Category: The Lords Notebook

Enriching Friendships

Strong friendships are one of the greatest joys of life. However, some people are overly self-conscious and shy away from those who could be their friends. Some open themselves up to only a small circle of friends. Some put their friends through a lot of difficulty and pain. And some are outgoing toward everyone, but never cultivate any close relationships.

 

How can you learn to develop strong, healthy friendships? God’s Word has particularly deep insight concerning human relationships. And it is full of advice on building a high-quality social life.

 

Loving Friendships

 

  1. How early in human history did God recognize the need for companionship? Genesis 2:18.

 

Our Creator made us to need relationships. God created specific relationships in the family. But He also designed us to need relationships outside of our families. These relationships help us become better human beings, stronger in character and more like the loving God in His thinking. Unlike family connections, which we cannot choose, we can choose our friends.

 

  1. What biblical principle explains how we should treat others? Galatians 5:14; Matthew 22:37-40. Does this include our enemies? Matthew 5:43-47.

 

Loving another person in the same way that you love yourself is a huge challenge. But this command governs our treatment of all other human beings. If you lack solid friendships, examine yourself. How good are you at putting others’ needs ahead of your own?

 

It is natural to have some friendships that are deeper than others. Though there are levels of friendship, they all must be based on love: unselfish, outgoing concern.

 

Proverbs 18:24 states, “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly ….” The King James Version contains a mistranslation of this portion of the verse. The Revised Standard Version reads: “There are friends who pretend to be friends ….” It takes more than just putting on a show of friendship to develop strong relationships. It takes being a person who shows others that their opinions, needs, and desires matter to you; that you value their companionship. It takes a desire to love them the way you love yourself. This attracts others to you.

 

  1. Did Christ say there was an even greater love in a friendship than loving as you love yourself? John 15:13.

 

 

This kind of love goes beyond the love you have for yourself. It means even dying for your friend if necessary. In everyday application, it refers to putting your friend’s needs above your own. Do you have friends like that? Are you a friend like that?

 

Other Qualities of Good Friendships

 

  1. What else builds friendships? Proverbs 14:20; 19:4.

Superficial things draw people to us. But these proverbs aren’t saying we should seek material wealth to draw more friends to us. The word for wealth in Proverbs 19:4 can mean anything from material possessions to (My Favorite) wealth of mind and/or character. This Hebrew word is also used in Proverbs 13:7, which states that even those with nothing physically can have “riches.”

 

If you are rich in character, your personality will attract others. Proverbs 19:6 states that “every man is a friend to him that giveth gifts.” Examine what your personality offers your friends. The richer your character and the more giving your personality, the stronger those friendships will be.

 

  1. What kind of friendships should we seek? Proverbs 27:6, 17.

Rubbing a knife against a sharpening iron makes the edge of the blade razor-sharp by friction. True friendship goes beyond common interests. Seek friendships that enrich your character and the character of others. Friends should have a positive influence on each other. Showing tough love to help someone through a problem is true friendship.

Not only can your close friends enhance your moral development and character growth, they can also accept you despite your shortcomings.

 

  1. What is a related quality of good friendships? Proverbs 17:17.

The Moffatt version translates this verse, “A friend is always a friend, he is a born brother for adversity.” Struggles and tough times reveal what friendships are made of: They even deepen relationships. They distinguish real friends from fair-weather friends. True friends will not desert you when things get rough or when they discover a weakness in you. They will see you through the adversity and help you overcome.

 

These proverbs say a lot about the kind of friend you should be, not just the kind of friends you should seek. Show your friends this unconditional love “at all times.” Be sure you demonstrate “wealthy” character around them, that your influence on them enhances their already strong character.

 

  1. What warnings do the Proverbs give about sure ways to ruin friendships? Proverbs 16:28; 17:9; 18:19.

These verses can refer to gossip that separates other people’s friendships. But gossip can also separate our own relationships if we spread rumors about our friends or share something with others that was told to us in confidence.

 

If you show yourself trustworthy; able perhaps to be blunt with your friends to their face in private, yet stick up for them around others and in the face of rumors, people will value your friendship.

 

We all make mistakes, though. A selfish act, an instance of stubborn pride, a hurtful comment; these can test the stability of a friendship. We should be able to apologize, and to forgive our friends when they slip up, to be a friend “at all times.”

 

Friendships to Avoid

 

  1. Does the Bible ever encourage two people not to be friends? Amos 3:3. Are there specific people we should not associate with? Proverbs 13:20.

 

Since we can choose our friends, God tells us to consider those choices carefully.

 

  1. Did Paul exhort Christians to avoid close company with nonbelievers? 2 Corinthians 6:14, 16-17.

 

These verses do not contradict the biblical law of “love thy neighbour as thyself.” Christians should hate the evil that people get involved in, but they should not hate the people. We can and should be friendly, help them if necessary, and even pray for them (Matthew 5:43-44). But do not associate with them or seek out their companionship.

 

There are also many nonbelievers that true Christians can become acquaintances with: people we work with or go to school with that we would not necessarily associate with beyond those situations. You can probably think of several acquaintances you have whose choices conflict with your values or morals in certain ways, but such a conflict does not typically arise in a work environment.

