Posts Tagged ‘Eternity’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My simple advice:

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

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

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

Honestly, your future depends on it…

 

Until next time Guys…

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

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

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

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

How to become a Christian

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You and praise You! Amen.

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

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

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

Until next time Guys…

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Four years ago, I wrote a blog post simply called Why cant life be easy? Because it kind of fit where I was at that point. Well today, 4 years later, I have reached into the archives because it seems to fit yet again for me. Sometimes none of us can understand the ebb and flow of life’s changes both personally or collectively as a family and how they affect us. Waves roll in and out with some being just annoyances while others knock us off our feet completely. This post is just to serve as a beacon along your journey to NOT give up. Stay the course and stay strong for the people who love you. I hope you enjoy the new and improved version of Why can’t life be easy

 

Have you ever wondered why God allows or even requires the Christian journey to be filled with pain, problems, unhappiness and sometimes misery? Because I have… Why does God put so much emphasis on perseverance, or striving for the prize and winning the race like it says in Philippians?

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14

Why cant the Christian walk be more like a Sprint instead of a Marathon?

I believe that all the lessons and experiences we learn through life; the “Iron Sharpening Iron” moments like we read in Proverbs 27:17; the falling down and getting back up opportunities, but most importantly and through the adversity, is our ability to keep our eyes focused on Him in spite of whatever is set against us…

Because the reason why the Christian walk is a marathon and NOT a sprint is because God intended life to be truly ALL about the journey.

God watches how WE handle the problems we face in this world…are we the kind of guy who gives up and just walks away? Or do we get back up on our feet and keep forging ahead?

Guys, listen to me here because I truly believe that the ones that can pick themselves up from the problem and still keep their eyes on Him…They are the ones that I firmly believe God has chosen to surround Himself in eternity.

 

Life is hard…there I said it…but don’t just give up and let it overwhelm you! Fight back…

 

One of my favorite warriors of the Bible was David who wrestled with these very same questions. Look at what he says to God in Psalms:

Why, O Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? Psalms 10:1

The reality is that David, one of the greatest men in the Bible, struggled just like us. He wrestled with pain and suffering and he cried out to God continuously…and do you know what?

God did NOT forsake him.

The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name will trust in you, Lord, for you have never forsaken those who seek you. Psalms 9:9-10

Guys, this post is titled, Why can life be easy because many times we cant help but ask that question. I encourage you today, as we move into the holiday season to remember that God hasn’t left you during these times of difficulty but rather He is right there next to you lifting you up. Just hang on and trust because someday here is what we, the ones who have persevered, have to look forward to:

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Revelation 21: 3-5

Guys, enjoy the journey that you are on and keep the faith because ultimately you will overcome.

 

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.

 

 

Reality of Heaven

One of the hardest things any Christian must do is to try to block out all of the earthly distractions that we see around us and to focus on Christ and the things we “don’t see”. This very second, Satan continues to turn up the pressure on this world as we near what I believe are the “end times”. This means that we are constantly bombarded with things that are specific targets at your personal weak points. In other words, Satan knows what you struggle with and he will continue to give you even more to see. Guys, for those of you who struggle with pornography, drugs or alcohol…guess what? You will find yourself in circumstances with your addiction right in front of your face and you will be forced to make a choice.

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3:1-3

I have spoken of this before because I believe it to be true. There is a war going on right now for your soul. Satan seeks to lure you by using what you can “see” because that is all he has to use against you. He will promise happiness and all the “whatever your weakness is insert here” that you can handle. It will sound great…she will look great but let me remind you that HE, SATAN…only possesses “temporary” anything. He has nothing permanent of value that he can attract you with…only what you can see…Remember that…

What I am suggesting as an alternative is simply a heavenly perspective. I am asking that you recognize that everything around you right now is only temporary. If you do not believe me, then I suggest you read Revelation 21:1-4 because this is where we are told about the New Heaven and the New Earth. Frankly, this is what you have to look forward to guys but you must seek Godly pursuits while here in earth. If your only desire is what you can take or what you can conquer, then I recommend you read Romans 1:18-25. God cannot be any clearer than this when he speaks through Paul in these verses. God hates wickedness…Even though you think you are wise and you may be “killing it” financially, it is only temporary…trust me, you cannot take it with you when you die…

