Posts Tagged ‘plans’

Leadership strengths are often found in close proximity to blindspots. An overpowering strength, in particular, usually has an associated blindspot.”   Robert Bruce Shaw  Leadership Blindspots

 

I got this quote in one of the secular leadership blogs that come in my email.  Honestly most of them I don’t even look at closely anymore.  However this one caught my eye.  I am always intrigued when a secular article espouses a biblical truth.  I am certain that if you read Mr. Shaw in depth he differs considerably from Paul’s view on this subject.

And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.  2 Corinthians 12:9

In Philippians 3 he talks about what was becoming a huge blind spot for many of the Jewish believers.  They had a strong belief in the overpowering strength of their religious heritage. Paul’s reply to this blind spot was that if anyone had reason to rest in the strength of religious heritage, it was Paul.   He goes on to say:

7 But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, 9 and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death ;

These apparent strengths can even be gifts from God.  Unfortunately as the author notes, the more overpowering the strength, the closer the blind spot.  Consider Samson, called to save his people even before he was conceived and dedicated to God as a Nazirite from conception.

“Behold now, you are barren and have borne no children, but you shall conceive and give birth to a son. 4 “Now therefore, be careful not to drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing. 5 “For behold, you shall conceive and give birth to a son, and no razor shall come upon his head, for the boy shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb ; and he shall begin to deliver Israel from the hands of the Philistines.” Judges 13:3-5

He had two great strengths.  The most obvious one was his physical strength.  The second was his godly discipline as a Nazirite.  As the story unfolds we see the blind spots that develop as he grows to be comfortable in his strengths.  He achieves victory after victory and as happens all too often, the blind spot involves a growing sense of powerful self eclipsing the very God that is the source and sustenance of that power.  He ignores the godly counsel of his parents and after that does not even seek wise counsel, after all he is the Nazirite, he is the chosen one of God, who would counsel him. Even when 3000 men of Israel come to hand him over to the Philistines he does not see the selfishness of his actions.  He uses the strengths given him by God out of anger, out of hurt yet he continues his disciplines and as promised God sets him as Judge over Israel.  We so often attribute success with righteousness.  We see the Spirit of the Lord come upon Samson time after time so he must be in a right relationship with God, right?  This is a misconception that leads to great disappointment and injury.  When men and women of God exercise their gifts in blind spots, God’s will still moves through those strengths but when we measure their fruit by Galatians 5 we see the disconnect.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control ; against such things there is no law.

Samson’s disregard for his parents; his failure to seek godly and wise counsel ( as his mother did cf. Judges 13:8, 8 Then Manoah entreated the LORD and said, “O Lord, please let the man of God whom You have sent come to us again that he may teach us what to do for the boy who is to be born.”); his lack of concern for the consequences of his actions on the very people he was sent to save all point to the blind spots that Samson fostered and ignored.  While Scripture does not record it as a parent I can only imagine their continuing and more desperate attempts to reach their son.  Wise counsel whether it is from parents, mentors or just from people that God places in our lives is key in illuminating the blind spots that the Enemy will manipulate to our harm and harm to those around us. Samson is an apropos example of blind spots because in the end it brought physical blindness.  The will of God for his life was ultimately achieved as he brought the house down on Philistine power in the region but how much more of a story if his blind spots  had not interspersed such tragedy into God’s call on his life.

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“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever”

Hebrews 13:8

 

The fancy word for today’s topic is “Immutability”.  That is the last time you will see it in this post.  However the bible tells us that in a world of change biblical perseverance calls for a unique constancy from Christ Followers.  God declares his own character when he tells Moses that “I am that I am”.  This Hebrew word, which became the very name of God to Israel, declares His eternal constancy.  It is here that we find one of the prime qualities of biblical perseverance for the believer.

29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren ; Romans 8:29

It is only by this miraculous transformation process and the submission of our will to His will that we begin our journey to biblical perseverance.  So then do we  live in the same place, do the same things, never change what we eat or do for the rest of our live?  Clearly not.  We do not even have that kind of control on the circumstances of our lives.  Change is introduced to our existence every day, every hour and every minute of our lives here on earth.  This is where we see that biblical perseverance is a spiritual gift not a physical effort.  It cannot be faked or practiced by human effort.  It is manifested in the lives of those who serve and have a personal relationship with God.

Consider Daniel.

