For “Scripture Sunday”:
Lincoln's Qualities of Leadership
“Steven Spielberg's new movie examines the life and accomplishments of Abraham Lincoln. What was it that made him an effective and inspirational leader?
President Lincoln had a lot of critics in his push for abolishing slavery in the South. But he had the courage to stand up for what he thought was right. He wanted to finish the work of freeing the slaves and preserving the nation that would be one nation, free, under God. He was willing to risk his political life, and he bravely stood up to be a champion of freedom.
One historian’s list of what he believes are important characteristics of true leadership includes one characteristic that Lincoln clearly demonstrated. That is “the ability to see the world clearly, and to draw the right conclusions from what is seen…
“Abraham Lincoln felt all else had to be sacrificed to the overwhelming necessity of holding the Union together, behind the principles of 1776…Such concentration of effort is itself a product of clarity of vision which includes a strong sense of proportion” (quoted by William Bennett, The Book Of Man, 2011, p. 321).
Where are the great leaders?
When we look at the world scene today it’s natural to wonder why we don’t see any great leaders like Abraham Lincoln.
One obvious problem is that many leaders let the power of their office go to their heads. It would be tough to maintain a humble attitude if so many of your supporters almost deify you, as is often the case.
Another problem, specifically for presidents of America, is a toothless modern church. As Marvin Olasky recently observed in World Magazine : “A half century ago America’s leaders typically attended church regularly and had a better sense of what was unseemly, but that sense became unsustainable as mainline Protestantism turned into a hollow, doughnut faith. When people make lifestyle decisions without the sense of humility and modesty engendered by belief in an almighty God, unseemliness is the result” (“Not Classy,” Nov. 3, 2012).
It’s one thing to profess faith in the Almighty but another to truly humble yourself in your daily life. Leaders need to be willing to put the national good as based on biblical principles ahead their personal goals.
It’s what’s inside that counts
A true leader needs godly characteristics more than anything. Leaders should follow biblical commands. Abraham Lincoln was not officially a member of any church, but he tried to live by what the Bible says.
Historian Michael Beschloss tells us about Lincoln’s personal conviction about the Bible. “Marching into the chasm of the Civil War, Lincoln immersed himself in the Bible, which he called ‘the best gift God has given to man.’”
But Lincoln wasn’t always such an avid reader of the Word. Beschloss continues: “During the summer of 1864, Lincoln’s old Springfield roommate Joshua Speed stayed overnight at the Soldiers’ Home…Recalling Lincoln’s old complaints about religion, Speed was now startled to find the President in his bedroom, absorbed in his Bible. He told Lincoln, ‘If you have recovered from your skepticism, I am sorry to say that I have not.’
“‘You are wrong, Speed,’ replied Lincoln. ‘Take all of this book upon reason that you can, and the balance on faith, and you will live and die a happier and better man’” (pp. 121-122).
Lincoln never joined a church. He had his reasons. Lincoln answered a congressman from Connecticut in a letter as to why he didn’t join a church:
“When any church will inscribe over its altars, as its sole qualification for membership, the Savior’s condensed statement of the substance of both the law and the Gospel, ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and thy neighbor as thyself,’—that church will I join with all my heart and soul” (David Gelernter, Americanism: The Fourth Great Western Religion, 2007, p. 33).
This is what Jesus Christ told a man who asked Him which was the greatest commandment in the law (Matthew 22:36-40  Master, which is the great commandment in the law?  Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  This is the first and great commandment.
 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. See All...).
Abraham Lincoln apparently knew and understood that what it’s all about is simply love of God and love of fellow man.
What a guy! He seemed to believe those words with his whole heart and soul. Pray that today’s leaders turn to God with the same serving heart!” From: http://www.ucg.org/leadership/lincolns-qualities-leadership/ article by Milan Bizic, Noel Hornor
“One of the biggest news stories of the last few days is strangely similar to one of the biggest stories of the Bible. It’s a tale of two Davids—same name, both renowned military commanders, both highly placed government officials, both caught in a scandal, both publicly humiliated.
Yes, the sad stories of adultery involving King David of ancient Israel and General David Petraeus of the United States are remarkably comparable. The salacious details will be dug out by the press, of course; but too many people are going to get caught up in the story and miss the real lessons that affect all of us.
The truth is, we don’t really need to know all the particulars of the David Petraeus story. His story is just a different verse of the same song that too many humans have danced to for thousands of years. Besides, it won’t be all that much different from the biblical account of King David that you can read in 2 Samuel, chapters 11 and 12.
