Hope For Today – Enjoying a Life of Peace and Blessing!

Date July 2, 2017

We can turn around any attitude, change any habit, create a totally different character and, in time, enjoy a completely different life – a life of peace and blessing!

I’m Dr. Matthew Lee Smith and I want to share some Hope For Today about how to enjoy a life of peace and blessing!

If we want to enjoy a life of peace and blessing and replace our chaos with God’s calm, we will need to

  • ACT like Jesus

Let’s be honest: much of the difficulty we face in this life is of our own making. I have friends who want to blame the devil for everything bad in their lives. However, if we are honest, the person who stares back at us in the mirror every morning is our biggest enemy.

Paul understood this when He wrote:

Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.” (Philippians 4:1)

We have a tendency to drift … life takes over. Schedules get jammed. We get tired, tense and cranky! Pretty soon our spiritual discipline is non-existent … am I the only one with these problems?

I love Jesus, but I’m not standing firm anymore. I miss reading God’s Word. I eat too much at lunch. I’m too selfish and I snap at someone.

The reality is, I’m called – and so are you – to act like Jesus. We’re to …

“stand firm thus in the Lord …” (Philippians 4:1)

It might be that today you realize its time to follow Jesus and enjoy a life of peace and blessing. God gives that life to those who stand firm in Jesus – to do what’s right through the power God readily gives to those who ask. You can get that new life by saying these words to Jesus Christ …

“Forgive me for my for not following You and applying Your words to my life and purpose. Forgive me for living my own life. Free me from the slavery of my sin. I am choosing to be totally committed to following You. Lead me as I listen to You.”

If you said those words and meant them, Jesus has forgiven you. Now comes the proof of what you said … following Him! Just like you would never want your loved one to abandon you, so Jesus never wants you to abandon him. So, get in a good, Bible-teaching church this week. Open your Bible and explore God’s thoughts and directions for your life. And check out our resources found on our website to help you grow in your faith!

 

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: Eagles In Leadership . org; that’s Eagles In Leadership .org.

Impacted By God’s Word

Date June 13, 2017

Some verses just make a bigger impact in my life than others. How about you? Sure they do!

When this verse comes across my path each year in my Bible reading, it causes me to stop and evaluate some things.

  • Do I believe this?
  • Am I seeing this play out in my daily life?
  • Which aspect of this verse do I see right now?

Questions like this flow through my heart, mind, and soul when I read this verse.

Do I believe this? 

Yes, I do. Not intellectually alone, but experientially. I have watched this truth play out in daily life – mine especially, time and time again. My good friend and the executive vice president of media for Eagles In Leadership, Mike Powers, once said, “I am always interested in the favor of God. How do we get it? How do we experience it? What does God say about it?”

That comment has led me on a multi-year search of God’s Word for clues on the subject of His favor. Here, I see why God gives it and my life experience has confirmed it time and again.

Am I seeing this play out in my daily life?

Again, yes, I am! While my life may not measure up to the fantasies of others, I see on a daily basis how He has placed people in my path to bless me and make my way clear. Recently, one of my new mentors said this about how he lives out His faith that God is good to him personally …

Because God loves me … 

If anything can go right today, it will go right and happen to me at the best time. Nothing will be as difficult as it looks. Nothing will take as long as it seems.

These words reflect the reality of God’s favor in action.

What aspect of this verse do I see right now?

Over the past few weeks, Melodee and I have watched God put people in our path to make life work so much easier. This is a kind of “greasing the wheels” of life. Time and again we have watched things go right when things could have wrecked. Wow! Yes, I am seeing the favor of God play out daily. I guess this is easy to see because I have also watched the opposite … when life is difficult because I have been far away from the Lord.

What about you? What Bible verse is impacting your life right now? God is trying to tell you something important through that verse. He’s trying to guide us to His next step in the Divine Plan He has for us … and that plan is good because He is good.

Hope For Today – Enjoying a Blessed Life!

Date June 11, 2017

Is your daily life chaotic or calm; are you being beaten up by life, or are you enjoying a blessed life?

