Character is Built in The Night

Psalm 16:7 I will bless the Lord who has given me counsel;
My heart also instructs me in the night seasons.

The hidden man of the heart decides most actions. Among the mental health solutions most recommended for depression, anxiety, PTSD, and both process and substance addictions is a regimen named CBT.  CBT stands for Cognitive (Thinking) Behavior Therapy. Address your thoughts and your actions will follow.  Follow with your actions. You are what you think. You become that on which you mull and meditate.  Your actions come from the inner man, the heart, the soul, the mind, the will, and the emotions.

Character Guides Profit

The product of business is profit.  Profit is a good thing unless it is the only thing.  Why do I want to profit?  Have I built a character base to guide my gain? Two good friends come to mind.  Both are wealthy.  Both focus all gain/profit on expanding the kingdom. Yes, they live fulfilled lives, but not over spending lives.  The amounts they give to kingdom works and benevolence is outstanding as a percentage of profits. Another, “Christian”, friend spends his profits on himself.  He travels extensively and posts all over Facebook of his travels and love for family.  His gain is his gain. He shares some of the wealth, but his focus that he shares is himself first and God when convenient.

The first two friends fulfill this proverb of the seventh verse. First, they bless the Lord not just with words, but action.   They recognize that God gave them wisdom and access to wealth.  In gratefulness, they give back and bless Him and His work.  Second, they are extremely prayerful men.  They take everything to heart.  They are persistent disciples of Christ and run their businesses with compassion and Christian disciplines.  Their hearts (mind, will, and emotions) are guided even when they sleep and especially in hard times (night seasons).  They do not become a different person under pressure because their heart is secured to His heart.

Character Guides People

The product of a community organization is people.  Whether you are the Salvation Army or a church or the local women’s shelter, you are focused on people.  You need finances, but that is not your product.  The same questions apply.  Why do I want to touch people? Have I built a character base to guide community gain?  A conversation with the mayor of a community we reach revealed his heart. We spent hours discussing how to develop the hearts of the people in the community alongside all the economic growth and infrastructure changes.  Discussions with other community leaders takes the same direction, but not all.  Some want to tear down old houses to “clean out the rats” or “take away places for crime”.  Others want to tear down old houses to deliver kinder, gentler neighborhoods and encourage growth.   There is a difference of heart.

Character Comes in the Night

Struggles reveal the deep meditations of the heart. Profits will be challenged.  Our people touch will be challenged.  At those moments, we go back to character built in other moments to make our decisions.

Character is built by quieting our fears with faith.

Character is built by quickening our faith in the face of risk.

Character is built by quickness to turn to God when nothing seems solid.

Character is built by quietly meditating on His wisdom in His Word when all is well and our thoughts are clear.

Character is built in the inner man to be exposed by the outer man of actions.

A few years ago, my wife and I had major decisions to make concerning our future contributions to profit and people.  For days, we locked ourselves in prayer.  Intense hours were spent reading scriptures and prayerfully considering our future lives.  Each option in front of us had risks and gains.  Today as I look back, the choice was made from a life of handling risks and gains in God’s grace not just the few days of prayer.  Our

impact is many fold what it had been.  Our finances are nowhere near where they were, but our people impact is exploded. Deep character is built in the night.

solumleaf

Phil 405.388.8037  phil@shepherdok.com 

 

 

Never Fails – Supply Chain

Lord , you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. Psalm 16:5 NIV 
Businesses come and go. Fortunes are made and lost. Communities crumble and triumph. Organizations develop and deteriorate. The Lord protects His own.

Serving the Lord of Creation for four decades, I have never seen Him fail my family, friends, finances, or community.  He is faithful even when we fail to follow.

Yes, I have seen horrid and untimely death. I have seen people lose home and property. Yet, these were not the Lord’s doing or desire. He is a Father Protector for those that allow.

“I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection.” Sigmund Freud

All need protection and leadership.  You need fathers in faith and life. Father God works direct and through others.  I am gratefull for the mentors and fathers that have watched over me and coached. Men in business, community, and faith have exampled strength, character, and faithfulness. If you only follow self, you are walking in circles. None stays fully faithful, except THE Father.