Let’s skip the specifics and go straight to the lessons that, unfortunately, will be lost on too many.
Lesson 1: You can accomplish great things in life; but if you lose the moral battle, you can lose everything. Both Davids won some great military battles against their enemies but lost some great moral battles within themselves. But the moral battles in life are not fought just by the mighty men. These are fights in which we are all engaged—always personally, sometimes collectively as a nation.
Lesson 2: The windows of temptation open daily in all of our lives, luring all of us to think, talk or behave immorally. As God warned Cain, “If you do not well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.” Anyone who lingers at that window—leaves that door open too long—will see sin come in. Every person has their soft underbelly where they are vulnerable to sin. We must understand it and guard against it.
Lesson 3: When sin comes in, it will take you farther than you think you will go, farther than you want to go.
Lesson 4: Sin will keep you longer in its grips than you want to stay. It’s natural for humans to try to rationalize, justify, cover up, deny and run from the consequences, but all of those actions spin a web that keeps us longer in its grip.
Lesson 5: Sin always costs you more than you think it will and more than you want to pay.
Lesson 6: Sin blinds. Make no mistake—sin usually offers short term gratifications that blind people from seeing the long-term penalties. Even the Bible describes it as “the pleasures of sin for a season.”
Lesson 7: The road to redemption is through repentance. None of us has any idea of the direction David Petraeus will take in putting his personal life back together. I hope that he—and all the rest of us—will follow the path King David took. He paid a brutal and dear price for his sin, but he came to his senses, bitterly repented and turned back to God. His haunting and heartfelt prayer in the 51st Psalm at this time in his life still serves to guide our thoughts and understanding back to the moral uprightness that we urgently need.
These lessons about sin and the moral war that we all wage are timeless, and they are universal. May General David Petraeus and his family find their way to healing the hurts inflicted by this sin, as King David did; and may all of us humbly learn, from their stories, these vital lessons for our own lives.” From: http://lifehopeandtruth.com/speaking-of/a-tale-of-two-davids/
Petraeus, the Bathsheba Syndrome and You
David Petraeus and Paula Broadwell:
“Did he experience the Bathsheba syndrome?
The unfolding saga of the downfall of a great man should be a caution to us all. What can we learn as the news echoes the story of David and Bathsheba?
If you’re like me, you were shocked and dismayed to learn that General David Petraeus resigned in disgrace after an extramarital affair came to light. He was a true American hero:
- Top of his class at the Army Command and General Staff College.
- A Ph.D. from Princeton.
- The brilliant mind behind the surge that brought relative stability to seething Iraq.
- The commander of all forces in Afghanistan.
- Finally, the head of the CIA.
Another career ended in disgrace
But General Petraeus took the CIA post only 14 months before this amazing career trajectory ended in disgrace. For all his intelligence, his discipline, his drive and his vision, he fell prey to one of the oldest traps into which people can fall. He added his name to a long and pitiful list of business, government and religious leaders who abruptly and publicly fell from grace. Why?
It isn’t hard to understand how he could have been tempted. Paula Broadwell was an attractive, younger woman, talented and accomplished in her own right; and as his biographer, she had special access to him and apparently idolized him—an intoxicating potion.
But there may have been even more at work than that. A recent article by Mackubin Thomas Owens linked this scandal to what two business ethicists have called the Bathsheba syndrome.
The Bathsheba syndrome
The biblical story of David and Bathsheba is unforgettable: a giant-killing warrior, a brilliant and successful king beloved by his nation and by God, sees a beautiful woman bathing on her roof; and in a moment of weakness he has her brought to the palace and commits adultery with her.
She conceives and, frantic to hide their sin, over the course of anguished weeks David resorts to subterfuge and finally the murder of her husband.
God doesn’t give David a pass. Although his sin was forgiven by God after his heartfelt repentance, for the rest of his life David paid an agonizing price in shame, misery and family horror.” More at: http://lifehopeandtruth.com/prophecy/blog/petraeus-the-bathsheba-syndrome-and-you/
What Can America Expect in the Coming Years?
“Now that the election is over, what can America expect? The United States just re-elected President Obama for another four years. What can we expect in the near future? Does the Bible give us any answers?
In a very polarized election, Americans chose to keep President Obama in office. The race was bitterly fought, and the popular vote showed a nation almost equally divided.
A house divided cannot stand
Basically half of Americans were satisfied with the direction America is going, but another half wanted change. The political tone and hardening positions of the parties makes many question whether they will be able to work together.
Jesus Christ said that a house divided cannot stand (Mark 3:24-25). And elsewhere the Bible says, “Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?” (Amos 3:3).
