Leadership lessons of Daniel

In looking at the book of Daniel in my devotional time I have started to see some leadership lessons that present themselves in there. If you start reading Daniel chapter 1, what do you see that Nebuchadnezzar is looking for in the youths he is asking Ashpenaz to get from the Israelites?  Daniel 1:4 in the New Living says he was looking for these qualities:  “Select only strong, healthy, and good-looking young men,” he said. “Make sure they are well versed in every branch of learning, are gifted with knowledge and good sense, and have the poise needed to serve in the royal palace. Teach these young men the language and literature of the Babylonians. “ He was looking for young men who were full of leadership potential.  At least that is what I see when I read this and that is what I see when I read further in this chapter.

Later in Daniel 1 we read this: But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. – Daniel 1:8 (NKJV). What do we see in this?  We see spiritual leadership because we see Daniel has made a decision in his heart that he will not make himself unclean eating the King’s food.   How does he handle this decision?  Does he say it is going to be my way or I am going on go on a hunger strike and not eat anything.  Does he make demands? No, he does not. If you take the time read the read the rest of the chapter you will see that Daniel uses people skills and negotiating skills, but also has the favor of God on him.  Also keep in mind  he was leading Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah in not eating the King’s food.  We see real leadership from Daniel here.

Do not forget that in this first chapter we are seeing Daniel as a teenager.  I would say that  Ashpenaz who was the one who was to choose these young men for their leadership potential did an outstanding job.  Leaders are those who purpose in their heart to do what God lays on their hearts to do and that is what we see Daniel do.  Leaders are those who use all the skills that they have on hand to get the job done as Daniel does with his people skills and his negotiating skills.  Leaders lead others to God’s purposes and that is what we see from Daniel in leading of Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah in not eating the King’s food.

There is plenty of leadership seen and plenty of lessons we can learn here.  Have you learned the lessons that Daniel teaches?  I have to be honest and say that some of this I am still working on.  What are your thoughts?

Surprise!

Matthew 1:30-33  30 The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. 31 “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. 32 “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; 33 and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.”

The announcement of Jesus’ birth, which is formulated like Old Testament announcements stresses three things about Jesus: his position for it calls him Son of God, Son of the Most High, and calls him a ruler, his authority is seen in that he is seated on Israel’s throne forever; ruler of a kingdom that will never end and his divine ties which are seen in the Holy Spirit will come and overshadow you. In short, Jesus is the promised king of the Davidic line. Old Testament roots for this promise come from 2 Samuel 7:8-17 and Psalm 89 and 132. He is the promised One!

Imagine the surprise that Mary must have in thinking that she is going to be giving birth to the son of God.  Imagine what this would be like?  I would have to say that surprise would be an understatement.  I would say that surprised by the grace of God.

Have you ever been surprised by God’s grace?  Just think of how this just came out of now where for her?  Has you surprise ever been out of now where like that?

 

Questions on Prayer

Today I am looking for your thoughts so let me just ask the questions:

1)  What is the greatest/biggest prayer prayed in the Old Testament?

2)  What is the greatest/biggest prayer prayed in the New Testament?

3)  How do you define prayer?

4)  Why do you ask others to pray for you?

5)  What is the most important aspect of prayer?

Let me at this point share a prayer request with you.  My wife and I have been trying to sell a home we own in another state.  We were able to rent it the first year but we lost our savings doing that and so we have placed it for sale.  We honestly have not been able to make the payments since we stopped renting it and we have been very nervous about losing it to foreclosure.  We were blessed to have someone put a contract in on it in the past couple of days – which is a huge answer to prayer.  Please pray that the contract will be accepted by the bank (it is a short sale and they must approve it) and that all would go well with the selling of it.

Please make sure you answer the questions from above – it will be a help in my putting together a series on prayer.

The Oil (Holy Spirit)

In looking at the Holy Spirit today let us look into the Old Testament and a beautiful picture found in Zechariah 4.  I want to focus the attention on Zechariah 4 and the really hone in and focus in on a key verse which is verse six.  ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the LORD of hosts: In one of the visions of Zechariah (He had 5 visions before this one), God spoke to him about purity. But purity alone is not enough to accomplish the work of God – to accomplish the work of God there needs to be something else, and that something is not human might or power.

What is God telling us?  He is telling us that we will never succeed because of our own human might or power; our success will only be because of His Spirit.  He is our source of any victory that we have.  The sooner we realize this in life the better off we will be.  Let me ask you – do you have to have all the credit? Those full of the Spirit are those that know that anything good that happens is because of God and not because of them at all – so no credit for them is needed.

The necessary resource for God’s work is the Holy Spirit and God promises Zerubbabel a rich resource in the Spirit of God to accomplish His work. When we trust in our own resources – whether they are small or great in the eyes of man – then we don’t enjoy the full supply of the Spirit.  We see here that great works are done by Divine Hands and not Human ones.  Are you trying to run your own life?  How is that working out for you, I would bet not too well.  Why, because we need the Spirit.  Are you trying to use your own power to get through life?  Are you trying to use your own might to make it each day?  It is not going to work – it has to be the Spirit.  Do you desire to do something extraordinary with your and in your life?  It will only happen if you do it on Spirit power and not self power!  You might succeed for a while but it is like building a house of the sand – eventually it will come tumbling down.

I came across this and want to end with it – one commentator writes about but by My Spirit,

Why oil is a good representation of the Holy Spirit:

Oil lubricates when used for that purpose – there is little friction and wear among those who are lubricated by the Spirit of God;

Oil heals and was used as a medicinal treatment in Biblical times (Luke 10:34) – the Spirit of God brings healing and restoration,

Oil lights when it is burned in a lamp – where the Spirit of God is there is light.

Oil warms when it is used as fuel for a flame – where the Spirit of God is there is warmth and comfort.

Oil adorns when applied as a perfume – the Holy Spirit adorns us and makes us more pleasant to be around,

Oil polishes when used to shine metal – the Holy Spirit wipes away our grime and smoothes out our rough edges.

Do you have this kind of Oil in your life?  Do you understand that the the bowl of Oil is full and it will never ever run dry?  Have you tried in your power and might and what were the results?  Tell me what are you thought on all this?

This is a powerful chapter  (Zechariah 4) – I encourage you to read and reread it.

Brave Warriors!

Yesterday we looked at the reaction of some of the Israelites when they heard that their army and the leadership was routed by the Philistines – if you do not read it look at it here.  Yesterday’s reaction was one of fear and doubt but todays is much different.  Look at 1 Samuel 31:11 – 13 - 11But when the people of Jabesh-gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul, 12their warriors traveled all night to Beth-shan and took the bodies of Saul and his sons down from the wall. They brought them to Jabesh, where they burned the bodies. 13Then they took their remains and buried them beneath the tamarisk tree at Jabesh, and they fasted for seven days.

Yesterday was fear and doubt but today we learn that there were some brave men left in Israel who recognized that all of Israel along with Saul and his family were being humiliated by the Philistines.  These brave men went by cover of night and took the bodies of Saul and his sons off the wall and took them away and burned them so that they could not be further humiliated.

I love the fact that these brave men stand up for what is right and did what is right. They were truly brave warriors.   I desire to be brave like this – I do not always fit the bill as a brave warrior, but my desire is to stand bravely for the things of Christ.  I desire to stand up in this world and do what is right regardless of what the consequences might be.  I will be looking for opportunities in my life today to do this!

Are you willing to stand – to take a stand for what is right – not what is correct in the world’s eyes but what is right in God’s eyes?  How are you going to do that today?

Let us all go out in the communities in which we live and be the brave ones who stand for what is right like these warriors from Jabesh-gilead!