Adventure Books by Ricky Sides & Kathy Young

Adventures in reading.

These are some reflections written by my nephew, Sergeant Michael Long, as he prepared for deployment overseas. I found these reflections so interesting that I wanted to share them with you. Thank you for your service to our country, Michael. You have my utmost respect for the many sacrifices this deployment calls for you to make.


Sincerely,

Ricky


Michael Long and wife Melissa.


Written June 24, 2012


1Ch 26:6 Also unto Shemaiah his son were sons born, that ruled throughout the house of their father: for they were mighty men of valour.


Why do men and women join the military? I have pondered on this very question many times over the last few months as our unit prepares to deploy. We have many people from different backgrounds. They range from the young to the slightly older. They have different hobbies, different outlooks on life and different religious and political beliefs.

 But, what makes them want to volunteer to take up arms and go into a conflict where they may or may not come back? Are they braver than others? Do they lust for combat? Are they inherently violent? Do they seek glory and recognition? I am sure that if you ask enough people you will find those that could answer yes to these questions.

For the most part, the answer would probably be “I don’t know why I’m doing it”.

It is just how some people are. God puts a special ingredient in people to make them unique. Some He gives a love for land and animals. These people become farmers or forest rangers. Others have a talent and love of competition and athletics. These people become athletes, coaches or gym teachers. Others love helping others and become doctors, nurses or medics.

God has placed a calling on the lives of many people who cannot say why they serve our country in the military. I know why they serve. They are called by God to protect the ones they love. They have a sense of pride, duty and honor that they are not able to describe.

 God placed a call on certain men to guard the doors to His temple. They were charged with protecting the purity of the inner rooms, keeping peace in the courtyards and in general making sure the temple remained as it should. God gave these men a call on their life and He instilled in them the abilities that allowed them to fulfill this special anointing.

We have men and women in every country around the world with these same calling and talents. They do not always understand why the serve and protect their country. They do not understand why they have this urge to go to another country, leaving their family and friends behind. They only know that this is a part of who and what they are.

I watch these men and women I have chosen to deploy with. I see the pain it causes them to leave behind their young children and their spouses. I see the sadness they feel at separating from siblings, parents and close friends. I also see the fire and excitement of doing what they were born to do. I see soldiers who are proud of who they are and what they are.

God gives everyone special gifts and talents. He anoints them for specific tasks. God has anointed many of us to leave those we love and go half way around the world. We do what we do because we are what God made us.

May God continue to strengthen and bestow wisdom upon the men and women that protect and serve, both at home and abroad.


Written June 25, 2012


Deu 3:28 But charge Joshua, and encourage him, and strengthen him: for he shall go over before this people, and he shall cause them to inherit the land which thou shalt see.

 

Joshua was about to undergo a major undertaking. God had told Moses that Joshua would be the new leader of the Israelites as they went into the Promised Land. Joshua would need strength, courage and wisdom as he led the God’s children into this new land. There would be trials and situations arise that would try him on many levels.

We see above the instructions God gave Moses. He was to charge Joshua with the responsibility of leadership and authority of the entire nation. He was to also speak words of encouragement and edification so that Joshua would be able to feel confident in his new assignment. Moses was to also pass on strength to Joshua. This strength was not only a physical ability, but a physiological and emotional empowerment. Joshua was about to do something he had been trained to do but had not actually done before. Joshua would experience a certain amount of anxiety and lack of confidence. He would need someone he looked up to as a source of inspiration and support.

The Soldier going on deployment for the first time also experiences some of these same fears and uncertainties. You can see in the eyes of many the questions that run through their mind.

The military puts the Soldier through hours and hours of training. They are taught the use of weapons and equipment. The Soldier learns to perform his/her job with skill and expertise. They are trained to be proficient and professional. The Soldier is given every bit of training they will need to complete the mission assigned to them.

There is only one area that the military cannot train them for and that is separation from their families. Soldiers are able to endure any hardship and overcome any obstacle but there is always the thought in the back of their mind of the loved ones back at home.

A strong support group is the foundation to a healthy and confident Soldier. It is indescribable how much the knowledge that people you love and that return that love is praying for you and expecting your safe return. They can care less if you perform some heroic deed. You are a hero to them no matter what you do. Knowing that your family and friends feel this way about you fuels you and strengthens you to achieve the goals that bring you and your battle buddies back home safe and sound.