 

Use caution, however. Once those acquaintances move outside those boundaries, you could be dragged down by the lifestyle they lead. You may think you can be a good influence on them, but that is not what the Bible says. People who are bad influences will pull you down, often times you will not pull them up.

 

Close Friendships

 

  1. Are there some friendships that should be especially close? Proverbs 18:24 (last half).

 

Most of us have several good friends, maybe a few close friends, and maybe even one special, best friend. As you grow older, you will probably only be able to count your strongest, closest friendships on one hand. This is normal.

  1. As a human being, did Jesus Christ connect more with one disciple than the others? John 13:23; 21:20.

 

Instead of referring to himself by name in his own writings, the Apostle John refers to himself as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” Because Jesus was the great God in human form, the one who epitomized perfect love and friendship. His friendship with the other disciples did not suffer from the special bond He had with John. Jesus loved all men to the point of dying for every man. Still, Jesus referred to all of His disciples as His friends (John 15:14-15) and had a best-friend type relationship with John. In fact, Jesus, just before dying, told John to take care of His mother, Mary (John 19:25-27).

 

  1. Did David have a special closeness with a certain friend in his life? 2 Samuel 1:26.
  2. To what level did Jonathan love his best friend David? 1 Samuel 18:1, 3; 20:17.

 

Here is an example of outstanding love on the human level. Jonathan loved David “as his own soul.” Jonathan’s loyalty went to the point where he told David, “Whatsoever thy soul desireth, I will even do it for thee” (1 Samuel 20:4). 

 

This relationship transcended even politics. Jonathan, son of King Saul (who was trying to kill David at this time), was the heir to Israel’s throne. But Jonathan had the courage to serve his friend, knowing that God had chosen David to be king, rather than cling selfishly to his position. It was a marvelous example of loyalty, mutual respect and admiration. It was unselfish love and up building of character in the other.

 

Treasure your friendships. Take time to learn who your real friends are. Choose your friends wisely. Then work at building those friendships. Examine the kind of friend you are and what you have to offer Spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically. If you do these things, your life can be enriched and your own character strengthened!

A Key Approach to Lasting Joy

Do you know how to apply what the Bible teaches? Do you know where to find the help to bring joy and happiness into your life and that of those around you? If you do, your life will be filled with radiant and lasting joy.

 

Is true joy and love absent from your life? Do you struggle to face or overcome problems? Most people repeatedly do. It is easy to become discouraged, even depressed when we are bombarded with trials and problems and we fail to conquer them.

 

It is easy to be down when our efforts do not yield results. Could it be that our efforts are misdirected? Could it be our attempts are purely physical? The Bible calls such an approach “the works of the flesh.” While our intentions may be right, this approach lacks the power to really triumph.

 

At times, even true Christians struggle to find real joy. Some can put on a great face at Church services while at home problems are boiling! Some homes are divided: A young persons turns 18 and wants to get out because he has seen hypocrisy within the home; a husband and wife are so divided they contemplate breaking the vows they made to God and to one another; a family has employment or financial problems leading to undue stress between family members. At times, the tension produced by these problems can get so thick you can cut it with a knife.

 

A common cause may be that some people’s religion is a purely intellectual exercise; they are not truly living it. The Christian life is not merely knowing, but doing (James 1:22; Romans 2:13). Someone convinced only of the arguments of God’s truth will not change.

 

Most people are not successful because they don’t know the way. Do you know the way? If not, how can you be prepared to help teach all mankind?

 

If you are in God’s Church, remember that judgment is now on you (1 Peter 4:17). Note that this verse speaks in terms of obeying the gospel. God considers, or analyzes, all our works (Psalms 33:15). Does God see harmony or division? Does He see His people struggling and giving up or does He see them going to Him relying on Him for help?

 

God’s ministers see all sorts of personal and interpersonal problems people face. They can also see the purpose for these trials as God is perfecting and purifying His people. God’s ministers are called to be helpers of your joy (2 Corinthians 1:24). Godly counsel can go a long way in providing vision, staying power, and drive to tackle the issues at hand. To help your joy, true ministers of Jesus Christ have to show, teach, and expound on the laws of God. Keeping those laws is what makes people happy!

 

Do you practice the way to peace in your own family? Are you able to fight against, and overcome the works of the flesh? How skilled are you in educating people in the way of peace in your own home?

 

CAUSE AND SOLUTION FOR DIVISION.

 

It is natural and easy for human beings to rely on the flesh. When we have a problem, we tend to rely on our own abilities to work out physical solutions.

 

Thinking of all those who have lived and died before the first coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, lets point out the ancient Israelites here momentarily. To the ancient Israelites, God gave His Spiritual Law, as well as civil laws, statutes, and judgments. Before the sacrifice of Christ He also gave “a sacrificial law to remind them of sin and He gave a ceremonial law of physical works; rituals and things to do morning, noon, and night as a previous and temporary substitute for the Holy Spirit. The rituals and ceremonies of ancient Israel were there as a temporary substitute. But the ancient Israelites did not rely on God, even in obeying those physical laws. The physical rituals God instituted would have reminded them continually of the need for their Creator. They ended up rebelling.