Some elected officials have decided to leave Congress because of the lack of cooperation among its members. Many public servants today have become self-serving, instead of looking to the interests of their communities.
This unwillingness to work together has caused many of the crises that Congress has to deal with on a seemingly weekly basis. Unless they can begin to cooperate, more crises will be on the horizon.
But this division is not limited to America’s governing officials. Individuals can’t agree on issues like abortion and same-sex marriages.
The reason we go in different directions on many issues is because we won’t use our moral compass—the Word of God.
When we choose not to follow God’s instructions, we only create problems for ourselves. We aren’t always as smart and right as we think we are. Jesus Christ said that God’s Word is truth (John 17:17).
If we continue to follow our own ideas, and not God’s instructions, then we can expect to see more families and communities falling apart.
Heads or tails?
Beginning in the early 1800s, the United States became a world power. After the end of the Second World War, America was the greatest nation on earth. America’s rise to power was the fulfillment of God’s promised blessings to the patriarch Abraham.
God told the descendants of Abraham—both ancient and modern Israel—that if they would follow His way of life, they would be the head, or the leaders of the world (Deuteronomy 28:13-14). But God also told them that if they rejected His commandments and statutes, they would become the tail (verse 44).
Up until about 1960, other nations looked up to the United States. But after 1960, the morality of America declined rapidly. And that decline is increasing exponentially today. This is a major reason America is looked down upon today.
The only way the United States can regain its past position is for Americans to acknowledge God as the source of our power and keep His commandments. No man or woman can restore America’s greatness since it was God who gave it to begin with.
So, until we turn to God, America’s world influence will continue to decline.
Can America even get out of debt?
It may seem hard to believe, but at one time the United States was the world’s largest creditor nation. Today we are the greatest debtor nation. Our economy is in shambles.
When President Obama took office in 2009, America’s national debt was already $10 trillion. Today it has passed $16 trillion. And in four years the debt is estimated to become nearly $23 trillion!
God said that the financial mess we are in would happen if we forsook Him. “The alien who is among you shall rise higher and higher above you, and you shall come down lower and lower. He shall lend to you, but you shall not lend to him; he shall be the head, and you shall be the tail.
“Moreover all these curses shall come upon you and pursue and overtake you, until you are destroyed, because you did not obey the voice of the LORD your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which He commanded you” (Deuteronomy 28:43-45).
China finances much of America’s debt. There has been talk about China’s unfair trade practices, and President Obama said that he will crack down on them. But do you bite the hand that feeds you?
Instead of looking to God, America is looking to other countries for help. And God says that is not going to work. Many financial analysts are talking about the “fiscal cliff” we will be approaching by the end of this year.
God is the only lasting solution to America’s debt problem. If we don’t look to Him for that help, then we can only expect America’s economy to worsen in the coming years.
Who does America want to have as its leader?
During this election year, both President Obama and Governor Romney made promises. Americans had to choose, and most of the people chose to keep President Obama in office.
But each of us must make a much bigger choice. That choice is whether to follow God or not.
God said to America’s ancestors, “I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the LORD your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days” (Deuteronomy 30:19-20).
Yes, God spells out the benefits of following Him and, unlike many elected officials, God keeps His promises (Hebrews 6:18).
America’s success or failure in the coming years depends on its citizens’ relationship with God. Blessings or cursings will result from how good or how bad that relationship is. How will we choose?” From: http://lifehopeandtruth.com/prophecy/blog/what-can-america-expect-in-the-coming-years/
The program on WGN this morning: Are You in Sync with God?
On This Day:
Iran-Contra connection revealed, Nov 25, 1986:
“Three weeks after a Lebanese magazine reported that the United States had been secretly selling arms to Iran, Attorney General Edwin Meese reveals that proceeds from the arms sales were illegally diverted to the anti-communist Contras in Nicaragua.
On November 3, the Lebanese magazine Ash Shiraa reported that the United States had been secretly selling arms to Iran in an effort to secure the release of seven American hostages held by pro-Iranian groups in Lebanon. The revelation, confirmed by U.S. intelligence sources on November 6, came as a shock to officials outside President Ronald Reagan's inner circle and went against the stated policy of the administration. In addition to violating the U.S. arms embargo against Iran, the arms sales contradicted President Reagan's vow never to negotiate with terrorists.