Soldiers, draw strength from your loved ones. Family and friends charge your Soldier with the responsibility of returning safely and with honor, encourage them with your continued prayers, words and gifts and strengthen them with confidence that you will be waiting with open arms.

 

ARMY VALUES


Many people know what the words Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage mean. But how often do you see someone actually live up to them? Soldiers learn these values in detail during Basic Combat Training (BCT), from then on they live them every day in everything they do — whether they’re on the job or off. In short, the Seven Core Army Values listed below are what being a Soldier is all about.


LDRSHIP is an acronym for the seven basic values of the United States Army, and stands for

Loyalty - Bear true faith and allegiance to the U.S. Constitution, the Army, your unit and other Soldiers.

Duty - Fulfill your obligations.

Respect - Treat people as they should be treated.

Selfless Service - Put the welfare of the nation, the Army, and your subordinates before your own.

Honor - Live up to all the Army values.

Integrity - Do what’s right, legally and morally.

Personal Courage - Face fear, danger, or adversity [physical or moral].


Many people know what the words Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage mean. But how often do you see someone actually live up to them? Soldiers learn these values in detail during Basic Combat Training (BCT), from then on they live them every day in everything they do — whether they’re on the job or off. In short, the Seven Core Army Values listed below are what being a Soldier is all about.


Loyalty-

Bear true faith and allegiance to the U.S. Constitution, the Army, your unit and other Soldiers. Bearing true faith and allegiance is a matter of believing in and devoting yourself to something or someone. A loyal Soldier is one who supports the leadership and stands up for fellow Soldiers. By wearing the uniform of the U.S. Army you are expressing your loyalty. And by doing your share, you show your loyalty to your unit.

The same attitude the Army instills in its troops is the same attitude that the Christian should adapt and live daily. We see in the above account of Joshua and the nation of Israel how Joshua remained loyal to his God and called Israel to put aside their self interest and false gods and follow the one true God.

God calls Christians to devote themselves to serving Him in truth and total dedication. He does not honor half measures or insincere obedience. We are called as soldiers of the cross to be joyfully conforming to the authorities placed over us. Children must obey and honor parents, wives must be submissive to husbands, husbands must be submissive to God’s word in his leadership of the family and the child of God must be loyal to the church, community and his place of employment. Christians must learn to be loyal to others by forgiving them of the sin in their life, yet holding them accountable in love and concern for their spiritual wellbeing.

By publicly professing to be a Christian, you are telling the world that you lovingly willing to obey and serve God and others. And by following His will over your own, you show your love, reverence and loyalty to your heavenly Father and King.

Jos 24:15  And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

Duty-

Fulfill your obligations. Doing your duty means more than carrying out your assigned tasks. Duty means being able to accomplish tasks as part of a team. The work of the U.S. Army is a complex combination of missions, tasks and responsibilities — all in constant motion. Our work entails building one assignment onto another. You fulfill your obligations as a part of your unit every time you resist the temptation to take “shortcuts” that might undermine the integrity of the final product.

The word “fear” in the above verse carries the meaning of reverence, respect, honor, love, trust and obey. So many people will say that they are Christians, yet they fail to know their duty or they decide not to fulfill their responsibilities because they are unpopular, difficult or conflict with their own desire. The combat soldier cannot do his job without the support elements ordering proper supplies, arranging adequate, efficient travel or maintaining his health. In this same way, the kingdom of God needs every member doing what they are called to do so His gospel can be spread. All soldiers must meet certain physical, mental and intellectual standards for the entire unit to operate effectively. All Christians must stay studied up, prayed up and armored in the full gospel of the King.

The Christian duty is to learn God’s word and will, live it in all areas of their life and to put God first and others next. When we let go of our selfish desires and break the bonds of worldly restraints, we will live more productive lives for Christ; bringing peace, contentment and joy to our lives and the lives of others.

Ecc 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.

Respect-

Treat people as they should be treated. In the Soldier’s Code, we pledge to “treat others with dignity and respect while expecting others to do the same.” Respect is what allows us to appreciate the best in other people. Respect is trusting that all people have done their jobs and fulfilled their duty. And self-respect is a vital ingredient with the Army value of respect, which results from knowing you have put forth your best effort. The Army is one team and each of us has something to contribute.

