Sunday, November 25, 2012

Lessons from Habakkuk...

Here are some lessons gleaned from the book of Habakkuk:

Habakkuk 1:3
"Why do you make me see iniquity,
    and why do you idly look at wrong?
Destruction and violence are before me;
    strife and contention arise"

- You will not always have good leadership. You will probably (at some point) have a coworker who causes "strife and contention."
- Realize this (potential lack of good leadership) and plan accordingly. God will not always place us in comfortable situation. We may face unfairness and unrighteous people - but plan ahead and make god decisions about what situations you put yourself in. 

Habakkuk 1:13

"You who are of purer eyes than to see evil
    and cannot look at wrong,
why do you idly look at traitors
    and remain silent when the wicked swallows up
    the man more righteous than he?"

- if you see something fishy or dangerous - don't be afraid to speak up and say something. If you don't say anything you are a part of the problem. 

Habakkuk 2:1
"I will take my stand at my watch post
    and station myself on the tower,
and look out to see what he will say to me,
    and what I will answer concerning my complaint"

- Set yourself up to look for God's guidance, and expect Him to answer. Just be sure to remember that God will answer in His time, and the answer we get may not be the one we want. 

Habakkuk 2:3
  "For still the vision awaits its appointed time;
    it hastens to the end—it will not lie.
If it seems slow, wait for it;
    it will surely come; it will not delay."

- God's timeline for our lives may not coincide with the timeline we plan for ourselves.

Habakkuk 2:5
“Moreover, wine[b] is a traitor,
    an arrogant man who is never at rest.[c]
His greed is as wide as Sheol;
    like death he has never enough.
He gathers for himself all nations
    and collects as his own all peoples.”

- Be satisfied with what you have. Anything and Everything you have is a blessing or gift from God. You do not deserve it. When we seek worldly thing to satisfy ourselves, our focus is off God. 

Habakkuk 2: 6-8 

Shall not all these take up their taunt against him, with scoffing and riddles for him, and say,
“Woe to him who heaps up what is not his own—
    for how long?—
    and loads himself with pledges!”
Will not your debtors suddenly arise,
    and those awake who will make you tremble?
    Then you will be spoil for them.
Because you have plundered many nations,
    all the remnant of the peoples shall plunder you,
for the blood of man and violence to the earth,
    to cities and all who dwell in them."

- Know your limits financially. When you increase your means without the money to back it up, you dig yourself into a hole. You will have people (creditors, lenders, etc) shoveling the dirt in on top of you. Make wise choices and don't be put in this situation.

Habakkuk 2:15-16
15 “Woe to him who makes his neighbors drink—
    you pour out your wrath and make them drunk,
    in order to gaze at their nakedness!
16 You will have your fill of shame instead of glory.
    Drink, yourself, and show your uncircumcision!
The cup in the Lord's right hand
    will come around to you,
    and utter shame will come upon your glory!

- Do not tempt others (competitors) with their weaknesses... especially if you are willingly doing this for personal gain.

Habakkuk 2:19-20
  19 Woe to him who says to a wooden thing, Awake;
    to a silent stone, Arise!
Can this teach?
Behold, it is overlaid with gold and silver,
    and there is no breath at all in it.
20 But the Lord is in his holy temple;
    let all the earth keep silence before him.”

- Do not put your faith in symbols that cannot respond ("wooden" or "stone" gods). Instead have faith in the Lord who is alive and willing to respond to your requests!

It's amazing the reminders we are shown from our own thoughts sometime... I'm thankful for those reminders from the Lord. 

Love y'all - KC  

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Lessons on Leadership - from the book of Micah.

A few days ago I found this notebook... in 2008 I started reading through the bible and writing commentary based on what I can learn about leadership from the bible. I started rereading it and am thankful for the notes I wrote, because they pertain to me in my job, and anyone else who supervises others. Ultimately though... I think they maybe observations that may serve any Christian. I hope so... 

Since I have not been blogging as I should lately... I thought that posting these would be a good way to get back into it... and if nothing else, they would all be typed up. :) ** Also - I would like to point out that this commentary is not meant to be a political statement in anyway... they are my observations from the Word of God not my impressions of any leader in our country.**

I started these notes with the book of Micah. I will not post the entire chapters of reference, but the verses from which the specific lessons are derived. If you need a quick/easy online Bible reference... just click on this link... 

LESSONS FROM MICAH 3&4 (verses 1-5)
"And I said: Hear, you heads of Jacob and rulers of the house of Israel!
Is it not for you to know justice?—
    you who hate the good and love the evil, who tear the skin from off my people[a]     and their flesh from off their bones,
who eat the flesh of my people, and flay their skin from off them,
and break their bones in pieces and chop them up like meat in a pot,
    like flesh in a cauldron.
Then they will cry to the Lordbut he will not answer them;
he will hide his face from them at that time, because they have made their deeds evil.
Thus says the Lord concerning the prophets who lead my people astray,
who cry “Peace” when they have something to eat, but declare war against him
    who puts nothing into their mouths. (Micah 3:1-5)

- How can we expect rulers (non-believers) with no moral code/compass of reference to be moral and just leaders?
- A leader should not cause their people to be unwisely unprepared for any situation (based on their pride or ignorance) - in doing so you only create chaos and confusion. 
- Throughout chapters 3 and 4, God had a plan for the good AND the bad. The bad were destroyed and the good were given instructions as to where they should go. Regardless of who or what faith you are (or are not) God is in control of you and your destiny.

