Developing Kingdom Leaders – Tom Yeakley

Taking the Mystery out of Leadership

Archive for the tag “character development”

Pride – Corruption of the Heart

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. 2 Chronicles 26:16 NIV

Uzziah started well in his walk with God, but his pride caused his downfall.  Pride does not blast its way into our life, it is insidious. It comes creeping in with small steps.  It gains a foothold little by little, feeding on itself, it grows until it consumes a life and brings ruin.

God opposes the proud person.  He will actively work to humble the proud.  Because God is committed to building humility into us, we have two choices.  We can take the easy road and humble ourselves, or we can let God take us down a hard road where He humbles us.

  • What is said in the following passages about God’s opposition to pride? — Proverbs 6:16-17; James 4:4-6
  • Pride wrecks a life.  Nothing good comes from it. What are the results of pride noted in the following passages? — Proverbs 11:2; Proverbs 13:10

Question to ponder:  How can you recognize pride in your own life?

Passages for further reflection: Isaiah 25:11; 1 Peter 5:5-6

Integrity – A Matter of the Heart

I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity… 1 Chronicles 29:17 NIV

When God measures a person, He puts the “tape measure” around their heart.  Who we are is more important to God than what we do.  He looks at our hearts, not our activities.  If our hearts are right, then our actions will follow.

Integrity, a basic building block in our character, is rooted in our hearts.  It begins with a commitment in our hearts to honor and obey God wholeheartedly.  Integrity is then manifested by being truthful in all that we say and do.  Believers are people of their word, who fulfill promises—even to our own detriment if necessary.

  • God has integrity.  He does not lie, and we can count on Him always doing what He says He will do.  What do the following passages say about the importance of integrity? -— Numbers 23:19; Mark 12:14
  • The Lord uses people of integrity.  What do these passages say regarding the type of person God uses? -— 2 Timothy 2:20-21; Titus 1:6-7

Question to ponder:  Kingdom leaders represent God’s leadership of His people. Are you and your leadership known for integrity?

Passages for further reflection : Joshua 21:45; Luke 16:10

God’s Resources and Power

When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked. “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 2 Kings 6:15-16 NIV

There are one-hundred billion stars like our sun in the Milky Way galaxy.  Traveling at the speed of light it would take one-hundred thousand years to cross the galaxy.  Our God made it all.  He spoke and it came into existence from nothing. He has unlimited resources and infinite power.  All of creation is His and He can do with it as He wants. 

When we are thrust into situations where we need to rely on God’s resources, we often respond like Elisha’s servant.  We can be fearful as we look at our own limited resources compared to the need of the hour.  We tend to look at the visible rather than trusting our invisible, heavenly Father.  Our Father’s resources are always sufficient to meet any need. 

  • The Lord possesses all that He created.  What do the following passages say about God’s ownership of His creation? — Psalm 50:10-12; Psalm 24:1-2
  • When facing challenging circumstances, we must be controlled by faith, not fear.  What do the following passages about trusting God and His resources? –- Psalm 23:1-4; Matthew 6:25-34

Question to ponder:  What makes it difficult for you to trust in God’s resources and power?

Passages for further reflection: Psalm 46:1-3; Romans 8:31

Praising God!

“The LORD lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be my God, the Rock, my Savior!

2 Samuel 22:47 NIV

David’s heart overflowed with praise for the kindness God had shown him.  But so often our prayer time is self-centered rather than God-centered.  The Lord God Almighty is worthy of our praise.  We can praise God for who He is and thank him for what He has done or has promised to do.  Praise is worshiping, honoring, and exalting Him.  When we pray, we are acknowledging our dependency upon Him.

Praise can be done in song, like this song of David and the many Psalms of David; or it can be done in prayer.  Praising God can be done individually or corporately.  It is a deep expression from our inner being where the created one focuses on the Creator.

  • God rules over His creation as Lord.  He is the sovereign king over His universe.  What do the following passages say about God’s reign? -– Psalm 47:1-9; Psalm 103:19-22
  • God not only rules His creation, but He does so with goodness.  What do the following passages say about God’s goodness and His good works? -– Psalm 119:68; Nahum 1:7

Question to ponder:  What can you be praising God for today?

Passages for further reflection: Nehemiah 9:5-6, Revelation 4:9-11

Relativism vs. Truth

In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes. Judges 21:25 ESV

Life isn’t fair, but God is.  Because God is just, He must have a standard ‘measuring rod’ with which to judge people fairly.  To be fair and just to all, this ‘measuring rod’ must be unchanging.  God’s ‘measuring rod’ is His revealed truth.  His truth is absolute and unchanging. It is the Bible!

The Word of God, the Bible originated from God and is truth because God is truth and in Him there is no falsehood.  If we saturate our minds with God’s truth, the Scriptures, we will be able to think God’s thoughts.  The Holy Spirit, God himself, who lives within all believers, will use His Word to guide us and keep us from the traps of our enemy, the devil.

  • Truth is absolute, not relative.  What is truth today will also be truth tomorrow, for truth does not change with time or context.  What does God say about truth in the following passages? — John 14:1,6,16-17; John 16:13-15
  • God will judge people based upon their response to His revealed truth.  What do the following passages say about God’s judgment of mankind? — Romans 1:18-20; Romans 2:1-2,8; Romans 3:21-26

Question to ponder:  Why can you trust God to do what is right when He judges people?

Passages for further reflection: Luke 12:47-48; Revelation 21:11-15

The Promises of God

Not one word of all the good promises that the LORD had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass. Joshua 21:45 ESV

Someone has said, “Promises are like pie crust–lightly made and easily broken.”  Promises are only as good as the character and the resources available to the one who makes the promises.  When God makes promises His perfect character and unlimited resources stand behind them. 