Many times in modern society we hear people backbite or undermine authority. They will complain or make derogatory remarks about the decisions or performance of others. It’s as though we cannot feel good about ourselves unless we are putting others down or taking away their glory.

There are times when we must hold others accountable or give them advice in an area where they are deficient. These times we must remember that we have areas where we are weak or unskilled. When we communicate with others we should treat them with dignity and concern.

God sees us all as the same; we are sinners in need of redemption. We are fragile and prone to stumble and make mistakes. We are sometimes selfish and indifferent. We are also opinionated, arrogant, and boisterous. Many of us have issues with feeling inferior, lonely, inexperienced, worthless, or abandonment. Because of all of our baggage we all feel the need to belittle others at times, whether it is openly or internally. The ironic part is that when we have compassion for others and put their needs first (emotional, social, personal, educational) we will elevate out own personal self worth. When we “put them in their place” or look down on them for their supposed weakness, we are actually increasing our own personal deficiencies.

1Co 12:25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.

Selfless Service-

Put the welfare of the nation, the Army and your subordinates before your own. Selfless service is larger than just one person. In serving your country, you are doing your duty loyally without thought of recognition or gain. The basic building block of selfless service is the commitment of each team member to go a little further, endure a little longer, and look a little closer to see how he or she can add to the effort.

In the example of the “Good Samaritan” we see a man put aside his own personal prejudices and look at the person in need. He took time out of his journey to tend the victim’s wounds, carry him to a place where he could be cared for and left a promise to return and pay for anything that went above the funds he left for the injured man’s care. His priority was to continue with his overall journey, but he knew the brief interlude to care for this injured traveler was a necessity that he could not in good conscience shirk.

As a Christian, we need to look past our won desires and look to the needs of others. God has put a prioritized list so that we may stay focused on our main goal, serving Him, while being able to stop and assist our fellow man. God shows us in the Old and New Testament that He comes first, then our spouse, children, extended family and friends, the rest of the world and then ourselves. If we deviate from this system we are showing that we think we know better that the authority placed over us, God, and we’re teaching others that are okay for them to disobey the leadership and rules in their life.

Leaders and mentors must sometimes teach the tough lessons in life that shape protégées, even though it is heart wrenching to see the hurt it causes them during the learning process. We all must look past what we want and look to the greater good of those we come in contact with daily. If we aren’t looking to increase and continue Kingdom work, how can we expect those we are charged with caring for to learn these lessons correctly and completely? Shouldn’t we teach those under our care that putting our authority and mission first and all others (prioritized according to God’s word) before our own self serving desires is of utmost importance?

Luke 10:36, 37 which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.

Honor-

Live up to Army values. The nation’s highest military award is The Medal of Honor. This award goes to Soldiers who make honor a matter of daily living — Soldiers who develop the habit of being honorable, and solidify that habit with every value choice they make. Honor is a matter of carrying out, acting, and living the values of respect, duty, loyalty, selfless service, integrity and personal courage in everything you do.

Living a life of honor is about walking the walk after you’ve talked the talk. It’s about being whom and what you say you are. Many people will put on the nameplate of “Christian”, yet they put anything and everything before their commitment to God. They attend and serve in church when and if it is convenient to them. They lie, use profanity, cheat, backbite, drink, steal, judge, and make excuses for any and all of these. The bible clearly tells us that a Christian will chase after righteousness, not self indulgence.

Christian honor is about dying to self daily and putting your Father and King first. There are so many people that will put what they FEEL is the right thing to do ahead of what His word specifically states. Too many times we see people call others names or judge them unjustly, while they stand in the same boots. When Christians take some personal responsibility and live the values they say they stand for we will see a new life and fire in the modern church. As long as so many of us are willing to allow ourselves selfishness, unforgiveness, double standards, weakness, and childishness, we will continue to lose the daily spiritual battles we face. We will continue to teach our children and everyone else false Christian values that will make it easier for Satan to win the victory in their lives and quite possibly put stumbling blocks in the way of their salvation.

Matthew 15:8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.

