I wake up and look at my phone checking emails, sports scores and news. Before I know it, I’m obsessed with my “to-do” list. My mind becomes cluttered with scheduled meetings, family obligations, errands to run, and people to call or visit. Unfortunately, this describes some days.
We grow up consumed with efficiency. We crowd many activities into a day. If we aren’t careful, it’s tempting to equate multitasking and busyness with success. Marriages break up when a spouse makes family second to work and personal accomplishments.
Our busyness not only hurts us physically, mentally, and emotionally, but also spiritually. It weakens physical health, robs the soul of peace, and prevents ministry to others. More importantly, we lose reward in heaven. Let’s look at Luke 6 for perspective and a way out of this treadmill.
1. Believe in Sabbath rest for refreshment
The Pharisees questioned why Jesus and His disciples picked and ate grain that violated he Sabbath. Jesus said when David and his companions were hungry, they ate consecrated bread reserved for priests alone. "The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath"
(Luke 6:1-5). God designed the Sabbath for physical and spiritual refreshment.
2. Use rest to be equipped for ministry
When Jesus healed a man to restore his withered hand, He said to the Pharisees, "I ask you, is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good, or to do harm, to save a life, or to destroy it?" (Luke 6:6-11). God designed the Sabbath for ministry in helping others.
3. Spend extended time with God for strategic impact
Jesus spent a whole night on the mountain praying to God. He chose twelve to be His apostles. Many disciples and people were healed of their diseases and unclean spirits (Luke 6:12-19). Spend much time in prayer for effective healing ministries.
4. Employ humble attitudes for reward in heaven
Jesus said to be poor, hungry, and weep to experience the kingdom of God, satisfaction, and laughter. People received great reward in heaven when men hated, ostracized, cast insults and spurned their name as evil for the sake of the Son of Man (Luke 6:20-26). Embrace humility, endure lack of earthly resources, and tolerate insults because of your faith to experience God’s kingdom and reward in heaven.
5. Show mercy to difficult people for reward in heaven
Love enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you, and treat others the way you want to be treated for great reward in heaven as sons of the Most High. Be merciful as your Father is merciful. Don't judge or condemn, but pardon. Give and it will be given to you. (Luke 6:27-38). Show mercy and kindness to difficult people who mistreat you.
6. Speak from a God-centered heart
A blind man can't guide a blind man. Take the log out of your own eye so you can see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye. Good trees produce good fruit. Bad trees produce bad fruit. A man speaks from that which fills his heart (Luke 6:39-45). Good speech flows from a heart reconciled to God.
7. Ground yourself in God’s word
Everyone who comes to God, hears His words, and acts upon them is like a man who builds his house upon the rock. It's able to withstand floods. The one who didn't act upon God's word is like a man whose house collapsed and suffered ruin without a foundation (Luke 6:46-49). Obey God's word to stay grounded in life’s storms.
1. Set a time each day to unwind from the busyness of life. Get out of the house, take a walk, or spend time in a park away from your cell phone, computer and technology to hear God speak to you.
2. Make it daily habit so this time becomes the highlight of your day.
3. Allow the Holy Spirit to lead you for ministry to others.
Alexander the Great was not satisfied, even when he had completely subdued the nations. He wept because there were no more worlds to conquer, and he died at an early age in a state of debauchery.
Hannibal, who filled three bushels with the gold rings taken from the knights he had slaughtered, committed suicide by swallowing poison. Few noted his passing, and he left this earth completely unmourned.
Julius Caesar, staining his garments in the blood of one million of his foes, conquered 800 cities, only to be stabbed by his best friends at the scene of his greatest triumph.
Napoleon, the feared conqueror, after being the scourge of Europe, spent his last years in banishment. (Pulpit Resource, G.S. Bowles)
They failed to live out Christ’s purpose in life. In my last blog, we saw that Jesus told Peter. Andrew, James, and John to follow Him to become fishers of men (Matthew 4:17-22). They lived out Christ’s purpose in life. We can learn at least four principles from real fishermen on how to become a fisher of men.
Patience and Perseverance
It takes many hours to catch a fish. The same is true in sharing our faith. Jesus went throughout Galilee teaching in the synagogues, preaching good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness (severe pain, demon-possessed, epileptics and paralytics). Patience and perseverance resulted in large crowds following him (Matthew 4:23-25)
Because of the crowd, four men cut an opening in the roof above Jesus. They lowered a mat a paralyzed man was lying on to bring him before Jesus (Mark 2:1-5). They showed great patience and perseverance.
