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Elected officials hear challenging message to seek wisdom, be ‘shining light’ for otherscomment (0)

March 10, 2011

By Jennifer Davis Rash

Is it really a new day in Montgomery as Gov. Robert Bentley claims?

Alabama Baptists are waiting to see, while Danny Wood, pastor of Shades Mountain Baptist Church, Vestavia Hills, thinks the state’s elected officials could be on the brink of something big.

“You’ve got a shot to make the state a shining light among other states ... an example of how to govern and lead ... to take government to another level,” Wood said as he delivered the message during the annual Legislative Prayer Luncheon on March 2 in Montgomery. “But it will never happen if you can only depend on your own abilities and political savy.

“It will only happen if you depend on wisdom from above,” he said. Nearly 500 people attended the luncheon sponsored by the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions. Along with elected officials from all branches of government, many Alabama Baptist pastors, directors of missions and other leaders attended as did leaders of other denominations. The luncheon included Scripture readings from the Old and New testaments as well as special music, a message and, of course, prayer.

“Good intentions and a good heart are good but wisdom is irreplaceable,” Wood said. “It is something you need.”    
James 1:5 says to ask God for wisdom because He gives generously.

“He will give you the motherload of wisdom,” Wood said. And “you can keep coming to Him again and again.”

But the key is asking in faith, he noted. “If you doubt, then you can’t count on getting anything.

“There’s an instability there when there’s doubt,” Wood explained. “All of a sudden, we are looking to God and asking why we are not getting answers to the wisdom we desire.”

Being single-minded, not double-minded, is the key, Wood said. “If [you] could have that single focus on Jesus Christ ... then [God] will generously and graciously give [wisdom] to you.”

And if that happens, then “these could be some of the most exciting years in your life of service,” he noted.

Bentley also challenged the state’s elected officials to step up in their roles.

“To be a true leader, we’ve got to be true servants,” he told the elected officials present at the luncheon. “We should have a servant attitude.”

There’s no better way to start a new legislative session than to begin it with prayer, Bentley said.

“I came to this meeting for the last eight years as a representative and always looked forward to it,” he said. “I appreciate it so much and all of you who have prayed for us. ... I truly do believe in prayer. I believe prayer changes things.

“Continue to pray for us,” he added. “I feel your prayers every day.”

Bentley, who delivered his first State of the State address the night before, shared a glimpse into the prayers he prayed earlier that day.

“This morning as I was praying, first, I thanked God for allowing me to get through that speech last night but to do it in a way that I delievered it so it came across with a spirit of concern for the people of this state,” he said, noting he also was thankful he could have “a spirit of realism to let the people of Alabama know where we really are.”

“People want the truth,” he said. “I tell it the way it is.”

Bentley said he also thanked God for the people working with him in his role as governor.  “But most of all, I thanked Him for the privilege that I have been given to be a public servant and be the governor of the state of Alabama,” he said.

“In Alabama, we do face many challenges, and you heard me give a very somber State of the State message (detailing the need for major budget cuts),” Bentley noted.

“It was not an upbeat message ... but I truly believe Alabama is on the verge of some great things. I’m optimistic.

“Things are going to get better in Alabama,” he said. “I believe God is going to take care of us. ... He takes care of this state. He ordains us to serve in positions.

“In the Old Testament, we can see how God placed people in positions of authority for a reason,” Bentley said.

“Brighter things are coming to Alabama,” he said. “Things are gloomy right now, but we are going to get through it.”

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