Proactive Leadership

 Joshua 2:1-3 “1 And Joshua the son of Nun sent out of Shittim two men to spy secretly, saying, Go view the land, even Jericho. And they went, and came into an harlot’s house, named Rahab, and lodged there. 2 And it was told the king of Jericho, saying, Behold, there came men in hither to night of the children of Israel to search out the country. 3 And the king of Jericho sent unto Rahab, saying, Bring forth the men that are come to thee, which are entered into thine house: for they be come to search out all the country. 4 And the woman took the two men, and hid them, and said thus, There came men unto me, but I wist not whence they were:” (KJV).

Joshua sends out spies to gain information about the city of Jericho. He sends two men, who upon entering the city stayed at a harlot’s house. The woman Rahab allows the Hebrew men a place to stay. But news travels fast, even in those days. The King wants to know who these men are that have come into his city to gather intelligence. When Rehab is questioned, she lies in order to protect the men.

While much has been written about the story of Rahab, I want to continue my focus on the leadership skills of Joshua. Notice that Joshua sent spies in order to gather strategic information concerning the city. We know that Joshua has already been promised victory over the city, so why did he need to spy out the land of Jericho? Joshua 1:3, “Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that Have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses” (KJV).

Joshua was being proactive in his leadership. Sending out spies to gather specific information about the city would provide the details needed to carry out the best possible attack. He was also being responsible with the Lord’s blessings and promises. “Joshua’s faith was manifested by an active, persevering use of means; and accordingly Joshua, while confident in the accomplishment of the divine promise, adopted every precaution which a skillful general could think of to render his first attempt in the invasion of Canaan successful” (Jamieson, Fausset & Brown, (1961). James 2:22 “Seest thou how faith wrought with his works and by works was faith made perfect” (KJV).

Leadership requires a continuous and proactive response. When we lead others, we need to be ready for anything. Working and leading a ministry requires us to ready for the next step or stage. The Lord may be waiting for us to be proactive before he will allow us the blessings of growth. Joshua had prepared for his new leadership responsibilities for years and once he was given the charge over Israel, he continued to prepare for what the Lord set before him.

There may be times when you are ready to take a break and put your ministry in neutral. Everything may be going well and you are in a stage of great blessings and growth, but this should be the time when we recharge and continue to move forward. Be proactive and ready for the next stage of growth. This applies to leadership as well as our own personal relationship with the Lord.

In Christ,

The Silent Preacher

 

Reference

Fausset, A., Jamieson, R., & Brown, D. (1961). Jamieson, Fausset & Brown’s commentary on the whole Bible. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Pub. House.

Image. Retrieved from: http://www.theleadershipcoach.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/what-every-leader-wants-proactive-team.jpg

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Step with Confidence

 Joshua 1:9-15 “9 Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. 10 Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying, 11 Pass through the host, and command the people, saying, Prepare you victuals; for within three days ye shall pass over this Jordan, to go in to possess the land, which the LORD your God giveth you to possess it. 12 And to the Reubenites, and to the Gadites, and to half the tribe of Manasseh, spake Joshua, saying, 13 Remember the word which Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, saying, The LORD your God hath given you rest, and hath given you this land. 14 Your wives, your little ones, and your cattle, shall remain in the land which Moses gave you on this side Jordan; but ye shall pass before your brethren armed, all the mighty men of valour, and help them; 15 Until the LORD have given your brethren rest, as he hath given you, and they also have possessed the land which the LORD your God giveth them: then ye shall return unto the land of your possession, and enjoy it, which Moses the LORD’S servant gave you on this side Jordan toward the sunrising” (KJV).

Joshua was strong in the Lord; this can be seen by the confidence displayed as he encouraged his people. Joshua commands his officers, giving them detailed instructions on what to do. But notice that Joshua is sharing the promises that were delivered to him by the Lord. He was not adding or taking anything away from the original instructions given to him by the Lord.

Interesting to watch some leaders and observe how they assign tasks and instructions. Sometimes they don’t even provide instructions, they just tell you what they want done. It ends up being your job to figure out how to accomplish the task. And more often than not, this usually ends with the boss changing their mind; telling you that the method you have decided to use is completely wrong.