He is a portion and supply.  A good mentor walked into my office with a sizeable, surprise bonus. According to company rules, I was not eligible.  He went to bat for me and got it done. He taught me gratefulness comes bearing gifts. My portion was increased.  The Father increases my portion. Faithful in little becomes trusted with more. He is my portion and He is huge. He increases me.

He is a cup and vision. Most business professionals have a favorite cup. A mug sits on the desk for coffee or water or tea. Me? I rotate my cup based on current project. A Dad’s University cup and a grandpa cup are my current favorites. And I have many others given as gifts from kids and friends. The cup is a sign of blessing and focus. The Father is my cup, reminder, blessor, builder, focus and vision.

He makes your lot and assignment secure. A group of executives under which I served for a season gave me a good lot.  Then they shifted vision and offered me a bad lot. A lot is a place in which to prosper. In the good lot I could prosper them and me.  In a bad lot, they prospered and I did not. Win lose propositions are always lose lose. I had to leave and they lost all the prosperity. The Father makes our lot secure, solid, longlasting.  He does not shift the terms so quickly we can not adjust. He watches and builds. When I have hit rough times, He enters with new and consistent opportunities to be supported and grow. They can be tough, but they will prosper you. He is not a trickster.

Portion, cup, and lot give us a track on which to grow. Supply, vision, and assignment might be another way to say it. Be strong in these three. Cover yourself with stability through established mentors. Depend on the Father to be the core supply and security of all three.

Stand and Stare

I say to the Lord , “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.” Psalm 16:2 NIV

Prayer is a matter of fact transacting of business. Hudson Taylor

In a negotiation and business relationship, we acknowledge the position and power of each involved. In front of God, acknowledge His position and power.

When I pray, I pray to the Creator of All.  Remember to whom you are speaking. Realizes He is able to do whatever is needed. Acknowledge Him in His greatness. Stand before Him as a child of greatness.

When I pray, I pray to The Great Love. His love is outstanding above  all human expressions of love. Come repentant. Acknowledge gratitude for this love through a changed life. Yearn to be like Him.

When I pray, I pray to The Good God. His goodness challenges me to step up my life. He is good to all. His mercy covers all His creation. Acknowledge love and acceptance for others unlike yourself. All are Hs creation and objects of His goodness and affection.

 Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage. Lao Tzu

Struggle through life issues with a confidence and reliance on the Great Lord. He is Lord. He is Master. He is Boss. He is In Charge. He is King. He is not here to do my bidding but for me to express His will and way.

In employment and business relationships I try to remember the parable of the talents. Jesus tells the story of a business operator who assigns assets to be managed by three men. Two are faithful and increase the value. One does nothing. In the end the businessman says to the two, “Enter into the joy of the Master.”

The joy and reward is most defined by the owner of the asset and the most powerful in the transaction. When I recognize that, I open myself to greater reward in negotiation and relationship.

Approach God open. Allow Him to define the terms of reward. Drop preconceived ideas of what you want and understand He only has good to give.

Stand before the Lord, Creator, Great Love, Good God and stare into His power and presence. He will change you and your circumstance. He has good to give.

Positions In The Lead

Keep me safe, my God, for in you I take refuge. Ps 16:1

The writer positions his mind and heart in God as he prays and preps for the day ahead. We need that. As a community and  business professional, I need that.  We need to position to posture and to pose in our our mind and heart as we approach the Living God in the day of challenge that lives ahead of us.

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

How do You Stand in Front of the Lord of All in the Face of the Day?

Position with humility. Recognize He is God and I am nothing. Yet, in my nothing , He makes something. He makes worthy. He makes valuable. He makes able to stand before Him. No longer am I nothing. I deserve nothing and receive by grace everything as a free gift.  Sure, I have good successes. Sure, they can vaporize in a moment.

Position with gratefulness. Thank Him for all He brings. He brings life and life with abundance. He gives forgiveness and the freedom to walk without bondage of depression and anxiety and defeat. I am grateful for all the years I have  success. I am grateful to the I have served and those that serve me. I am grateful most to the God, who has stood with me.

