This may seem a bit of a strange way to start a devotional but it struck me this morning as I was reading my daily devotionals that God’s Army is much like the Army I (and Gen. Patton) served in. There were leaders, followers, some who stood by the wayside (out of the way) watching the world pass them by and I will add a 4th category, those who collaborate with the enemy who loves the world so much they will turn on their neighbors.
Like all good Armies, God’s Army needs leaders too. The first of such was Peter. John MacArthur’s devotional does an excellent job of making this point:
Building a Leader: The Right Experiences (Peter)
The twelve apostles included “Simon, who is called Peter” (Matt. 10:2).
Your present experiences contribute to your future leadership ability.
Stan Carder is a dear brother in Christ and one of the pastors on our church staff. Before coming to Grace Church he pastored a church in Montana. While there, he was riding one night in a truck that was involved in a very serious accident. Stan suffered a broken neck and other major injuries. As a result he underwent months of arduous and painful therapy.
That was one of the most difficult periods in Stan’s life, yet God used it for a specific purpose. Today, as pastor of our special-ministries department, Stan ministers to more than 500 physically and mentally handicapped people. God needed a man with unique qualifications to show love to a group of very special people. He chose Stan and allowed him the necessary experiences to fit him for the task.
God doesn’t always permit such serious situations, but He does lead each of us into life-changing experiences that heighten our effectiveness in ministry.
Peter had many such experiences. In Matthew 16:15-16, for example, God gave him a special revelation about the deity of Christ. In Acts 10 God sent him to preach the gospel to Gentiles—something unheard of at the time because Jewish people resisted any interaction with Gentiles. Perhaps the most tragic experience of Peter’s life was his denial of Christ. But even that only increased his love for Christ and his appreciation of God’s grace. After His resurrection, Christ forgave him and restored him to ministry (John 21:15-19).
Peter’s many experiences helped prepare him for the key role he was to play in the early church. Similarly, your experiences help prepare you for future ministry. So seek to discern God’s hand in your circumstances and rejoice at the prospect of becoming a more effective Christian.
Suggestions for Prayer
Thank God for both the good and bad experiences you have, knowing that each of them is important to your spiritual growth (cf. James 1:2-4).
For Further Study
Read Acts 10, noting what Peter learned from his experience.
King David is at it again writing and praising God that is. In this case his song is about God’s omniscience (He knows all things)v.1-6,God’s omnipresence (He is everywhere)v.7-12and God’s omnipotence (He is all powerful – able to do anything)v.13-18.It is this first section that we will at today, and specifically our text is the third verseThous compasses my path…
Thou compassest my path – I know y’all hear me say context, context context all the time but here is a prime example. The word compassest(or compass) can mean:
Instrument for laying out direction
Instrument for scribing circles
Being surrounded enclosed limits of something
Specified space within limits of something
To go, move around something
My point is without knowing the context we are free to “assume” whatever we want about a text, which is both unbiblical and dangerous. Here David is really saying ‘God you know each and every step I take in life my journey.’ All my steps are carefully laid out
and my lying down, – Even when I lay down at night you Lord are present, you know all my thoughts and dreams
and art acquainted – God is not just acquainted (informed about) folks, He is intimately familiar with His chosen people
with all my ways. – In fact that familiarity goes for everything we think and do.
I am not sure with all the technology in the military today if they still teach land navigation, and issue the trusty old Lensatic Compass. If not they should, as everyone needs a leader fully capable of understanding the path or way they are leading. Further it is equally important for leaders to be acquainted or familiar with the personnel in their under their command. A leaders job is to be that compass, to ensure those who have been entrusted to their charge are not wondering on the wrong path.
Observation: What did I read? What struck you as most meaningful?
Interpretation: What does it mean? Overall and the most meaningful? Did it change your view on being Compasses?
Application: How does it apply to me?
Implementation: What do I do? How can I start living it out today?
Porque no nos ha dado Dios espíritu de cobardía, sino de poder, de amor y de dominio propio (RVR 1960)
Paul is writing to Timothy, and it is Timothy’s first experience as a leader on his own. He had previously been Paul’s partner in the ministry but now he was in charge of the operation and naturally had some trepidation (fear) of screwing up.
As service members it is easy to relate to Timothy, the first time we are assigned roles as (usually) E-4 Corporals, Petty Officer 3rd or Sr. Airman the pressure is on to preform and there is a natural fear of failure. As the chart below shows with an increase in rank the duties and responsibility do not get any easier. In fact the bigger the insignia the more there is for you to do.
Yet Paul reminds Timothy, it is God who intimately places us in positions of authority and His authority is supreme. We can be empowered by His Holy Spirit when we call upon His strength and power and not our own.
Read the commentary and answer this weeks questions. As always may you be edified and God glorified. – Mike
All the kings of the earth shall praise thee, O Lord, when they hear the words of thy mouth. – Psalms 138:4
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all the leaders on earth suddenly found their hearts filled with love, and compassion, and justice? What would happen if they all decided that top priority would be to take care of others first? Perhaps then we would have a taste of what God originally intended. We want to believe that our leaders are listening for the voice of God as they make their difficult decisions, but often we can only wonder. Perhaps one day all the kings of earth will stop their quarreling long enough to hear the gentle urgings of God. Until then, it is the responsibility of every Christian to pray for the leaders and ask God that He might work for good in spite of them, when it is impossible to work with or through them.
Prayer: Amidst the chaos of our world, Lord, You are the center of sanity and reason. Inspire our leaders to work together for the greatest good. Help them to do what is pleasing in Your sight. Amen.
It is the duty of leaders to lead in a just and moral way. It is the duty of every believer to pray daily for our leaders to do just that. – Mike