August, 2011


11
Aug 11

Underpinnings: Introduction

I would like to coin a new term underpinnings.

Everyone is controlled by certain perspectives and patterns of thinking. Some of them are good, and others are harmful. You can observe a person’s actions, but unless you can understand the person’s thoughts, you won’t understand why they do what they do. I call these underpinnings.

For example, we know that Jesus healed the sick, but why? We know that a cutter hurts himself or herself, but why? We know that a certain businessman decides to secure a profit by expanding, but why?

Life is like an airplane cockpit. We have these perspectives and thoughts in the control center of our brain, and they issue the commands to take off, bank left, bank right, and land. If we want a smooth ride and the proper destination, we need the right thoughts in the control center.

Ironically, the very concept of underpinnings is one of my underpinnings.

As believers, we are on a journey of casting down every thought that is defiant to God. We are renewing our minds, being made more and more in the image of Christ. Every day, we should be moving closer to God’s perspective and God’s way of thinking. You are welcome to challenge me in my assumptions!

In the future, I plan to explore some of these underpinnings that drive my actions. These are some of the most critical assumptions that I make about life. I encourage you to take the time to make a list of some of the defining beliefs that you hold that drive what you do and who you are.

perhaps evenright now,

9
Aug 11

Authority: Strength Is Not Rebellion

What is authority?

Yesterday I proposed that authority is not specifically power or position, but that it is weight, and that we have a responsibility to honor those in authority by ascribing to them the proper weight of their words.

Many leaders are intimidated by people on their team who are more skilled, more creative, and more capable than themselves. This is poor business planning at best and prideful arrogance at worst. Unless you hire people smarter than yourself, you will limit your business or organization to people of your own caliber. To truly break past the ceiling, you need to surround yourself with people who are smarter than yourself.

This attitude is fueled by a false concept of authority. If authority is power and strength, smarter people will threaten your authority because they threaten your power and strength. If authority is weight, you can honor them for the authority they have in their skills, and they can honor you for the authority you have in building the team.

I have heard a number of women say, “I need a strong husband to keep me in my place.” Or, “I need to back off to make sure I’m not controlling.” My question is whether being controlling is any more rebellious than saying, “I will withhold what I have to offer because I’m fearful.”

This attitude, once again, is fueled by a false concept of authority. If authority is power and strength, a strong woman undermines authority. Strength is not rebellion. Submission is not a matter of becoming weak but of ascribing weight to a man’s words.

Every man is called to be strong as only he can be strong, and every woman is called to be strong as only she can be strong. One of the greatest things a woman has to offer her husband is her feminine strength. She is not only the princess who needs to be rescued, but she is also the ezer who fights relentlessly alongside her husband.

For you men, I beg you: No matter your realm of leadership, don’t let others’ strength intimidate you but be humble enough to benefit from what they have to offer. Those around you are looking to you to be empowered. Be humble enough to do that.

For you women, I beg you: Don’t let the fear of being controlling keep you from being fully alive and fully engaged. Yes, rebellion is real, but strength is not rebellion. Be strong, because the world really does need your feminine strength!


8
Aug 11

Authority: What is it?

What is authority?

Some say it’s power. However, we have all seen parents force their children to behave with no real authority over them. Authority isn’t exactly power.

Some say it’s position. However, we have all seen business leaders rely on their position or title in a moment of intimidation or desperation. They can sometimes use their position to effect change, but a position doesn’t guarantee that a leader will walk in authority. Authority isn’t exactly position.

What is authority?

I would like to propose that authority is weight.

The words of a business owner carry more weight than a department manager.

The words of the President of the United States carry more weight than the words of a local mayor.

The words of an experienced craftsman carry more weight than an fully educated but completely inexperienced scholar.

To honor authority is to ascribe to them the proper weight of their words. To disregard the weight of their words is to disregard the authority God has given them, regardless of whether they walk in their authority.

To walk in authority is to speak words with weight.

To walk in authority, our experience and lifestyle must align with our words, because that gives our words more weight.

