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
Matthew 25:21 TLV
Nicole Unice, director of women’s ministries for Hope Church, says: “There are ideas I know would be beneficial, yet I hesitate to share too much or dream too big. What if they don’t work? Or people don’t like them? What if the people above me second-guess hiring me? One day I scrawled on my office wall: So what if it fails? Question: What are you yearning to try and haven’t because you’re afraid you’ll fail? What programs do you keep alive even though they aren’t serving their purpose? What technology are you avoiding? What learning are you circumventing because you feel old and rusty? If you don’t have anything on the horizon that might fail, you’re failing as a leader. Unless you push for innovation and creativity you’ll keep attracting the same people. When you ‘Begin the…tasks [God] assigned to you’ you’ll have to push boundaries and try things that might fail.” John Mason writes: “Don’t be afraid to fail…if you’re not failing you’re not growing. When successful people stop growing and learning, it’s because they become less willing to risk failure. Failure is delay, not defeat. A temporary detour, not a dead-end street. We all make mistakes – especially those who do things. As Paul says, ‘God…gives us the victory through…Christ’ (1 Corinthians 15:57 NKJV), and failure is often the first step toward success. Unless you’re willing to take a risk, you won’t get the chance to succeed.” Today trust God and step out in faith!
Soul food: Exo 30-32; John 4:13-26; Ps 100; Prov 26:27-28
Revelation 21:27 NCV
All we have to do to be saved by God and have eternal life is to repent of our sin and put our trust in Jesus. When we do that, God writes our name ‘in the Lamb’s book of life’ and we become a member of His family, guaranteed a place in heaven. Isn’t that amazing? In the world, we have to strive to achieve things. In God’s kingdom, we have to let go. We don’t have to strive. We have to surrender. We have to stop relying on ourselves and start trusting in God. We have a place, an identity – we belong, without having to prove why we should. The Bible says: ‘For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God’ (Ephesians 2:8 NIV). Maybe we took hold of the gift of salvation for ourselves a long time ago, or just recently, or maybe we’re just doing that now (and if that’s the case, make sure you tell someone so that they can support you in the decision to trust God with your life). But there are probably lots of people in our lives, who don’t even know about God, let alone know what they need to do to be saved. And it’s our role to tell others. We’re called to ‘go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you’ (Matthew 28:19-20 NIVUK). We might be the only Christian someone will ever come into contact with. We have a responsibility to show them how great God is and to show them how they too can be saved.
Exo 28-29; John 4:1-12; Ps 89:38-52; Prov 26:23-26
Matthew 7:11 NIV
Some people are really great gift givers. They know exactly what to buy to make the person feel understood and loved. God is the ultimate gift giver. He always knows what we need. He always knows what the desires of our heart are. He always knows the right time to give us the gift. And He always knows when the gift we are asking for isn’t going to be the right thing for us. The Bible tells us that ‘every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows’ (James 1:17 NIV). God’s love for us is unchanging and He wants to give us ‘good and perfect’ gifts. We have the ability to enter into God’s presence and ask Him for what we want. Jesus said, ‘How much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!’ And if we are walking in obedience and seeking to please Him, we can be confident when we come before Him. The Bible says: ‘If our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God’ (1 John 3:21 NIV). But if we are approaching with selfish motives or sin that we haven’t confessed, we will probably feel uncomfortable in God’s presence and struggle to confidently believe that God will provide for us. So let’s make sure we are dealing with sin and seeking His will at all times. We are told that ‘He does not hold back anything good from those whose lives are innocent’ (Psalm 84:11 NCV). And if God’s saying no, it’s because it wouldn’t be good for us. We just need to trust Him – He has something better in mind for us.
1 Chr 16-18; Luke 12:49-59; Ps 119:41-48; Prov 21:1-3
Matthew 7:11 KJV
The cross proves how much God loves you. “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not…freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32 KJV). And “all things” means all things! If it’s promised in God’s Word, it’s God’s will – so refuse to settle for less. But you must be single-minded in your approach or it won’t work (See James 1:6-8). The Psalmist said, “One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after” (Psalm 27:4 KJV). Tell God exactly what you want. And if you’re walking in obedience and seeking to please Him, be confident when you come before Him. “If our heart condemn us not …we [have] confidence towards God” (1 John 3:21 KJV). But be careful; guilt undermines faith! When you permit sin into your life you become uncomfortable in God’s presence, and it’s hard to believe for the results you want. So deal with it immediately. Miracles happen to the believing – so get back into a position where you can confidently believe God for the thing you need. He hasn’t changed His plans for your life. Circumstances and seasons change, but “God’s word of promise…is for ever settled in heaven and is always fulfilled” (See Isaiah 40:8). Jesus said, “How much more shall your Father…give good things to those that ask him.” Note the words “good things.” That sounds like another Bible promise. “No good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:11 KJV). And if God says no, it’s because it wouldn’t be “good” for you. Trust Him – He has something better in mind for you.
Soul food: 1 Chr 16-18; Luke 12:49-59; Ps 119:41-48; Prov 21:1-3