“Kings” and “Kingdoms”

2 Chronicles 34:33   (KJV)   33 And Josiah took away all the abominations out of all the countries that pertained to the children of Israel, and made all that were present in Israel to serve, even to serve the Lord their God. And all his days they departed not from following the Lord, the God of their fathers.

King Josiah opted to live in obedience to the Lord. He did away with all the abominable ways his predecessors established. The people of his kingdom were also living according King Josiah Hears the Law II Chronicles 34:14-19to the sinful ways of their previous kings. He also influenced the people of his kingdom to follow God.

Most of the nations in the world are not in a kingdom system. Most nations are comprised of different people who have different spiritual persuasions and who subscribe to different sources as their authority. Leaders in these kinds of societies can’t dictate their constituents who to worship. But the truth remains: leaders have certain degrees of influence that others don’t. And leaders choose who they personally worship. Leaders can choose the path of righteousness.

We all are leaders one way or another. As for us believers, we opt to live our lives in complete surrender to the one true living God. We willingly submit to His Kingship. Although we’re citizens of our country, we’re first and foremost citizens of His Kingdom. We live in obedience to His will and His Words. We implore others to be a part. And we lead those who become a part to fully live the Kingdom life—with all its challenges, uniqueness, and joy. There’s no life better.

On Leaders/Teachers and Words

James 3:1   (KJV)   1 My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.

This sounds like trying to dissuade believers from becoming masters, leaders, or teachers. The obvious reason is given: those who are have greater responsibilities, James 3.1 - On Leaders-Teachers and Wordsgreater accountabilities, greater condemnation or stricter judgment.

The way the chapter progresses is very interesting; it’s followed by quite a strong discourse about how uncontrollable our tongues are. Connecting the introductory passage about being very cautious in aspiring to be leaders/teachers, to the context, we may say that since words of leaders/teachers matter a lot and carry a lot of weight and influence, we ought to really consider and really pray earnestly if it’s something we truly desire for ourselves and it’s a weight we we’re willing to carry on our shoulders.

For us leaders/teachers, we are all the more watchful of our tongues. We can never underestimate the damage it would cause. That’s why we avoid engaging in conversations about disputable matters. Often, those conversations lead us to speaking derogatorily—cursing—our brothers and sisters with the very same lips we praise our Lord and Father with. We are called to be humble even in the use of our words. We are to conduct ourselves with wisdom that flows from above—the kind of wisdom that’s peace-loving and gentle at all times. We ought to be peacemakers.

How sad that leaders/teachers have engendered many of our quarrels and divisions in the body of our precious and loving Lord Jesus because of our very incendiary words against each other. To the leaders, I implore: let’s watch our words. Let them be words of love, truth, unity, humility, and peace. If I’m not willing to humble myself, I would rather not lead and teach.

In Control

Daniel 2:21   (KJV)   21 And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:

As His children, we’re not afraid of what’s happening in the world. In God’s inscrutable wisdom, He’s in control of the course of human history without controlling it. The end will be as He planned it, yet people are free to make their own choices. We may not fully understand why He chooses and/or allows certain individuals to rule; if the choice is ours, we’ll do everythidaniel-2-21-in-total-controlng to stop some of them from ever getting into position of power and influence. But God’s wisdom transcends ours. The good thing is, He’s given us far more than sufficient assurances to know that He’s always right and always good. He knows what He’s doing perfectly well; He’s perfect, and His ways are perfect.

Wisdom and power belongs to God. Praise God for allowing us to share a slice of that. That’s why we enjoy knowledge, reason, strength, mobility, health, and wholeness. And unlike a lot of people who question Him, we know our place.  A fly will never understand the extent of the universe. Honestly, will all our intellectual abilities, advancements, explorations, and discoveries, it’s a scientific admission: we’ve barely scratched the surface when it comes to the universe. That’s why we know the fallacy of arrogance against God, and the wisdom of acknowledging His greatness. It will be ludicrous for a fly to question the existence of God. In the context of the vastness and grandeur of creation, we’re really not that different from a fly.

In His perfect timing, everyone will see His sovereignty and rule. There’s never a time when He ever felt threatened, never a time when He ever lost control. All His opponents are so small to pose any kind of threat. There lies our encouragement, peace, and hope. Despite the twists and turns in history: wars and peace, victories and defeats, conquering and being conquered, freedom and captivity, riches and poverty, order and chaos, proponents and opponents, progressions and regressions, construction and destruction, life and death, etc., they all lead to one direction—one absolute culmination, that of God’s, that of our Father’s: the end He planned from the very beginning. In that fact, we live worry-free; we’re calm; we’re cool, and collected; we’re relaxed; we’re rested.

Immovable Oppositions

Numbers 16:41  (KJV)   41 But on the morrow all the congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron, saying, Ye have killed the people of the Lord.

There are those who are determined to oppose their leaders. It didn’t matter if the Lord Himself took the lives of the people who were rebelling against God’s appointed authorities; it didn’t matter if the rebels suffered a terrible end, these oppositions failed to see God’s hand and the fate of the other oppositions. They ludicrously proceeded to accusing and blaming God’s servant.

God’s servants ought to expect overly closed-minded oppositions. God can show them the most convincing proofs there are and not even move them to have a slight change in their mindset. Let’s not waste our precious time, energy and effort chasing what may be a lost cause. We can get so tired trying to gain a more favorable opinion and treatment from others. When others have made up their minds and have determined not to change their thoughts about us, we can exhaust all the different ways we can try; and the end will just be that: us – exhausted.

Our God, You know everyone’s heart. Please give us a heart of discernment that we may know who our true friends and real enemies are.  Lead us to the paths of wisdom that we may use time beneficially with those whose hearts and minds are tender, willing to still be changed by the power of your Presence and Word. – In Jesus’ Name, amen.

Surviving Leadership Threats

Exodus 17:4  (KJV)    And Moses cried unto the Lord, saying, What shall I do unto this people? they be almost ready to stone me.

Moses was a clear-cut God-picked leader. God backed him up with super-sized miracles – a lot of them. He received a divine leadership validation extraordinaire. Despite all that, because of a new problem, the Israelites wanted to kill Him. I mean, forget all the nation-liberating, empire-humbling miracles; forget about the Nile turning to blood, hails, death of the firstborn of the “enemies,” parting of the Sea of Reeds and the complete annihilation of the charging Egyptian armies – all through the power of God. They didn’t have water to drink. Understandable. Without it, they’ll all eventually die. It was a real problem. But the greater real problem was that they forgot that God had been solving their way bigger than “we don’t have water to drink” problems. But that comes within the territory of God-called leaders or ministers. Moses had forgetful, ungrateful, hateful EGR (extra-grace required) few or many in the flock. The God-called, God-backed, God-empowered, God-validated leader had many of them – approximately 2 million men, plus women and children.

We need to accept it; we have to expect it; we will have people the Lord has placed under our care who will be pains in the neck, and head, and stomach – thorns in our flesh – if you may. The presence of complains, and criticisms, and even death-threats neither nullifies nor disproves God’s call in our lives as His laborers or leaders. We ought to be prepared for them. If there’s none like them, praise God; if there are, praise God. Instead of acting like them – forgetting God and all His wonderful works in and through our journey with Him, instead of retaliating to them – criticizing them and threatening to kill them as well, we ought to keep our eyes on God. He has always came through for us before; He will always come through for us.

Our Miracle-Working, Problem-Solving God, may we always find it a joy to serve you, never wavering that no matter what challenges we face – from situations and from people, You will enable us; You will equip us, because You have called us, in Jesus’ Name, amen.