Learn to Lead!

christian daily devotional

In the eleventh century, King Henry III of Bavaria grew tired of court life and the pressures of being a monarch. He made application to Prior Richard at a local monastery, asking to be accepted as a contemplative and spend the rest of his life in the monastery. "Your Majesty," said Prior Richard, "do you understand that the pledge here is one of obedience? That will be hard because you have been a king." "I understand," said Henry. "The rest of my life I will be obedient to you, as Christ leads you." "Then I will tell you what to do," said Prior Richard. "Go back to your throne and serve faithfully in the place where God has put you." When King Henry died, a statement was written: "The King learned to rule by being obedient."

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Tear Down the Idols!

When Gideon was called by God, a mighty man of valor, his first task was to tear down the idolatrous altars of Baal and Asherah at his father’s house. Though he was ready to obey this command, his obedience was mixed with fear, so he destroyed the idols at night [Judges 6:27]. When the men of the city realized it was Gideon who destroyed their idols, their allegiance to Baal and Asherah drove them to demand Gideon's life.

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Be Careful to Take Credit!

One constant pitfall we must watch for is taking credit for something that God does in or through us, or using the gifts and callings of God for self-exaltation. In that light it may be easier to handle poverty, weakness, or insignificance, than wealth, ability, power or authority, since poverty and frailty are not normally things we boast about, and they cause us to recognize our need for God. Prosperity, gifting, and anointing, on the other hand can be powerful temptations, leading to pride, covetousness, and self-sufficiency.

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Be a Hearer -- and a Doer!

As I continue this series of devotionals on "understanding the will of God", I'd like to talk about a story which is told in all the synoptic gospels, except that Luke's account gives a significant nuance. (Many skeptical Bible "critics" point out differences in the gospels to argue that they can't be reliable -- yet it's actually the differences which support the validity of these accounts because they reveal that the events recorded were simply experienced and told from slightly different viewpoints, a very common circumstance when people are telling a story.)

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God cares ... for everyone!

When the Lord gave Jonah a second chance, He didn't change His mind about the prophet's destination. He didn't lighten the load or change the burden Jonah was destined to carry. There was no negotiation with Jonah where the Lord expressed understanding about his reluctance to go to Nineveh. God didn't concede to send him to Tarshish just because he'd been heading in that direction anyway. Jonah's disobedience and repentance produced a clear and simple result...

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God is reaching all people – and you are part of His plan!

While most read the story of Jonah focusing on Jonah's journey, I want to pause and examine the lives of the pagan sailors. What a journey they were on! We see the hand of God touching them providentially through Jonah's disobedience. Talk about God bringing good from evil.

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Have a servant's heart!

We are called to be servants, are we not? Well, what does a servant do? He (or she) carries out the will of his master. A servant doesn't tell his master what to do -- he performs whatever tasks the master requests of him. A servant doesn't choose what days or times it's most convenient to serve his master. A servant's function is simply to follow and obey his master’s instructions. A servant does not develop a vision for the master either. The master is the one with the vision -- and he wants his servants to be ready and available to carry out that vision and bring it to fruition.

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Spare yourself, Slay Agag now!

The first king of Israel, King Saul,was told by God to utterly slay Amalek and his descendants. In blatant disobedience Saul allowed Agag, the king of the Amalekites and the best of the cattle to remain alive. The following day, Saul tried to remedy his disobedience by attempting to sacrifice the best of the cattle to the Lord.

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Don't Test Your Limits!

Here we have a stark word. Here we see the Lord testing Israel: "He gave you manna to eat in the wilderness, something your ancestors had never known, to humble and test you so that in the end it might go well with you." [Deuteronomy 8:16]. Yet Paul says that they put Him to the test. A great irony occurs when God is testing us, and we despise His discipline, thereby testing Him.

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Keep Your Eyes Fixed!

The Apostle Paul continues his warning to the Corinthians against idolatry by referring to Israel's celebration/worship of the golden calf. Aaron's proclamation, "These are your gods (plural) O Israel" could be one of the earliest declarations mixing the worship of the true and living God, YHVH, with idols. This is called "syncretism". Dictionary.com defines it: " the attempted reconciliation or union of different or opposing principles, practices, or parties, as in philosophy or religion."

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Learn Contentment!

The Apostle Paul's admonition in 1 Corinthians 10:6 against desiring evil as they did, would seem to point to the obvious sins – lying, stealing, adultery, fornication, etc. – and following their deliverance from slavery, many of the children of Israel were certainly guilty of some of these. But this passage in Numbers describes a type of sin we don't normally consider: it was simply their desire for the foods they ate in Egypt.

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