Godly Leaders Must Do Hard Things

“Arise, for this matter is your responsibility. We also are with you. Be of good courage, and do it” (Ezra 10:4).

Leaders have to do hard things. The responsibility is theirs, and the team is imploring their leader to take the responsibility to lead!

Ezra had to deal with a difficult issue. The issue was intermarriage between the Israelites and pagan nations. To complicate matters, Ezra discovered that “the hand of the leaders and rulers had been foremost in this trespass” (Ezra 9:2). I would guess these leaders had committed the sin of commission (intermarrying themselves or allowing their children to do so), and of omission (not speaking out against trespassers).

But those “who trembled at the words of the God of Israel” were greatly grieved at this national sin (v. 4).

Ezra’s first response was a good one: he fasted and prayed, confessing the sins of the people and identifying himself with them (notice the use of “we” in his prayer). Ezra knew there was a window of opportunity for revival that was about to close, so he must act quickly (vv. 5-15).

Prayer is a great start, but after prayer there must be action: “Arise … and do it”!

I am sure looking transgressors in the eye—especially those who were leading men and women in the community—and calling out their sin wasn’t an easy thing nor a pleasant thing for Ezra to do, but it had to be done.

A mark of a godly leader is one who does the hard good things that must be done.

Ezra doing the hard good thing opened the door for God’s blessing to fall on the people. This is still true for godly leaders today.

My prayer—Lord, strengthen me to “arise and do it” when the hard good things must be done.

This is Part 2 in my series on godly leadership. To read my other posts, please click here.

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Thursdays With Oswald—Take The Initiative

This is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

Take The Initiative 

     In every place you are in, insist on taking the initiative for God.

     Looking for opportunities to serve God is an impertinence; every time and all the time is our opportunity of serving God.

From Run Today’s Race

Run Today’s Race contains short statements from Oswald Chambers intended to stimulate Christians to ponder things like:

  • Do I think I can only do big things for God in special moments?
  • Do I realize that I am always salt and light wherever I go and whatever I am doing?
  • Instead of looking for opportunities, am I seizing the opportunities God is continually giving me?

10 Quotes From “Cherish”

As I said in my book review of Gary Thomas’s Cherish, this is a must-read for married couples, those about to be married, and those who counsel married couples. Please check out my review, and then enjoy a few quotes from this book.

“Learning to truly cherish each other turns marriage from an obligation into a delight. It lifts marriage above a commitment to a precious priority.”

“In one sense, love is the nurturing aspect of marriage, while cherish is the ‘tasting’ aspect of marriage. Love meets the need; cherish tickles the tongue.”

“If you want to be fully satisfied in your marriage, if you want your wife to feel cherished, then mentally treat your wife like Eve. Let her be, in your mind, in that way, the only woman in the world. Say with King Solomon, ‘My dove, my perfect one, is the only one’ (Song of Songs 6:9 ESV).” 

“You’ve already made your choice. In your ideal world, you have no intention of ever starting over with someone else, so why not put your energy into and your focus on guarding that choice, building on the strengths of that choice, and making yourself ever more grateful that you made that choice?”

“At some point, if you want marital happiness, if you want to learn how to cherish a real man instead of longing for an imaginary composite, some ‘Frankenstein’ husband who somehow has it all, then you have to own your choice and even learn to cherish your choice. ‘My vineyard, my very own, is for myself’ (Song of Songs 8:12 NRSV).”

“The call to cherish isn’t to appreciate being pleasured by your spouse but to take pleasure in the pleasure of your spouse.”

“If we want to cherish our spouses, we must learn to take an active interest in what interests them.”

“Cherishing is expressed, or it’s not. Intimacy is built, or it is assaulted, even in the most mundane marital conversations.”

“The act of consistently noticing and honoring our spouses cultivates and maintains a certain kind of relationship, and it shapes our hearts. Noticing and honoring sustain the force and power of cherishing. When we stop noticing and stop honoring our spouses in the little things, the relationship starves.”

“Active cherishing—noticing and then expressing the excellence you see—is a way to shape our attitudes and to generate feelings of closeness and well-being. When we do what the Bible tells us to do, we will be doubly blessed—our spouses will be happier, increasing the joy in our marriages, and we’ll become happier psychologically as well. Cherishing our spouses literally makes us feel better. So cherishing means waging war on contempt and going on the offense with gratitude.”

I will be sharing more quotes from Cherish soon. If you’d like to be notified when these quotes are posted, simply enter your email address in the field in the right column and click “Sign me up!” You may also want to follow me on Twitter and Tumblr for other quality quotes I post every day.

