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“A leader has the vision and conviction that a dream can be achieved. He inspires the power and energy to get it done.”

— Ralph Lauren

Some of you may look at where you are in your life and ponder the question: How did I get here? The truth is, we all end up somewhere in life, but very few of us arrive to our destinations by way of intention.  Clear vision is the deciding factor between arriving at your place of destination intentionally and stumbling along into it.  True leaders understand the value of having clear vision! 

The Israelites of Judah, the Southern Kingdom, were exiled to Babylon 150 years before Nehemiah’s time.  After seventy years of Babylonian captivity and in accordance with the prophets, the Persians under King Cyrus, overthrew the Babylonians to assume power.  By way of Divine Providence the heart of King Cyrus was moved to allow the Hebrews to return to Judah and rebuild the temple in Jerusalem.  Nehemiah’s family along with many other Jews elected to stay in Persia as they had fared well under Persian rule.  Nehemiah had been identified as an intelligent worker in the court of the king and rose through the ranks to become his cupbearer ensuring that wine served to King Artaxerxes was safe and serving as his counselor and confidant. 

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“Praise is man’s response to the revelation of who God is.”

-          Dr. Craig L. Oliver

Praise is one of the many tools that positions us to access the grace that enables us to be victorious!  We Win Through Our Praise! Praise is man’s response to who God is and as such it solicits and invokes the Presence of the Lord becoming an indomitable force employed by the believer.  Praise literally infuses the essence of who He is into our everyday circumstances! We can’t help but win when we praise our God!   

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“True prayer is neither a mere exercise nor a vocal performance.  It is far deeper than that – it is a spiritual transaction with the Creator of Heaven and Earth.”

-          Charles Spurgeon

There are times within our individual contexts of life that we encounter extraordinary circumstances that require the intervention of the Good Hand of the Lord in our lives.  There are moments in life that demand influence, fortitude, or strength that exceed our capacity.  I firmly believe, however, that in these moments of our most exhaustive extremity that the conditions are perfect to engage the power wrought from fasting and praying.  More than merely going without food, fasting and prayer reflect a humbled and submitted posture of the heart as illustrated in the story of Nehemiah.      

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“I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality…I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.”

-          Martin Luther King, Jr.

In our current racial, social, and political climate it would be easy to degenerate into a mindset of fear, anger, and extremism.  When we are constantly bombarded with information from the media that suggests that social justice and equality aren’t attainable for all it becomes easy to adopt a dismal outlook on our present circumstances.  To adopt a mentality of such a limited and self-defeating scope, however, would be to reject the resilient and indomitable legacy we possess as a people.  A mindset of the aforementioned vantage point obscures from our view the unfailing hope that we have as a people who overcame seemingly insurmountable odds.    

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“I shall participate, I shall contribute, and in so doing, I will be the gainer.”

  • Walter Annenberg

Each of us has a unique virtue and grace assigned to us by God that gives expression to His presence in the earth.  We have an inimitable set of skills that comprise our imprint on the world designed to answer a specific need or call in the earth.  These talents and virtues were given to us to actively engage them in service to our families, our communities, and the spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.     

We all win when everyone actively participates collaboratively functioning as a single unit to accomplish the mission.  A common quote often attributed to Gestalt psychology theorists is “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts” which intimates that we are far more effective functioning collaboratively rather than the sum total of our individual efforts.  Simply put we can accomplish far more working together than we can apart from each other.     

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