Personal Development, Uncategorized

Don’t Worry!

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In November of 2006 a friend, Art Rice, gave me a little daily devotional book titled My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers.  I had heard of and seen this little book for many years but had never opened it to read it.  However, since at that time I was not in a very good spiritual condition I felt I should read it…maybe it would help me find God again.  Since that time I look forward to reading the Bible teaching for that day.  God speaks to me a very encouraging or corrective word almost every day.  Here is a summary of Oswald Chambers’ Bible teaching for July 4:

Psalm 37:8

Don’t worry; it only leads to evil.

Worrying means we “get out of sorts” mentally or spiritually – things are not in alignment with us.  It is one thing to say, “Don’t worry,” but it’s a very different things to have such a state of mind that you actually don’t worry.  (It’s one thing to say it; it’s another thing to do it!)  It sounds easy to say, “Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him” until your life is upset – until your just trying to make it through the tumults and anguish of life; is it possible to rest in the Lord and trust Him then?  However, if this truth of resting in the Lord and trusting in Him doesn’t work when the storms are blowing in your life, it won’t work anywhere!  This truth must work during our times of perplexity as well as in times of peace and tranquility or it will never work.  And if it will not work in your situation it will not work in anyone’s situation.  But it will work!  Resting in the Lord does not depend on your external circumstances, but on your relationship with God Himself.

Worry always ends in sin.  We imagine that a little anxiety and worry is an indication of how really wise we are, but it is really an indication of how really wicked we are!  Worry comes from a determination to get our own way.  Our Lord Jesus never worried and was never anxious because He was not out to accomplish His own way, but the way of His Father in heaven.  Worry is sin if we are a child of God because we leave God out of our situation.  Worry often is the result of fear or not getting our own way, but if we totally commit ourselves and “our way” to the Lord, we can trust Him.

Have you been filling your mind and emotions with the idea that your circumstances are too big for God or that He has abandoned you?  It’s possible that you are just afraid that God will not do what you want Him to do.  Dwell in the shadow of the Almighty.  Set your worry aside. God has not abandoned you, but He is for you and with you.  Tell God right now that you will stop worrying about that thing that is on your mind and you will give it to Him and trust Him with it.  He loves you and wants the best for you.  His best may not be what you think is the best, but if you trust Him, it will turn out to be the very best.  All our fret and worry comes from us leaving God out of our circumstances.

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Family, Leadership, Personal Development, Uncategorized

Handling Accurately God’s Word

Open Bible

In my daily Bible Reading I’m at the Book of Job, Chapter 9.  In particular verse 2 jumped out at me:

How can a man be righteous before God?  If one wished to contend with Him he could not answer Him one time out of a thousand.”  (New King James Version)

It’s so important for us to have a correct understanding of who God is and who we are. He is the potter and we are the clay.  We must honor Him for His awesomeness and don’t think for a moment we are equal to Him.  (Isaiah 64:8)

But now, O Lord, You are our Father,
We are the clay, and You our potter;
And all of us are the work of Your hand.

That’s true, but on the other hand we are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:21).

 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

We who are believers in Jesus Christ are not a worm, but His children whom He has raised up and given power and authority.  We are not those who grovel in our sin and unworthiness.  It’s important to understand how we were, but not how we are now.

The Apostle Paul admonishes us to “handle accurately the Word of Truth.”  (2 Timothy 2:15)

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.

As we seek to understand God and His Ways and His Will for us, it’s essential that we not take one truth and emphasize that truth over another.  It’s important for us to not take one truth – like the righteousness of God and the unrighteousness of mankind – and emphasize only one side of the truth.  One truth in  God’s Word is often balanced by another truth.  We must take each teaching or Bible verse within it’s context.  We must understand the whole perspective of God on a subject (Acts 20:27).

For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God.

How do we discover the balance in God’s Word?

Briefly, I can say:

  1. Read the Bible.  We must read the Bible a lot to gather much information about the whole Story of God.  We must read the Bible in small portions to think about it, pray about it and study it.  The first step is Read the Bible!
  2. Understand the Context of any one truth or Bible verse.

a.  First there is the Covenant Context.  Which covenant does that truth or             scripture belong in – the Old or the New?  Does the Old Covenant (Testament) truth apply to New Covenant (Testament) believers?  Can we find that Old Covenant Truth re-affirmed in the New Testament?

b.  What does the Bible say about that entire subject?  Compare that Bible verse with other Bible verses.  This takes study and it takes resources that will help you find the other Bible verses on that subject.  The internet is very helpful nowadays.  In the past I had to buy a lot of books, but now, those books are on the internet.