 

How often do you solely depend on physical efforts of your own, not drawing on the power of God’s Holy Spirit? When you do not rely on God and the power of His Holy Spirit, It is impossible to overcome your problems. This is particularly true for relational problems within a family. Look at what happened in the Laodicean era (the sixth era) of the Church after one of God’s true servants died: Soon after, the people were not using the Holy Spirit, and family division ensued (Malachi 1:2-1:3). “God is telling us that the main problem is FAMILY DIVISION. This is the main problem Malachi is attacking. HIS MESSAGE IS NOT FOR THE WORLD. IT’S FOR GOD’S DIVIDED CHURCH TODAY, WHICH IS RAPIDLY BECOMING MORE DIVIDED.

 

People might see the Spiritual application of this principle in the Church but fail to see that the Kingdom of God must start in our homes! A family is a miniature type of the Kingdom of God and is the building block of that new civilization.

 

Any time a family fails to apply God’s Law by using God’s power, division becomes the result. The government in our homes must be right (Malachi 4:4-4:6). The husband must be the head of his wife, and Christ must be the Head of the husband (1 Corinthians 11:3). If we don’t honor our head, there will be deep Spiritual division.

 

God hates division! If our personal lives are full of strife and division, we are apart of the majority that is rebelling against God!

 

Some members are unwilling to talk with each other at services. Some seem not to understand that this is even a problem! Oftentimes such division exists between members of a physical family. How can that be in a united body of believers?

 

The Church produces a lot of material: the knowledge is available, but not everyone reads it. Some claim they don’t know where to find it. Others may have God’s Word but fail to apply it. This is where God’s ministers can be of special help. A minister who helps you understand and apply God’s law is a true gift from God.

 

God’s true ministers have to lead the brethren in following God. They must show them more and more how to put God’s knowledge into action, step by step. Real love faces problems and difficulties head on. We must not sweep our problems under the rug. We must address the causes.

 

Family division is a result of a lack of Christ in us. God wants deep unity within His Family! He wants His people to be as unified as He and Christ are (John 17:11). Only through using the Holy Spirit can we have the unity and joy we need. We cannot produce Spiritual fruit on our own: We need God’s help (John 15:4-15:5). The closer we are to God, the more Spiritual fruit we will bear. The more we obey God’s commandments, the more of His love we will receive and exhibit (John 15:7-15:12).

 

In Matthew 25, we see the example of foolish virgins who were kept out of the Kingdom of God because they didn’t have enough oil. Oil here is a symbol of God’s Spirit. We must monitor and ask God to replenish the Holy Spirit we receive from Him, and we must do it every day. Romans 8:14 and 16 say that to be children of God, we must use God’s Spirit.

 

WORKS OF THE FLESH.

 

The Apostle Paul was dealing with Jews in Galatia who insisted that people had to be circumcised. He wrote, “For you were called to freedom, brethren: only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh {anything carnally motivated}, but through love be servants of one another” (Galatians 5:13 Revised Standard Version).

 

The Greek word translated opportunity means a base of operation. When our base of operation is purely carnal instead of purely Spiritual, it always leads to sin. True liberty is freedom from sin. We have been called unto freedom from the curses that come from disobedience.

 

“For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another (Galatians 5:14-5:15) because hate is a curse and fruit of vanity that fulfills nobody and it divides, conquers, and devours those who hate. When members of a family or congregation are attacking one another even passively, it affects the entire congregation and the whole body of Christ!

 

Any action that is solely a human effort lacks real love. Paul lists the “works of the flesh” in Galatians 5:19-5:21 referring to physical action, as the Greek word ergon implies; work that is produced through human effort: “Adultery, fornication (sexual vice, impurity-adultery committed by a married person, fornication by a single person), uncleanness (lustful living), lasciviousness (unbridled lust, excess),Idolatry (worship of any false god, even wealth, status, etc), witchcraft (magic, sorcery, dabbling in the occult; the Creek word “pharmacaia” can even mean the use of drugs to try to escape reality), hatred (quarreling, picking fights), variance (strife, seeking to debate and argue), emulations (envious and contentious rivalry, jealousy), wrath (a quick temper, anger that boils up, emotional immaturity), strife (electioneering; putting oneself forward: This is the opposite of God. It’s Satan-inspired. God wants unity! We have to handle divisions His way), seditions (dissentions, divisions, disunion, party spirit), heresies (a body of people following their own way), Envyings (spiteful jealousy, ill will), murders, drunkenness (drinking bouts, intoxication), revellings (carousal), and such like (there are more ways the flesh manifests itself!): of the which i tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things SHALL NOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD.”

 

These works of the flesh are manifest, because this is the way of human nature. This is the way the world is going, the way on which modern society (man’s entire civilization) is built. Can you see you are harming yourself and others if you practice these things?

 

We all struggle against the works of the flesh to one degree or another, because we are physical. These are the actions we naturally default to if we are not using the Spirit of God. Christians are called to OVERCOME these disqualifying works of the flesh.

