Archive for December, 2013

Responsibility-ahead-Blog-14

I don’t know about you, but I like to use those digital reminders that are available in online calendars so I don’t forget those critical dates and other important things. So in honor of this new and upcoming year of 2014, this last post of 2013 will fall under the category of “critical” due to its utmost importance for you and I as believers. This is my last friendly reminder to all of us for this year…and it is simply:

All of us who have ever lived or died on this earth…Not one of us will be left out of ultimate accountability with God.

So I will pause for a moment while I let that statement sink in…

The reason we find the accountability idea difficult is that no one wants to think about the future because it makes us uncomfortable…it “cramps our style” in our everyday life.

Being completely transparent, I can identify with the “uncomfortable with accountability” point of view. In fact, I have held that point of view before in my own lifetime.  Because the truth is, when life is going your way…I found little reason to be at church or for that matter, to focus on making the “right” decisions that might make God proud. And why should I?

The answer is simple; Because while the world is going on about its own business, you and I are trying to live out Christianity in the present…and at this very point in history…it is very hard not to get tangled up in ourselves.  Between what you see advertised as “right” and our natural tendency to fall in love with ourselves; Satan slowly and masterfully weaves his work until we have lost our focus…and our anchor. When we shift our gaze from God to man…It is NOT a good ending.

Guys, I am NOT telling you a new story. It is one that has been told many times throughout human history, it’s just a new generation that gets to learn it all over again. So here is the important point I wanted to remind you of today.

AN IRONMANSTRENGTH FRIENDLY REMINDER:

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Hebrews 4:13

For those of you who are reading this verse for the very first time and are skeptical, look it up…I do not make this stuff up…it’s in the Bible for all of us to read and apply to our lives.

So here is my $1,000,000 question of the day:

When you read this verse, does it have the impact of getting smacked right in your face?

If it does, that is good…because that means the Holy Spirit is within you and telling you that you must change…you have to change…

Guys…I encourage all of you to look away from the mirror and up to Him…

Get focused back on God by getting on your knees and try humility.

God understands everything you are going through and I assure you, He wants you back…but YOU must take the first step towards Him…Prayerfully consider these words today.

They are not my words, but Gods.

Reminder: You, me, all of us, will ultimately be held accountable for everything we do, everything we think, and everything we say in this world…I hope you recognize this is something none of us can afford to ever forget…

 

Until next time guys…

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wimp

Guys, I am fixated right now on the idea of God making you and me stronger through trials and the difficult times in our lives. I would argue that the chaos of this world around us has ratcheted up its intensity to an even higher level right now…and from what I hear on the evening news, things look to only get worse. So now is the time to be strong in your faith and concrete in what you stand for. This blog has always been about sharpening, exercising and sparring in your Christian faith. I have never been silent about the fact that this life we are in is a war and you are in that war whether you believe me or not. You know whom we are fighting and hopefully, you know what the stakes are should you walk away…

That being said, I was reading recently one of Pastor David Jeremiah’s “Bible Strong” booklets where he spoke about the challenges we face in this life where many times God is at the center of the issue. What Pastor Jeremiah said was “God will take our problems and use them to make us better”, like iron sharpening iron, however before this can happen, God needs our cooperation. Instead of our normal human reaction of rebelling against Him because we don’t like what is happening to us, we should instead humble ourselves and allow God to carve and shape us into exactly the man He wants us to be.

Pastor also used the amazing example of Joseph in the Old Testament and all of the adversity he faced at the hands of both his brothers, who sold him into slavery and the Egyptians, who kept him prison for a long time. But through his time in prison, something happened to Joseph that would not have happened otherwise. Pastor Jeremiah alluded to this in his booklet and I would like to try to develop the thought even further.

While deep inside the Egyptian prison, Joseph spent much of his time in chains, which even included a collar around his neck. His days were dark and lonely spending the majority of his time alone in a cell…left only with his thoughts and his fear. Psalm 105:17-18 (NIV) says it like this:

and he sent a man before them—Joseph, sold as a slave. They bruised his feet with shackles; his neck was put in irons.