We must go to certain spots where fish are biting and be ready to catch them. Jesus told Levi, a tax collector, to follow Him. Jesus ate at his house with other sinners. He didn’t call the righteous, but the humble who knew their sin (Mark 2:13-17). Jesus returned in the power of the Holy Spirit to minister in Galilee (Luke 4:14; Matthew 4:23-25). Sensitivity to the timing and leading of the Holy Spirit enables one to take advantage of spur-of-the-moment opportunities.
A good fisherman knows his tools: how to cast out his line, and right bait and timing for certain kinds of fish. Similarly, fishers of men have the Word of God and Holy Spirit’s leading for their tools. Jesus said His mission was walking in the Holy Spirit and proclaiming good news/liberty to four categories of people: poor (helpless, brokenhearted, no wealth, position, or influence); captives (unable to be free from bad habits, physical addiction, lust for money, and ways of the world); blind (spiritually blind, unbelief, and prideful); and oppressed (beaten and broken down by worldly authorities) (Luke 4:18-19).
Know how to work together.
When a fish is hooked, your buddy stands by with a net. Jesus sent out His disciples in twos (Mark 6:7; Luke 10:1). As one person shares, the other person can pray.
Jesus’ told His disciples to let down their nets in the deep for a catch. So many fish caused their nets to break (Luke 5:1-11). Discover these four principles in this passage: patience and perseverance, good instincts, skill, and know how to work together.
Overcome your fear and fulfill your purpose to preach the gospel because people are going to hell without Christ (Luke 4:43; 5:10).
To see more blogs, go to www.markpomeroy.com
To see prosperity and influence, one must acknowledge God's reign, confess sins, exalt Him, humble yourself, trust His sovereignty and protection, and worship the King of Kings. Then God's kingdom will come in His time to remove prideful leaders and enable you to endure trials.
Acknowledge God's Reign and Confess Sins
Daniel revealed to Nebuchadnezzar in his dream that he was the large tree in the middle of the land with abundant fruit where beasts found shelter. His dominion extended to the distant parts of the earth. The Most High issued a decree to drive Nebuchadnezzar away from people, be drenched with dew and given the mind of an animal to eat grass like cattle. Seven times would pass until he acknowledged the Most High as sovereign over men's kingdom given to whoever He wished. The iron and bronze roots remaining in the ground represented his kingdom being restored when he acknowledged that Heaven ruled. Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar to renounce his sins by doing right and being kind to the oppressed so his prosperity would continue (Dan. 4:1-27). Acknowledge God's reign and confess sins for prosperity.
Exalt God and Humble Yourself
Twelve months later the king said his mighty power built the royal residence for his glory. A voice from heaven said the dream would be fulfilled with his royal authority taken away. At the end of that time, God restored Nebuchadnezzar's sanity and returned the honor and splendor of his kingdom. God's dominion and kingdom endured across generations. Every person was regarded as nothing with God doing as He pleased. His advisers sought him out and restored his throne greater than before. Nebuchadnezzar praised, exalted and glorified the King of heaven because everything He did was right and His ways were just. He humbled those who walked in pride (Dan. 4:28-37). Exalt God and humble yourself for influence.
Trust God's Sovereignty to Remove Prideful Leaders
While Belshazzar gave a banquet for 1000 nobles, drank wine and praised the gods of gold and silver, a human hand wrote on the wall terrifying the king. Daniel said God gave his father Nebuchadnezzar a high position but when his heart became arrogant and prideful, he was stripped of his glory and lived with animals until he acknowledged Him as sovereign over the kingdoms of men. Because Belshazzar set himself against the Lord of heaven, the writing said God numbered the days of his reign, found wanting and his kingdom was given to the Medes and Persians. Daniel was proclaimed the third highest ruler in the kingdom. Belshazzar was killed and Darius the Mede took over the kingdom (Dan. 5:1-31). Trust God's sovereignty to remove prideful rulers.
Trust God's Protection to Endure Trials
Darius appointed Daniel as one of the three administrators over 120 satraps. Because he distinguished himself by his exceptional qualities, the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom. No one could find corruption since he was trustworthy and not negligent. Even though a decree said no one could worship any god except the king, Daniel prayed three times a day with the windows opened toward Jerusalem. After being thrown in the lion's den, Darius called out anxiously to determine if Daniel's God was able to rescue him from the lions. He answered that the angels shut the lions' mouths finding no wound because he trusted in God. He threw the false accusers in the lions' den along with their wives and children. Darius issued a decree that everyone must fear the living God of Daniel whose kingdom and dominion never ended. He prospered during the reign of Darius and Cyrus the Persian (Dan. 6:1-28). Trust God's protection while enduring trials.
