Interrupted But Not Discouraged

…I will…if the Lord permits… (1 Corinthians 16:5-7). 

Paul had a desire to visit certain cities to share the Gospel, so he made his plans. But he was careful to add, “if the Lord permits.” He knew from personal experience that God knows best the where and the when.

In fact, the first time Paul came to Macedonia, it was only after he had been blocked from his original plans—

They tried to go to certain regions of Asia, but they were prevented by the Holy Spirit (Acts 16:6).

They headed toward Bythinia, but again the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them to go there (Acts 16:7).

While at Troas, Paul had a vision of a man from Macedonia, so they concluded that God was calling them to preach there (Acts 16:9-10).

We must know that we know that God has green-lighted an opportunity for us. Where God opens opportunities, satan is sure to attack (1 Corinthians 16:9). We don’t want to then assume that the attack means that we are in the wrong place at the wrong time, or even in the right place at the wrong time.

Paul made his plans, but he also remained interruptible.

When God said, “Go!” Paul could endure any opposition because he was assured that God had called. And when God said, “No” Paul could rest peacefully because he was assured that God knew the best place at the best time.

The same principle is true for godly leaders today—

A mark of a godly leader is one who is interruptible without becoming discouraged.

This is part 39 in my series on godly leadership. You can check out all of my posts in this series by clicking here.

Godly Leaders Prayerfully Plan

“… I pray…grant me mercy in the sight of this man [King Artaxerxes]…” (Nehemiah 1:11).

Nehemiah prayed this in the month of Chislev. Four months later—in the month of Nisan—we read Nehemiah’s words, “So I prayed to the God of heaven” (2:4).

It took four months before God began to answer Nehemiah’s prayer, but he definitely wasn’t idle during this time!

During these four months, Nehemiah did more than pray; he planned. In Nisan, the king asked Nehemiah why he seemed heartsick.

“This is nothing but sorrow of heart,” said the king. “What’s bothering you, Nehemiah?”

“My hometown is in ruins,” replied Nehemiah.

Then the king asked, “What would you like to do?”

“So I prayed to the God of heaven. And then I said to the king…” (vv. 2-5).

Nehemiah’s request to King Artaxerxes was very specific.

  • He told the king how long he would be gone
  • He told him the building supplies he would need
  • He requested a letter from the king granting him safe passage
  • He requested another letter authorizing him to have access to the forest for lumber

“And the king granted them to me according to the good hand of my God upon me” (v. 8). Not only that, but the King gave Nehemiah an armed escort back to Jerusalem!

Nehemiah prayed and planned, allowing God to determine the perfect timing. Nehemiah didn’t just pray and wait; he worked while he waited.

A mark of a godly leader is one who prayerfully plans his strategy.

My prayer—May all my plans be made with prayer to You for guidance. You know the best plans and the perfect timing, so I will pray and plan; plan and pray.

This is Part 4 in my series on godly leadership. To read my other posts, please click here.

12 More Quotes From “Intentional Living”

Intentional LivingThere’s always tons of great content in a John Maxwell book, and Intentional Living was no exception. Here’s the second set of quotes from Dr. Maxwell from this book.

“Self-centeredness and fulfillment cannot peacefully coexist. They’re incompatible.”

“As you start your day, are you wondering what you will reap, or are you wondering what you will sow? Are you waiting for others to do something for you, or are you busy looking for something to do for others?”

“If you only place a small value upon yourself, rest assured that the rest of the world will not raise the price. And as a result of your own low self-esteem and poor sense of self-worth, you will fail to make a positive difference in the lives of others because you’ll think you have little to offer.”

“History tells us that in every age there comes a time when leaders must come forth to meet the needs of the hour. Therefore, there is no potential leader who does not have an opportunity to better mankind.”

“Once you taste significance, success will never again satisfy you.”

“I know without a doubt that every day since I started asking God to bring me people who desired significance, He has been sending them into my life so that we could make a difference together. And God continues to send them.”

“Almost everything you and I want is on the other side of fear. How do you handle that? … I don’t believe God gives me a dream to frustrate me. He gives me a dream to be fulfilled. … Fear is the most prevalent reason why people stop. Faith is what makes people start. Fear is the key that locks the door to the resources. Faith is the key that opens that door. When your dream of significance is right, it should increase your faith. … Faith should help you see the invisible and do the impossible.”

“There are no great men or women. There are just great challenges that ordinary people like you and me are willing to tackle. … Nothing separates passionate people from passive people like a call to step up.”

“Dreams often come one size too big so that we can grow into them.”

“Most people miss opportunities in life, not because the opportunity wasn’t there, but because they didn’t have a clue what it looked like when it arrived. They never took the time to figure out what they were looking for. It’s all about intentionality. You have to know what you’re looking for if you want to find it.”

“When partnering with people, don’t choose based on what they say they can do, or based on what they did once. Choose based on their regular behaviors. That’s what tells you what their values are. Too often our choices are made by what we could or think we should do rather than what we usually do. We are all human, so we should give everyone the benefit of the doubt. But we also need to be realistic.”

