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Tag: use

How to Become a Great Leader

Four traits you can learn from Deborah, Israel’s leader.

Written by GodLife on 21/05/2019
Series: Weekly Devotional
Tags: Bible, Leadership, Women
Villagers in Israel would not fight; they held back until I, Deborah, arose, until I arose, a mother in Israel.

Judges 5:7
Leadership comes from some of the strangest places. Over and over in the Bible, God tells us He sees what others do not in terms of capability and leadership. The story of Deborah in Judges 4 and 5 provides great insight into how God shapes leaders, from humble beginnings to wise judgement and even to defending their country. While there are many leadership lessons we can learn from Deborah, four stand out:

Great Christian leaders have confidence in their decisions because they depend on a close, personal relationship with God
Great Christian leaders trust their team to accomplish the task
Great Christian leaders are servants who don’t take credit for winning
Great Christian leaders rise to challenges through God’s strength
How did this all start?  
The book of Judges talks about many cycles of sin, slavery and salvation. Israel was oppressed because they had turned away from God, but when they turned back to Him, God raised up judges like Deborah to lead them. Judges were spiritual, political, judicial and often military leaders.

Why a close, personal relationship with God helps you in your decisions
As a wife, spiritual leader for the people, judge and prophetess, Deborah had to learn balance in all of those roles. Deborah had a special relationship with God. She was called by Him to lead, and she trusted God to show her His will. Her decisions were based on her relationship with God. Israel recognized that relationship and accepted her leadership. We should remember to seek God’s guidance to serve Him in whatever roles to which He calls us.

Great leaders trust the team
“My heart goes out to the commanders of Israel who offered themselves willingly among the people.” (Judges 5:9)  Unlike most of the judges, Deborah was not a military leader. God told her to commission a man named Barak to lead the army into battle. She knew there were others who had the skills to fight and trusted in them. Yet Barak refused to go into battle without her there. Even though Barak should have trusted God’s word, his condition for battle showed how much respect Deborah had as a leader. We learn that respect ran throughout the people.
Judges 5:15 tells us “the princes of Issachar came with Deborah, and Issachar faithful to Barak; into the valley they rushed at his heels."

Leaders should be servants
Deborah’s faith in God gave her confidence in the decisions she made. She had confidence in the military to carry out God’s plan. Deborah did not want any credit for the victory. She was modest yet assertive, taking on the mantle of leadership with strength and knowing when to step back. Great leaders follow Jesus’ example. “whoever would be great among you must be your servant . . . even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:26, 28)

God gives you the strength to lead
While it was not typical for women to be judges in that time, Deborah heard God’s call and did not hesitate to give God’s words to the people. When the time came for action, she went with Barak to Kedesh. “Up!  For this is the day in which the Lord has given Sisera into your hand.  Does not the Lord go out before you?” (Judges 4:14)
God also granted her the gift of prophecy, proclaiming that Sisera (the commander of the enemy) would be delivered into the hand of a woman. When that prophecy came true, Deborah gave credit to God. Most of us try to depend on our own strength, only turning to God when we think we need it most. Deborah knew all of her strength came from God, and she walked with Him daily. Her actions provided a wonderful example to the people of Israel (and to us) of how God can use anyone, woman or man, to be a strong leader.

Pray this week:
“Lord, show me how to be a leader for You, no matter what role I am in. Give me opportunities to grow as a servant leader, following your example. Amen.” 

Which of the four traits of a good Christian leader do you struggle with? 

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

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Fully Facing Our Fears

Learn how to face your fears and live in peace

Written by June Hunt on 01/05/2018

Series: Weekly Devotional

Tags: FaithFearGodTrust


Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:10

If I am walking down a path, and spot a rattlesnake at my feet, I should feel fear. But, reacting rashly could cause me to be bitten. If a bee were to land on me, I must not react to it to avoid being stung. The bee sting and the snakebite are defense mechanisms designed for their own self-protection.

Fear is a God-given response to danger. Sometimes it’s clear where the fear is from, but other times, it is hidden—causing a deeper emotional impact. God created us to react to fear in a protective way with a fight, flight, or freeze response. While fear is a natural, God-given emotion, fearfulness is not. Fearfulness causes us to live as prisoners, in constant worry over a threat that may or may not exist. We can live in a state of fearfulness when we feel threatened—either physically or emotionally—in these three areas: love, significance, and security.

Your love from others feels in danger.

