How to Succeed Where It Matters Most
Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead…. Philippians 3:13
Professor Howard Hendricks mentored hundreds of pastors and leaders. He writes: ‘ As a young leader, my biggest mistake was allowing my time to be eaten up with things outside my core competencies. I wanted to set the pace for others, to demonstrate that nothing was beneath me, so I devoted an inordinate amount of time to things I wasn’t good at – things I’d never be good at. At the same time I invested little energy into developing my strengths… Finally I realized that my true value lay within the context of my giftedness – not the number of hours I worked. There were some balls I’d no business juggling. When I finally got the courage to let them fall to the floor, I began to excel in juggling the two or three balls I was created to keep in the air in the first place. And the amazing thing is, people came along and picked up the other balls. What I couldn’t relinquish were the opportunities they’d been waiting for.’
Answer this: Of the two or three things that define success for you, which of them are in line with your core competencies? That is where you must focus your energies. That is where you’ll excel. Within that narrowed context you will make your greatest contribution. And best of all, you will enjoy what you do! You say, ‘But I can’t afford to focus all my energies on one or two things.’ Maybe not yet, but that should be your goal. It’s something you should be working towards if you want to succeed where it matters most.
Heavenly Father, give me the wisdom to know the things You would have me do and to let go of the things You have for others to do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen
The post How to Succeed Where It Matters Most – December 18, 2014 appeared first on LCC Daily Devotions.Read more...
Show Your Love
And this is love: that we walk in obedience to His commands. As you have heard from the beginning, His command is that you walk in love. 2 John 1:6
Because the very essence and nature of God is love, it’s in loving others that we are most like Him. Paul writes, ‘If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve got nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love’ (1 Corinthians 13:3). And love cannot be learned or practiced in isolation. You have to be around people – irritating, imperfect, demanding, frustrating people. Sometimes we act as if relationships are something to be squeezed into our schedule. We talk about finding time, or about making time for others. Jesus summarized what matters most in two statements: ‘Love God’ and ‘Love people’ (Matthew 22:37-40). Relationships, not things, are what really matter in life. So why do we keep allowing our relationships to get shortchanged? Because when our lives become overloaded, we start skimming relationally, cutting back on the time, energy and attention good relationships require. We become too preoccupied with making a living, paying bills, and accomplishing goals, as if these were the point of life. They’re not! The point of life is learning to love – God and people. Life minus love equals zero! Mother Teresa said, ‘It’s not what you do, but how much love you put into it that matters.’ Love is the secret of a great legacy. In our final moments we all realize that relationships are what life is all about. Wisdom is learning that truth sooner, rather than later. Don’t wait until it’s too late to figure that out!
Heavenly Father, help me ‘walk in love’ in my relationships with others. Keep me focused on what is important to You and consequently to me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen
You Need Faith
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1
You don’t need faith unless you’re hoping for something. Hope establishes the goal; faith is the bridge that gets you to it. There’s no need to build a bridge if you’re not going anywhere. But if you’re going after something you can’t reach on your own, you need the bridge of faith to get you there. ‘…This is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith’ (1 John 5:4). Never has it been more important to teach moral standards. But unless we also teach people how to stand in faith in God and His Word, they’ll end up using willpower and discipline to fight the devil, and they’ll lose. Jesus told Peter, ‘I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail…’ (Luke 22:32). When you’re up to your neck in problems and don’t know which way to turn, speak to yourself, ‘Faith, don’t fail me now!’ The Bible says, ‘Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God’ (Romans 10:17). When you hear yourself declare God’s Word, your faith grows. And here’s another Scripture: ‘…But the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it’ (Hebrews 4:2). You can have an expression of faith, yet not enjoy the benefits of faith. You can get excited about a sermon in church, yet nothing changes in your life. You’ve got to get the ‘mix’ right. You’ve got to take what you hear and mix it with what you think, say and do. Faith is not an emotion; it’s a decision to stand on God’s Word.
Heavenly Father, help me have faith that stands on Your Word and Your promises. In Jesus’ Name, Amen
You Are Under God’s Protection
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. Psalm 91:1
What is ‘the shadow of the Almighty’? In the wilderness where Israel wandered for forty years, temperatures could get up to 120 or 130 degrees. There was no shade except what was provided by the tents in which the people lived. So they understood this powerful metaphor, ‘under the shadow of the Almighty.’ If you were lost in the desert the children of Israel were required by the law of hospitality to satisfy your need for food, water, protection from an enemy, and shade from the blistering sun. It worked like this: first you had to find out the chief shepherd’s name and find his tent. Then you would take hold of the cord on his tent and cry out to him by name for help. When you did that, the law of hospitality required him to take you into the safety of his tent. Indeed, that same law said he had to protect you with his very life. Are you getting the idea? God’s name, El Shaddai, describes two wonderful aspects of His character. ‘El’ speaks of His power and strength. ‘Shaddai’ literally means ‘strong-breasted-one,’ which refers to the gentleness of a nursing mother. Some days you have to go to God for the strength needed to withstand the enemy’s attack; other days you just need to go to Him and let Him hold you in His arms and comfort you. The poet wrote, ‘Let me no more my comfort draw, from my frail grasp on Thee; in this alone rejoice with awe – Thy mighty grasp of me.’ When things get too ‘hot’ for you, run to ‘the shadow of the Almighty.’
Heavenly Father, my Great El Shaddai, thank You for Your protection You give me when I am lost and all alone. In Jesus’ Name, Amen
The post You Are Under God’s Protection – December 15, 2014 appeared first on LCC Daily Devotions.Read more...
Knowing God’s Voice
When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. John 10:4
Here are seven occasions when knowing God’s voice is all-important: 1) Hearing from God before you entertain the ideas of others. Why? Because their ideas are not His commands. Don’t make commitments and end up bound by promises you can’t keep. You must love others, but be led only by God’s Spirit. 2) Hearing from God before you listen to the complaints of others. Why? Because you are not responsible for their happiness. Your need to ‘fix’ others in order to feel good about yourself is called ‘co-dependency.’ Give them to God! 3) Hearing from God before you consider the needs of others. Why? Because their needs are driving them; only the plan of God should be leading you. 4) Hearing from God before you respond to the requests of others. Why? Because you must discern what’s behind their requests. Check the soil before you sow your seed. 5) Hearing from God before you share your dream with others. Why? Because it’s not enough to have a dream, you must have a team. You need people to help you, cheer you on and lift you to a higher level. The right people motivate you to grow stronger, think better, work harder and risk more. They compel you to continue! 6) Hearing from God before you seek the approval of others. Why? Because people with an agenda will flatter and manipulate you. Hearing God’s voice will keep you from falling into their trap. 7) Hearing from God before you make significant changes. Why? Because it’s not your job to decide what God wants you to do, but to discover it and do it.
Heavenly Father, to hear Your voice I must listen for Your voice – help my hearing! In Jesus’ Name, Amen