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Archive for the ‘wisdom’ Category

Winning at All Costs

“Winning isn’t everything,
but wanting to win is!”
Vince Lombardi
Head Coach
Green Bay Packers

Look back at Lombardi.  He bred and led champions.  the NFL has named its coveted championship trophy after him and in his honor.  He was a pioneer in the sport’s history-making era.  He stood out as a man who could lead men, a man’s man and a player’s coach.  If there ever was an example of gridiron guts and gallantry to behold, Lombardi was the prime example for all to lay there eyes upon.

Today’s NFL is nothing like Lombardi’s heyday.  Hard work and determination have been replaced with performance enhancing drugs and off-field antics that border between publicity stunts and public disgraces.  Bountygate has taken prisoners among both players and coaches, revealing true character as it has unraveled before our own eyes.  The NFL currently suffers more black eyes than Pacquiao after his last bout.

The sad truth is that Lombardi’s words speak to our character once we get set on winning.  We become consumed with winning at all costs.  We will cut corners to get an edge on our competition.  We will kick an opponent while he’s down and out, leaving him with no recourse except to wave the white flag of defeat.  That’s what becomes of us when we let a “winning” spirit take over and consume us.

That doesn’t have to be the case, though.

He that loves silver shall not be satisfied with silver
nor he that loves abundance with increase: 
this is also vanity.
 – Ecclesiastes 5:10

Putting our focus on the prize can detour us from the right pathway.  There are no shortcuts to righteousness.  Purity and holiness do not have a cheat code available to a select few.  No, the Lord shows us that a wise choice is to take the moral high road rather than to stoop to the level of cheater just to get ahead.

Our desire to win should remain in check as win people over on our way towards achieving the prize.

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“You must succeed at doing what is necessary.” – Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill stands out as a prominent figure due to what history has made out of his accomplishments as part of Great Britain’s wartime stance against the air raids of the German Lufthansa during World War II.  However, Churchill’s many quotes should also provide today’s business leaders with some stirring words to ponder.

How many of us view success as “doing what is necessary?” That is not a common perspective for most people, especially those trying to run a business on their own in the hopes of growing and increasing revenue or the pastor of a storefront church who has aspirations of growth and expansion.  Necessary things seem to fall right into the mix with all of the other unexpected fires that have to be put out as one makes it day by day and step by step. Yet, Churchill offers such words to cause us to ponder if what we are tinkering with here and there is really leading towards true success.

Ask yourself if you have done “what is necessary” in order to keep the doors open and the lights on.  Develop a list of fundamentals that have to be in place before you move to bigger things.  Utilize this list as a check-in point for yourself before you get started on your daily grind.  I guarantee that such a checklist is exactly what will come in handy as you work on getting to that crucial point that we all seek so desperately and tirelessly that we tend to call success.

Wizzley

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Then Elisha said, “Listen to the word of the LORD; thus says the LORD, ‘Tomorrow about this time a measure of fine flour will be sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, in the gate of Samaria.'” – 2 Kings 7:1 (NASB)

Then the people went out and plundered the camp of the Arameans. So a seah of flour sold for a shekel, and two seahs of barley sold for a shekel, as the LORD had said. 
– 2 Kings 7:16 (NIV)

It happened as the man of God had said to the king: “About this time tomorrow, a seah of flour will sell for a shekel and two seahs of barley for a shekel at the gate of Samaria.” 
– 2 Kings 7:18 (NIV)

The man of God in the Old Testament was more than priestly.  He usually stood out as a messenger of God, a prophet.  Elisha was such a messenger.  He was an advisor to the Hebrew kings of his generation and times.  He provided spiritual insight and interpretation for the benefit and blessing of the entire kingdom based on the word of the LORD.  

A severe famine had struck the land due to invaders surrounding the city and placing it under siege.  This same famine caused the market rates to go sky high.  During this famine, a  donkey’s head sold for eighty shekels of silver and quarter of a cab of seed pods for five shekels ( 2 Kings 6:25, NIV).  Eighty shekels of silver was the equivalent of approximately two pounds, while a quarter of a cab represented about 1/2 pint of seed pods.  In such an economic crisis, no one can get much for their money due to the limited supply and a high demand.  When did donkey heads become listed commodities on the open market? That’s when you know things have gotten real bad.

Things had gotten so bad that a woman had agreed to cook her son and eat him with another woman. Upon hearing of this, the king becomes distraught and tears his robe as a sign of mourning.  He vows to have the head of Elisha, God’s messenger.  Obviously, Elisha quickly fell out of favor with the king at this point due to the dire conditions of the kingdom in that day. God’s messenger is His representative among the people, too.  That also makes him the perfect target for outrage and criticism when things go awry.