It can be frustrating to work for leaders that follow their own plan; or at the least, they fail to provide the total package of information at the beginning. Providing instructions periodically during the process leaves a worker in the dark. May I offer some advice here? Whether you are leading a ministry, work, or a parent, please take the time to provide as much information as possible. Great leaders are those that keep their workers well-informed and updated along the way. There may be times when things change or a new process has been added, but those situations are very different from keeping your workers in the dark.

As you read through these verses, try looking at it from the perspective I have discussed. The method and detail of Joshua’s instructions is a perfect model for any leader to follow. Using this method will also allow workers to build trust in your leadership abilities. If you fail to provide pertinent information, your workers will begin to doubt your abilities. Ministry and work production will be affected. When you staff and workers begin to doubt, your confidence will decrease and your leadership abilities will be challenging. Just something to ponder and think about…

In Christ,

The Silent Preacher

Reference

Graphic Retrieved from: http://transformingtruth.org/assets/WALKING-With-Confidence_t.jpg

Step Out!!!

 Joshua 1:3-6 “3 Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses. 4 From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast. 5 There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. 6 Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them” (KJV).

Joshua has willingly stepped up and officially takes on the leadership role of the nation of Israel. It is important to notice that Joshua took on his new role before he was given the official brevet command and commission over Israel. While training under Moses, Joshua was fulfilling the role of a spiritual advisor to Moses 1. But that is not the only position he was filling at that time, Joshua was being groomed as a high level military leader and warrior 2.

We see in these verses that God assigns Joshua three important tasks: lead Israel into the promise land, conquer and defeat the enemy, and control the distribution of the claimed inheritance.

Each of these three tasks was followed by three special promises, one for each of the tasks. The first promise was the ability to cross the river and reach the new territory. The second promise was the ability to conquer the enemy. And the third promise was to divide the newly gained inheritance to each tribe.

I want to focus on the final verse of today’s lesson. Verse 6 “Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them” (KJV). I’m afraid that we often fail to step out in faith because we desire to know the details before we make any moves. Meaning, we want the complete detailed plans and instructions first, and to put it plainly, we want all the answers to any “what if…” questions. But that is not how faith works; His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not ours 3.

This is a lesson that may be difficult to learn. But the message for us today is clear; God has given us, all spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus 4. In order to obtain those spiritual blessings we must step up in our faith, the process begins when we are moved internally by the Touch of our Master. And this is exactly what Joshua did, and as I explained in my previous post “Step Up”, Joshua was stepping up years prior to this new leadership role. He was prepared to answer the call at a moments notice.

Stepping up in our faith is the beginning phase, being ready and prepared for whatever the lord has planned for us. The next step is for us to step out in faith. Now we have to put on our shoes and start walking. We may not know where, how far, or how long our walk will be, but stepping out in faith is the only way we can claim them. The Lord has set before us a series of doors and there will be one door that He will open when the time is right.

I picture a long walking trail that winds through the mountains of life. I can see thousands of doors and each one is locked shut. Personally I have been walking the “Faith Path” since March, praying every day for the Lord to open a door for me. During my walk I have gone through many frustrating days; as much as I know that the Lord will open that door when he is ready, there will be days when I get tired from walking, days when my shoes become worn out, my feet become blistered, but I continued walking. The Lord opened that door last month and the blessings on the other side were more than I could have imagined. Wiersbe (2010) said it best “He has set before His church an open door that nobody can close 6” and we as Christians must walk the path until we reach that unlocked open door. Then we need to walk through the open door by faith in order to claim the blessings. Just like Joshua did when he took the church on a “Faith Path” journey through the river and defeated the enemy, so they could claim the new territory.

I pray we will all move forward in our walk with the Lord, maturing as believers and being faithful servants so we can move into new territory and claim what He has promised for us. The Lord’s will is for us to continue growing and stepping out in faith 7. If we are not growing and moving forward, then we are moving backwards…

Isaiah 43:18-19 “18 Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. 19 Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert” (KJV).

