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Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it. Proverbs 22:6
leaderI’d known him for years yet we rarely got below the surface on life itself. Normally I just thought of him as being an angry old man willing to explode at any moment. When Jack (not his real name) was around it was always best to walk on eggshells.

One day, however, there was a crack in his armor. It had always amazed me how angry he’d get when talking about one of his sons who’d gone to college, gotten a business degree and has a great paying job in a distant city. At the same time, he talked proudly of his other son who went right to work out of high school and, while successful, was working at a dead end job.

The day the armor broke was shortly after the death of his mother – a mutual friend. He told me how he’d never forgiven her for forcing him to go to a particular college for a particular degree, right out of high school. He has his career plans set on a job that would have paid nicely in the agricultural area he lived in. Not a fantastic income, but a steady income doing something he loved. As we talked I realized his entire life was spent doing what he hated, missing what he loved, and all because he was ‘directed down a path’ that didn’t fit him.

Another friend of mine, I’ll call him David, was having coffee with me one day. He was very concerned, even upset with the path his daughter was taking. She was a bright kid with lots to offer. Yet her career choice was to be a tattoo artist! David, like me, grew up in a time when tattoos were only worn by people of ill repute. He was struggling with that and how to minister to his daughter.

One day, several months later, his world came crashing down. His daughter was forced to drop out of school and enter treatment. As the family worked through the treatment program, lots of painful things came to light. Like most situations, no one was completely innocent of the issues and everyone was guilty to some extent.

As David and I sat over a cup of coffee he told me how his daughter was making great progress. Then he smiled and said, “And look at this!”

He pulled up the sleeve of his shirt and displayed…HIS NEW TATTOO! David and his daughter got matching tattoos as part of the restoration process.

The two stories should help us to realize that as parents we have a huge responsibility to make sure we take into consideration our kids giftedness and dreams as we raise them. For those of us that are parents, we know there are no guarantees in life. But the odds are better if we build the foundation and let the kids build the walls of the house.

We need to teach our kids the basics of God’s Word while at the same time letting them spread their wings and let them fall a few times. Our children need to know that we love them, and God loves them and both of us will be there to help them back up after the fall. Rather than tell them about God’s love and grace, show them!

PRAYER: Father God. I confess that I’ve failed many times as a parent. I praise you for always helping me back up when I’ve failed. Help me to know the best way to show my children your love, faithfulness, patience and grace. Amen.


The king rejoices in your strength, Lord. How great is his joy in the victories you give! Psalm 21:1 (NIV)

Effective leadership is leadership that acknowledges their success is the result of God’s power and strength and not their own.

As I write this post we are in the midst of Memorial Day weekend. Memorial Day was established in 1868 to remember those who had fallen in one of the darkest times ofUShistory, the Civil War. During this time brothers fought against brothers; fathers against sons.

The meaning of this day has lost its impact as we’ve focused more on the beginning of summer, trips to the cabin, picnics and other celebrations. But let us not forget those who died so that we could celebrate freedom in a variety of ways.

Another aspect of our freedom that has become lost over the years is that many of the movements and battles we have fought over the years had moral implications. We went to war not because we enjoyed the fight, but we saw a need to protect the freedom of people groups on our home soil or abroad. Regardless of your political views, this fact can not be denied.

The foundation of theUSAwas laid by men and women who realized the importance of Gods blessing in our endeavors. ‘God BlessAmerica’ was more than a rousing song, it was a life style. It was the motivation for all we did. George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and many other presidents and leaders of this country openly testified to the fact that it was by God’s strength, not mans that victory was to be had. It was by God’s working in the lives his people that true joy would come.

True leadership, effective leadership isn’t the result of political programs, electoral colleges or catering to special interest groups. True leadership comes when the Creator God of the Universe is acknowledged as the supreme commander-in-chief. Effective leadership comes when Jesus Christ is acknowledged as the underlying reason to move on.

We don’t need more leaders who rely on their own expertise and ability to bring the crowds to their knees. We need more leaders who fall to their knees themselves in humble adoration to the one who brings ultimate victory.

