Readings to Inspire the Leaders of your Church
Five Devotion Readings to Feed Your Soul
Church Leaders need to feed their soul at least as much, if not more, than everyone else in the church. It's important that those who lead others take every opportunity to meditate and contemplate scripture.
Below you'll find five readings created to inspire those who bring inspiration to others. Each devotion is written from my heart and tells the story of how Christ spoke to me through scripture. You'll also find links to more than a dozen more pages with devotional readings for you and your leaders.
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Below, you'll find these devotions:
- At the Crossroads . . . Where do I go now?
- Woe to You
- Good Ideas are Not Always God Ideas
(this is a favorite of folks who stop by my pages!)
- I Could Use Some Rest
- Life After Death
At the Crossroads
Where do I Go Now?
Nearly every day we find ourselves at some crossroads or other. We have to use one of the greatest gifts God has ever given us, free will, and make choices that will impact our lives forever. Some are small, like what we'll eat for lunch, and others are life changing.
How might our lives be different if at every crossroad we paused for just a moment and asked our Father, "Which is the ancient path, the good way?" You see, the ancient path isn't one that outdated, it's the one that has been tested. The ancient path is the one that God laid out from the beginning of time, the road that will take us to the place where we'll find "rest for our souls."
Unfortunately, we often become rebellious and decide to go our own way. Perhaps we aren't as rebellious as the people of Israel. We may not actually say, "We will not walk in it." or "We will not listen." However, neglecting to ask God's opinion and stepping out on the wrong road is really the same thing.
As leaders of a people of God, it's especially important that as a group we come before our Creator and ask His will not only for our own lives, but for the people we lead. We must keep ourselves accountable to one another and "listen to God's words."
How might our lives be different if at every crossroad we paused for a moment and talked to our Father?
This isn't the only place in scripture where the Sovereign Lord makes it very clear that he is more interested in our obedience than our gifts. Our offerings and even all that we sacrifice is nothing to Him unless we are willing to walk in His will. When His will is our delight, we are His. And the alternative is disastrous.
So, each time you meet and as you prepare to meet to make decisions or plans for the body of Christ, be sure to ask your Savior, "Show us the ancient path, the tested road, the way of truth and lead us to that place where we'll find rest for our souls."
A quiet time with Jesus is vital to the growth of Christians. Christian Leaders need a quiet time even more so they can keep their faith strong as they help others grow. This book has more than forty inspirational readings based on scripture to help those who want to be all Christ has created them to be.
Woe to You
Ok, so this isn't really a very uplifting passage of scripture. In fact, it's kind of a downer. But despite all the negativity we hear in these words of Jesus, there is a lesson we can learn.
First it's good to remember that Jesus seldom spoke with any kind of negativity, especially THIS much. Even when He spoke with the women at the well, His remarks were quite positive. Surprisingly his discussion with Judas at His last supper didn't even have much negativity in it. But on this occasion Jesus speaks with a harshness that seems almost out of character.
Why do you suppose that Jesus treated the Pharisees and teachers of the law so sternly? I think it's because people looked up to them. They had earned the respect of most of the population, primarily because of their title. Their conduct was causing others, who didn't know any better, to sin. And to top it all off, they didn't think they were doing anything wrong.
Jesus was never harsh with those who were ready to see the foolishness of their ways or the sin that was separating them from their heavenly Father. But what could He do with these leaders who not only broke the law, but thought they were above it?
As we read this passage, it's an excellent reminder to church leaders that a regular examination of our hearts is crucial to leading like Christ. If we are a church leader, there is a good chance that, like the Pharisee, someone is looking up to us, counting on us to show them the right way to go. That's why it's imperative that we honestly look at our motives. Why do we do what we do? Is it for attention or pleasure? Do we have to always be right? Do our words line up with our actions, and do they all line up with the person we know as Jesus Christ? As leaders, we must be able to stand before the crowd with a clear conscious. We don't necessarily have to live a sin free life, but in everything we do, we must be sure that Christ is there before us.
So many times leaders get arrogant and believe their way is the only way. It's easy as a leader to speak harshly or manipulate things to go our way. But a Christian leader must walk as Christ walked. A Christian leader needs to remember that we are servants before anything else. Christ said He came to serve, so we must do the same. Our hearts need to be pure before God. No ulterior motives. It's up to us to be sure we aren't blind guides or fools. When we honestly examine our hearts, they will tell us if we are living as Christ would live or more like the Pharisees.