In Christ,

The Silent Preacher

References

1 Exodus 24:13 “And Moses rose up, and his minister Joshua: and Moses went up into the mount of God” (KJV).

2 Exodus 17:10) “So Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amalek: and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill” (KJV)

3 Isaiah 55:8-9 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (KJV).

4 Ephesians 1:3 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:” (KJV).

5 Revelation 3:8 “I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name” (KJV).

6 Wiersbe, W. (2010). Be strong putting God’s power to work in your life: OT commentary, Joshua (2nd ed.). Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook.

7 Hebrews 6:1 “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God” (KJV).

Graphic Retrieved from: http://naomidemmon.theworldrace.org/blogphotos/theworldrace/naomidemmon/trust
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Step Up!

 Joshua 1:1-2 “1 Now after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD it came to pass, that the LORD spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ minister, saying, 2 Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel” (KJV).

The death of Moses must have been difficult for the nation of Israel. Moses led the nation for years and through many trials. As the nation wandered in the wilderness, it was the great leadership of Moses that helped guide and provide for them, through the Lord’s direction.

As we begin the New Year, maybe we should be watchful of new opportunities and challenges. Much like the changing of leadership that Israel is about to witness under Joshua.

Joshua had spent years training and the Lord instructed Moses to prepare this young man for such a moment as this. Maybe you have been sitting under a great leader who has been training you for years. And maybe this will be the year that you begin to take on new challenges. This may be the year that the Lord has been grooming you for.

A great leader is someone who lifts you up in times of trouble; they encourage teamwork, excellence, growth, and unity. Like all great leaders, there will come a time when the torch needs to be passed down. If you have been filling a leadership role for years, ask yourself “have I been training someone to fill my shoes”? All too often, I have seen great ministries come to a halt because the leader moved on or was called to a new ministry.

I believe it is important for a leader to train younger generations, preparing and grooming them to take over. Just as important is the willingness to be “trained”, this responsibility does not rest on the leader alone. Those who serve should be ready to take over a ministry in a moment’s notice. Moses listened to the wisdom of the Lord; trained a younger generation. At the same time, Joshua was willing and ready to be trained. “And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him: and the children of Israel hearkened unto him, and did as the LORD commanded Moses” (Deut. 34:9, KJV).

Remember that all ministry work is to bring honor and glory to the Lord. Leadership is not about being selfish or power-hungry; it is about leading others, for the honor and glory of the Lord.

Galatians 2:20 “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (KJV). It’s not about me; it is all about Christ…

In Christ,

The Silent Preacher

When the Door is Closed…

Acts 16:5-12 “5 And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily. 6 Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia, 7 After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not. 8 And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas. 9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us. 10 And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them. 11 Therefore loosing from Troas, we came with a straight course to Samothracia, and the next day to Neapolis; 12 And from thence to Philippi, which is the chief city of that part of Macedonia, and a colony: and we were in that city abiding certain days” (KJV).

Paul is now on his second missionary journey and this time he takes Silas with him. It isn’t long before he meets up with Timothy and takes him under his wing. In verse 10 the use of the word “we” indicates that Luke has now joined the team.

As they continue building churches and teaching new believers, everything seemed to be wonderful then the Lord holds up the “stop” sign.

The Lord’s stop sign halted Paul’s original plan to spread and strengthen the gospel message in Asia. This caused Paul and his team to travel through the regions of Phrygia and Galatia. When they reached Mysia, the Holy Spirit put up another road block. This time the Lord sent him a vision to direct his path to Troas.

Once in Troas and receiving the Lord’s new plan, they immediately set sail for Macedonia and the city of Philippi. Along the way to Philippi, they stopped briefly at Samothracia and then Neapolis.

Application: When we are in a dark place, seeking direction from the Lord, we often sit still, waiting for a clear sign and direction before moving forward. Or maybe we are working in a ministry that seems to be slowly depleting itself. Members are falling by the wayside faster and faster, you have tried everything possible, but have no idea how to keep it afloat. So you sit and pray, waiting for the Lord to show you a new direction. Maybe you are waiting for the Lord to pat you on the back and tell you “well done my faithful servant; but I have shut the doors on this ministry”.

