Archive for December, 2014

earth-heaven-streetsign

I recently spent some time with an old work friend of mine who I hadn’t seen in a long time. At one point, we had worked together and saw each other every day for two years but once I left that company, not so much anymore. However I had the opportunity where we could have some dinner so I took advantage of the chance to get back together with him. As you can imagine, we talked about the usual work stuff and family stuff but somehow the topic bent toward winning the lottery of all things. To be clear, in my mind that topic is just wasted mental energy because the chances of winning are not worth spending the time thinking about what you would do with all that money. But as I sat there and listened to my friend talk, I realized he had taken this lottery-planning topic to a whole new level. Honestly, the amount of detail he had already planned out was utterly amazing. He knew where he would invest, who he would give money to, and how much. He knew what upgrades he would make to his home, where he would take his first vacation, how he would quit his job, and the list went on and on. He even worked out a plan to help his son pay off his student loans, buy his parents, brother and nephews new homes…and guys, I could keep going. I finally interrupted him and asked him why? Why would you invest so much of your time and brainpower on a topic that will never happen? He replied simply, “ah, but it could, and I want to be prepared”

“Prepared”, I thought. “Interesting concept.”

From your perspective, what does it take to be prepared for anything? Investing time, thought and effort towards something helps one be prepared…However Christ told us to prepare by storing up for ourselves, treasures in Heaven…in other words, preparation for eternity…not preparation for a fictitious event, or for that matter, anything else here on earth.

But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust can consume, and where thieves can neither break through nor steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matt. 6:20-21

So what is a treasure in heaven? How can I have any connection with heaven while I am still here and living on this earth? Here is how I look at this; my friend was investing huge amounts of his time thinking about a fantasy event rather than thinking about how to make a difference now while he is here on earth. For example, how about spending more time with his kids, or his wife or both? What about focusing on or engaging with a particular subject that might make him better or even the people around him better? In my mind, all of these suggestions are treasures that are being stored in heaven for him. It’s like making a deposit in a bank or maybe better yet, it’s an investment in your eternal future.

Jesus said, “How will they know me? By how YOU love one another”

Pretty simple actually. If we take the time to be kind to someone, anyone…when you aren’t required to do so…YES… it helps them, but believe it or not, that is a treasure YOU have stored in heaven. What you do here on earth matters for your eternal future.

You see…everything we store up in heaven is safe…forever. There are not any malware or viruses that can wipe out your deposits in Heaven. Christ said this in the verse above, where neither moth nor rust can consume, and where thieves can neither break through nor steal.

NOTHING can destroy what you have stored there…It is safe for all eternity

My simple advice:

Lets just try to get out of our own way, focus on each other for a change, and watch what happens…

What I think you will find is a far happier group of family and friends because you aren’t 100% solely focused on you…or like my friend in the beginning of this post, who spent too much time planning for a fictitious event.

So as you begin to look and plan for this next year, 2015…my recommendation is to start making heavenly deposits sooner rather than later…

Honestly, your future depends on it…

 

Until next time Guys…

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It occurred to me recently that after the last few years of posts here on IronManStrength that I could possibly be taking something for granted with my audience…Simply put, I write to men who as believers, travel down the road of life and deal with everything that entails…pain, difficulty as well as happiness and joy and all of the above. But one thing may be true about you that I have failed to address and that is the very simple act of becoming a Christian.

You see, you can read this blog and hopefully feel somewhat encouraged and even moved to change…but if you have not placed Christ inside your personal heart, then you have missed the crux of what I speak about. Otherwise, these posts are just stories for men who hope to feel better. Although I confess that my goal is to give a strong support to guys out there who just need a lift, at the heart of why I write is just simply…God. I believe that He changed me on the inside from a tough piece of old leather to someone who is a little bit more affected by the heart of God.

What that means to me is that all of us were put here for a reason…some of us know what that reason is…while others might still be searching…and that’s ok. As long as you are moving forward, that still counts as positive. My point is, along our way we gain callouses when dealing with life and that is NOT the way God intended things to be. His original plan was far better…but that’s another blog post altogether. God understands that the journey you are on can be painful and over time, that pain changes you, on the inside and out. The reality is that we, MEN, tend to become like that old piece of leather I was talking about earlier…literally so calloused ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
that we miss out on why we are here…that is where being a believer comes into this conversation. The only way we can hear Christ is to be tapped into the heart of God and the only way to tap in…is to be a believer…

So with the help of some friends, we put together a very simple “How to become a Believer” including the prayer you must pray in order to let God know YOU mean business. Please know this is a very simple process but once you commit, you will need to get connected with a church that believes similarly to you so you can keep your heart linked to Him. Walking with God isn’t one time and forget commitment. God desires a relationship with you, and that means everyday…

How to become a Christian

  1. Understand and believe in your heart that God Loves YOU. I know this can be very painful for some of you out there simply due to the fact that this world does NOT exude love. Plainly put, this world sucks at giving love. But please understand me when I say that the God I serve loved YOU, so much that He sent His son to die so that we might have eternal life. In my book, that is an exhibition of the truest love there is…

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life(John 3:16)

  1. God has an amazing plan for your life! You were NOT put on this earth be just vanilla, with no color and barely any taste. You were put on this earth for something special. Now I understand that for some people, the word life and special probably don’t go together but hear me when I say if you haven’t had God in your life up to this point, He is the one who can put things together in a way that you would not have even expected.