Position with power. The same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead is on my side and your side. Stand there in His favor. Allow Him a place. Spiritual power is necessary for balanced growth. It is not just me or others, but His intervention that gets me through the tough spots.

Position with confidence. Confidence builds through conquest. Problems rise and fall. We rise and fall in and through them. Rise more than fall. It is said the average strong business leader fails five times before striking on the right formula to success. Get up and go again. Stand up and sing again. Never stop singing. Never stop standing.

Approach the Lord of All with a calm dependence on Him and a sure readiness to act. Be ready for Him to support and you to work without tiring. Position heart and mind to succeed. Shake off failure and put on confidence. He invests in you. He believes in you. He will not make a bad investment.

Lessons from Luther

Martin Luther was given keen insight into salvation as a free gift of God.  Other items became clear and freedom was offered to many that had been bound in tradition. He was not fully released from some traditions. His hardness resulted in loneliness.

When he had opportunity to include others, he refused.  He entrenched on issues that were not critical but represented the very tradition he sought to break away.  Zwingli came to him with an open heart and open arms and allowance for disparate beliefs that were not critical to Christ living. Two hard pieces of old tradition clung to Luther and kept him from enjoying the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  Don’t make Luther ‘s mistake and walk alone.

This attitude became a continuing mark of those that later called themselves Lutheran.  His hard stance was fathered into generations that some still stay separated from other Christians.

Are there pieces of my theology that exclude other Christians?

Can I find a way of peace that includes those that hold positions that are reprehensible to me?

Am I able to speak what I believe without pushing down what others believe?

Action: Make time to meet with a leader of an area similar to your leadership area.  Listen.  Don’t refute or critique.  Listen and learn. Find a place of agreement.

Boldly Break It Off!

excerpted from Time To Lead (available on Amazon.com)timetolead

Break Off Old Relationships

Radical action causes us to look for new anchors.

II Kings 18:4: He (Hezekiah) removed the high places, and broke the images, and cut down the groves, and broke in pieces the brazen serpent that Moses had made (during a time of destruction as a focal point): for in those days the children of Israel burned incense to it (turned the one use object into a sort of a god): and he called it Nehushtan (piece of brass).

 “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.

Base Living:Human nature leans toward base living. As much as we would like to complement our humanity, it simply will decay into animalistic expression left unchecked. Values and character are built over time and circumstance. Truth, honesty, courage, and compassion in a community do not come from standing on the corner and watching. They come from purposeful and determined action of many individuals over time.

Urgency: Hezekiah in his young heart knew action had to be taken. He sensed the urgency of the moment and moved off of the sidewalk of people watching. Hezekiah seized the day throughout his life. At this trend-setting juncture, he established a position of “no retreat” by tearing out the places to which people could retreat.

Disequilibrium: Creating disequilibrium for those caught in a vacuum of disillusionment and distortion of vision can be a necessity. When wanting to move forward into new territory, it is many times absolutely necessary to take away reminders of a destructive past. Radical action causes us to look for new anchors. Even a good thing in the brass serpent, which God meant for good when it was created, can become an evil reminder and a draw backwards instead of forward.

Hezekiah broke off old relationships that pointed the wrong direction in establishing and living in greatness before God with the people.

Ugandan Change AgentUgandan President Yoweri Museveni stood against the curve. After discovering a third of his army officers were HIV positive, he determined to make a stand. The President started a hard and loud program focusing on faithfulness and sexual purity. It was against the cultural curve. The nation had a culture of free sexual activity with multiple partners. He called for cultural change as an answer. The results were astounding. HIV percentages dropped 15% over a decade.

There have been many detractors to his actions. But he took them. He stood against the curve and called for a break with old relationships at a national and individual level.

 Respond with Action: What symbols of antiquity cause your vision to look backwards? What about the people with whom you partner? What ideas are anchored in the past but not the future? What keeps character tied to a post?

Pray with Faith: These are challenging words, Lord of Life. You have plans for me to succeed and prosper in all I do. You have focus on my future. There are many around me waiting on my action. Deliver me from the death of apathy. Deliver me from the shroud of inaction. Cause me to come to Your fresh and living waters. Cause me to see those obstacles that bind me and those around me to the past. Birth this greatness in me, Father. I commit to see life in a new light. Help me to purge the distractions that draw me backwards.

