Archive for the ‘Tough Times’ Category

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I have found that we “Humans”, by far, are the best “worriers” on earth. I think this is true because our list of things to worry about always seems to stretch into infinity.

We worry about our health; and if our doctor says we’re okay, we worry that he has missed something. Worrying about money is arguably second on our list which causes us to worry about gross income, net income, deductions, and taxes and on and on it goes. We also constantly worry about whether our job will still be there for us tomorrow and…We worry about our children…worry, worry, worry.

Guys, the reality is that most of the things we worry about will actually never come to pass, but yet we worry about them anyway. So here is my question for you today…

What does that say about your faith?

 Do you trust God to ACTUALLY take care of you, or is that just lip service?

For you, and me, I have put together a small list of 5 reasons why we should not worry that are taken straight from the Bible and Christ’s own words in order to remind you and me of what God told us to do when we become anxious. So I give you…

 

5 reasons why ALL OF US should not Worry

 

  1. Worry is inconsistent  – Matthew 6:25

If we can trust Jesus to provide us with our very life, why can’t we trust Him to provide for us our daily needs

Its easy to give God control over areas of our lives that aren’t to dangerous or where the fallout of failure wont be too great for us to fix…but isn’t that just lack of faith altogether? If we can trust and believe that He can handle the smaller things then there isn’t any reason not to believe He can handle EVERYTHING for us?

  1. Worry is irrational – Matthew 6:26

If our Lord cares for the birds, will He not also care for us, since we are more valuable than they are?

I understand the fear we feel when we are riding to close to the guardrail of life knowing full well that if we lose control, even for just a moment, we may lose all or a part of what we have. Guys…it truly is called faith for a reason. God has you in circumstances specifically to find out what you will do when you are close to the edge. Will you walk away and just give up? Or will you TRUST HIM and let HIM provide for you?

  1. Worry is ineffective – Matthew 6:27

Who among us can add one cubit to our stature by worrying?

There is no such thing as worry points. We do not become better men because we worry, we become worse. Even Christ asks the question do we somehow get better or grow in stature if we worry? We do not…in fact, we will only make ourselves miserable as well as all of the people around us.

  1. Worry is illogical  – Matthew 6:28-30

If God so clothes the lilies of the field, can He not also clothe us?

Trusting God means we trust Him to take care of us…period. We can’t have it both ways whereby we only trust Him some of the time and not others. Let God work in your life and see where He takes you.

  1. Worry is irreligious – Matthew 6:31-32

When we worry, we act like those who don’t know God.

When we worry, its like we put handcuffs on the God we say we believe in but don’t trust Him enough to pull us through this particular tough event in our lives. Moreover, what do we show unbelievers about following God when at the first point of adversity we take the reigns back from God and say, “I can do a better job than Him”?

One final thought about worry before we end today. When Christ spoke about worry, He just didn’t say “don’t worry” and then He was finished…NO…He also told us How NOT to worry as well which for all of us, is extremely helpful. You will find His answer in Luke 6:33-34 where He says:

But, SEEK FIRST the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Honestly guys, that is all there is to this process…seek HIM first, then trust and watch Him work in your life. Let me give you 2 more verses on trust:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;

 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.   (Proverbs 3:6 NKJV)

 

Until next time guys…

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I am not sure if it’s just me, or is there a significant amount of difficulty, adversity and even downright despair in what I see around me right now? Life does tend to be ebb and flow most of the time whereby good and bad problems drift into our lives and then subside (yes, I believe there are good problems, like having so much work you don’t know where to put it all). But in my worldview, I see despair in both friends and family where there should be joy.

I believe that despair is one of Satan’s most powerful weapon because if he hits you at just the right moment, you literally feel no hope…or in other words, you feel despair. Do you remember when you were a kid and you wrestled with your siblings or your Dad and there was always the time when everyone “piled on” leaving the one on the bottom to scream in pain? That’s what Satan does when you are struggling with anything…he piles on driving you into despair.

Did you know that despair is the complete loss or absence of hope? I find that definition interesting because as a child of God, there is always hope…am I correct?

But yet honestly, who hasn’t felt despair even as a child of God? I think we all have, which tells me a couple things:

  1. Satan is alive and well on this earth and seeks to kick your butt anytime he can.
  2. How much are you actually trusting God during this difficult time?

Now, I completely understand that despair is an internal battle for control over what you are feeling inside. Satan is pouring every possible bad thing he can onto you and God is looking to you to reach out to Him and just hang on. That unseen battle is real and I know many of you have felt it before.

