Tag Archives: leadership

Hosea 14; 2 Chronicles 26-27; Psalm 61; Matthew 20

“O Israel, stay away from idols!
    I am the one who answers your prayers and cares for you.
I am like a tree that is always green;
    all your fruit comes from me.”

Let those who are wise understand these things.
    Let those with discernment listen carefully.
The paths of the Lord are true and right,
    and righteous people live by walking in them.
    But in those paths sinners stumble and fall. Hosea 14:8-9, NLT

***

O God, listen to my cry!
    Hear my prayer!
From the ends of the earth,
    I cry to you for help
    when my heart is overwhelmed.
Lead me to the towering rock of safety,
    for you are my safe refuge,
    a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me.
Let me live forever in your sanctuary,
    safe beneath the shelter of your wings! Psalm 61:1-4

 

***

25 But Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. 26 But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. 28 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:25-28, NLT

***

Leadership matters. I look for examples of leaders in history pages. I look for examples of leaders all around me. I think long on the role I play as a leader and influencer–wife, mother, friend, neighbor, teacher–there are opportunities for influence everywhere. Where I set my gaze sets my course–and not just mine; the effects ripple around me.

Who is influencing me? And how does their influence affect my heart, my home and my other friendships?

Lord, please be at the heart of my heart. Please be at the heart of my home. Please be at the heart of my friendships.

Courtney (66books365)

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1 Samuel 6-8; Acts 7

I’ve enjoyed studying history with my kids. We take a cyclical world view approach and repeat it every four years, going into greater detail each time. Ancient one year, medieval the next, early modern after that, and wrap up with modern. Repeat. Because my education wasn’t as fluid, I only knew specific parts of history, and mostly just about a specific area. This broader approach has been fascinating to me, and I enjoy learning as much as my kids do.

One of the things I focus on and hope to draw to their attention is who the leaders are; how they are motivated; what their character is like; and how they are influenced. This is not a political post. Governments aside, leadership opportunities are everywhere. People lead corporations. They lead churches. They lead communities. They can even lead in friendships.

In the car yesterday, one of my kids remarked about a friend following another’s poor example, and it frustrated her to see them behaving the way they did. It was a good moment to talk about the influence friends have on us and how their influence can bring out the best, the worst, or the immature in us. In the moments that followed, I thought of some of my closest friends and how my friendships have changed over the years. I thank God for removing some of the influences that (had and) could have shaped me in a negative way. I thank him for others who, whether they walked the same streets I have, or come to life in history pages, lead a path that points to him.

Samuel 8, the people want a leader. The Lord tells Samuel to warn them of what that means.

19 But the people refused to listen to Samuel’s warning. “Even so, we still want a king,” they said. 20 “We want to be like the nations around us. Our king will judge us and lead us into battle.”

21 So Samuel repeated to the Lord what the people had said, 22 and the Lord replied, “Do as they say, and give them a king.” Then Samuel agreed and sent the people home. Samuel 8:19-22, NLT.

Leadership seeps through Stephen’s testimony in Acts 7.

37 “Moses himself told the people of Israel, ‘God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from among your own people.’ 38 Moses was with our ancestors, the assembly of God’s people in the wilderness, when the angel spoke to him at Mount Sinai. And there Moses received life-giving words to pass on to us.

39 “But our ancestors refused to listen to Moses. They rejected him and wanted to return to Egypt. 40 They told Aaron, ‘Make us some gods who can lead us, for we don’t know what has become of this Moses, who brought us out of Egypt.’ 41 So they made an idol shaped like a calf, and they sacrificed to it and celebrated over this thing they had made. 42 Then God turned away from them and abandoned them to serve the stars of heaven as their gods! Acts 7:37-42, NLT.

Lord, I just want to listen to your voice.

Courtney (66books365)

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Judges 19-21; Acts 2

Now in those days Israel had no king. Judges 19:1a, NLT.

Community is my word for the year this year, and it stood out in these chapters, but not on the first pass. This reading left a series of impressions on leadership, sin, warfare, division, fighting, and loss–even in victory.

Eleven Israelite tribes unite against the tribe of Benjamin. They consult the Lord for direction.

22 But the Israelites encouraged each other and took their positions again at the same place they had fought the previous day. 23 For they had gone up to Bethel and wept in the presence of the Lord until evening. They had asked the Lord, “Should we fight against our relatives from Benjamin again?

And the Lord had said, “Go out and fight against them.” Judges 20:22-23, NLT.

And while victory was eventually theirs, they still felt a great sting–not only were thousands of lives lost in these battles, but they also recognized the potential impact of losing one of the twelve tribes.

25 In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes. Judges 21:25, NLT.

People will follow something: a good leader, a bad leader, or their own passions.

The apostles preach the saving Gospel and many lives are changed. The Holy Spirit inhabits hearts.