 

Time To Lead: Reroute

excerpted from Time To Lead: Steps To Transformation For Those and Those You Lead

timetoleadLeaders are able to reroute their path to meet core vision and objective.

II Kings 18: 5: He trusted in the LORD God of Israel; so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any that were before him.

“Preach the gospel at all times and when necessary use words.” St. Francis of Assisi

Trust In God: Our speaking platforms and writings resound with lessons on leadership and change based on the lives and teachings of Genghis Khan, Rollo May, Marcus Aurelius, William James, Winston Churchill, Confucius, Sun Tzu, humanism, capitalism, IBM, Jack Welch, Lee Iacocca, and the Marriott’s. Here is a man, who in his youth established a testimony of trust in God greater than David, Solomon, and all the other recorded world rulers of the day. Here is a man, who with little resource, pulled off the greatest upset against the giant of his day. His strongest resource was trust of God.

Common Creation: Hezekiah is a man like us. Young, ambitious, and filled with a life of bad examples, he chose to set a different path. In his later years, when he waned in trust in God and began to lean on himself and his strengths, he revived himself to former levels. Through a commitment to God, greatness oozed from him beyond what he had experienced early in ruling. Again, he saw great action of God on his behalf.

Greatness Enjoined Willingly By Others: In his hard twenty-nine years of leading, he worked with God to change his world. He worked with God to change himself. He worked with God to upset the status quo culture that had become ingrained in everyday living. What we attempt to do through hard legalistic mandates, he saw accomplished through leadership first in example and second in commanding action that so impressed others they left their commonness and joined him in greatness.

Cultural Imperatives: Our nation of the United States is under testing. Other nations have similar challenges. There is nothing new about the tests before us. Trials come in waves over the centuries. Equality is always questioned by some group and requires a constant adjustment as a nation of ever new citizens grows. Racial barriers rise in differing manners, but they will never totally subside. Poverty will always be with us and require constant adjustment and compassion to address. Distribution of wealth through taxation and business legal edicts will never be resolved to everyone’s satisfaction. Governance issues of when and how much to restrict use of common resources and contain greed through legislative restraint remain. Freedoms of speech, religion, and self-assertion need protecting.

How we act today as states and nations leaves the next generation a different set of symptoms of problems than ours. The issues are the same at the core. Leadership cannot rest once an issue is significantly addressed. Leadership is required for continuance of peace and community stability and economic prosperity. Hezekiah had been left with pain and bad example. He left a better line to follow.

Overcoming Bad Example: One of the strongest impacts in the last century in the United States came from Ronald Reagan. Through political and personal activity in California and as President of the United States, Reagan influenced the way people think and relate. His examples as a child were contradictory.

Reagan’s mother influenced him through personal example and involvement in the Disciples of Christ. Reagan’s father influenced him through continual failure in business and alcoholism. The unstable and irresponsible example could have been Reagan’s choice. It was not. He chose a higher road.

During times of change economically and in global duress, Reagan provided a leadership on which the nation depended. Dependability and responsibility in his life and example impacted those who agreed with him and those that did not.

Many leaders have bad example in their early life. It serves as an incentive and passion to live a different way. Every action we take is not always right. However, actions that bring hope and healing for others out of our own pain can make a big difference. Many of our leaders of all political parties and cultural heritage have acted out of their history and commonality with struggles to influence our nation.

Respond with Action: Take time to remember a good example left you from the last generation. Too often we focus on the bad and miss the good. There is blessing you can carry forward stronger than the last generation.

Pray with Faith: Father, pull from our heritage goodness. Yes, You placed goodness in our heritage from which we can grow. There is a path in our past meant to be stronger. Help us to sort through the bad and find the good. Help us to pass forward a world stronger and better than the one we inherited.

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Risk It! Be an “ABLE ALSO”

The intensity of being a contributor versus a consumer brings us to moments of challenged ability.  Be one that is able in the moment needed and others will entrust greatness into your hands.

