Posts Tagged ‘Christian Man’

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…

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Many churches of all persuasions are hiring research agencies to poll neighborhoods, asking what kind of church they prefer. Then the local churches design themselves to fit the desires of the people. True faith in God that demands selflessness is being replaced by trendy religion that serves the selfish.

Billy Graham

So I read this quote from Billy Graham today and it hit me over the head like a hammer. In the back of my mind I may have known churches were doing this but I never fully understood the reason why. Guys simply put, if we tailor our religion to only what we want to hear, or rather only a “feel good” message, God cant help us because we are to busy enjoying ourselves to hear Him.

This idea behind what Billy Graham is saying was never Gods intent for our Christian walk. But I do think it is Satan’s. Think about it; If Satan can bend our churches into only telling us what we want to hear, then we are truly lost. Why? Because Satan can make you think there is no pain for your entire life…that is, right up until you are on the edge of the cliff, and then when you look over, you see a place that you do not want to spend eternity in…

Please listen to me here. God never intended that the life of a Christian was just perfect and great all of the time. I know I have spoken about this before in previous blogs. There will be pain and suffering while we are here on this earth. So you can either run from that or stand there like a man, be strong, and fight the fight you were meant to. Only YOU can make that decision.

Honestly guy’s that is what this blog’s purpose has been since the start. It is based upon the powerful verse in Proverbs 27:17:

As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.

So what I am saying is simply this and to Billy Graham’s quote above; If your church situation isn’t challenging your heart to repent each week and to live your life as Christ lived…then I would find one that does. Every single time you are there your Pastor should be causing you to think about your relationship with God. He should be challenging you to come out of your comfort zone in order to love others. There is truly no greater service than helping those around us…

Let me finish by saying this because I truly believe it. When you and I reach heaven someday, I believe that God will look for those of us who have scars on our bodies and hearts because of the fights we fought while here on earth. In eternity, God wants to be surrounded by Christians who were active for Him and not ones who atrophied while they were here.

I challenge you today to live your life fully accountable to God and not to simply feeling good…

This life as a Christian may hurt now and then, but the payoff will be amazing…

Until next time guys…

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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…

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I pray that we are not the generation that never saw IT coming. What is IT? Please read this:

If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.

Luke 19:42-44

Luke writes this in his gospel and it is the only gospel where Christ says this in response to seeing Jerusalem in all its glory…but yet totally blind. In just a couple of days from that point, Christ would be crucified.

Jesus has pity on these people because they cannot see what is right before their eyes. The opportunity to have God among them was there for a time, and then it was gone.

He then speaks about when the enemy will come and build a circle around them and they will be surrounded on every side with no way out…BUT, and most importantly, they did not recognize the time of Gods coming to them…

Guys, I write this to you today because its painful when I see the world around me and all my brothers completely surrounded by the enemy and they can’t see God.

God has a way out for them, but they do not see it…

I simply write this today to warn you now that the time is drawing near where the option of Christ will not be there. Please hear me.

 I am NOT the town crier.

 What I write is my opinion solely based upon what I see on the news each night and what I read in the Bible. I do not have a timeline. The Bible says,

“No man knows the time or the hour when He will come”.

But there will be signs of the times…and believe me, there are many signs out there if we just pay attention to them.

Brothers, all I am asking is that you see the signs and recognize them for what they are…and hear me and understand me that all I do is warn you because I care.

Again, I say that I do not want us to be part of a generation that did not recognize Christ when He made Himself known to us and when everyone finally saw the need, it was to late.

Guys…I want to leave you with these verses from 1 Thessalonians 4…

Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.

 According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.

 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.    1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

My intent is only to encourage you…


Until next time guys…

believe_nischala

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…

 

 

 

 

Sin-archery

All of us have had friends or even family that chose to go a different way other than Christianity and for those people in our lives, we continue to pray that they will someday soon, see the light that is waiting for them…In today’s post, I want you to focus on that choice they made and why they made it? Here is what I mean; what was so attractive about sin that made them change their course in life and move towards it, rather than Christ? Now you say, “they didn’t choose sin, they chose (insert choice here)” In reality though, if you did not choose Christ, then you did choose sin. Here is why I think that way…

I have titled today’s post Sins Destructive Purpose because I wanted you to have a better understanding through symbolism, of what sin is and what sin does…

What Sin is:

Sin is dark, Sin is thick, and Sin is dense

In my real life, I work with ink in the printing world and there we have what we call regular black ink we use all the time, but we also have something called dense black for specific applications. Dense black is filled with an over abundance of black pigment to make it ultra black and highly opaque. You cannot see through dense black and therefore, light cannot pass through. One more point, if you get dense black on your hands, it doesn’t clean off…it take several times of cleaning to lose the severe stain it leaves.

Please understand me that sin is the same way, it’s filled with the darkness of the worst kind and it has a disgusting ability to stick to us. In fact, it’s like dense black like I mentioned above, because even when just a small amount gets on you, sin just doesn’t come off.