God BlessAmerica. God Bless those who have given the ultimate sacrifice so we can be free. As King David declares, We rejoice in the strength we receive from the King of Kings, Jehovah God.

PRAYER: Lord I thank you this morning for freedom. Not just the political freedom you have granted us by your own hand, but the spiritual freedom we have in Christ Jesus. I pray that our leadership would bow their knees before you in acknowledgement of your greatness. Amen.


“…just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28

There are some who preach a gospel that says Jesus came to give us a life of comfort and prosperity. While God blesses us in many ways when we live in relationship with him, financial blessing isn’t the most important, or the most common way of blessing. In fact the Bible speaks about the difficulty of ‘rich’ people entering the Kingdom and the danger of putting money, power, and social status above our relationship with God.

Jesus’ focus while he was on earth was to tend to the needs of those around him. That was his only purpose in life. There were plenty of times in his ministry that he could have set up his own little church and settled in Can’t you see it now?

“Jesus Healing and Providing Service”, or JHPS for short. His tag line could have been Bring me your sick, your disabled your blind and your dead. I’ll heal them for you and you’ll live happily ever after!”

Sounds a little far-fetched doesn’t it? That’s because the last thing Jesus was concerned about was his retirement pension. 410K’s and second homes and foundations bearing his name were meaningless to him.

He spent his entire life working for others and never once did he ask for anything in return! He touched the diseased and stinking body of the leper. He sat men and women who had spent a lifetime taking from others. Jesus spent his times in the slums and ghettos of life, while most of us yearn for the suburbs and the quiet country-side.

The most amazing thing about Jesus is this. While he was walking down the dusty, hot and dry paths of Palestine, he looked down through the future and saw me and you. He saw the times we’ve taken him into moral darkness. He’s heard the words we’ve used to hurt others or mock his name. He’s seen our anger, our hatred, and our apathy.

Jesus knew that even though he would give everything for me, I would still be selfish and rebellious but he died for me anyway. He died for you too. Your past isn’t important. You don’t need to clean up anything or change anything. He’ll work with you on that. Jesus just wants you to come home to him so he can love you.

That’s leadership. Leadership Jesus’ way says your needs are more important than my comfort.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, I confess to you that most of my life is really about making myself comfortable. The times I get angry are really the result of not getting my way. Forgive me for seeking my own comfort at the expense of others. Help me to be a servant-leader like you were when you were here on earth. In your name I pray, Amen.

 


You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. Genesis 50:20

I was talking with a friend the other day and as he shared a very stressful time of his life I said “People say God never gives us more than we can handle, but sometimes I wonder.” He looked at me and said, “God does give us more than we can handle, He never gives us more than HE can handle! That’s the only way He can get some of us to rely on Him.”

Throughout the Old Testament, and in our lives today we go through things that seem to hard to handle, we see our kids struggle with things they should never have to deal with. We see our parents fail in old age and our finances falter in troublesome times. We endure the trauma of broken relationships and death. In all this we look heavenward and say “When is enough, enough?”

Take a look at the life of Joseph for example. If you look at his family closely you will see that he grew up in a dysfunctional family with a weak father, a conniving mother and a bunch of brothers that were nothing short of bullies. Joseph didn’t help matters any when he told everyone in his family that someday they would all serve him! The tension around the dinner table must have been thick enough to cut with a knife!

When his brothers had had enough they beat Joseph up and sold him into slavery. Joseph was taken away by strangers to a far off land. He had no chance to say good bye to his family. He was in a strange land where his customs were odd and where the God he worshipped was looked down upon. He was lonely, wrongfully accused, misunderstood, forgotten, betrayed and in fear for his life.

In the midst of his calamity Joseph never lost sight of the fact that God was in complete control. Joseph’s situation wasn’t completely the fault of his brothers. He’d done some things that inflamed their anger. Yet he knew that God would eventually work everything out.

