Life Matter: Dealing with Godless Fools

"The fool says in his heart,
    'There is no God.'
They are corrupt, their deeds are vile;
    there is no one who does good" - Psalm 14:1.

A correct understanding of and relationship with God are required for any and all righteousness. Without that, God identifies the godless as fools and their ability to do good is minimized. Therefore, the best way to turn around evil and wickedness is to convert the evil-doer into a God-believer. That should make global evangelism the top priority for anyone who wants to make a difference in the world. You can pursue evangelism by going and doing, or by supporting those who are gifted and willing to go and do, including a local church that preaches the gospel and makes evangelism and then discipleship a priority. Remember, no one is beyond God's reach, and the Apostle Paul is a good example of that: "Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus" (1 Timothy 1:13-14). Are you committed to the work of evangelism? How so? How can you increase your role in reducing the number of godless fools in the world?

Today's reading - Psalms 11-15


Life Matter - Do Good to Enemies

"Do not drag me away with the wicked,
    with those who do evil,
who speak cordially with their neighbors
    but harbor malice in their hearts.
Repay them for their deeds
    and for their evil work;
repay them for what their hands have done
    and bring back on them what they deserve" - Psalm 28:3-4.

David once again cried out that God would deal with those who were evil. Some are uncomfortable with the psalmists' cries for vengeance, but at least they were not taking matters of revenge into their own hands! They were crying out for God to do it! What's more, this set the stage for Jesus' ministry, whose hallmark was forgiveness toward those same evil people who plagued David and the psalmists: "And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful" (Luke 6:34-36). Do you have any enemies to whom you can do good today? What can you do that will distinguish you as a follower of Jesus in your good treatment of those who treat you badly?

Today's reading - Psalms 26-30


Life Matter: Your Self-Talk

"Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits" - Psalm 103:2.

David had a talk with his soul, directing it to praise and remember. Have you noticed that you are in a constant dialog with yourself? This is called self-talk. It is important that when you do something less than perfect, you don't say to yourself, "Boy, are you dumb" or "You never were any good at that." David suggests what at least some of your self-talk should be: focusing on God's goodness to you and praising His holy name. One way to guide your inner talk is to have a robust dialog with others according to Revelation 12:11: "They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony." Are you sharing with others how good God is to you? Are you rehearsing God's goodness in your mind according to what you have, or do your thoughts focus on what you don't have or how bad things are?

Today's reading - Psalms 101-105


Life Matter: Your Anointing

"Once you spoke in a vision,  to your faithful people you said: 'I have bestowed strength on a warrior; I have raised up a young man from among the people. I have found David my servant; with my sacred oil I have anointed him'" - Psalm 89:19-20.

David was anointed, which means the Spirit was with him to help him do God's will. Jesus was referred to as the Anointed One: "How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him" (Acts 10:38). You are also anointed when you function in your purpose and that anointing isn't restricted to church work; it's for God's work, however that is defined for you and your life. What is your purpose? What do you sense God's presence helping you do, which is your anointing, regardless of where you do it? What good do you do that when you do it, you sense God doing it with and through you? Whatever it is, that is your anointing.

Today's reading - Psalms 86-90


W47D4 - Purpose

"So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?” - 1 Kings 3:9.

When Solomon discovered his purpose to lead Israel, he was confronted with the scope of the job and his inadequacy to fulfill it. What was his response? Did he go to school to get an MBA? Enlist a mentor? Appoint a more seasoned cabinet of advisors? There is nothing wrong with any of those steps for a leader, but Solomon chose none of them. Instead, he prayed and asked God to give him wisdom. It was this wisdom in response to his prayer that has been Solomon's best-known trait through the centuries, and it came as a result of prayer. Leaders must pay attention to all sorts of personal development strategies and practices, but there is none more important than prayer as they carry out their duties with full awareness of how much they need God's help.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Step today is to make prayer a higher priority in your daily regimen. When you realize your purpose requires more than you have to give, it should drive you to your knees. When do you pray? How long? Do you have a prayer list? For what and whom are you praying? As you reflect on these questions, also give thought to how you can deepen your prayer life. How can you increase your time in prayer? Have you considered a prayer retreat?


W42D4 - Purpose

"Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many" - 1 Corinthians 12:14.

