Tag Archives: Authority

Nahum 1-3; 1 Timothy 2

1 Timothy 2:1-4 NIV
I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone – for kings and all those in authority, that we may life peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

Timothy has an interesting challenge for us when it comes to godly living: rather than doing what the pagans do (and if we’re honest, what comes naturally), he urges us to offer thanksgiving and prayers for those in our lives – particularly the authorities in our lives.

The result, he says, pleases God.

How does it please God?

Because when we pray for and give thanks for our authorities, it causes us to live at peace with those people in our lives, and to set an example of holiness and godliness. An example that points to Jesus as the Lord of our lives.

This example stands in stark contrast to what we see in the culture around us, where people frequently and openly disrespect and disparage those in authority, whether it’s their boss, a cop, or even the president.

God doesn’t want me to blend in with the culture around me. He doesn’t want me to join in with negativity. He wants to me offer thanks for the authority, whether good or bad. He wants me to pray for my authority, whether easy or hard. He wants me to choose peace with my authority, to choose love with my authority, and to choose holiness in my interactions with my authority.

When I put God in control of my relationships, it pleases Him because it allows Him to work behind the scenes in a person’s life, for the purpose of the gospel.

God wants everyone to come to a saving knowledge of the truth. Shouldn’t I want the same? And if I do want the same, how do my interactions with others reflect this? How do my prayers reflect it? How does my attitude reflect it?

Our primary purpose in life is to know God and make Him known. When I seek peace and pursue it by praying for and being thankful for the people God has placed in my life, I’m able to make God known in the most vibrant and significant way possible.

But when I gossip, when I complain, when I become negative and resentful about the people in my life who annoy me, frustrate me, or inconvenience me,  I make myself known. And that’s not a good thing. That means God has to deal with me before He can deal with them.

When I choose a humble and godly attitude, I show my trust in God to provide for, encourage, protect, and lead me, even as He uses the people in my life to do so.

Father, thank you for your patience with me. Forgive me for choosing negativity and selfishness over gratitude and humility. Help me to see people as you see them, and help me to make my priority making Your name great and making You known. By Your grace, I will choose gratitude. By Your grace, I will pray for those you’ve placed in my life. By Your grace, I will choose peace. Help me to be set apart in my behavior towards others. Help me to point to You in all that I say and do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.  

 

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Judges 5-6; Mark 11; Psalms 39, 41

I sit with Gideon this morning.

12 The angel of the Lord appeared to him and said, “Mighty hero, the Lord is with you!

13 “Sir,” Gideon replied, “if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? And where are all the miracles our ancestors told us about? Didn’t they say, ‘The Lord brought us up out of Egypt’? But now the Lord has abandoned us and handed us over to the Midianites.”

14 Then the Lord turned to him and said, “Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!

15 “But Lord,” Gideon replied, “how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least in my entire family!”

16 The Lord said to him, “I will be with you. And you will destroy the Midianites as if you were fighting against one man.”

17 Gideon replied, “If you are truly going to help me, show me a sign to prove that it is really the Lord speaking to me. 18 Don’t go away until I come back and bring my offering to you.”

He answered, “I will stay here until you return” (Judges 6:12-18, NLT, emphasis added).

I notice how Gideon sees himself. I notice he has a lot of questions. I notice his doubts. I notice his need for assurance.

Gideon takes steps that slowly build up trust and confidence–going to get the offering and seeing the angel of the Lord still there; the offering ignited; the task of sacrificing of his father’s bull and tearing down of the Asherah pole; the wet fleece test; the dry fleece test.

That first moment of Gideon at the threshing floor–he was going about life as usual, and the Lord arrives with a hero’s task for him. Gideon didn’t feel ready to take on such a big responsibility. He doubted himself. He doubted the calling he heard. And maybe he doubted God. Did he wonder, “Are you really with me? Will you really be there? In this circumstance, I feel abandoned. Can I really trust you? Can I have a sign? And another one too, just to be sure?” (I placed the Lord’s assurances in bold, so my heart would see.)