I would like to point out that these scenarios are perfectly fine for a Christian to experience. But maybe when the Lord holds up that stop sign, we need to look around behind us, because He is holding up the “Go” sign for us. It might mean that His new plan and direction might be for a new ministry or new location. I am reminded that Paul and his team could have become distraught, depressed, or angry when their plans were changed. But they didn’t, they simply said “Ok, Lord, but which way shall we go now”?

When we are faced with a closed-door from the Lord, maybe we should begin with prayer and keeping with the door analogy, try opening some of the other doors around us.

I can remember being on fire for the Lord, building and working in a growing ministry that was aflame for God. But it did not last long before He quickly shut that door. I was so confused and hurt, I felt like it was something that I had done. I spent a lot of time in prayer, seeking answers. A new door was opened when I stopped focusing on myself and turned it all over to the Lord. My prayer went something like this “Lord, thank you for all of the blessing that I have been given during my ministry and thank you for closing the door. Forgive me for trying to reason with your plans, I am at your service, use me as your will desires for my life and I will follow you anywhere”.

As I waited for the Lord, I dedicated my time in prayer and studies. It was not long before the Lord opened a new door for me and has been using me ever since. We should not be surprised when the Lord changes directions, as long as we understand that we are not the ones in control.

Isaiah 64:8 “But not, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand” (KJV).

Isaiah 55:8-9 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (KJV).

Kyle Idleman’s (2011) book “Not a Fan” is a wonderful reminder of these verses. A fan is someone who gives up hope when their team is not doing so great. But when the team is winning, then they are the best fans. Here is just one of his many great quotes ““The biggest threat to the church today is fans who call themselves Christians but aren’t actually interested in following Christ. They want to be close enough to Jesus to get all the benefits, but not so close that it requires anything from them” (Idleman, 2011).

In Christ,

The Silent Preacher

Reference

Idleman, K. (2011). Not a fan: Becoming a completely committed follower of Jesus. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan.

Aside

Conflict Resolution

 Acts 15:1-9 “1 And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. 2 When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question. 3 And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren. 4 And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them. 5 But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses. 6 And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter. 7 And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. 8 And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; 9 And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith” (KJV).

After returning from their first missionary journey, Paul and Barnabas spent some time in Antioch. The church has accepted the new doctrine of witnessing to the Gentiles, which Peter played a major role in with the conversion of Cornelius (Acts 10). As Paul and Barnabas fellowship and disciple the church members at Antioch, they run into some problems. They discovered that some of the religious believers from Jerusalem had made their way to Antioch.

The problem had to do with adding stipulations to the gospel message. The new believers were being told that they needed to follow the Old Testament law of circumcision. This was completely contrary to what Paul and Barnabas had preached to them. Salvation is through grace by faith, plus or minus nothing. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is a gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:8-9, KJV).

The conflict was so important that Paul and Barnabas could not convince these legalistic believers what they were preaching was wrong. They had to form a debate team and journey to the original head church in Jerusalem (v.2).

As the made their way to Jerusalem, Paul and Barnabas continued witnessing and preaching the gospel message. Once they arrived in Jerusalem and began discussing this issue of salvation, it was obvious that some of the leaders still believed that keeping the Mosaic Law was a requirement to salvation. This was not a one-time meeting. Most commentaries agree that the debate was discussed during 4 separate occasions. The final outcome was an agreement that salvation is through grace by faith, plus or minus nothing. They documented the agreement and sent witnesses back to Antioch in order sign, seal, and deliver the news.

There are a few important issues that I would like to discuss from these verses. Conflict in the church is nothing new and should not surprise us. The key to any type of conflict is the goal of resolution. Resolving conflict takes time; we must be willing to listen carefully and take the time necessary to handle it. When Paul and Barnabas could not find resolution at Antioch, they took the conflict to the next level. The focus was not placed on who was right or who was wrong; the focus was on 100% resolution. If there was no resolution to the doctrine of salvation; the church could not move forward. The division in doctrine would have caused the church to decay from the inside out.

Have you ever seen a church split over silly arguments? I have heard of a church dividing because they could not agree on the color of the new carpet they wanted to purchase. How does such a silly argument promote the gospel message to the un-saved? Why would anyone visit a church that can’t even agree on the color of a carpet?