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Here is the bottom line…a lot of us work hard to prepare for our eventual retirement so we can enjoy the last few years of our lives. We put away funds in order to live at the level we want to as seniors but the only problem with that thinking is what about your eternal retirement? Why not set your sights while you are here, living and breathing on earth, for your eternal future? Read this verse below:

Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33

Again, I can’t be any clearer than this…seek Him first, set your sights on the things of Heaven, and God will bless you while you are here on earth. But the best news is still that He will provide you an eternal future like nothing your mind can possible imagine…

 

Until next time guys…

Adversity

Adversity….

We all face it…everyday…

It rises when we do each morning seeking to slow us down, or to knock us off our game. You see without maybe thinking about this, some of us like to get into a rhythm in our lives where we have a routine we follow each day which helps us know if we are efficient or not. For example, I know people who can tell what time it is each day by the task they are working on…seriously…

But when they hit a speed bump…an obstacle in their path…when they encounter adversity…everything; the routine and the rhythm all go out the window. Some of you practice fire management whereby you are dealing with the biggest fire at the moment…but let me remind you that the fires of the day and the problems you encounter all fall under the heading of adversity.

Adversity…I’m really not very fond of that word but I looked it up and found what the online dictionary said:

Adverse fortune or fate; a condition marked by misfortune, calamity, or distress:

A friend will show his or her true colors in times of adversity.

A condition marked by misfortune, calamity or distress…? When you put it that way it sounds terrible right?

So why does God allow adversity in our lives? Why can’t we simply face life without always having to deal with a problem or challenge? Wouldn’t life be far better if that were the case?

Let me easily tell you…definitively NO. Here is an example; When you find yourself in a scenario whereby you have to replace an employee because another one is leaving and you are faced with the choice of hiring a person with either experience or no experience…which one do you choose? This is a very easy question to answer right? You, like me, will pick the person with experience in order for the business to stay on track and not lose efficiency in training a new person etc. Well…Believe it or not, that is exactly how God feels too.

I have shared many times before about how this life, the one you and I are living right now, is preparation for eternity. It’s like a “dress rehearsal” before the main event. We get to live our lives, make mistakes, sin, figure out our problems, repent and do this all over again…time and time again.

My point is this; adversity brings us an opportunity to become battle-tested in this life. Are you going to fold your tents and go home at the first sign of trouble? Or are you going to simply say, “I have been here before with my God and WE CAN DO THIS TOGETHER”. That is what adversity brings guys.

Let me remind you of the story of Joseph in the Old Testament back in Genesis. He faced unbelievable adversity (and I thought I had problems) he was sold into slavery by his brothers, was falsely imprisoned for years in Egypt, was in the palace and kicked out of the palace for more false accusations…he faced nothing but adversity…

But he never turned away from God…he stood strong, not really understanding why all of this was happening to him but knew that God was still his best option…and as the story goes, God had NOT forgotten him but rather was with him the entire time while he was in trouble. Eventually, Joseph became second in command of all of Egypt because he was faithful to God…If you have never read this story, look up Genesis, chapters 37-45…

On the surface, this may seem hard to understand, but please know that God wants you to be a faith tested Christian and to do that you must face problems in your life. Without adversity, how will you ever become spiritually tough? As I mentioned before, God prefers battle-tested people who have faced challenges head on and were successful because only then are you capable to really help someone.

The reality is what is God preparing you for? What you are facing right now that may seem too difficult is simply preparation for your next challenge. He is always honing and sharpening you.

My challenge to you today is to stay strong in the midst of this battle you are facing. Yes, it is adversity and it may be very painful. Look up to Heaven guys, just like the greatest warrior in the Bible Joshua did and remember those words that God spoke to him…

No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Joshua 1:5

Hang in there guys; we are all in this together…