In Mark 11, I read of Jesus telling some disciples to get a young donkey–where to find it, what to say if questioned. I notice his authority. And later:

As Jesus was walking through the Temple area, the leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders came up to him. 28 They demanded, “By what authority are you doing all these things? Who gave you the right to do them?” (Mark 11:27b-28, NLT)

Gideon: who felt small and weak, given a hero’s task. The disciples: told where to go, what to get, what to say, and they do it. The religious leaders: threatened and angered, demanding proof of permission. The fig tree: in full leaf, a posture of maturity, but fruitless and immature.

13 He noticed a fig tree in full leaf a little way off, so he went over to see if he could find any figs. But there were only leaves because it was too early in the season for fruit. 14 Then Jesus said to the tree, “May no one ever eat your fruit again!” And the disciples heard him say it (Mark 11:13-14, NLT).

Lord, be with me. Your word tells me you are trustworthy. You are the authority. I’m grateful for your patience with me. I am grateful that you will not abandon me. Help me to keep my eyes on you and to be obedient to your call.

Courtney (66books365)

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Numbers 16, Psalms 52-54, Hebrews 13

 

I have to admit, I have never read this story in Numbers. I am pretty sure I would have remembered a story about the Earth opening up and swallowing a crowd of people. It’s a shocking ending to the events that took place as I take a step back and look at what lead to that consequence I find myself right there with him. Like Korah, how have I:

  • Questioned authority and who assigned it to them?
  • Challenged how they are leading?
  • Started a “rebellion” of my own by gossiping about the leader and convinced others that something needs to be done about their leadership?
  • Been jealous or not understood why someone was in authority over me?
  • Felt like I was a better fit for the job?

Thinking about how I am like Korah reminds me of several times in my life both in ministry and in the workplace that I have been discontent it those the Lord has placed in leadership over me. I am a very independent person and like to control things. I feel very strongly about my opinions which can make working “under” someone very difficult.

Korah was discontent. Things were not going like he and his friends thought they should go. But Korah wasn’t really challenging Moses and Aaron, was he? No, when we challenge our leaders, we are really challenging the Lord for He is the one who set ups leaders and rulers over us both in and out of ministry. Certainly, there are times, seasons and leaders who are not following the Lord’s calling and will. Dictators and ruthless authorities have always been around. But in our everyday life, I can see myself often challenging leadership out of selfish ambition and gain. So here are a few questions I must ask myself when evaluating those in authority:

  • Am I seeking to glorify God or receive my own fame?
  • Have I prayed about the situation and for the leader over me?
  • Do I simply not agree with their opinion or is what they are asking of me against the word of God?
  • Am I making their job more difficult by my attitude? Am I stirring up strife by trying to convince others of my personal opinion of their leadership?
  • Am I simply jealous for control because I think my way is better?

These can be some really tough questions to ask. When I sit down with the Lord and really dig deep, I am often ashamed and disappointed it the answers I find. I am so grateful that His grace is sufficient for me!

Hebrews 13:17 reminds us:

“Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.”

In this case, I believe the writer was referring to our pastors and teachers but in every case of authority this rings true. At the end of the day, I am not responsible for how they lead but how I follow. My goal is to follow them with joy and without groaning and complaining.

Father, forgive me for the times I have wanted to gain control for my own pride and fame. Help me each day to pray for those you have placed in authority. Help me to trust that ultimately you are in control. God, “you are my helper and the upholder of my life” and you will one day put an end to the evil rulers and reward those who are obedient. Amen.

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Psalm 99-102; Romans 13

I’m hanging out with Bill Hybels at the Global Leadership Summit today–via satellite, along with a worldwide audience of thousands. It’s my third time attending a Summit. Their tagline is: Lead Where You Are. Hybels says it frequently, “Everyone wins when a leader gets better.”

Leadership and authority leap from scripture today, starting with Psalm 99:

The Lord is king!
    Let the nations tremble! Ps 99:1a, NLT

and Psalm 100:

Acknowledge that the Lord is God!
    He made us, and we are his.
    We are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Ps 100:3, NLT

Paul shares perspective in Romans 13.

Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God … So you must submit to them, not only to avoid punishment, but also to keep a clear conscience.

