Posts Tagged ‘Christian’

 

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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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The last installment of this 3-part series involves the story of the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25. When these last 3 posts are woven together, they give us a true understanding of what our role as faithful Christians is to be while we wait for Christ’s return. In this parable, you see the characters are working diligently and with initiative while waiting for their master’s return. That is our job too as we move through our own lives…we must be working all the time WHILE we wait. Let me explain further…

On a quick side note, one sharp difference though is that we are not called to drop out of our lives and plant ourselves on top of a hill top and wait for Christ’s return…no. We are told to be careful prudent planners with an eye for the future. Remember what Christ said in Luke 14:

“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish’ (Luke 14:28-30 NIV)

The Parable of the Talents is the one that commends faithful work while the master is away as well prudent planning. The rich master travels far away and gives each of the 3 men a portion of his wealth to manage while he is away. Two of them proceed to take the initiative and double their masters money while the third one buries his portion.

When the master returns, he rewards the first two with great opportunity. He says to them both, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”

But the third guy, who had just one talent to take care of, was a different story altogether. As mentioned, he did not invest his talent but rather decided his best course of action was to hide it and return it to his master when the time was right. As the master said in his anger, “Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest!” But, he didn’t even do that.

While the master was away, two out of the 3 men immediately set to work, without being told, by trading and investing their masters talents. They worked hard while he was away and I would imagine, stressed somewhat at times as the market swayed back and forth, always striving to improve their situation. They did not rest but continued working faithfully until their masters return.

The third guy had a different mindset. He decided to do what HE wanted to do while the master was away. Maybe he convinced himself that by burying the money, he was avoiding financial risk? Whatever the case was, he simply was evading his duty. The money the master gave him would never make any profit.

Finally, I think the hardest part for me to grasp about this story was this third guy’s lack of responsibility and his complacency on his requirement of giving an account for the money he represented while the master was away. He just didn’t care or thought that day would never come? I am not sure. But what is worse was his attempt to blame the master for his own poor management when he was called to give an account. He was caught in his pattern of doing absolutely nothing and ultimately, he would pay a very stiff price.

Jesus tells us in this parable that the third guy is cast into the imagery of Hell:

“And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 25:30 NIV)

I say imagery because this same language is used in other parts of the Bible to represent Hell and the torture that it there…and will be for those unfortunate souls who will enter there.

Guys, this is a very simple story but yet represents a very clear picture of what we are supposed to be doing while we wait for Christ’s return. I urge you to NOT become complacent and forget that Christ is even coming back. I understand the importance of what you are doing or may be doing in the future, weddings, grand children, vacations etc. but all of that pales in comparison to eternity…your eternity.

We all have one job while we are here and that is to stay faithful to Him until He returns. That job requires effort and focus on your part. You cannot do this while on autopilot…it will not work.

Guys, I encourage you to plug into your local church or men’s group and refocus on your top priorities while we all wait…I assure you that this positive decision will be the best one you ever make in your life…

 

Until next time guys…

 

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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…

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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…

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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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I heard one of my favorite Pastors, Andy Stanley, recently speak about a topic that I think is so very relevant right now because of where we are in the world with all of its chaos and unpredictability. As Christians, many of us can honestly see the worlds events unfolding just as the Bible says they would…all right in front of our eyes and yet at the very same time, we same Christians are living on this earth as if we are going to live forever?

We live, play, and conduct ourselves as if our tomorrow is something guaranteed to us…NEWS FLASH…it isn’t.

You see as Pastor Stanley said, if we could totally see God as He is, everlasting to everlasting, we would give Him the reverence that He is due because as humans, we are only just a blip on the screen of eternity. In fact, I don’t even think we are a blip or a speck on His eternal timeline. If you really think about it, what is 70 or 80 years to a God who is truly eternal or time less?

Here are a couple of points to consider:

  • If you and I could see God as He truly is we would be much more careful with the time that we have here on this earth.
  • If you and I could see God as He truly is we would probably rethink what we do with our limited time here on this earth and how we choose to spend it.

Think about that for a second…Do you consciously think about how you will spend your time?

Because from my vantage point, it looks like many of us are just living as if the rest of our life is guaranteed and locked in permanent. We even spend our time with our children as if they’re going to be here forever. Whether that means we ignore them or we tolerate them, they too will be gone before we know it.

Moses said in Psalm 90:12

Teach us to number our days so that we may gain wisdom from you.

When we number our days and gain that wisdom from God, we carefully allocate what we choose to spend our time on each day. In other words, we pay attention to what we do and where we focus our efforts on. Simply put, this life is preparation for the next and our task here on this earth is to accomplish what GOD wants us to accomplish and NOT what WE think we should. As Christians, remembering our time is limited on earth should give us better insight into how we should not waste it.

Please trust me when I say this, wasting time is not what God would have us do while we are here on earth.

One more thing to consider:

Pastor Stanley made the point that because my time is limited means I need to limit what I do. In other words, don’t throw yourself into every single thing you are asked to participate in as well as for your kids.

You know exactly what I mean…

Busy is good…crazy busy, stressful busy, that is not careful allocation of the time we have here on earth. Something to think about…

Guys, when I heard this message it hit me between the eyes and spiritually speaking, I hope it does for you too…

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…