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Archive for May, 2013

Apart from love (which we’re all called to display), what better adorns a king, a president, a CEO, a pastor or a parent in their unique leadership role than wisdom?

Some might say charisma, decisiveness, eloquence, benevolence; all of which are good and necessary. But what informs and activates those qualities more fruitfully than wisdom?

And what is the substance of wisdom than the fear of the Lord? (Proverbs 1:7; 15:33) And what is the fear of the Lord but humble submission to the One who ultimately places individuals in position of authority? (Romans 13:1; Proverbs 8:12-16) The best leaders are model followers.

Power that is given to any is granted for the good of the many. Those who have it would do well to plead with the Giver to enable them to gracefully exercise it in such a way that even the least of these are blessed.

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I have no concrete reason to wonder; no point in the past I can point to as evidence for my suspicion. Still, the thought of abandonment pops into my heart and head.

People do it all the time … check out, walk out, give up, move on, disown, discard, divorce. It’s hard to shake the idea that God will eventually get fed up with me, my flaws and my failures.

I would grow hopeless were it not for the gospel; good news that God’s love for us isn’t a reward for acceptable performance, but rather an unconditional gift to meet our greatest need (Ephesians 2:8-9). God obligated Himself to redeem and restore wholly apart from our behavior (Romans 5:8).

God made a promise that silences my suspicion. “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5) Though His word would be enough, He went so far as to forsake His only Son on our behalf as an irrevocable assurance of his steadfast love.

“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:21–23)

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I don’t know of anyone who prays for God to hurry up with whatever is next while in a moment of prosperity, security, and/or significance. Our instinct is to savor those seasons. We might even go so far as to ask God to hold off on what’s next, kind of like giving a butler the day off, especially if what’s next diminishes the now we’re enjoying.

But God is no butler. He is a Master Craftsman busily completing a good work in each of us (Philippians 1:6). So devoted to our re-formation, He uses each and every moment to cultivate good in our character which will outlast any and every circumstance from which it was born (Romans 8:28-29).

I remember many times in days gone by wishing God would speed things up. In hindsight, I’ve found God’s timing to be flawless. Having to wait has never proven to be unfruitful in terms of my personal growth. I still instinctively pray for swift action on God’s part, but those requests are more often joined by a desire for contentment on my part.

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What does it cost to be liked by all? It’s probably more than I’ll ever have.

And even if I could afford it, paying for popularity makes the wealthiest among us seem “cheap.”

It turns out, people pleasing costs far more than fees and favors. At some point, it requires us to betray our conscience, deal away our dignity, and sell out our soulful convictions.

Loyal love for God will put us at odds with some, maybe many. Submission to His will and ways can’t help but offend and provoke hostility in the hearts of God-haters. It isn’t our intent, but rather the outcome of light shining in darkness.

May our zeal for God and His redemptive mission never be surpassed by a need for human acceptance or approval.

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Whose side are you on?

Many would like to believe that all “truth” is relative, all gods are equal, and all the roads of this life lead to the same destination. But believing something, believing anything doesn’t make it so. Truth is true quite apart from what anyone thinks about it. Truth is true whether it is believed or not.

The truth is, God has enemies. They’re not just the “really bad” folks; the murderers, the rapists, thieves and drug lords. They include moral legalists, religious zealots, liars, haters, users, gossips … it’s a pretty long list.

But God’s enemies aren’t enemies because of what they do. Their hearts are fundamentally opposed to God and all His ways. Tragically, they hate the Lover of their souls.

Are you for Him or against? Your answer to that question determines whether He is for you or against you. “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Hebrews 10:31)

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