An organization is not that much different from the church or body of Christ, for both are made up of parts that serve different functions and together serve a larger purpose. In the church, people have spiritual gifts; in a company, each person has talents or strengths. In the church, there is purpose to spread the good news and strengthen and train the members. In business, the purpose is whatever the chosen end result of the company happens to be. When people in the church or business know the purpose and what they are to contribute toward that end - assuming they are gifted or talented in that expected contribution - then usually things run smoothly and there are anointed results in the church, and effective and efficient results in business.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Step today is to assess how well your parts understand who they are and how what they are asked to do contributes to the overall purpose of the organization. Go around soon (or hold a meeting) and ask people what the vision or mission of your organization is. If they don't know or aren't clear, then perhaps it's time to redefine the vision or find ways to take the current mission statement and communicate it more regularly and clearly.


W37D4 - Purpose

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations" - Jeremiah 1:5.

Jeremiah was confronted at the beginning of his career as a prophetic leader in Judah that this was his life's work. In other words, he was fulfilling his God-assigned purpose as he led., a purpose that was assigned to him before he was born. This changes the question of whether or not leaders are born or made to "Are leaders called?" In this case and many others in Scripture, it is clear that God called David, Joseph, Moses, Deborah, Esther, and John the Baptist to lead. All leaders should have a sense that what they are doing is God's will for their lives. Those leaders should also realize that God's purpose for leaders is not limited to church work, but covers every aspect of God's creation. That means there are called and anointed bankers, politicians, accountants, HR professionals, and journalists as well as pastors, prophets, and evangelists.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Today's Step is to clarify your sense of purpose and calling in the work you are now doing. If you are leading your garden club, a women's Bible study, a Boy Scout troop, or any aspect of your company, do you have a sense that God has called you to that position? And as you lead, are you fulfilling your purpose? If you can say yes to those questions, then you can truthfully say, "God called me to this!" If not, it's time to reflect, resign, and refocus.


W32D4 - Purpose

"On the contrary, they recognized that I had been entrusted with the task of preaching the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been to the circumcised" - Galatians 2:7.

Paul's purpose was clear to those with whom he shared it, which means it first had to be clear to Paul. And Peter's was so clear to him that he was able to share it with Paul. Both men knew what they were created to do and therefore were able to clearly communicate it to others so they would know what to expect from those two leaders. This allowed both men to focus on their strengths and not interfere with each other's purpose. Leaders are people of purpose, not doing things just because they can do them, but because there are certain things they do that no one else can doand that is and should be their main contribution to their team and organization.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Your Step today is to hone your purpose statement to make sure it is clear to you, so you can make it clear to others. You can begin by watching any of the purpose videos found on my mobile app or website. Then invest in one or two of my books that focus on the topic of purpose. ("Unlocking the Power of Your Purpose" is a good one.) You may also wish to do some additional study of Paul's purpose, and an article to help you do that is also found on my website. Don't stop seeking until your purpose is clear to you and others.


W27D4 - Purpose

"About noon, King Agrippa, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me and my companions. We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads'" - Acts 26:13-14.

In today's passage, the Apostle Paul stood before the king and other Roman officials describing his encounter with the Lord on the Damascus Road. That encounter launched his ministry to the Gentiles, which was the foundation for his leadership of the early and modern church. Notice the clarity with which Paul spoke about something that had happened a few decades earlier. Leadership's mandate to lead should emanate from their call or purpose, and that purpose should be easy for the leaders to explain and for others to understand. Without purpose, leaders are simply "hired guns" (the biblical term is hirelings), doing a job for money and benefits, often without passion and creative energy.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Do you know your purpose? Can you describe it in one simple sentence or short phrase? Are you fulfilling your purpose in your current leadership role? Your Step today is to take the purpose assessment found at www.purposequest.com. The assessment is made up of 20 statements to which you will respond and receive back an evaluation of where you are in your quest for purpose. The follow up will have advice to help you be more purposeful, and thus a better, more effective leader.


W22D4 - Purpose

"The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building" - 1 Corinthians 3:9

Not only do the members of a team have diverse gifts and strengths, they also have differing personal purposes or life missions that distinguish them from one another. This life work should play out most significantly in their work or ministry roles, for that is where they spend most of their time every day, year in year out. Yet most organizations look past the purpose of the individual and instead focus on the purpose of the organization, ignoring the synergy of a connected personal and corporate purpose. Effective leaders capitalize on the talents and purpose of each team member and make a good faith effort to mesh them into the overall purpose of the organization.

LEADERSHIP STEP: Are you maximizing the benefits of individual purpose for your organization? Today's Step is to help people identify their purpose or mission so they can be more engaged and effective in their work. In your next few staff meetings, ask these questions: What would you do with your time if you had all the money to live on? What compliment have you heard all your life? What gives you greatest joy? Then work to see how the answers can help your business.