the bible–that “book of myths” by which so many have used–to gain wealth and assist others.

All of this–and more–Paul was reminding Timothy of as he started leading a church--to stay the course and guard what he had been taught, never allowing the foolishness of demonic teachings to become part of what he taught others.

Unfortunately, since many do not understand how Holy Spirit operates in our lives, they have succumbed to demonic teaching–all those things that are opposed to God’s plans for mankind–and they think they are teaching truth. They are not teaching God’s Truth and since we have no truth to teach, what is being taught is a lie and we know that Satan is the father of all liars. We cannot allow demonic teachings to keep us from our destination–an eternity with God. 

With all of our getting, we must get wisdom–and true wisdom only comes from above–not below. We must guard the wisdom given from God with great care and allow Him to direct us in all things.

A Title Means Nothing If The Role Is Not Fulfilled!

“Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.” (I Peter 5:2,3 NIV)

What does a good shepherd or a good leader do?

Being a good shepherd and being a good leader–in anything–means that the people are more important than the title. There are many people in leadership positions in churches who hold titles–pastor, bishop, apostle–and few of them are actually shepherds. How do we recognize them?

The shepherd realizes that those in the congregation are “not his/her people” but they have been given the responsibility to watch over the flock–feed them God’s Word, correct them when they go astray, warn about impending dangers, and provide them direction and instruction they can use to teach others. How many church leaders are actually doing this? Many are more concerned about how “they can influence others with their sound or things they amass” and never take the time to get to know those in their congregation or what they need.

I remember being in a meeting that was not being held in a church when the man who was the pastor of the church I attended came in late, needing to be seen, and announced that he knew his flock. But he didn’t recognize me as a member. I didn’t say a word, but that struck a chord in me. He wasn’t interested in serving the needs of the people because he didn’t know what the people needed. Not long after that meeting, I left that church when bizarre behavior starting ruling.

The same is true for leaders of other non-church groups. Some people only want leadership positions because of a title. Titles mean absolutely nothing if the person holding the title is not fulfilling the duties. I’ve recently been involved with a parent-organization for the high school my grandson attends and discovered that the reigning president has not fulfilled their duties from the outset, but is now angry they were voted out of office. They were not interested in “doing the role” they obtained, but only in being a position they could use to bully others. What I don’t understand is why. Holding a title means nothing and impresses no one if people don’t do the job that goes with the title.

These have not been good examples for anyone; especially the children in knowing how to be a good leader and even more important in how to demonstrate good sportsmanship when losing–an election or a game. No character–no grace; no grace–no room for entitled personalities–who do nothing but create problems for others.

If what we do on any level is not done from pure motives–it will not succeed. God knows the heart and He watches all we do and He hears everything we say. We cannot hide from Him and when He exposes a person’s true character, they can no longer hide from people.

In a position of leadership–we must always question our motives for being there and when we are incapable of fulfilling the role of that position, we must leave it to those who are capable and will do.

Who’s Glorified in The Meetings?

“In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good. In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it.” (I Corinthians 11:17,18 NIV)

If we use the “church” as an example of how behavior should be in any meeting, and the church does not know how to conduct itself, how can there be progress in any other type of meeting?

I feel Paul’s frustration over having to instruct–Believers–in how they should conduct themselves in church. One would think (at least I do) that if we truly believe in every Word of God and respect the authority of the Word that we would have no need to have anyone correct errant behavior. Of course, we know this is not true, not only for the church but  for various types of meetings in other venues.

In particular, I’m referencing meetings in which an elected body should know what they’re doing, but don’t and instead of seeking advice, they attempt to run things like a dictatorship. When things start falling apart, they want to cry foul because their leadership style has not drawn others into the fray. God is not the author of confusion and where there is confusion, He is not present.

When business meetings–of any type–become embroiled in personality conflicts, rumors and he say, she say commentaries, racial divides and social cliques–people have lost sight of the purpose and nothing is accomplished and then we wonder why. If our purpose in meeting for any reason is not to create an environment in which there is productive, forward movement obtained in harmony and unity, our meeting is in vain and we are wasting our time.

Anyone who takes on a position of leadership should know what they’re doing and if they don’t, they should know how to obtain the information they need to know from other resources and proceed as expeditiously as possible. Instead of making excuses for not getting the job done, people need to find reasons to get them done. If we keep in mind that everything we do should glorify God, confusion in the midst of meetings would not be an issue.

Is God glorified in the confusion that exist because of low-esteem and insecurity when people feel a need to belittle others or start rumors about them? No! The only glory is for the enemy who loves confusion.

When we are able to relate God’s Word to every area of our lives, we learn to move forward in peace and harmony. God does not want us to harbor ill-will towards anyone and when we do, it affects our physical, emotional, and spiritual health. So, instead of making noise to bring attention to ourselves, let’s practice seeking Him in the matter of all things and when there is disagreement, solve it in all Godliness, not pettiness.

What Are We Sowing? (Reblogged)

“Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.” When he said this, he called out, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear” (Luke 8:8 NIV)

Jesus said, when seed (The Word of God) falls onto good ground, it will yield a crop (growth) a hundred times more than there once was. He also goes on to say, “he who has an ear to hear, let him hear.” So why does Jesus relate this parable to his disciples and how does it apply to us today? The point being made here is two-fold; both on a spiritual level, but one pertaining to the wealth that God has entrusted us with and the other, the wealth of souls that God has entrusted to us. If we misunderstand God’s intent, we sow discord and doubt into the midst of the congregations and fuel the unbelievers’ attempts to thwart the Word of God.

First, we must understand that the resources (money) that God provides to us are to be used as seed to be sown in good ground. If we are sowing seed (giving money) to churches in which there is no growth and in fact is being used to promote man’s kingdom instead of the kingdom of God, we do God a disservice. We are to be good stewards—weighing carefully how we use the resources God gives us and making sure that our use—will eventually bring glory to God.

We need to make sure that we are wise teachers (sowers) of the Word and our only agenda is to win souls to Christ; not to us. We must make every attempt to fulfill the commission given to us to go out into all the world, teaching the Word, baptizing in Jesus’ name so that all can come into the knowledge of the Truth (God’s truth, not ours).

The flip side of seeing growth and maturity is to see stagnation of both money and people. Misusing the resources will eventually feel like money placed in pockets with holes—steadily being lost along the way. Manipulating the Word for selfish gains will eventually see more space and vacant seats in churches as people leave. For those who have an ear to hear, let them hear.

We must be good stewards of what God has given us. Are we promoting the Gospel of Jesus Christ (salvation, forgiveness, and love) or are we just having church? Are we utilizing the monetary resources to assist the poor and the needy, to promote the Gospel, or are we just having church fundraisers? Church leaders must be accountable to the Word. Church members must be accountable to the Word by studying for themselves. Remember, he/she who wins souls must be wise. They who anticipate seeing growth/increase must make sure they are sowing (or watering) in good ground. We must be willing to do deep soul searching and introspection to make sure we are doing everything we can to glory God. He that has an ear to hear, let him hear.

What are you sowing? Are you sowing in good ground?

(Revised and re-blogged from 12/13/12)