These are two of the most important questions you can ask yourself on a daily basis. Our answer to these two questions reflects a lot about how we think! Why? Because the way we think …

  • Builds our beliefs!
  • Establishes our expectations!
  • Amps up our attitudes!
  • Molds our moods!
  • Predicts our performance!
  • Determines our destiny!

I’m Dr. Matthew Lee Smith and I want to share some Hope For Today about how to enjoy a blessed life!

I’ve taught people for years this little saying to help them understand this Biblical truth …

Sow a thought; reap an act.

Sow an act; reap a habit.

Sow a habit; reap a character.

Sow a character; reap a destiny.

The Bible says:

For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” (Proverbs 23:7, KJV 1900)

What we think determines our destiny. If we want a blessed life, we will have to think the thoughts of the One who blesses us. God has a plan of blessing and life for you. Are you listening to His ideas and directions?

It might be that today you realize it’s time to follow Jesus and enjoy the blessings He gives to those who change the way they think – to seek God’s understanding in your thoughts and life. You can get that new life by saying these words to Jesus Christ …

“Forgive me for my for not following You and applying Your words to my life and purpose. Forgive me for living my own life. Free me from the slavery of my sin. I am choosing to be totally committed to following You. Lead me as I listen to You.”

If you said those words and meant them, Jesus has forgiven you. Now comes the proof of what you said … following Him! Just like you would never want your loved one to betray you, so Jesus never wants you to betray him for another. So, get in a good, Bible-teaching church this week. Open your Bible and explore God’s thoughts and directions for your life. And check out our resources to help you grow found on our website!

 

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: Eagles In Leadership . org; that’s Eagles In Leadership .org.

Hope For Today – Receiving So Many of God’s Blessings!

Date June 4, 2017

Each day, as I open God’s Word, He brings so much CHANGE and BLESSING into my life!

I’m Dr. Matthew Lee Smith and I want to share some Hope For Today about how God gives us SO MANY OF HIS BLESSINGS!

If we want to change our confusion into understanding and our feelings of condemnation into actual blessings from God, then we need to

  • Repeatedly LOOK DEEPLY into God’s Word (3.18)

This is why I encourage you read God’s Word cover-to-cover with me each year! I have experienced SO MANY blessings – financial, emotional, social, spiritual, physical – 53 pounds lost since August 2015, vocational and the list goes on and on!

You can jump in with us tomorrow by downloading the reading schedule today from our website and start reading with people all over the world … why would we read the Bible every day?

Paul says …

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 3:18, NKJV)

Of course, the image he speaks of here is the Image of our Lord, Jesus Christ! You see, as we pick up our Bible each day, having left the old life where OUR desires were first, God sends us …

  • His mercy – to help in our times of need; He is our rescuer!
  • His light – in the midst of the darkness we find ourselves trapped in; He is our deliverer!
  • His knowledge – of His will and whim for our lives today; He is our guide and companion!

Perhaps today you realize you want to follow Jesus and enjoy the blessings He gives to those who look deeply into His words daily … you can get that freedom by saying these words to Jesus Christ …

“Forgive me for my for not following You and applying Your words to my life and purpose. Forgive me for living my own life. Free me from the slavery of my sin. I am choosing to be totally committed to following You. Lead me as I listen to You.”

If you said those words and meant them, Jesus has forgiven you. Now comes the proof of what you said … following Him! Just like you would never want your loved one to betray you, so Jesus never wants you to betray him for another. So, get in a good, Bible-teaching church this week. And check out our resources to help you grow found on our website!

 

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: Eagles In Leadership . org; that’s Eagles In Leadership .org.

 

Photo credit: http://link2power.org/wordpress/2015/03/the-deuteronomy-28-blessings/

Questions to Ask Before You Take an Associate Position

Date June 1, 2017

Recently a good friend asked whether he should take a position that’s been offered to him. As I took some time thinking about this, I considered this is his first foray into a church ministry staff position. Since he’s young, I wanted to give him “wise counsel;” after all, this step could affect his long-term future and life.