To walk in authority, we must be under our authority, because the support of our authority gives our words more weight.

To walk in authority, perhaps even our words must be few, because fewer words gives our words more weight.

To pray with authority, we must believe and experience God, because our belief and experience of God will define the measure of weight of our prayers.

How can you walk in greater authority with the current power and position God has already given you?


5
Aug 11

Ezer/Azer, Part 4 — In God’s Image

This is the fourth and final part in the series on the Hebrew words Ezer and Azar. If you’ve been following, you’ve gotten to see firsthand the contexts in which the words are used. They are words of rescue, of salvation, and of military partnerships and alliances. They are words of strength.

I have tried to give you a thorough picture of these words as used in the Old Testament. We’ve seen these words used in reference to war, and we’ve seen these words describing who God is.

I’ve left out one important verse. In Genesis 1:27 we read:

God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

However:

Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an ezer fit for him.”

Which He does:

And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam; and while he slept, He took one of his ribs or a part of his side and closed up the [place with] flesh.

And the rib or part of his side which the Lord God had taken from the man He built up and made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.

Then Adam said, This [creature] is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of a man.

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall become united and cleave to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

And there you go. Woman is that ezer for man. I’ll let you decide where this lands with you, but this much I will say: I am convinced that somewhere in our attempt to avoid infringing on man’s role, we have somehow reduced womanhood and femininity to something far below what God intended.


4
Aug 11

Ezer/Azar, Part 3 — More Pictures of God!

Once again, this is a continuation of an informal word study on the Hebrew words Ezer and Azar. I’ll let you read the final set of verses that use these words.

Psalms (Continued)

But I am poor and needy; hasten to me, O God! You are my ezer and my deliverer; O Lord, do not delay (Psalm 70:4-5)!

For he delivers the needy when he calls, the poor and him who has no azar (Psalm 72:12).

Azar us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of your name; deliver us, and atone for our sins, for your name’s sake (Psalm 79:9)!

Show me a sign of your favor, that those who hate me may see and be put to same because you, Lord, have azar-ed me and comforted me (Psalm 86:17).

Of old you spoke in a vision to your godly one, and said: “I have granted ezer to one who is mighty; I have exalted one chosen from the people” (Psalm 89:19).

So he bowed their hearts down with hard labor; they fell down, with none to azar (Psalm 107:12).

Azar me, O Lord my God! Save me according to your steadfast love (Psalm 109:26)!

Israel, house of Aaron, and you who fear the Lord–trust in the Lord! He is your ezer and their shield (Psalm 115:9-11).

The Lord is on my side as my azar; I shall look in triumph on those who hate me. I was pushed hard, so that I was falling, but the Lord azar-ed me (Psalm 118:7,13).

(To be continued.)


3
Aug 11

Ezer/Azar, Part 2 — A Picture of God

This is a continuation of an informal word study on the Hebrew words Ezer and Azar. Rather than expound on it, I’ll let the verses speak for themselves.

Psalms

God commits himself to the helpless and is the azar to the fatherless (Psalm 10:14).

May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble. May He protect you. May He send you ezer from the sanctuary and give you support from Zion (Psalm 20:1-2)!

God, don’t be far from me because trouble is near, and there is none to azar (Psalm 22:11).

The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am azar-ed; my heart exults, and with my son I give thanks to him (Psalm 28:7).

Hear,O Lord, and be merciful to me! O Lord, be my azar (Psalm 30:10)!

The Lord delivers our souls from death and keeps us alive in famine. Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our ezer and our shield (Psalm 33:18-22).

The Lord azars them and delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in Him (Psalm 37:40).

God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will azar her when morning dawns (Psalm 46:4-7).

Behold, God is my azar; the Lord is the upholder of my life (Psalm 54:4).

(To be continued.)


2
Aug 11

Ezer/Azar, Part 1 — War!

Last fall I did an informal word study on two related Hebrew words: Ezer and Azar. I shared this word study to a number of my friends on a PowerPoint early one Sunday morning. Since then, I’ve gotten a request to share this on my blog, so here goes!

