Pray For Our Leaders 

Exodus 22:28
“You shall not revile God, nor curse a ruler of your people.”

The purpose of Israel’s time at Mount Sinai was to develop as a nation upon the foundation stone of the Word of God. Moses went up the mountain alone, and came down the mountain with clear and detailed instructions from heaven regarding how the people should live. These instructions are referred to simply as “the Law” and can be divided into three groups. The Moral Law is a list of unchanging standards God set upon mankind. The Religious Law was designed to instruct the people regarding relationship with God.  The Civil Law was created to keep order. Since God was forming this traveling band into a nation, it would be necessary to also establish leadership, and because of the nature of men, it would not be long before the people would begin to complain about those who are in charge. Knowing this was coming, God declares,

Exodus 22:28 “You shall not revile God, nor curse a ruler of your people.”

Simply put, God made it illegal for the people to curse their rulers. This is not because the rulers would always prove to be faultless, nor did it mean they were above the law, or their actions could not be questioned. In fact, God always puts a higher standard on rulers, than he does on the rest of the people. What this law was designed to do was point out the folly of sitting around complaining about those who are in charge.

Instead of grousing about our leaders, the laws, or the direction the nation is heading, the Bible gives us a far more productive way to handle poor leadership, and a declining culture. God instructs us to pray for our leadership, and to infiltrate culture with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I wonder what would happen, if we took half the time we spent complaining about the condition of our nation, and invested that time in prayer and seeking effective ways to bring the Gospel message to others.

Pastor Jim

Government 

Ezekiel 45:17
“Then it shall be the prince’s part to give burnt offerings, grain offerings, and drink offerings, at the feasts, the New Moons, the Sabbaths, and at all the appointed seasons of the house of Israel. He shall prepare the sin offering, the grain offering, the burnt offering, and the peace offerings to make atonement for the house of Israel.”

Recently, I was captivated by the different titles given to political leaders. In one news segment, I saw references to presidents, kings, prime ministers and even a supreme ruler. It is interesting the view men have of rulers. In some settings, they are seen as gods, while in other settings, servants of the people. Here, in Ezekiel, we get a glimpse into how God views those who rule over men. He sees them as representatives of Himself, and expects them to set an example for the people of what it means to be committed to Him. In God’s economy, a ruler of the people must first be a follower of YHWH. Israel’s greatest leader was described as a man after God’s heart (Acts 13:22). This evidenced itself in a desire to please God and properly represent Him to the people.

What the world needs today are men and women who will lead others by being committed to the Lord. This kind of leadership will transform a nation, a business, and especially, a home.

Pastor Jim

 

Our Influence 

Ezekiel 23:37
“For they have committed adultery with their idols, and even sacrificed their sons whom they bore to Me, passing them through the fire, to devour them.”

Ezekiel points out that the sins of the parents resulted in the sacrifice of the children. When they stopped following the Lord, their decision impacted the next generation. I think it would do us good to keep in mind that we have a much greater influence on others than we might think. Jesus compared us to a city set on a hill that cannot be hidden (Matthew 5:14). Paul explained, the whole world is watching the Christian as though we were on display. When we decide to commit ourselves to the Lord, living to please to Him, that decision will impact others. People will take notice and decide to further their commitment  to Christ. On the other hand, if we wander from the Lord, we will have a domino effect upon others who may fall along with us.

Remember, after the death of Christ, when Peter decided to return to fishing? He was distraught over the events that had transpired, and he seems to have stepped backwards in his relationship with Christ. I find it interesting, he was not fishing alone, other men were drawn away with him. This always seems to be the case. The decisions we make, for or against the Lord, will always create a current, pulling others along with us.

Let’s make sure to keep pressing toward the Lord.

Pastor Jim

 

Responsible 

Jeremiah 22:2
“Hear the word of the Lord, O king of Judah, you who sit on the throne of David, you and your servants and your people who enter these gates!”

As king of Judah, Zedekiah was afforded certain privileges and responsibilities. His seat, or throne, gave him authority that others did not have, and this authority made him culpable before God for his actions and how they impacted the nation.