Worship King of Kings Whose Kingdom Continues Forever
In a dream, Daniel saw four great beasts. The first was like a lion with wings of an eagle, second like a bear with three ribs in its mouth, third like a leopard with four wings like a bird and four heads given authority to rule, and a fourth powerful beast with large iron teeth that devoured its victims along with ten horns. A little horn uprooted three of the first horns that spoke boastfully about the Ancient of Days sitting on His throne flaming with fire where countless number stood before Him and the books opened. The beast was killed and thrown into the blazing fire. Others were stripped of their authority but allowed to live for a period of time. One like the son of man approached the Ancient of Days and given authority, glory and sovereign power with men of every language worshiping him. His dominion would never be destroyed (Dan. 7:1-14). Worship King of Kings and Lord of Lords whose kingdom continues forever.
Expect God's Kingdom Coming to Earth in His Time
Daniel interpreted the four great beasts as four kingdoms rising from the earth. The saints of the Most High would possess the kingdom forever. He saw the horn waging war and defeating the saints until the Ancient of Days pronounced judgment in favor of the saints when the time came to possess the kingdom. The fourth beast was the fourth kingdom that devoured and crushed the earth. The ten horns were ten kings coming from this kingdom with one subduing three kings. He spoke against the Most High, oppressed His saints, tried to change laws and had saints handed over to him for 3 1/2 years. His power was destroyed and God's kingdom given to the saints eternally with every ruler worshiping and obeying Him (Dan. 7:15-28). Expect God's kingdom coming to earth in His time.
Pray for God's kingdom to come on earth as it is in heaven to experience prosperity and influence.
"A servant's job is to do all he can to make life better for others - to free them to be everything they can be. A servant's first interest is not in himself but others. Servanthood is a loving choice we make to minister to others" (Gayle Erwin).
You serve others by seeking their spiritual welfare through preparing for Christ's coming, humbling yourself before God, warning people to turn away from sin, practicing God's word, ministering with compassion to the needy, providing accurate and clear biblical teaching, and rescuing people from slavery to sin and false teaching.
Prepare for Christ's Coming Again
Ezekiel said the day of the Lord was near as a time of doom for the nations. Egypt's wealth was carried away and her foundations torn down. Her allies like Cush, Put, Lydia, Arabia and Libya fell in battle, their proud strength failed and were frightened out of complacency. God dried up the streams of the Nile, sold the land to evil men, laid waste the land and destroyed the idols. The cities went into captivity and God broke Pharaoh's strength. He scattered Egypt among the nations after strengthening the king of Babylon (Ezek. 30:1-26). Prepare for Christ's coming again when He breaks pride and complacency.
Humble Yourself Before God
Ezekiel asked Pharaoh king of Egypt if Assyria could be compared with him in majesty like a cedar in Lebanon. Great nations lived in the shade of its beautiful branches. No tree in the garden of God matched its beauty. The most ruthless nation defeated Egypt because of their pride. God cast his net over Egypt who was like a lion among the nations. He filled the ravines with their flesh and brought darkness over the land. God troubled the hearts of many people when Babylon shattered Egypt's pride. He slew Assyria, Elam, Meshech, Tubal and Sidon with armies lying around graves (Ezek. 31:1-32:32). Humble yourself before God when he breaks your pride.
Warn People to Turn Away from Sin
Ezekiel told Israel to choose a watchman to warn the people when the sword came against the land. Blood was on the people if they refused the warning, but were saved by listening. If the watchman saw the sword coming and did not blow the trumpet as a warning causing someone to be killed because of sin, God held the watchman accountable for his blood. He made Ezekiel a watchman for Israel to hear God's word and give warning for Him. If he warned the wicked man to turn from his ways and refused, he would die but Ezekiel saved himself. Israel's sins weighed and wasted them away. God took no pleasure in the death of the wicked but wanted them to turn from their ways and live. The righteous man could not trust in his righteousness for salvation if he disobeyed. If a wicked man turned from his wickedness by giving back what he took in pledge for a loan, returned what stole and followed commands that gave life, he lived. None of his sins were remembered against him. Do not say that God's way was unjust (Ezek. 33:1-20). Warn people so they turn away from sin and live without trusting in their righteousness.
Practice God's Word
God told Ezekiel that because the people of Jerusalem ate meat with blood in it and looked to their idols, should they possess the land like Abraham? They relied on their sword, did evil things and defiled their neighbor's wife. God made them die of a plague and the land became a desolate waste ending their proud strength. People did not practice God's word through Ezekiel. Their mouth expressed devotion but their hearts were greedy for unjust gain. When this came true, they would know a prophet was among them (Ezek. 33:21-33). Practice God's word without lip service and seeking unjust gain.
