Expectations Succeeded

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Expectations Succeeded

Did you know, that has a Christian, the word expectation is a noun and hope is a verb? Let me explain.

A few days ago, a woman who is not a Christian said to me, “A lot of us are always trying to fix someone.  If we just left them alone, they would probably get there themselves.” She said that we, Christians, and women in particular, often have pre-determined outcomes or results that cause us to want to fix something and we just aren’t satisfied until we achieve them by making changes in other’s lives.

Because I recently read of the Holy Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit, I wondered about this. After all, when we respond out of obedience to the Holy Spirit, we don’t have expectations. In fact, we are not even sure of the outcome. We leave that up to Him. We only know that we must react. We might change the world, change the relationship, upset the apple cart, make things worse for a while, but we do it anyway.  I believe when we do this we are free from expectations and full of hope; hope in a resurrected Lord who has a purpose and who directs our lives and our words. He empties us with our confession and fills us with himself, ready to act in a different knowledge and wisdom that is somehow beyond our understanding yet we sense the presence. It feels good, it feels right, it’s freeing. In that one moment, we aren’t passing judgment, we are acting out of love.

It’s not the first time, God has revealed to me the differences in the two. When I think of how the Holy Spirit moves in me, I have to go back to Genesis. In Genesis the Holy Spirit hovers over the waters; and, at times, I feel like He is hovering over my spirit, compelling me to move, change, and act out of a new hope in something beyond myself, redemption, life beyond this one, in heaven! At times when He doesn’t seem present, I am left with my own expectations, of myself, my husband, my children, my co-workers, my boss, etc. These expectations are qualified by experience, they are measured to evaluate success and yet they are empty, irrelevant, insignificant, and disappointing in that the majority of the time, they fall short of excellence. It’s because I made them.

When we have hope, we expectantly (adj) wait for what we believe will occur in the future. It’s expectation undefined, left open-ended; because the kind of expectation God invokes of us is fluid, living, it changes as He hovers over us and it includes a dance or active experience with Him. He allows us to have free will because He wants us to come to Him and receive His love, His gifts, His wisdom, after all He is our one true Father, who birthed us into life in this world and provided our savior, Christ. We were predestined and remain tethered to Him. We cannot get lost. We walk freely but not too far away from Him. We can expectantly hope in Him to act on our behalf and to rescue us when we don’t know what to do. His expectation is that we will fail and we have. He knows this by experience. He doesn’t measure it; he doesn’t compare it to others; and, he isn’t disappointed by our failure. He is not pleased when we place expectations on ourselves, or others that gratify our needs, wants, or desires. Expectations are of self. We need them to maintain control, order, organization; and even worse, to classify objects and people, and to predict results. He gives us hope. He compels us to expectantly hope (verb) in Him, to live this hope daily and to seek him for direction and fulfillment. Hope is not something we have when we are a Christian, hope is active and living in us. If we hope (verb), do we need to place so much value on expectations (noun)? He wants us to be free of law and of self. This is his desire.

When was the last time, you were disappointed by unmet expectations? I challenge you to surrender that expectation and replace it with His hope that what He has for us is so much better than anything we can measure or define. When we act out of Hope rather than Expectation, we are free indeed!

Father, thank you for Jesus, the hope of the world.

 Help others to see us acting out of hope and not expectation.  Let the wonder of you and your presence compel them to want to know more. Help us to be obedient in response not out of an expectation that they will see their sinful lives and repent in that very moment (although that would be so cool to experience) but out of hope that you are working and active and that you are in control. Thank you for your son Jesus and that we are left with the Holy Spirit to guide us and counsel us.  He embodies our hope. He hovers over us and provides knowledge, wisdom, and protection beyond our understanding. We can trust that death is defeated and we are truly free now to walk in victory, in hope, in love, and in true freedom!  If we are not feeling free today, show us where we may have unmet expectations and how to surrender those to you so that you can replace them with life-giving hope!

 In Jesus name,

 Amen

 

 

Morning Prayer

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Morning Prayer
Thank You Father for showing me some things about myself that I’d not seen.  It wasn’t necessarily fun to see it as it was/is.  But, I know You are right about it.  It’s so much easier to point the finger at others or to blame them.  Taking personal responsibility about it is something that makes you proud of one of Your kids and helps us kids get better at following You.  Thank You for Your patience of me.  I aspire to be more patient with others.  Amen
-Bud Lamb

Searching for an encounter with God

Christ-centered leadership, Leadership Decision-making, Trust, Uncategorized

At the heart of the recounting of Moses on Mt Horeb and the Burning Bush is a love story, one that shows a sovereign God that is committed to us. In the midst of our daily grind, our mundane life, God has each of us on his mind. God is constantly trying to, at even the most generic moments of our life, to focus on him. He desperately wants our attention.