While very few of us have a seat that gives us authority over a nation, we have all been afforded certain privileges and authority. For some it is the position as a father. This role grants us the responsibility of instructing our children in the word of God, guiding them in the ways of the Lord, and setting a godly example for them. Others have been given a position as co-worker, where we are able to establish relationships with others and be a witness of Christ to them. It is through these relationships that we are able to exemplify what Christianity really looks like, and help to guide them to Christ. Still others, have been given a position of influence as a teacher, leader or role model. Whatever our seat may be, it is important that we recognize it to be God given and use it for His glory. Zedekiah’s failure was, he never saw that his position carried with it a responsibility before God. Membership not only has privileges, it also has responsibility.

Pastor Jim

 

Where Is He? 

2 Kings 2:14
“Where is the Lord God of Elijah?”

Looking back, we see that the ministry of Elijah was remarkable. He came out of obscurity, and was powerfully used as the voice of God for a nation. His ministry impacted kings, and stirred revival in a morally collapsing Israel. As he aged, the world knew it was losing one of the greatest men who ever walked its soil.

Elijah had taken the time to invest in a younger man named Elisha, who no doubt, would be filled with emotion as he watched his mentor pass through the heavens. What would happen to him? What would happen to Israel? Was there any hope for this falling nation? It is in this situation that Elisha speaks, and his words reveal to us the ways of God. “Where is the Lord God of Elijah?” Elisha realized that the success behind the ministry of Elijah was his Lord; so the cry of his heart was for more of God. As Elisha made his way back to the other prophets, they saw something in him that had not been as noticeable before, “The Spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha”.

If the work of God is going to continue in our day, as it has in the past, we need the God of Elijah. If we are going to experience revival that transforms lives and turn the course of a town, city, county or nation, we need the Spirit of Elijah. If we are going to see our families impacted, and our children walking with Christ, we need the God of Elijah. When Elisha was asked what he wanted, (an open ended question, which would reveal the depths of his heart), he replied “Let a double portion of the Spirit be upon me.”

What does your heart cry for? If you could have anything, what would it be? It is time we take a page from the book of Elisha and cry for the Spirit of God upon us, and a work of God around us.

Pastor Jim

 

Courage 

2 Samuel 10:12
“Be of good courage, and let us be strong for our people and for the cities of our God. And may the Lord do what is good in His sight.

It is easy to become weary in the service of the Lord. This is especially true when it seems we have failed. David sent a group of men as ambassadors of Israel to King Hanun of Ammon. He desired to show kindness to the king after the loss of his father, Nahash. What seemed to be a relatively easy mission, turned out to be an embarrassing failure. Instead of being met with kindness, these men were treated with contempt. King Hanun’s men shaved off half their beards, and cut their robes so that their buttocks hung out, then sent them home in shame. Ammon’s actions were such as to incite war and Joab led the charge. As the battle was about to begin, Joab encouraged the men, by reminding them what they were fighting for.

“Let us be strong for our people and for the cities of our God.”

When things become difficult in our walk with the Lord, it is important to remember why we are in the battle. Although our battle is not against flesh and blood, it is no less of a battle. We are fighting for the furtherance of God’s kingdom, and for the sake of our family. Each time we resist temptation, or speak out on behalf of the Gospel, we are doing it for the Kingdom and for our family. Each time we overcome the works of the flesh, we are one step closer to having a positive impact upon others.

If you are weary of resisting the flesh, remember you are not fighting for yourself alone. Do it for your spouse, your children, your church, and His kingdom.

Pastor Jim


Leadership

1 Samuel 26:6

“Then David answered, and said… 

‘Who will go down with me to Saul in the camp?’

And Abishai said, ‘I will go down with you.’”

 

This passage gives some very interesting insight into leadership. David searched for men of faith who would be willing to take risks for the kingdom. Abishai rose to the challenge and joined David on a dangerous mission to infiltrate the camp of the king. Under the cover of darkness, they made their way past the guards, and all the way to  Saul. It was at this point that Abishai suggest they take the opportunity to kill the king, and bring an end to the difficulties he has caused. The exchange between David and Abishai is priceless in the lessons it illustrates. 