So here’s the point:  Read the Bible a lot for context.  Read the Bible in small portions for meditation and study.  Seek to find the Big Picture from God on that subject. I recommend having a good Study Bible with you to help you bridge these gaps for you.  In this way the Word of God in the Bible will become useful for our own lives and the lives of others.

 

 

 

 

 

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Family, Leadership, Personal Development, Uncategorized

The Value of Listening to Understand

Listening 1God gave us two ears and one mouth…that should be a clue to us.  Many people use their mouth more than their ears.  They don’t listen to others to understand, but only to reply.  These people miss out on opportunities to learn, grow and affirm others in their life.

In the book of Job, after Job’s calamities, his three friends came to visit and sat with him for 7 days without saying a word.  They just let Job speak and share.  Sometimes it is a time just to listen, not correct, not give our ideas or not even respond…just let the other person share.

John Maxwell says, “People don’t loose intimacy when they stop talking, but when they stop listening.  Leaders (people) seldom realize how much their listening empowers the other person.  Because they are leaders the sheer act of listening speaks volumes that even a great speech can’t communicate.”

Again, John Maxwell suggests:

  1.   Listening communicates the value of the other person and his or her thoughts.
  2.   Listening communicates love and understanding and care for their needs.
  3.   Listening communicates a desire to grow, learn and remain teachable.

Why not practice just listening to someone for a change and reflecting back to them what you hear them saying, and affirming them rather than sharing your ideas or solving the problem?  It might do a lot to make your relationship with them even stronger.  Listening creates a relationship where your input is valued.  Another time will arise for you to share your thoughts on their issue.

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Personal Development, Uncategorized

Lessons from the Book of Job

Tree with Big RootsThe 42 chapters of the Book of Job describe one man’s loss of almost everything he had, including his ten children.  Job was a good man toward his community and family.  He was a man who loved Yaweh-God and followed Him.  His love for God was the foundation of his faith and righteousness.

Job lost almost everything in life through no fault of his own.  His wife and friends misunderstood him and his faith was tried.

Here are a few lessons we can learn from this man’s story:

  1. Bad things in our life come to us from ourselves, the devil or others.  When we meet with difficulty we should examine ourselves as to where this trouble might be coming from so we can respond appropriately.  Job’s troubles did not come from his own sin or foolishness, nor did they come from others.  His troubles came from the devil – Satan – evil spirits.
  2. There is a spiritual warfare.  We must understand that mankind has an unseen enemy that desires to ensnare us and destroy us.  For some he destroys them by sickness or poverty – for others he destroys and binds them by success and wealth.
  3. God is good and God is sovereign.  This is what we see throughout the pages of the Bible.  Do not be confused about this:  God is good and loves you.  Sometimes in his sovereign plan for us He allows us to go through difficulties for a season, but his ultimate aim is good.  Romans 8:28.  God tests us to develop our faith; the devil tempts us to destroy our faith.
  4. God will not allow you to be tempted above what you can take and will provide a way out.  Remember that!  No matter how difficult it seems God knows you can take it and He is providing a way to win over this difficulty for our good if we are patient, endure and look for it.  1 Corinthians 10:13.
  5. Stay focused on who God is, what He has done for you in the past, what He is doing for you during this time, and what He will do for you in the end.
  6. In the end, all things will work out for the good.  He promises that.  Be patient and don’t make a bad decision during the midst of your difficulty.  Romans 8:28
  7. Sometimes well-meaning friends don’t know our deepest heart and they speak unkind words or unkind action.  Try to love them back with the love of God. Matthew 5:44.

In the end, God restores all and more to Mr. Job.  This is how God works if we remain faithful and true to Him and guard our hearts against bitterness.

If you’re walking through a difficulty now, don’t give up.  There is light at the end of the tunnel (no, and it’s not a train!)  God is working in you a great glory and your present sufferings are preparing you for even more!

16 Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. 17 For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, 18 while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.  2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Light at the End of the Tunnel 1

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Leadership, Personal Development, Uncategorized

Leadership: Partnering with God and His Plan

20160705_102656While leadership principles can be found throughout the Scriptures, they are not taught in a systematic way – just as no single doctrine is taught systematically through the 66 books of the Bible.  Instead, God chooses to teach these principles experientially, through the lives of ordinary people in history.

If you look closely, you can spot a Divine Pattern:

  1.  God always takes the initiative executing His plan.
  2. Then he looks for a person who will submit to Him.
  3. Then He makes that person aware of a need.
  4. The need becomes the personal burden of the person whom God has chosen.
  5. Eventually the person embraces God’s plan and feels he/she must act upon it.
  6. God’s Vision becomes his or her Vision.
  7. Finally, the person calls others to join in fulfilling that vision.

