I had the privilege of serving as the guest speaker at the Grand Tapestry Power Breakfast in OKC recently. I spoke about the Leader Ladder. The basic thought is we all have people in our lives, positive influences (rungs) and negative influences (wrongs) that make up our ladder of success. We aspire to climb our way to the top despite the warning signs posted along the way. If we aren’t careful we get on our high horse (thus the cowboy hat) and fail to realize that our greatest opportunity is to climb down and help lift others up! Let me know if you would like for me to come and share with your group! I’d love to do a commencement someday!
What a brutal reminder of betrayal.
If Jesus can be betrayed so can we. One in 12 of Jesus’s disciples betrayed him. That’s an 8% default rate. Wow!
Zechariah 13:6 seems to point to the future that was to come. “I was wounded at the home of friends!”
Don’t miss the exclamation point. Appalling! Awful! Hurtful! Unthinkable! But yet betrayal lives on at the hands and home of friends! Nothing is more painful than falling under not so friendly fire. Betrayal is the worst.
Why should we be surprised when we are betrayed by a friend? If we haven’t been, we will be. It hurts. It is confusing. We are left wondering why. What did we do? What went wrong? We were so close. There must be some misunderstanding. In fact there is.
The cold blade of betrayal goes in quick but it is removed painfully slow. Healing from such a wound can take a life time.
Unless, unless we recognize we are warriors and in battle there are unfortunate casualties.
Not only will we be beat up and knocked down as we seek to defeat the enemy but we will lose friendships in our quest for victory.
Traitors are within every army. They hide within our closest of relationships undermining, back biting and wishing us less than our best.
Betrayal is rooted in self preservation and deep insecurity. Our strength and influence intimidate the weak. They only feel stronger when they are outside of our shadow. Unfortunately, they conclude that betrayal is the only way to escape their own inadequacies.
For the traitor they seek to eliminate the standard we represent and now live life on their own terms, according to their abilities and desires.
Although the unit is weaker as a whole, there is no remorse so long as the traitor remains king of the hill.
Yet, every day the traitor lives is a reminder that one like him waits among the ranks ready to act at the opportune time. Betrayal continues to thrive and he finds himself held prisoner by an enemy of his own making. The betrayer has been betrayed!
Let’s be honest. Not every road we head down takes us to where we want to go.
Sometimes in life we find ourselves at a dead-end on a dirt road wondering how in the world we ended up here.
For some it’s a dead-end job. For others it’s one drink too many. For many of us it’s just going with the flow. We take what comes our way and end up floating down stream like a log heading for the rapids. Or worse, a gigantic waterfall. Like life, it might look beautiful to onlookers but if your the one about to fall off the edge, nothing could be more desperate.
Heading down the wrong path can have horrible outcomes unless we get a wake up call. Falling asleep at the wheel can ruin us. Dreams become nightmares unless we muster the courage to quit!
No one likes to be called a quitter. Since our parents were cheering us on as toddlers, “Never give up!”, rings in our ears and reminds us to stick to it no matter what.
Seriously? Never give up? Never quit? Truth is, there are plenty of things we need to quit. If we don’t we will eventually find ourselves at the end of our rope, grasping to hold on to the life we so desperately hoped for.
The ancient scriptures use a different word for quit. It’s not as vogue or politically correct to use in a sentence these days but it is still a good word and it’s exactly what we need to do if our lives are to take us to our desired final destination.
The word? Are you ready? Here it is. Brace yourself. The word is REPENT! Stop. Quit. Turn around! Repent!
There you did it! Say it again! Repent! That wasn’t so bad now was it?
Time and time again the Lord encourages his kids to repent. Why? Because he knows what’s down stream. He has seen the future and unless we QUIT what we are doing, we will soon find ourselves in a world of hurt.
Repent isn’t an ugly word. Repent is a beautiful word. It is like the road sign that warns of a dangerous curve ahead.
Can you imagine driving through the mountains without the frequent yellow signs that warn us to quit doing what we are doing or we will soon be looking at the mountain from the bottom of a cliff!
Sometimes we need a friend to give us a good nudge with a gentle poke in the ribs. Friends don’t let friends fall asleep at the wheel. Friends don’t let friends drink and drive and they certainly don’t let friends just drive their lives into the dirt.
Sometimes we need to listen to that still small voice that gently reminds us that we need to quit what we are doing and make the change. He is a big God but he whispers in the ears of his kids. “I love you. I want the best for you. The way you are heading is going no where. Come follow me. Not only will I show you the way home, it will be an exciting ride to the finish line.”
It’s time to quit. For sure there are some things we need to continue. But if we are honest with ourselves, it’s time we quit the direction we are heading and let Jesus take the wheel!
