Sunday, June 26, 2011

Lead By Example

He who heeds discipline shows the way to life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray. (Pro 10:17)

I know that obedience is important, and that God disciplines me to teach me obedience, and that when I ignore his correction and continue to disobey I will suffer the consequences of my disobedience. But I rarely think about the full impact of my defiance – how it affects those around me. It is not just those who are directly affected by my misdeeds. I am a leader in my family and other spheres of influence, and my example will influence those around me either for good or ill. Lord, help me to recognize the seen and unseen consequences of my sin. I never just hurt myself, I hurt others around me. I want to be a godly example to others. Let me be a positive influence on those around me. Amen.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Eyes of Fear

We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them. (Num 13:33)

When Moses sent spies into Canaan, they came back more impressed with the size of the inhabitants than the size of the grape clusters (v23). The Nephilim were considered giants in that day, and these spies imagined themselves being crushed like insects if they had to fight them. The apostle Paul tells us to consider ourselves with sober judgment (Rom 12:3), but these men were looking at themselves and their opponents with eyes of fear. Fear makes an opponent seem larger; fear makes you forget your advantages. They forgot that God would be fighting for them. If God is for us, who can be against us? (Rom 8:31) The God who delivered them from Egypt promised them the land of Canaan. At that moment, the power of the Nephilim seemed more real to them than the power of God. They shrank back, and through their fear the promised land was lost for their generation. Lord, when danger looms and fear wells up within me, remind me that I do not stand alone. Your mighty arm is my defense. In you I place my trust. Amen.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Just Kill Me Now

I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me. If this is how you’re going to treat me, put me to death right now – if I have found favor in your eyes – and do not let me face my own ruin. (Num 11:14-15)

God called Moses to lead the people of Israel. It was a difficult job dealing with such an ungrateful, disobedient group of complainers. In this chapter they're at it again – complaining about the manna and asking for meat – and Moses was ready to quit. “Just kill me now,” he says. How many of us have thought or said the same thing? But whenever we start to think that way we make the same mistake Moses did. He thought he was all alone. Every burden was on his shoulders. But God never calls lone rangers to serve him. He calls his church. Moses forgot that we are to share our burdens. So God had him call together the seventy-two elders of Israel and made his Spirit fall on them so that they prophesied. That was the only time these men ever prophesied. Why? God wanted to show Moses that he had raised up these seventy-two men to help him. The prophetic office still belonged to Moses but these men stood near to help him in many other more mundane ways. When God calls pastors and other leaders he does not call them to serve alone. All of us are to come alongside them and help them, each according to our gift. Lord, never let me fall into the trap of thinking that I must serve alone. And when I am serving under someone, don't let me sit back and expect them carry the whole load. Teach me to do my part. Amen.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Lame Excuses

The sluggard says, “There is a lion outside!” or “I will be murdered in the streets!” (Pro 22:13)

I don’t like to think I have anything in common with the “sluggard” who is so frequently criticized in Proverbs. But unfortunately I often see myself in these verses. It’s so easy to make excuses when there is something I know I should do, but I dread it for some reason. I wonder how often my excuses sound as silly as these? But even if I can fool others I know I can’t fool God. He sees my heart and he knows when I am being lazy or timid. Lord, I can’t fool you, and most of the time I can’t fool others, either. Forgive me for making excuses when what you desire is obedience. You will provide the strength and the courage I need for any task, if only I will yield in obedience to your will. Amen.