 2Tm:2:2: And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.

 Winners Make Commitments.training

Losers Make Promises.

 In these few short words to Timothy, Paul revealed a tremendous portion of the key to his winning life.  Look at the word choices. Among Many Witnesses.  The Same.  Commit.  Faithful Men.  Able Also.

Among many witnesses.  Paul was not afraid for his life to be tested against witnesses.  His words were true and he stayed with them.  What witnesses heard years before still was true of his life.  Timothy was charged to make sure solid teaching, life, and words passed on to other men of commitment.

The same.  Paul was open in his life.  He committed himself to being like Jesus. The same yesterday, today, and forever.

Commit.  Paul was not noncommittal.  He made commitments and expected others to do the same.

Faithful men.    These are hard to find.  Paul never gave up.  Betrayed continually, he never gave up looking for faithful men.

Able also.  We can be an “able also”.  An “able also” does the same in making commitment, sticking with it, being faithful, following through, endures all things, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things.

Promises are cheap.  “I’ll be there.”  MEANS “If it fits the pressures of the moments right before.” OR “Whatever it takes to get you to quit asking.” .  “Til death do us part.”  MEANS “Until I redefine what I meant.” OR “Until I don’t want to handle the pressures anymore face to face.”

Commitment is expensive.  “I’ll be there.”  MEANS “Whatever the cost, I’ll rearrange life to get me there.”  “Til death do us part.”  MEANS “I will stick it out though I may not feel like it.  “I will take control of my feelings and bring them to submission in Christ.”

Psalm 15:1: LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle?  who shall dwell in thy holy hill? 2: He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. 3 : He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour. 4: In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoureth them that fear the LORD.  He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not. 5: He that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent.  He that doeth these things shall never be moved.

Take Inventory

What does it mean to be an “ABLE ALSO”?

What changes do I have to make?

Are there repairs that need to be done to broken commitments?

When am I willing to start?

Make Application

Write what you are going to specifically do in the next 30 days about this.

Pray To Be An Able Also

Father, make me an “ABLE ALSO”.  Change the way I promise to commitment.  Instill in me faithfulness.  When I am faithless, You are faith-full.  Make me like Jesus, the same yesterday, today, and forever. Psalm 51:10: Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. 11: Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. 12: Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. 13: Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.

Risk It!

Winners take risks.  They are unafraid of loss.  The balance of gains over losses motivates.

Psalm 20:6: Now I know that the LORD saves (brings out of trouble, restores, and strengthens) His anointed; He will hear him (and respond to his rallying call for help) from His holy heaven with the saving strength of His right hand (the hand of power and ability, the hand at which Jesus represents His). 7: Some trust in chariots, and some in horses (some trust in their riches and alliances and abilities and mental acuity): but we will remember the name of the LORD our God. 8: They (our enemies and all those who trust in their own strength) are brought down and fallen: but we are risen, and stand upright.

Winners are not afraid of losing.training

They are willing to take risks necessary to succeed in life.

Life means risk.  Life means taking chances that cause loss.  Loss of friends, loss of co-workers, loss of status, loss of power, loss of control, loss of understanding of those important to you, loss of money.. all these are losses a winner decides at times must be risked.  “No pain, no gain.  Know gain, know pain.”, some would say.  Life means risk.  Risk means loss.  Risk also means winning.

Edison risked until he found the right element for light bulbs.  Once on a comment that it took fifty thousand tries before he got results, he explained, “Results? Why I have gotten a lot of results.  I know fifty thousand things that won’t work.”

Ray Kroc became an outstanding business leader.  Yet, for years he failed at every business attempt.  It was so bad his wife was ready to leave him on his last venture.  Seems he sold out everything to buy a few hamburger joints owned by some brothers named McDonald.  You guessed it.  That was the start of the McDonald’s chain of restaurants that made the Krocs multi-millionaires.  Winners keep trying. (By the way, his wife stuck it out.)

Those secure in Jesus are unafraid of risk because they know He will back them up.  They know they can make a mistake and be put back on track.

Psalm 37:23: The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delights in his way. 24: Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholds him with his hand. 25: I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread. 26: He is ever merciful, and lends; and his seed is blessed.