Minister with Compassion to the Needy
Ezekiel prophesied against Israel's shepherds who took care of themselves instead of the flock. They ate the curds, clothed themselves with wool and slaughtered choice animals, but did not care for the flock. They failed to strengthen the weak, heal the sick, bind up the injured, bring back the strays or search for the lost. The shepherd's harsh and brutal rule scattered the sheep over the whole earth without a true shepherd to search or look for them. The sheep became food for all the wild animals. God spoke against the shepherds, held them accountable and removed them from tending the flock so shepherds would no longer feed themselves. God Himself searched for His sheep, looked after them and rescued them from all places where they were scattered. He brought them into their own land to be fed in a rich pasture. God searched for the lost, brought back the strays, bound up the injured and strengthened the weak, but destroyed the sleek and strong. He shepherded the flock with justice (Ezek. 34:1-16). Strengthen the weak, heal the sick, bind up the injured, bring back the strays and search for the lost so God's sheep can feed in a rich pasture.
Provide Accurate and Spirit-Inspired Bible Teaching
God judged between one sheep and another and between rams and goats. Ezekiel said to not trample the good pasture and muddy the clear water with their feet. God's flock must not eat trampled pasture or drink muddied water. He judged between the fat and lean sheep. False shepherds drove the weak sheep away, but God saved His flock from plunder. He judged between one sheep and another. God placed one shepherd, His servant David, to tend them (Ezek. 34:17-24).
Provide accurate and Spirit-inspired Bible teaching so believers can grow spiritually.
Rescue People from Slavery to Sin and False Teaching
God made a covenant of peace with His sheep and rid the land of wild beasts. He sent showers of blessing so trees and ground yielded fruit and crops. The people felt secure. He broke the bars of their yoke and rescued them from slavery. Nations no longer plundered or wild animals devoured them. They lived in safety without fear. He provided a land renowned for crops so they would no longer be victims of famine or bore the scorn of nations. They would know that God was with them and Israel was His people as the sheep of His pasture (Ezek. 34:25-31). Rescue people from slavery to sin and false teaching to bear spiritual fruit and live in safety.
To break pride, self-righteousness, seeking unjust gain, selfishness, false teaching and slavery to sin so you can serve others by seeking their spiritual welfare, do the following:
1. Prepare for Christ's coming again
2. Humble yourself before God
3. Warn people to turn away from sin
4. Practice God's word
5. Minister with compassion to the needy
6. Provide accurate and Spirit-inspired Bible teaching
7. Rescue people from slavery to sin and false teaching
In order to develop a biblical worldview, speak against false teaching, transform mindsets by repenting of idols in your heart, use your fame to help the poor and needy, refuse trusting in human strategies, repent and get a new heart and spirit, serve and obey God so the world can see Him, and be broken over a community's sin since God exalts the lowly.
Speak Against False Teaching
God told Ezekiel to prophesy against Israel's prophets who spoke out of their imaginations with false visions. They did not repair the breaks in Israel's wall so it would stand firm in battle. God was against their false words and lying visions that led people astray. They said peace when there was no peace. It was like covering a flimsy, whitewashed wall that God tore down. Ezekiel set his face against the daughters of Israel who ensnared peoples' lives but preserved their own. Their lies killed those who should not have died and spared those who should not live. God saved Israel from the lies that disheartened the righteous and encouraged the wicked not to turn from their evil ways to save their lives. Then they would know He was God (Ezek. 13:1-23). Speak against false teaching that ensnare the righteous and encourage the wicked.
Transform Mindsets By Repenting of Idols in Your Heart
God told Ezekiel that Israel's elders set up idols in their hearts with wicked stumbling blocks. The Lord answered those with idols in their hearts who inquired of God. He recaptured the hearts of Israel who deserted God. They repented, turned from idols and renounced evil practices. God destroyed the prophets who bore their guilt. Israel no longer strayed from Him. A righteous person only could save himself and not his country or other family members. Each person was responsible for their sin. God had cause for judging by sword, famine, wild beasts and plague to kill men and animals. He made Jerusalem an useless vine like wood burned in a fire (Ezek. 14:1-15:8). Transform mindsets by repenting of idolatry in your heart.
Use Your Fame to Help the Poor and Needy
God told Ezekiel to confront Jerusalem's evil practices. He made a covenant and dressed them in fine linen. Their fame spread among the nations because of their beauty. They trusted in beauty and used their fame to become a prostitute. They lavished favors on those who passed by, made male idols for prostitution to Egypt, Assyria and Babylonia, and sacrificed children to idols. They copied Sodom's evil practices and became more depraved than they. Sodom was arrogant, overfed, unconcerned and did not help the poor and needy. God made atonement and they were ashamed for what they did. They never opened their mouth because of their humiliation (Ezek. 16:1-63). Use your fame and beauty for humility, concern and helping the poor and needy.
