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Scripture

[ecko_quote source="1 Timothy 5:22"]Do not appoint people to church leadership positions too hastily.[/ecko_quote]

Devotion

A few years ago, I attended one of the fellowship meetings where the leaders were discussing about adding more people to the leadership team. As the leaders started discussing this matter with the congregation, one of the leaders asked the congregation for their opinions. Taking this opportunity some have spoken and agreed to include new people into the leadership team. Since I was unsure about what they wanted to achieve through this move and wisdom beyond this proposal, I asked the leadership about what necessity they got to take up new people into the leadership team since everything was working well with the existing leadership. They did not give me an answer but defended their decision and ridiculed me for asking such a question. However, the fellowship leaders took a decision to include new members into the leadership team.

After a couple of months, the fellowship leaders started questioning each other and started political gimmicks instead of spiritual discernment to solve the problems.  The new members of the leadership team proposed that the current fellowship leaders should step down and that each leader should take turns to lead the fellowship for a couple of months on a rotation basis. However, everyone from the current leadership did not accept rotation policy and objected it strongly. The power struggle started within the leadership team causing it to split, and eventually lead to form another fellowship. This resulted in a bitter rivalry between the members of the leadership team and further the congregation also joined their hands to support their choice of leaders. Believe it or not, the congregation became a scapegoat to the wishes and ambitions of the aspirant leaders. It affected the entire community, the seeds of bitterness sowed by the leadership caused rivalry amongst the congregation. This community now hardly comes together even for any blessed programmes. I strongly believe in my heart based on the scriptures that these leaders will surely pay for their actions. God will surely ask them accounts for what they have done with the responsibilities and talents that he gave unto them (Matthew 25:25).  The congregation completely lost confidence in the leadership and living with discouragement.This community peoples' hearts are so hardened that now, they hardly come together even for funerals.

According to the Scripture, this way of living is not the pattern that God wishes. However, from the first human beings, Adam and Eve, until the last word in Revelation, people have been letting each other down throughout history. Relationships have been damaged. Leaders have failed. Before I go any further, one thing must be clear: just because the one who hurts you is a leader does not mean that leader is absolved of consequences. Some sins (abuse of all forms, moral failure, murder, and so on) require immediate dismissal from the position of authority. David sinned by taking advantage of Bathsheba and murdering her husband (2 Sam. 11). While he was repentant, his child still died as a consequence of his failure (2 Sam. 12:18-19). Sin has consequences, even for leaders.

How should we respond in our hearts towards such failings? Do you retreat, like me? Do you face it head on, refusing to be victimised again? Do you leave the church, fed up with hypocrisy? Do you cut off with the one who has hurt you? Failure of leadership is a grievous offence against God’s people. It stings, sometimes for years. It plants seeds of distrust that often grow into choking weeds that are difficult to remove. It muddies our judgment of all levels of leadership. It dulls our senses to true leadership because pain and betrayal have clouded our eyes.

With every failed leader in Scripture God was doing something powerful in the failure—he was showing his people that he alone is God. The same is true for us today. Like the Israelites before us, we are prone to worship what is in front of us (leaders) rather than the God whom our eyes cannot see. Moreover, when leaders fall or sin against us, our reaction toward their demise reveals just how much stock we put in their ability to save us.

Any discussion of leadership would be woefully incomplete if it failed to mention that we have a hope of the perfect one—Jesus. But looking to Christ, as the head of all things, including the church, is no mere platitude for weary hearts. It is the honest truth we can take to the bank when a failed leader has sucked dry the bank account of our hearts. No one faced more disappointment from leaders than Jesus (Luke 22:66-23:25). He was scorned and crucified by the political and religious leaders of his day. All for us. When all the leaders around us fail (parents, husbands, teachers, pastors, bosses, politicians, and so on) we have a leader who stands for us to the end. He died to secure us, his children, and he lives to bring us home safely.

What's Next?

