What are you waiting for?

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The act of waiting defines leaders. In Psalms 130:6 (“I wait for the Lord MORE than watchmen wait for the morning.”) we see the role of a watchman as one who watches over what he is charged with to keep all safe through the dark times. Surely we have all experienced times when we must make decisions for the good of others, yet we, ourselves are not sure of the future and are unable to make clear a plan to move.  We often hunker down, buy time, close off, in order to re-group or make a new plan. It’s a tough spot to be in. Others look to us, depend on us, to lead them. What we know from Jesus is that we don’t have to be passive in our waiting for clarity as the invalid were in John 5:3 (“In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of water.”) They waited for something, anything to happen to them.  This type of waiting is passive. In the Greek it is ekdechomai meaning to accept from some source.  Jesus healed the man (he was able to walk again) even though the man could’ve healed himself many years ago. Jesus rescues us but surely He must be discouraged when we have the power and ability to help ourselves, if we would only remember who we are in Him.  Are you passively waiting for others to bring you solutions or are you actively waiting on God, remembering who you are in Christ.

In Psalms 33:20, the psalmist writes, “Our soul waiteth for the Lord who is our helper (in labour); and our shield (protection).” This type of waiting is the Greek word chakah (piercing, to adhere to, longing). The root of this word (chaqah) means to carve carved work, portrayed, set a print, by implication delineate. I believe this type of waiting demonstrates our separation as carved from God, in his image (set a print), and that our waiting is powerfully motivated and actively anticipating reattachment or reconnection to our one true source. We wait expectantly here, have hope. Just as we look in the mirror to see ourselves, if we look to Him to see ourselves, we will have the ability to discern between right and wrong and make decisions that glorify Him. It’s much easier to wait actively when we are checking daily in the “mirror.” We can more readily see change, will more easily remember the recent past, and better be able to foresee what will happen tomorrow.

If we go back to the opening verse of Psalm 130:6, we can see that a “watchman’s” wait is gavah, the Greek word for binding together, perhaps by twisting, i.e. collect, to expect, look patiently (not anxiously), gather together, wait upon, on, or for.  The implication is that all of the waiting is not for us but for our Lord.  We wait to be joined to him, and in that active waiting, as leaders, we wait upon, on, or for Him. The result is morning, new light, new ideas, ultimately, discernment for God’s definition of success! I don’t know about you, but I want God’s timing, His plan for waiting!

“For since the beginning of the world, men have not heard, not perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen O God, beside thee, what He [you] hath prepared for him [us] that waiteth for Him [you].” Isaiah 64:4.

Father God,

Give us ears to hear, eyes to see, help to labor with our hands, feet, and mind.  Your ways are better than our ways. Your wisdom provides the discernment we must have to do your work, and to achieve your successes here on earth. Help us to put our vain desires aside, to get up and walk the narrow path to you.  Provide us with morning light, your light, as we recognize our longing to reconnect with our creator and source, our good and sure Father. Thank you that you provide your son Jesus and the Holy Spirit as intercessor and counselor during the dark times. We are truly empowered to do all that we need to do through you. There is only victory because you have already defeated our enemies.  Thank you that you trust us as your watchmen to do good for those things under our charge. We honor you in our work.

In Jesus,

Amen (the truth)

How did Soloman “understand” in order to lead?

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How are you understanding what is happening around you? Today, I discovered this treasure.  1Kings 3:5-14. Soloman finds himself a young king.  He has a dream and in that dream he thanks God for how He blessed his father, David.  He then humbly acknowledges that he has much to learn and much to understand to be a good king.  Here is his request of God:

“Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?” 1Kings 3:9.

He knows he needs an understanding heart to judge others and to discern what is good and bad for the people and for the kingdom in which he is responsible/ charged. But he is young and admits he doesn’t know how so he asks for an understanding heart. In these verses, understanding and discernment utilize the same Hebrew words. To understand is to discern.

The kind of understanding Soloman asks for is “shama” in Hebrew which means to hear intelligently, give ear, to listen, perceive, proclaim and publish, etc. I believe it means to hear intently with an intelligence that compels you to tell or proclaim to others; you can’t keep it to yourself.  Most of us have perhaps experienced this kind of understanding at some point in our life.  If you have, you know how awesome it is!  That’s not all, Soloman also asks for heart. In Hebrew this is “leb” and means kindly minded, well-willing, regard, the feelings, the willing and the intellect coupled with courage and wisdom (likewise the center of everything)!  He is asking for compelling intelligence to be the center of all decision-making and judgment. He desires wisdom with courageous not wimpy empathy. All of this, he asks so that he can discern.

So what does he want to do with this? As king, Soloman needs to discern or understand between good and evil. The word good (towb) encompasses good men, good women, good things, favour, wealth and bad (rareh) spoil, mistakes, wrong, adversity, grief. In the role of king and in our role as Christian leaders in our home and at work, we too need this kind of discernment.

Here’s God’s answer. “And God said unto him, Because thou hast not asked for thyself long life; neither has asked riches for thyself, nor has asked the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment: Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee. And I have also given thee that which thou has not asked, both riches, and honour, so that there shall not be any among the kings like unto thee all thy days.” 1Kings 3:11-13.

Instead of shama understanding and discernment, God gave him “biyn” understanding and discernment which means to separate mentally or distinguish – attend, consider, be cunning, eloquent, instruct, skillful, teach, think, cause and give understanding.  He knew Soloman’s motives, he answered and rewarded him because Soloman didn’t need human or even kingly understanding and discernment, he needed Godly understanding and discernment that changed lives and taught others!  His subjects would be able to walk away with learning and biyn understanding themselves!

