Leader’s Devotional

design[25]This morning, I was praying for my grandbabies for the New Year. I was asking God to keep them safe and trouble free. I never want to see them suffer for any reason. Then the thought struck me – how will they be strong; how will they be prepared for what God has ahead for them in the future if they never have to endure any trials? I (reluctantly) began to ask God for His will for them, that He would prepare them to do awesome things for Him in the future. Because I am not naïve, I realize that, if we never struggle in life, we will be weak. I don’t want that for my grandbabies or for anyone I love.

Phillips Brooks said, “Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks. Then the doing of your work shall be no miracle, but you shall be the miracle.“

Leaders – God has plans for you. They will require that you are strong and equal to the task. The only way to get strong is to endure difficulties, learn from them and grow.

Meditate on this verse: “But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.” – 1 Peter.5:10

Don’t be discouraged by the difficult times you are enduring or the ones that are ahead. If you remain strong, learn from your environment and trust God – you will be ready for whatever comes your way in the future!

God’s Will has Nothing to Do with My Feelings

personal-1

We sometimes mistakenly think that God exists for the purpose of making us happy. Be aware, however, our comfort is not God’s priority. While He is not into inflicting pain on His children, we cannot equate our good feelings with His plan.

I was challenged with this thought yesterday when we said goodbye to our 20 month-old granddaughter, as her parents were taking her back to the Guatemalan orphanage that they direct. It hurts to see her go. If I had the power to choose a different plan, I would. Yet we are absolutely convinced that they are within God’s will for them. His will for them results in a broken heart for me and my wife every time they get on that plane.

I can never make the mistake of thinking that because being away from my family hurts, God must be displeased. I think He is very happy, not with our pain, but with our obedience. He hurts when we hurt. He hurt when Jesus died on the cross, but He was pleased with His obedience.

Obviously, the presence of pain is not an indicator that we are within the will of God. We simply must not make ease of living or comfort in our emotions the litmus test for the fulfillment of God’s will for our lives.

If you are right smack dab in the middle of God’s plan for your life, and you are pain-free, congrats! For most of us, it costs a little more.

And shall I pray Thee change Thy will, my Father,
Until it be according unto mine?
But, no, Lord, no, that never shall be, rather
I pray Thee blend my human will with Thine.

I pray Thee hush the hurrying, eager longing,
I pray Thee soothe the pangs of keen desire—
See in my quiet places, wishes thronging—
Forbid them, Lord, purge, though it be with fire.

Amy Wilson-Carmichael

Five Indicators that You are Doing What God Wants You to Do

How can you know if you are where God wants you to be, doing what He wants you to do?

You are stretched: If you are really comfortable in your position or responsibility, chances are, you need a change. If you can do you job with your eyes closed, change jobs. God wants you to grow and the only way to do that is to be challenged. If your duties require that you expand your abilities, congrats – you are right in your sweet spot.

You are fulfilled: If you find a sense of satisfaction simply from doing what is expected of you, that is a good sign. Completion, peace of mind and contentment can’t be manufactured. Additionally, these emotions are very rare. If you are enjoying them, kudos to you for finding your groove.

You are succeeding: One of the best ways for God to get the attention of one of His people is to allow them to fail. Failure is a great motivator. God wants you to succeed. I know this is a generalization and it is way over-used in some television preacher circles, but it is true nonetheless. If you are enjoying a season of success, it is probably a “thumbs up” from God.

You are reliant: If your duties are requiring more than you feel you can possibly give, it may be a sign that God has you right where He wants you.  Of course it is possible to just be in over your head. However, God expects great things of you – and you can’t do it without Him! Learn to lean on Him.

You are not looking around: If you spend zero time thinking about your next move; if your plans are focused on your current appointment only; if you wouldn’t accept a change even with a pay increase, you’ve found a home. Enjoy it.

There a few greater joys than knowing you are fulfilling your God-given purpose. Until you find that, keep pushing until you do so. Once you do find it, you’d better stay put – until and unless God changes His mind.

I love change (and that can get me into trouble)

I’ve always been the restless kind. I have spent a significant portion of my life with the strange feeling that the action must be happening somewhere other than where I was at the time – that I was somehow missing something. I tend to lose interest in routine, predictability isn’t attractive to me. And ruts are despicable!

All of this can create real problems, especially for someone who desires to be an authentic and credible leader. If I followed my desire for frequent change, I would never put down roots. Thankfully, God has helped me to harness my emotions and I have served long-term throughout my ministry career.

I had to wrestle with my restlessness during my recent decision to accept a new ministry post – I had to be sure that my wanderlust wasn’t driving my transition.

When considering a transition, here are some key questions to ask yourself:

Am I just bored with the routine of my current job?

Is the grass really greener over there? (you know the old joke that the grass is greener over the septic tank?)

Has something happened that may have caused me to become discouraged and consider quitting?

And the bottom line question: Is God driving my desire for a change or is it only human emotion?

My advice? If you are young and unencumbered, hit the road, see the sights, it’s OK to be a bit irresponsible. But if you are responsible for others, settle down and only move IF God is saying to move. If God is telling you to move, you really need to do it – regardless.

Embrace whatever God embraces – changing or remaining.