Leadership Intercession

 

Abstract Silhouette PrayingI’m thankful for leaders over the years that I could learn from as they walked out their faith. I can bring up pictures of leaders who have influenced me tremendously and some of them may not even be aware of it. Other leaders that I’ve followed, I’ve had the opportunity to tell them personally about how they influenced me. Some leaders who have influenced me have been family; some have been ministers and some have been hardworking business owners. One of the things that all the influential leaders in my life have in common is that they are prayer warriors. They prayed for others and me as I grew up. I’m so thankful for their “leadership intercession” on my behalf.

Nehemiah comes on the scene some 100 years later than the first exiles return to Jerusalem. The first wave of exiles was rebuilding the temple as well as the walls of Jerusalem. They were meeting some resistance and word got back to Jeremiah, who was still in captivity, but serving in the king’s presence. When news of this hardship reached Nehemiah, he began to grieve and intercede. Check this out…

4 When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. 5 Then I said:

‘Lord, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, 6 let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s family, have committed against you.

10 ‘They are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand. 11 Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man.’

I was cupbearer to the king. (Nehemiah 1:4-6; 10-11 NIV)

There are times the most important leadership activity that I can do involves intercessory prayer. I can talk things out until I’m blue in the face. When I talk to the Lord I’m bringing Heaven’s Resources into play. I’m still learning the value and the power of prayer in any given situation.

I think leaders should pray more intensely than others because of the weight of the responsibility of the leadership position. I also think that prayer really changes the heart of the one praying. Prayer opens the way for humility to enter and pride to exit. I believe a humble leader is way more effective than a prideful leader. It’s hard to be full of pride when you’re praying for the people you’re tasked with leading. Nehemiah is such a strong example of servant leader in his position as cupbearer. He also was a strong intercessory leader before the Lord through his humility and intense prayer on behalf of his people. I want to lead like that. I want to intercede for the people I’m blessed to lead.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Right Response

 

Man praying with the BibleI remember as a kid that I hated to disappoint my parents in disobedience. I also remember a parent sending one of my kids to their room while I decided on a punishment. This delay sometimes helped me to calm down before handing out the discipline that was called for. I could tell when I got to the child’s room if they had the proper attitude of repentance.

The Lord responds to repentance. When the young king Josiah was only 26 years old he started repairing the temple to it original beauty and splendor. In the renovation process, an original book of the law was found. It was brought to the king who read it and repented. He then sent word that he wanted to inquire of the Lord about repentance and what he read there about what might be coming upon the people due to their disobedience over the years. Check this out…

26 Tell the king of Judah, who sent you to enquire of the Lord, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says concerning the words you heard: 27 because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before God when you heard what he spoke against this place and its people, and because you humbled yourself before me and tore your robes and wept in my presence, I have heard you, declares the Lord. 28 Now I will gather you to your ancestors, and you will be buried in peace. Your eyes will not see all the disaster I am going to bring on this place and on those who live here.”’

So they took her answer back to the king. (2 Chronicles 34:26-28 NIV)

The Lord loves a humble and repented heart. He was moved by Josiah’s humility and therefore he didn’t live to see the punishment that was being handed down for the nations previous disobedience.

I believe humility is a core component for me as a Christ follower to have. I believe that the Lord despises a prideful heart. There are times when I can become “proud” of humility and this hurts the Lord’s heart. I am not above being humbled when my pride puffs me up. It is crazy how fast my pride can swell and cause me pain when humility is imposed.

Jesus told the story of a religious leader and a tax collector who were both at the temple praying. The religious leader was proud of himself and prayed a haughty prayer about he was thankful that he wasn’t a sinner like others including the tax collector who was broken and humble before the Lord. In fact the tax collector was so humiliated by his sin that he couldn’t lift his eyes. Jesus spoke to the contrast of this situation. Check this out…

14 ‘I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.’ (Luke 18:14 NIV)

I want to approach the Lord in humility. I’m not all that. I am a sinner saved by God Who has no limitations on His grace. I deserve to be punished, but instead He saved me and welcomed me into His family. I’m forgiven and full of hope because of Jesus. He is living in me and through me. I can’t take credit for anything I’ve done or said – it’s Him not me.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Humble Or Humbled

work hard stay humbleI’m not sure when I first learned humility. I’m pretty sure I learned it as a kid, but then I’ve had to keep re-learning this concept. Humility is a theme throughout the Word of God. I must constantly remember my role in my relationship with God but also in my relationship with others. Humility is not a gift, it’s a skill to be learned and consistently practiced. I think it was Solomon who said: Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18 NIV) Later in the book of James who wrote: Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. (James 4:10 NIV)

The king of Judah was now Ahaz who become king at age 25. He didn’t follow in the footsteps of King David. He was not humble. He was full of pride and arrogance. He really ended up with a big mess on his hands as a result of his poor choices. Check this out…

19 The Lord had humbled Judah because of Ahaz king of Israel, for he had promoted wickedness in Judah and had been most unfaithful to the Lord. 20 Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria came to him, but gave him trouble instead of help.

22 In his time of trouble King Ahaz became even more unfaithful to the Lord. 23 He offered sacrifices to the gods of Damascus, who had defeated him; for he thought, ‘Since the gods of the kings of Aram have helped them, I will sacrifice to them so that they will help me.’ But they were his downfall and the downfall of all Israel. (2 Chronicles 27:19-20; 22-23 NIV)

I’ve met lots of people who don’t appear to be humble. I’ve also had the privilege to know a ton of people who were genuinely humble. Humility doesn’t mean a person is a doormat. Humility doesn’t mean a person doesn’t speak up or speak out against an injustice. Humility doesn’t mean that a person can’t compete to win.