3 Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, the chief of his officials, to bring in some of the sons of Israel, including some of the royal family and of the nobles,…6 Now among them from the sons of Judah were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. 7 Then the commander of the officials assigned new names to them; and to Daniel he assigned the name Belteshazzar, to Hananiah Shadrach, to Mishael Meshach and to Azariah Abed-nego. Daniel 1:3,6

Talk about change.  As a young man Daniel was ripped from his home, dragged half way across the known world and even had his name taken away.  This Babylonian tactic was specifically designed to destroy perseverance.  Do not be deceived the Enemy is out to destroy your perseverance.  He wants you to come out from under the covering of Christ where he can have a clear and open shot at you.  The Babylonians did everything they could to shake Daniel’s identity as a child of God. But what happened.

8 But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king’s choice food or with the wine which he drank ; so he sought permission from the commander of the officials that he might not defile himself.  Daniel 1:8

In the midst of all of this change Daniel did not change.  It is important to note that Daniel remained under Jesus Christ in every aspect of his behavior.  This brings us to another important aspect of biblical perseverance.  It expresses at all times the character of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control ; against such things there is no law. 24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. 26 Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.  Galatians 5:22-26

Biblical perseverance is never rude or arrogant.  Perseverance that does not fall in line with His Word is not biblical and is not godly.  When we truly walk in biblical perseverance we are like a lighthouse in the storm.  We go on to read:

9 Now God granted Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the commander of the officials,…17 As for these four youths, God gave them knowledge and intelligence in every branch of literature and wisdom ; Daniel even understood all kinds of visions and dreams  Daniel 1:9, 17

But let there be no mistake.  Satan HATES biblical perseverance and he believes that he can destroy it.  Daniel continued to face opposition throughout his lifetime.  Many other saints both biblical and historical persevered to martyrdom.  Regardless of the physical outcome the Spiritual truth remains the same and the lighthouse of faithfulness shines in the darkness.

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Reposted from Facebook

One thing I said when I was pregnant with Nisa was that i was going to be transparent… the good the bad the ugly…. I have continued in that… it hasn’t been easy – I always got the label “tough cookie” since I was a kid… I have lots and lots of emotions, I am a very passionate person, but I hate failing, I have feeling weak…. today I had to reach out – and my friends uplifted me greatly! One thing is for sure people, when you allow yourself to be real that is when God truly shows up…. it reminds me often when God asked Adam and Eve where they were – do you think it was because God didn’t know? I don’t believe that – I think God asked them where they were for them… today God asked me where I was, and I was anxious! And be met me right where I was at… He stilled my heart for the moment – there will be more days coming up when I will be anxious and worried, but I know without a doubt, when I am weak HE is strong. When I am real, HE shows I AM! What an amazing God I serve! I Love You Lord!

Dear Lord, thank you for your ever present grace. Thank you for always holding my every moment. I know my world is in your hands. This is way worse than the first day of school which always made me nervous. The pathway looks so dark and unsure. But this is what I do know. You are here with me. So Daddy I see darkness all around but I am clinging to You. Thank You Lord for the picture I just had – walking on a dark scary path. Lots of scary jungle noises. Holding onto My Heavenly Fathers hand with both of mine as hard as I can. I am crouched as close as I possibly can – just barely able to see around Him because I am trying to hide. But my Daddy – he is upright. He is walking slowly but still He is assured of the path. He knows the way. The holds the lamp out in front of us and though it doesn’t light up enough so that I can see, I know even if that light were to go dim, He is not afraid. He has walked this path many times. He pulls me close to Him, puts His arm around me. I look up at Him and He smiles and says “it’s going to be okay my daughter, I know what comes next and I am with You”. My heart still pounds. I still squint my eyes trying to see better. I still jump at every noise. But I will walk with Him. I won’t let go. And I know if anything jumps out at us He will protect me with all He’s got. Lead on. I’m not letting go.

What a glorious God!

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                  (Nisa- Miracle)

Faith

Guidry

We have prayed for this day for 9 years.  We have ached for the losses and doubted our faith.  We refused to give up even when we were labeled as a “Chronic Miscarriage” case.  When the entire world (and even God himself from a purely worldly standpoint) seemed to be saying emphatically NO, the Holy Spirit whispered in our ears to leave it in the Father’s hands.  So we did.  Don’t get me wrong we cried, we wailed, we begged over and over again.  We wanted at times to throw in the towel and act out of our own understanding.  We still do not completely understand, but understand this:  We have a mighty heavenly Father who cares for us in ways that I cannot begin to fathom.  He loves us in a way that is so far beyond my understanding that I only touch the edges of what AGAPE really means!

