Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. – Romans 12:2 NLT

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Not So Fast

Many are quick to want to lead and teach others, but James warns us…

“Don’t be in any rush to become a teacher, my friends. Teaching is highly responsible work. Teachers are held to the strictest standards.  And none of us is perfectly qualified.  We get it wrong nearly every time we open our mouths.  If you could find someone whose speech was perfectly true, you’d have a perfect person, in perfect control of life.” (James 3:1 MSG)

Today, I was reminded of just how serious that warning was.  I thought about that passage in James 3 when I read the following regarding God’s judgement of those who took the role of leading His people, but failed…

“‘What sorrow awaits the leaders of my people—the shepherds of my sheep—for they have destroyed and scattered the very ones they were expected to care for,’ says the LORD.  Therefore, this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says to these shepherds: ‘Instead of caring for my flock and leading them to safety, you have deserted them and driven them to destruction.  Now I will pour out judgment on you for the evil you have done to them.'” (Jeremiah 23:1-2 NLT)

Pretty sobering.  Whether we’re a pastor of thousands or a small group leader, the call to lead is not to be taken lightly.  With the role comes great responsibility and accountability.  Indeed, there is a cost associated with leading others, but there is nothing like leading people into the life God had always intended for them and seeing them flourish.

Been Waiting Long?

To be honest, I never gave Caleb much thought after he and Joshua returned with their report of the Promise Land.  See, God had said to Israel, “Look, I am giving all this land to you!  Go in and occupy it, for it is the land the Lord swore to give you.” (Deut 1:8)  Twelve scouts were sent to check out this new land, but Caleb and Joshua were the only two who believed God would deliver it.  Caleb never doubted God would give Canaan over to Israel.  His attitude was, “Forget about the giants…we got this!”  Sadly though, he had to endure the wilderness with those who did doubt.

Caleb was forty when he was promised his portion of the land.  Some forty-five years later, that’s…4…T…5 years later…the promise was still unfulfilled.  This guy never lost his faith in the power of God nor did he lose his zeal to see God’s promise fulfilled.  Whether Caleb was scouting out the Promised Land or waiting it out in the wilderness, he remained steadfast.  “For my part, I wholeheartedly followed the Lord my God.” (Joshua 14:8)

Full of resolve, Caleb went before Joshua, “Today, I am eighty-five years old. I am as strong now as I was when Moses sent me on that journey, and I can still travel and fight as well as I could then.” (Joshua14:10-11)  This man was unshakeable. I can imagine him saying, “Joshua, remember when you and I saw giants over there?  Give me that hill country that the Lord promised me;  if the Lord is with me, I will drive them out just as the Lord said.”  He believed in his heart and was confessing with his mouth, just as he did four decades earlier, “Forget the giants…we got this!  The Word of God will prevail!”

Have you been waiting long to see the promises of God fulfilled?  God would have you know you are not forgotten.  Do not lose faith and do not lose your zeal to see the promises fulfilled.  Simply stay rooted in the Word of God daily.  Faith will increase by way of the Word.  As you remain faithful in following the Lord, you will see that the Word of God always prevails.

Caleb did see his promise fulfilled.  Not only did he drive out the existing giants in his old age, but he also drove out the memory of them by renaming the land.  Complete victory.  Complete fulfillment.  Faithful God.

No Matter What

Jesus was often challenged publicly by religious leaders. They would demand answers to their questions; Why was He doing what He was doing;  By what authority was He doing those things?  Well, when the appointed time came, Jesus stood trial before the religious High Counsel. What did Jesus do during that trial that threw the Counsel into a rage? What would cause the High Priest over all Israel to tear his priestly robe and send Jesus to the cross?

Some three years earlier, John had baptized Jesus in the Jordan River. As Jesus rose from the water the Bible records a voice from heaven saying, “You are My dearly loved Son, and you bring Me great joy.” God the Father, Creator of heaven and earth, affirmed Jesus as His Son!

Fast forward again to Jesus’ trial.  The High Priest asked Him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?”  Jesus said, “I AM.”  He simply agreed with what God had said.  That agreement resulted in His crucifixion.  However, without His death there could be no miracle of resurrection, no forgiveness of all our sins.  You can say His life and ministry consisted of two things; agreement with the Word of God and fulfillment of the will of God.

Before you find yourself in a personal trial, seek the Lord (through prayer) and read His Word (the Bible).  If you’re already in a trial, and need wisdom or direction…do the same thing. “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.” (James 1:5)  There in the Word of God you will find the Will of God. And yes, He wants you to know His will.

Inevitably, our willingness to agree with the Word will be tested.  When God gives you a Word, stand firm on it.  No matter what anyone else may say or how desperate things may seem, stand on it.  Why stand?  Because, circumstances do not determine whether or not the “Truth” is indeed truth.  Isaiah 55:11 declares that no matter what, you can rest assured that the Word of God will, “…always produces fruit. It will accomplish all (God) wants it to, and it will prosper everywhere (He) sends it.”  Even if you find yourself standing alone in an impossible situation, hold-fast to what God has given you.  Then, lift up your eyes and see what He will do.

As for me, I have been guilty of much in my life. But now, if I am to be guilty of anything, let me be found guilty of agreeing with the Word of God. No matter what!
(Matthew 3:16-17 & Luke 3:21-22)

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