Meditation Daniel 5:26-28--This is the interpretation of the message: MENE means that God has numbered the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end. TEKEL means that you have been weighed in the balance and found deficient.PERES means that your kingdom has been divided and given to the Medes and Persians.
When was the last time you sat beside a fire, alone, and able to think and meditate? The previous home owners left me a gift of numerous piles of dead branches all over the property. I guess they didn’t have time to burn anything but I still would label their actions a gift because they gave me plenty of reason to clear away brush piles and, in the process, burn. There is something mesmerizing (and therapeutic) about sitting next to a fire and watching it reduce large masses to smoldering ashes. No branch escapes. All that feel the hot fury of flame are engulfed and reduced to residue.
Dr. Gary Bredfeldt, author of Great Leader, Great Teacher, has some poignant observations to share about the character of leaders. He notes that values are valuable as principles, qualities or standards. Values represent leader beliefs that come from heartfelt commitment—that indicate emotional investment. They can be morally neutral and subjective and, as society increasingly becomes relativistic, values (which are not moral absolutes) gain greater favor. Values can be personalized and tied to race, gender or class.
We know from Genesis 5 that Enoch was the seventh generation from Adam, and he is the supposed writer of The BookofEnoch considered an apocryphal book and part of the Pseudepigrapha. Enoch 100:8 states: “Woe to you, ye obstinate of heart, Who watch in order to devise wickedness; Therefore shall fear come upon you And there shall be none to help you.”
Trina is a disrupter. She never lasts long in organizations because she has a bad habit of stirring up trouble. When she finds weaknesses in people she exploits them. She enjoys pitting one person against another. She is a gossiping genius. At first her gregarious nature and warm appearance win her instant friends. Slowly, as they learn she cannot be trusted with information, they pull away.
Meditation Ezra 8:21-23--I proclaimed a fast by the Ahava River, so that we might humble ourselves before our God and ask Him for a safe journey for us, our children, and all our possessions. I did this because I was ashamed to ask the king for infantry and cavalry to protect us from enemies during the journey, since we had told him, “The hand of our God is gracious to all who seek Him, but His great anger is against all who abandon Him.” So we fasted and pleaded with our God about this, and He granted our request.
When the leaders of the military set as their highest priority rooting out right-wing extremists and ensuring transgender Americans can serve in the force we can be sure that our readiness is woefully compromised. Who feeds the Commander-in-Chief his information? If it is people from the Palm Center the United States is in big trouble. This organization focuses its attention on America’s LBGT population and they say focusing on transgender issues is an urgent priority for military readiness. Supposedly “recruitment, reputation, retention, unit cohesion, morale, medical care, and good order and discipline” are compromised by banning transgender Americans from serving. But they do not back up their statements with evidence outside their small population group. As someone who served in the military for 36 years I can tell you from my experience that their findings are absurd.
Started in 1994, the No Regrets Men’s Conference is an annual event whose purpose is to challenge men in their relationship with God at home, at work and in their ministry. Hosted in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the organizers seek to create an environment over about a four-hour period that ministers in a great variety of host sites around the world. Spiritual growth is set in motion when men and boys come together to worship and to hear challenging messages. What is also encouraging is the effort by the leaders to provide ongoing Bible Studies and messages designed to stimulate men spiritually so they don’t just experience a “one and done” but have impetus to keep maturing.
It might seem strange to start the year with a devotional on 1 & 2 Kings but it actually is quite appropriate. In this new year a president-elect is soon to be inaugurated. Somewhere around 1010 B.C., David, arguably the nation of Israel’s greatest king, just before he died passed great wisdom to his son Solomon. His words if heeded by any newly elected leader or monarch in modern times would make a significant difference.
Meditation Ezra 1:1-2--Inthe first year of Cyrus king of Persia, the word of the Lord spoken through Jeremiah was fulfilled.TheLordput it into the mindof King Cyrus to issue a proclamation throughout his entire kingdom and to put it in writing: This is what King Cyrus of Persia says: “TheLord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and has appointed me to build Him a house at Jerusalem in Judah.”
If you want to read great books on leadership, read 1st and 2nd Samuel. Early tradition suggests that 1 and 2 Samuel were originally one book in scripture so I will do my best to examine the combined 55 chapters and share key leadership lessons. No author is named for these books but scholars largely credit the prophets Samuel, Nathan and Gad. Based on 1 Sa. 27:6, the writing may not have been completed until about 930 B.C.
Israel experienced the death of their famous leader Joshua still facing the enormous task of conquering Canaan. The book of Judges follows up where the book of Joshua left off, with the challenge of expelling wicked nations in territory God assigned for His people in a period that spans three centuries.
Meditation Joshua 14:10-12—"As you see, theLordhas kept me alive these 45 years as He promised,since the Lord spoke this word to Moses while Israel was journeying in the wilderness. Here I am today, 85 years old. I am still as strong today as I was the day Moses sent me out. My strength for battle and for daily tasks is now as it was then.Now give me this hill country the Lord promised me on that day, because you heard then that the Anakim are there, as well as large fortified cities.Perhaps theLordwill be with me and I will drive them out as the Lord promised.”
Deuteronomy is a “must read” for any serious student of the Bible. That it is one of the most significant books of the Old Testament is evidenced by at least 28 quotations by Christ and various authors of the New Testament. Jesus quoted from this book three times to refute Satan’s temptations when He was led out into the desert for forty days without food (Matthew 4:1-11; Deu. 6:13, 16; 8:3). Once when asked by a Pharisee what the greatest commandment in the law was, Jesus quoted Deu. 6:5, “Love theLordyour God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.”
The fourth book of the Bible is Numbers which is a translation of Arithmoi, from the Septuagint. It is titled as such because the book contains two census counts, numerous statistics, tribal and priestly figures, and other numerical data. The Hebrew name is included in the first sentence of the book and means “in the desert of ”; an accurate description of the book’s content, which follows the Israelites through almost forty years of desert wandering. The story began in the second year of the Israelites escape from Egypt, as they camped in the Wilderness of Sinai around 1444 BC. It ends 38 years later “in the plains of Moab by the Jordan across from Jericho” (36:13) in 1406 BC.
Rabbi Irving Greenberg in his article “Why The Exodus Was So Significant” wrote, “The Exodus transformed the Jewish people and their ethic . . . Christianity and Islam adopted the Exodus at their core, almost half the world is profoundly shaped by the aftereffects of the Exodus event.”
Stephen is the project manager for a large construction company. Currently his job is to oversee the creation of a new apartment complex. Ed, a close friend, asked if he would be willing to be the Scout Master for the Boy Scout chapter in their town. Because Stephen has three sons, two of whom were involved in the Scouting program, he was very interested in the offer. His wife, Rachel, who is in charge of their church’s children ministry, asked him if he would be willing to take responsibility for building a new children’s wing—a worthy project that would really help the church. Four of his college friends have put together a softball team and they would like Stephen to pitch, a position he excelled in both high school and college. Stephen is feeling overwhelmed. While he would love to do all of the above, he knows this would be unwise and probably unhealthy. What should he do?