Developing Kingdom Leaders – Tom Yeakley

Taking the Mystery out of Leadership

Archive for the tag “Sovereignty of God”

Jesus – Our Good Shepherd

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. … I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me–just as the Father knows me and I know the Father–and I lay down my life for the sheep. John 10:11, 14-15 NIV

Jesus is the Good Shepherd of His sheep.  He loves us, His sheep, so much so that He is willing to die for us.  He knows His sheep intimately.  He calls us by name and we recognize His voice.  He gathers His sheep together and makes us all one flock.  He watches over His sheep and protects us from evil.  He is a very good shepherd.

Sheep need the help and care of a shepherd.  A shepherd guides and defends the sheep of His flock.  Sheep are easy prey to wolves, coyotes, and other predators.  A good shepherd protects the flock from harm and leads them to green pastures where they may feed and be nurtured for their health and growth. 

  • As sheep, we must stay close to our shepherd if we are to benefit from his care and protection.  What do the following passages say about following Jesus our Good Shepherd? — Luke 9:57-62; John 15:1-17
  • Jesus cares for sheep that are lost.  He searches for them that they may be brought back to the flock.  What is stated in the following passages about Jesus’ searching for His lost sheep? — Matthew 18:10-14; Luke 15:1-7

Question to ponder:  Are you following close after the Good Shepherd as He seeks to guide and protect you?

Passages for further study: Matthew 10:29-31; 1 Peter 5:7

Identity and Purpose

I will say to the north, Give up, and to the south, Do not withhold; bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made. Isaiah 43:6-7 ESV

God is our Creator, and He is not ashamed of the work of His hands.  In His divine love and wisdom He determined our gender, race, physical characteristics, temperament, intellect, all that makes us uniquely different from every other person.  He designed us to be a special part of His creation.

God designed and created us for a divine purpose.  We are made in His image and made for His glory.  He has good works for us to do that will also glorify Him (see Ephesians 2:8-10).  We are created to understand our God-given, unique design and develop our potential for God’s glory (1 Corinthians 10:1).

  • All God’s creation brings glory to Him.  What do the following passages say about the purpose of God’s creation? — Psalm 19:1-4; 2 Corinthians 3:17-18
  • All of our physical characteristics were designed by God–both those we like and those we don’t like.  What is said in the following passages about our unique design? — Job 33:4; Psalm 139:13-16; John 9:1-3

Question to ponder:  What does the world say your identity and purpose should be and how does that contrast with what God says about you and the purposes He has for you?

Passages for further study: Acts 17:24-28; Romans 1:18-25

Personal Peace

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Isaiah 26:3 NIV

From Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 7:24-27 we know that the storms of life befall the righteous and the unrighteous.  Those who hear and apply the words of Christ will be able to withstand these trials that assail our faith.  God promises peace in the midst of the raging storms if we trust in Him. 

Personal peace is an inner calm that comes from trusting that our heavenly Father is in control of our present situation.  It comes from knowing that nothing can happen to us unless God allows it.  Peace is rooted in knowing the love and goodness of God and continues to trust Him when life doesn’t feel good or make sense.

  • God promises us peace, a peace that will overcome our fears.  What is said about the peace of God the following passages? — John 14:27; Philippians 4:6-7
  • We can choose to trust God and have peace or believe what we see and give way to our fears.  What is said in the following passages about fear? — Luke 12:4-7; 1 Peter 3:1-6

Question to ponder:  What fearful situation are you facing where you can trust God and experience His peace?

Passages for further study: John 14:1; John 16:33

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

Giving Thanks

This week we in the U.S. celebrate our annual Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday.  President Abraham Lincoln made Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863.

This year, ‘the year of crazy,’ one might think that we have less to be thankful for when compared to previous years.  Below are some passages that help my attitude and perspective on our current 2020 state of affairs, helping me again realize that I/we have much to give thanks for.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.    1 Thessalonians 5:16-18  ESV

Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!    1 Chronicles 16:34  ESV

I will give to the LORD the thanks due to his righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the LORD, the Most High.    Psalm 7:17  ESV

I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.    Psalm 9:1  ESV

In God we have boasted continually, and we will give thanks to your name forever.    Psalm 44:8  ESV

But we your people, the sheep of your pasture, will give thanks to you forever; from generation to generation we will recount your praise.    Psalm 79:13  ESV

I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever.    Psalm 86:12  ESV

Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous, and give thanks to his holy name!    Psalm 97:12  ESV

Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise!  Give thanks to him; bless his name!    Psalm 100:4  ESV

For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.  As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.  For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.    Psalm 103:11-14  ESV

Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!    Psalm 107:1  ESV

You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God; I will extol you.    Psalm 118:28  ESV

Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever.    Psalm 136:3 ESV

All your works shall give thanks to you, O LORD, and all your saints shall bless you!    Psalm 145:10  ESV

… fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.    Isaiah 41:10  ESV

… a bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice.    Isaiah 42:3  ESV

I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus.    1 Corinthians 1:4  ESV

We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, who is and who was, for you have taken your great power and begun to reign.    Revelation 11:17  ESV

May your thanksgiving be a daily experience, and not an annual event!

Faith, Courage and Choosing Leaders

Tomorrow is election day in the United States.  We will select our president for the next four years, as well as various Congressional leaders and many local leaders.  Some are anxious for the outcome and wondering about the consequences of whatever choices the electorate will make.

Below are a few of the passages that give me great peace regardless of the outcomes tomorrow.  May they encourage your heart as they have encouraged mine.