Here’s what I shared with him …

1) NEVER go where there is doubt.

2) ALWAYS go where there is a clear word from the Lord.

3) NEVER go until there is clarity of the position description in writing. This includes:

  • Who are you directly responsible to? (Who can fire you?)
  • What does the job entail – GET IT IN WRITING!
  • What does the job entail in hours?
  • Is there a budget for ministry expenses?
  • What’s included in the ministry expenses that are budgeted?
  • Is there any remuneration?
  • What is the remuneration for your time? (Workman is worthy of his hire)
  • How often do you meet with your supervisor? The entire ministry team? The senior pastor?
  • How do they handle conflict?
  • What do they expect from you in this position – GET IT IN WRITING!
  • What days / times are you off? (Ministry can kill family without boundaries)
  • Who do they have in place to support you?

Then I asked him to consider the answers to these questions …

  • What is the vision of the senior pastor?
  • Do you believe in that vision?
  • Can you follow the senior pastor?
  • Do you respect the senior pastor?
  • How often will you have access to the senior pastor?
  • How does this position fit into God’s life purpose and calling for your life?
  • Could you do something else and accomplish God’s life purpose and calling for your life?

As I wrapped up my thoughts, I reminded him that an offer doesn’t mean God’s moving you to take it. It simply means God is moving and testing you. Listen carefully before you say, “Yes!” Hope this helps.

Now, it’s your turn. What would you advise? Please, share your thoughts below.

 

Photo Credit: http://fletcherking.co.uk/news/

Before We Can Soar We Must Understand!

Date May 30, 2017

O Jacob, how can you say the Lord does not see your troubles? O Israel, how can you say God ignores your rights? Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding.” (Isaiah 40:27–28, NLT)

Throughout the Bible, the people of God have met with resistance, struggle and attack in order to carve out a portion for God’s inheritance. Abraham was rebuffed time and again for the wells he possessed. The nation of Israel was in captivity for 400 years before their miraculous release by God through Moses.

Kings Saul and David fought for every inch of land the people of God possessed. Nehemiah was attacked from without and discouraged from within by enemy collaborators until the very last stone was in place on Jerusalem’s wall. The disciples were rejected, beaten and eventually killed, with the exception of John, for their expansion of the Good News of Jesus Christ. What would make us think our great work of reaching our world in our generation would take any less personal sacrifice?

Understanding how God operates changes our expectations. And herein lies the problem in our souls. Modern Americans are “instant” people. We like our food served within minutes of our order. We want our Internet service to respond immediately. We even expect God to answer us instantly, even though we may have been away from Him for years!

Expectations are the viruses of life. God wants us to understand exactly how He operates. After three decades in ministry I have come to comprehend the following about the God whom I serve.

  • God sees our troubles. All too often, as seen repeatedly in the Psalms, we feel that because we have prayed and God hasn’t answered that He hasn’t paid attention to our plight. In His message sent through our Isaiah passage, He confirms He knows what is happening to us and about us!
  • God hears our prayers. Since nothing has changed, except perhaps to get worse, we often conclude God hasn’t heard our prayers. Perhaps He has turned a deaf ear to us! King Hezekiah’s situation is very instructive to us in this matter. We learn from the great king that at times, God turns away from us to see what is really in our hearts.

However, regarding the ambassadors of the princes of Babylon, whom they sent to him to inquire about the wonder that was done in the land, God withdrew from him, in order to test him, that He might know all that was in his heart. 2 Chronicles 32:31 (NKJV, Emphasis added)

God allows us to display our faith and wisdom at certain times without His presence and help. Surely we can see our true nature during times of trouble more than at any other time. Yet, be assured God is listening to our prayers, for He hears every cry from every child of His!