Scripture shows us through the Angel of the Lord he caused a ‘Fire’ to light upon the bush but the bush wasn’t consumed or burned as a means to capture Moses’ attention. Spiritual Food for thought for later, have we been used to get someone’s else attention for God. Were you the flame? Were you the bush? Both were tools in God’s hand but served a totally different purpose and came through a unique experience.

Back to Mt Horeb and Moses, the salient point is near. Sometimes we seek this different experience with God and miss the wonder of his presence. Guilty of this myself at times, please don’t do that, every moment in his presence needs to be cherished.

Instead of Moses marveling in Jehovah’s presence he wanted to see the source of God (the flame.) In hind sight we can easy ridicule or laugh at the notion but if we search our steps we will clearly find moments such as these regarding our behavior. How many times have we been so busy in the mundane or the needless busyness of our lives that we aren’t living in the moment and God shows up and has to say, “Dwight, Dwight! Here I Am. Over Here.”

–by Dwight Herlong

Father God, 

Thank you that you never leave us alone. You realize that we are incapable of ever finding you if we aren’t first seeking you properly (in your word, in our circumstances, in prayer, in fellowship with other Christians). It’s as if we wonder through a maze and at times, when we are in need of direction, you pick us up by the shirt collar and place us down in another part of the maze. Thank you that you do this for us.  Help us to realize the experience of your intervention in our lives, purposed to head us in the right direction, running toward, rather than away from you!  You are amazing!  

In Jesus name, 

Amen (def. this is truth).

“Good” courage versus “bad” courage

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“Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord they God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” KJV Joshua 1:9

We all know leaders need courage to lead; so, is there more than one kind?  In Joshua and Psalms, we understand that there is a “good” courage. Be ye of good courage and he shall strengthen your heart all ye that hope in the Lord. KJV. Psa 27:14. So, what does it mean to have “good” courage versus “bad” courage?

One word used to define courage in the bible is chazaq (Hebrew) which means to fasten upon, be strong, fortify, and seize. Another definition of courage is amats (Hebrew) to be alert. By implication, when we use courage, we assume some position of authority and the decision to act is made by us.  Furthermore, when we use courage, we recognize we are owners of the problem. We are an integral part of the solution and we usually have some degree of confidence in our ability to take action. We trust that the outcomes of our actions will be worth the risk.

So what’s the difference in “good” versus “bad” courage and how is this helpful or useful as leaders? “Good” or towb Hebrew) in the most general sense means to have favour. According to verses like Joshua 1:9 among others in the Old Testament, “good” courage is submissive in nature. It is patient, not impulsive or irresponsibly employed. It trusts in God’s sovereign authority and keeps our role for His people in mind. It is surgical and strategic in it’s effect. Tangible and Intangible results are immediate and long-standing with generational effect. It’s tough and unrelenting. It perseveres when challenged and the victory is evident and eternal. If you employ “good” courage, you can expect that others may say, “We will do as you say, and go where you want us to go” just like the people did in Joshua 1:16.

“Bad” courage knows how to fight. It’s usually our most convenient courage; always ready to be employed; but not necessarily our best weapon. It trusts in our previous experience, education, or accomplishments. It uses self-preservation and self-reputation as a gauge of success and has our role for our people in mind. Tangible results may be immediate but short-lived. Intangible results can be impossible to know. Like a ping-pong in a coin-operated machine, “bad” courage is labor-intensive and can be boundary-less as there is less control over any residual battles presented. If you employ “bad” courage, you can expect that others may say, “You are a survivor. You don’t give up easily.”

Although both types of courage, have differences in the ease of use, availability, and results; they both exact endurance, suffering, and sacrifice. God’s plan is that we choose “good” courage every time. He wants us to trust that He will preserve us and protect our reputation. When we make this choice, we live by faith. When we choose to use courage in our role to fortify and protect His people and His work, we will realize lasting results, not temporary ones. We cannot trust in our past experiences, other people, education, performance numbers, or capabilities as a source of courage. God is our source. Others will not see this as “good” courage right away. In fact, they may not realize it as courage at all until we are long gone. We have to be okay with that. Are you?

Father,

Thank you that you are all that we need. Thank you that we don’t have to stand on our own and that you provide courage when and where we need it.  Help us to recognize “good” courage in our work and at home and to avoid “bad” courage. Help us to see what it means to brave in You!

In your son Jesus, Amen.

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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