LESSONS FROM MICAH 5: (verses 5:2-3, 7-9 ESV)
 2 But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,
    who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me
    one who is to be ruler in Israel,
whose coming forth is from of old,
    from ancient days.
- Big things don't necessarily have to come from big places. The Messiah was from a tiny, seemingly insignificant town called Bethlehem - He, well He did big things... *LEADERSHIP COMES FROM EVERYWHERE*
  Therefore He shall give them up,
Until the time that she who is in labor has given birth;
Then the remnant of His brethren
Shall return to the children of Israel.
 - God does not forget those who feel forgotten. No matter how small or insignificant a person/group may feel - they are important and significant to their Maker.

7 Then the remnant of Jacob
Shall be in the midst of many peoples,
Like dew from the Lord,
Like showers on the grass,
That tarry for no man
Nor wait for the sons of men.
And the remnant of Jacob
Shall be among the Gentiles,
In the midst of many peoples,
Like a lion among the beasts of the forest,
Like a young lion among flocks of sheep,
Who, if he passes through,
Both treads down and tears in pieces,
And none can deliver.
Your hand shall be lifted against your adversaries,
And all your enemies shall be cut off.
A remnant is by definition the leftovers... scraps... well, in this case, God used the remnant of Jacob to do big things. He used a small group and ensured defeat of their enemies... I think this is definitely a Quality/Quantity example! 

LESSONS FROM CHAPTER 6: (verses 1-2, 6-7, 8, 15 NKJV)
Hear now what the Lord says:
“Arise, plead your case before the mountains,
And let the hills hear your voice.
Hear, O you mountains, the Lord’s complaint,
And you strong foundations of the earth;
For the Lord has a complaint against His people,
And He will contend with Israel.
- There will always be other people who can speak up for your actions (good or bad) if you refrain from doing so... dirty laundry will be aired, so you might as well speak up and take responsibility for you actions. A leader should be willing and able to admit fault. 
 With what shall I come before the Lord,
And bow myself before the High God?
Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings,
With calves a year old?
Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
Ten thousand rivers of oil?
Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,
The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
- Attitude is everything. It doesn't necessarily matter what you are bringing to the table, but rather how (in what attitude) you are bringing it.
- Remember when working as a group - if you bring the right attitude to any situation your news/opinions/etc... will be more readily accepted.
 He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?
 - Be an example of living, breathing Christian worship every day: 
  1.  Do justly:  Do the right thing/ be accountable
  2. Love mercy: Love others despite difference just as Christ loves us despite ourselves
  3. Walk Humbly: As Pawpaw Cole told me once, "Remember who you are, what you are, and where you're from." Don't go throughout life acting like you deserve anything. In order to be a servant leader you have to put yourself on the back burner and sacrifice for others.
 15 “You shall sow, but not reap; You shall tread the olives, but not anoint yourselves with oil;
And make sweet wine, but not drink wine.
- Recognition is not the be all, end all... and it should never be your motivation. As a Christian living in an unchristian world we often contribute to projects wholeheartedly, but we do not get equal support or recognition. A Christian should not be upset because of lack of recognition - for what do the accolades of the world equal in comparison to the recognition by Christ.

LESSONS FROM MICAH 7 (v. 4, 7, 14, 18) NKJV

- Rather than focusing your attention on the watch for enemies (negativity)... 
The best of them is like a brier;
The most upright is sharper than a thorn hedge;
The day of your watchman and your punishment comes;
Now shall be their perplexity.
- Focus your watch on the Lord (positivity). 
 Therefore I will look to the Lord;
I will wait for the God of my salvation;
My God will hear me.
 14 Shepherd Your people with Your staff,
The flock of Your heritage, Who dwell solitarily in a woodland,
In the midst of Carmel; Let them feed in Bashan and Gilead, As in days of old.
 - "Shepherd your people with your staff, the flock of your heritage..." In leadership positions you work to shepherd others in the right direction. You leadership (or lack thereof) will ultimately leave behind a legacy or heritage, and we must always be conscious of our heritage and how it speaks for us.
18 Who is a God like You, Pardoning iniquity
And passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage?
He does not retain His anger forever, Because He delights in mercy.
- Don't burn bridges, hold grudges, or stay mad. 
- Be merciful and show grace to those under your supervision who have failed/disappointed in some way.  

The impact of your leadership does not stay in one city or on one campus. As those you lead move and travel, the lessons you teach go with them. Always look for a chance to make any situation a teaching situation. 

I know this was long... but I hope someone gathered something from reading it! Leave me a comment and let me know what you think! 
Love Y'all,