Do you ever fear losing someone important in your life? Maybe you’ve thought, “If I lose the dearest person in my life, I won’t know what to do or how I can go on living.” You might fear losing relationships if your performance, talents, or abilities are not “good enough.” Or maybe it’s about declining physical attractiveness, fearing that if you start looking older or put on weight, you will lose the affection of others. The solution to the fear of losing love is to know that the Lord loves you beyond measure.  “As high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him…” (Psalm 103:11).

Your significance feels in danger.

Do you find yourself fearing that you might lose your sense of identity? Perhaps you’ve thought, “If I lose my job, I’ll lose all I’ve worked to achieve.” You fear losing a sense of fulfillment, thinking that you are a failure if you don’t reach your goals. Or you’re concerned about your reputation, fearing that others will lose respect for you if they get to know the real you. The solution to overcoming the fear of losing significance is to understand your value to God. He chose to save you and has planned a future for you. …   “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope’” (Jeremiah 29:11).  

Your security feels in danger.

Do you worry about financial security? Perhaps you’ve thought, “If I don’t do well on this project, I might lose my job. Then I won’t be able to support myself or my family.” Maybe you fear losing your home and having nowhere to live, no means for survival. Or perhaps you have fear about your declining physical health; maybe you constantly worry about getting sick or dying. The solution is in knowing that true and lasting security is found in a personal relationship with the Lord. …  “In God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?” (Psalm 56:11).  

God can help when we experience fear and danger. Turn to God and take this verse to heart … “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you” (Psalm 56:3).


Pray this week:

Dear God, I thank You that You are my Shepherd. You guide me … You protect me … and You give me Your peace. You are the One who restores my soul. You know my weaknesses and the times I’ve caved in to fear. Now, in my weakness, I choose to rely on Your strength. By Your power, move me from fear to faith. As I turn my fear over to You, use it for good in my life to remind me of my need for You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
 


What in your life is currently causing you to fear? What would it look like to trust God and move in faith in your situation? 

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

More on How to Avoid Misusing the Bible

Be prepared to defend the Gospel

Written by Dan Lee on 06/11/2018

Series: Weekly Devotional

Tags: BibleWisdom


Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

2 Timothy 2:15

Just last week, we talked about ways to avoid misinterpreting the Bible. Today, we want to conclude this two-part devotional series by pointing out something just as important — using the knowledge we gain from studying His Word to better represent the Lord. 

A while ago when I was in school, my teacher would always put us in groups to research and prepare a presentation about a certain topic related to the class. I would prepare for days! My teacher was known for asking difficult questions just to make sure we all did our work. Sure enough, when question time came around, you bet I was prepared to answer all the questions! My peers, not so much. 

It’s the same when it comes to learning the Bible. You must always be prepared so you don’t look foolish. How can you defend the Word of God when you yourself may take out of context?

Let’s use the following verses as examples of how to better interpret the Bible. 

Take it step, by step 

Let’s break down one of the most popular verses quoted by people looking for assurance of a good life. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

You might look at this verse and think that God never intends anything bad to happen to you. 

However, when we read this whole chapter in Jeremiah, we find first that something bad has already happened to Israel — they had been defeated by the Babylonians and forcibly removed from their homeland. They were living in exile, slaves to a wicked foreign empire. 

Another prophet, Hananiah, had been telling the Israelites what they wanted to hear: that their captivity would last just two years. Jeremiah’s answer to him? “You are a false prophet, and you’re going to die.” And Hananiah did die (Jeremiah 28:12-17).

Then Jeremiah sent a letter from Jerusalem to the exiles in Babylon telling them the truth: They were going to be there for a while. A LONG while:

 “For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place.  For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.” (Jeremiah 29:10-14)

Yes, the Lord had a plan to restore Israel to their homeland, but it would take place in 70 years — after most of the listeners had died! Not only that, but the promise was conditioned on Israel praying and seeking God with all their heart (Jeremiah 29:12-13).

Your calling 

So what does Jeremiah 29:11 promise for today’s believers? It does not promise peace and prosperity now, but instead promises restoration in the future. For us, the ultimate restoration comes at the return of Jesus and the establishment of His kingdom.

We don’t know when the Lord will be coming back for His church. Until then, we encourage you to go deeper in your relationship with Him and be a living testimony of the truth He brings to the world. Fall in love with His truth and be ready to defend the hope that lives within you. (1 Peter 3:15)


Pray this week:

Lord, I ask you to give me the opportunity to use the wisdom I gain through your Word to share the truth with those around me. Amen. 


Are you prepared to defend your faith when brought difficult questions?

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member