 

Society is drunk on these works. Sadly, society can rub off on God’s people if they allow it. People struggle and fail to make any significant Spiritual progress. In some cases, we have two, three or four generations caught in a trap. If you are reaping such curses, challenge yourself to let it stop with you!

 

True Christians must not love the world, because that way is incompatible with the love of God (1 John 2:15). The person who is fulfilling the lust of the flesh is not of God (1 John 2:16). “That is, desires of the flesh, to have things to please the different senses. The sense of sight; the sense of touch and feel, sex; the sense of the exhilaration that you get from alcohol and or drugs.” Lust of the flesh, what is it? Even the taste of food; Many foods that taste good are bad for your health, and people wonder why their health is not good. They don’t think about eating food that’s good for their health and will keep their minds clear and their bodies in good shape. They only think of what tastes good to the palate, lust of the flesh. Brethren, I tell you, were just simply loaded with that and we don’t realize it.

 

That is, desires. Just selfish, self-centered desires of your own flesh, of the five senses. The sense of hearing. Now there’s good music and bad music. And Satan has got bad music going and got so many and especially all of the younger generation today on bad music and its having a very bad effect on their mind and spirit.”

 

WALK AFTER THE SPIRIT

 

Commandment keeping is for our own protection. It is a common sense matter of self preservation. We are not to walk after the flesh, but after the Spirit (Romans 8:1). As we do so, the righteousness of the law is fulfilled in us (Romans 8:4). “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8:5-8:8).

 

To be carnally minded is DEATH!

 

All humans struggle with the works of the flesh to some degree or another. It is important to deeply understand that “works of the flesh” just refers to any physical action. In other words, people may not want to sin deliberately but this is how they naturally act. If we don’t employ the power of God’s Holy Spirit, THESE ARE THE ACTIONS WE DEFAULT TO.

 

We MUST USE GOD’S HOLY SPIRIT TO OVERCOME OUR PROBLEMS! If we don’t, we will always struggle. Anyone who is not growing spiritually should truly ask themselves whether they are drawing on God’s help as they can and should. So many of the problems people face are being battled only with human will and human effort. If a person has been struggling with something for years, they should question their approach.

 

There is a war on wills and a lack of progress indicates a lack of depth in one’s Spiritual understanding.  The person in a health trial may try diligently juicing and dieting, but is he or she more importantly really looking to God for healing? How about you? Do you put your trust in the works of the flesh (anything you can humanly do)? You should do what lies within your power, but put your faith in God! Let your attack of your problems be of the Spirit. When we are motivated by God’s mind of love, our efforts are driven by God’s Spirit, not just our human will. That mindset will see real results.

 

God promises to strengthen, uphold, and help His people (Isaiah 41:10, 13). Don’t have a mere desire for help from God: (I HOPE GOD will help me with this.” Have faith: I KNOW GOD will help me). “This i say then, Walk in the Spirit, AND YE SHALL NOT FULFIL THE LUST OF THE FLESH. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would” (Galatians 5:16-5:17).

 

These verses are both a command and a promise. Walk in the Spirit, being deeply focused on God’s perfect law of liberty and then you won’t be preoccupied with thoughts and works of the flesh. How awesome is that? You will not fulfill the lust, or longing, of the flesh. Why? Because you are overcoming spiritually and are not defaulting back to letting your human nature guild you. The liberty God’s law offers prods us toward perfection.

 

“It Gets down to doing, but IT STARTS WITH AN ATTITUDE OF MIND THAT INSPIRES THE DOING: and then you act on it.” We have to think, and we have to act accordingly to the thinking. And the mind must direct what we do, our actions. And sin is when that action, that thought, conceives into a WRONG action. I’m trying to get down to the biblical definition of sin and just what is sin. It is a spiritual thing.

 

God explains the standards and wants us to live up to them. We don’t have to guess but we do have to act! Even if we only do what is commanded merely on a letter of the law level (a Chapter covered in my book “The Tree of Life, You’re Journey – My Mind”), God considers US UNPROFITABLE servants, whose fate is outer darkness (Luke 17:10; Matthew 25:30).

 

HARVEST OF THE SPIRIT

 

Know that every day you must fight and battle to spiritually grow. Every day presents opportunities for growth. Seek God’s direction in your life, through the Holy Spirit, every day. Heed that direction and be an individual of righteous action!

 

Moffatt’s version translates Galatians 5:22-5:23, which lists the fruit of the Spirit, as “the harvest of the Spirit” and say, “There is no law against those who practise such things.” A harvest is a crop you collect after the seeds have grown over a period of time. We must be sowing and practicing these seeds and fruits of Godliness now! They will not spring into action without first planting them.

 

The world loves the works of the flesh and is miserable because of them. But “they that are Christ’s have crucified the (self) flesh full of it’s affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:24-525). How can we live and walk in the Spirit?

 

“The human will and the human effort is what you use to follow the Holy Spirit, and then use it! But it is the power of God, The Holy Spirit of God, that does the good deeds.” True freedom, peace, and fulfillment come through harvesting the fruits of God’s Spirit through Jesus Christ living in us.