Humility means it’s not all about me.

Humility means that I’m NOTHING without the Lord.

If I am anything or anyone, it’s because of what the Lord has done inside me heart. He gets all the credit and glory for who I am and all that I stand for.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Following The Lord

Man praying with the BibleI grew up following the Lord because my parents and grandparents followed Him. I do remember some of my rebellious ways and stupid choices I made as a teenager growing up. I really wish I knew then what I know now. Young people always impress me who have a deep faith in God.

This young king of Judah was a teenager when he became king and he started really strong. Check this out…

3 Uzziah was sixteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-two years. His mother’s name was Jekoliah; she was from Jerusalem. 4 He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father Amaziah had done. 5 He sought God during the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God. As long as he sought the Lord, God gave him success.

16 But after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the Lord his God, and entered the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense. 17 Azariah the priest with eighty other courageous priests of the Lord followed him in. 18 They confronted King Uzziah and said, “It is not right for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the Lord. That is for the priests, the descendants of Aaron, who have been consecrated to burn incense. Leave the sanctuary, for you have been unfaithful; and you will not be honored by the Lord God.” (2 Chronicles 26:3-5; 16-18 NIV)

I think the case can be made that pride always destroys – it never builds up. The only thing that pride builds is itself and that is at the expense of someone or something else. I believe pride to be the number one cause of sin in my life. I must be extremely deliberate to let humility push out the pride in my life.

This young king had everything going for him and his pride brought him down. I want seek the Lord today and everyday not just to be successful, but to be faithful. I believe being faithful is a measure of success in God’s economy.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Trust With Treasure

Trust with blue markerOver the years, I’ve become a bit less trusting of people in certain areas. I think that some people live by deep convictions and would never lie, cheat or steal. Then there are others who appear trustworthy, but somehow justify taking a little for themselves here or there. I’m thinking specifically of people who serve in the area of managing other people’s money. I think it’s important to take extra precautions to assure that there are no misunderstandings or mistakes made.

King David had appointed people as singers, gatekeepers, and also treasurers. He had some of the Levite descendants who took care specifically of his treasury. When they defeated another king in battle, they would seize the plunder and put it in the king’s treasury. Check this out…

26 Shelomith and his relatives were in charge of all the treasuries for the things dedicated by King David, by the heads of families who were the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds, and by the other army commanders. 27 Some of the plunder taken in battle they dedicated for the repair of the temple of the Lord. 28 And everything dedicated by Samuel the seer and by Saul son of Kish, Abner son of Ner and Joab son of Zeruiah, and all the other dedicated things were in the care of Shelomith and his relatives. (1 Chronicles 26:26-28 NIV)

I can only imagine what a job it was to keep inventory of the Kings treasury. David was very successful as king, and he seemed to have lots of treasure. I also think that David was a good leader and he knew he had to have wise and trusted people around him to help manage his success.

As I read this passage this am, I was reminded of the word accountability. I believe that when someone is managing other peoples money, there should be layers of accountability to protect the people managing the money as well as the person whose money it is.

Accountability says that I’m vulnerable.

Accountability says that I’m trustworthy.

Accountability says that I’m honest and open.

Accountability is protection.

Accountability is promise.

I think it’s wise to always recognize who I’m accountable too. As a follower of Jesus, I am accountable to Him in everything. I think it’s also wise to have an accountability partner with the same values and who represents the Lord in my life. A person with values like mine will not hesitate to speak truth into me. I do believe that trust is a two-way street until it’s violated. It’s takes time to restore trust as well as humility and forgiveness. Trust is a strong but delicate attribute in all relationships.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Affirmation & Gratitude

Gratitude Word CloudI have to say that I enjoy blessing others. I enjoy hearing them say that they are grateful for something I’ve done or something I said. I think just about everyone I know enjoys affirmation. I know for a fact that the Lord also loves affirmation. He says so in His Word.

David was at the end of his life and he was helping make final plans for the transition from the tabernacle to the temple that wasn’t built yet. David charged the Levites to be in charge of helping build the Temple and to also manage the day-to-day operations there. Check this out…

28 The duty of the Levites was to help Aaron’s descendants in the service of the temple of the Lord: to be in charge of the courtyards, the side rooms, the purification of all sacred things and the performance of other duties at the house of God. 29 They were in charge of the bread set out on the table, the special flour for the grain offerings, the thin loaves made without yeast, the baking and the mixing, and all measurements of quantity and size. 30 They were also to stand every morning to thank and praise the Lord. They were to do the same in the evening 31 and whenever burnt offerings were presented to the Lord on the Sabbaths, at the New Moon feasts and at the appointed festivals. They were to serve before the Lord regularly in the proper number and in the way prescribed for them. (1 Chronicles 23:28-31 NIV)

I think it would have been so cool to have one of those jobs where each morning and evening I could stand and thank the Lord as well as praise Him. I can actually do that anyway even though it’s not my job. The Lord loves a heart of gratitude toward Him.

I believe that something happens when I show my gratitude to the Lord for what He’s doing, that doesn’t happen any other time.

Gratitude in my heart dispels pride.

Gratitude in my heart speaks from humility.

Gratitude in my heart affirms and acknowledges the Lord.

Gratitude changes my entire attitude.

If I start counting the ways the Lord has blessed me – my list can be really long. Even in times of suffering and heartache, it’s important to notice what He is doing even in the midst of struggle. He is relentless in His pursuit of my heart. I believe surrendering my heart to Him is a daily – hourly – minute-by-minute experience. I need to affirm the Lord for Who He Is and notice all that He’s doing in my life.

Pressing On!

Dwayne