12 More Quotes From “Chase The Lion”

chase-the-lionI loved Chase The Lion by Mark Batterson! If this book doesn’t inspire you to do great things for God, I’m not sure what will. Be sure to check out my review of this book by clicking here, and then enjoy some more quotes from this amazing book.

“You may doubt yourself because of your lack of education or lack of experience. But if God has called you, you aren’t really doubting yourself. You’re doubting God. God doesn’t call the qualified. God qualifies the called.”

“An opportunity isn’t an opportunity if you have to compromise your integrity. It’s the decisions when no one is looking that will dictate your destiny. In fact, your integrity is your destiny! Killing Goliath was an epic act of bravery. Not killing Saul was an epic act of integrity.”

“One of the most important decisions you make every single day is what time you set your alarm to go off.”

“God doesn’t promise us happily ever after. He promises so much more than that—happily forever after.”

“In God’s kingdom the outcome isn’t the issue. Success isn’t winning or losing; it’s obeying. … In God’s book success is spelled stewardship. It’s making the most of the time, talent, and treasure God has given you. It’s doing the best you can with what you have, where you are.”

“Just as courage is not the absence of fear, success is not the absence of failure. Failure is a necessary step in every dream journey.”

“Fighters don’t walk away when the going gets tough; they fight to the finish for their convictions. Fighters don’t give up when everyone is against them; they fight against the status quo. And fighters don’t shrink back when the odds are against them; they fight for what they believe in.”

“It’s okay to talk to God about your problems, but at some point you have to flip the script. You need to talk to your problems about God.”

“Valor is less an action and more a reaction. If you judge a person by his or her actions, you’re judging a book by its cover. Reactions are far more revealing than actions. How you react in difficult circumstances is the litmus test of character. And you never really know how you’ll react until you’re the one who crosses paths with a lion. Valor is running toward trouble when everyone else is running away. Valor is going above and beyond the call of duty. Valor is putting yourself in the line of fire for someone else.”

“You know why some of us have never killed the giant, chased the lion, or walked on water? We’re afraid of looking foolish. But it’s the fear of looking foolish that is foolish!”

“Sometimes the circumstances we’re trying to change are the very circumstances God is using to change us. … Instead of expending all your energy trying to get out of them, get something out of them.”

“Don’t be in such a hurry to begin the next chapter of your life that you fail to ace the lessons the current chapter is trying to teach you.”

You can check out the first set of quotes I shared from Chase The Lion by clicking here. And be sure to follow me on Tumblr and Twitter, where I daily share quotes from all sorts of inspirational authors.

Poetry Saturday— A Grammarian’s Funeral

Robert BrowningThat low man seeks a little thing to do,
Sees it and does it:
This high man, with a great thing to pursue,
Dies ere he knows it.
That low man goes on adding one to one,
His hundred’s soon hit:
This high man, aiming at a million,
Misses an unit.
That, has the world here—should he need the next
Let the world mind him!
This, throws himself on God, and unperplexed,
Seeking shall find Him. —Robert Browning

16 Insightful Quotes From “Intentional Living”

Intentional LivingJohn Maxwell’s books always contain so many great quotes from other wise men and women. Here are a few that caught my highlighter in Intentional Living.

“To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. Not to dare is to lose oneself.” —Soren Kierkegaard

“If you aren’t in over your head, how do you know how tall you are?” —T.S. Eliot

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently…. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.” —Steve Jobs

“One of the best places to start to turn your life around is by doing whatever appears on your mental ‘I should’ list.” —Jim Rohn

“You must get involved to have an impact. No one is impressed with the won-lost record of a referee.” —Napoleon Hill

“Most people don’t aim too high and miss. They aim too low and hit.” —Bob Moawad

“Anybody can do their best. God helps us do better than our best.” —Catherine Bramwell-Booth

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it makes some difference that you have lived and lived well.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Our souls are not hungry for fame, comfort, wealth, or power. Those rewards create almost as many problems as they solve. Our souls are hungry for meaning, for the sense that we have figured out how to live so that our lives matter, so that the world will be at least a little bit different for our having passed through it.” —Rabbi Harold Kushner

“People who matter most are aware that everyone else does, too.” —Malcolm Forbes

“Selfishness is the greatest challenge for a coach. Most players are more concerned with making themselves better than the team.” —John Wooden

“There is a direct relationship between your own level of self-esteem and the health of your personality. The more you like and respect yourself, the more you like and respect other people. The more you consider yourself to be a valuable and worthwhile person, the more you consider others to be valuable and worthwhile as well. The more you accept yourself just as you are, the more you accept others just as they are.” —Brian Tracy

