Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Model it

I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.  John 13:15
Attitude is everything. It is the difference between goodness and greatness. It separates the mature from the immature. Attitude is what causes people to give up or persevere. Indeed, every leader has a responsibility to inspire hope with an optimistic attitude. Anyone can be negative and assign blame, but wise is the leader who is positive and takes responsibility. This is the attitude God blesses. He dispenses more opportunity to one whose attitude is aligned with His agenda/will. The attitude God honors is humble, unselfish, and hopeful in Him.
Therefore, proper attitude alignment requires a prayerful attitude. This attitude depends on God and seeks His wisdom. It is a positive attitude that always looks for the good in an individual or situation. It is also an appreciative attitude. Gratitude generates a right attitude because it rarely complains. So, our attitude is infectious, but our actions also speak volumes. It is imperative that we model with attractive actions. Behavior validates our beliefs. If we say one thing and do another, we are dishonest with others and ourselves. Actions are a barometer of our character. Appropriate actions earn us the right to influence and lead. If we are inconsistent in our actions, we confuse the team. Consistent actions facilitate faithfulness in followers.
Moreover, the manner in which we arrive at our definition of right actions is important. The greater context of work expectations is based on the principles found in God’s Word. The Bible is our baseline and guide for attitude and behavior. Respectful behavior is illustrated with collaborative discussions over strategy and execution. Wise actions then become the pattern of an effective and efficient culture. Wise actions align around follow-through. We do what we say and say what we do. Wise actions also solicit feedback from everyone. We rely on the wisdom of the team over our own perspective. The Bible defines right actions; so while everyone on the team may not believe in Jesus, they all agree to act like Jesus.
Lastly, model with your words. Words can build up or tear down. Your words can be pure and encouraging or poisonous and discouraging. Moment by moment, you have the opportunity to inject courage into your colleagues with truthful, kind, and caring words. A good rule of thumb is to measure your words prayerfully and patiently before you speak. Do not allow anger and harshness to dominate your delivery. Use words as an ointment rather than an irritant. Your words are a reflection of your heart. A healed heart produces healing words. Therefore, use words wisely by speaking as you would like to be spoken to, with a spirit of compassion. When you speak, build up rather than tear down. Speak the truth in love. Choose caring conflict over insensitive passive aggression. Words matter, so model your speech well.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Trust Him

A king is not saved by his great army; a warrior is not delivered by his great strength. The war horse is a vain hope for victory, and by its great might it cannot save. Psalm 33:16-17

We are tempted to put our hope and trust in countless things: military might, economic strength, education and beauty, to name but a few. Each of these offers a promise of significance, success, and safety. Yet if we have learned anything from history, we know that armies are defeated, economies can crumble, and beauty is fleeting ( See Proverbs 31:30).

When we live surrounded by prosperity and success, it is easy to think that these promises are true. As a result, though we may not say it, we live in ways that show how we’ve placed our hope and trust in these earthly powers. We misplace our hope when we allow anxiety and fear to arise within us when one of these powers begins to fail. In times of political strife and turmoil, for example, are we as Christians able to remain hopeful in the steadfast love and unshakable power of the Lord? This is the way of life that the Psalmist invites us into (See Psalm 33:20-22).

In each and every generation, God’s people must learn and live out this profound truth. The Lord alone is our source of help and protection. Our joy and happiness is not linked to our personal success or national strength but is found only in the love of God that He freely lavishes upon us. And when we encounter times of great trial, conflict, or pain, we are never to despair for we know that the Lord is with us. As we are reminded in the book of Isaiah, “though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, my unfailing love for you will not be shaken” (Isaiah 54:10).

If you are tempted today to put your trust in the empty promises of this world, turn again to the Lord and trust in him. If the storms that swirl about you cause fear and turmoil within, hear afresh the words of the Lord Jesus, “do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” ( See John 14:27). Trust in the Lord, for He alone is our strength and our salvation.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Don't be afraid

While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?” Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” Mark 5:35-36
Of all the things that burden us and weigh on our souls, sickness and suffering in the lives of those we love is likely at the top of the list. Is there any greater trial than to observe a loved one in pain and yet be entirely helpless to bring them relief and rest? Though we do all that we can to comfort and console, we reach a point of exhaustion, desperation, and helplessness. This is exactly the sort of person Jesus encounters in Mark chapter 5.
Jairus, we are told, was “one of the rulers of the synagogue,” clearly a man of personal means and great influence. When his daughter fell gravely ill, he certainly would have secured for her the best care in the entire region, sparing no expense. Yet in spite of this, we find him begging and pleading with the Lord Jesus for his daughter to be made well. He was, as we say, at the end of his rope. 
As the story unfolds, we see the situation go from bad to worse as the last light of hope goes out, with word reaching the man that his daughter had already died. In light of this tragic news, as the messengers say, “why bother the teacher anymore?” When all hope is lost, why continue to pursue Jesus? Jesus’ response to this question invites us deeper into the mystery of God’s love, nature, and power.
To follow Jesus is to believe that there is never a time, moment, or situation in which all hope is lost.   Even when staring death in the face, we must learn to hear the words of Jesus, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” We must remember that we serve a God who is Lord of heaven and earth, in whose hand “is the life of every living thing.” (see Job 12:10) We must believe that the God who defeated death on the cross is powerful enough to bring hope and healing to the darkest and most painful moments of life, even when all hope seems to be lost.
Do we seek Jesus in prayer only for the things that seem likely to be answered, or are you and I willing to learn from this story and continue to open ourselves up to God’s plan and power even when it is beyond what we can see or understand?
Take whatever weighs heavy on your heart today to the Lord in prayer, and find comfort and peace for your soul. Do not be afraid. The Lord is with you and will never abandon you, and in light of the resurrection we know that a day is coming when all shall be made well. Amen. Come, Lord Jesus