Pay your taxes, too, for these same reasons. For government workers need to be paid. They are serving God in what they do. Give to everyone what you owe them: Pay your taxes and government fees to those who collect them, and give respect and honor to those who are in authority. Romans 13:1-7, NLT.

Paul’s message becomes more urgent. He reminds us who our authority is.

11 This is all the more urgent, for you know how late it is; time is running out. Wake up, for our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here. So remove your dark deeds like dirty clothes, and put on the shining armor of right living. 13 Because we belong to the day, we must live decent lives for all to see. Don’t participate in the darkness of wild parties and drunkenness, or in sexual promiscuity and immoral living, or in quarreling and jealousy. 14 Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires. Romans 13:11-14, NLT.

Doesn’t everyone have a sphere of influence? For me–it’s my kids, the kids in my classroom, the people in my community.

David’s Psalm 101 is a list of resolutions: I will, I will, I will. It is admirable, and daunting. I read it twice, and then laughed–he keeps it real.

I will be careful to live a blameless life—
    when will you come to help me? Ps 101:2, NLT

Lord, I can turn to your word for encouragement and instruction. I can look to the examples of others for improvement. I can attend conferences or read books to learn from leaders. But I know, oh how I know!, I need you most of all. Thankful that when I ask, I know (and I know!) you will come to help me.

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, ESV Through the Bible in a Year, Romans

Numbers 34; Psalm 78:38-72; Isaiah 26; 1 John 4

Read at – www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Num.%2034;%20Ps.78:38-72;%20Isa.%2026;%201%20John%204&version=NKJV

Numbers 34             Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, Command the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When you come into the land of Canaan, this is the land that shall fall to you as an inheritance—the land of Canaan to its boundaries.’ These are the ones the Lord commanded to divide the inheritance among the children of Israel in the land of Canaan. V.1-2,29

            The Lord God, the only Owner of all, has the authority and exercises His authority in giving inheritance to whomever He chooses. God’s commands are specific in detail. Who am I to not obey Him in using His gifts? How do ignore His spiritual, physical and intellectual gifts and not use them for His designed purpose and glory? When do I ignore the responsibility He has given me?  Where is the territory God has entrusted me to “rule” under His authority by the Word of God and His Holy Spirit? Do I hold myself and those assigned to me, such as my children, family, friends, neighbors, everyone I encounter, so to see, sense and be drawn to the Love of God by His Son Jesus Christ in order for their eventual surrender to follow the Lord Jesus? Do I live and speak the Word of God in love? How often do I pray for them? Lord, thank You for trusting me. Help me to honor You more.

Psalm 78:38-72                   But He (Lord God), being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, And did not destroy them.  …  How often they provoked Him in the wilderness, And grieved Him in the desert!  They did not remember His power: The day when He redeemed them from the enemy, … For they provoked Him to anger with their high places, And moved Him to jealousy with their carved images. When God heard this, He was furious, And greatly abhorred Israel, …  He also gave His people over to the sword, And was furious with His inheritance. … He put them to a perpetual reproach.

               Lord God, I am grateful that Your mercies are new every morning. That You forgive my iniquities as quickly as I repent to You. Thank You for Your mercy on those who have not yet repented to You, by Your patience for them to come to You before their time here on earth is over. Hebrews 9:27, 2 Peter 3:9

            But chose the tribe of Judah, …He also chose David His servant, … To shepherd Jacob His people, And Israel His inheritance. So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart, And guided them by the skillfulness of his hands.

            Lord God, You sent Your one and only Son Jesus to be born of the line of King David, of Judah to shepherd Your people! Thank You merciful King of kings! John 10

Isaiah 26        You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever, For in YAH, the Lord, is everlasting strength.

              As I see destruction around me, God’s judgment for rebellion, my heart and mind are safe because I trust in You, Lord God. Proverbs  3:4-6   Your love for me compels me to love them all.

            The desire of our soul is for Your name And for the remembrance of You. … With my soul I have desired You in the night, Yes, by my spirit within me I will seek You early;

My soul grieves for the unrepentant –

Let grace be shown to the wicked, Yet he will not learn righteousness; In the land of uprightness he will deal unjustly, And will not behold the majesty of the Lord.

