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I want to grow as a leader, and I want to help others grow. Sharing my thoughts on leadership is intended to help us grow together into all God wants for us. I hope you enjoy my blog.


Monday, February 8, 2016

The Gates of Hell
My wife and I recently returned from a trip to Israel.  One of the places I was looking forward to seeing was Caesarea Philippi.  We drove up the 35 miles or so from the Sea of Galilee to the place that is today called Banias.  There we saw a large rock face with a cave in it.  Our tour guide told us this cave was known as the gate of hell.  Previously it had a stream running out of it.  Why did Jesus walk up to this place with His disciples?  We read in Matt 16:13-18, "When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples saying, 'Who do men say that I, the Son of Man am?'  So they said, 'Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.'  He said to them, 'But who do you say that I am?'  Simon Peter answered and said, 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.'  Jesus answered and said to him, 'Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.  And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.'"  The name Peter was petros in Greek, meaning a little stone.  The word rock was petra in Greek, meaning a huge boulder.  Jesus was standing in front of this huge rock face, with the gate of hell in the background, and here He revealed Himself as the Christ, the Son of God.  On this rock of revelation Jesus will build His church.  Peter, as a stone, will be a part of this building, just as every believer is a living stone, being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ, 1 Pet. 2:5.  This church, this huge rock, will never be overcome by the gates of hell.  The kingdom of darkness will never be victorious over, or prevail against the church.  He gave us the keys of the kingdom of heaven with the power to bind and to loose.  He holds the keys of hell and of death, and is alive forevermore, Rev. 1:18.  You are victorious over all the power of hell through the revelation of who Jesus is.  In Him, and through Him, we overcome every power of darkness.  The church will be victorious until Jesus comes!

Monday, April 20, 2015

You Owe Me

"You owe me."  How often have you had the feeling toward someone that they owe you something?  Maybe you loaned them some money, and they have avoided paying you back.  The feeling of "You owe me" usually leads to anger.  We have an unmet expectation, and we are dealing with anger about the situation.  Jesus told the story of a man in Matt. 18 who owed a debt of about $10,000,000.  Unable to pay, he cried out to his master saying, "Have patience with me, and I will pay you all."  The master was moved with compassion, and forgave the debt.  However, that servant went out and found a man who owed him a small debt of about $20.  He took him by the throat and required the debt to be paid.  The man cried out and said, "Have patience with me, and I will pay you all."  But he would not forgive, nor have patience with the man.  His heart cry was, "You owe me", which produced great anger and impatience.  It may not be only money that makes us feel that someone owes us.  We may feel that someone owes us an apology, or an explanation.  We may feel hurt by someone's words, or actions, and feel they should make it right with us.  Eph. 4:26 says, "Be angry, and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your wrath."  Anger is an emotion that we will all experience, however Paul says to deal with it quickly in a way that is not sinful.  We may never receive the apology, or the money may never be paid back.  Perhaps the person who owes us has passed away, or is indifferent to the situation.  What do we do with our anger?  How do we deal with the unmet expectations?  Malice will be the reoccurring attitude where there is unresolved anger.  Malice is ill will, spite, and a desire to inflict injury, harm or suffering on another.  1 Pet. 2:1 says, "Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking."  We must find God's grace to forgive, lest a root of bitterness rises up and causes trouble.  We must realize that an unpayable debt was forgiven in our lives, and therefore we can turn to our neighbour and forgive the small debts that occur in this life.  Col. 3:8 says, "But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth."  This is only possible as we let God fill our hearts with His mercy and love.  Then from a heart of mercy we can extend forgiveness to those who owe us.

Let Us Keep The Feast

"Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth."  1 Cor. 5:8.  There were 7 feasts that Israel was to celebrate each year.  The first feast was Passover, the celebration of their deliverance from death in Egypt.  Because they applied the blood of the lamb to their doorposts, death passed over them.  The Passover pointed to the coming of Christ as 1 Cor. 5:7 says, "...For indeed Christ, our Passover was sacrificed for us."  Following the Passover, they were to celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread for 7 days.  For 7 days they were to have no leaven in their bread.  They would eat only flat unleavened bread.  Jesus also spoke of leaven when He warned His disciples of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.  He said the leaven of the Pharisees was hypocrisy.  A hypocrite was one who acted in a play, and pretended to be someone else.  The Pharisees acted as though they were holy and without fault, but Jesus saw through their hypocrisy and knew the true motives of their heart.  Jesus also spoke of the leaven of Herod in Mark 8:15.  Herod bowed to peer pressure when he ordered the execution of John the Baptist.  He did not act out of sincerity of heart, but was swayed by the opinions of others.  He did what was wrong in order to gain the approval of others.  Paul tells us we should keep the feast, but not with the old leaven.  He doesn't want us to literally remove the yeast from our homes, but he wants us to remove the leaven from our hearts.  The leaven of malice and wickedness needs to be cleaned out of our hearts.  Malice is ill will and spite, the desire to inflict injury and harm on another.  It is mentioned in Eph. 4:31 along with bitterness, wrath, anger, quarreling, and evil speaking.  From the word malice we get the word malignant.  Something that is malignant has the ability to bring harm and damage, and malice will bring damage into our lives.  Paul says to clean out the old leaven, and don't leave any of it, because a little leaven leavens the whole lump.  Even a little bitterness and resentment can poison our life and keep us from bearing the fruit God desires for us.  "Therefore let us keep the feast....with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth."  

