Philippians 3:8 NKJV
Ever hear of “one-way missionaries”? They purchased a one-way ticket to the mission field, and instead of packing a suitcase they packed their belongings into a coffin, knowing they would never return home. A. W. Milne was one of them. He went to the New Hebrides in the South Pacific, knowing that headhunters had martyred every missionary before him. But he didn’t fear for his life because he had already died to himself. For thirty-five years he lived among them and ministered to them. When he died, the tribe buried him in the middle of their village and inscribed these words on his tombstone: When he came there was no light. Nowhere in Scripture does God send us to safe places to do easy things. Faced with the cross, Jesus prayed the ultimate prayer of commitment: “Not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42). And today He’s asking you to be totally committed to Him. Paul wrote: “What things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ…that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings” (Philippians 3:7-10 NKJV). It’s when you’re willing to fellowship with Christ in His sufferings that you get to experience the power of His resurrection. So the word for you today is: Be totally committed.
Soul food: Job 1; Job 2:7-10; Job 40:1-5; Job 42:7-17
Ephesians 1:9 NIV
What a joy it is when the will of God is no longer a mystery, because He has made it “known to us.” Suddenly your outlook is different, your attitude changes, and fear can no longer play games with your mind. Now you know – and knowledge is power! The Bible says, “The people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits” (Daniel 11:32). There are times you know things in your spirit that you can’t figure out in your head. And it can cause you to be misunderstood. You can carry the knowledge of a breakthrough or a blessing in your spirit long before it happens. The Bible says, “We know about these things because God has sent His Spirit to tell us” (1 Corinthians 2:10 TLB). When God imparts wisdom to you, it puts you in a position to succeed. What separates the bank president from the janitor? It’s what he or she knows! They may be equal in every other sense, but one has paid a price to learn things that place him or her in a different position that brings different rewards. “We know these things.” God can cause you to know something that will change the course of your life. He can show you something during the night that changes how you feel in the morning. In His presence you receive insights that give you purpose, hope, dignity, direction, and the strength to get up and fight for what He promised you in His Word. So get into His presence today – and stay there until He reveals to you His will in the matter.
Soul food: Isa 34-37; John 7:25-44; Ps 104:24-35; Prov 28:9-12
Isaiah 41:10 NKJV
Loyalists: Loyalists love to be part of a great team. When the chips are down, you can count on them. They crave a cause to which they can give themselves, and want to be part of a group they can believe in. At their best, loyalists help everyone else become better. They’re usually quite bright and articulate, although they may not always volunteer their thoughts. They can become cynical when they feel let down – which is inevitable at times. That’s why the Bible has so much to say about showing grace and extending forgiveness to each other. When twelve-steppers use the term “the God of your understanding,” they’re referring to your personal perception of God. Loyalists often perceive God as hard to please, so their signature sin is fear. Jesus told of three servants who were each given a sum of money to invest. The first two invested wisely, bringing profit to their master and pleasing him. But the third, afraid of failing and incurring his master’s displeasure, buried his talent in the ground (See Matthew 25:14-30). The “takeaway” in Christ’s parable is that God reserves His harshest judgment not for those who try and fail, but for those who fail to try because they give in to fear. Someone estimated that there are 365 “fear nots” in Scripture; that’s one for every day of the year. If God designed a bumper sticker it might read, “Fear not.” So don’t be afraid – He’s with you today!
Soul food: Isa 17-21; John 6:35-51; Ps 98; Prov 27:23-24
Genesis 19:17 NKJV
One time in the West Indies five ships, one of them British, were anchored in the harbor when a monster storm rolled in. The British captain immediately raised anchor and sailed out to meet it. Two days later, battered but still intact, he returned to the harbor and discovered that the ships that hadn’t sailed for fear of the storm had all been driven ashore and destroyed. Generally speaking, as a leader the best way forward is to face challenges head-on and “not look behind you.” Author Jon Gordon points out six important things: (1) Who you are makes a difference. People follow the leader first and his vision second. (2) It’s all about relationships. Pastor Andy Stanley said, “Rules without relationship lead to rebellion.” You can implement all the rules in the world, but if you don’t develop a relationship with the people you’re leading, they’ll rebel. (3) It’s not just about what you do, but what you can inspire, encourage and empower others to do. You bring out the best in people by sharing the best in yourself. (4) Lead with optimism, enthusiasm, and positive energy. Guard against negativity and teach people to focus on solutions, not complaints. (5) Recognize that you don’t have all the answers, and build a team of people who either have the answers or will find them. (6) Accept that success is a process, not a destination. John Wooden, the legendary basketball coach, recognized that winning was an offshoot of great leadership, teamwork, focus, commitment, and implementing the basics.
Soul food: Exo 33-35; John 4:27-38; Ps 32; Prov 27:1-3
Isaiah 40:31 NKJV
Describing the emotions evoked in having to address an audience, a respected writer says: “Public speaking is listed as [our] number-one fear, before death at number five, and loneliness, which weighs in at number seven. That means that most of us are less afraid of dying alone than of making fools of ourselves in front of others. Fear is a powerful motivator…There is the fear of being seen as exceptional and different; the fear of the unknown; the fear of being a fraud; the fear of forgetting everything you were going to say; the fear of being at risk publicly; and the fear of being up there alone. They all come together for most of us in public speaking.” In The Bible on Leadership, author Lorin Woolfe writes: “Leadership takes an almost bottomless supply of verbal energy; working the phones, staying focused on your message, repeating the same mantra until you can’t stand the sound of your own voice – and then repeating it some more, because just when you start to become bored witless with the message, it’s probably starting to seep in.” If you do a lot of teaching, preaching, or public speaking, you’re probably smiling and saying “Amen!” The fact is, you can’t fill an empty bucket from a dry well. In order to keep giving out you must keep your batteries charged spiritually, emotionally, and physically. And the Bible tells you how: “Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”
Soul food: Exo 4-6; John 1:1-13; Ps 63; Prov 25:26-28