Posts Tagged ‘Bible’

 

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I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, (Ephesians 4:1 ESV)

 

I have a friend that always tells other men to “man up” when he thinks they are not acting in a manner worthy of their gender. He always laughs at their reaction because they are usually stunned when he tells them. Most recently, he surprised someone I know with this same declaration only this time it got me thinking about this idea that we have all been called by God to be something really special only many of us are just not living up to that call.

What I mean is, what this verse above actually says, “walk in the manner that is worthy of the calling”. Guys, this is Paul the Apostle talking. Remember him? He was a punching bag for almost his entire ministry but yet he continued to stand worthy of Gods calling throughout his many journeys. This guy was literally responsible for enormous church planting in the beginning in the early days of the gospel. Yet sometimes his message wasn’t received, and as a result, he was beaten, imprisoned or even worse…

Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one—I am talking like a madman—with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; (2 Corinthians 11:23-25 ESV)

Here is a guy that honestly could have quit early on in his ministry solely based upon injuries alone…but he didn’t. He could have chosen to quit when his message was rejected…but he didn’t quit then either. Instead, he constantly made statements like “he rejoices in his sufferings…”

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope. (Romans 5:3-4 ESV)

 

What is my point?

As a believer in Christ, you have been called to be His follower. That means something. That means you MUST act different than you did before you were a believer. Paul reminds us that we need to walk a walk that is truly worthy of His calling on our life.

Don’t assimilate into the culture… Separate yourself

It may cause some discomfort…but trust me…Christ has your back…

 

Until next time guys…

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unbelief

“My son says he doesn’t believe in God anymore”. Those were the anguished words I heard my friend speak to me just the other day when we were together. He said, “he announced that to my wife and I with the proclamation that he no longer needs to go to church anymore as well”. My friend’s son is just 17 and only a junior in High School. He went on to tell me that this announcement was really just the tip of the iceberg inside their home in that he and his wife have been dealing with pure rebellion in this young man for close to a year. Moreover, with younger kids still in the home, this situation is beginning to tear his family apart.

How do you respond to someone when they tell you that?

My brothers I am sure many of you can identify with this very same scenario in your home and all the battles that happen as a result. As the father, some of us may get very firm and stand our ground in front of our kids and wives and shout, “My way or the highway!” while others of us may be more fearful and not want to upset the household to much and therefore we don’t do anything leaving everyone confused because there aren’t any boundaries coming from dad…

Does any of this sound familiar to you?

The Bible tells us this in Proverbs:

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.   (Proverbs 22:6 ESV)

So if we give our kids the correct Christ-like foundation, and a home that believes in Him and loves each other, no matter what…then if I understand God correctly, He will take care of the rest?

The answer is a resounding YES.

Guys, I am NOT an expert; I simply speak from experience in my own life when I was a teenager as well as now being the father of 2 sons.

It all starts with love in the home. By building a foundation of love inside your walls and providing for your children in the best way YOU can…then you have laid the foundation for God to work with later on when they are older. You see the reality of this life is that our children get to make their own choices about their lives…and that includes whom they will serve. As much as you and I may try, we don’t get to make that decision for them. They make it for themselves…your kids and mine. All we can do as parents is to give them the best we have and then it is up to God.

Now, please don’t misunderstand me about this point, I am NOT saying we walk away from them…OH NO. I am saying that once they reach that certain age and begin to question everything…we continue to love them, pray for them and provide guidance as they walk through this valley. That is our job and that is exactly what I told my friend. “Your home is being attacked by the enemy through your son and no matter what happens, you have to stand strong in Christ and work to try and love your kid through this major episode…together”. I encourage him like I would encourage you with these words:

God is working in your life, even when you don’t see it, even when you can’t feel it, even if it’s not evident.

You are NOT alone on this battlefront. God is right there beside you and no matter how many mean things our kids will say to us…WE STILL TRUST HIM…

Please don’t give up guys…Let me leave you with one of my favorite verses from the Bible is Joshua:

 And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”   (Joshua 24:15 ESV)

 

Until next time guys…

faithful

Well, 2016 is upon all of us, whether we like it or not. And, as we all can observe, there is a great deal going on in our world right now that just might, and probably does, push you to the brink of fear. It is easy to think that way because we don’t know how all this unrest is going to affect our families and us. What does the future hold for us? Is it, War, Peace? Financial ruin? Only God knows.

What I know is that in the Bible, we are told to remain faithful until He returns and that will be my main focus for the first part of my posts in 2016. I believe that we are given specific responsibilities in scripture that come directly from the mouth of Christ’s that tell us how we are to behave, react and frankly, what to believe. Honestly, I find these scriptures hugely comforting because what I’m reading is describing exactly what I’m seeing around me. God already knew that chaos, unrest and a fear for our future would happen and He gave us His Word to help faithful Christians prepare for the inevitable future.