 

Resist the temptation to employ mere human efforts and solutions. Learn to follow and use the Spirit, and you will walk in the Spirit instead of giving into the lust of the flesh!

 

Build The Zeal Of The Eternal

FOR A PUBLIC SPEAKER, PASSION IS CRUCIAL. “SCIENCE shows that passion is contagious, literally,” writes communication coach Carmine Gallo. “You cannot inspire others unless you are inspired yourself. You stand a much greater chance of motivating and inspiring your listeners if you express an enthusiastic, passionate, and meaningful connection to your topic” (Talk like TED).

 

Gallo made these statements in a book in which he evaluated the most popular TED talks on the Internet. Some of these free lectures have been viewed as many as 10 million times! And of all the qualities he found in the most successful lectures, the first he describes is PASSION.

 

What works for public speaking works for LIFE. To really succeed at something, you need passion.

 

When directed at the right things, passion is a Godly Virtue. Consider (Isaiah 9:7) “Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. THE ZEAL OF THE LORD OF HOSTS WILL PERFORM THIS.”

 

God is a ZEALOUS, PASSIONATE leader! We also need to be passionate in order to get things done. If you are excited about what you’re doing whether work, hobby, family, and or friendship, if you are devoting your heart to it, you will be far more effective at it. Those activities and relationships will be more satisfying and enjoyable.

 

Here are three reasons why passion is so important and why you should seek to build more of it in your life.

 

  1. Passion inspires action, Emotion is an impulse toward an ACTION. We are to be doers of the Word (James 1:22). And generally, you don’t do things you don’t want to do, at least not for long. That’s one of the human sides of emotion that we must all fight to overcome daily by developing a passion for God. Somebody once said “Nothing great has ever been achieved without enthusiasm.” If you’re passion about it, you’ll do it.

  2. Passion surmounts obstacles. When doing something difficult, complications always arise. It is easy to kill weak motivation. But if you are passionate about that thing, your motivation gets stronger and that strong motivation will get you through. When George Lucas made the first Star Wars movie, he experienced numerous setbacks that threatened the whole project. Lucas nearly had a nervous breakdown! But he possessed a passion, driven by a strong vision, that kept him pressing forward. It enabled him to complete one of the most successful films in history.

  3. Passion is contagious. It is very hard to lead others to make positive changes in their lives. Passion is crucial if you are to even have a shot at helping someone. A leader must be passionate in order to inspire others. “Fires cannot be made with dead embers, nor can enthusiasm be stirred by spiritless men.” One investment firm screened 241 companies over a four year period, and funded 41 of them; just over 1 in 6. When asked why, the investors said they looked first at the strength of the opportunity and the strength of the entrepreneur. But their next biggest determining factor: “PERCEIVED PASSION.” Perceived passion involves enthusiasm and excitement, and is distinct from how prepared or committed an entrepreneur may be to their venture, Gallo explains.

 

So passion is important. But how do you get it?

 

Some people seem born with passion; for a career, sports, music, or other activity. Most of us often don’t have that passion naturally. We tend to cruise along, give minimal effort, and become complacent. Naturally we don’t have enough of the right kind of positive, passionate emotion toward what we do and toward the people in our life. Life tends to smother enthusiasm with multiple distractions, daily routines, and other things. So passion is something we must actively, intentionally cultivate and nurture. Here are two points on how to build passion.

 

  1. Action inspires passion. If you know you should do it, DO IT! Don’t wait to feel inspired. Take action and motivation will follow. There is a loop here. In “Meditations on the Wisdom of Action,” Kyle Eschenroeder wrote, “Out fatal mistake is waiting to be motivated before we take action.” ACTION MOTIVATES. I don’t feel like working out until i get my blood flowing, … I don’t want to go to the dinner party until I’m there. … Instead of waiting to feel like working toward who you’d like to be, act in line with that desire, and the FEELING WILL FOLLOW, TAKE ACTION TO BECOME. Proverbs 16:3 makes the same point: “Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.” the deed precedes the thought. The action precedes and inspires the passion.

  2. Get passionate about what God is passionate about. God’s thoughts are higher than out and we have to rise to reach them (Isaiah 55:9). God is passionate; we have to go after that passion. For example, we prayers aren’t effective. God says fervent, effectual (Greek: energeo) prayers avail much! (James 5:16). Ask God for the right passion, and all the same emotions he has. Ask in faith, be persistent, and He will give it.

 

Build more passion in your life. The more you do it, the more motivated you will be, the more successful and effective will be your activities and your relationships, and the more satisfaction and joy you will have.

 

Seven Keys for Building Leadership

Practical lessons for future Kings and Priests; From an example of the life of Winston Churchill.

 

Winston Churchill had many qualities that made him an outstanding leader. Even as a young man, he stood out among others his age, understanding and seeing things on the world scene that even adults didn’t see.

 

In the conclusion of Book 1 of his history of The Second World War, Churchill wrote this about the day he became prime minister: “I cannot conceal from the reader of this truthful account that as I went to bed about 3 a.m., I was conscious of a profound sense of relief. At last, I had the authority to give directions over the whole scene. I felt as if I were walking with destiny, and that all my past life had been but a preparation for this hour and for this trial.” Churchill recognized that throughout his life, he was being prepared for what he faced in World War II.