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Ravens and Doves

     "Then he sent out a raven, which kept going to and fro until the waters had dried up from the earth.  He also sent out from himself a dove, to see if the waters had receded from the face of the ground.  But the dove found no resting place for the sole of her foot, and she returned into the ark to him, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth.  So he put out his hand and took her, and drew her into the ark to himself."  Gen. 8:7-9. 
     The dove has been a symbol of the Holy Spirit since the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River.  When Jesus was baptized, He saw the Spirit of God descending upon Him like a dove, and a voice spoke out of heaven, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."  Matt. 3:16,17.  The dove is a symbol of rest, purity, innocence, fellowship and peace.  The dove with an olive branch in its beak has long been a symbol of peace.  The dove seeks a quiet place to rest, and is easily alarmed by sudden movements.  The diet of a dove is seeds, which he can store up in his crop.  Doves mate for a lifetime, and the mourning dove is known for its mournful cooing, when a mate is missing or has died.  Jesus said we were to be wise as serpents, and innocent as doves, Matt. 10:16.  Isa. 38:14 says, "...I mourned like a dove..."  The Holy Spirit also seeks a place to rest.  Jesus said, "And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever."  John 14:16.  The Spirit of God wants to find a dwelling place in our hearts.  He wants to be our partner for life, and promised He would abide with us forever.  The Spirit brings purity into our lives, and seeks fellowship with us.  He brings the peace of God into our hearts, and guides us into His truth and peace.  Noah's dove was seeking a resting place.  Let our hearts be the resting place for the Spirit of God to dwell.  Let us feed on the seeds of God's Word.
     But what about the raven?  Ravens are common here at our home.  They are meat eating scavengers who will eat your garbage and anything else they can find.  They have often been seen flying away with groceries left in the back of trucks in the grocery store parking lot.  They are very smart birds that scavenge dead animals, or whatever they can find.  They are a symbol of our flesh nature.  Noah's raven kept going to and fro until the waters had dried up.  The flesh is never settled and never satisfied, but keeps going to and fro in search of something more.  The flesh appetite can never be satisfied for long, as it keeps lusting for more and more, and cares little about where it gets its meat.  It's nature is self seeking, and self centered, and always lusting.
     We have been called to walk in freedom from our flesh.  "For you brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another."  Gal. 5:13. 
     Make this your prayer today:  "God, dwell in me by Your Holy Spirit, and give me freedom to walk above the lusts of the flesh."     

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

7 Steps To Fulfil Your Calling

"By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance.  And he went out, now knowing where he was going."  Heb. 11:8.
There are 7 parts to this verse that show us how to fulfil the calling on our lives.
1.  By faith -  We must watch over our faith so that it continues to grow.  Jesus spoke of those who had great faith, little faith, and no faith.  The parable of the sower and the seed shows how faith grows from a seed to bearing fruit.  The seed must overcome many challenges in order to bear fruit.  We face satanic attack, afflictions and persecutions, worries of life, deceitfulness of riches, and desires for other things entering in.  We must continually feed our faith with the Word so it can grow and overcome the challenges. We will need to live by faith to fulfil our call.
2.  Abraham obeyed - It is not enough to have faith, and to know the Word, we must put it into action.  We must have corresponding actions with our faith.  When we look into the mirror of God's Word, we need to adjust our lives according to the mirror.  Faith without works is dead.  Faith requires us to act out in obedience what God has said in our hearts. 
3.  When he was called - God called Abraham for a specific purpose, and God calls each of us for a specific purpose.  Jesus called the disciples, and they left their nets and their old life to follow Him.  The Spirit of God is now calling people to follow.  The Spirit and the bride say "Come".  There is a calling on every one of our lives.  We must acknowledge that call, and give attention to that call.
4.  To go out - Our calling will require us to go out - out of our comfort zone, out of the familiar and known.  Jesus said that we must lose our lives in order to find new life.  We must go out from our old lives and leave them behind in order to move into the new things God has for us.
5.  To the place - God has a new place for you to live - a new way of living, a new attitude, a new love, a new way of thinking.  Rom. 12:2 says we are transformed by the renewing of our minds.  To renew is to renovate.  Renovating means out with the old, and in with the new.  To be renewed we must let go of the past, and be filled with all the new things God wants to pour into our lives.
6.  Which he would receive as an inheritance - To this day we benefit from the inheritance that Abraham received.  When we move out into our calling, we will move into our inheritance that God has already planned for us.  This inheritance will bring great benefit to our lives and those around us.
7.  And he went out, not knowing where he was going - God will not show us everything about where we are going, but He will show us enough for today.  His Word is a lamp unto our feet, and a light unto our path.  As we are obedient in what He wants us to do today, He will show us the way into the future.  The Amplified Version says, "he did not know or trouble his mind about where he was to go."  Don't trouble your mind about the future.  Rest in knowing that God will show you the next step.