Take time to be a true leader for Christ this week. Read these few verses over a few times. Examine your heart and discover the truth. Be sure that Christ isn't talking like this to you.
You'll find more devotions on each of these pages
- Devotions Influenced by Animals
Includes Devotions such as: - The Call of A Robin - A Turkey or an Eagle? - A Lesson I Learned from a Bat - A Lesson from A Dove
- Inspiration for your Meeting or Group
You'll find these titles: - A Promise of Restoration - One Brick at a Time - God's Point of View - Hope I Don't Get Everything I Deserve - When God Answered the Most Unusual Prayer
Good Ideas Are Not Always God Ideas
1 Samuel 7:15-8:21
Samuel was growing old, and the prospect of his sons being judges over Israel didn't look too promising to the people. The elders noticed their improprieties and dishonesty. They started getting a little worried about what would happen to Israel after Samuel's death. So, they came up with what seemed like a great idea. Instead of having Joel and Abijah run the country, they decided to get a king. I'm guessing they figured this was the best solution to what was sure to be a disastrous alternative. They probably thought it through, weighed the pros and cons, perhaps even mulled it over for a week or so to be certain there weren't any better options they could come up with. Yep, other nations were doing pretty well with kings, it was time for Israel to step into "modern" times and catch up with those other countries. A king would be the perfect remedy to a couple of judges that were destined to be Israel's worst nightmare.
The problem with their plan surfaces immediately. God doesn't think it's a good idea. God warns them that the taxes are going to kill them. He gives them a heads up regarding the status of their property, children and future. However, none of the warnings make a difference. These people know what they want. They're positive they've discovered the best possible route, and they are insistent that Israel take that path.
I don't know why they thought God's way of raising up judges in the past few decades wasn't working. It seems the Creator had done a pretty good job with Deborah and Gideon. They'd come on the scene at just the right time to bail the people of Israel out of tough situations. But the elders must have thought the system needed some adjustments, because they had some forward thinking plans they intended to carry out, and at first glance, it looks like a reasonable request.
The whole scene makes me wonder how many "solutions" I've come up with in my past that were good ideas but not GOD ideas. Seriously, I always have the answer to tough problems. I sit and think about all the possibilities, weigh the options and consider every scenario. By the time I have a plan, you can be sure it's the best answer humanly possible. And right THERE is where I run into trouble. I come up with the best answer HUMANLY possible, but my heavenly Father has the plan that is MORE than humanly possible. In fact, His plans are only SUPERNATURALLY possible.
Knowing this, I have to wonder why we humans spend so much time scheming, dreaming and leading instead of praying, listening and following. I call it running ahead of God. It's much like King Saul in 1 Samuel 13. Saul was in such a hurry to please God, He offered a sacrifice without waiting for Samuel as he was instructed.
Here are a few questions to help you discover if you have GOOD ideas or GOD ideas:
What ideas do I have
that I haven't cleared
with the Almighty?
- What ideas do we have that we haven't cleared with the Almighty?
- What instructions from God are we willing to ignore to have things our way?
- Who do I respect enough in Christ to get confirmation of God's will before I carry out my "good" idea?
The leaders of Samuel's day got stuck in their "good idea." Even after Samuel shared all the consequences of their request, they wanted to move ahead. As you make decisions this week, consider Samuel and the Israelite elders. Pray about your ideas and get the opinion of an "elder" who isn't afraid to speak the unpopular truth to you. The Almighty King will help us learn the difference between our "Good" ideas and the better "God" ideas.
I Could Use Some Rest
Since the promise of entering God’s rest still stands, let’s be careful that no one misses out on it. - Hebrews 4:1
I love to read, and some of my favorite titles are historical fiction. The pioneers, Europe in the 1800’s, the time of Queen Victoria and Henry VIII are just a few of the settings authors have used to create a backdrop for a great novel. One noticeable difference between these eras and the present age is the lack of electricity and machinery to help with everyday duties.
How did people in the centuries before Edison find time to do anything? Doing laundry with washboards, plowing with oxen, hauling water and chopping wood are just a few of the day to day tasks that would have consumed every waking
moment. Yet, my fiction books tell stories of dances, buggy rides, picnics and more. In fact, just visiting a neighbor on a Summer afternoon took a lot more time than it does today, but the stories I hear from my grandparents (who did not drive everyplace they wanted to go) tell me they knew the people who lived down the road from them much better than I know my own.