Matthew 6:34 (ESV)  “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.  Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

Matthew 10:29-31 (ESV)   Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?  And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.  But even the hairs of your head are all numbered.  Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.

Mark 4:38-41  (ESV)   But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”  And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.   He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?”  And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

Daniel 2:21  (ESV)  He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding…

Proverbs 21:1  (ESV)  The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will.

1 Timothy 2:1-4  (ESV)  First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.  This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

2 Corinthians 5:6-10  (ESV)   So we are always of good courage.  We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight.  Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.  So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.  For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.

Ouch – That Hurts!

Jesus was betrayed by one of His leaders in training.  He spent three years with Judas, investing in him, training him and giving him every opportunity to contribute with the others.  Yet he took the love Christ extended and turned it into rebellion.  That must have hurt!

When we serve with or for others, sacrificing and giving our all, we assume their acceptance and support.  When we extend ourselves in the service of others we assume a gratefulness for our efforts.  It can come as a shock when our efforts are not recognized, appreciated or are overlooked as insignificant.  Ouch, that hurts!

What to do when our best efforts are ignored, unappreciated or worse, put down and dismissed by our leaders or supervisors?  How do we respond when those we trust disappoint us or show a side of themselves that we assumed and expected better from them?  How do we react when we get our feelings hurt or when our expectations of others are not met?

First, it’s time to reset our perspective and expectations of others.  There is no perfect leader.  We are all people in process.   Our leaders are imperfect people and so are we.  Don’t place unrealistic expectations on them that they cannot meet.  Most are simply doing the best they can with what they have.

Secondly, if there really is a wrong that has been done, go to them privately and explain your hurt and disappointment without casting blame.  Decide to forgive them whether they admit wrong and ask for forgiveness or not.  And when they ask for forgiveness, give it.  Beware of harboring an unforgiving spirit that can turn to a root of bitterness and defile you.  (see Hebrews 12:15)

Third, remember that the Lord has placed you in this context and under this leadership.  He will not allow anyone to frustrate His good and perfect plans for you.  Jacob was cheated by his father-in-law who changed his wages ten times!  Yet he testifies that God protected him from harm. (see Genesis 31: 7)  Joseph was sold into slavery, falsely accused of attempted rape by Potiphar’s wife and imprisoned.  Yet he testifies to his brothers that though they and others meant it for evil, God intended it for good. (Genesis 50:20)  Nothing touches us outside of God’s good and perfect will.  Rest in Him and His sovereignty in all things – those that feel good and those that don’t.

Lastly, check your attitudes and motives.  Are you serving for the reward and recognition you hope to receive?  Are you working hard in the hopes of climbing an organizational chart?  Are you serving for the praise of others or are you serving Him who never forgets your labor on His behalf?  (see Colossians 3:23-24 and Hebrews 6:10)

We all will be disappointed in our leaders and most likely, get hurt – it’s a matter of when, not if.  But it is how we respond that can make it a growth and development opportunity for us.  How are you doing on your journey and your relationship with your leadership?

PS  A Primer for Kingdom Leaders:  100 Reflections for Improving Your Leadership – A collection of 100 of my most popular blogs – compiled, edited and available for FREE download.  See Tom’s Books page above to download.

This Thing Is From Me

… for this thing is from me…   1 Kings 12:24  (KJV)

“Life’s disappointments are veiled love’s appointments.”  Rev. C.A. Fox

My child, I have a message for you today; let me whisper it in your ear, that it may gild with glory my storm clouds which may arise, and smooth the rough places upon which you may have to tread.  It is short, only five words, but let them sink into your inmost soul; use them as a pillow upon which to rest your weary head.  This thing is from me.*

Have you ever thought of it, that all that concerns you concerns Me too?  For, “he that toucheth you, toucheth the apple of mine eye.” (Zech. 2:8)  You are very precious in My sight (Isa. 43:4).  Therefore, it is My special delight to educate you.

I would have you learn when temptations assail you, and the “enemy comes in like a flood,” that this thing is from Me, that your weakness needs My might, and your safety lies in letting Me fight for you.

Are you in difficult circumstances, surrounded by people who do not understand you, who never consult your taste, who put you in the background?  This thing is from Me.  I am the God of circumstances.  Thou camest not to thy place by accident, it is the very place God meant for thee.

Have you not asked to be made humble?  See then, I have placed you in the very school where this lesson is taught; your surroundings and companions are only working out My will.

Are you in money difficulties?  Is it hard to make both ends meet?  This thing is from Me, for I am your purse-bearer and would have you draw from and depend upon Me.  My supplies are limitless (Phil. 4:19).  I would have you prove my promises.  Let it not be said of you, “In this thing ye did not believe the Lord your God.” (Deut. 1:32)

Are you passing through a night of sorrow?  This thing is from Me.  I am the Man of Sorrows and acquainted with grief.  I have let earthly comforters fail you, that by turning to Me you may obtain everlasting consolation (2 Thes. 2:16,17).  Have you longed to do some great work for Me and instead have been laid aside on a bed of pain and weakness?  This thing is from Me.  I could not get your attention in your busy days and I want to teach you some of my deepest lessons.  “They also serve who only stand and wait.”  Some of My greatest workers are those shut out from active service, that they may learn to wield the weapon of all – prayer.

This day I place in your hand this pot of holy oil.  Make use of it free, my child.  Let every circumstance that arises, every word that pains you, every interruption that would make you impatient, every revelation of your weakness be anointed with it.  The sting will go as you learn to see Me in all things.    Laura A. Barter Snow

* Streams in the Desert by Mrs. Robert E. Cowman  –  a daily devotion for February 1

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