Daily Devotions

The Surprising Characteristic of Leadership

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So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9)

Resilience is a key to whether one thrives in this life, or merely survives. I am reading the book, Leadership: In Turbulent Times, by Doris Kearns Goodwin. Goodwin conveys the tragedies that four of our finest Presidential leaders experienced before, during and after their Presidencies. The four Presidents she addresses are: Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, and Lyndon Johnson.

Abraham Lincoln suffered from near suicidal depression that negatively affected his professional life and shook his personal identity. Theodore Roosevelt experienced the death of his young wife and mother on the same day. Franklin Roosevelt was struck by polio which left him paralyzed from the waist down. Even Lyndon Johnson was not free of pain. He lost a Senate race, which devastated him to the point that he considered walking away from public life. This stress led to a massive heart attack. Only after contemplating his own death was he able to recommit to the life he felt he was born to live.

One of the aspects of true Leadership is the ability to overcome adversity. The same is true of Christian commitment. Each one of us will experience an overwhelmingly painful challenge. The question we will face is whether we will give up, like Lyndon Johnson almost did, or will we follow his and the other three Presidents’ examples, and pull ourselves up and keep on moving forward. 

The difference between those who make a difference for God, and those who don’t, often comes down to who is willing to get up and try again. Today, think about those moments when you didn’t give up. Where did you get your strength? What persons were there for you? How did God provide opportunities to find renewed hope? There are moments in each of our lives, when God will call us to leadership. You will need to overcome adversity to successfully lead. God will give you the ability to overcome. Trust God enough to get up, brush yourself off, and try yet again. God will bless your courage!

The Caring of Your Soul (Part 2)

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If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, pray, seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)

If caring for your soul is vital for a meaningful life, then how do we properly care for the soul? We begin with prayer. If you show up for worship each week, you have a good example for how to pray. Your prayers do not have to be works of classic poetry. Sometimes our best prayers are just conversations with God. At other times, the best prayers are done in silence. But when you want to express your prayers verbally, you can find varied forms of prayers in worship.

You can begin with a prayer of confession. Confessing our sin isn’t an issue of keeping our toes from dipping into the fiery pools of hell. No, prayers of confession help us recognize that we are imperfect, and need God to help us focus on the good. Next, you should never share a prayer of confession without following with a declaration of pardon. Thank God for Divine grace that frees us from sin and death, and brings us life eternal.

Next, we share intercessory prayers. These are the ones that are most familiar. In this prayer we “intercede” on behalf of others as well as ourselves. Throughout my life I’ve kept lists of those I am keeping in my prayers. Presently, I have a prayer app where I keep my prayer list. It allows me to not only have the names as close as my phone, but it also gives me room to write down details, so I can be specific with God.

Other prayers you find in worship can also be added to your personal prayer life. Before you read Scripture, you should pray a prayer of illumination, so God will bring wisdom to what you are reading, so your interpretation will be as God intended. Prayers of Thanksgiving are found in communion, and it is important to remember to thank God for all God has done for us. There is also an offering prayer. When you offer yourself to God through caring for others, it is good to ask for God to bless your endeavor. It is amazing how many times God multiplies actions done in God’s name.

There are also prayers of adoration, and others not included in our weekly worship service. The key is to remember that you care for your soul when you are in regular, prayerful conversation with God. The more depth and breadth you bring to your conversation, the more meaningful and deep that conversation becomes. When you incorporate numerous forms of prayer, the depth and maturity of your prayer life grows and your soul is strengthened and heals. Start today, practicing the prayers I have shared with you, and the ones you have experienced in worship. You will feel the presence of God and a healing deep inside.

 

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