Your thoughts are who you are, therefore be careful what you think.
Your thoughts form your actions, and the actions of others help form your thoughts…be careful who you interact with and listen to.
Your thoughts are not always your own, Satan can and does influence your thinking negatively…therefore be on guard where you allow your thoughts to go…
Today’s guest post is by Mark Furlong, you can find out more about him at the end of this article. While in large measure this article pertains to leadership on the job, the principles outlined in this article can be applied to church and ministry leadership as well as our interpersonal work relationships. Whether it be a job, ministry, or being involved in helping out in church, if we feel our contribution is important and makes a difference…we will work harder and feel more like a part of the team.
You know that you get a lot more done, in less time, with greater results when your enthusiasm level is high. I am a long time weight trainer and consider it to be the greatest fitness practice available, when done correctly. One thing I know, if you are trying to lift 150 pounds, having the strength to lift 149 will not move the weight. You have to have the strength to lift 150 pounds or more. Like weight training, some projects will not even move unless you have enough enthusiasm strength or force to lift them. (Like starting a new program or making a significant change). Enthusiasm helps everyone do better and have more fun doing it.
The problem is we all live in a world dominated by the 2nd law of Thermodynamics; if things are left alone they will gradually get worse and fall apart (my layman’s paraphrase). This week I’ve been posting on Facebook and Twitter the 4 principles Ken Blanchard shares in his book Gung Ho on how to raise the performance and enthusiasm levels of an individual or team. I’d recommend you read that short, but powerful book, but here are the 4 main points.
- Meaningful work. People get motivated and their commitment level takes off when they see and believe the work they are doing matters. If it’s just a “job”; writing copy, making another speech, building another deck, or cleaning up another mess, it’s hard to give a great effort. If, however, we see the end result like people will get much healthier, or this organization will be revitalized to serve foreign students who feel alone, or cleaning this up will give a distressed family their lives back; that changes our “job” to an important “mission.” If it’s work that people are actually gifted for and like to do, that makes it that much better (way better actually.)
- Control of Goal Achievement. It was either Eisenhower or Truman who said, “Tell people what to do but don’t tell them how to do it.” Blanchard agrees. He says managers/leaders set the goals for the team but get input from those doing the work on how to best reach that goal. In his book Drive, Daniel Pink says, autonomy is a big motivator for knowledge works. No one wants someone looking over their shoulder, micro-managing, or treating them like dummies. People need to have a large measure of control on how they do their work—that increases enthusiasm.
- Encouragement. Blanchard says ,”Congratulations are affirmations that who people are and what they do matter, and that they are making a valuable contribution toward achieving the shared mission….You can’t overdo TRUE congratulations: Timely, Responsive, Unconditional, Enthusiastic.
- Results Assessment. If the goal is fully reached, throw a party, have some type of celebration! Celebrating is a powerful force for on-going enthusiasm and something most achievement oriented leaders easily neglect. It helps people get that sense of victory, accomplishment, and fulfillment that they have actually completed something important. That is great enthusiasm fuel.
Remember those 4 points and implement them: Meaningful work, Control of the work, Encouragement, and Celebration. Great job, you finished reading this, take a moment and celebrate!
Mark Furlong is an author and achievement coach with over 30 years of experience. He equips people turn their passion into influence and income by mastering entrepreneurial leadership skills. Go to http://www.MarkFurlongCoaching.com to get your free audio “Improving Leadership Results Quickly”.
Many people “receive” God’s love without wanting to accept it with all that it entails. They want God’s blessings without having to be responsible on their part. It is the same as a woman receiving an engagement ring from a man and thanking him for the pretty ring and then going out on a date with someone else the very next day. To accept an engagement ring is to agree to all that it entails and to decide to be responsible to keep our part of the bargain. In this case, we would say covenant. To accept God’s love is to agree to all that it entails which means that in response to His immense love for us and His wanting the best for us (Jeremiah 29:11), we cannot help but love Him back. With all our hearts, minds and souls (Matthew 22:37). That means a decision to trust and obey (submit to, surrender to) God in all these areas of our lives: our minds which denotes our logical and intellectual human thinking; our hearts which represents our emotions; and our souls which represent our own strengths and desires.
To love God is to obey His principles (John 14:15, 21). To obey is to submit to, to surrender to; which means that we must surrender all of ourselves to the Lord. This might sound daunting to some as they do not know that they can trust God to direct their lives. What if God does something bad with it? This is when we need to realize how much God loves us. No good parent wants horrible things for his/her child. We need to realize that God wants the best for us. (Jeremiah 29:11). We need to realize that He is good (Psalm 31:19). And because He is good and wants the best for us, we can trust Him with all areas of our lives. We can surrender ourselves over to Him in obedience to His principles. Because He is good.
The first commandment to love our God is not one built on fear or a threat. It is the heart’s cry of an all powerful God who loves us so much that He longs for those who accept His love to also reciprocate in kind. To not only receive His love but to accept it with all that it entails in every area of their lives because He wants to protect them and help them realize the future and purpose that He has for them; and to love Him back because He loved us first. How can we not love someone back if we know how much they love us? God decided to love us; He made a commitment to love us. I am sure, in my opinion, that it is not a butterfly in the stomach lovey type of feeling that God feels in His love towards us because we as the human race are not very lovable. All we need to do is look at our selfishness throughout history. Yet, He chose to love us. Commiting to us through a covenant He chose to make with us.
