Train Them Thursday – Perplexed When Favored By God!

Date October 18, 2018

 

Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming in, he said to her, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was very perplexed at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was.” (Luke 1:26–29, NASB95)

 

But she was very perplexed at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was. In a cooking show, I recently watched there was a contestant who, to say it mildly, thought he was the best in the room. To be honest, he was full of himself. His technique was amazing but his concept was lacking.

Before he met the judges he was brimming with assurance. The only problem was that, to his total dismay and confusion, the judges were underwhelmed. The tastes didn’t make it and the technique was too complicated. In short, he banked on the fact that he was amazing and, well, he wasn’t and, thus, neither was his creation.

In living the fully devoted life of Jesus as His disciple, one of the most incredible realities is that He commends humility and service. People of no reputation, in places of no repute, seem to be those whom God has His eyes on most often … when they are simply seeking to honor Him with their whole life and heart.

Enter Mary, engaged to Joseph the Carpenter, in Nazareth, Galilee, in occupied “Israel,” then known as Palestine. At the end of the road that led to their dismal little hamlet, the minor players on the stage of humanity were, in reality, the major characters in God’s eternal, unfolding drama of redemption. God loves humanity and these two are key to fleshing out that love – literally!

Yet, Mary knows nothing of God’s favor. She’s not experienced anything that would have given her even the slightest inkling that God was about to shove her front and center, for eternity, into His plan to redeem humanity and fulfill His promises from millennia past!

And, there it is. Do what God calls you to do. Serve with joy and humility. God is watching our every move and motive. One day, perhaps soon, should He desire, He will pour out His favor upon you!

 

Train Them Thursdays seeks to wed the Great Commission directive of Jesus with the practice He employed while on Earth. Each nugget is meant to encourage the reader with a “can-do” spirit to realize that discipleship is something each person is both capable of and empowered to accomplish. Dr. Matthew Lee Smith, Executive Director of Eagles In Leadership, writes each thought and they flow out of decades of his tried and true field-testing in multiple settings from rural to inner city. He welcomes your comments below.

 

 

Willing Worker Wednesday – Exploding in Praise!

Date October 17, 2018

 

And Mary said: My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior, because He has looked with favor on the humble condition of His slave. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed, because the Mighty One has done great things for me, and His name is holy. His mercy is from generation to generation on those who fear Him.” (Luke 1:46–50, HCSB)

 

Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed, because the Mighty One has done great things for me. Leaders of Jesus intuitively know that God’s mercy flows through the callings He gives. Mary reveals that attitude that bubbles forth when the call of God comes … submission and surrender explode into praise of God!

Just in these short verses above the casual reader will notice Mary’s focus: God and His character. What does the willing worker of Jesus know about their God?

God is great! At the center of our lives comes the reality that we serve the One who alone is worthy of all we have. No other god comes close to the character of the Lord who loves us with infinite care.

God is our rescuer! In every bleak moment of life, God is near. Thus, there is no reason to fear. While His timing isn’t ours, it is always right. When God acts, it is at the best time each time.

God is our master! Because he is all knowing and all wise, He is the One in charge. We can trust His timing, His work, and the intricacy of His plan. So many moving parts are controlled by the One who knows!

God is our blesser! God gives. It’s His nature. And with every call and mission comes the reality that God will reward His faithful ones.

God is mighty! All the resources of eternity are stacked up at our disposal. God wants us to succeed and will ensure His will is done.

God is holy! He is unique. Therefore, all He does and all He chooses – including us – are special. God chose us. That’s our significance.

God is merciful! He doesn’t give us what we deserve. Mary understood He chooses us to be a blessing and to be blessed!

Today, explode in praise, knowing God is worthy of your words!

 

Willing Worker Wednesdays are dedicated to explaining the core realities of servant leadership – the Biblical principles and methods used by God’s faithful people throughout time. They further reflect the lifestyle of Jesus, the King of kings and Lord of lords as He walked on this earth announcing the Kingdom of God had arrived. These brief lessons are written by Dr. Matthew Lee Smith, Executive Director of Eagles In Leadership, and come from his extensive ministry within the local church, in higher education, in church consulting and as a Biblical author and leader. He welcomes your comments below.

 

Turn-Around Tuesday – Enjoying the Incredible Benefits of Obedience!