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I have a very good Christian friend right now in the midst of this type of despair. He is at that time in his life where his Mother requires an assisted living facility to help with her care but she doesn’t want to go and his fear is that she gets there, she will die. My friend is agonizing over this decision and it’s driving him into a bad place in his life. He feels there is no hope.

As is always true in this blog, I have a couple of verses I want to share with you and then some simple knowledge to pass your way. The first scripture is from Paul who frankly, lived a very hard life once he became a follower of Christ…NOT an easy one. Please note that this verse is clear about life…that he may have been down, but he was not crushed, or in despair. In other words, life is hard…but when you hang onto God, you can get through it.

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed

(2 Corinthians 4:8-9 NIV)

Secondly, here is word from my favorite Bible character, David.

May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope, Lord, is in you

(Psalms 25:21 NIV)

Simply put guys, despair is a bad place to be and it will take God to get you out of it. That means no only prayer on your own part, but prayers from family and friends. As mentioned, you are in a battle and Satan wants to be victorious over you. He knows that beating you will have the trickle down effect on both your wife and children. In other words, everyone will be miserable. THAT IS HIS GOAL…and you need to recognize that.

I challenge all of you today to hang onto God and to trust in Him for hope. If you recall the story of David, he was near death to many times to count, but as the verse above states, “his hope was in God”. He recognized that without Him, despair would soon come.

I further challenge you today to claim Gods hope for your own life and climb out of the depths of despair. I understand that right now, these may be just words to you, but know that GODS WORD DOES NOT RETURN VOID.

Cling to Christ and what His Word says and He will cling to you…

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…

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I know that a great deal has been written about Abraham, the patriarch of the Old Testament and honestly far more than I could ever begin to convey in a single blog post. The same thing can be said about how many times you or I have heard someone speak about this Abraham in our lifetimes. He is not only important to the Christian faith, but also to Muslims as well because he was the father of Ismael, who as it mentions in Genesis 16:12, was against everyone.

This man will be like a wild donkey. His hand will be against everyone, and everyone’s hand will be against him; he will live at odds with all his brothers.

Interesting verse, isn’t it? But let’s get back to Abraham because he does something in his lifetime that caused God to award him with status that I know all of us would give anything to have. God saw something very different in Abraham that gave Him confidence in knowing that He could essentially start over with the Jewish nation. Abraham was special in the eyes of God and that has always struck me…what made him different? What did he do that would cause the Creator to think in his mind, “that is my guy”? “He is the one I am going to work with” “I am gambling on him”.

When you read about Abraham you can see right away that he is a doer. He is a man of action when the situation calls for this. He wrestled with God over the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. He rescued his nephew Lot and his family when they were captured. But what I found most interesting with the story of Abraham is that “doing” is not what caused God to find so intriguing about him…it was Abrahams “believing” that actually moved God. In fact, the verse in the center of this post is what made me write this in the first place is in Genesis:

Abram believed the Lord, and He credited it to him as righteousness. Genesis 15:12

Think about this for a moment…for the very first time in the Bible, we see faith and righteousness mentioned together. Why is this so important? Because of this statement:

By Abraham just simply believing in God…down deep his heart, God gave him a right standing or a “different” standing with Him.

Abraham’s heart was turned toward God in an enduring trust, obedience and submissive relationship. Because of that rock solid belief, it changed his status with the Creator of this universe. Abraham didn’t conquer the greatest army in the world or climb the highest mountain…all he did was believe, and that belief caused his position with God…to be BETTER.

Guys, in almost every post I have ever written here on IronManStrength, I have expressed the fact that living in this imagesworld, as a Christian, is not an easy road. I don’t say that to depress you, I say it to encourage you because of the amazing journey we are all on together. What I find extremely encouraging about the story of Abraham is simply the fact that even though what he saw in front of him was contrary to what God told him…He still believed. Here was a guy who was told his offspring would out number the stars and this would all begin with his very own son…and he was over 100 years old and his wife was a ripe young 95…but, guess what? He still believed…

Then the word of the Lord came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.”  He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then the Lord said to him, “So shall your offspring be. Genesis 15: 4-5

Guys, hear me out for a second…how does this really apply to you? How does the story of some old guy who lived over 2000 years ago make a difference to any of us right now? It’s simple really…

Abraham had problems – we have problems

Abraham had struggles – we have struggles

Abraham had family issues – all of us have family issues

God spoke to Abraham – God can speak to us

The difference:

ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD

Not lip service…but real belief…that is truly what it comes down to guy’s…actual belief that God can do what He says He can.

