Life Matter: Remember

"He turned the sea into dry land,
    they passed through the waters on foot—
    come, let us rejoice in him" - Psalm 66:6.

When the psalmist wrote this psalm, Israel was in trouble, scattered and in exile. As he reflected on their condition, he decided to remember the past works of God to help Israel rejoice where they were. You would do well to do the same thing. When you reflect on God's past goodness and mercy, it encourages you and gives you hope that God will once again more miraculously on your behalf. In the book of Deuteronomy, the Lord commanded Israel to "remember" what He had done 16 times, and here is one example: "Remember the days of old; consider the generations long past. Ask your father and he will tell you, your elders, and they will explain to you" (Deuteronomy 32:7). Spend some time today remembering what God has done for you. Talk about it, write about it, tell others about it. Allow the past to lift your spirits today as you reflect on God's track record of goodness to you.

Today's reading - Psalms 66-70

W50D3 - Attitude

"Do not put your trust in princes,
    in human beings, who cannot save.
When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;
    on that very day their plans come to nothing.
Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
    whose hope is in the Lord their God" - Psalm 146:3-5.

No matter how great leaders are, they are limited by the nature of change and by their own limitation and mortality. Business changes, new opportunities arise and that requires that leaders move on or surrender roles to which they have become accustomed. Then there are times when leaders fall ill, are injured and even encounter the ultimate transition when they pass into God's presence. Leaders should carry that attitude of urgency in finding and training their replacement in everything they do so that both the work of their business or ministry can continue seamlessly, and also so they do not develop an attitude that they own their position, beginning to think they will do it forever - when tomorrow may be their last day.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Step today is to create a sense of urgency in finding and training replacements for who you are and what you do. If you got sick tomorrow (God forbid) and could not work for three months, what would happen in your organization? Who would and could step into your role? If there is no one, then your Step today is to give this some thought and set in motion a contingency plan if you had to be gone for three months - or longer.

W47D3 - Attitude

"For the Israelites will live many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred stones, without ephod or household gods" - Hosea 3:4.

This verse contains a pronouncement of judgment by the prophet, declaring that Israel would have to function for many days without any leadership. God is a leadership God—He works through leadership, speaks to leadership, gives visions and dreams to leadership, and judges leadership, holding them accountable for what they do, say, don't do, and don't say. Leadership must have the attitude that they serve as leaders by God's choice (not because of their worthiness), do so willingly, continuously work to grow and develop, and accept that they will be held accountable to represent God by doing His will and manifesting His preferred attitudes and behaviors. That awareness can prevent leaders from building their own kingdoms while adopting arrogant and prideful attitudes, infatuated with their own power and position..

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Step today is to understand that you are leading by God's choice and you are therefore God's gift to your organization or family in that capacity. That means you must humble yourself and learn about leadership from God's perspective. Identify a leadership book today—not necessarily a Christian one—and commit to read it before year's end. Then find another one and keep on learning and growing to be the best leader God had in mind for you to be.

W40D3 - Attitude

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and
courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be
discouraged, for the Lord your God will be
with you wherever you go" - Joshua 1:9.

The Lord spoke to Joshua and warned and commanded him to be strong and courageous and not to be afraid. Of course that meant that Joshua was going to encounter many obstacles and enemies that would tempt him to lose strength and fear. The main reason God told Joshua not to fear is that God Himself was with Joshua wherever he went, and God plus one other person always constitutes a majority. When God tells someone not to fear, it is usually too late, and He is really telling them to move past their fears.  All leaders must learn how to manage their fear and muster courage, which must function not in the absence of fear but in the midst and in spite of fear.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Step today is to see where fear is overruling courage in your life. Are you afraid to make a personnel change because it may get ugly? Are you afraid to make a decision, so you settle for the status quo, which is really a decision not to decide? Do you live in fear of losing your job, so you play it safe and remain indecisive? Do you fear the criticism that is sure to come as you lead? Does it help to remember that God is with you wherever you go?

W35D3 - Attitude

"He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and
teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we
may present everyone fully mature in Christ. To
this end I strenuously contend with all the energy
Christ so powerfully works in me" - Colossians 1:28-29.

Paul knew his purpose and mission in life, which was to establish the church of Christ among the Gentiles. He had a clear vision of what he was trying to produce in those believers and he knew his strategy of how to achieve his objective. The key for today is verse 29, in which Paul indicated his attitude toward his work: he did it with great energy and effort, not waiting for it to happen but pressing forward to help make it happen. Leaders would do well to emulate Paul's focus, purpose and attitude of actively and 'strenuously' working for the cause which God had assigned him.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your job is not simply to maintain but to lead with purpose and if your attitude is holding you back, it's time to adjust your attitude - or your work. What is your attitude toward the work you are doing? Your Step today is to ponder that question. Do you have a positive attitude toward your work? Are you actively engaged or is fear holding you back? Do you love your work or is your attitude and energy level telling you it's time to look for another opportunity?