Date October 16, 2018

 

And Noah did all that the Lord had commanded him … Everything on the dry land in whose nostrils was the breath of life died. He blotted out every living thing that was on the face of the ground, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens. They were blotted out from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those who were with him in the ark.” (Genesis 7:5, 22–23, ESV)

 

Only Noah was left, and those who were with him in the ark. Whenever we obey God over time, incredible things happen. Suffering happens when we choose our way, the shortcut, the easy way. God’s path is difficult, Jesus was clear about that …

“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” (Matthew 7:13–14, ESV)

Noah’s path was hard, filled with ridicule, ridiculous commands, and wretched working conditions. However, from the very first day, Noah obeyed. Now, the day God had warned him about had come to pass. Destruction fell on those who chose the wide gate, the easy way. Noah was secure in the results of his obedience.

History is littered with the bodies of those who thought they were smarter than God. In their battle of wits, God won every time. For you and I, despite the turns and rebellions, we have chosen, God always wants us to return. And, when we return, our obedience to God’s expressed directions will turn around our situation, fill us with hope, and assure us that “God is near and there is NOTHING to fear!”

When God warns us to turn, He means to enact His plan whether we choose to follow His will or not. The joyful thing about God’s love is that He always welcomes us back. The sad thing about God’s character is that He can’t be manipulated. We have to come on His terms.

So today, no matter where you are at or what you have done, turn your situation around by doing exactly what you know you must. Ask for God’s forgiveness if you need to. Confess where you failed him. And, simply, obey. There’s life in obedience. Choose life today!

 

Turn-Around Tuesdays are designed to bring hope and help, insight and encouragement to those of us who are simply overwhelmed by the flood of problems life throws at us. No one is immune to trials and troubles, but God has a way of lifting us from life’s torrents. Each short thought is written by Dr. Matthew Lee Smith, Executive Director of Eagles In Leadership, and comes from his life-journey with the God who never leaves us or forsakes us. He welcomes your comments below.

Magnificent Marriage Monday – Guarding God’s Gifts!

Date October 15, 2018

 

The Lord God made clothing from skins for the man and his wife, and he clothed them.” (Genesis 3:21, CSB)

 

The Lord God made clothing … and he clothed them. We live in corrupt times. So many people have accepted the cultural norms around us and have jettisoned God’s standards – His desires and declarations. One of those areas that can erode the magnificence of our marriage is in the area of physical exposure.

To be sure, the Bible tells us that before Adam’s disobedience to God’s direct command not to eat from the Tree of Good and Evil, the couple was naked and not ashamed. However, with their rejection of God’s directive, everything changed. And, as it changed, God made the necessary adjustments to Adam and Eve’s lifestyle choices.

You will remember that after their choice to eat the forbidden fruit, we are told, “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.” (Genesis 3:7, CSB)

Now we read that God changed their clothing selection and went for a more covering style. It takes little imagination to “see” the difference between the fig leaf bikini and trunks that Adam and Eve created and the more modest leather clothing God made.

What was He doing? In essence, God was saying, “Cover what is special, what belongs just for the two of you.” Holding the gift of our bodies in high esteem for our mate is the essence of honor and holiness. God has given us each other. We are promising our lives to only one person, that one whom we believe God has chosen for us for the rest of our lives.

Our physical bodies are the ultimate and complete offering to our spouses. Sacred is an appropriate term for such a gift. Not to be shared, not to be viewed by another is God’s implicit statement here in His simple act of tailoring.

As you embrace all the abundance God has given you with your life-partner today, remember: You are the gift God has given them. They are the gift God has given you. Share yourself with them alone.

 

Magnificent Marriage Mondays are helpful hints, clues, ideas, and solutions for the child of God who is looking for a spouse, in a relationship with someone, or are already married. Each post seeks to bring help, hope, and honesty to your life and make the rest of your life, the best of your life. They are written by Dr. Matthew Lee Smith, Executive Director of Eagles In Leadership, and come from his 38 years, 5 months and 2 days experience with his wife, Melodee, who was promoted to Heaven on November 11, 2017. He is currently seeking God’s will for his new life partner. He welcomes your comments below.

Hope For Today – Grief Is a Vampire!

Date October 14, 2018

 

I’m Dr. Matthew Lee Smith and I want to share some Hope For Today about the reality that Grief is a Vampire by reminding us that the Bible says in Proverbs 17.22 (CSB) …

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.

 

Hope For Today is a part of the ministry of Eagles In Leadership. If you would like to know more about the hope God gives and His abundant life through Jesus Christ, I would invite you to check out our website: EaglesInLeadership.org.

Just push the media button below to hear this encouraging message!

Faith Filled Friday – When God Shows Up!