People who do not understand the depth of His love will keep rejecting Him; by way of insisting on doing things their own way and using excuses to justify it. Unfortunately, they will never come into the fulness of their calling and purpose in the Lord if they constantly insist on doing things their own way and will not submit themselves to His principles. In fact, if they keep insisting on rejecting God’s love, they will end up on the path of destruction in one way or another, in one area of their life or another because the bible says that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).
“Trust the Lord with ALL your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in ALL your ways acknowledge (submit to; obey) Him and He will make STRAIGHT your paths.” ~ Proverbs 3:5-6
By Neil Anderson
This is a research paper I did for my Biblical Literature class. I think it’s also a good teaching opportunity on a debated topic. I may use it in a sermon or to teach a Sunday School class as well. Enjoy!
Throughout the Old Testament, the Angel of the LORD appears in various places to various people. The appearance of the Angel almost always preceded a major turn of events in Old Testament stories. We see this “Angel” in the book of Judges frequently. The identity of the Angel has long been debated. Some say this is just simply a messenger sent from God, but others argue this is a pre-incarnate form of Jesus Christ. Both sides have presented suggested evidence to support their theories. Most of the claims are based on grammatical usage in the text. Does the Bible ever directly tell us who the Angel is? What does the Biblical evidence say about the Angel?
The word “angel” comes from the Greek word, άγγελος. This means “messenger” or “one who is sent” (White, “Angel of the LORD: Messenger or Euphemism”, 299). We know that Jesus was sent directly by God as seen in John 8:29. It is important to note that the Angel of the LORD doesn’t speak in third person, as other messengers seem to do. The Angel speaks in first person as if he is God. Judges 2:1a is an example this: “The angel of the LORD went up from Gilgal to Bokim and said, “I brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land that I swore to give to your forefathers.” The Angel is talking as God and not just for God. This happens time and time again throughout the Old Testament. The Hebrew for angel and messenger is used 213 times in the Old Testament. The phrase for “Angel of the LORD” is used 48 times in 45 verses in the Bible. We also see people giving the Angel reverence that usually only God receives. For example, in Joshua 5:14-15 we find Joshua fall “facedown” and taking off his sandals before the Angel. (White, “Angel of the LORD: Messenger or Euphemism”, 300-301). This would imply that the Angel is more than just a messenger if Joshua is responding in worship to him.
In Genesis 18, Abraham gets three visitors. The text describes one of the three as “the LORD.” The other two are believed to just be angels. However, the text indicates that one of the men is God himself, a theophany (Pak, “BIB 110 Lecture Notes”, 22). If these people saw God face-to-face, why did they not die like God suggested in Exodus 33:20? The answer is simple. Either the Angel is not God or God came in the form of the Son (pre-incarnate). That would make this a Christophany in the Old Testament.
Daniel 3:25 also seems to have an appearance of Christ. King Nebuchadnezzar sees a fourth man in the fiery furnace after Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego was thrown in for not worshipping the image of gold. When Nebuchadnezzar sees the fourth man he exclaims, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.” It is after that the Nebuchadnezzar seems to recognize the God of Israel as at least legitimate because he addresses the three men as “servants of the Most High God.”
Finally, we go to Exodus to look at the Angel appearing to Moses. In Exodus 3, the Angel of the LORD appears to Moses in a burning bush. The Angel actually says this in verse 6 which seems to be a clear hint of the Angel’s identity: “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” (“Fire Bible”, 410).
The case against the Angel being Divinity doesn’t seem to be as strong. Again, the scholars that say the Angel was only a representative of God use grammar and other linguistic evidence, and custom in the text to support their theory. The main argument is that saying the Angel is deity creates a problem for monotheists, such as the Jewish audience of the Old Testament (López, “Identifying the Angel of the LORD in the Book of Judges…” 15). However, we see the Godhead at work from the beginning. The claim is that the text clearly distinguishes the Angel from Yahweh.
This research project has further confirmed what I already had a strong belief in. The appearances of the Angel of the LORD are indeed pre-incarnate appearances of Jesus Christ. The Biblical evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of this. I even believe that God told us exactly who the Angel is on more than one occasion. There are a few Christophanies in the New Testament, too. Even though none of them are described as “the Angel of the LORD,” Jesus is the one who appears. Take the example of Saul’s conversion to Christianity while on the road to Damascus. Jesus appears to Saul, later known as Paul, in the same dramatic way that the Angel of the LORD reveals himself in the Old Testament (Newman, “Israel’s God and Rebecca’s Children…”, 155). Christ’s appearance to Saul also brings about a major turn of events just like the Angel of the LORD did in the Old Testament. The people the Angel appears to also fall in worship when they realize who he is as well. Other angels told the people to not worship them. Along with the textual evidence, the Angel’s claims and messages indicate that the Angel of the Lord is actually a pre-incarnate Jesus Christ. God had a plan from the very beginning and he has always used the Son to fulfill the plan.