Category Archives: Leadership lessons

Finding Strength in God

Good morning friends!  I am reading through the book of 1 Samuel right now.  As it has before, the relationship between David and Jonathan continues to amaze and delight me.  The type of relationship they shared is a unique example of how God can so deeply knit hearts together.

A couple verses that stand out to me are found in 1 Samuel 23:16-17.  It reads – “And Saul’s son Jonathan went to David at Horesh and helped him find strength in God.  ‘Don’t be afraid’, he said ‘My father Saul will not lay a hand on you.  You will be king over Israel, and I will be second to you.  Even my father Saul knows this.’  The two of them made a covenant before the Lord.  Then Jonathan went home but David remained at Horesh.”

Notice it says that Jonathan went to David to help him “find strength in God”.  Why, you may wonder, did David need help?  At this point in his life, David had been anointed King over Israel, but he had yet to take the throne.  The current King, Saul, was still ruling and reigning and hating David.  He hated David so much that he was trying to hunt him down in order to kill him.  David was on the run and was becoming weary.  Therefore he needed help in finding strength.  David knew the source of His strength, it was God and God alone.  Although he knew the source of his strength, he still needed help finding strength.

This is where the friend of his heart comes in.  These two simple verses show us how Jonathan helped David find his strength in God:

  1. Jonathan went to David. He gave him the gift of his presence.  Whatever else Jonathan was doing in his life, he put that on hold for a time in order to go help his friend.  What a friend.
  2. He calmed his fears. He brought words of comfort and peace – “Don’t be afraid . . .”  Sometimes we just need someone to tell us that everything is going to be OK, don’t we?
  3. He spoke the truth to David. “You will be king over Israel.”  Jonathan knew the truth and he reminded David of the truth.  God was still in charge and His plans would come to fruition in David’s life.  God hadn’t gotten David this far to ditch him now.
  4. Jonathan committed to stick with him and involved God in their commitment as they made covenant before Him. Two is better than one, but three is greater still.
  5. Finally, Jonathan left and went back to his life, but not until Jonathan knew David was strong once again. This is a good example of a healthy relationship.  Jonathan helped David, but then he left.  There is no unhealthy co-dependence here.

What a great lesson about how to help those closest in your life to find strength in God.  Do you have people who look to you to help them find strength?  Do you have people you look to?  It’s important that there is both, not just one or the other.  However, the more of a leader you come, the more lopsided this equation can become as well.  As a leader, you have many people looking to you and fewer and fewer you can look to.  Beware of this!  Isolation is a tool of the enemy to make you disconnected in the body of Christ.  Fight against it.  There are times you need help being strengthened in God.  Make sure you are being real and vulnerable with a couple of people whom God has placed in your life.  Just like God has placed you in other’s lives to strengthen them, He’s placed trusted people in your life to strengthen you.  Let them.

Your Friend in Ministry,

Name3

 

Judging Outward Appearances

Yesterday morning, I was in a bit of a rush, trying to get the kiddos to school and myself to work. Normally, I have a quiet time before I leave for the day, but due to circumstances beyond my control it didn’t happen. However, I knew that I needed to begin my day with Jesus through prayer and Bible reading, so I decided to gather up all the needed quiet time supplies and take them to work with me. Thankfully when I get to the church early, it is nice and quiet before the craziness begins (*smile*).

In my rush, I reached in under the kitchen sink, grabbed the first bag I could find, plopped the stuff in the bag and out the door I went. As I got to my office, I set the bag on the table and noticed what type of bag it was.

VS bag

I felt somewhat embarrassed that I had chosen this bag because the contents inside the bag did not at all match what the outside of the bag was advertising. In fact, if people were to see my bag, a Bible, 3×5 notecards with my memory verses and a prayer journal would be the last thing they would suspect as the contents.

contents of bag

items on table

As I was pulling the contents out of the bag to have some quiet time, I sensed God speaking to me that a lot of people are like that bag. Their outsides disguise what’s on their insides. Yet, how often do you and I make judgments about what must be on the inside, based on what we see on the outside?

I was immediately reminded of one of the Bible verses I memorized in my earliest teenage years, 1 Samuel 16:7:

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

According to this verse, it is part of the human condition to judge by outward appearances. But, aren’t you thankful that God doesn’t do that? He looks beyond the package into the contents of what’s inside. I want to be a person like that, don’t you?  But how?

  • One of the best ways to start is by praying that God will give you the eyes to see people the way He sees does.
  • When you are tempted to make a quick judgment about someone, stop and take a closer look. It will take some time to dig a little deeper, but often what you will find are some admirable qualities that are waiting to be discovered.
  • As you find the good in others, call it forth and do what you can to encourage it and help it grow.

The next time you want to judge someone by what you see on the inside, remember the Victoria’s Secret bag. Packages can be deceiving . . .

Your Friend in Ministry,

1Signature

 

 

 

Passing Things of Value on to Those Who Need it

Yesterday morning I was making lasagna for a special meal last night. My daughter mustered up the courage to try out for a solo for last night’s choir performance. The fact that she even tried is a huge deal! The fact that she got the part is icing on the cake. (In our family, it’s more about attitude and effort than achievement.) So last night we had a special family dinner before we attended the choir concert in support of our little soloist.

So yesterday, as I was cleaning up the kitchen, my thoughts were on the lasagna. I found the recipe on “allrecipes.com” and the name of the recipe was “World’s Best Lasagna”. I was hoping it lived up to its title. Part of my love/hate relationship with cooking is that when I put a lot of effort into my cooking, I have visions of grandeur. You know the kind . . . your family in sheer delight while eating your food. Endless compliments about how great it is, etc . . . However, the reality is, usually only my husband makes positive comments about what I make. The kids try to gag it down (we are also a family of VERY simply tastes) and I think of how it could have been better. Anyhow, back to the lasagna, I did the dishes and cleaned around the computer where I found this “World’s Best Lasagna” recipe. I thought, why should I keep all my cookbooks when I can access any recipe I could ever possibly need through the internet? As soon as I had that thought, my mind immediately went to this cookbook right here.

Betty Crocker Cook book

And in that instant I knew, I could never part with that cookbook, or any other for that matter. Now, you may be wondering why this particular cookbook is so special to me. It was given to me as a special gift shortly after I was married. I was working at the Bible College I had just graduated from. One of my big bosses was a woman who seemed pretty old at the time, but in retrospect, she was probably just in her fifties (*smile*). She and I had a good working relationship, but I wasn’t very close to her. One day, on my desk, I found this cookbook with a note attached in her beautiful handwriting. I don’t remember exactly what the note said, but it said something about how it had been hers but she decided I could get better use out of it than she would. You see, this particular professor had never been married so she had neither husband nor family to cook for. Somehow, I instinctively knew that in passing this cookbook on to me, she was letting go of what could have been for her and passing on something of great value to me.

Now, I have to admit, I only use this cookbook for one thing, but I pull it out each and every time I need to hard boil eggs.

Eggs

And I think of this dear lady, every time I do.

Now that I’m a leader, part of my job is to pass things of value on to those who need it, just like she did for me:

  • Truths from the Bible that I have found
  • Belief in and for those who are serving with me
  • Insight into working with people
  • Tips about balancing life and ministry
  • Helpful books that I have read
  • Things that I have learned the hard way
  • An encouraging word
  • Time to listen and be a friend
  • Hugs and winks and smiles

What is something of value that you can pass on to someone who needs it today? I encourage you to make a difference. What may seem insignificant to you will have lasting value and impact for someone else. Just like the cookbook did for me!

Your Friend in Ministry,

Name3

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