  • God is able to solve our problems. There is often doubt that God can or wants to solve our problems when things are going poorly. It is in these times that we often neglect to remember God’s Word:

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” (Hebrews 4:16, NLT)

  • God is operating on His timetable. Here is the point. God is working out His will in His plan. Often, when things are going wrong for God’s people, they are suffering for the sins of the past. They are reaping the harvest of sins done years ago, perhaps by others who came before us! David had to endure the consequences of a three-year famine as a result of his predecessor’s failures. (2 Samuel 21:1) In ministry, we too, often suffer for previous failures.

Whatever the cause for our present difficulties, God still answers prayer on His timetable. Be assured He has a plan. If we will submit to this plan, God will bless us abundantly in His good time!

 

If you enjoyed today’s leadership post, you can read the rest of it in Dr. Smith’s book, Gathering Missional Leaders: Creating a Biblical Environment for Exponential Leadership DevelopmentYou can purchase the book by following this link

Hope For Today – Enjoying a Blessed Life!

Date May 28, 2017

Is your daily life chaotic or calm; are you being beaten up by life, or are you enjoying a blessed life?

These are two of the most important questions you can ask yourself on a daily basis. Our answer to these two questions reflects a lot about how we think! Why? Because the way we think …

  • Builds our beliefs!
  • Establishes our expectations!
  • Amps up our attitudes!
  • Molds our moods!
  • Predicts our performance!
  • Determines our destiny!

I’m Dr. Matthew Lee Smith and I want to share some Hope For Today about how to enjoy a blessed life!

I’ve taught people for years this little saying to help them understand this Biblical truth …

Sow a thought; reap an act.

Sow an act; reap a habit.

Sow a habit; reap a character.

Sow a character; reap a destiny.

The Bible says:

For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” (Proverbs 23:7, KJV 1900)

What we think determines our destiny. If we want a blessed life, we will have to think the thoughts of the One who blesses us. God has a plan of blessing and life for you. Are you listening to His ideas and directions?

It might be that today you realize it’s time to follow Jesus and enjoy the blessings He gives to those who change the way they think – to seek God’s understanding in your thoughts and life. You can get that new life by saying these words to Jesus Christ …

“Forgive me for my for not following You and applying Your words to my life and purpose. Forgive me for living my own life. Free me from the slavery of my sin. I am choosing to be totally committed to following You. Lead me as I listen to You.”

If you said those words and meant them, Jesus has forgiven you. Now comes the proof of what you said … following Him! Just like you would never want your loved one to betray you, so Jesus never wants you to betray him for another. So, get in a good, Bible-teaching church this week. Open your Bible and explore God’s thoughts and directions for your life. And check out our resources to help you grow found on our website!

 

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: Eagles In Leadership . org; that’s Eagles In Leadership . org.

 

Photo Credit: https://www.pinterest.com/explore/the-calm/

That Moment When Your Faith’s True Size Is Revealed!

Date May 18, 2017

Have you ever come to an obstacle in life and decide to bail instead of press forward? Perhaps because the path grew unfamiliar and uncomfortable you chose to take the easy wrong instead of the difficult right.

Going to a life group or mid-week study was just too much to ask of you and so you stayed home. Then, people invited you out to eat or to their home and you had all the energy you needed.

Maybe you simply allowed the fantasy of Cinderella to overcome the reality that you married the Beast. Now, with the sparkly glasses removed, you see you married a flawed person – much like yourself. And, frankly, you wanted him to fulfill you. Since he doesn’t do that anymore and watches too much ESPN2 or plays too much on his PS4, you’ve chosen to walk away.

You know you should stay the course. You remember the verses from your high school graduation cards …

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” (Proverbs 3:5–6, NLT)

But … this is an unhappy hard and you want a happy easy.

That, my friend, is the moment you realize your faith is too small.

How do we grow our faith? We open God’s Word every day … not some cheap devotional imitation … and listen to God speak as we read it aloud!

“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17, NKJV)

If you don’t have our reading schedule and reading helps use the link under “Resources” and download ours today. Start reading God’s Word daily and do the things you learn from Him there.

It’s in the doing that our faith grows!

Invasion Requires a Life of Endurance!