When you believe God inside your core that He can be trusted…your relationship with Him changes. When you are obedient and submissive toward God and not allow that arrogance inside all of us to show through…things will change.

I encourage you to take your own belief to the next level by trusting God.

Establish a “right standing” with Him…

Do you Believe?

Until next time guys…

 

 

 

 

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NEWS FLASH…If you think that Satan is a myth…you are sorely mistaken. If you think Satan is a pacifist, you are dead wrong. If you somehow think that Satan doesn’t know who you are…that will be the death of you…

Do I have your attention?

What I am about to share with you is not a new revelation. These are NOT new ideas or concepts because I have found them written in the Bible. They are however, very important because they profoundly affect all of us. In the past, I have written about these topics in posts but today finds me more passionate and frustrated with the direction I see our country moving. To be honest with you, and please pay attention to me here because this is becoming more clear to me everyday why America is not mentioned in the book of Revelation…why?

Because, when Revelation finally happens…America is NOT relevant…

Does that matter to you? Have you ever heard someone say that before? Guys I have a sense of urgency as I write this to you. I believe that from my vantage point, America appears to be in some sort of trance. Things that should matter to all of us…things that we know are wrong…continue because there is no resistance.

So why don’t we wake up? What will it take before we care?

My diagnosis; this is all a part of Satan’s plan. Right now, he has man completely transfixed with himself. A.W. Tozer said, “The concept of Majesty has all but disappeared from the human race. The focal point of Man’s interest is in himself” as evidenced by the nineteenth century poet Swinburne who wrote, “Glory to man in the highest! For man is the master of things” we have become a race of self-absorbed, narcissistic humans with no other focus other than ourselves. We are so smart, talented and athletic that it almost seems like we don’t need God or maybe God isn’t the same as He was before. It almost seems like the smarter we get, the dumber God gets…like His power has been diluted.

Has God changed since I became an adult?

I believe that part of the reason is that man is trying to make God look like himself. As we continue to gain more insight into the world that is around us, we become more and more egotistical rather than humble. We try to fit God into something that He isn’t…Conceivable. I see this every time I hear an atheist speak. Because God does not humble himself down to their level whereby they can comprehend Him, then he does not exist.

God doesn’t need us…we need Him.

The God of the Bible cannot fit inside the human mind nor does He want to. Isaiah said, “His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts.” Psalms 50:21 says, “You thought I was altogether like you?” God’s job is not to bend down to us, but rather for us to reach up to Him. The Bible says “Humble thyself in the sight of The Lord and He shall lift you up.” NOT the other way around. The Bible also says “Pride goes before the fall.” Again, mankind’s view of himself is the reason why the relationship between God and man is broken. He is God and not us.

Please understand that I speak of a God who is the Majesty in the Heavens, God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, the only wise God, our Savior. Not the picture version inside the pages of your kids Bible.

(Continued in 2 days…stay tuned)

imagesHave you ever heard the expression “if you give him and inch he will take a mile”? I know we have all heard that one once or twice before. But why does it matter? Here is why…I want to talk briefly about that first inch that you give up, that you concede, that you compromise. You see, the expression “give him an inch” indicates from the very beginning that you gave in…or you gave up…something…that you thought maybe you had to, in order to improve the situation. What you did was compromise. Now, please don’t get me wrong here. Compromise in a relationship is crucial for it to last, Am I right? We do not agree with our spouse’s or our friends all the time. Have you ever “agreed to disagree” and hopefully still maintained the relationship? Good debate is healthy and promotes independent thinking and I think is the key to long-lasting friendships however compromise in other areas of our life is what I am focusing on today.

I am reading a new book by Dr. David Jeremiah called, The Writing on the Wall, and it talks about the prophet Daniel who while captive in Babylon for 70 years, Daniel did not compromise his God ever, no matter what his circumstances, even in the face of death. His consistency is astounding and frankly a model for all of us to follow. But Dr. Jeremiah makes a point here that I want to illustrate with you which is simply that it takes guts…real guts, to say no, even with God on your side. Daniel was resolute in his defiance in Babylon and for you and I, no matter where we are in life, we do not “have to bend the rules to be blessed of God. Success is NOT dependent upon our compromise”. Everywhere a compromise is worked out in the Bible…bad things happen…

From the very beginning, we see compromises;

  • Adam, who fell right in line with Eve’s sin by compromising and eating the forbidden fruit… Well, he lost Eden.
  • Sarah’s lack of faith in God caused her to compromise and send her husband Abraham in with Hagar, who gave birth to Ishmael. As a result, life in the Middle East will never be the same.
  • We all remember Esau who compromised his birthright because he was hungry.
  • King David, who was a man after Gods own heart, compromised Gods morality by sleeping with Bathsheba and then killing her husband Uriah. He lost his son…

The list goes on and on with Solomon, Judas and Ahab. All of them compromised something significant in their lives and it cost them. To think all they would have had to do was to just say NO…I am going to stand on what my God has promised me and take whatever comes my way.

