Praise Through Anything

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Sometimes it’s difficult to be joyful when we’re facing hardships. But I can tell you from personal experience that praising God can bring us joy in the midst of our problems. I have endured the loss of loved ones and the challenges of life by praising God. Perhaps the best example of how to praise through any circumstance is Jesus’ praise from the cross. 

Matthew 27:46(NKJV) And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is,
“My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
 
In Matthew 27, Jesus is on the cross facing death. He is being wrongly executed as a criminal, most of his friends have fled, and he is bearing the burden of the sins of the world. He cries out “My God, My God, why have You Forsaken Me?”
 
It would seem that Jesus gives a cry in anguish. It would be easy to assume he was crying out in distress. That may be partially true but if we look closer we will notice Jesus isn’t just crying out in despair, but in praise. In his darkest hour, Jesus utters the first line of a song of praise.

Psalms 22:1(NKJV) My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Why are You so far from helping Me, And from the words of My groaning?
 
Jesus quotes Psalm 22 which is a Psalm that parallels the Lord’s circumstances in the beginning verses but turns to praise and encouragement in the latter verses. By quoting this Psalm, while dying on the cross, Jesus is teaching us we can praise through anything. 

A song of praise can help us remember The Lord in the midst of our hardships. It can help us push away the darkness of despair with the joy of the Lord. We can encourage our hearts with songs that testify of God’s goodness. We can praise our way through anything because we know God is with us inhabiting our praises. 

Battle of the Mind

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Let’s face it, we all have some un-evangelized places in our minds. I know I do. These are the places where negativity, doubt, and the subtle thoughts that lead to sin reside. How we deal with these thoughts is vitally important because whoever controls the mind, wins the spiritual battle. 

As Paul talks about spiritual warfare in 2 Corinthians 10:5, he gives us some ideas on how to win the battle over our minds. Take a look and then we’ll unpack a few thoughts. 

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; (2 Corinthians 10:5 KJV)

1. Don’t own every thought. Some thoughts, ideas, and imaginations need to be cast down. When negative or impure thoughts enter our minds, we can’t let them roam free. We can’t let our minds become idle. “An idle mind is the Devil’s workshop.”

2. Compare every thought to the knowledge of God. The more we know about God; his words, will, and ways, the easier it will become to identify negative thinking. We must ask ourselves “are my thoughts pleasing to God?”

3. Make every thought obedient to Christ. Christ is Lord and ruler over the domain of our minds. Therefore, every negative, impure thought that enters our minds must be made obedient to his authority. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, we must make a choice to reject bad thoughts and submit our minds to the Lordship of Christ. 

What are some other ways to win the battle of our minds?

Leading Ways

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He who walks with integrity walks securely, But he who perverts his ways will become known. (Proverbs 10:9 NKJV)

Honesty lives confident and carefree, but Shifty is sure to be exposed. (Proverbs 10:9 MSG)

As a leader, how would your followers describe you? Proverbs 10:9 describes two extremes of what of person or leader can be. Would your followers say you’re a leader of integrity and honesty, or would they say you have corrupt ways (perverse) or that you’re shifty? 

Don’t be mistaken, your followers have an opinion about you as a leader. It all depends on how you walk. What I mean is, every leader has a way of processing information, making decisions, delegating, and managing their teams. The way you do these things and your motives behind them reveal your true nature. 

If you’re chronically late, ill prepared, unengaged, self-centered, greedy, resentful, or hateful, they know it. If you only delegate things you hate to do, or you needlessly take all the credit for team success, they know it. 

All leaders are exposed no matter how hard we may try to cover our flaws. Ultimately, we will either become leaders people are forced to follow or leaders they want to follow. What can we do about it? 

Start by leading yourself well. Read leadership content, attend leadership events, and surround yourself with great leaders. Evaluate yourself regularly. Then allow your peers and team members to evaluate you as well. Honest feedback will help you identify the places where you need to focus and grow. 

As your teams see you growing, they will give you more grace concerning your flaws and be more willing to follow you. Growing leaders are worth following.