I have come that they (YOU) may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. (John 10:10)

There are 5 verses in the book of Romans in the Bible that explain the “Road to Salvation” for all of us. Read these next…

  1. Very simply…because you were born into sin, you are separated from God.
    For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  (Romans 3:23)
  2. The Penalty for your sin is death.
    For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord(Romans 6:23)
  3. I have good news for you…the penalty for your sin was paid by Jesus Christ!
    But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
  4. If you repent of your sin and then confess and trust Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you will be saved from your sin! It is that easy…

For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.  (Romans 10:13)

…if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (Romans 10:9,10)

Once you read these verses and confess your sin to God…and most importantly, believe in your heart that God can do all of these things…then pray this prayer with me:
Lord Jesus, I am like everyone else – I can’t make it through life on my own. I am imperfect and I’m prone

to sin. I have come to realize that there’s nothing in the world I can do to make myself acceptable to You.

But I know that You have loved me so much that You were willing to submit to the cross and die on my

behalf. That is an act of grace so amazing, that I cannot understand it; I can only accept it. And I do. I

accept Your free gift, the gift of salvation and along with that, you into my heart, and I know that from this

moment on, I am saved. I am a child of God. And I give the rest of my life to serving You and experiencing

the joy that only You can offer. Fill me now, dear Lord, and raise me to walk in the newness of life. I thank

You and praise You! Amen.

Now that you are a “new creation” in Jesus Christ, the road ahead will be full of life-changing experiences. Growing in knowledge and understanding of the Bible and your Christian walk with God is essential for your spiritual growth.

If you prayed that prayer, I am so very happy for you. Your name was written in the most important book of all, The Lambs Book of Life and from this day forward, you are truly…not alone.

I have more for you next time but for now, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from IronManStrength Blog.

Until next time Guys…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Incomprehensible

Have you ever stopped to consider the sheer massiveness of God? And I just don’t mean His size. I mean in every way humanly possible. I say humanly because simply by that fact we are bound in what we can think and know about God.

Recently, I have been reading everything I can get my hands about God, our Creator and the undeniable fact of His incomprehensibility. Simply put, he cannot be explained in a manner that befits Him. Human speech is far to limited for this exercise and I find myself searching for more answers. Moreover, all of this reading only makes me realize how truly BIG God is and how much I DON’T KNOW and honestly, that just makes things more difficult.

How do we think about God with our limited ability to even comprehend Him?

To clarify perspective even more, A.W. Tozer said, “what comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us” …about US. Which means if we were able to extract a complete answer to that question, we might be able to predict the spiritual future of that man.

But realistically guys, who really thinks about this besides really smart theologians? Have you ever taken the time to think about God at anytime or anywhere in your life? My guess is probably not. But don’t feel bad because in reality, most guys don’t because we don’t understand this subject well enough for it to even matter to us. The purpose of my post today is simply to explain why you should care and better yet, why you should seek God on your own to learn more about Him. Let me assure you guys up front, your personal search for Him will not go unrewarded.

We are told throughout the Bible that mankind has been created in the image of God and that makes us unique amongst all of His creation. The fact that we can think and speak makes us different. In other words, you and I can look at each another and what we see around us and as a result, can derive certain things about the image of God and who He is.

The problem as I see it is that mankind starts with such a poor idea of God the Creator that it denigrates the dignity of who He is. When you grow up with a limited understanding of God and who He is and the only information about God is what we learn on TV or maybe in a University then to me it’s very clear why 80% of today’s millennials say they are not Christians or “God-fearing” believers.

For those of you who may think otherwise, God is not hiding from us. He is not an illusive God who thinks mankind is His game and sometimes He is around and other times He is not. When we think like that, we put God in a box and I think we do this because that way, He can be more easily understandable to us.

In other words, we try to fit God into our minds but the problem is…He doesn’t fit…because our God is truly…God incomprehensible.

But before I go to far with all of this “incomprehensible” stuff and lose you, let me simply say that God’s plan for us to better understand Him came in the form of His son Christ Jesus. Without Him, the gap between mankind and God could not have been breached.

For those of you who have an inner core desire to seek God and desperately search after Him…there is a reason for that longing. Tozer said,

“The yearning to know what cannot be known, to comprehend the Incomprehensible, to touch and taste the Unapproachable, arises from the image of God in the nature of man. Deep calls unto deep and the soul senses its origin and longs to return to its source.”

Guys, simply put…inside you there exists something that longs God. As a believer, something is inside of us that desires Him and by seeking God with all you have, you are following His desire for you. He wants you to return to Him and the beauty of all of this is He gave you Christ to make it so easy. Christ said this in Matthew:

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Matthew 7:7

My point is simply all YOU have to do is ask…

I started this blog by telling you about the incomprehensibility of the God we serve and how can we even begin to think about something so massive? I am ending it by telling you to remember what He gave us to help us do that…

He gave us Christ and that my friends, is all we need to remember…

Have a blessed Holiday Season my brothers.

Merry Christmas from IronMan Strength,

I leave you with this video from Pentatonix…

Until next time guys…