Refuse Trusting in Human Strategies
God told Ezekiel that a great eagle broke off a branch. He planted it and seed in fertile soil within a city of traders. It produced branches, fruit and a large vine by abundant water to represent Israel taken captive in Babylon. The king rebelled against Babylon by sending envoys to Egypt to get horses and a large army. It was no help in war to know that God was Lord (Ezek. 17:1-24). Refuse trusting in human strategies that fail in spiritual warfare.
Repent and Get a New Heart and Spirit
God told Ezekiel that people no longer quoted the proverb saying fathers ate sour grapes and the children's teeth were set on edge. Both father and son belonged to God. The soul who sinned died, but the righteous lived. Sons died for their own sin and fathers for theirs. They did not share the guilt of the other. The righteousness of the righteous man was credited to him and wickedness of the wicked charged against him. God took no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but pleased when they turn from their ways and lived. Israel's ways were unjust when they said God's ways were unjust. They must repent and turn from their offenses so sin would not be their downfall. They must rid themselves from all offenses and get a new heart and a new spirit (Ezek. 18:1-32). Repent, turn from sin, and get a new heart and spirit.
Serve and Obey God So World Can See Him
Nations came against Israel and they were brought to Babylon. The branch was stripped of its fruit and planted in the desert. Fire consumed the fruit of the branch. Some elders of Israel inquired of the Lord. He told them to eliminate vile images so they would not be defiled by Egypt's idols. God led them out of Egypt into the desert where He gave laws to obey. Israel disobeyed Him for their eyes lusted after their fathers' idols. They wanted to be like the nations who served wood and stone. On the holy mountain, Israel served God who gathered them from the nations where they were scattered. He showed Himself through Israel before the nations (Ezek. 19:1-20:49). Serve and obey God so the world can see Him.
Be Broken Over Community's Sin Since God Exalts the Lowly
Ezekiel set his face against Israel to cut off the righteous and the wicked. God told him to groan with broken heart and bitter grief. Israel despised His discipline and all advice. The sword struck three times for great slaughter and captivity to melt hearts. God exalted the lowly and brought low the exalted (Ezek. 21:1-32). Be broken over a community's sin since God exalts the lowly and humbles the exalted.
In order to develop a biblical worldview, do the following:
1. Speak against false teaching
2. Transform mindsets by repenting of idols in your heart
3. Use your fame to help the poor and needy
4. Refuse trusting in human strategies
5. Repent and get a new heart and spirit
6. Serve and obey God so the world can see Him
7. Be broken over a community's sin since God exalts the lowly
"We are locked in a battle. This is not a friendly, gentleman's discussion. It is a life and death conflict between the spiritual hosts of wickedness and those who claim the name of Christ" (Francis A. Schaeffer).
God loves, redeems, blesses, fights and provides before He humbles so you do not take personal credit and forget Him. God destroys spiritual enemies so you can take possession of your kingdom mission. God shows mercy and saves unrighteous people if leaders pray fervently, demolish idolatry and claim promises for His glory. God makes it possible to have life-changing kingdom ministry.
God Loves and Redeems
Israel must totally destroy seven larger and stronger nations that they defeated after the Lord delivered them. Do not make a covenant, show favor or intermarry so their sons would not serve other gods and be destroyed. Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones pillars, cut down their Asherim and burn their idols for the Lord had chosen them as a holy and treasured possession out of all the peoples on the earth. The Lord set His affection and redeemed them from the land of slavery in Egypt. God was faithful and kept His covenant to a thousand obedient generations but destroyed those who hated Him (Deut. 7:1-11). God loves and redeems in experiencing freedom and favor as you obey Him.
By listening and doing His laws, God loved, increased their numbers, blessed them materially and prevented harmful diseases of Egypt that their enemies experienced. Destroy everyone God delivered since serving their gods or looking on the people with pity would become a snare (Deut. 7:12-16). God blesses your descendants, finances and health by obeying Him.
Do not say in your heart that these nations were too great to be dispossessed. Do not fear but remember what God did to Pharaoh, the great trials you saw and the signs and wonders the Lord did to bring you out of Egypt. He would do something similar to those you fear. The Lord would send the hornet against them until they died. Do not dread them for God is great and awesome. He drove away these nations before you little by little lest wild beasts grew too numerous. The Lord delivered and threw them into great confusion until they were destroyed. He delivered their kings into your hand so you would make their name perish. No man would be able to stand before you until they were destroyed. Burn the graven images and do not covet their silver and gold lest you be ensnared. Bringing an abomination into your house would destroy you (Deut. 7:17-26). God fights gradually to destroy spiritual enemies if you don't covet money.
