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Meditations by John Dean

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Illegitimate Leadership

(Daniel 7:9 MKJV)  I watched until the thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days sat, whose robe was white as snow, and the hair of His head like the pure wool. His throne was like flames of fire, and His wheels like burning fire.

From the beginning of time ruling others and building one’s own kingdom has been a primary motivator for mankind. This pattern was actually started in heaven by Satan wanting to take God’s place.

Seeking power to rule seems to be at the very heart of mankind and therefore he will do whatever it takes to achieve it. As a result, ruling power appears to be one of the most sought after things in the world.

Because mankind loves power and wants to build his own kingdom by ruling others…two things seem to emerge from that desire regardless of the class of people…those who need to lead and those who need to be led.

However, not everyone who leads is an actual leader. A good example of that is often found with a man and his wife. Even though governmentally the man is the head of  the home…the wife often has to lead because her husband is incapable.

When leaders are called by God, their call is always accompanied by an anointing equal to the responsibility. However, that calling does not mean they walk alone…it means they are partnering with God each step of their way in order for success to follow.

On the other hand, illegitimate leadership is usually claimed by one being louder, more controlling, bigger or more intimidating than everyone else. When a person claims leadership by these means it is not only illegitimate, but it is actually a form of witchcraft.

The fact is, most folks want to be at peace and therefore they would rather surrender to the loud intimidating person than to battle over who is in change.

An example of such worldly leadership is found in many places in the Old Testament, but the one which sticks out the most to me has to do with Egypt.  Egypt’s Old Testament leaders seem to be the total opposite from God called leaders. Their leaders were natural minded whereas God’s leaders are suppose to be spiritual minded. Egypt’s leaders exalted themselves whereas God’s leaders exalt God.

I was in New York a few days ago and I went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art which is one of the finest museums in the world. I was particularly fascinated by an exhibit from Egypt named “The Temple of Dendur.” This was an actual temple and was estimated to have been built on the Nile river around 23 BC. If these dates are correct, then this temple would have been built before Mary (the mother of Jesus) was born.

Egypt actually presented this temple and its gate as a gift to the United States in 1965, which at the time was represented by Jacqueline Kennedy and others. The cost for dismantling the temple and moving it to New York was 9.5 million dollars.

In thinking about the temple and what a fascinating piece of history it is, I was still aware that it represented the opposite of who God has called us to be. It represented a history of worshiping foreign gods, slavery and even sacrificing humans in the first dynasty. Even though the “The Temple of Dendur” is fascinating and I would go see it again…it still represents illegitimate leadership.

However, according to the Bible, one day every knee (good leadership or illegitimate leadership) will bow to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. “The Ancient of Days whose robe is white as snow and whose hair is like the pure wool and whose throne is like flames of fire and whose wheels are like burning fire” will appear.

It is fascinating to look back at such history as “The Temple of Dendur,” but it is more thrilling to look forward to what the Lord has prepared for those who love Him. “For it is written eye has not seen nor ear heard nor has it entered into the heart of man the things that God has prepared for those who love Him.”

Father,
Thank You for rewarding those who love You and particularly those who follow Your example in leading others. Help us as leaders to hold our hand tightly in Your hand while reaching back and helping those who follow us. Our desire is to build the Kingdom of God and not our own kingdom.

Amen

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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Fame Test

(Proverbs 27:21 Message)  The purity of silver and gold is tested by putting them in the fire; The purity of human hearts is tested by giving them a little fame.

I have noticed over the years how easy it is for wealth, power and fame to actually change a person from being humble and thankful to being proud and haughty. Does that mean that there is something wrong with wealth, power and fame? Absolutely not! Each of these things could be a gift from God.

However, in the case of our text one’s heart is tested by these things in order that one will know one’s weaknesses…God already knows.

Over the years I have heard people say, “Why do they have all the good luck and I have none…I am better than they are?” In the first place it is probably not luck at all, but the blessings of the Lord. In the second place I am not sure that one being better than another is even a consideration to God. He looks at their heart…not their gifting.

Moses is a prime example of that because he had absolutely nothing to contribute toward his calling or his success except for his ability to hang on to God with all his might.