On November 25, controversy over the administration's secret dealings with Iran deepened dramatically when Attorney General Meese announced that the arms sales proceeds were diverted to fund Nicaraguan rebels--the Contras--who were fighting a guerrilla war against the elected leftist government of Nicaragua. The Contra connection caused outrage in Congress, which in 1982 had passed the Boland Amendment prohibiting the use of federal money "for the purpose of overthrowing the government of Nicaragua." The same day that the Iran-Contra connection was disclosed, President Reagan accepted the resignation of his national security adviser, Vice Admiral John Poindexter, and fired Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North, a Poindexter aide. Both men had played key roles in the Iran-Contra operation. Reagan accepted responsibility for the arms-for-hostages deal but denied any knowledge of the diversion of funds to the Contras.
In December 1986, Lawrence Walsh was named special prosecutor to investigate the matter, and in the summer of 1987 Congress held televised hearings on the Iran-Contra scandal. Both investigations revealed that North and other administration officials had attempted to cover-up illegally their illicit dealings with the Contras and Iran. In the course of Walsh's investigation, eleven White House, State Department, and intelligence officials were found guilty on charges ranging from perjury, to withholding information form Congress, to conspiracy to defraud the United States. In his final report, Walsh concluded that neither Reagan nor Vice President George Bush violated any laws in connection with the affair, but that Reagan had set the stage for the illegal activities of others by ordering continued support of the Contras after Congress prohibited it. The report also found that Reagan and Bush engaged in conduct that contributed to a "concerted effort to deceive Congress and the public" about the Iran-Contra affair.
On Christmas Eve in 1992, shortly after being defeated in his re-election bid by Bill Clinton, President George Bush pardoned six major figures in the Iran-Contra affair. Two of the men, former defense secretary Caspar Weinberger and former chief of CIA operations Duane Clarridge, had trials for perjury pending.”
Lacey V. Murrow Memorial Bridge sinks to the bottom of Lake Washington, Nov 25, 1990:
“After a howling wind- and rainstorm on Thanksgiving Day, Washington state's historic floating Lacey V. Murrow Memorial Bridge breaks apart and sinks to the bottom of Lake Washington, between Seattle and its suburbs to the east. Because the bridge's disintegration happened relatively slowly, news crews were able to capture the whole thing on camera, broadcasting it to a rapt audience across western Washington. "It looked like a big old battleship that had been hit by enemy fire and was sinking into the briny deep," said one observer. (He added: "It was awesome.")
The Murrow Bridge was the brainchild of engineer Homer Hadley, who in 1921 proposed a "floating concrete highway, permanent and indestructible, across Lake Washington." Figuring out a way to cross that lake, between up-and-coming Seattle and its (at that time) sleepy small-town neighbors to the east, was a particular challenge because an ordinary "fixed-pier" bridge was out of the question: The lake was too deep, and its bottom was too mushy. Still, people scoffed at what they called "Hadley's Folly" (one civic organization declared that his "chain of scows across Lake Washington would stand out as a municipal eyesore"), but eventually, mostly because they had no other options, they came around to his way of thinking. Construction began on the bridge, named after the state highways director (and brother of famous newsman Edward R. Murrow), in 1939; it was completed 18 months later.
In November 1990, the 6,600-foot-long bridge, made of 22 floating bolted-together pontoons, was in the process of being converted from a two-way road to a one-way road. (A parallel bridge had been completed the year before, effectively doubling the amount of traffic that could cross the lake.) The state highway department alleged that construction crews had left the pontoons' hatches open, leaving them vulnerable to the weekend's heavy rains and large waves. (For its part, the construction company refused to accept responsibility for the disaster, countering that "the probable cause of the failure was progressive bond slip at lapped splices in the bottom slab...due to failure in bond." It did eventually agree to pay the state $20 million, however.) For whatever reason, at midday on November 25, the center pontoons began to sink. As they disappeared under the water, they pulled more and more of the crumbling roadway down with them. By the end of the day, the bridge was gone.
Fortunately, no one was injured in the incident. The Murrow Bridge was soon rebuilt.”
Leisurely I got ready for the afternoon service at the Willis Church of God. I made sure the kitten had plenty of food as I wanted to be there early, in time for Bible Study at 12.30PM, and stay for the pot-luck after the service.
The Bible study was about ‘Leadership Gifts of the Spirit’, Key Text: Eph 2: 19-22 and Apostles, Prophets, and Evangelists. The Bible studies are always interesting and fun because of the comments made by the elder and congregation, often with hilarity.
The congregation sang several hymns along with the praise team, (usually a different couple or small band each week). The sermon was about the ‘Spirit of the Mission of Christ’s Love’. 1 Tim 3-14 and 1 Tim 4: 1-16.
The pot-luck and fellowship were great, and it was a very uplifting day.