Be careful to follow God’s commands so you live, multiply and possess the promised land. Remember how the Lord led you 40 years in the wilderness to humble and test your heart to determine whether you would keep His commandments. He humbled, caused hunger and fed you with manna to teach that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the Lord’s mouth. Your clothes did not wear out or you feet swell for 40 years. Know in your heart that the Lord disciplined you as a man disciplined his son. Observe His commands since the Lord brought you into a good land with streams, flowing springs, wheat, barley, vines, fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil, honey, abundant bread, iron and copper. Praise the Lord for the good land He gave you (Deut. 8:1-10). God provides every need if you obey His word and praise His name.
Beware lest you disobey His commandments and build fine houses with increased herds and money causing a proud heart so you forget God. He brought you out of slavery and led you through the terrible wilderness with fiery serpents and no water. He gave manna to eat in the desert to humble and to test so it might go well with you. Remember that God gave you the ability to produce wealth in confirming His covenant if tempted to say your power and strength produced this wealth. God would destroy you like previous nations if you forget God by following and worshiping other gods (Deut. 8:11-20). God humbles so you don’t forget His power to create wealth and ability to live without a scarcity mindset.
Israel crossed over the Jordan to dispossess nations greater and mightier than them with great and tall people, the sons of Anakim. The Lord went ahead of Israel as a consuming fire to destroy Anakim so they could drive them out and destroy them quickly. Do not say that personal righteousness caused the Lord to bring them in to possess the land but it was because of these nations' wickedness (Deut. 9:1-6). God destroys spiritual enemies so you can drive them out and take possession of your kingdom mission.
God Shows Mercy
Israel provoked the Lord to wrath due to their rebellion in the wilderness after leaving Egypt. Moses received the tablets of the covenant from the Lord. He remained on the mountain 40 days and nights not eating bread and drinking water. The Lord gave him me two tablets of stone written by the finger of God. The Lord told Moses to go down because the people became corrupt and made a cast idol. The Lord wanted to blot out the stiff-necked people and make a nation stronger and greater than they. Moses feared the Lord’s anger to destroy Israel and Aaron but the Lord listened as he prayed for Aaron while burning and crushing the golden calf (Deut. 9:7-21). God shows mercy to unrighteous people if godly leaders pray and demolish idolatry.
Israel made the Lord angry at Taberah, Massah and Kibroth-hattaavah. When the Lord sent them out from Kadesh-barnea, they rebelled by not trusting Him to take the land He gave them. Moses laid prostate before the Lord 40 days and prayed that He would not destroy Israel, His inheritance, whom God redeemed through His greatness and brought out of Egypt. He asked God to remember Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and overlook their stubbornness and sin so Egypt would not say God hated them because He put them to death in the desert (Deut. 9:22-29). God saves unrighteous people if leaders pray fervently and claim promises for His glory.
Praise God for His love, redemption, blessings, fighting on your behalf and provision. Humble yourself before God as you do not deserve these benefits. Praise God that He destroys spiritual enemies so you can take possession of your kingdom mission. Pray fervently, demolish idolatry and claim promises for unbelievers so they can know God personally.
Many institutions in society including government, business, education and even the church suffer because leadership is corrupt without integrity.
This section in Prov. 25-26 shows how to establish righteous leadership: be humble, do research, practice timely speech, achieve perceptive relationships, seek God's honor, reject foolish behavior and reject lies.
Be Humble and Do Research
It is a glory of kings to search out a matter and God's glory to conceal it. The hearts of kings are unsearchable. Removing the wicked from the king's presence to establish his throne in righteousness is like moving dross from silver. Do not claim a place among great men as it is better for the king to ask for you to come up than be humiliated before a nobleman (Prov. 25:1-7). Be humble and do research to remove evil and establish righteous leadership.
Practice Timely Speech
Consider what you bring to court so your neighbor does not shame you. Do not betray another man's confidence when you argue your case with a neighbor so you do not lose your good reputation. A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver. A wise man's rebuke to a listening ear is like an earring of gold. A trustworthy messenger refreshes his master's spirit like the coolness of snow at harvest time. A man who boast of gifts he does not give is like clouds without rain. A gentle tongue with patience can persuade a ruler and break a bone (Prov. 25:8-15). Say the right thing at the right time to increase persuasiveness and one's reputation among leaders.
Achieve Perceptive Relationships
Eating too much honey causes vomiting. Spending too much time in a neighbor's house causes him to hate you. Giving false testimony is like a sword. Relying on the unfaithful in times of trouble is like a bad tooth. Singing songs to a heavy heart is like one who takes away a garment on a cold day. Giving your enemy food and water when he is hungry and thirsty is heaping burning coals on his head that God rewards (Prov. 25:16-22). Take a counter-intuitive approach in relationships to reap good results.