Integrity-

Do what’s right, legally and morally. Integrity is a quality you develop by adhering to moral principles. It requires that you do and say nothing that deceives others. As your integrity grows, so does the trust others place in you. The more choices you make based on integrity, the more this highly prized value will affect your relationships with family and friends, and, finally, the fundamental acceptance of yourself.

As Jesus grew toward manhood, his reputation also grew. The people in His life found Him to be fair, kind, and wise in His decisions. He showed Himself to be a friend to all; exemplifying the characteristics and attitudes that are highly regarded in any society.

Each Christian has the responsibility of living in a manner that shows the world these same values. We are to be forgiving, kind and wise, yet unyielding in our principles and standards. Each of us should live a selfless life, putting God first and others second, making sure to follow the guidelines of family and social priority put forth in God’s word. We should be fair and honest in our dealings with others; equal respecting everyone, disregarding race, religion, or social status.

There is no way that we can be perfect and there will always be someone we associate with that will try to tarnish our reputation or destroy our public testimony. There is no way to please everyone, but the thing we must remember is that as Christians, we should try to continue to live a life that is pleasing to God and put forth our best efforts in all that we do so that honor and glory will shine upon our Lord and King. If we put God first and live for Him, we will find favor with God and man, most people anyway.

Luke 2:52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.

Personal Courage-

Face fear, danger or adversity (physical or moral). Personal courage has long been associated with our Army. With physical courage, it is a matter of enduring physical duress and at times risking personal safety. Facing moral fear or adversity may be a long, slow process of continuing forward on the right path, especially if taking those actions is not popular with others. You can build your personal courage by daily standing up for and acting upon the things that you know are honorable.

One of the hardest things a person can do is to go against social pressures. It is one of the biggest reasons; it seems to me, that so many people fail in their spiritual and personal lives. We know without a doubt what we should do, but we do what pleases others and wind up in a mess. This weakness causes us to feel inferior. We feel like a loser, that can’t do anything right.

What every Christian must do is to hold their head high, walk up to the top of the rock where God has prepared a place for us and stand upon His foundation. He will always protect us; giving us wisdom in speech and action, allowing us to stand on His principles of truth and courage.

Do not give in to popular opinion and social tolerance. Stand on God’s word as the port in a terrible storm. We see so many marriages and families that are not what He has planned today because the husband and wife give in to mainstream views of the roles of the spouse instead of following God’s design for family structure. We see churches, schools and governments become weak, falling short of their true destiny because they are more worried about hurting someone’s feelings than obeying the inspired word of God.

Are we going to be spiritual cowards and follow the easy path, or are we going to be children and warriors of the most High King?

Exodus 33:21 And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock.

All counseling statements aren’t negative!

Pro 3:27 Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it.

All of us could use some counsel, instruction and constructive critisim in order to improve our performance,  expand our concepts and  sharpen our skills.

Respect those in authority (keeping in mind that God is the ultimate authority)

Rom 13:7 Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to who fear; honour to who honour.

Do you show respect to those in a leadership position? Many times we have a tendency to bad mouth those in leadership if they make a decision or comment that doesn’t line up with our opinion or seems to go against what we want for ourselves. We complain about our boss, the umpires and coaches on our teams, the teachers and staff at schools and our politicians.

This seems to be getting out of hand in modern society. We justify it by claiming they are making bad decisions. We must remember that our respect for them and their decisions is something that God says we owe. We are not told to honor and respect them if they are doing what we like or what will benefit, we are told to respect them because they were chosen to lead and as Christians, we are commanded by God to give due benevolence to their authority.

It is very difficult to hold a position of authority. One must try to make decisions that are fair across the board and not to just one individual. We must strive to be honest, fair and respectful while keeping in mind that we as leaders have a goal or mission we are charged with accomplishing.

One of the greatest lessons I have had as a follower or subordinate is when I was self employed. I was in a position that demanded I treat my employees fairly, fulfilled the requests made by my contractors in a timely manner and kept the needs of my family in prospective. It was extremely difficult to do all I had to do when some of the people working for me would be late, make poor decisions out of laziness or would want to discuss (argue with) almost every decision I made. These are some of the same issues almost everyone in a leadership position deals with.

It is difficult for a husband to lead his family if his wife doesn’t submit to and support his decisions. It is a struggle being a parent when the children are argumentative. It is a lot easier to run a mission when the soldier say “Roger that” instead of whining about every little thing.