1 John 4                    Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God … Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.

              The culture these days is wrought with deceiving spirits. May I cling to Your Word (Romans 12:1-2) in my mind and heart to abide in You Lord God. John 15

            In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.  In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  

I rejoice in this!!

God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. … There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment.  We love Him because He first loved us.

              I continue to proclaim, to serve, to pray. It is endless: the work and love that is involved in being humble under You King of kings! Yet You refresh me by the fellowship with Your children! The mind of Christ Jesus is powerful within them! Thank You Lord God for Your Son and all His people!

You are of God, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than He Who is in the world.   By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

Bible Insights –

1- Exodus 19:5; Psalm 50:10; Joshua 1:2-9; Deuteronomy 28; Hebrews 9:27; 2 Peter 3:9; Isaiah 1:18; Psalm 51; Psalm 46:10; Romans 12:1-2; John 15

Crystal (PsalmThirty4)

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Filed under 1 John, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Isaiah, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Numbers, Old Testament, Psalms, Uncategorized

Isaiah 65, 66 & Romans 13

At a recent meeting with all of our staff and administrators, I loudly spoke the word “no” in answer to a question the guest speaker assumed we would say, “Yes.”  The pause was noticeable.  Unfortunately (at least for me, probably), the administrators were seen to sit silently with eyes cast down.  There may be repercussions, I don’t know.  What is clear to me is my own distrust in the system, the change, and the oversight in our agency.  I guess my opinion is clear to all at this point.

What was I thinking when I answered?  Was I certain that I would be heard and vindicated?  Did I expect that others would support my views?  To be frank, I didn’t even think about counting the cost of bringing my discontent to the ears of my supervisors.

In Romans 13, Paul instructed the Christians who were living under the cruel rule of Nero to obey authority.  I wonder what they thought about this since Nero used Christians for sport in the bloodbath arena of the Coliseum.  I don’t have to fear that kind of persecution, so my outburst is not likely to result in death.  However, kicking against those who God has placed over me is not a thing God takes lightly.  In fact, my submission to authority can be viewed as an act of submission to God Himself.

Leaders are humans, apt to make mistakes, and sometimes even prone to do more harm than good – nothing novel about this.  However, only God has the power to place or remove authority over us.  We learn to follow God through the instruction and experience of submitting to leaders who are not perfect. The short term outcome may not be of our choosing, yet in the long run we will have learned to submit to God.  Only Christ can lead with perfection.  Isaiah describes what the world will be like when He does;  the new structure will be so different from what we’ve known that we will be amazed.  A lion eating straw?  A time when a prayer is answered without pain in between the asking and the giving?

So why do I throw myself into the turning wheels of an earthly institution as a wrench thrown into the spokes of a wheel?  What will it profit me?  Lord, God, teach me to understand Your sovereignty through earthly authority.  I will choose to follow the authority over me in this life and learn to obey Your commandments of submission so that You will call me home to a perfect world of peace and rejoicing under Your great kingship.

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament

1 Samuel 15, 1 Samuel 16, Luke 20:1-26

Read at – www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1Sam15,16;%20Luke%2020:1-26&version=NKJV

It’s all about Authority. God has Sovereignty. Man pretends he has it.

Jesus, the chief cornerstone, says: Whoever falls on that stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder. Luke 20:18

1 Sam 15:10-11        The Word of the Lord came to Samuel, saying, “I greatly regret that I have set up Saul as king, for he has turned back from following Me, and has not performed My commandments.” And it grieved Samuel, and he cried out to the Lord all night.

                  What is the cause of grief? SIN. Turning away from following God. Not obeying God fully in action and heart. Saul disobeyed God’s sovereign ruling because Saul thought he had sovereignty.

                 Samuel grieved. Seeing a lack of God’s glory grieves God and His children. Watching rebellion against God and its terrible, painful effects is heartbreaking. Only the LORD can fix the root of the matter, which is why we cry out to the Lord Jesus Christ. ~1

               I relate in both ways: 1) Being like Saul and grieving the Lord Jesus Christ (Psalm 51:9-10, ~2)   and 2) Grieving Greatly as God’s daughter, crying out to the Lord for months.