Joseph made the best of a bad situation as well! Rather than sulk as a slave he worked hard to elevate himself to a manager position. When Joseph sent to prison innocently, he didn’t become bitter, he became better. By the time Joseph had his chance for freedom, he was not only ready for life outside, he was ready for leadership.

When we are treated poorly our natural reaction is to retaliate. One day Joseph had that chance. The very brothers that were bullies when he was growing up, the very brothers who’d sold him into slavery, came for help. Joseph wisely tested them to see if they had changed, and then revealed himself to them. Even though he wasn’t obligated to give them anything he gave them food, shelter and  the most important thing any of us can hope for: FORGIVENESS.

You may be going through something you think unbearable right now. It could be the result of something you did or the actions of other abusive people. You may be feeling like there is no way out. In the midst of your pain, remember the life of Joseph. Throughout his struggle he never lost sight of a God who loves you, forgives you and can make whatever you are going through turn out for good. It may take many years, but someday you will be able to look back and see His way was best. He may give you more than you can handle, but He’ll never give you more than HE can handle!

PRAYER: Holy and powerful God. I thank you for stories like that of Joseph that remind me that you are always in control and that you can take the worst things in life and make them useful to your Kingdom. I confess that the struggle I’m in may be partially my own fault. I also suffer at the hands of abusers in my life. Please forgive me for my part in the struggle, protect me from abuse, but most of all, help me patiently acknowledge your leading and wait for you to make all things good for your sake. Thank you for your love and forgiveness. In Jesus name, Amen.


David continued to succeed in everything he did, for the Lord was with him. 1 Samuel 18:14 (NLT)

A mark of Godly wisdom is how we conduct ourselves during adversity. True followers of Christ will conduct themselves wisely during the most trying situations. David shows this kind of wisdom early in his life. David was taken from the quiet obscure life of a shepherd boy and thrust into the role of military hero and heir to the throne of Israel.

This should have been a dream come true soon became more like a nightmare. After he killed Goliath he was invited into the palace to live with King Saul. David bonded immediately with Saul’s son, Jonathan, and all the officers and staff of the palace. Socially, David was apparently easy and fun to be around.

But David was more than just a nice guy. He was a driven leader. Every assignment Saul gave to David turned into success. As a result, Saul gave him more and more responsibility. He was never disappointed with the outcome.

So if David was so successful in everything Saul gave him to do, what could possibly go wrong, right? Wrong. David’s following grew so quickly that soon all of Jerusalem was singing the praises of David. He was fast becoming more popular that the insecure King Saul. As a result Saul began a campaign to wipe David out. That’s when David’s true colors came to the surface.

Although Saul tried to kill him on numerous occasions, David remained loyal to Saul. There is no indication in scripture that David did anything to provoke the King’s anger or speak evil against him. David patiently waited until God’s timing brought him to the throne.  Even though he had several opportunities to kill Saul and take the Kingdom by force, David would not sin by taking things into his own hands.

When we encounter adversity it is important to keep the end result in view. David was told that he would someday ascend the throne. He saw no need to hurry that situation along because he was content with who he was. Rather, David focused on the task at hand and worked hard to be excellent at whatever he was doing. He realized the fact that no job is too small, nothing is beneath him. As a result, in everything he did he worked to be excellent. Others took note of that and admired him for it.

Remember that God has placed us where we are at this time for a specific purpose. As Christ followers, strive to for excellence now so that you will be ready for greater work in the future.  Expect adversity as you excel in your work. The adversity that David faced in the 20 years he waited to ascend the throne prepared him for greater challenges ahead. Build relationships along the way. David had many friends in the midst of Saul’s attacks. One of his closest friends was Saul’s very own son! God didn’t wait until David was ‘great’ to use him. He used him mightily throughout his life because with all David’s faults, he trusted God.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father. Thank you for the story of David and his patience during adversity. Help me to see every activity of this day as an opportunity to show Godly excellence. Forgive me for my impatience in waiting for you to remove the obstacles that keep me from moving forward. Help me to be content where I am while I strive to grow stronger. Amen.

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