 

In face, God was preparing him to stand up to Adolf Hitler and the Holy Roman Empire! Many historians see that Churchill was practically the only man who had the will and the ability to do that job. Could such a unique man come on the scene without any preparation? If God is going to use someone in a leadership position, then He puts in time to prepare that individual. It is quite clear God had a hand in preparing WInston Churchill to be a leader He could use.

 

The Prophet Daniel wrote that the Most High God rules in the kingdom of men (Daniel 4:17, 4:25, 4:32). If God wants something to happen, nobody can stop Him! God made Nebuchadnezzar eat grass like an animal for seven years to prove that point (Daniel 5:21). But how many leaders today really know that?

 

God always warns Israel before it is attacked, especially when it is an attack like World War II. Ezekiel 33:1-33:6 is a prophecy of how God would use a man like Churchill as a watchman to warn the nations of Israel that include Britain and America. Churchill fulfilled this role and played a crucial part in history and even Bible prophecy.

 

A Difficult Childhood.

 

How did Winston Churchill become such a mighty man? What kind of childhood did this man have?

 

Churchill had a lot of affection for his mother. “She shone for me like the evening star,” he wrote, “I loved her dearly, but at a distance. In some ways, his love was unreturned. His mother said that she didn’t start paying attention to him until “he became interesting.” which was later in his adult life.

 

Winston’s parents sent him to a tough boarding school when he was only 7 years old. At the time, he had a stutter and lisp, and because of this, other children bullied him terribly. Where were his parents when this was happening? They didn’t want him! He would beg his mother to come and see him, but she usually never replied.

 

Historian William Manchester wrote The Last Lion, one of the most dramatic biographies of Churchill. He got to the point of what Churchill was all about in a way that many biographers fail to do. And he wrote over a hundred pages in the first volume about the ordeal Churchill had to go through with his parents.

 

“He was to young to travel in London along,” Manchester wrote, “Yet he couldn’t even be sure there would be anyone to greet his train when he arrived: We have 19 days holiday at Easter. I hope you will send someone to meet me at the station.’

 

Astonishingly, Randolph met an appointment in Brighton a short walk from the school but didn’t bother to cross the street and call on his son. Winston found out about it. ‘My dear papa,’ he wrote ‘You never came to see me on Sunday when you were in Brighton.’ It happened again: while you were in Brighton, I was very disappointed but I suppose you were to busy to come.”

 

Because he didn’t excel at Greek or Latin, Winston’s instructors considered him a dunce. His mother wrote him saying, “Dearest Winston, you make me very unhappy…. Your work is an insult to your intelligence.” His parents never gave him any praise or recognition. He replied, “My own mummy, I can tell you your letter cut me up very much.”

 

After being at that school for 10 years, each parent only visited him once, and not at the same time.

 

God had a hand in many of these experiences Churchill had to endure. God used them to toughen him up, preparing him for his future role as prime minister.

 

Churchill’s life teaches us many lessons. It is especially important to study the qualities of leadership he showed. God’s true Christians are in training for positions of leadership even more exalted than any that Churchill fulfilled! If we are going to have an impact as leaders, then we must be building leader like qualities today!

 

Here are seven key points on building real leadership.

 

  1. A Leader Must Have Vision.

 

“Where there is no vision, the people perish” Proverbs 29:18. If we lack Godly Vision, then we, along with those we lead, will perish!

 

World War II was, as Manchester wrote, “England’s greatest crisis since the Norman conquest, vaster than those precipitated by Philip II’s Spanish Armada, Louis XIV’s triumpahant armies, or Napoleon’s invasion barges massed at Boulogne. This time Britain stood alone. If the Germans crossed the channel and established uncontested beachheads, all would be lost…’ (The Last Lion). Britain was nearly being brought to its death as a nation! At Dunkirk, the British almost lost 220,000 of there best soldiers. If God hadn’t performed a miracle, they would have all died.

 

In these dark circumstances, Churchill showed remarkable vision. The English feared for their lives! They were looking for a powerful leader. Churchill was the man. He knew you didn’t win wars by retreating from the enemy. He recognized that it was a time for stern resolve, He determined to prepare for tough times and fight!

 

Manchester wrote that England was looking for “an artist who knew how to gather the blazing light of history into his prism and then distort it to his ends, an embodiment of inflexible resolution who could impose his will and his imagination on his people: a great tragedian who understood the appeal of martyrdom and could tell his followers the worst, hurling it to them like great hunks of bleeding meat, persuading them that the year of Dunkirk would be one in which it was equally good to live or to die’ …Churchill didn’t speak smooth things to the British people! No leader today would speak to his people like that.

 

Manchester concluded the introduction of his first volume by writing, “Such a man, if he existed. Would be England’s last chance. In London, there was such a man.” Winston Churchill was the man for the job. But it wasn’t because of anything he did; it was all organized by the one who rules in the kingdom of men – God! Churchill had been prepared by God. He didn’t have God’s Spirit, but he did serve God’s purpose. God did not want His people to die during the sixth head of the Holy Roman Empire. So Churchill was prepared by God to save the Western world!