Guys please do not misinterpret what I am saying (and will say) over the coming weeks. I am not the town crier of doom and gloom. What I am however is someone whose sole purpose is to remind us of what is already there in Gods Word. As I said before, what I write in Ironman strength isn’t new or undiscovered…its been there the whole time, it is just that many of us (myself included) are too busy to take the time to read and listen to what God wants us to see. So for the next several posts, I am going to lay this out and show you exactly what God wants you to remember, understand, and most of all…apply to your lives.

I believe we are in a very unique time in history and God is continuing to unfold His plan around us. I believe that the magnetism coming from this world is greater than it has ever been. This draw, or attraction, is extremely powerful and it takes a strongly, grounded Christian to be able to resist the powerful temptation that is being thrown in our direction. This intense lure towards the things of this world is everywhere and you cannot go anywhere and not feel its pull. But guess what? God already knew this would happen and He gave us scripture to hang onto while we wait for His return.

 

 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self- controlled, upright and Godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ

(Titus 2:11-13 NIV)

 

Please understand me when I say that my post is NOT meant to scare you…my sole purpose is that you know what is available in God’s Word to use to fight this battle. The pull of this world is super strong. But the strength you have available from Him is far stronger…IF YOU USE IT.

Stay tuned for the next few posts coming soon where we will look at the 3 things we are supposed to do while we wait for Gods return. Believe it or not, we ARE NOT supposed to head into our panic room and try and ride out the storm…

He has other plans for us…

Until next time guys…

Happy New Year…

known-by-your-fruit

Every single day we get up and move out into this big world and be who we are…either in our own selves, or in God. You and I get to make that choice for ourselves and I don’t think anyone would dispute that statement.

My question is, “Who are YOU be-ing?”

If we simply go about our business each day without acknowledging God, then we are going to act in the same way. If God isn’t a part of your routine, then on the surface, He won’t exist in your life. When this happens, you become absorbed into this world and there is a great deal the Bible has to say about transformation (1 John 2:15). It is called “conforming to the world” but I wanted to focus on the verse I started with at the beginning.

The tree is known by its fruit. Matthew 12:33

Jesus said this in a tense conversation with some Pharisees who were out to prove Him wrong. My focus today however, is the simplicity of the statement and what it means for you and me. Here is what I mean; you and I recognize the fruit trees around us because of the kind of fruit they bear like oranges, plums, peaches etc. because they taste good. In contrast, it is probably true that we won’t head to the nearest lemon or a lime tree and peel and eat it like we would the fruits mentioned previously because we know what they taste like. Again, pretty simple stuff.

Look at this in a different way…you and I are recognized by our family, friends and coworkers in specific way for a reason. We might be a friendly person, or not. We might be a smart person, or not. We might be a great worker, or not. My point is, you are known for specific reasons and as a result, that is how people think of you. Sometimes our reputations precede us in a way we don’t like, or maybe we do? Bottom line, you are known for what you have accomplished, or not. For what you have said, or should have said. For what you have or haven’t believed.

Guys, simply put:

What are YOU known for in this world?

As I said earlier, who are YOU be-ing or representing?

What is the fruit that YOU are bringing to this world?

 

I am speaking to those of you who profess Christianity. If you say one thing and act out something else…well…that is what YOU will be known for. A tree is known for its fruit.

Ask yourself whom do YOU represent?

If you truly represent Christ, then represent Him in the manner that you know you should. The Bible tells us that we cannot serve two masters. In other words, you cannot be a lover of the world and of one of God’s children at the same time. Choose what you want to be known for and then stay the course. God will help you bear the fruit you were destined to bring forth.

 

Until next time guys…

hope-hand

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.

despair

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…

 

Hope-2-570x3791

Very near 3 years ago, I wrote this post based upon what I sensed and felt going on in the world at that time; sadness and destruction. As I listen and watch the world news over the last few days, with all of the horrific death and destruction in France, Belgium and the Middle East, I once again seek God for the very same thing…hope.

I cannot provide anyone with the reasons why all of this is happening other than simply the Bible talking about “the god of this age” (2 Corinthians 4:4, John 12:31, 1 John 5:19) prowling around seeking to devour (1 Peter 5:8) those who don’t resist him. Believe me my friends, NOW IS THE TIME TO RESIST HIM. Don’t give up but rather look to Him for your hope.