W30D3 - Attitude

"If I preach voluntarily, I have a reward;
if not voluntarily, I am simply discharging
the trust committed to me" - 1 Corinthians 9:17.

When you replace 'preach' with 'lead' in today's verse provides a new perspective on leadership. The age-old question of whether leaders are born or made is changed to whether or not leaders are called to lead. When leaders lead, they are fulfilling a mandate or assignment from the Lord, regardless of whether they head a Fortune 500 company or their garden club. In the context of this verse, leadership is its own reward - the knowledge of being used by God for a unique role and purpose. If nothing else, leadership is fulfilling a trust or stewardship that God assigns the leader to fulfill and complete. Thus leaders do not lead for what they can get - although there are rewards - but for what God has called and singled them out to do.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Are you leading voluntarily? Do you see your leadership role as a duty or a calling, or both? Today's Step is to examine your attitude toward your leadership, whether you are leading now or preparing to lead in the future. Are you protecting yourself from hurt or criticism by 'laying low' or are you actively engaging opportunities to lead? Do you see that when you lead others, you serve the Lord regardless of how they receive or treat you when you lead?

W25D3 - Attitude

"Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body,
arm yourselves also with the same attitude,
because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin" - 1 Peter 4:10.

Peter Drucker once said that leadership's effectiveness is often determined in part by their ability to endure pain and suffering and still lead. Leadership can indeed be a painful experience, for they must deal every day with the uncertainties of life and business, the fickleness of employees and customers, and the nature of leading that makes leaders the targets for criticism, competition and people who chafe under anyone's authority. This is where Jesus can especially help leaders, for He certainly understands what it is like to suffer and not respond, but rather stay the course with exceptional leadership.

LEADERSHIP STEP: How is your attitude toward suffering? Are you bearing up under the pain of leadership and still leading? Your Leadership Step today is to search your heart and see if any bitterness has crept in toward anyone who has betrayed or offended you in your work (or family) and if that has caused you to retreat for self-protection. If you have, then forgive them, perhaps even set up a meeting with them, ask God to forgive you and get back to being a leader.

W20D3 - Attitude

"For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper
than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even
to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow;
it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart" - Hebrews 4:12.

It is remarkable that a book written thousands of years ago is still 'powerful' enough today to evaluate a leader's thoughts and attitudes. Of course, that is because the Author of that Book is still alive, standing behind the words written to direct, convict, inspire, confront, and encourage those who submit to Him and His Book. Leaders do well when they not only study economics, accounting, strategy and change tactics, but also have a regular reading and study program focusing on God's word.

LEADERSHIP STEP: What is your relationahip like with God's word at this point in your leadership life? Your Step today is to evaluate whether or not you are learning and growing in the knowledge of God's word. Then you must identify a reading program, study group, coursework or some other way to become more  knowledgable and intimate with the Bible. Your goal is not just to learn about it, but to allow the Word to shape and guide your attitude and leadership decisions.

W15D3 - Attitude

"You were taught, with regard to your former way of life,
to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its
deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude
of your minds . . ." - Ephesians 4:22-23.

Leaders can transform themselves when they develop a new attitude toward their supervisors, peers, customers, work, responsibilities, salary or anything else that happens to part of their work experience. To change, they must recognize they have a bad attitude or else that attitude deceives them either into thinking that no one notices it or causes them to do things that are not in their best interests or those of the organization. When they are deceived, they operate out of what's called a shadow side, which is often functioning without them being aware of it or its effects on those around them.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Today you will work on being aware of your attitudes at work or home. You will do this by being aware of your thought life and what makes you angry. Are you angry when you drive? Avoiding someone or something at work? Spending a lot of time dwelling on a mistake or another person? Keep a written account of all things that make you angry or consume your thoughts today; then look for clues about your attitude toward those things.

W10D3 - Attitude

"May the God who gives endurance and encouragement
give you the same attitude of mind toward each other
that Christ Jesus had . . ." - Romans 15:5.

There is power when everyone in a family or organization has the same attitude of mind. Here we see in part that an attitude is a gift, just like endurance and encouragement. While God gives attitudes, it is up to the leader and the team to maintain that positive attitude. A positive attitude releases energy, gratitude and a can-do mindset. A negative attitude creates self-fulfilling negative scenarios that spread throughout the organization.

LEADERSHIP STEP: If there is someone who has a negative attitude, you must confront them today. The way to confront is not to hammer them with your perspective, but to open dialog to see if you are correct in your assessment and then to find out the source of the negativity, which may be you, your actions or your own attitude. Team attitude is a gift, but you must work to develop and maintain a good attitude in yourself and your team.