 

The Allies came extremely close to losing World War II, After Neville Chamberlain’s resignation, two men were left to fill the position of prime minister: Halifax and Churchill. The king wanted Halifax in that position. Halifax’s plan was to negotiate peace with Hitler. But Churchill understood that if Britain was going to win the war, it had to fight! The rest of Europe was folding, with many smaller nations surrendering. But Churchill said, “We will never surrender!” Terrible things were happening and it looked as thought Germany would overtake Britain. But Churchill said Britain would die choking in its own blood before that would happen. What a remarkable leader!

 

What vision it took for Churchill to recognize that the great German warmonger could be conquered! For Britain to survive, it needed a leader who had VISION!

 

2. A Leader Must Learn History.

 

In spite of Churchill’s difficulties in his childhood, he excelled in areas that set him apart from all others. One area where he stood out was in the subject of history.

 

Winston had a love for studying history. Though he was at the bottom of his class, he could recite 1,200 lines of McCauley, the historian.

 

One of his teachers wrote his parents saying, “If he is unable to conquer this slovenliness… he will never make a success of a public school.. (Winston) is a remarkable boy in many ways, and it would be a thousand pities if such good abilities were made useless by habitual negligence. I ought not to close without telling you that i am very much pleased with some history work he has done for me.”

 

If you learn history, then you will have a lot more vision as a leader. It gives you a vital perspective, as Churchill’s life proved. Winston Churchill learned history! He was fascinated with that subject and saw great importance in it. It proved to be invaluable in informing his decision-making as prime minister. What Churchill later wrote about the Earl of Rosebery, you could apply to Churchill himself: “The past stood ever at his elbow and was the counselor upon whom he most relied. He seemed to be attended by learning and history, and to carry into current events an air of ancient majesty.”

 

3. A Leader Must Learn To Love And Use Language.

 

Churchill loved Shakespeare and poetry. He was often able to correct his teachers because he knew more about it than they did. He regularly spoke about how noble the English language was and how he loved the essential structure of an ordinary British sentence. “Shortly after Winston’s 14th birthday,” Manchester wrote, “the headmaster told Seely that he had never seen a boy with such a love and veneration for the English language.”

 

Churchill’s fascination with words continued to grow throughout his life. He really learned how to use the English language.

 

He went on to write and speak as no other historian or leader ever did. His speeches helped galvanize the British people in resisting Germany’s advance. When President John Kennedy granted Churchill honorary American citizenship in 1963, he famously said, “He mobilized the English language and sent it into battle.”

 

4. A Spiritual Leader Must Honor His Father.

 

As Winston grew, his relationship with his physical father was practically nonexistent. After almost 10 years in the boarding school his parents had sent him to, he wrote his parents: “You have never been to see me and so everything will be new to you.” To his mother he wrote, “Do try to get Papa to come. He has never been.” But as Manchester wrote, “Papa refused. The relationship between these two had long been doomed.”

 

How could God make Churchill great even when his childhood seemed so bleak?

 

There is a vital lesson in this for us. We can have difficult pasts, but if we are honoring God the Father, He will make us great! If you honor your Spiritual Father, then you are never alone!

 

What if you had to appeal for God the Father to come, the way Churchill had to appeal for his physical father to visit him? Jesus Christ was brutally beaten and marred to the point that He didn’t even look like a man and then died for our sins. That shows how committed your Spiritual Father is to helping you. He will never refuse to come when you ask for Him! He will never let you down.

 

When we don’t succeed in life, it is natural to present a lot of excuses as to why. But look at Churchill.

 

I’m sure the fact that his father didn’t like him and thought he would never succeed really motivated him later in life.

 

5. A Leader Must Have Ambition.

 

Early in his adult life, Churchill had an ambition to be prime minister. But he knew that if he was to fulfill such a high office, he had to get involved in war.

 

Though he finished at the bottom of his class at Harrow, he passed with high honors from Sandhurst military academy. He then went on to India for nine years and served in nine British regiments. Most notably, he served in the last British cavalry charge with 21 lancers at the Battle of Omdurman. He was also in the Batter of the Royal Scots Fusiliers on the western front in World War I.

 

If there was a war, Winston was there! He threw himself into these dangerous endeavors because he really wanted to become a man of influence in Parliament. He had ambition to achieve great things.

 

This kind of ambition is necessary for great accomplishments in this world. God’s people, though, must look at this Spiritually, We need ambition not for ourselves, but for GOD!

 

God’s people are going to be kings and priests. That means we need Godly Ambition!

 

God is in the process of recreating Himself. That is the greatest thing that God can achieve. Think about the immense scale of ambition God has; Recreating Himself in man is the ultimate feat of His ability! His ambition will result in a royal God Family of massive size, spreading into the universe forever! “The Zeal of the Lord of host will perform this” (Isaiah 9:7).

 

We need to take on that ambitious thinking ourselves and do everything we can to help God accomplish His ambitions! We need Godly ambition. God’s people are being called to help serve an estimated 50 billion people on the Last Great Day at the Great White Throne Judgment! God wants to see His people really achieve and overcome, using the power of God to do so.