In all our disappointment with those who lead us, we do not grieve their sin as people who have no hope. They are not ultimate; Christ is. They are not our saviour; Christ is. They will not fulfil us; Christ will. Leaders come and go. Christ remains the same, faithful and true to his sheep. We grieve failed leadership (and deal with it biblically). However, we find shelter from the storm of their failings in Jesus Christ, our perfect leader.

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Scripture

[ecko_quote source="1 Samuel 17:47"]For the battle is the Lord’s[/ecko_quote]

Devotion

One day a soldier, charged with fleeing from the enemy was brought before Alexander the Great. Alexander the Great asked him “what’s your name?” Dropping his head, he replied, “Alexander”. Alexander the Great grabbed him by the shoulders and said, “Soldier, change your conduct or change your name!

Likewise, we have been called “Christians” it means Christ is living in us. However, sometimes our behaviour and activities are appalling. We are not even worthy to be called by our own names nor worthy enough to have our title “Christian”. There is a Wise saying “tell me your friend name I will tell your character”.

Dear ones, you have been called to live a life worthy of the One whose name you carry. Regardless of whether the giant you face is addiction, resentment, fear, lust, pride, envy or anger, you must realise that you are not unique. Your temptations are no different from what others experience (I Corinthians 10:13). Goliath was not always a giant; he was fed and nurtured until he became one. Our giants are usually little sins. We overlook and indulge until those little sins assume a life of their own and come back to haunt us.

Further, you cannot do it alone. You giant will defeat you anytime if you tackle him with your own strength. David told Goliath, “This is the Lord’s battle, and He will give you to us” (1 Samuel 17:47). You need divine help to overcome old habits and establish new behaviours. So, declare with Paul, “Christ … gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13).

Finally, you must confront your giant 'head- on'. The Bible says “As Goliath moved closer to attack, David quickly ran to meet him. (I Samuel 17:48). Don’t run away, don’t try to negotiate, don’t compromise and don’t excuse. Force your giant out into the light and don’t ever let him back into your life. Establish boundaries and make yourself accountable. Stay out of the wrong company. Above all, don’t look at God in the light of your giant, look at your giant in the light of God.

What's Next?

The point to remember in today’s verse is that the battle is the Lord's. Regardless of what He does to get the victory, it is always He who gets the victory. This is true today and forever. God promises to shield us under His wings. He promises to walk through the dark times with us and to strengthen us in times of trial. In every battle that we go through, it is the Lord who must be at the head of the battle so that He takes the full force of the opposing wind; otherwise, we will be wiped out and defeated.

Challenge: What are you facing today? Choose to stand under the protection of God and let Him take over the situation. Believe that He has the answer.

Source: Jonah Ravinder, UEC Ministries; Bob and Debby Gass- Daily Devotional

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Scripture

[ecko_quote source=" John 20:24-29"]Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples, therefore, said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” So, he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” ….. “Because you have seen me, you have believed. Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed[/ecko_quote]

Devotion

So many people say, “when I see it, or when I feel it, then I will know that I have it”. However, that is not Bible faith. That is natural human faith. Moreover, that kind of natural faith already exists in any sinner. But the Real faith is based upon the Word. Real faith in the Word says, “if God says it is true then it is “. Believing God is believing His Word!

I like what Smith Wigglesworth said, “I cannot understand God by feeling. I cannot understand the Lord Jesus Christ by feeling. I can understand God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, only through what the Word says about them”. Then he went on to say, “We need to get acquainted with God the Father through the Word. He is everything the Word says He is. We need to get acquainted with the Lord Jesus Christ through the Word. He is everything the Word says He is”.