 

1 Samuel 26:8

“Then Abishai said to David, ‘God has delivered your enemy into your hand this day. Now therefore, please, let me strike him at once with the spear, right to the earth; and I will not have to strike him a second time!'”

 

1 Samuel 26:9

“But David said to Abishai, ‘Do not destroy him; for who can stretch out his hand against the Lord’s anointed, and be guiltless?'”

 

1 Samuel 26:10

“David said furthermore, ‘As the Lord lives, the Lord shall strike him, or his day shall come to die, or he shall go out to battle and perish. The Lord forbid that I should stretch out my hand against the Lord’s anointed.'”

 

Notice, that while Abishai was a man of great, even heroic faith, he was still capable of losing sight of God’s calling. He saw this as an opportunity to kill he king, while David saw it as a time to show all of Israel how much he truly trusted in the sovereign hand of God. 

 

Leadership often involves helping those who walk alongside us, to keep focussed on the big picture. While it is important to be surrounded by those who are fearless for the furtherance of the Gospel, we also need people who are willing to stay true to the proper methods. 

 

This may be particularly applicable today. I recently heard an apologist say, “In the past, people were mostly concerned whether or not something was true, but today they seem to be more concerned whether something will work.” As the church moves forward to reach the world and make disciples, we must remain true to the ways of Christ as much as to the message of Christ. 

 

Pastor Jim 

  

Big Shoes

Deuteronomy 34:9
“Now Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him; so the children of Israel heeded him, and did as the Lord had commanded Moses.”

I can remember times when my children would slip on a pair of my shoes and attempt to walk around the house. Their little feet were so small, and the shoes so large, that not only did they look ridiculous, but it made the simple task of walking from one side of the room to the next, almost impossible. Suffice it to say, attempting to fill someone else’s shoes is often a very difficult task. That concept would be greatly compounded as it relates to Joshua and Moses, of whom we are told, 

 

Deuteronomy 34:10-12

“But since then there has not arisen in Israel a prophet like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, in all the signs and wonders which the Lord sent him to do in the land of Egypt, before Pharaoh, before all his servants, and in all his land, and by all that mighty power and all the great terror which Moses performed in the sight of all Israel. “

 

I think it is important to keep in mind, God never intended for Joshua to fill the shoes of Moses. Instead, He wanted to do a new work and raise up a new leader. Moses had been uniquely trained and gifted for the ministry he was called to perform. His education in Egypt, coupled with his time in the wilderness, gave him a skill set that helped him effectively lead the people out of Egypt, and through the wilderness. While at the same time, he established the foundation for a new nation. Joshua, on the other hand, would be called to an entirely different area of ministry, and would need a whole new array of giftings. Joshua was called to lead the people into the land, drive out the enemy, and establish Israel in their new homeland. More than anything else, Joshua would need to be able to discern the voice of God, for a game plan for victory. The training for this took place years before when he chose to make the tent of meeting his home. Early on in the wilderness journey, we read that Joshua was the assistant of Moses, and he never left the tent of meeting. His training for leadership was found in meeting with the Lord,  learning to discern His voice, and follow His leading.  

 

As time moves forward, men and women of God will pass on. In their place, we will find vast ministry opportunities. Instead of lamenting the loss of a leader, we should be seeking, in every way possible, to become a person whom God can use to carry on the work of the Lord. Perhaps it is time to follow the example of Joshua and begin to set up a meeting place where you daily spend time God, and learn His Word, His ways, and his voice. 

 

Pastor Jim 

 

 

 

Supernatural Selection

Numbers 27:18
“And the Lord said to Moses: ‘Take Joshua the son of Nun with you, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him; . . .’”

There seems to be a simple pattern to the work of God: He chooses a man, fills him with His Spirit, and surrounds him with others. While the work is done through a man, it is always accomplished by the Spirit of the Lord. When Moses’ time on earth had run its course, the mantle was passed to another man. Out of the entire congregation of Israel, we read God chose Joshua, the son of Nun. I think it is worth considering why Joshua was selected.