The Lord Delights when I obey His Voice.  ~3

1Sam 15:22-23         Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, …For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the Word of the Lord, He also has rejected you from being king.”

Rejecting God = Not doing the Word of God = Witchcraft, Iniquity and Idolatry.

God rejects people who reject Him, Who is the Word of God. ~4

1 Samuel 16             The Lord said …”I have provided Myself a king… Do not look at his appearance… I have refused him…the Lord looks at the heart.”

               What does God see when He sees me? Spots on my face, spots in my heart or Jesus’ Righteousness? ~5                A dirty mind or one washed and renewed by God’s Word? ~6  Under Whose Sovereignty do I live?  ~7 , ~8      

                 1 Samuel 16            The Lord said, “Arise, anoint him; for this is the one!” Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him…and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward.

Hate for God incurs wrath from God – yet there is mercy from God, temporarily.

1 Samuel 16             the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and a distressing spirit from the Lord troubled him. … “Look, I have seen a son … and the Lord is with him.” … So David came to Saul and stood before him. And he loved him greatly, and he became his armorbearer…. David would take a harp and play it with his hand. Then Saul would become refreshed and well, and the distressing spirit would depart from him.

               2000 years ago the religious leaders challenged God, they asked Jesus “Tell us, by what authority are You doing these things?”  Not being satisfactorily answered, Jesus told them a parable: “A certain man planted a vineyard, leased it to vinedressers, and went into a far country for a long time. Now at vintage-time he sent a servant to the vinedressers, that they might give him some of the fruit of the vineyard. But the vinedressers beat him and sent him away empty-handed. Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my beloved son.’”  This angered the religious ones who “that very hour sought to lay hands on Him” Luke 20

“The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;” Psalm 24:1

              Saul was to follow the Owner’s commands, but he acted like he was The authority. David had a heart after God, so David knew he was not the Authority and he lived to please the Lord. The religious leaders believed they were The authority, so they challenged Jesus’ Authority, then sought to kill Jesus. ~9

                Lord Jesus, it is so obvious that I have no rights or authority. But I do have position. It is a Very High position. I am Your daughter and part of the royal priesthood. I have not earned it. You have bestowed it because of the Blood of Jesus, His Atonement on the cross.   ~10

               In that position, through the veil of Jesus’ Body, I come before You, Lord God of the Universe, please have my family cherish their precious relationship with You. Have them learn of Your Grace, Mercy and immense Forgiveness so that they do not compromise or violate their relationship with You Lord God. Amen.   ~10

For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:20

~1 Psalm 84:2, Psalm 18:6, Psalm 34:17, Psalm 56:9, Psalm 57:2, 2 Corinthians 1:3-7

~2 Isaiah 1:18, Psalm 103:12, 1 John 1:8-10

~3 John 10:1-7, 27-30

~4  John 1:1-4; John 1:11-14; John 1:29; John 10:30; Hebrews 1:3; Ephesians 4:30; John 14:24; John 15:5-11; 1 John 5:3; James 4:8; 1 Peter 1:14; Exodus 20; Deuteronomy 28

~5 2 Corinthians 5:21, Psalm 132:9, John 15:3, 1 Corinthians 1:30, Romans 3:23-26, Revelation 7:14             

~6 Ephesians 5:26, Romans 12:1-2, Ephesians 4:20-24

~7  Hebrews 12:2; Psalm 29:2; Psalm 99:5; Psalm 28:7; Psalm 30:4

~8 2Cor 5:17, John 1:29, Galatians 5:19-26, Ephesians 5:8-11

~9 1 Samuel 13:14, Acts 13:22, Hebrews 10:10, Matthew 27:50-54, Hebrews 9:12, Hebrews 10:19-25

~10 John 3:3-21; John 1:12-14; 1 John 3:1; 1 Peter 2:5; 1 Peter 2:9; Hebrews 4:14-16; Ephesians 1; Isaiah 1:18; Psalm 103:12; 1 John 1:9; Matthew 11:28-30

Crystal (PsalmThirty4) 

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Filed under 1 Samuel, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Luke, New Testament, Old Testament, Uncategorized