Too many people try to get acquainted with God through feelings. When they feel well, they think God heard them. If they do not feel well, they think He is not hearing them. Their faith is based on their feelings. However, our faith must be based on God’s Word. If God’s Word says He hears me, then I know He hears me- because He said so and His Word is not a lie. If my faith were to be based on my feelings, then I would be using natural human faith. I would be trying to get spiritual results with natural human faith, and I cannot do it. I must use scriptural faith, Bible faith before God works. Moreover, if my faith is based upon the Word of God, I will believe in the Word regardless of any evidence which would satisfy my physical senses. Too many folks are trying to get Abraham’s blessings with Thomas’ faith, and it just won’t work.

Notice Thomas’ faith. His faith was not based on what God said. Thomas’ faith was based on his own physical senses, feelings. He said he would not believe unless he could see.

Here is a little formula of faith, patterned after Abraham’s faith, which you can implement in your life to make it work for you. First, he had God’s word for it. Second, he believed in God’s Word. Third, he did not consider any of the contradictory circumstances. Fourth, he gave praise to God.  Follow those four steps, and you will always get through to God. These are the four steps to certain deliverances, healing, prayer, and whatever it is that you are seeking.

Our faith too often is based on the physical feelings and what our physical sense tells us. Now I certainly believe in feelings, but I put it last. God’s Word comes first, faith in God’s Word comes second, and feeling/feelings come last. Too many people turn it around and stick their feeling up in the front. That kind of faith will never make a success of anything.

What's Next?

We who are believers have Abraham kind of faith, because Galatians 3:29 says, “And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise”. Galatians 3:7 says, “Know you therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham”. Well, we have the Abraham kind of faith then. We are not trying to get it, but we have it.

Source: Jonah Ravinder, UEC Ministries ; Kenneth Hagan Sr

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Scripture

[ecko_quote source="Psalm 34:7"]The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him and He delivers them.[/ecko_quote]

Devotion

A young girl named Diane went to her friend’s house and ended up staying longer than planned, so she had to walk home alone. She was not afraid as it was a small COMMUNITY, and she lived only a few blocks away. As she walked along under the bike trail, Diane asked God to keep her safe from any harm and danger. When she reached an alley, she decided to take it as it was a shortcut to her house. However, halfway down the driveway, she noticed a man standing at the end as though he was waiting for her. She became uneasy and began to pray, asking  God for protection. Instantly a comforting feeling of quietness and security wrapped around her, she felt as though someone was walking with her. When she reached the end of the alley, she walked right past the man and arrived home safely.

The following day, she read in the newspaper that a young girl had been raped in the same alley just twenty minutes after she passed by. Feeling overwhelmed by this tragedy and the fact that it could have been her, she began to weep thanking the Lord for her safety. To help this other young woman, Diane went to the police station. She felt she could recognise the man, so she told them her story. The police asked if she would be willing to look at the lined-up suspects and identify the person. She agreed and immediately pointed out towards the man she had seen in the alley the night before. When the man was told, he had been identified, he immediately broke down and confessed.

The officer thanked Diane for her bravery and asked if there was anything they could do for her. Diane was curious as to why he had not attacked her, so she asked if they would ask the man this one question. The policeman asked him and returned with his answer that she didn't attack her, “Because she was not alone. She had two tall men walking on either side of her”. Dear ones, this applies to each one of our lives. Whether you believe it or not, you are not alone. God is always there in your heart and loves you no matter what.

My dear friend, I do not know your current position and disposition. You may be going through financial troubles, job issues, visa issues, health issues, relationship matters or may be nothing in your life is working your way. Probably, you may be wondering how you could come out of these problems and who could come to your rescue or help you.

One thing I can say with certainty (over the years walking with the Lord) that our God never forsakes anyone especially those who trust Him. The word says “Once I was young, and now I am old. I have never seen the godly abandoned or their children begging for bread” (Psalm 37:25). How true it is!  Because heaven and earth will pass away, but God’s words will never pass away (Matthew 24:35).

What's Next?

Victory over your situation is just a prayer away. Your circumstances may not change, but your perspective and attitude will change as you begin to pray and praise God. You and I do not have a need that God cannot meet. Be cheerful and pray as our help is just around the corner. Don't  give up!

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