First, we must consider the Sovereignty of God.
1Corinthians 12:11 states:
“But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.”

Each one of us has been uniquely designed, gifted, and called by God, to play a particular role in the body of Christ. Like the Apostle Paul, we should each seek the Lord and discover what He wants us to do.

Second, Joshua was selected because of his prior faithfulness. We were introduced to Joshua years before he was selected to lead the nation. In the early years, we read he was a soldier who lead Israel to victory against the Amalekites (Exodus 17:10). From this, it is clear God selects those for service, who are already serving. Jesus said when we are faithful with little, we will be given more (Luke 19:17). We also read that Joshua was a faithful assistant to Moses (Numbers 11:28). The New Testament equivalent to the term assistant, would be disciple. Like Timothy, Paul’s assistant,  Joshua learned to serve the Lord by coming alongside Moses, the man of God.

Third, Joshua was a man who spent time getting to know the Lord. Since serving Jesus has a lot to do with representing Him to others, it is critical that we spend time getting to know Him better. Paul declared that his greatest desire was to know Christ in the power of the resurrection and the fellowship of His suffering (Philippians 3:10). To get to know Christ, Joshua did not depart from the Tabernacle (Exodus 33:11).

Joshua was also a man of great faith. When Moses selected men to spy out the land, Joshua was chosen. It is clear from the story, this selection had much to do with his great faith. Having spent time with Moses and the Lord, Joshua believed there was nothing too hard for God. He did not see the giants as an obstacle to the work of God, but as an opportunity for the Lord to show Himself strong on behalf of His people. Joshua even sought to instill this kind of faith in others. When the nation was filled with fear, Joshua referred to the Canaanites as food laid out for Israel to devour (Numbers 13).

As we await Christ’s return, let’s be men and women fit for the Master’s use. Take some time to sit before the Lord to determine how He wants to use you in the body of Christ. Keep in mind, what you do for Him today, has an impact on eternity, and prepares you for that which He will call you to in the future.

Pastor Jim


Follow The Leader

Numbers 13:2-3
“. . . you shall send a man, every one a leader among them. So Moses sent them from the Wilderness of Paran according to the command of the Lord, all of them men who were heads of the children of Israel.”

When Moses chose the men to spy out the land, he chose the leaders. Sadly, we know how that turned out. These supposed leaders, came back with an evil report, and stirred the hearts of the people against the mind of the Lord. I think there is a danger for someone who is naturally a leader; that danger is when they are not subject unto the Lord. I talk to my kids often about leadership. “Guys, you need to be leaders.” Then I’ll ask them, “What’s the most important thing about a leader?” I’ve trained them to respond, “To follow Jesus, Dad.” That’s the most important thing about a leader.

For example, if you are going to lead a group to an untraveled destination, the most important step for you to take, as a leader, is to follow the map. You can’t just do whatever’s right in your own eyes. You can’t be Sam the Toucan and “follow your nose.” If we are going to be godly leaders, we must follow Jesus. Do you remember the Roman soldier who came to Jesus and wanted healing for his servant? Jesus said to him, “I’ll come to your house.” The man responded, “Aw, you don’t need to come to my house. All You need to do is speak the word; because I’m a man in authority and I’m under authority.” You see, he said, “I know how to both give orders and receive orders.” (Matthew 8:5-13) He was a good leader because he was a man who knew how to follow. He knew the direction to go. The problem with ten of the twelve leaders chosen by Moses to spy out the Promised Land, was not that they weren’t leaders. The problem was an inability to follow. They were not subject to the real Commander-in-Chief. They had not put themselves under the authority of God.

Do you want to lead? Follow Jesus. If you want to lead people in the proper direction, to see people join forces in this furthering of the Kingdom, then follow Jesus. The most important thing about being a leader is to follow Christ. The key is, submitting to Christ and going wherever He is going. Ten of these men refused to do that, and led a nation into despair.

Pastor Jim