“One of the greatest diseases is to be nobody to anybody.” —Mother Teresa

“Choose the way of life. Choose the way of love. Choose the way of caring. Choose the way of hope. Choose the way of belief in tomorrow. Choose the way of trusting. Choose the way of goodness. It’s up to you.” —Leo Buscaglia

“We’re concerned with how things turn out; God seems more concerned with how we turn out.” —Philip Yancey

“Most hockey players follow the puck on the ice. I never skate to where the puck is. I skate to where it is going.” —Wayne Gretzky

John Maxwell has a lot of great quotes himself! Here is the first batch of quotes I shared from Intentional Living. And be sure to check out my review of this outstanding book.

23 Other Quotes From “15 Invaluable Laws Of Growth”

15 Invaluable Laws of GrowthJohn Maxwell is extremely well-read! It is obviously that he uses many sources to sharpen and refine the teaching principles he shares in his books. I recently finished reading 15 Invaluable Laws Of Growth, and as usual, Dr. Maxwell shared several quotes from others which I found very highlighter-worthy. Here are a few of them…

“What great accomplishments we’d have in the world if everybody had done what they intended to do.” —Frank Clark

“A mistake is simply another way of doing things.” —Warren Bennis

“You cannot change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction overnight.” —Jim Rohn

“Can there be a more insidious word? Later, as in ‘I’ll do it later.’ Or, ‘Later, I’ll have time to write that book that’s been on my mind for the past five years.’ Or, ‘I know I need to straighten out my finances… I’ll do it later.’ ‘Later’ is one of those dream-killers, one of the countless obstacles we put up to derail our chances of success. The diet that starts ‘tomorrow,’ the job hunt that happens ‘eventually,’ the pursuit of the life dream that begins ‘someday’ combine with other self-imposed roadblocks and lock us on autopilot.’ —Jennifer Reed

“No one can produce great things who is not thoroughly sincere in dealing with himself.” —James Russell Lowell

“Probably the most honest self-made man ever was the one we heard say: ‘I got to the top the hard way—fighting my own laziness and ignorance every step of the way.’ —James Thom

“It’s impossible to consistently behave in a manner inconsistent with how we see ourselves. We can do very few things in a positive way if we feel negative about ourselves.” —Zig Ziglar

“Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.” —Peter Drucker

“The wise man questions himself, the fool others.” —Henri Arnold

“The successful person has the habit of doing the things that failures don’t like to do. The successful person doesn’t like doing them either, but his dislike is subordinated to the strength of his purpose.” —E. M. Gray

“Where many people go wrong in trying to reach their goals is in constantly looking for the big hit, the homerun, the magic answer that suddenly transforms their dreams into reality. The problem is that the big hit never comes without a great deal of little hits first. Success in most things comes not from some gigantic stroke of fate, but from simple, incremental progress.” —Andrew Wood

“A bad habit never goes away by itself. It’s always an undo-it-your self project.” —Abigail Van Buren

“The great composer does not set to work because he is inspired, but becomes inspired because he is working. Beethoven, Wagner, Mozart, and Bach all settled down, day after day, to the job at hand. They didn’t waste time waiting for inspiration.” —Ernest Newman

“Do not wait for a change of environment before you act. Cause a change of environment through action. You can act upon your present environment so as to cause yourself to be transferred to a better environment.” —Wallace D. Wattles

“Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a plan of action and follow it to the end requires some of the same courage which a soldier needs. Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men to win them.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Someone’s opinion of you does not have to become your reality.” —Les Brown

“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they may have planned for you? Not much.” —Jim Rohn

“An idealist believes the short run doesn’t count. A cynic believes the long run doesn’t matter. A realist believes that what is done or left undone in the short run determines the long run.” —Sydney J. Harris

“Every problem introduces a person to himself.” —John McDonnell

“Experience isn’t really the best teacher but it sure does serve as the best excuse for not trying to do the same silly thing again.” —Frank Hughes

“You will never stub your toe standing still. The faster you go, the more chance there is of stubbing your toe, but the more chance you have of getting somewhere.” —Charles F. Kettering

“Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced.” —James Baldwin

“No pain, no palm; no thorns, no throne; no gall, no glory; no cross, no crown.” —William Penn

You can read my book review of 15 Invaluable Laws Of Growth and its companion book JumpStart Your Growth by clicking here.

To read quotes from John Maxwell in 15 Invaluable Laws, click here.

P.S. And watch for more quotes coming soon!

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