As Christians, we are to display the qualities of leaders even if God has not called us into a leadership position. In Nehemiah 1-2, we are given a paradigm as to what a godly leader looks like.
1. A godly leader has a concern for the people and purposes of God.
“…Hanani, one of my brothers, and some men from Judah came; and I asked them concerning the Jews who had escaped and had survived the captivity, and about Jerusalem.” (1:2)
“When I heard these words, I sat down and wept and mourned for days…” (1:4)
“Remember the word which You commanded Your servant Moses…” (1:8)
Nehemiah’s did not ask about Jerusalem and the Jews just to make small talk with the visitors from Judah. It is clear that Nehemiah, like Daniel, knew the Scriptures and the prophecies about the Jews’ return to their homeland. His despair at the bad knews came from both a genuine concern for the well-being of his countrymen, and a knowledge that things were seemingly not going according to God’s plan laid out in Scripture. Nehemiah’s rise to action flowed not from a self-seeking, power-hungry spirit, but a spirit that was seeking to obey God and care for his people. Continue reading Characteristics of a Godly Leader
No matter how many times I read the Old Testament prophets, I never cease to be shocked by the graphic language that God uses. I imagine that perhaps his intention in using such language was so that Israel and future readers would indeed be shocked about our sin. I think we sometimes take our sin too lightly (or at least I know I do) because of the free grace we have been given. Even Israel took that view in verses 4-5:
“Even now you say to me, ‘You are my father! You have been my faithful companion ever since I was young. You will not always be angry with me, will you? You will not be mad at me forever, will you?’ This is what you say, but you continually do all the evil that you can.”
Unfortunately, I know that line all too well. I sin, quickly ask for the forgiveness I know is available, and turn around to sin again. In Jeremiah 3, however, God gives us insight into how he views our sin, and I’m not sure one can read it and ever look at sin the same way again. Just look at the language God uses to describe Israel’s unfaithfulness: Continue reading Playing the Harlot
The Bible recounts numerous stories of God calling a person to service and so we also have many examples of how people respond to God’s call. I have always tended to believe that if you look hard enough, you will find someone whose response mirrors your own. For me, that person is Jeremiah. I came to faith when I was 15 and almost immediately began serving in various ministries. Because I was so young and serving with and to people older, wiser, and more experienced than myself, I often told God something like, “Oh, Lord GOD, I really do not know how to speak well enough for that, for I am too young.” (1:6) I especially felt too young to be able to do anything in the context of the Church, where youth is often reason enough for people to ignore you. Because of this God’s words to Jeremiah have often been a rallying point for me, serving as both a reminder and a comfort when I feel too young or too inadequate to make a difference, and there are a few points in particular that I want to bring out that I think can help people of any stage in life: Continue reading Serving while Young
According to this article on FoxNews.com, the United Nations Population Fund is reporting that practice such as abortion, infanticide, and neglect in Asia have resulted in at least 60 million “missing” girls. The article reminded me of the speech that Mother Teresa gave upon her receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979: Continue reading Where Have All the Girls Gone?
“Because you have not served the LORD your God joyfully and wholeheartedly with the abundance of everything you have…” (Deuteronomy 28:47)
This verse occurs in a series of curses and threats of curses as God sets forth what he expects from the Israelites and the consequences if they fail to obey. I think this one potential reason for curses can teach us about what God expects of our worship. Continue reading How God Expects Us to Worship
As I read Exodus 34-36 today, it hit me that God wants three things from me. And it just so happens that as a 21st century American male, they are probably the 3 hardest things for me to give him: my unquestioned obedience, my undivided worship, and my unlimited offerings. Continue reading What It Means to Surrender
The thing that stands out to me in 2 Corinthians 4 is verse 13: “But having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, ‘I BELIEVED, THEREFORE I SPOKE,’ we also believe, therefore we also speak”. This to me encompasses the motivation to evangelize, be involved in missions, and any other effort to tell others about the saving grace of Jesus Christ. The effect of grace on our lives, the change brought about by faith, should be so great that we are naturally inclined to tell others about it. We believe, therefore we speak. The more I delve into the Scriptures, the more I come to the realization that the ordinances and purposes of our faith (baptism, communion, prayer, missions, evangelism, worship, etc.) are not tasks to be fulfilled, but rather responses to what God has already done for us. They should be the natural inclination of a spirit that has been saved from the pit of destruction and the miry clay (Psalm 40:2). We tend to treat these things as a check list that we robotically complete and then check off so as to say to God, “See, I’ve done all that You have asked of me.” The correct mindset, however, is not that we have to do these things, but that we want to do them. They are responses to the awesome works that God has done, both generally for all mankind (Creation, the redemptive work of Christ), and specifically in my life (my personal salvation and sanctification). “We also believe, therefore we also speak.” Continue reading Motivated Evangelism