37 Peter’s words pierced their hearts, and they said to him and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?”

38 Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 This promise is to you, to your children, and to those far away—all who have been called by the Lord our God.” Acts 2:37-39, NLT.

Community.

42 All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.

43 A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. 44 And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. 45 They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. 46 They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity— 47 all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved. Acts 2:42-47, NLT.

In the Old Testament, a community rallied within the tribe of Benjamin to support the sinful deeds of a few, while a larger community (the other eleven tribes) fought for justice and the integrity of the whole. In the New Testament, believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to fellowship, to sharing meals together, and to prayer.

These scriptures give me lots to think on regarding influence, leadership, and community.

Lord, I want your Holy Spirit to be my influence and leadership. I thank you for revealing a healthy view of community, and for bringing other believers into my life who share the same vision. I want to live in the awe of who you are and to experience life with you. I praise you.

Courtney (66books365)

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2 Kings 15-16; Matthew 21

I recently read of a high school teacher’s death in the comments section under a photo in Facebook. He was a music teacher, and I knew of him even though I never played an instrument. I wondered about him and looked up his name online. I found a small paragraph about him from the funeral home’s website. His life was all about music, and whether or not he was a believer, I have no doubt God put that beautiful desire and skill in his heart. This teacher continued his own studies after kids he taught had graduated. He even played on stage with famous names.

Reading about his life made me think long on legacy and influence.

2 Kings 15-16 chronicles leaders.

Uzziah son of Amaziah began to rule over Judah in the twenty-seventh year of the reign of King Jeroboam II of Israel. He was sixteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-two years. His mother was Jecoliah from Jerusalem.

He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight, just as his father, Amaziah, had done. But he did not destroy the pagan shrines, and the people still offered sacrifices and burned incense there. The Lord struck the king with leprosy, which lasted until the day he died. He lived in isolation in a separate house. The king’s son Jotham was put in charge of the royal palace, and he governed the people of the land. 2 Kings 15:1-5, NLT.

Or this:

13 Shallum son of Jabesh began to rule over Israel in the thirty-ninth year of King Uzziah’s reign in Judah. Shallum reigned in Samaria only one month. 14 Then Menahem son of Gadi went to Samaria from Tirzah and assassinated him, and he became the next king.

16 At that time Menahem destroyed the town of Tappuah and all the surrounding countryside as far as Tirzah, because its citizens refused to surrender the town. He killed the entire population and ripped open the pregnant women.

17 Menahem son of Gadi began to rule over Israel in the thirty-ninth year of King Uzziah’s reign in Judah. He reigned in Samaria ten years. 18 But Menahem did what was evil in the Lord’s sight. During his entire reign, he refused to turn from the sins that Jeroboam son of Nebat had led Israel to commit. 2 Kings 15:13-18, NLT.

How humbling that lifetimes and legacy can be summarized in a few lines.

18 In the morning, as Jesus was returning to Jerusalem, he was hungry, 19 and he noticed a fig tree beside the road. He went over to see if there were any figs, but there were only leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” And immediately the fig tree withered up. Matthew 21:18-19, NLT.

The fig tree gave the impression of health and fullness, but it produced no fruit.

Lord, help me to prepare my thoughts and heart for the tasks ahead of me. I need you every minute of the day. You have wired me to do certain things–and I pray that I do them wholeheartedly for you.

Courtney (66books365)

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1 Kings 6; 2 Chronicles 3; 1 Timothy 1

He speaks as a father to a son.

Fathers, legacy, teaching, leadership, love–these things mean a lot to me.

1 Kings 6, 2 Chronicles 3 both speak of building a temple. I smiled at the details, because it reminds me of the thought and care that one might put into building a home. And home is a rich word. Old Testament building a home with cedars and gold, but in the New Testament, building up a home with guidance and encouragement. A home is more than ceilings and walls. A home is a first stop where hearts are shaped.

Paul speaks to Timothy as a father to a son.

Old Testament describes a house for the Lord, the attention to detail, the honor bestowed in beauty–a home built by a heart for God.

New Testament speaks of building a heart for God, words passed in love from a father to a son, to equip.

18 Timothy, my son, here are my instructions for you, based on the prophetic words spoken about you earlier. May they help you fight well in the Lord’s battles. 19 Cling to your faith in Christ, and keep your conscience clear. For some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked. 1 Timothy 1:18-19, NLT.

Paul’s instructions are for all believers.

The purpose of my instruction is that all believers would be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and genuine faith. But some people have missed this whole point. They have turned away from these things and spend their time in meaningless discussions. 1 Timothy 1:5-6, NLT.

God, help my heart to be open to your instruction. Sometimes shipwrecking storms pull me apart and my conscience battles doing right. Sometimes I’m not even clear about what right is. Help me to guard my heart, so that it would be pure, my conscience clear and my faith genuine.

Courtney (66book365)

 

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