The other issue to discuss is the legalistic view; which is considered the darker side of Christianity. When Christians add to the gospel, it creates a salvation message that is impossible to achieve. Let me explain: If I create a rule to the salvation message, I point sinners back to the Ten Commandments (Law). But that is not what God’s law is designed to do. The law is impossible to keep; therefore it is designed to point sinners to Christ. Not the other way around.

Galatians 3:21-25 “21 Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. 22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. 23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. 24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster” (KJV).

In Christ,

The Silent Preacher

His Only Christmas Present

Luke 2:25-35 “25 And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. 26 And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, 28 Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, 29 Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: 30 For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, 31 Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; 32 A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. 33 And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him. 34 And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; 35 (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed” (KJV).

Every year since salvation I have made a habit of reading through Luke 2 during the Christmas month. I also read this chapter Christmas morning. I believe this is a great way to be reminded of why we celebrate Christmas. While reading the chapter today, I was focused on the word “just” and how it is used to describe Simeon. I embarked on a quick word study; looking for other uses of the word “just”. Here are a few verses:

  1. Jesus spoke the same word in Matthew 13:49 “So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just” (KJV).
  2. Pilate used this word to describe Christ in Matthew 27:24 “When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it” (KJV).
  3. Herod used this word to describe John the Baptist in Mark 6:20 “For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and an holy, and observed him; and when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly” (KJV).

Simeon was a man who lived by faith. A religious man, but he was different from the other religious Jews. Simeon was a prophetic man who was awaiting the coming Messiah. There was obviously something special about Simeon’s faith. I can only speculate, but I believe he was a religious leader who dug deep into the Old Testament writings. He dug so deep that he realized the true meaning of Christmas. Isaiah 9:6 “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (KJV).

I can remember how exciting it was counting down until Christmas morning. The excitement would begin a few weeks prior to the big day of opening new toys. But Simeon spent years waiting for this very day; a day he only knew by faith. We know that Christmas will come each year on December 25th and we have time to prepare for the festivities.

Notice in verse 26 “And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ”. As Simeon held the Lord in his arms, he blessed Him and then asked to depart in peace. All Simeon wanted for his one and only Christmas was to see the Lord. We can learn so much from this man’s faith; may we all be reminded to walk the same just and devout life as Simeon and stay focused on the true meaning of Christmas…

In Christ,

The Silent Preacher

One More Day

 1 Corinthians 10:1-6 “1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat; 4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. 5 But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. 6 Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted” (KJV).

In keeping with the theme about past mistakes and dwelling in history, I think these verses are worthy of another post. Paul is writing to the church at Corinth. Notice how Paul addresses his fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, calling for their immediate attention. His desire for the church is heartfelt and passionate. He is saying “Please don’t ignore the past mistakes of your forefathers, learn from them”. His focus was on the blessings they had received and yet, they were overthrown in the wilderness. Paul gives us an important reminder that our need for Christ should not be measured or weighted through our circumstances.

I’m afraid that many un-saved people today have the same ignorance that Paul speaks about. They believe that salvation only applies to those who are poor, drug addicted, or suffer through an habitual cycle of “bad things” in life. Paul reminds me that salvation is for everyone. Romans 3:22-23 “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”. People may put on a persona and make it look like they are doing wonderful, but deep down they are hurting. Regardless, keep on sharing the gospel. Plant the seeds and let the Lord provide the Light and Water. My point is not to judge how others view salvation, but to address the need for all to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

For the Christian, we are reminded that the blessed days of our walk with the Lord are just as important as the darker ones. Whether we are on the mountain top or sitting in a valley, our faith needs to remain constant. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (KJV). Good days or bad days, it just doesn’t matter…They are all worthy of giving thanks, to the One who has blessed us with…one more day!

In Christ,

The Silent Preacher

Numbering Our Days

 Psalm 90:12-17 “12 So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. 13 Return, O LORD, how long? and let it repent thee concerning thy servants. 14 O satisfy us early with thy mercy; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. 15 Make us glad according to the days wherein thou hast afflicted us, and the years wherein we have seen evil. 16 Let thy work appear unto thy servants, and thy glory unto their children. 17 And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it (KJV).