When you find yourself in a position to follow others respect their authority. Do not argue, discuss, belittle or complain. Do what you’re told, be on time and prepared, make decisions that benefit the mission and the leader, be positive and helpful, make sure yourself and others are squared away and never be condescending. God has charged us to be good followers. Respect those in authority as a show of your Christian faith and values.

Subordinates mirror your leadership traits

Col 4:1 Masters give unto your servants that which are just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.

Those that are in a leadership position have a very demanding charge. As a Christian leader a person is responsible for the task at hand, those serving under them and following the direction of their superior/superiors. It is sometimes a very daunting and difficult task to be in a position of leadership with all of the responsibilities and difficulties when we have subordinates that seem to be less concerned about the mission at hand and more about their own personal issues.

Some of the things we must remember are that we were once in their position and that they have issues that are very important to them, though their concern may not be very important to us. We must continue to look at them as people that not only seek to have their needs met, but that we are tasked with mentoring and compassion for our protégés.

When placed in a position of authority it is of our own best interest to treat others the way we would want God to treat us. Even though we may hold ourselves to a high standard regarding worldly matters, we sometimes allow ourselves to slip concerning heavenly matters. Our Father is our ultimate judge and He will judge us according to our judgment of others. He is kind, compassionate and considerate. He is also a task master that expects us to fulfill our responsibilities whole heartedly, with wisdom and efficiency.

As leaders we are charged with teaching our juniors to see the task beyond their own lane and how it affects them. We are to be compassionate while holding them accountable for acting and thinking maturely. We are also responsible for giving direction, discipline and praise. If we are disrespectful and disobedient to the authority over us, our subordinates will pick up on our behavior and attitude and behave accordingly. Your juniors will mirror your actions and attitudes toward your work ethic and respect for your leadership. Remember to be a leader that pleases and honors God.

Liberty has a price

1492 Columbus discovered America.

1775-1781 Revolutionary war.

1776 The Declaration of Independence was adopted.

Mat 27:50 Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.

There have been many men and women that have made the ultimate sacrifice so that others might have liberty. There has only been one that has given our soul liberty.

Today we give honor to those that have sacrificed much for our freedoms here in America. They have given their lives in glorious battle and brutal assaults. Some of their actions are recorded for future generations to remember, others have died bravely with no one to witness. For whatever reason they went to war, their stand has bought freedom and opportunity for Americans for generations to come. We are a greater nation for what these people have done. Whatever their mission, they are heroes that lived, fought and sometimes died for our county.

Jesus also gave much for our liberty. He stepped out of God’s presence, voluntarily, so that He could experience what mortal man experiences. He suffered social, emotional, financial and environmental difficulties. He was ridiculed and mocked. He was tempted and overcame those temptations. He was brutalized for sins He did not commit. This entire act, He did out of love for each and every person who ever lived.

His life, death and resurrection are the reasons you and I have spiritual freedoms today. We are given victory of the sin in our life. We have the ability to be forgiven. We have the choice to accept or deny this forgiveness and salvation.

Today, while we remember those that have bought and maintained our American freedoms, do not forget the One that gave up His life that you may have eternal life.

Leadership virtues: Concern, humility, and faith

Mat 8:8 the centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed.

The centurion was a commander over one hundred soldiers, usually a man risen from the ranks to a position of authority due to honored service and proven skill. It is likely that he was uneducated, yet intelligent in leadership and war. He would be confident and most probably brutal and cruel, having done many atrocities during his service to the throne. Although these characteristics were normal for a man in lower military leadership in this day, they were loyal, not only to their superiors, but to their servants and troops as well.

At some point in the centurion’s life he had acquired a servant that he was especially fond of, whether he was a slave or a soldier we do not know. We do know that the centurion had great affection for this man and wished for his quick recovery. The centurion had heard that Jesus was in the area and went to Him. He had heard the accounts of how Christ had healed others and preformed miracles and was certain that Jesus could restore his beloved servant.