Date October 12, 2018

 

“Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations.” (Genesis 17:4, ESV)

Behold, my covenant is with you. You’ve been faithful. You’ve endured years of trouble and difficulty. You’ve kept your eyes on God. You’ve believed His promises even long after their fulfillment reached their expiration date. And yet, you remain faithful despite every sane indication God has forgotten you.

And then, to everyone’s surprise, even yours, God shows up! And, He brings His reward with Him! Everything you’ve thought about, dreamed about, and hoped for, begins to unfold before your very eyes! That’s what Abraham experienced. And if God did it once, He can do it again … for you and I … today, in our time!

What did Abraham receive for His patient trust in the One who cannot be seen? God promised Abraham, “Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings shall come from you. And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God.”(Genesis 17:4–8, ESV)

When God makes a covenant with us, He is bound by His character and reputation to fulfill it. For Abraham, it was a name and fame, a family and a progeny.

What will it be for you? What has God promised you? What has HE put your name on? What are you still holding on to? It was long ago. It was vivid then, just as its vivid now. HE spoke to you years, perhaps decades ago and you wait in faith.

Today, fall on your knees and cry out to the “God in whom [Abraham] believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.” (Romans 4:17, ESV) God is going to show up and show off in your life. And when he does, it will be spectacular!

 

Faith Filled Fridays hope to boost your trust in God and accelerate your daring and courage in everyday life. Dr. Matthew Lee Smith, Executive Director of Eagles In Leadership, writes each encouragement out of a heart that has known both great joy and great loss – his wife of 38 years, 5 months and 2 days was promoted to Heaven on November 11, 2017. Through every experience, God has proven Himself more than faithful and trustworthy. He welcomes your comments below.

 

Willing Worker Wednesday – Anticipating God’s Blessing!

Date October 10, 2018

 

She who has believed is blessed because what was spoken to her by the Lord will be fulfilled!”(Luke 1:45, HCSB)

 

She who has believed is blessed. So often we forget that our knowing isn’t enough as a leader for Jesus. The devil knows, he just refuses to submit in faith. As I like to say, “Our knowing isn’t growing until our knowing is showing.”

Faith works. Faith trusts. Faith believes. Therefore, we act on the faith we have. Where there is no action, there is no faith. Knowledge without action isn’t faith; it’s doubt.

Mary was blessed because she believed and responded by faith. ““I am the Lord’s slave,” said Mary. “May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel left her.” (Luke 1:38, HCSB) Now, don’t lose sight of the enormity of God’s “ask” of Mary. She would be the first virgin to bear a child! THAT was a set up for enormous ridicule from the townspeople she had known all her life.

In the midst of all of the cataclysmic change and choice going on, we see the heart of a willing worker of God. She simply surrendered to God’s will and whim. This is the essential directive of the one who chooses to be both effective and significant in this life for King Jesus.

As a result of such a commitment to the character of God, Mary’s trust brought her face-to-face with the reality of God’s goodness: Blessing. From the earliest days of history, God’s character on this matter is clear. To Cain, the child of Adam and Eve, God said, “If you do what is right, won’t you be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.”(Genesis 4:7, HCSB)

And so He says to us: I will bless you if you will but obey me. This reward, this motivation, should pulse in our chests with every beat of our heart. God will do good for us if we will but trust Him enough to obey Him on the spot.

Today, whatever the difficulty, whatever the criticism, stand firm in your trust of the Lord Jesus. Despite the pain of the present, there will always be the fulfillment in the future of all He has promised!

 

Willing Worker Wednesdays are dedicated to explaining the core realities of servant leadership – the Biblical principles and methods used by God’s faithful people throughout time. They further reflect the lifestyle of Jesus, the King of kings and Lord of lords as He walked on this earth announcing the Kingdom of God had arrived. These brief lessons are written by Dr. Matthew Lee Smith, Executive Director of Eagles In Leadership, and come from his extensive ministry within the local church, in higher education, in church consulting and as a Biblical author and leader. He welcomes your comments below.

Turn-Around Tuesday – Doing All The Lord Has Commanded Us!

Date October 9, 2018

 

Then the Lord said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and all your household, for I have seen that you are righteous before me in this generation … For in seven days I will send rain on the earth forty days and forty nights, and every living thing that I have made I will blot out from the face of the ground.” And Noah did all that the Lord had commanded him.” (Genesis 7:1, 4–5, ESV)

 

And Noah did all that the Lord had commanded him. Those three little letters – “all” – change everything, don’t they? As absurd as God’s requests had been for Noah to become a master shipbuilder (when no ships this size had been build before), they went into the ludicrous at this point. Have you read what leads up to this chapter?