Take Inventory

Pensive?

Trying to make a decision?

What is it?

Write it down.  Write down the good and bad about it.  Pray about it.  Listen to God.  Commit it to Him.  Decide.  Don’t let fear hold you down.

Make Application

Write what you are going to specifically do in the next 30 days about this.

 

Pray To Be Bold

Father, encourage me.  Strengthen me to take that step of faith in Your leading.  I am weak, Father.  I fail.  I am made of grass and wither in the noon sun, but You cause a shadow to cover me.  Let the cool breathe of Your Spirit blow over me and freshen my day.  Though I fall, I will get up and go again.  You will cause me to succeed.

Risk It! Stand Ground. Give Ground.

Pick your battles.  There is a time to stand and a time to give ground.  Use wisdom.  Move purposefully.

Phil:1:27: But whatever happens, make sure that your everyday life is worthy of the gospel of Christ.  So that whether I do come and see you, or merely hear about you from a distance, I may know that you are standing fast in a united spirit, battling with a single mind for the faith of the gospel and not caring two straws for your enemies. (J.B. Phillips translation).

A winner….. knows when to fight and when to compromise.

A loser ….. fights over the wrong things and compromises at the wrong time.

Hebrews 12:14  Let it be your ambition to live at peace with all men and to achieve holiness “without which no man shall see the Lord”  (J.B. Phillips translation)

Winners know when to fight to win and when to give.  In the song, “The Gambler”, the advice was given, “You got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away, and know when to run.”  There is a fight worth fighting, and there are items in life not worth the effort.

Winston Churchill in the darkest hours of England’s battles with Germany had this sense.  When others wanted to lay down and give up he stood ground and challenged, “Never give up.  Never give up.  Never give up.”  The war was won over courage and tenacity and knowing the fight needed to be fought.

You have to know when to fight. After living in their new home for a year, the Newbies had a major problem.  Sewage came running over into the downstairs bath, living room, and entry foyer.  What a mess!  Massive cleanup, roto-rooter, and a few days of showering at the neighbors did not fix it.  The city claimed the problem was theirs, the plumber claimed the city needed to fix it.  Two great neighbors and a day of digging exposed a major city problem.  Out they came, and yes, they fixed it.  They dug 14 feet deep, repaired the sewer main, and replaced fences they had to tear down.  But, they didn’t take care of the carpet and house.  Forms, forms, and more forms, telephone calls, working with city attorneys, and a lot of prayer resulted in a surprise.  One night the local city councilman called to alert the Newbies that their reimbursement request was scheduled to get the hatchet the next day at the city council meeting.  P. Newbie showed up at the council meeting of this large metropolitan community.  Deep in the docket was a line item scratching the claim along with over 30 other homeowners.  What could he do?  Fight.  Fight for his wife to get carpet.  Fight for restoration.  Fight he did.  First in prayer, then in rhetoric.  “Mayor, my friends and I dug a 7 foot deep hole to show the city that the problem was theirs, I am willing to dig a 7 foot deep rhetorical hole to help the council see it needs to pay these costs.”  The council halted him right there and offered to pay a reasonable settlement.  No one else was awarded that day.  The clerk could not believe it when she issued the check.

You have to know when to give and compromise The budget battle was intense.  Hundreds of thousands of dollars in expansion monies were battled over by several departments.  Systems executives along with P. Newbie decided to withdraw and let the money go to retail remodels.  Eight months later accounting in an executive meeting moved $50,000.00 to systems and challenged them, “See what you can do with that.”  After 30 days of scramble and results, they gave them another $400,000.00 to spend moved from retail remodels

Take Inventory

Where do you need to fight?  Does someone need defending?

Where do you need to lay down your arms?  Is it better to give now and win a friend?

Make Application

Write what you are going to specifically do in the next 30 days about this.

Pray To Have Wisdom

Father, teach me.  Show me wisdom to count the costs of every battle and decide.  Help me to see when I need to simply serve by not fighting for my preferences.  Help me see when I need to rise and defend my family, pastor, employer, friends.  Enliven my heart to be a wise warrior with what is entrusted to me.