Seek God's Honor
A sly tongue brings angry looks like a north wind bringing rain. Better to live on a corner of a roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife. Good news from a distant land is like cold water to a weary soul. A righteous man who gives way to the wicked is like a polluted well. Seeking one's own honor is dishonorable like eating too much honey. A man lacking self-control is like a city whose walls are broken down (Prov. 25:23-28). Seek God's honor by living with self-control and not spend time pleasing people.
Reject Foolish Behavior
Honor is not fitting for a fool like snow in summer. An undeserved curse does not come to rest like a fluttering sparrow. A rod for the back of fools like a whip for a horse. You will be like a fool if you answer him according to his folly. A fool will not be wise in his own eyes if you answer as his folly deserves. Sending a message by the hand of a fool is like cutting off one's feet. A proverb in the mouth of a fool is like a lame's man legs. Giving honor to a fool is like tying a stone in a sling. He who hires a fool or any passer-by is like an archer who wounds at random. A fool repeats his folly like a dog returning to its vomit. A man wise in his own eyes is worse than a fool (Prov. 26:1-12). Reject foolish behavior of being wise in your own eyes.
A sluggard sees a fierce lion roaming the streets, stays in bed too long, lazy and wiser in his own eyes than seven men who answer discreetly. A passer-by who meddles in a quarrel not his own is like one seizing a dog by the ears. A man who deceives his neighbor saying he was only joking is like a madman shooting deadly arrows. A quarrel dies down without gossip or strife similar to a fire going out without wood. The words of a gossip go down to a man's inmost parts. Do not believe fervent and charming speech from an evil and deceitful heart filled with seven abominations. His malice may be concealed by deception but wickedness will be exposed in the assembly. A man falls into the pit he digs. A lying tongue hates those it hurts and flattery works ruin (Prov. 26:13-28). Reject laziness, gossiping, deception and lies to avoid ruin.
Consider the following checklist in establishing righteous leadership in your home, church or workplace and pick the one most applicable to you right now:
1. Be humble
2. Do research to remove evil
3. Say the right thing at the right time to increase persuasiveness and one's reputation among leaders
4. Take a counter-intuitive approach in relationships to reap good results
5. Seek God's honor by living with self-control and not spend time pleasing people
6. Reject foolish behavior of being wise in your own eyes
7. Reject laziness, gossiping, deception and lies to avoid ruin
"Perhaps if there were more of that intense distress for souls that leads to tears, we should more frequently see the results we desire. Sometimes it may be that while we are complaining of the hardness of the hearts of those we are seeking to benefit, the hardness of our own hearts and our feeble apprehension of the solemn reality of eternal things may be the true cause of our want of success." (Hudson Taylor). Instead of complaining, pray! Effective leadership involves fervent prayer combined with practical wisdom as modeled in Num. 11-13.
When people complained of adversity in the hearing of the Lord, He kindled His anger and fire burned to consume some. People cried out to Moses who prayed and the fire died out. Foreigners had greedy desires and Israel wept, “Who will give us meat to eat?” They remembered the fish eatened free in Egypt along with cucumbers, melons, leeks, etc. They lost their appetite because they only looked at manna. People gathered, grind and beat the manna into mortar before boiling and making cakes with it. When dew fell on the camp at night, manna would fall with it. (Num. 11:1-9). God becomes angry when you complain about His provisions.
The burden of the people was laid on Moses. He asked God to carry them in His bosom like a nurse carries a nursing infant. He did not know where to find meat for all the people. Moses asked God not to show his wretchedness if he found favor in His sight (Num. 11:10-15). Ask God to carry the burden so He can provide for those you are responsible.
The Lord said to gather 70 men from the elders of Israel who Moses knew so they could be brought to the tent of meeting with him. The Spirit would be placed on them to share the burden of the people with Moses. Even though they were well-off in Egypt, they rejected the Lord, limited His power and unsure if His word would come true. Moses stationed elders around the tent and the Spirit was placed upon 70 of them, including Eldad and Medad who had not gone out to tent but prophesied also (Num. 11:16-30). God helps you carry the burden of responsibility through shared leadership who shepherd His people together.
Wind from the Lord brought quail three feet deep. The Lord struck the people with a severe plague because they were greedy (Num. 11:31-35). God meets your needs supernaturally.
Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses questioning whether the Lord only spoke through him. Moses was more humble than any man on earth and faithful in God's household. Aaron acknowledged his sin and Miriam was shut up outside the camp for seven days (Num. 12:1-16). Top leaders must be very humble to face jealousy concerning their leadership.