“I, Nebuchadnezzar, was living in my palace in comfort and prosperity. But one night … ”
The book of Daniel reveals to us that King Neb was living in a palace with all the comforts and prosperity that the world had to offer.But then he got a wake up call.
When was your, “BUT ONE NIGHT” wake up call? Have you too experienced an awakening?
What dream has God given you that has caused such a stirring in your heart that you can’t sleep until you get answers.
Neb took action. He learned that he had grown into a strong and mighty tree that produced much fruit and was providing shade to many.
Then he heard the unthinkable. The tree would be cut down to a stump with only its roots in the ground. He would live like a cow eating grass until he learned that it was the Lord, not him, that rules kingdoms and gives opportunities to lead to anyone he chooses.
The kingdom was not Neb’s. The kingdom was God’s. Neb was a steward who had begun to believe his own press.
It is notable that a stump with roots remained. This was an indication that if Neb came to his senses, the kingdom would thrive once again but not until he realized it was God’s kingdom that he supervised.
It was critical Neb stay in his lane, recognizing his role, serving God’s purpose, not his own.
Daniel’s appeal to the king could have been written to the leader of any organization.
“King Nebuchadnezzar, please accept my advice. Stop sinning and do what is right. Break from your wicked past and be merciful to the poor. Perhaps then you will continue to prosper.”
It is worth noting that emphasis is placed on a change of heart and a change of direction. It is as if Daniel is saying, “Quit just thinking about yourself and living an excessive lifestyle while poor people are dying in the streets.”
Surely, these word must give us pause as we reflect on our role, our calling and our purpose as leaders. It’s not all about us! God has given us a platform for loving him and loving others as we love ourselves.
But we must place the emphasis on all three aspects of the appeal. We will fall short of all God wants to do though us if all we do becomes just about us. If we are not careful, we will become like cows eating grass and the organizations we lead will become nothing more than stumps with deep roots that produce no fruit.
Neb failed to heed the warning. We gain additional insights from Daniel 4:30-31.
As he looked out across the city, he said, “Look at this great city of Babylon! By my own mighty power, I have built this beautiful city as my royal residence to display my majestic splendor. While these words were still in his mouth, a voice called down from heaven, ‘O King Nebuchadnezzar, this message is for you! You are no longer ruler of this kingdom.”
Again the passage is clear, “You will live this way, until you learn that the Most High rules over the kingdoms of the world and gives them to anyone he chooses.”
Neb soon found himself driven from human society, eating grass like a cow with unkept hair as long as an eagle’s feathers and nails like bird claws. He was a mess. The former king had become an outcast!
But all was not lost. After considerable time had passed, Neb finally came to his senses. His sanity returned. His focus was placed on the ultimate ruler of the kingdom. He started praising and worshiping the Most High God. He acknowledged that God does as he pleases. No one can stop him. He gives and takes away.
And then we learn the outcome in the words of Neb’s himself, “When my sanity returned to me, so did my honor and glory and kingdom. My advisers and nobles sought me out, and I was restored as head of my kingdom, with even greater honor than before. Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and glorify and honor the King of heaven. All his acts are just and true, and he is able to humble the proud.”
Oh Lord may we learn from the lives of the leaders who have gone before us.
Have mercy on us Lord. Give us ears to hear and eyes to see in order that our pride and arrogance not drive us to unthinkable humiliation.
May King Nebuchadnezzar’s legacy serve as a reminder that God is the King and we serve at His pleasure in all that we do.
Every fisherman has his story. So here is mine.
Stephanie has been warning me that I need to secure my fishing pole. She learned from her Tootsie, her grandmother who took her fishing as a little girl, that if you aren’t careful you can lose bait and all in a flash.
Any man who has been married for more than two weeks knows where this story is heading.
Yup, today we were out on a fishing adventure. I snagged a baby perch. I laid my rod on the ground as I attended to another line.
All of a sudden I look down and my rod, with the baby perch, shoots into the water and I mean rocketed from beneath my feet!!!!!
My son witnessed the scene from Jaws with me. We looked at each other with astonishment! Rod, reel and baby perch vanished before our eyes. We were in shock!
After about 30 minutes we weighted down three treble hooks. I placed myself perpendicular to where the rig launched into the abyss.
First cast in, I felt a tug. I thought I had hit some heavy moss. But much to the amazement to all, I had hooked the line of the missing rod and reel. In fact, I hooked the hook right next to the baby perch.
I slowly reeled in the entire rig! It was obvious that Jaws gave up. It had to be thinking this is the heaviest perch I have ever guzzled! It was like Jonah being upchucked on the beaches of Nineveh!
The photo in this post captures history in the making. Yes, I have witnesses and yes I still cannot believe it! Notice both rods! One in hand and the other at my feet!