Moses is the author of this remarkable Psalm. It is also recorded as the oldest of all the Psalms written. I covered the first 4 verses in a previous post titled “Dwelling in History”. Moses begins his petitions to God in verse 12. He is not praying for himself but for God’s people. He prays that God will allow his people to learn from their past mistakes; not only to learn from past mistakes but to take them to heart.

When we take a look at our past mistakes, we have a few options:

  1. We can learn from them and never make the same mistakes.
  2. We may forget about them and continue making the same mistakes.
  3. Or we may dwell on them, allowing them to be a constant reminder of our failures.

I believe Moses’ prayer gives us some wisdom and instructions about handling past mistakes. Numbering our days is a great illustration of the Lords forgiveness, grace, and mercy. When we number our days, we have the power, ability, and authority to change. We are wise to remember our past mistakes, but foolish to think that the Lord replays them over and over. Those past mistakes are gone, they are numbered and that number can’t be replayed, unless we forget to number them (Repent).

In verse 13 we are reminded of the need to repent from our mistakes. After we repent we can rejoice and be happy. The day of salvation is such a wonderful day for new believers, so wonderful that angels in heaven rejoice. Jesus said “Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth” Luke. 15:10, KJV).

Numbering our days allows us to reflect on how important it is to repent our mistakes and learn from them. Think of it as a negative and positive. Those past mistakes are negative moments is life. When we repent we turn a negative into positive, and a positive points us to the cross +. Dwelling on your past mistakes will only hinder you from being all that you can be for Christ. We do not know how many days we will be able to number. Live for Christ today and be all that He desires for you to be.

2 Chronicles 7:14 – If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land (KJV).

In Christ,

The Silent Preacher

Teachable Moments

  Zechariah 1:2-6 “1 In the eighth month, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the LORD unto Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet, saying, 2 The LORD hath been sore displeased with your fathers. 3 Therefore say thou unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Turn ye unto me, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will turn unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. 4 Be ye not as your fathers, unto whom the former prophets have cried, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Turn ye now from your evil ways, and from your evil doings: but they did not hear, nor hearken unto me, saith the LORD. 5 Your fathers, where are they? and the prophets, do they live for ever? 6 But my words and my statutes, which I commanded my servants the prophets, did they not take hold of your fathers? and they returned and said, Like as the LORD of hosts thought to do unto us, according to our ways, and according to our doings, so hath he dealt with us” (KJV).

The prophet Zechariah is delivering the Lord’s message and begins with a call to repentance. Not only is this a wonderful reminder of our need of repentance today, but the Lord’s call gives us a beautiful answer to the question “why”. The Lord was not pleased with the way the previous generation responded to His word. How could His people not learn from the mistakes made by the previous generations? Easy, we all possess some of the character traits of our parents and grandparents. This leads right into an easy application for us today. As parents, we must be careful about how we live in front of our children. It is important for our children to be part of a local church, they need to attend, and they need to be involved with the ministries.

Have you ever watched those infomercials where they always end their elaborate sales pitch with “But wait, there more”, then they attempt to offer you some additional product either for free or half price. As the Lord reminds his people, he gives them a beautiful call to repentance and there’s more, don’t be like your forefathers. Learn from the mistakes they made.

This leads me back to parenting. Parents have the ability to undo some of the poor examples they have set before their children. Meaning that the time is now, not only is it important to change your ways that are not in accordance with His word, but you have the obligation to teach your children why. Sometimes a parent will make better choices in life, but never take the time to explain the “why” to their children. These teachable moments are important, they may be the link of wisdom that will help them grow into adults who know the right things to do, but they will also know why they should do them.

Teaching a child by telling them what to do and not do, is only one method of teaching, and it is the simplest form of teaching a child. But adding the “why” allows the child to experience a deeper level of learning. But wait…there’s more, a parent needs to share those moments when they turned from doing something wrong and turned towards the Lord. Those moments will take a child’s learning to a Christ-like level. Be humble and teach your children the right way, through the examples written on the pages of your life.

Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (KJV).

Malachi 4:5-6 “5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: 6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse” (KJV).

Matthew 18:3, Jesus speaking, “And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (KJV).

In Christ,

The Silent Preacher