The Lord told Moses to send out leaders from each tribe to spy out Canaan. Moses sent spies from the wilderness of Paran at the Lord's command to Negev. The saw what the land was like, whether the people were strong or weak, few or many, good or bad land, open camps or fortifications in the cities, fat or lean land and whether trees grew in the land. They made an effort to get fruit of the land. (Num. 13:1-22). Involving key leaders in understanding the mission field create ownership to build God’s kingdom.
In the valley of Eshcol, they cut down branch of grapes, pomegranates and figs. They reported that the land certainly flowed with milk and honey and showed the fruit. People living in the land were strong with very large fortified cities, including the descendants of Anak. Amalek, Hittities, Jebusites, Amorites and Canaanites lived by the sea and by the Jordan. (Num. 13: 23-29). Showing fruit encourages people to sacrifice in building God's kingdom.
Caleb said they should take possession of the land as overcomers. Men accompanying Caleb said they were not able to go up against people stronger than them. As a result, they gave out a bad report of the spied-out land, which devoured its inhabitants. Comparing the large Nephilim made them look like grasshoppers in comparison (Num. 13:30-33). Communicating God's promises in spite of the odds encourages people to believe in His victory.
Here is a checklist for effective leaders in building God's kingdom:
1. Are you complaining about the problems? Don't!
2. Are you asking God to carry the burden?
3. Are you asking God for other leaders to share the burden with you?
4. Do you believe that God will provide supernaturally in answer to prayer?
5. Are you a humble leader?
6. Are you involving other leaders to understand the mission field so they gain ownership in the kingdom enterprise?
7. Are you showing leaders initial fruit in the ministry so they are encouraged to continue?
8. Are you communicating God's promises of victory in spite of the odds?
People try various strategies in dealing with their extreme pain. These include over-eating, smoking, alcohol, drugs, sex, busyness, television, social media, and accomplishments. Israel experienced severe pain when Babylon conquered and removed them from Jerusalem, the place where God dwelt. God shared an alternative strategy in dealing with extreme pain.
We wept by the rivers of Babylon when we remembered Zion. Our captors and tormentors demanded we sing songs of Zion. May my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth if I don't exalt Jerusalem about my chief joy. How blessed will be the one who repays Babylon for their destruction of Jerusalem (Ps. 137:1-9). Exalt God in your extreme pain.
I give thanks heartily for His love and truth since God has magnified His word together with His name. He answers prayer and makes me bold with strength in my soul (Ps. 138:1-3). Claim God's promises in prayer to have strength and boldness.
Every king gives thanks and sings of the Lord's ways when they hear His words. The Lord's glory is great and He regards the lowly. He revives and saves me from the wrath of my enemies. The Lord accomplishes what concerns me. Because His lovingkindness is eternal, He won't forsake me (Ps. 138:4-8). Humble yourself so God's purposes can be accomplished in your life and the world.
God knows everything about you, even before doing something. He is present everywhere in the universe. He leads and works on my behalf in both darkness and light (Ps. 139:1-12). Submit to God's leadership because He knows you and is present everywhere.
God weaves me in my mother's womb. I give thanks because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I was made skillfully and secretly in the depths of the earth. God ordained the number of days I will live. How precious and vast are God'sare (Ps. 139:13-18). Thank God for His design, sovereignty and thoughts in and for your life.
Ask Him to slay the wicked who speak against God. I hate and loathe those who hate Him (Ps. 139:19-22). Agree with God in hating sin and wickedness.
Ask Him to search and know your heart. God will examine your anxious thoughts and way of pain so He can lead you forever (Ps. 139:23-24). Let God search and know your heart so He can lead you always.
When you are experiencing pain, follow this checklist:
1. Exalt God in your extreme pain
2. Claim God's promises in prayer to have strength and boldness
3. Humble yourself so God's purposes can be accomplished your life and world
4. Submit to God's leadership because He knows you and is present everywhere
5. Thank God for His design, sovereignty and thoughts in and for your life
6. Agree with God in hating sin and wickedness
7. Let God search and know your heart so He can lead you always
My goal is to ignite the hearts of people by explaining God's word in the Law, Prophets, Psalms and New Testament consecutively, much like the experience of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:32,44). I have been a missionary in Lincoln, NE, for 13 years with Christ For the City Int. and Sync with God.
Sync with God is a highly versatile web app that hosts on-demand, virtual small groups. Sync is designed to connect young seekers in the faith and scripturally-trained mentors, even globally. It offers a safe, engaging interface for Millennials/Gen. Z and is readily adaptable to technical advances well into the future.
Sync pilot lesson 1