Sin has an Odor

Without being completely disgusting, you can think of the worst experience you have ever had that involves smell…road kill, skunk, changing a diaper…the smell of sin is far beyond our ability to imagine. It infects, permeates and overwhelms an environment like nothing else. Sin is a “senses overwhelming” experience…that CANNOT be hidden. If sin is near, and you are tuned into its presence as a Christian, it cannot hide. However, believe this or not, the stink of sin is attractive at some point…otherwise why would so many people go that way?

 

What Sin does:

Sin is Alive

Sin is a disease that understands you…and you are a fool if you think otherwise…sin is driven to destroy. Sin only purpose is destruction. Satan is behind sin…he controls its desire to seek, to hunt and to attack and YOU are in his cross hairs. When you move, it moves. When you think…it stops to wait to see what you are going to do…then it reacts. Sin is the ultimate in negative interactivity…

Guys, After reading the above, you probably feel like you need to take a shower but I felt impressed today to share the reality of what sin really is so you are prepared for defense. The bottom line is right now, you have the same sin like I described above, in you or on you and if you don’t do something about it, well, I think you know what ultimately will happen.

Let me briefly share with you about an experience that Christ had and how it moved him when he encountered sin. There is story in the New Testament about a friend of Christ that was ill and then died shortly after that. His name was Lazarus. Jesus was in another city and when he got word of his friends illness, he delayed another two days before leaving (you will have to read the story to understand why he did this) but when Jesus did arrive, he encountered a great deal of sad and weeping people that leads us to the verse I want to share with you:

When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. John 11:33

In this instance, why was Jesus so deeply moved in spirit and troubled? After looking into this further, I found that Jesus was grieved and angered by all the misery resulting from sin, Satan and death.

The anguish He saw around him saddened him greatly, but it actually made Him angry even more. Jesus hates sin for all of the reasons I showed you above because of what it does to you and me…He hates sin. And guess what? He wants you to hate sin as well…Look at Hebrews 1:9;

You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.”

I am not going to leave you hanging though…sin can be defeated through the redeeming power of what Christ did on the cross. All of the nastiness I described above can be wiped away by simply submitting to the Christ’s plan for you and most importantly, asking for forgiveness…

Today’s title was Sins Destructive Purpose; which means, God has a plan for you, but so does Satan and for any of us to think otherwise is certain death. Guys, I care about you enough to be truthful to you and to share what I think is important for you in your own spiritual lives. Satan seeks to devour and God seeks to save…is sin really that attractive when you know what happens in the end of life’s story?

You get to make the choice…

I choose to eternal life…what say you?

 

Until next time guys.

 

 

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I found myself complaining the other day about something I now don’t even remember what it was about but it got me thinking about fundamentally why my first reaction was to grumble about the issue in the first place? Have you ever done that before? When something happens the way you don’t want it to your first reaction is to gripe about it? It can be about small or even stupid things like “why don’t you do this right?” or, “why can’t you put this away correctly?”…But the fact I was doing this got me thinking about complaining or the idea of complaining for really no good reason at all.

I think you would agree with me that there are people in this world who should be complaining or have a more valid reason to complain. For example, when you don’t have enough food to feed your family or when you have lost your job through no fault of your own…those are the folks that should be complaining. But what I find interesting is in some cases, these are the people who don’t say anything. They just go about their business and go on surviving. If they lose their job, they work to find another one. If they can’t feed their family, they find another job to make some more money to help. Please don’t misunderstand me here, this is not a commentary on work ethic or our society, it is my observation that when the going gets rough, there are people out there who simply DO and don’t complain about it.

Recently, I had the opportunity to hear Mark Woodard speak about his life experiences and his insatiable desire to be positive and to persevere, no matter what his circumstances. Guys, never in my life have I heard someone who should simply complain about his life and what has happened to him. Quick summary, when he was 10, a shotgun went off and blew half his face away. After many surgeries, he survived but he was totally blind. After receiving a 7-figure settlement, his drug-addicted mother stole most of his money and later on, a girl friend would steal the rest. Through many various struggles as a ward of the state, fights, adversity like I have never seen before, this guy struggles on. He won’t even think of quitting. He is now 25, and working to get a degree to teach blind people skills that he had to learn on his own. What I find inspiring is his perspective because complaining is not an option to him. He simply keeps persevering no matter what the odds are stacked against him. As I listened, I found myself asking what would I have done in his situation? Would I have persevered in the face of so many obstacles, or just given up? The fact that I began this blog with a confession that I was complaining about something unimportant made me realize that I wasn’t proud of myself in this area. Mark has somehow learned how to be content and persevere no matter what he faces in his life…and he can’t even see. Then I remembered something the Apostle Paul said in Philippians that brought the answer to me in a way I could understand:

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Christ who gives me strength.  Philippians 4:11-13

Suddenly I feel really stupid about complaining about anything. Sure, I have faced adversity in my life…we all have. But the key is understanding how to be content and NOT complain. The key is to keep on seeking God and persevering with all of our might…even when it makes no sense for us to do so. God has promised to never leave us or forget us…

 

Let me leave you with this very simple thought:

 

No matter what your circumstances may be, there is always something to be thankful for…

 

Until next time guys…