Father,

Give us biyn understanding and discernment in our decision-making.  Give us the ability to make intelligent decisions with a courageous heart knowing what is good and bad as you define it.  Purpose  us to keep watch over safeguard what is good while rooting out what is bad.  Show us your favour and where you would have us to act. Keep us within our “kingdoms” and help us to not wander outside of them until you have directed.

Thank you that you provide all we need to be good leaders, influencers, and encouragers. You are our source.

You define our success!

In Jesus,

Amen

 

How much do you really need to understand something?

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I had a conversation with someone this morning about overthinking our decisions.  We analyze and re-analyze to the extent that we are more confused than ever about what it is we need to do.  We are also to “keep watch” over our thoughts.  We spend so much time trying to understand our current situations and what God wants us to do. We overthink it in search of one specific answer.  We don’t spend nearly as much time trying to understand why a star shines brighter than another at night or why how gold and other precious rocks develop, we’re just glad they do!  Why is it that we can’t just accept that Gods ways are not our ways and that we don’t need to understand everything about Him, we just need to have faith. As a child, when I asked my parents why they made a decision, they always responded with, “Because I said so.” Even though I didn’t like it, I accepted that response. If I trusted them, I found peace in it.  Why is it that we can’t accept that response from God? Is it a lack of trust? Is peace a sign of trust? How much do we really need to understand it?  When we have peace, we are in relationship with God.  When we don’t have peace, are we overthinking it?

Father,

Forgive our need to understand everything.  We are not the creator of the world, we are not you, God. Help us to be truly free from overthinking. This is what you want for us!  Freedom from the need to understand and figure our way out of every “problem” discovered. Thank you for the your gift of discernment through the Holy Spirit that provides us with rest in you.  Give us eyes to see and ears to hear from you so that we can “Keep watch” over that which you have charged us with. Give us quiet contemplation and remind us that we are tethered to you and cannot be lost.  You find us and re-direct our paths back to you. You provide us with escape routes when we make mistakes.  Your only desire is that we come to you, spend time with you, have a relationship with you so that you can intervene in our lives and use us for good. The kind of good that we don’t need to understand. The kind of good that cannot be embodied in a single word. The kind of good that can only be recognized across generations of people, families, nations. We relinquish control to you. Thank you that you provided us with skills and abilities to lead, to run companies and to be heads of families and the faculties to recognize that we are not ready nor capable of the seat of God CEO.

In Jesus name,

Amen (def. this is truth)

“Keep Watch”

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“For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required…” Luke 2:48.

As leaders at work and in our homes, this verse can be scary.  On this topic, the other night in the wee morning hours the words “Keep watch” came to me.  They literally woke me up.  Because I had recently had a talk about finances with my husband, I wondered if God was trying to share with me to “keep watch” and be diligent about those.  After sitting with it a bit and doing some research of my own in my worn King James version, I realized that to “keep watch” means more than the obvious U.S. English connotation of “be on the look out.”  To “keep watch” first of all, implies that you are imbued and empowered with ready knowledge of something and are therefore able to identify what it is that will go awry…WHEN it goes awry.  So the assumption is we know what we are looking for and that we will intrinsically (in our gut) or extrinsically (a physical disturbance) recognize a sign of impending doom when it occurs.  That’s a lot of pressure!  There are plenty of examples in the old testament of “keep watch” in 2 Kings, 2 Chronicles 1 and 2 Samuel, Psalms, Nahum, etc.  These examples included watching as guards in a tower would watch over and protect during war.  “He that dasheth in pieces is come up before they face: keep the munition, watch the way, make they loins strong, fortify they power mightly.” Nahum 2:1. This kind of watch is present tense and active.  In fact, in Hebrew, the word watch is often mishmereth or as king David referred to it, shamar, meaning  to observe, preserve or safeguard what is already under your charge.  It’s a call to act now and to be ready at any instance.  As I moved to the new testament search of “watch.” The word “watch” in Greek  is gregoreuo and comes from the word egeiro, the idea of “collecting one’s faculties” (as if they had gone astray or unfocused).  “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation. The Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” Matt 26:41 and “Watch ye, standfast in the faith, quit you like men [act like mature men], be strong [courageous].” 1 Corinthians 16:13. Egeiro also means to rouse, waken from sitting or lying, wake from obscurity or inactivity.  Said another way, raise up or rear up again; stand; and take up.  I started to get excited about this!  What does this mean to me and how can I apply it to my decision-making today?

Point Taken (PT) – God tells us we know what we are in charge of and what we are not.  God has placed us in the situations we are in today because he trusts us.  He has given us the family, the work responsibilities, the employees, the relationships, the duties, finances, etc. we have and placed us in charge of them.  We are to be present and active as His hands and feet; as sentries who safeguard and protect over what belongs to us and ultimately to Him.

God has provided all the knowledge and experience that we need to do the job successfully.  He knows what we are capable of, our strengths and weaknesses.  In fact, He knew them before we were even born.  We cannot fail if we trust Him.  He is our CEO, our creator, our source.  He has a plan and He is in charge. He expects us to be successful.  The only thing that gets in the way of that success is “self.” He gave us the job as watchmen over what is His for a reason.

Remember who you are in Him and do not bow down to attacks brought against you to steal what God has placed under your charge.  If we shy away from it because we fear failure or believe that we don’t have the skill sets or experience to succeed, He will look to the next person to carry out His purpose. Fear is not from God. Fear is from the enemy. It’s important to remember who you are in Christ at work as well as at home.

“Keep watch” maybe not as simple as it sounds, huh?  We are blessed with so much, and so much is put under our charge.  John 10:10 says that we are under constant attack to destroy and take away what brings us and God joy. But we can take heart that we have Christ on our side. He has the power and the wherewithal to change our situations at work and at home. It is our duty to keep watch over all, pray, and be diligent in His word.

“For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required…” Luke 2:48.

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