You can fulfil your calling! 

Monday, September 9, 2013

How To Slay A Giant

We are familiar with the story of David and Goliath.  We know the story ends with a slingshot, and David cutting off the giant's head with the giant's sword.  But what led up to this event, and what can we learn about how to slay our own giants?  There is a process involved in slaying a giant.  I found four steps to slaying a giant, and each one starts with the letter P.
1. Preparation:  David's time as a shepherd boy was not wasted time.  David spent his time developing his relationship with God.  When Saul's servants looked for someone to come play the harp and minister to Saul, they found David.  1 Sam. 16:18, "Look, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, who is skillful in playing, a mighty man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a handsome person; and the Lord is with him."  David was courageous, wise in his speech, and had developed such a relationship with God that others could see it.  He was respectful and obedient to his father when asked to go see his brothers.  God was preparing David for great things, and David was preparing himself.  (He was also getting very skilled with the slingshot.)
2. Practice:  David was putting into practice the things he was learning.  He slew a lion and a bear that came to attack the sheep.  It is practice that makes the difference.  The distance between knowing and doing determines results.  Practice is necessary to accomplish anything worthwhile.  "But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves." James 1:22.  Practice is the bridge between knowing and accomplishing. 
3. Proving:  After seeing David's persistence to go against the giant, Saul dressed David in his armor.  With Saul's armor on, David couldn't even walk.  David said, "...I cannot go with these, for I have not proved them."  1 Sam. 17:39.  We can only walk with what we have proved.  Each one of us has to prove for ourselves the will of God.  Rom. 12:1,2 says we are to have a transformed mind, so we can prove what is the good, acceptable, and perfect will of God.  We can not walk with another person's revelation, we each need our own revelation from God in our lives. 
4. POW:  After preparation, practice, and proving, David's time had come to slay the giant.  He took out of his shepherd's bag one stone, put it in his sling, and ran toward the giant.  His confidence was not in his own ability, but in God.  The giant was dressed in armor from head to foot.  There was only a small spot exposed, and David knew that stone would hit its mark. With skill he slung that stone so hard that it sank into the giant's forehead, and the giant hit the ground.  There is power available to those who are prepared, practiced, and proven God in the small things.  We can slay our giants as we walk with God through the process.

At what place am I at today in the process of slaying a giant?

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Elder Son

The story of the prodigal son contains three main characters: the younger son, the father, and the older son.  The younger son has taken his portion of the inheritance and gone to a far country to waste his substance.  After awhile, he returns to his father with a repentant heart.  The father is so happy to receive him back that he orders the best robe to be put on him, a ring to be put on his finger, sandals for his feet, and the fatted calf to be killed.  They will celebrate the return of the son who was lost and is found, who was dead and is now alive.  But there is an older son  who comes home from working in the field.  In fact, he has been working faithfully in the field for many years.  He comes home to the sound of music and dancing, and inquires what is going on.  Then he finds out that his younger son has returned, and the father has put on a party, and killed the fatted calf.  He is angry and would not go in, so the father came out to talk to him.  He said to his father, "..these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends."  Luke 15:29.  The older son has reduced his place in the family to "serving" and "not transgressing".  He was not living out of the joy of relationship with his father, but instead he was living to not transgress against his father.  His mindset had become one of works, and performance to earn a blessing from his father.  The father said, "Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours."  The older son did not realize that he always had the father with him, and anything that belonged to the father, belonged to the son.  Sometimes we as God's children can fall into the thinking that we will earn God's blessing if we serve Him, and not transgress His commandments.  But the Father says that because we are His children, we are always with Him, and everything He has is ours!  What do you need today?  The Father is with you always, and all that is His is yours.  You can come to Him anytime for whatever you need.  Sometimes the younger son who has just repented understands grace more than the older son, who has been serving for many years.  Come to the  Father out of love, and grace, and receive of His blessings today.

Do I realize that I am always with the Father, and all He has is mine?