In summary, these two words are often used in a military context, denoting rescue, salvation, and partnership in battle. I’ll highlight some of the uses.

Historical Books

Moses’ Son. Moses named his son Eliezer because he said,  “The God of my father was my ezer, and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh” (Exodus 18:4).

Moses’ Blessing (Deuteronomy 33). When Moses blessed Judah, he prayed that God’s hands would contend for him and that He would be an ezer against his adversaries. When he blesses Asher, He exalts God who rides through the heavens to their ezer. When he celebrates Israel, he names the Lord as the shield of their ezer and the sword of their triumph.

Joshua’s Command. Joshua commanded that all the men of valor among the tribe of Reuben and half-tribe of Manasseh to join their brothers and azar them until the Lord also gives their brothers rest from battle (Joshua 1:14-15a).

Battle Against Gibeon. The king of Jerusalem rallied other troops to azar him in his strike against Gibeon. The Gibeonites responded to the attack by sending a message to Joshua, asking that he come quickly and save them and azar them (Joshua 10:4,6).

Defeated Philistines. God brought victory to the Israelites by throwing the Philistines into confusion. Samuel set up a stone that he called Ebenezer because, “Till now the Lord has azar-ed us.” (1 Samuel 7:12).

Syrians. When the Syrians came to azar the king of Zobah, David struck down 22,000 of their men (2 Samuel 8:5).

David in Battle. David wanted to join his men in battle, but they requested that he send azar from the city (2 Samuel 18:3).

David Nearly Killed. David was nearly killed by Ishbi-benob, and Abishai came to his aid [azar] to attack and kill the Philistine (2 Samuel 21:17).

Adonijah as King. Adonijah set himself up to become king. After conferring with Joab and Abiathar, they followed him and azared him (1 Kings 1:7).

Ben-hadad’s Attack Against Israel. Ben-hadad joined forces with other kings to wage war against Israel. In the midst of this, he was drinking himself drunk in the booths, along with the thirty-two kings who azar-ed him (1 Kings 1:16).

Israel without Support. God saw that the affliction of Israel was very bitter, for there was none left, bond or free, and there was none to azar them (2 Kings 14:27).

And More. 1 & 2 Chronicles is filled with many more such references to war.

(To be continued.)


1
Aug 11

Knowledge Will Fill You With Joy

This is too good not to share. I recently came across Proverbs 2 where we are instructed us to:

  • Listen to what I say.
  • Treasure my commands.
  • Tune your ears to wisdom.
  • Concentrate on understanding.
  • Cry out for insight.
  • Ask for understanding.
  • Search for them as you would for silver.
  • Seek them like hidden treasures.

(If you haven’t done any of those lately, maybe you need to pray for a new challenge!)

If we do this, here is the promise: “Then you will understand what it means to fear the Lord, and you will gain knowledge of God.” It’s amazing to me that having this humble, teachable attitude is what allows us to gain the fear of the Lord and knowledge of Him!

It gets better. “Then you will understand what is right, just, and fair, and you will find the right way to go.” Aha! God gives us insight and understanding, but isn’t it interesting that we find this not merely in pursuit of the answer, but we find it in pursuit of wisdom, insight, and understanding?

Here’s the best part!

“For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will fill you with joy.”

I can testify to this! This past year, I have discovered great joy in uncovering wisdom. I’ve had truths keep me awake at night, and I’ve had insight give me a adrenaline rush that makes me to lose focus on life around me. I have encountered a huge discontent and restlessness that has been, at times, nearly overwhelming, only to discover that this energy comes from learning about business, leadership, and organization. Few things make me happier than sitting down and sharing these ideas on my blog.

The pursuit of knowledge for its own sake is empty. However, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge, and believers who are in pursuit of God will not be able to avoid wisdom and knowledge. God is not only the wisest person who ever lived, but He is also the most joyful! The closer we draw to God, the more we encounter Him in His fullness of wisdom, knowledge, and joy! He is the source, so let us delight in Him and in His creation!