Elisha offers a prophecy of coming profitability.  God shared that the famine would end soon and things would turn around.  He prophesied that by the next day  a “seah” of flour and two of barley would both sell for only one shekel.  When it comes true, the people are overjoyed and elated.  They readily grab hold of  all that they could and lived on during the economic recovery.

Keep in mind that the head of God’s messenger was sought by high ranking officials just hours before things turned for the better.  Even though he believed it to be so, others did not readily believe it until they saw it for themselves. 

Today’s financial conditions will not remain the same always.  Hear where God is directing you and see where He is making swift changes and movements that impact our global economy right before our eyes.  You may need to prepare for today’s prophecy becoming tomorrow’s reality quick and soon.

Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: 
for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. 
– Matthew 5:12

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But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father…Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.
Matthew 24:36, 42 (NIV)

You don’t typically see folks in such a frenzy like you do today since Hurricane Sandy has struck the eastern seaboard of the United States.  From the Carolinas to New York and parts of New England, we saw the devastation and destruction left from a natural disaster like Hurricane Sandy.

Then take a look at what the Lord says for us to do.  He wants us to keep watch.  He wants us ready with both anticipation and expectancy, holding onto the hope that only He can offer us.  Don’t get swept of in the storm of the present confitions of today.  Keep your eyes open with your everlasting hope resting in what heaven can provide us.

Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
– Colossians 3:2 (KJV)

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Commit your works to Lord,
And your thoughts will be established.
-Proverbs 16:3

A man’s heart plans his way,
But the Lord directs his steps.
– Proverbs 16:9

I don’t care if it’s a business or a ministry, even a small group or just some friends getting together to do some good work within the community, you need to start from your heart.  That’s where you get the commitment that you will need to endure any such work.  It will have to come from deep within you.  It will have to start in and come from the heart.

The Bible says so in Proverbs as we see in the verses above.  It comes up in other places in both the Old Testament and New Testament.  Don’t get it wrong.  The Bible is certain to cover such a matter as this due to its importance to success of any such venture in faith.  After all, the Lord’s name is on the line any time that we step out there with the blood of Jesus Christ covering us.  Other folks are looking.

Other writers have shared the importance of a leader having a heart for his or her work.  Check out how Ken Blanchard and John Maxwell deal with matters of the heart.  Steve Marr used Proverbs to publish a daily devotional for business professionals called Business Proverbs.

No matter how much you may try to rationalize otherwise, if your heart isn’t in it, you can bet the rest of you isn’t too into it either. Get your heart into it or get out of it. 
God doesn’t want you giving Him a half-hearted effort.  What He did that towards us? Would we praise Him with our whole hearts still? Would we still sing songs of Zion to His glory? Think on that.

Get your heart into before you even get started.  Let God have your best by putting your whole heart into it.  He has already give you His best in Jesus Christ.  Go on and get your heart into whatever you will do in His name.

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Those who love money will never have enough.
How meaningless to think that wealth brings true happiness!

If you want true happiness, don’t put all of your trust in money.  The Bible says so.
Do not trust in oppression, Nor vainly hope in robbery; If riches increase, Do not set your heart on them. – Psalm 62:10 (NKJV)
He who trusts in his riches will fall, But the righteous will flourish like foliage. – Proverbs 11:28 (NKJV)
Rather than do things for the love of money, the Bible instructs us: Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy (1 Timothy 6:17).

Other believers have said so, too.

“A preacher always loses out when he gets his mind on finances.” – Smith Wigglesworth
“Economy is half the battle of life; it is not so hard to earn money as to spend it well.”
“God has given us two hands — one to receive with and the other to give with. We are not cisterns made for hoarding; we are channels made for giving.”  –Billy Graham

“Every spending decision is a spiritual decision.” – J.C. Ryle

Let us learn how to maintain a proper perspective on what God provides to us.  We must learn to do what we do for the love of the Lord, not for the love of money.

Happy is the man who finds wisdom. – Proverbs 3:13 (NKJV)

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The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. – Proverbs 9:10 (NIV)

Start your day in devotion with the Lord.  Pray and seek God’s face earnestly, seeking to hear from Him before you dare venture out beyond your abode.  Take in His Holy Word, the Scriptures.  Let the words from the Most High sink into your heart and ponder them as you go about your day.
Read from the Book of Proverbs daily.  Soak in the wisdom and knowledge that God has to offer us through these words written by Solomon.  Let them guide you through daily activities and interactions.  See how they speak of the things of this life.  Use them as daily meditations as you deal with the things that happen at work and home, even on the highways and byways.
Seek to take them in daily.  Read a chapter for each day of the month.  Study them and reflect on them.  Jot down your thoughts and reflections day by day.  When trouble comes, revisit them.  When you feel down, take a moment to see what God has already shared with you.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom;
teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and
hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your
hearts to the Lord.
– Colossians 3:16 (KJV)

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