 But another translation (Amplified) puts it in a different way…

He hath sent before them a man, for a servant hath Joseph been sold. They have afflicted with fetters his feet, Iron hath entered his soul,

Iron had entered his soul? I read that a few times before I began to grasp what the writer was saying…While Joseph was in that prison cell, he was changing. Obviously, it would be almost impossible not to. Prison hardens a man. Makes him mean and angry right? Not with Joseph…Even during what were the worst and the lowest times of his life, slavery and prison, Joseph never cursed God because of his situation. Honestly, cursing God would have been a very normal HUMAN reaction, but rather he simply stayed the course by serving Him knowing that God had a plan for him. But yet, he was still in prison, and that prison experience was shaping him into a very different man than when he had entered. The Psalmist said it perfectly and I repeat, “Iron had entered his soul”. So what does that really mean? As a result of the time spent in that hardened environment, God honed and carved Joseph into a leader of men. God used those lonely years to reach down deep inside Joseph, into his inner core, and transform him into a new man;

The kind of man who could handle the adversity of the next challenge;

 The kind of man who would not wilt or falter at the first sign of difficulty;

 The kind of man who knew that true strength was using God as his anchor.

Remember, God admires and blesses strength of character and faith. Faith that in this case, was prison forged into something iron strong. God had taken Joseph through one of the worst experiences one could ever have on this earth and prepared him for his next challenge, to be second in command to the Pharaoh of Egypt…But that could NOT have happened without prison.

Worst to First…

Guys, clearly stated…God does not care for “Wimpy Christians”. I challenge you today to follow the mantra of this blog from the verse in Proverbs 27:17, where we are told that “as iron sharpens irons, so one man sharpens another”. Be strong in what you believe and understand that the trials of this life are intended to make you stronger…IF…you keep your eyes on Him…

Until next time guys…

Guys…like most of you, Christmas is sneaking up on me again this year. Each year it seems that the Christmas little_drummer_boyseason begins just a few days earlier than the previous one. I would argue that very soon both November and December will be considered Christmas months and the holidays will go on even longer. But I digress…I got the idea for this post when I heard my first Christmas song of the season the other day…a song I have heard for many years but for some reason, one line stuck out to me this time. I know you have all heard “The Little Drummer Boy” which is the fictitious story of the little boy who had no gift to bring to the baby Jesus so he played his little drum as his gift. Literally, that is the concept of the whole song. He had no gift to bring…So he gave what he had…because he had no gift to bring…

So that simple line got me thinking that I really have no gift to bring Him either. At least the little drummer boy had a drum, right? I’m just a guy trudging his way down life’s path wondering what’s on the other side just like everyone else… But is it possible that we get focused on what we CAN’T DO instead of what we can? The statement…”I have no gift to bring” is very true…none of us do…but my point is…

GOD DOESNT CARE ABOUT ANY GIFT THAT YOU DON’T HAVE

God is NOT focused on gifts…He doesn’t care about your stuff…He just cares about your heart. Maybe you have heard this verse or maybe not. I do hope you have which means you are living life in some freedom but if not…hear me now:

No mater what condition YOU are in or better said, your heart is in…if you have had a very hard road and you don’t think you are acceptable to God for any reason…

God will still say yes to you. YOU ARE NOT ALONE… Jesus said:

Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy burdened and I WILL GIVE YOU REST. Matthew 11:28

Who isn’t weak and heavy burdened right now? All of us are…Guys, if you seek Christ, you will find Christ. He is not hiding…but it does require a first step…YOUR first step. Doesn’t rest sound pretty good right now anyway?

Guys, my point to you this day is simply that none of us have a gift to bring because we all think we aren’t good enough to move forward…With some tough love, I am telling you today to get out of your own way and simply take a step towards Him and let HIM do the rest.

He will.

Truly…the best gift you can give God this Christmas Season…is you…