God chooses ordinary people who will submit to Him and take a risk – the leadership challenge.  I meet these wonderful people every day in my life and work in Cambodia.  Why don’t you become one?  Become a bridge for God’s plan to be established on earth as it is in heaven.  Become a bridge for people to get from nowhere to somewhere!

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Family, Leadership, Missions, Personal Development, Uncategorized

What Makes and Effective Executive?

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(Photo by Kaitlyn McCaul, Willamette Valley, Oregon)

by Peter Drucker

An effective executive does not need to be a leader in the sense that the term is now most commonly used. Harry Truman did not have one ounce of charisma, for example, yet he was among the most effective chief executives in U.S. history. Similarly, some of the best business and nonprofit CEOs I’ve worked with over a 65-year consulting career were not stereotypical leaders. They were all over the map in terms of their personalities, attitudes, values, strengths, and weaknesses. They ranged from extroverted to nearly reclusive, from easygoing to controlling, from generous to parsimonious.

What made them all effective is that they followed the same eight practices:

  • They asked, “What needs to be done?”
  • They asked, “What is right for the enterprise?”
  • They developed action plans.
  • They took responsibility for decisions.
  • They took responsibility for communicating.
  • They were focused on opportunities rather than problems.
  • They ran productive meetings.
  • They thought and said “we” rather than “I.”

The first two practices gave them the knowledge they needed. The next four helped them convert this knowledge into effective action. The last two ensured that the whole organization felt responsible and accountable.

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Church Planting, Family, Leadership, Missions, Personal Development

Leaders are Not Satisfied with the “Status Quo” but Reach for More…

long-high-bridge

Status quo is a Latin Phrase meaning the existing state of affairs, particularly with regards to social or political issues.  It means whatever is normal.  Some people are satisfied with how things are and make no movement to change it.  Others are not satisfied with how things are but they, too, make no move to change it.  However, a leader is not satisfied with how things are and takes initiative to change it. That’s one of the chief characteristics of a leader.  

In my Daily Bible Reading I came across a man the Holy Spirit singled out as  He led the writer OF 1 Chronicles to list over 600 names.  One man among those 600 stood out because he was a leader:

1 Chronicles 4:9-10

 9 Jabez was more honorable than his brothers; but his mother named him Jabez, saying, “Because I gave birth to him in pain.” 10 Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that You would indeed bless me and enlarge my border [property], and that Your hand would be with me, and You would keep me from evil so that it does not hurt me!” And God granted his request.

This morning I’m meeting with two staff pastors at our Phnom Penh church to evaluate the members and attenders at our North Campus.  We want to see who we have as leaders or potential leaders.  By the way, what are the characteristics of a leader?    Jabez shows us four characteristics of a successful leader who pleases God:

Four Characteristics of a Successful Leader Who Pleases God

  1.  He/she overcomes internal lids.  The mother of Jabez put a name on him that means suffering.  She apparently thought her newborn son was a pain for her.  Jabez might have grown up with this stigma on is life every time someone called his name. He may have had to deal with inferiority and rejection, but he overcame the internal lid to his potential leadership. Many people complain because they are poor or lack an education or never had some of the positive experiences others have had.  Some people never move forward because of limitations they set upon themselves or personal disciplines or the difficulty of their situation.  Leaders overcome internal and external lids.  They just find what it takes to overcome !
  2. He/she looks to God as his/her Source.   Whether you are the leader of a family, business, organization, ministry or church you will need the grace of a Higher Power to help you.  Successful leaders who please God know that to lead their family, their business, their organization, their ministry or church they need God, and they cry out to him day and night for favor, wisdom and strength.
  3. He/she is not satisfied with the Status Quo.  The big difference between leaders and non-leader is that leaders do not just see what needs to be fixed or changed, but they get up and gather the resources to make the change.  They exert personal discipline, sacrifice, develop their understanding and skills and move forward.
  4. He/she is committed to personal integrity.  The successful leader who pleases God does not cut corners.  He is honest in his relationships with people, staff, finances and time.  He/she chooses to take the high road even if he has to personally sacrifice lose to be honest with his employees, staff, vendors, donors, and others to whom he relates.  He does not lie and is not dishonest in reporting.

I believe that everybody has the potential to lead in some capacity and I urge you to follow what God is putting in your heart and do everything you can to prepare yourself to be a leader who is pleasing to God.

 

 

 

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