“Plans rarely stay the same, and are scrapped or adjusted as needed. Vision is only refined by failure. It’s important to remain stubborn about your vision, but flexible with your plan.”

To read the first set of Maxwell quotes from Intentional Living, please click here.

To read some of the quotes that John Maxwell used in his book, please click here.

To read my review of Intentional Living, please click here.

18 Quotes From Wise People In “15 Invaluable Laws Of Growth”

15 Invaluable Laws of GrowthJohn Maxwell always shares great quotes in his books! This is the hallmark of a true servant leader, who doesn’t hoard what he reads or hears, nor is he concerned about getting all the credit. Here are some of the quotes I enjoyed from Maxwell’s book The 15 Invaluable Laws Of Growth.

“Character is a quality that embodies many important traits such as integrity, courage, perseverance, confidence, and wisdom. Unlike your fingerprints that you were born with and can’t change, character is something that you create within yourself and must take responsibility for changing.” —Jim Rohn

“I’ve concluded that while nobody plans to mess up their life, the problem is that a few of us plan not to. That is, we don’t put the necessary safeguards in place to ensure a happy ending.” —Andy Stanley

“I bless you, prison—I bless you for being in my life—for there lying on rotting prison straw, I learned the object of life is not prospering as I had grown up believing, but the maturing of the soul.” —Alexander Solzhenitsyn

“Character cannot be summoned at the moment of crisis if it has been squandered by years of compromise and rationalization. The only testing ground for the heroic is the mundane. The only preparation for that one profound decision which can change a life, or even a nation, is those hundreds of half-conscious, self-defining, seemingly insignificant decisions made in private. Habit is the daily battle ground of character.” —Senator Dan Coats

“If you plan on being anything less than you are capable of being, you will probably be unhappy all the days of your life.” —Abraham Maslow

“It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” —George Elliot

“A sign of wisdom and maturity is when you come to terms with the realization that your decisions cause your rewards and consequences. You are responsible for your life, and your ultimate success depends on the choices you make.” —Denis Waitley

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” —Viktor Frankl

“The great secret of success is to go through life as a man who never gets used up.” —Albert Schweitzer

“All meaningful and lasting change starts first in your imagination and then works its way out.” —Albert Einstein

“It’s better to look uninformed than to be uninformed.” —Richard Thalheimer

“When average people ask themselves, ‘Can I do this?’ they base it on the circumstances they see. … An abundant thinker asks different questions. An abundant thinker asks, ‘How can I?’ This simple twist of semantics changes everything. It forces your mind to create a solution.” —Brian Klimmer

“It is not wise, or even possible, to divorce private behavior from public leadership…. By its very nature, true leadership carries with it the burden of being an example.” —Gordon B. Hinckley

“Never confuse the giftedness of a person with the person. Their gifts allow them to do amazing things but the person may be flawed, which will eventually cause harm.” —Fred Smith

“Great things happen whenever we stop seeing ourselves as God’s gift to others, and begin seeing others as God’s gift to us.” —James S. Vuocolo

“Your doubts are not the product of accurate thinking, but habitual thinking. Years ago you excepted flawed conclusions as correct, begin to live your life as if those warped ideas about your potential were true, and ceased the bold experiment in living that brought you many breakthrough behaviors as a child.” —Price Pritchett

“If you send a rocket to the moon, about 90 percent of the time it’s off course—it ‘fails’ its way to the moon by continually making mistakes and correcting them.” —Price Pritchett

“Self-fulfillment thinks of how something serves me. Self-development thinks of how something helps me to serve others. With self-fulfillment, feeling good is the product. With self-development, feeling good is the by-product.” —Fred Smith

I have shared a lot of other content from this 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!

Poetry Saturday—While Others Are

William Arthur WardBelieve while others are doubting.
Plan while others are playing.
Study while others are sleeping.
Decide while others are delaying.
Prepare while others are daydreaming.
Begin while others are procrastinating.
Work while others are wishing.
Save while others are wasting.
Listen while others are talking.
Smile while others are frowning.
Commend while others are criticizing.
Persist while others are quitting. William Arthur Ward

Whose Plans?

Sometimes what needs to go on my To Do list seems logical. But logical to whom? If I’m not careful I can get so focused on doing the next logical thing, that I miss out on the Holy Spirit’s guidance.

Bruce Wilkinson said it this way —

“If we aren’t passionately and deliberately focused on carrying out God’s agenda with God’s heart, we’ll end up putting our own agenda first. We’ll increasingly look for the kind of missions we enjoy most. We’ll tend to ask God to bless our busyness for Him instead of asking Him to send us on the miracle mission of His choice.”

Ouch!

I don’t think the Bible is against To Do lists, but I need to make my lists the right way.

Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” (James 4:15)

Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:10)

With those verses in mind, this is what I’m praying:

Dear God, I want to decided right here and now that Your agenda is more important than mine. Not my “To Do” list be done, but Yours. I die to my plans so that I might live out your plans.

I am trying to Live Dead to my agenda this week.

Join me next Sunday for part 2 in our series called Live Dead.

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