Wednesday, July 29, 2009

My strategy is God.

I love the account of King Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 20,and particularly the example of his leadership in a time of war. I always take comfort in reading that at the point of discovering he was about to come under attack, he was 'alarmed' (20:3). It reminds me that it's probably normal and perhaps even OK to be scared. It also tells me that he loved his people and took full responsibility for their well being.

What I find most important however is the fact that he didn't allow his 'alarmedness' to overpower his ability to make good decisions. And his first good decision was not to call his men to war. It wasn't to double the amount of training & preparation. It wasn't to ensure that their weapons were in good fighting condition or that they would eat more carbs and protein in order to build their strength. In fact quite the opposite...he proclaimed a fast for all Judah and resolved to enquire of the Lord. You'd think that with two and a half armies on their way he'd at least allow his soldiers to continue to eat in order to build and maintain peak physical condition. Perhaps Jehoshaphat understood that the Lords power is made perfect in our weakness? (2 Corinthians 12:9).

What I also love is that as he makes the decision to seek the Lord, all of Judah comes with him. 'All the men of Judah, with their wives and children and little ones, stood there before the LORD' (20:13). What a great example for all generations. Leadership is not about having the answer or the strategy. Leadership is about having the courage to seek God first. 'For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you' (20:12)

Leadership is about calling the attention of all generations to the Glory of God regardless of circumstance. 'Jehoshaphat bowed with his face to the ground, and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the LORD' (20:18). Leaders lead in worship before they lead in anything else.

Leaders lead in faith. 'Jehoshaphat stood and said, "Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem! Have faith in the LORD your God and you will be upheld' (20:20).

Leaders teach their people how to praise even before victory is seen in the natural. 'Give thanks to the LORD, for his love endures forever' (20:21), (This is what they were singing as they were walking in to battle).

Leaders take no glory or themselves.
'Then, led by Jehoshaphat, all the men of Judah and Jerusalem returned joyfully to Jerusalem, for the LORD had given them cause to rejoice over their enemies. They entered Jerusalem and went to the temple of the LORD with harps and lutes and trumpets'.(20:27,28)

The fruit of Godly leadership is peace.
'The fear of God came upon all the kingdoms of the countries when they heard how the LORD had fought against the enemies of Israel. And the kingdom of Jehoshaphat was at peace, for his God had given him rest on every side.

So perhaps his first decision was to call his people to war. His strategy was God.


Monday, July 27, 2009

Everything rises and falls on followship.

I've been reminded again recently of the dynamics often found amongst leaders who are required to follow leaders. When there's leadership on your life, sometimes the hardest thing to do is follow. The problem is that Jesus, the greatest leader of all, was and still is, the first follower. He followed God. And the Apostle Paul says to you and I, 'Follow me as I follow the example of Christ' (1 Cor 11:1). So it's not a matter of 'I'm called to lead, you're called to follow'. We're all following Jesus together.

Having said that Paul still recognised the leadership that was on his life. He was saying to the church in Corinth, 'Follow me, your leader, as I follow Christ'. But how often do we live with distress because we seem to think that if we were the one leading, we'd do a much better Job? And whilst we're anything but a No.1 we're wrongly positioned!

Psalm 20 says, 'May the LORD answer you when you are in distress; may the name of the God of Jacob protect you'.
This sounds like the kind of prayer you'd pray over your own life when you find yourself wrestling with the above mentioned emotions.
The problem is, this Psalm is a prayer of intercession. A prayer of leaders who follow, praying for their leader who follows. The people of Israel were sending a clear message to David their King, their No. 1 and who was in distress.

So what's my point?

If there's leadership on your life, be the first follower. And as you follow, intercede for your leaders, because it will only be once God has appointed you No.1 that you'll discover a whole new level of distress that you never knew existed when you were following yet desiring to lead as a No. 2

So bless your leaders today and pray Psalm 20 over their life.

May the LORD answer you when you are in distress;
may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.
May he send you help from the sanctuary
and grant you support from Zion.
May he remember all your sacrifices
and accept your burnt offerings.
May he give you the desire of your heart
and make all your plans succeed.
We will shout for joy when you are victorious
and will lift up our banners in the name of our God.
May the LORD grant all your requests.
Now I know that the LORD saves his anointed;
he answers him from his holy heaven
with the saving power of his right hand.
Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.
They are brought to their knees and fall,
but we rise up and stand firm.
O LORD, save the king!
Answer us when we call!


Friday, July 24, 2009

Opposition & Obedience

The Lord led me to Judges 2 & 3 this morning.
Isn't it interesting that although God leads us into His promises for our life, there still remains opposition. The question is why?

I think we too often equate opposition with 'perhaps I haven't received God's promise yet'. And perhaps there's an element of truth in this, for the Israelites were facing opposition as a result of their disobedinece, and surely disobedience is not what God desired for or from them.

The question is; is God's promise for our life a desitnation? If it is, then you'd have to say that whilst there's opposition, you're still yet to arrive.
But if it's a jouney, then surely it will always remain. Why? because it presents an opportunity for obedience. Judges 2:22 says 'I will use them to test Israel and see whether they will keep the way of the LORD and walk in it as their forefathers did.'

Judges 3:1 says 'These are the nations the LORD left to test all those Israelites who had not experienced any of the wars in Canaan (he did this only to teach warfare to the descendants of the Israelites who had not had previous battle experience)'

So perhaps opposition will always be present where preparation for warfare is needed. I think this may remain until we get to heaven!


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Here am I

Take my life, and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days; let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Take my hands, and let them move at the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet, and let them be swift and beautiful for Thee.

Take my voice, and let me sing always, only, for my King.
Take my lips, and let them be filled with messages from Thee.
Take my silver and my gold; not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect, and use every power as Thou shalt choose.

Here am I, all of me
Take my life, it’s all for Thee.

Take my will, and make it Thine; it shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart, it is Thine own; it shall be Thy royal throne.
Take my love, my Lord, I pour at Thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself, and I will be ever, only, all for Thee.

Here am I, all of me
Take my life, it’s all for Thee.

Frances R. Havergal, 1874.

Friday, July 17, 2009


Love is patient.

I feel like I could write a thesis on this at the moment. Yet at the same time, I'm not wanting to place any unnecessary weight on my carnal ability (or inability) to properly comprehend it. But to say this; the evidence of patience in my life is perhaps a good measuring stick for the condition of my love for God.