The centurion was humbled by the fact that Jesus was desirous to go to his home to see the servant, but considered himself unworthy of the honor. After the things he had most probably done in service to the crown and the treatment Christ had received by the Romans and Jews through the hands of the soldiers, he was possibly embarrassed to ask for aid in the first place. Despite how he felt concerning Christ, he knew that He was capable and willing to heal and restore those in need. He knew Christ had great compassion for all mankind, holding no grudges and forgiving all.

Christ was moved by the concern the centurion had for his servant. He was also impressed by the man’s humility and faith. These were characteristics that Jesus respected then and now. If we look at the virtues God holds exemplifies and holds dear, we see that these are among the top of the list. We are commanded and encouraged to have compassion on others, treat others how we want to be treated, be humble and to have faith in our Father.

Seek to lead so that you may serve.

Mat 8:9 For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.

We see an account of a soldier who was both in a position of submission and authority. He was an officer with the command of approximately one hundred soldiers as well as a household staff while he himself was in a position under the authority of a higher command. It is noteworthy that this officer had such compassion for his personnel that he went to a man he knew were condemned by the Jewish and Roman leadership of that area. He knew that his going to Jesus would not be a popular decision with his command, yet he had a desire to ensure his servant had the greatest possible chance for healing.

This brief encounter says a lot about the kind of leader this centurion was. He was compassionate toward those he led, yet he never forgets his position and personal commitment. A man in his position was a man considered intelligent and fit to lead others into battle. Many leaders in his era were hard and uncaring, yet he was desirous of taking care of his man.

This same loyalty to both his commanders and his troops is a trait that leaders today should adapt, not just in a military arena but in the private and personal areas of our life as well. If we are in a position of leadership at work, church, community or home we should always remember that we answer to both those above and below us in the chain of command.

Leadership is a two edged sword. It gives us the authority and duty to make tough decisions. It gives us the right to demand, yet the consideration to make requests. When we learn to couple mutual respect and personal responsibility we will be able to not only fulfill our mission competently and effectively, but we will also have the loyalty of those we lead.

Our goal in life should be to seek to serve others with the gifts, talents and opportunities we are given. We should strive to move ourselves into positions to better those around us. When we achieve certain goals such as status or wealth and use them selfishly it will not be long before our motives are evident. The reverse is also true.

Jesus was a perfect example of this attitude. He is the son of the King of kings, yet He came as a carpenter’s son. He had the birthright to rule the world, yet he served the common man as well as the highest station in the land. He was ever respectful of those He lead by being their servant. This attitude gave him the support and loyalty of those He walked with daily and His reputation spread throughout the land. Christians in any position of leadership should seek to grow these traits in our lives. We should learn to respect our leaders and our followers. We should seek to gain so that we may share. We should lead so that we may serve.

1Ti 3:1 This is a true saying, if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.

Is it a good thing to seek out a position of importance, wealth or leadership? We see from the above verse that in some cases it is considered honorable. There are many reasons people seek to climb the ladder of success in different areas of their life. There are those that seek fame, fortune or power. The evil or good does not rest in the status alone, but in the intent of the person in the position.

When a person has governmental skills, financial skills or other leadership skills and does not use them to full advantage they are not only letting themselves down and those around them but they are also dishonoring God who gave them the gifts of leadership.

We are all given certain spiritual gifts and mundane talents and we are expected to use them for the benefit of all. We are not to seek places of influence or wealth for personal reasons, but to better the people around us. There are those that will climb the ladder of success for selfish reasons and there are those that climb in order to rise up those around them.

What each person must remember is the responsibility that comes with gain. We are held accountable for teaching and improving those under our care. The book of Hebrews teaches us that leaders are responsible for the souls of their subordinates. Philemon teaches that we are to treat our followers as though they are a beloved brother. Christ was the ultimate example of servant leadership. He came into this world to aid, heal and forgive even to the point of becoming a sin sacrifice on cross that was intended to portray shame.

Many people will back bite and cast accusations at others that continue toward self improvement not realizing that the very reason for their climb is to assist others. Leaders will be held to account for the reasons behind their desire for success. They will be judged according to their efforts and true desires.

Why are you climbing your particular ladder? Do you seek betterment so you can serve others or do you have selfish reasons? God has given you gifts, talents and abilities and He expects you to use them wisely and unselfishly. You will be held accountable for your stewardship and your hearts desires. Lead well and lead with love.


Michael and Melissa as he prepares to board the bus for his deployment.