God’s word is clear…”I will never leave you or forsake (forget) you” (Joshua 1:5)

So here again, are my 5 reasons we can have HOPE right now…

By its very nature, the word hope concerns the future, our future. However, I am not referring to a simple hope such as, “I wish I had a nicer car or bigger house”, but rather I am talking about Biblical hope, which is very different. Biblical hope consists of an assurance inside your heart or better yet, a firm confidence about future things because of Gods promises and His revelation to us. Guys, real Biblical hope in Christ Jesus is something that is never failing when you place your trust in Him. In fact Paul tells us in Romans 15:13;

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

In other words, Biblical hope is inseparably linked with a firm faith in Him. They go hand-in-hand with one another. As a result, what is yielded is a confident trust in God that is unshakable when the adversity of life hits you like a wave….(Like right now).

So with all of the chaos our world is throwing at you every single day, I wanted to give you some actual reasons why you can still have faith and HOPE that things are going to still be alright…So here are my 5 reasons for all of us to have HOPE right now…

  1. God is still on the throne – He hasn’t gone anywhere. He is still alive and at work in our world. I know it is very easy to look at what happens in this world and say God is dead or may he is just sleeping because I have heard that before. But I assure you He is alive and well and knows exactly what is happening on this earth.
  2. With man, things are impossible…but with God, ALL things are possible (Mark 10:27) It is so very easy to just give up and give in to all of the adversity that is constantly thrown in our direction because we simply forget Gods promises. Bottom line, God has NO limitations. His ways are NOT our ways and therefore he will not react or think as we do…our response needs to be to simply ask, to trust, and to hope in Him.
  3. You Are Not Alone – As we are told in Joshua 1:5, He will never leave us nor forsake us and I’ve come to realize that me trying to understand the why’s of this world is NOT my job. My job is to completely trust in Him…even though I don’t understand. LET GOD DO THE HEAVY LIFTING. Do you remember the story of Peter when he got out of the boat and started walking on the water to meet Jesus? (Matthew 14:29-30) He was actually walking on water until he took his eyes off of Christ and then what happened? He started sinking fast…and what was his reaction? He cried, “Lord save me!” which is exactly what we are supposed to do…
  4. All of what you are going through right now is only temporary – Weeping may last for the night…but joy comes in the morning (Psalms 30:5). It is easy to “get caught up” with what we SEE. But I am here to remind you that Jesus has prepared a place for all of us IN HEAVEN (John 14:2) and this place we see around us, will all pass away. It is only temporary. Heaven is eternal.
  5. I know how this story ends – All of the difficulty and adversity we face every day sometimes can be overwhelming. In fact, it may seem like the bad guy in this world may be winning. But let me assure you with an overwhelming confidence. Have you ever read Revelation? Because I know who wins in the end. You and I will be victorius.

But you MUST STAY THE COURSE. Don’t give up. Have faith and put your trust in Him and He will give you reason to HOPE…

 

Until next time guys…

have-you-made-a-plan-for-your-life

Guys, if you can, please take just a few minutes and read this story in the book of Acts. This is about the beginning of Christianity and how once Christ had ascended into heaven, how ugly the Apostles were treated by the Pharisees.

Acts 5: 17-41

The Apostles had angered the high priest because they kept preaching in the name of Jesus and he was looking for a way to kill them. During this angry meeting of the Pharisees, another Pharisee leader stood up whose name was Gamaliel (the same man who Paul studied under), and gave the council some very wise words which are summarized in the verses below:

Acts 5:38-39

…So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!

As a Christian man, I encounter obstacles everyday just like you do. Unplanned problems rise up in front of me and seem to work just to thwart my plans every time I turn around. Does this ever happen to you? Your plans get squashed in front o your eyes? What I found was a huge encouragement when I read these verses again is what I want to share with you today…the very simple realization of:

If your plans are just YOUR PLANS, they will fail…

But if they are of God, NOTHING can stand in your way.

Guys, go with me for just a moment here. How many times have you made great plans for a project or a vacation or for that matter, your entire life? You may be busy organizing your finances or changing directions because of information YOU have that matters or refinancing or getting a line of credit or…I can go on and on.

You are probably planning right now am I right?

Guys, Please hear my words right now…planning is NOT a bad thing…in fact, it is a very good thing to plan and look forward to the future…what I am suggesting to you today is to make your plans WITH GOD INVOLVED. Look to Him for the guidance to those plans, because as was said above in Acts, if your plans are with God, He will be your guide and get you there in once piece.

Now there is one caveat to this conversation which is your understanding that God has plans for you too and if you get Him involved, He will want to guide you towards His higher plan for your life which trust me, is the direction you want to go…

Do His plans and your plans always coincide? Honestly, no they don’t; But I have found that when I am in the middle of Gods plan for my own life, I ALWAYS come out in far better circumstances and a much stronger person than I was before.

So consider what I am telling you today because God is very clear when He tells us this from Jeremiah 29:11:

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Those words are for you and me…

Until next time guys…