Several weeks ago while in prayer God gave me the name Nisa Faith.  Indeed she is a miracle of faith, not the simple faith of a single prayer or even the cry for healing but the faith of a 9 year journey.  She represents to us the faith of Abraham as he led his entire family to Canaan.  She represents the faith of Joseph as he waited in slavery, in prison for God to act.  She is even now, yet in the womb that miracle, an incredible act of God.

The difficult part to grasp is that my statement about our Father’s love for us is not just true because Nisa is healthy and strong.  It is an eternal truth that is expressed in both the tragic and the joyful.  He does not love us more now than he did on the very days that we miscarried our other seven precious babies.  The reality is that our journey to the fulfillment of the call that He had placed on our lives led us directly through David’s “Valley of the Shadow of Death”.  While we might prefer a detour around the Valley, God does not promise that.  He does promise that he will be with us, standing by us with His rod and staff and even more importantly for New Testament believers dwelling in us.  Many times it is not until after we are through the Valley that we are able to look back and see that God wielded His rod and staff on our behalf as we walked that  difficult road.

Even more than she represents the miracle of life to us, she is the miracle of faith itself.  Perhaps a better way to say it is that she is an expression of miraculous faith.  Faith inspired by the ongoing presence of God in our lives.  It is the faith that kept Abraham going on his 400 mile journey.  It is the faith that kept him in relationship with God even when he arrived only to face famine.  It is the faith that saw the birth of Isaac and the substitution of a ram for his only child on the mountain before God.  It is not a faith of the perfect life or of perfect people. It is a faith that traverses pitfalls and carries us through our own mistakes; faith that originates not with us but in the very heart of God and comes to us as a gift from the hands of our heavenly Father.  It is Nisa Faith.

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.  He makes me to lied down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters.  He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.  Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows.  Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

PSALM 23

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Too Early?

It may be too early in the morning for me to Blog but I am going to do it anyways.  Of course that begs for the question to be asked, “Why are you up so early?”  I fear that I do not have an adequate answer.  I woke up with a bit of the sniffles.  I don’t know if I have managed to acquire another cold of if my allergies are kicking in again.  I guess we will see what happens over the next few days.  So I have been spending my morning FBing and working on my blog as well as having some quiet time with God.  l guess really it is no longer so early.  All things considered the morning has been productive so far.  It is actually a little chilly which is nice after the spell of hot weather that we have had.

We are beginning to iron out the plans for the second half of the summer and are looking to the fall also.  Allana is going to Pittsburgh in October for a Worship Leading conference.  She is very excited and a little apprehensive.  I have been invited to take a trip to Haiti later in October and I am feeling led to do it.  However it will really be stepping out in faith financially. 

The whole school thing has bogged down a little bit but I am still working on it.  It is nice that I can work on it over the internet.  There was a misunderstanding about the paperwork that I needed so I am in the process of getting everything to CBC that they need.  I am just trusting that God has it under control and that he will work it out the way that he wants and the way that is best!

Well of course having had my morning coffee and now that it is after 8 and the girls should be up soon, I am beginning to feel drowsy.  Well today is pretty much an unplanned day.  We went to church last night and most of the Lewis House will be away.  I should be able to nap, catch up on some Bible studay and just generally relax.

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I am so excited for what God has brought to myself and my family this summer.  Last week I had the privilege of sharing BLAST with a great group of leaders and junior highers at BCC.  This week Allana and the kids are having a blast at Sonquest Rainforest VBS.  The blessings have already started to rain down and the summer is barely started.

Monday we head to Toledo and The Lewis House (www.mylewishouse.com) .  We are ready for God to do great things and are excited to spend this time with our family in Christ there.  God has been amazing as he has opened the way for us to serve Him.  At the end of July we head out for our great western sweep.  It will be an exciting time of seeing friends and family but even more Allana and I believe it will be a time of ministry.  We are looking forward to sharing our faith and taking hold of ministry opportunities that God puts in our path.  I am sure after our month at The Lewis House we will be Spiritually pumped and overflowing with joy to share both with those who don’t know Him as Lord and Savior and with our brothers and sisters in Christ!  We are ready for all the “outrageous” things God has for us! (ok..so maybe with the help of the Holy Spirit I will be ready for all the OUTRAGEOUS things God has for us!)

AMEN

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