And of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every sort into the ark to keep them alive with you. They shall be male and female. Of the birds according to their kinds, and of the animals according to their kinds, of every creeping thing of the ground, according to its kind, two of every sort shall come into you to keep them alive. Also, take with you every sort of food that is eaten, and store it up. It shall serve as food for you and for them.”” (Genesis 6:19–21, ESV)

Sometimes God asks for a LOT! And, to be honest, and real, we just don’t want to go to all the bother to do all that God asks for. This morning, as I was walking, I thought about the people who cut the corner, j-walk, and in short, cheat so they don’t have to exert as much effort to get – they suppose – the same results.

But that’s just it, isn’t it? Cutting corners doesn’t get you the same as doing everything. Oh, yes, in the short term we can get away with less without noticeable differences. But, over time, those shortcuts ARE the reason we are in trouble.

Consider Noah one more time. What if Noah had chosen to use shortcuts in building the ark? His rescue plan would have become his coffin. And what if, out of sheer laziness, he chose not to get TWO of every creature? Where would whole species of animals be today? And, where would humanity be as a result?

Turning around our situation means doing all the Lord has commanded us because that’s where our future is created!

 

 

Turn-Around Tuesdays are designed to bring hope and help, insight and encouragement to those of us who are simply overwhelmed by the flood of problems life throws at us. No one is immune to trials and troubles, but God has a way of lifting us from life’s torrents. Each short thought is written by Dr. Matthew Lee Smith, Executive Director of Eagles In Leadership, and comes from his life-journey with the God who never leaves us or forsakes us. He welcomes your comments below.

 

Magnificent Marriage Monday – Your Wife, Your Life!

Date October 8, 2018

 

The man named his wife Eve because she was the mother of all the living.” (Genesis 3:20, CSB)

 

The man named his wife Eve. Eve means, “life” or “making alive.” What an incredible observation from Adam. She is the mother of all living humanity. For sure, from her womb came our first ancestors, their children, the first “born-ones.” But, for Adam, and for all alert husbands, Eve was so much more … she brings life to our existence.

Before we are married, life is a string of interactions, connections with little permanence. Even with our parents and siblings, we realize we were born to leave. But our wives were designed by God to stay by our sides – to be one flesh with us – and that is where we find completion, connection, and life’s companionship!

With each day after our union and pledge to one another, we have the opportunity and the joy of exploring whole new dimensions, of seeing life through new eyes and new thoughts. Truly, when God gifts us with a wife, He gives us more than a companion … He gifts us with life abundantly.

In this relationship flows the oneness of hope, honor, and holiness. We have the privilege of walking into the vast unknown with someone who has our back, who believes in our strengths, and watches over us with protection.

While it may be hard for some to imagine, God’s purpose for marriage is to reflect the joy and fulfillment He has in the Godhead. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit dwell in a relational connection that is unseverable. And, thus, God’s design and purpose for marriage are the same (See Mark 10:9).

Today, as you step into your day, start with a prayer of gratitude for the wife God gave you that brings you life! Enjoy her creativity. Listen to her wisdom. Explore her understanding. Feel with her emotions. Enjoy her companionship. Embrace her totality.

Truly you are blessed with life, and that, more abundantly! She stands beside you as your companion. She sits beside you as your friend. She lies beside you as your heartbeat. She’s God’s gift!

 

Magnificent Marriage Mondays are helpful hints, clues, ideas, and solutions for the child of God who is looking for a spouse, in a relationship with someone, or are already married. Each post seeks to bring help, hope, and honesty to your life and make the rest of your life, the best of your life. They are written by Dr. Matthew Lee Smith, Executive Director of Eagles In Leadership, and come from his 38 years, 5 months and 2 days experience with his wife, Melodee, who was promoted to Heaven on November 11, 2017. He is currently seeking God’s will for his new life partner. He welcomes your comments below.

Hope For Today – Letting God Lead!

Date October 7, 2018

 

I’m Dr. Matthew Lee Smith and I want to share some Hope For Today about letting God lead from Proverbs 16:9 (CSB) … A person’s heart plans his way, but the Lord determines his steps.

 

Hope For Today is a part of the ministry of Eagles In Leadership. If you would like to know more about the hope God gives and His abundant life through Jesus Christ, I would invite you to check out our website: EaglesInLeadership.org.

Just push the media button below to hear this encouraging message!


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