It would seem that in harnessing electricity and inventing modern “conveniences,” we’ve created a monster that devours our rest. In most households today, both parents have to work just to get by, and because every child has more than a few extracurricular activities, everyone is always on the go. I think that most parents would love to have a week when everyone could just stay home every single day.
Even the “lazy days of Summer” aren’t anymore. We rush from work to activity to the next important event and before we know it, the season of sitting in the Sun is in the past. Most of us would just like to have some time to rest.
When I read this passage in Hebrews and put it up against my own life, I smile. There have been many years when I felt like I needed some time off, a break from life. Yet, when I am completely obedient to Christ and do only the things that are His will for my life, I find rest. Some may tell you that the author of Hebrews is speaking of a rest far in the future, after Christ returns. However, I hold on to verse three, “those who have believed enter that rest.” God’s rest is available to us today; it’s not just something to look forward to after we die or when Christ returns.
Yes, indeed, there is the ultimate “rest” that is reserved for those who make Christ their Savior, but what if we are missing out on peace and “rest” here on earth because we are doing things Christ never asked us to do? What if we are teaching our children how to be busy instead of how to love Jesus? In my life, living on a shoestring budget was part of what I had to do to be in God’s rest. Every time I got a forty hour week job, I was so “restless.” My Father wanted me to be a stay at home mom, so for most of my children’s lives, we lived on one income and a bit I would make working part-time or odd jobs. The beauty of it is that as long as I was obedient and trusted God enough to do what He asked, there was always enough.
I wish I could say that I always enjoy God’s rest, but that’s not true. There are many times when I step outside of what God has called me to. I am eager to say yes when folks ask for assistance, and often I rush in to help where my Savior has other plans. I’ve learned to identify those times pretty quickly now because I feel very unsettled and overwhelmed. I know that someday there will be a time of permanent rest, a peace beyond what we can know here on earth. There are some who long for that day!
To be perfectly honest, while I look forward to Christ’s return, I’m enjoying where I am now, so I’m not as anxious as some. Regardless of how speedily you are hoping that day comes, I pray you are living in God’s rest even here on earth. It is available to those who believe and those who are willing to be obedient. Combine the message you’ve heard about Jesus Christ with your faith, believe that He will never lead you into a place where He cannot keep you, trust that He’s got it all under control and enjoy the beauty of his rest.
Life After Death
24 Truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies,
it remains only a single seed.
But if it dies, it produces many seeds.
25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it,
while anyone who hates their life in this world
will keep it for eternal life.
- John 12:24-25
Life after death is a question that many people struggle with. It doesn’t matter whether you are a person of faith or an agnostic, the question of life after death can be troubling.
Even more troubling, is the question of life after death when you are still living and breathing. Christ made it pretty clear in John 12 that holding on to life the way we know it is eternally detrimental. Not only that, but He said it’s also completely unproductive, it doesn’t count for anything! Let’s face it, if we don’t produce “many seeds,” if we breathe and exist for 50, 75 or even 100 years and leave nothing to show for it, can we really say we’ve lived?
I have a small coaster that says “Just when the caterpillar thought her world was over, she became a Butterfly.” Every time I see it, I am reminded of that verse from John, “unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies . . .”, and I am forced to ask myself a difficult question. Have I really died?
I wrote a song nearly 10 years ago called “Layin’ Down my Life.” The bridge says,
It’s more, so much more than simply dying
It’s giving up my right to be
Yeah, Layin’ down my life means takin’ up my cross
and followin’ wherever He may lead.
Over the years I have “died” many times. When I completely gave my children to God, trusting Him completely with them, I died. When I gave up working a “real” job and trusted God to provide even if we only had one full time income, I died. Every time I gave up something God called me to get rid of, walked into a place that God called me to walk into or faced something difficult and trusted God with it instead of trying to fix it myself, I died to self.
God is calling each of us to die to self a little each day. Fortunately, it seems He’s very patient and doesn’t ask us to do it all at once like the caterpillar or the grain of wheat. And I’ve also discovered that every time I have allowed myself to completely die in one area, there’s another that He has waiting for me to surrender. I have a feeling until my body physically quits working here on earth, Christ will continually be calling me to die so I can produce “many seeds.”
I don’t ever presume to know where God is calling anyone else to die this week. I have a hard enough time working through my own “deaths.” After all, dying is a hard thing. But although dying is difficult, life after death is wonderful. I have to admit, if I have any regret about “dying,” it’s that I usually do it too slowly, because I know life on the other side is always better. And each time, much like the caterpillar, I discover I am much more beautiful for it.
© 2014 Lynne Modranski