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Leading Well

"... Then, turning to Shimei, David vowed, 'Your life will be spared.' ... 'I've decided that you and Ziba will divide your land equally between you.' ... "Come across with me and live in Jerusalem,' the king said to Barzillai. 'I will take care of you there.' ... " II Samuel 19:18-39

I regularly reflect on people of influence in my life. Typically, we call them role models and heroes. Each of the ones in my life share(d) a passionate love for Jesus. They inspired me as I witnessed the Holy Spirit work in and through their life in unique and special ways. They encouraged me by their example to keep my eyes on Jesus, the one who empowers us to advance the Kingdom.

David was just such a leader. He inspired. He called people to a faith in God, a surrender to God that would enable them to experience great victories. He certainly was distracted from time to time, but as we see in this passage, the qualities of mercy, wisdom and generosity were t…

Remain

"'Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.'" John 15:1-8

As I turned around, I was feeling pretty good about myself. All my shots were in the inner circles of the target. The looks on my kids' and friend's faces, however, were not looks of being impressed. They were looks of concern. My friend told us before shooting this gun that it was important to remain a certain distance away from the scope because of the kickback. Well, let's just say that the blood coming from the bridge of my nose revealed a failure on my part to heed his warning.

Jesus was having quite the talk with the disciples as they walked to the Garden of Gethsemane. He gave them plenty of safety instructions which included warnings as well. They needed to stay as close to him as they could imagine and then get closer. "Remain in me," he said. There was to be no space…

Good Sense

"David replied to Abigail, 'Praise the Lord, the God of Israel, who has sent you to meet me today! Thank God for your good sense! Bless you for keeping me from murder and from carrying out vengeance with my own hands.'" I Samuel 25:32-33 As I stood there puzzling over my home improvement project, my daughter walked by and quickly assessed the situation. I was stuck. The last step in my plan would risk unraveling the whole purpose of the project in the first place. Observing my consternation, she asked what I was thinking. Without hesitation, she said, "Oh, why don't you ... ?" "Huh," I said, "Great idea!" Within minutes, I had it all wrapped up.      

Perspective is, at times, extremely difficult to find. Emotions, pride, and limited knowledge trip us up more often than we care to admit. David was in one of those places. He was ticked off and disrespected. He was about to unleash some serious paybacks. Then, good sense showed up. Her …

I Saw

"But Samuel said, 'What is this you have done?' Saul replied, 'I saw my men scattering from me ... so I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering myself before you came.' 'How foolish!' Samuel exclaimed. 'You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you.'..." I Samuel 13:1-14

I'd been told many times not to dive into or even jump into unknown waters. Anything could lie under that water just out of sight. Those thoughts went through my mind as I prepared to take a small little jump from the rock ledge back into the dark river swirling beneath the waterfall. I didn't see anything, but the excruciating pain coming from my now severely sprained ankle told me otherwise.

Sight is a wonderful gift from God. Saul, however, had received something from God that was greater than his sight, a direct command from God himself. Go and wait seven days for Samuel the prophet. Easy enough right? In that time, the enemy forces were growing and his…

Less Is More

"So John's disciples came to him and said, 'Rabbi, the man you met on the other side of the Jordan River (Jesus), the one you identified as the Messiah, is also baptizing people. And everybody is going to him instead of coming to us.' ... 'He must become greater and greater, and I (John) must become less and less.'" John 3:22-36 
After a few years of repeated warnings, my sweetheart gave me the heads up that the time had come. "We're selling the house," she told me. "Sounds good," I said not thinking anything would happen. 19 days later, it was sold. Yikes! "Now what?" I asked. Without a pause, "We're getting rid of stuff." "Less is more" became the mantra. After a few weeks of winnowing, the kids and I just barely made the "to keep" list.     

My wife and John the Baptist would have been good friends. He understood the importance of "less." It wasn't stuff that he had in view…

Gave Up

"You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal's death on a cross." Philippians 2:5-8

It was already a very emotional moment. Having lived in the orphanage for nearly seven years, the other kids and the good-hearted teachers were the only family our son had. As he was leaving to join our family, the tears were flowing. The other kids were all up near the van as the driver prepared to leave. In the hands of one of the other little boys was a Spiderman action figure. We had bought it for our son and he loved it. Apparently, as he prepared his little suitcase to head into his new life, he gave his action figure away to his buddy.

As we reflect on Paul's call to be like Jesus, he …

Promises, Promises

"And the Lord gave them rest on every side, just as he had solemnly promised their ancestors. ... Not a single one of all the good promises the Lord had given to the family of Israel was left unfulfilled; everything he had spoken came true." Joshua 21:44-45
I wasn't wanting to hurt or disappoint my wife. I didn't wake up that day formulating some dastardly plan to produce unhappiness in her life. Losing her respect is never on my "to-do" list. Sadly, however, that's exactly what happened. I had told her I would take care of this task that was very important to her. "Don't worry sweetheart ... I'll git-r-dun!" Thankful, she moved on to something else. Turns out so did I. Her git-r-dun guy came up short and didn't keep his word. I'd rather not describe the look in her eyes when she realized I didn't come through for her. 

The people of Israel were living in enviable times during Joshua's tenure as their leader. Protection, …