 

6. A Leader Must Be A Servant.

 

Matthew 20 relates the account of the mother of Zebedee’s children coming to Jesus Christ. She asked for her sons to sit at the right and left hand of Christ. She and her sons were ambitious. But they lacked an important dimension of understanding.

 

Christ reminded this woman that those positions were not His to give, but the Fathers. The 10 disciples heard this conversation and it made them upset. They were competing with each other for these positions! They wanted to know which of them would be the greatest.

 

At that point, Christ reminded them of an important truth:  “Whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant” (verses 26-27). It is not Godly ambition to compete for high positions as the disciples were doing. That kind of competition is a bitter pill we must get rid of.

 

With many leaders in God’s Church, you often don’t see them in the spotlight because they are not looking for recognition. They just want to serve.

 

As much as his parents neglected him, young Winston did have a nanny, and she proved to be a huge and positive influence in his life. Her name was Elizabeth Everest. He called her “Woom.” Of her, he wrote, “My nurse is my confidant. At her death, she was my dearest and most intimate friend.” This woman was there to serve and help him when he needed her most. This remarkable nanny played an important part in shaping and preparing this soon-to-be great leader.

 

Look at what this woman did for Churchill just by serving! She helped shape a magnificent leader! You could say she had a mighty impact on Western civilization just by serving this young boy!

 

We need to be ambitious TO SERVE and forget about the spotlight.

 

If you compare yourself with others, you will only get discouraged. When i was in third grade and a fellow student was exalted with a higher grade above me, I thought to myself, Well, I must not be doing so well. But during conversations with some people 3 to 7 times my age, i was told to just get out there and serve! If you get passed by in an opportunity, that’s not necessarily because you aren’t pleasing God. Just get the fouc off yourself, and focus on serving!

 

Get out and serve, never giving up! If you have the right attitude and don’t quit, then you will always win.

 

7. A Leader Must Have Courage.

 

Churchill had to endure a lot of difficulty when he went off to those wars. But that military experience helped build a lot of courage in him. That courage would eventually give him the gumption to stand up to Adolf Hitler and to be the man that Britain needed to win the war.

 

At the time that troops were evacuating Dunkirk, the French had decided that they would make a deal with Hitler. BRITAIN WOULD HAVE TO STAND ALONE AGAINST GERMANY. But Churchill had the courage to say, Whether we live or die we are going to fight! He wasn’t going to shrink back in fear.

 

We must have courage. There are things in our personal lives that we may fear, just as i’m sure Churchill feared some of the challenges he faced. But we can have the power of God behind us every time we try to carry out our duty. When you step out in faith, you will be building courage. Every time you step out and trust God, He will back you.

 

God promises that he won’t try you more than you can bear (1 Corinthians 10:13). He isn’t trying to get you to fail. He knows you so well that he knows the level of trial to put you through. He knows precisely how far to go with a trial to help you learn a lesson and build courage and ambition along the way.

 

After all, if we are going to sit on the throne with Jesus Christ and rule the Earth and the universe, then we must have courage and ambition of the right kind! We are going to be kings and priests; that is not a fantasy: It is our God-ordained future!

 

Churchill’s fighting spirit made him unique among other men. That is the SPIRIT that God wants us to have: We are going to fight to the death or to life. The British wanted to give up, but to Churchill, that wasn’t an option! His voice and words changed their thinking. He was a unique man who had weaknesses, but he did have some real virtues that saved a war-weary Britain. Historian Alistair Cooke listed this as Churchill’s greatest virtue: “Above all, in the supreme crisis of national survival, his absolute refusal (unlike many good and prudent men around him) to compromise or surrender.” Churchill WOULD NOT compromise or surrender, regardless of how negative the situation.

 

Cooke continued: “An old English friend who served in the British embassies both in Washington and Moscow was always put off by his (Churchill’s) brutality, his contempt for the lesser breeds without the law, his lust for war, and so on’; nevertheless, he thought of him as a hero, ‘BECAUSE I THINK HE SAVED OUR LIVES, and i expect that under my old chief Lord Halifax we should have made peace in 1940 and been successfully invaded after, or before the defeat of Russia’” (emphasis mine). People began to see that CHURCHILL SAVED THEIR LIVES! That is leadership par excellence in this world!

 

Churchill saved the Western world! He stopped the West from being enslaved to Adolf Hitler, Germany and the Holy Roman Empire! God helped this man develop the kind of character and leadership that saved nations!

 

English author Harold Begbie wrote, “But politics for Churchill… have nothing to do with Churchill. It must have everything to do with the salvation of mankind.”

 

Churchill knew an unchecked Hitler meant the annihilation of the world. He was concerned about the salvation of mankind!

 

What are we here for today? God is using His firstfruits to save mankind! We cannot be thinking about ourselves, our focus must remain on being servants who save people. We need to bring people into God’s Family by the example we set by God! This is an amazing opportunity to help Jesus Christ!

 

Churchill saved Britain when it was asleep. Now the world is in a coma and God needs US to STEP UP TO OUR LEADERSHIP POTENTIAL!