I have studied first generation Christian millionaires for years and for the most part their wealth did not change their core values. Their lifestyles may have changed, but they did not. That means that when the “purity of their heart was tested”…they passed the test and false pride was never allowed in.

Many years ago as a young evangelist I also had a business that helped support the ministry. I once had a man working for me who was absolutely excellent in his job and seemed to be a real forward thinker. I saw a potential in this man for leadership, so after a while I promoted him into a management position. However, almost immediately after his promotion false pride came in (or was uncovered) and this excellent worker turned out to be a mean-spirited individual to everyone. His new position (or fame) completely changed him and he failed miserably.

His failure was not because of the lack of gifting, but because he could not handle his new found “fame.” In other words the gifting was there all along, but when the “purity of his heart was tested by giving him a little fame” he failed the test because of a lack of maturity.

I thought a lot about this man over the years and wondered how he could have failed so badly. I also thought about myself and why I did not see his potential weakness before the promotion.

As a result, I have come to the conclusion that no one is totally immune from failing the “fame” test. The strength of each man determines the severity of his test.

Father,
I realize that some fail the “fame or pride” test sooner than others, but all of us are in need of Your help. Help each of us to reach up to those who are stronger than we are while reaching down to lend a helping hand to those who are weaker. Our desire is to do as Paul said in Romans 15, “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.”

Amen

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Monday, May 4, 2015

If Only That Foot Had Ears

(1Corinthians 9:27 ISV) No, I keep on disciplining my body, making it serve me so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not somehow be disqualified.

One reason Paul wrote this passage was to define the governmental order of the makeup of man which is body, soul and spirit. It is clear that the body serves the mind and the mind serves the spirit and the spirit serves the Lord.

When that order is reversed it allows the lust of the flesh to take over, which in turn pollutes the mind. When the mind is polluted then that allows gluttony, alcoholism, drugs, pornography and even anger and rage to take root.

The body is nothing more than a servant because it has no reasoning ability. This is why Paul used the phrase, “making it serve me.” In other words, the body is a slave to its master which is the mind and the mind is subservient to the spirit and the spirit is subject to God.

There are two reasons I am attempting to establish this point. The first reason is because I feel that there are so many people today who are having a hard time because they are governmentally out of order. In other words their ruling is upside down which is a set up for failure.

The other reason is because of a story I heard that will forever have an impact on my life. My good neighbor of thirty five years walked over to my house today and shared this story because his heart was clearly moved by it.

Only minutes earlier a dear friend of his with whom he had worked with for many years had just called and shared this heart wrenching story.

This story is about a little eight year old girl name Marlee. She had cancer in her foot and the doctors had just removed Marlee’s little foot when my neighbor came to my house. The day before the surgery she and her family had a thanksgiving celebration for Marlee’s foot. I want to share with you what that day was like using the father’s own words.

“It has been a great day, but it did not seem enough to just thank her foot for everything it has done. Not only has she had the opportunity to walk on it for eight years, but the brave devoted little thing kept the cancer from spreading. That foot has been a trooper. No metastasis. It kept that horrible tumor from spreading to other parts of her little body. So we celebrate and thank that brave little foot for taking care of our precious Marlee for as long as it did.

Tomorrow we say goodbye to that little left foot that did everything it could to save Marlee’s life by keep the poison from spreading.

So if that foot had ears, we would tell it, Thank You! Thank You and Thank You! You will certainly be missed but we will be forever grateful. Good-bye and Godspeed.”

The day before, a family by the name of McLaughlin brought their little nine year old girl over to see Marlee and encourage her. The little girl’s name was Allie and she also had her foot removed a year before because she had the same cancer as Marlee.

The two little girls bonded as Allie showed Marlee her prosthesis and even talked about how she was able to ski with her new foot.

I wonder how these two sweet little girls knew what Paul was talking about when he said, “…making it (his body) serve me.” It must have been the Lord.

Father,
Even though I feel a loss for words, I do desire for those who hear the story of Allie and Marlee to ultimately make their body subject to the Spirit of the Lord. Help us all Lord to come to that end.
Amen

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