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    • By 1Timothy115 in Devotionals
      Psalms 119:1-8                                         Sep. 5 - Oct. 2, 2019
      1 ALEPH. Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD.
      2 Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.
      3 They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways.
      4 Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently.
      5 O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes!
      6 Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments.
      7 I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments.
      8 I will keep thy statutes: O forsake me not utterly.
      The following verse stood out to me...
      5 O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes!
      At first glance it seemed to me this person’s soul is poured out with intense desire to have God’s direction in keeping His Word.
      I made a small wood fire in our backyard for my granddaughter, Julia, since she would be staying overnight with us. My wife and Julia stayed outside at the fire for about half an hour. Then, I found myself alone to watch the fire die out on a particularly lovely evening. So I took my verse from above and began to repeat it for memorization. As I repeated the verse, I tried to contemplate the words and apply them to what I was seeing around me. 
      The moon and stars were out now peering through the scattered clouds above.
      [Genesis 1:16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. Genesis 1:17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, Genesis 1:18 And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.]
      Thought 1         
      The moon has stayed his course since the day God created him, also the stars, obeying the statutes directed by God from the first day they were created. Can you imagine God’s direction to the Moon and stars, “moon you will have a path through the sky above the earth, stars you will occupy the firmament above the moon and be clearly visible in the cloudless night sky.”
      Then, the trees, grass, even the air we breathe obey the statues God gave them from the beginning. None of these creations have souls, none have hearts, none have intelligence, but they all observe God’s statutes, His instructions for their limited time on earth.
      Thought 2
      What if we were like the moon, stars, trees, grass, or the other creations which have no soul? We would be directed to keep God’s statutes without choosing to keep them. This is not the image of God, there would be no dominion over other creatures, or over the earth. We would not be capable of experiencing the joy and peace of learning the love of God
      Genesis 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
      Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
      Thought 3 (October 2, 2019)
      Is the psalmist pleading God to force God’s statutes to become the man’s ways? No, he is speaking of his own failure in keeping God’s statutes and his desire to keep them, very much like Paul in Romans 7:14-25.
      God doesn’t work through force to turn men from their ways that they would desire His statutes or desire God Himself. Men must reject (repent) put aside his own ways and voluntarily seek God and His statutes.

Three Adjustments Growing Leaders Will Make

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There is no such thing as growth without change. Of course, change is not always indicative of growth. Sometimes it is the result of drift—doctrinally, spiritually, or philosophically. Sometimes change is also forced by outside circumstances. 

Even so, where there is growth, there will be change. This is true in every sphere of life, including your walk with God, personal relationships, development of skills, and more. 

Where there is growth, there will be change.
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This doesn’t mean every change will be radical. In fact, those consistently making radical changes are probably either immature (a young Christian making positive radical changes in obedience to God’s Word) or unstable (a leader constantly changing his philosophy or doctrine). 

But a growing leader will be constantly making adjustments to reflect the growth he or she is experiencing. These adjustments should be led by the Holy Spirit and carried out with a commitment to honor God’s Word. 

Here are three areas that growing leaders will consistently adjust: 

1. Adjust your methods.

As challenging as the Coronavirus has been, one blessing that can come out of it for Christian leaders is a re-evaulation of methods. There are methods that have become part of our institutionalized church culture that may have been more effective decades ago than they are now. For this reason, having our entire weekly church schedule and even the greater part of our annual calendar disrupted can be a gift if we will seize the opportunity to evaluate what programs and events are still serving their intended purposes and if there are better ways to accomplish the same purposes. 

These exercises should always begin with an absolute commitment to biblical commands and principles. For example, Scripture specifically instructs us to assemble and worship (Hebrews 10:25). Thus, I’m not re-evaluating whether or not our church should hold Sunday services. But our team has reconsidered some of the other meetings that typically happen at our church around Sunday services and how canceling or rescheduling those could help make the actual church service more meaningful. 

You’ve heard the saying, “Methods are many; principles are few. Methods may change; principles never do.” The key is to hold to biblical principles while adjusting the methods to best follow those principles. 

If every aspect of your personal or church processes look exactly the same after this pandemic ends as it did before, there is a good chance you missed an opportunity for growth and needed adjustments.

If every aspect of your personal or church processes look exactly the same after this pandemic ends as it did before, there is a good chance you missed an opportunity for growth and needed adjustments.
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2. Adjust your priorities. 

Priorities have a way of shifting over time. And while we rarely change our stated priorities, seasons of growth lead us to reexamine our actual priorities. 

While we rarely change our *stated* priorities, seasons of growth lead us to reexamine our *actual* priorities.
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Sometimes we say our relationship with God is our first priority, but then the Holy Spirit brings conviction that we’re not spending time with Him. Sometimes we say we are called to reach people with the gospel and equip a church family to do the same, but in actuality, we’ve gone weeks without personally sharing the gospel with a lost person. 

When the Holy Spirit points out a shift in your priorities, don’t let that pass as a simple moment of conviction. Consider what specific adjustments you need to make to retain a consistent focus on your God-give priorities. 

The Apostle Paul maintained a laser-like focus on this one thing: “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13–14).

There cannot be lasting growth without a continued focus on God-given priorities. And when those priorities begin to slip (as they inevitably will in all of our lives), one of the first steps to helpful change is readjusting your priorities. 

3. Adjust your vigilance. 

The tendency over time is to relax your guard, but real growth will lead to a sharpener awareness of Satan’s wiles. 

Think of a soldier in battle. A new, scared soldier will see every bit of movement or sound as a threat. With experience, he’ll learn that everything isn’t a threat. But at that point, he will either let down his guard and thus expose himself to true threats, or, he will sharpen his senses so he is less jumpy but more alert.

Christian leaders do not have the luxury of letting down our guard. First Peter 5:8 directly commands us, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” 

As we learn and grow as leaders, we should become more vigilant, not less. Satan is on the prowl, and he is out to destroy you. 

As we grow as leaders, we should become more vigilant, not less.
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Guard your spirit. Guard your testimony. Guard your heart. Fight temptation. Resist Satan (1 Peter 5:9, James 4:7).

Which comes first?

Growth leads to change. But change can also lead to growth. 

Churches and Christian leaders worldwide are in a season of imposed change. Even when we get past this pandemic, there will be cultural changes that began during it and are here to stay. 

The question is, will you grow through it? 

And if you are growing, what adjustments do you need to intentionally make to facilitate that growth? 

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