Date May 16, 2017

And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.” (Hebrews 12:1–2, NLT)

Fulfilling the mission of Jesus Christ is a marathon, not a 100-yard dash! Over time, if we stay the course, we will be victorious. When I ran the 880-yard dash in high school I was part of a team, three other teens ran 220 yards each. Our task was to run “full out” on an even track for the duration of our part of the race. However, when my friends ran cross-country, they ran for miles on an uneven course. They paced themselves and allowed for the differences in terrain and distance.

If we are to be effective on the mission of invasion into the dark territory in our communities, we will need to follow the long-distance runner’s example. Living a life “on mission” succeeds when we …

  • Pace ourselves against the leader! When running a long distance, pacing yourself means keeping in step with another runner in front of you! Jesus is our Leader – He is running with us, ahead of us. He sets the pace and the course. We must follow Him closely if we are to win!
  • Pay the price of pain! So few people are willing to suffer for the prize these days. These “couch-potato” athletes are quick to offer their opinion and critique, but you won’t find them breaking a sweat on the course. The church needs no more “arm chair quarterbacks.” Like Jesus, we need to be willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy He knew would be His afterward. Our mission is that vital!
  • Plan on the victory party! Why did Jesus suffer so much? His love for those who needed release from captivity stayed in the forefront of His mind. Jesus knew the party in heaven would be a great celebration once these people were released from their bonds. (Luke 15.7)

By staying focused on the lead runner, the mission and the celebration, our sacrifices will pale in comparison! Jesus has sent us on a mission – to set the captives free. That mission takes time, sacrifice and personal costs all along the way. Is it worth it? Let me ask you this – Do you appreciate the sacrifices others made so you have life eternal? Then it’s worth it!

 

If you enjoyed today’s leadership post, you can read the rest of it in Dr. Smith’s book, Gathering Missional Leaders: Creating a Biblical Environment for Exponential Leadership DevelopmentYou can purchase the book by following this link

Hope For Today – God Waits to Be Gracious to You!

Date May 14, 2017

Are you in the midst of tough times right now? Seems like most of the people I know are. Whether it’s finances, work issues, relationship issues at home or your car isn’t running well, it seems like most everyone is struggling with something these days.

With all the other problems you are having right now, the last thing you need to worry about is whether God is interested in you and your problems.

I’m Dr. Matthew Lee Smith and I want to share some Hope For Today about the fact that God Is Waiting to Be Gracious to You!

In (Isaiah 30:18–19, ESV) the LORD Himself gives us Hope For Today as HE says, “Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for himHe will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry. As soon as he hears it, he answers you.

Did you hear that? “Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you.” Grace is when God gives us what we don’t deserve! We saw grace when He sent His Son to be our Savior. Grace is often costly … and usually changes things we cannot change ourselves. And God is waiting RIGHT NOW to be gracious to you!

A little skeptical? Then hear this again, he exalts himself to show mercy to you. God is waiting to SHOW OFF by giving us mercy! What’s the difference between grace and mercy you ask? Mercy WITHHOLDS what we deserve. I make enough mistakes over the course of a month that most of my relationships would end if it wasn’t for the mercy of others … do you know what I mean? A harsh tone, a critical look … BUT mercy … and God wants to shower you in grace and show off His abundant mercy to you … RIGHT NOW!

Are you thinking, “How do I sign up?” God says, blessed are all those who wait for himHe will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry. God tells us that we have to get vocal. We will have to be transparent. We will need to get alone and cry out to Jesus! As we unload the pain and the pressures, as our tears flow down out faces and our cries fall from our lips, God hears and brings grace!

Do you remember God’s promise? As soon as he hears it, he answers you.” These aren’t silent prayers … they are vocal, vibrant and voluntary. There is hope For Today in your life … get alone with Jesus, unload the emotions verbally, vocally. Cry out to Jesus! He WILL hear you! He WILL answer you!

 

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 Eagles In Leadership . org; that’s Eagles In Leadership .org.

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