I want to finish with a story Dr. Jeremiah shares in his book about an exchange in a high school class between some students and a godless professor.

In one of his lectures he said, “will all of you who believe the myths of the Bible please stand.” Several stood.

 Then he added, “now this semester I am going to free you from this religious Bible nonsense. I have read the Bible, and it is certainly written by a bunch of mixed up men.”

 One young Daniel stood up and said, “Sir, the Bible is God’s letter to Christians, and if you are confused it’s because you are reading someone else’s mail.”

Guys, I pray that all of us can stand firm and NOT compromise in the face of this kind (or worse) of adversity against your faith or yourself. I will tell you this, this life and its “adversity” will continue to get worse and you are going to be in circumstances where you will be asked to “give an inch”. What’s an inch you say? In our case as Christians, it is truly the difference between a life spent with God in Eternity or the alternative…Hell. It is that simple

You get to make that choice…

My advice, choose Daniel…no compromise…

Until next time Guys…

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As I may have mentioned before, I have a second son who is 10 years old and like many of us, is learning that sometimes life isn’t easy. He is currently learning this valuable lesson through the great sport of Baseball. You see, he was drafted onto his very first Little League majors team and although he started the season with a bang, he has since fallen into one of those slumps we see major leaguers fall into now and then. This slump however, is causing him great distress. The more he tries to shake it off, the worse it gets and this past weekend…well, he just kinda hit the wall…(Anyone ever hit the wall before?…) His “hitting the wall” experience afforded me the opportunity as his father to have one of those conversations about life that I think all young men need to hear sometime as they grow up.

Now I will be honest with you…I have heard and read many of these self-help pontificator’s who put forth things like empowering yourself and “everything you need to be great exists inside you already all you need to do is find it” kind of stuff…and although there may be place for that somewhere…when you are staring into the tearing eyes of a 10-year-old boy who is trying desperately to do his best, and it’s not working…all of those empowerment ideals goes out the window.

Here is the bottom line…and it is NOT Rocket Science; Sometimes…in this life…you will get knocked down…the question is “are you going to get back up, or are you going to just lay there?” As I watched my own son, it was clear to me he had no idea where to start or what to do…and I realized right then that a lot of men in life find themselves in this same situation. We get knocked down in life…maybe at work or at home and we simply lose our direction and we truly…have no idea where to turn next. Just like my son, we have lost our confidence in ourselves and our capabilities. We forget what our strengths are both professionally and personally and this can cause paralysis from taking another step forward. As adults this can be devastating especially to a family where the father has lost his way and mom is trying to hold things together by herself.

So how does one get his confidence back? Here are my 5 steps to confidence:

  1. Get back up on your feet and take that first step forward. I assure you that confidence does NOT come while you are laying on the ground…
  1. Read Hebrews 4:16…Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. It ALL starts with God guys…He tells us to come to Him with CONFIDENCE in order that we can receive what He has for us…
  1. Spend some quality time with God. Doesn’t have to be hours…just get on your knees for a few minutes without distraction. You will be amazed…
  1. Call a buddy. Just because you are a man doesn’t mean you don’t need to talk and maybe get something off your chest. Grab a coffee and spend a minute with a good friend…
  1. Plug into a church. I know you have heard this before but it is true…God didn’t intend His people to walk through “life” alone…he intended them to do “life” as a community and that happens in a church.

 

It’s like I told my son, “I have seen you hit a baseball before and you hit well…you just need to remember that feeling”

Guys, you HAVE done some “thing’s” in your life well. Some things that should make you proud and happy of your accomplishments as a husband and father…do you remember them? You should…and you have no reason to hang your head… Remember this;

Hebrews 12:1-3 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfector of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Right now, you are running the race marked out for you…NEWS FLASH! You are going to fall down… It WILL imageshappen. That IS a part of your life…but as I mentioned before…when this happens what are you going to do then? Guys my challenge to you today is simply GET UP! Shake off the dirt and keep moving forward. God NEVER promised that our lives would be easy…He only said “He would never leave us or forsake us” which means during your darkest hour…you are not alone…

So GET UP and LOOK UP to Gods throne with confidence…

You can do this…

Until next time guys…