The Christian life begins by trusting the promises of God.  By believing Jesus’ promise of forgiveness and new life, we have our sins forgiven and are born again into God’s family.  We not only begin our relationship with God by believing His promises, but we also continue to live our daily lives proving the trustworthiness of His promises.  We can trust God’s promises for He never changes!

  • Eternal life and the forgiveness of sin are obtained by believing the promises of God.  What does God promise in the following passages? — John 5:24; John 6:40
  • When we examine God’s promises, we may be tempted to ask, “How can God do this?”  We need not focus on the “how,” rather, we concentrate on “what” and “Who” we are believing.  What promises about God’s answers to prayer are in the following passages? — Psalm 50:15; Luke 11:9-10

Question to ponder:  What is keeping you from trusting the promises of God for your life and leadership?

Passages for further reflection: John 16:24; 1 John 2:25

Attitudes and Authority

The LORD is the one you and your followers are really revolting against! For who is Aaron that you are complaining about him? Numbers 16:11 NLT

God has ordained certain authority-submission relationships in His creation.  Examples of these are: God and people, government and citizens, employer and employee, spiritual leader and follower, husband and wife, and parents and children.  These relationships do not imply that those in authority have more value or worth in God’s eyes than those that are called to follow.  For even within the Trinity there is authority and submission (see 1 Corinthians 11:3). 

God in His wisdom and love, places His authorities over each of us.  These authorities are there for His purposes and rebellion against them is taken very seriously.  Moses saw Korah’s rebellion as not against his leadership, but ultimately a rebellion against God (v. 11).  We can willingly submit to the authorities over us knowing that God will care for us, even if our authorities are ungodly. 

  • What insights can you gain from how Daniel and his friends responded to the ungodly authority over them in Daniel 1:1-16?
  • What was the response of Daniel’s three friends when they faced another difficult submission decision in Daniel 3:1-30?  Pay special attention to their attitudes in verses 16-18.

Question to ponder:  When and under what circumstances would you ever not submit to an authority?

Passages for further reflection: Matthew 26:36-64; Matthew 27:11-14

Becoming God’s Friend

Thus the LORD used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend… Exodus 33:11 ESV

Can someone really become a friend with God?  Moses met regularly with God, speaking with Him face to face, building a deep, personal relationship. By spending time alone with God, Moses developed a growing friendship with Him.  As Moses grew in his friendship and intimacy with God, his requests from God grew bolder. As he grew in his understanding of God’s character, he was emboldened to ask God for such things as wanting His presence to go with them and asking to see God’s glory (see the rest of Exodus 33).

The Lord desires to build an intimate, personal relationship with each of us also.  But, like Moses, we too must set aside regular time to meet with Him that we may get to know Him better.  Daily devotions built around the Word and prayer are anchors in this growing friendship. We can talk with Him through prayer, and He talks to us through His Word.

  • Eternal life is not something that we have to wait to experience after we die.  Rather, it is a personal relationship with God that begins the moment we believe in Christ and then continues for eternity.  Reflect on the following passages, noting what they say about our relationship with God?  — John 1:12-13; John 17:3,20-26
  • How did Jesus model and teach us to pursue a relationship with our heavenly Father — Mark 1:35; Luke 5:15-16

Question to ponder:  What can you do cultivate a deeper personal relationship with God?

Passages for further reflection: Psalm 5:3; Matthew 6:6

Roses from Ashes

But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them. Genesis 50:19-21 (NIV)

Can God take something terrible and turn it into something good?  Joseph had every reason to be bitter and angry at God and towards his brothers for all that had happened to him; but he wasn’t.  Instead, he saw God’s purposes in all the events of his life.  God had saved Israel from starvation because of Joseph being taken into Egypt as a slave many years before.

God was in control of all that happened to Joseph and He is in control of all that happens to us (even when we don’t think so). Though we may not understand it all at the moment, we can trust in His power, love and goodness.  By growing in our understanding of God and His character we will learn to rest in His plan for our lives.

  • Often tragedies strike believers and we question why would God allow it to happen?  How can the truth of Romans 8:28 help if something unexpected and difficult comes into your life?
  • God is all-powerful.  But we must also remember that He is good.  To only believe in God’s sovereign power and not His love and goodness leads to fatalism.  What is said about God’s character in the following passages?  — Psalm 115:3; Psalm 119:68; 1 John 4:8

Question to ponder:  How does having a deep trust in the power and goodness of God help when we face hard times in life?

Passages for further study: 1 Samuel 2:6-8; 1 Chronicles 29:10-13

Trusting God

Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?” “Yes, my son?” Abraham replied. “The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together. … Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. Genesis 22:7-8, 13 (NIV)

Trusting God often scares us to death!  We are trusting Him for the unseen, something in the future that is unknown (at least unknown to us).  Living by faith is a lifestyle.  It is a process, not an event.  We never arrive at a point in this world where we can stop trusting God.  Four times throughout the Bible God says, “the righteous will live by faith” (Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38).

Abraham had passed the test of trusting God for the son he was promised.  God tested Abraham to see if he would still believe, even if Isaac was taken away.  Abraham eagerly accepted this new trial of faith, leaving “early the next morning” (:3). 

  • God’s command to Abraham required an act of obedience on his part (Genesis 22:1-2).  Abraham responded by doing as God asked (:3-11).  Faith and obedience are linked together. — Mark 1:14-20; Hebrews 11:8-10
  • In life’s trials of faith, God’s answer often comes at the last minute.  Notice when God stopped Abraham (:10).  The following passages speak about God’s timing. — Joshua 3:14-16; Daniel 12:1-14

Question to ponder: Why do you believe God waits, often much longer than we desire, to answer prayer?

Passages for further study: Romans 4:20-21; 2 Corinthians 1:8-11

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