Posts Tagged ‘Family’

discernment-1

Would it make any difference to you if you could have background knowledge of events before they happened so that you would “know what to do” when the time came? Do you think that just having that understanding might give you more of a sense of confidence in this world because you knew what was going to happen?

I think the easy answer is yes to these questions because understanding is so important when events are happening around us. To possess the knowledge of maybe when to go, or when to stay, or when to speak, or when not to can be the difference between success and failure no matter what our situation.

Many people call what I am describing here discernment. Webster defines discerning as: to perceive by the sight or some other sense or to recognize as distinct or different.

Can you imagine the capability to discern what the intent was in any situation? Can you imagine having the ability to discern what was going on right now, in this age? To actually recognize something you and I see for what it is, and even more importantly, know what you should do about it?

I found an example of this very idea in the Bible that caused me to think about this topic and how this might apply to you and me. It is a very short verse but nonetheless, very powerful in its meaning:

…men of Issachar, who understood the times and knew what Israel should do-200 chiefs, with all their relatives under their command; 1 Chronicles 12:32

In the research I have done on the Men of Issachar, I have learned that whole books and sermons have been written and preached over just these few words.

The set up for this verse is that the Philistines have killed Saul and David has been anointed King over Israel. He has been living in Hebron prior to him taking back Jerusalem as his kingdom however during his time in Hebron, warriors came from all over to join his army and as the writer of Chronicles tells us in verse 22, Day after day men came to help David, until he had a great army, like the army of God. One of these groups joining him were the men of Issachar, one of the 12 tribes of Israel. I think it is important to point out here in scripture, they receive special mention because of out of all the tribes; they discerned what God was doing by bringing David to the throne and as a result, they understood the specific circumstances as God revealed to them through discernment.

These men had received from God the gift of discernment and used it in the way He wanted them to. In this instance, they recognized that this was a crucial time – the 11 tribes of Israel were without a leader, without guidance, and a model to follow. This was a time for special understanding. It was a time for real discernment.

But to me, the most compelling part of this verse is; they knew what Israel should do.

 I come back to one of my original questions from the beginning:

Can you imagine knowing what to do and the right time you should do it?

If you said yes, then join the club because who wouldn’t want that ability?

But the reality is guys is that any of us can have this ability and all we have to do is ask. But understand up front from me that Spiritual discernment is far more than a skill, but rather it is a gift from God. Moreover, God can only give it to you if you do the following:

One who does not love does not know God, for God is love. (I John 4:8)

Guys, God wants you plugged into Him for the answers you need everyday and if you can do that, if you will seek Him constantly, daily, all the time, He will give you the discernment necessary to make the right decisions for you and your family.

I will not lie to you. This process takes effort from you. You have to do the heavy lifting by getting on your knees and talking to Him about your life, your family and all the difficult stuff. Your relationship with God is just like muscle, if you don’t physically exercise, your muscles get atrophied and soft. On the other hand, when you do exercise, your muscles stay strong and can bear a tremendous amount of stuff this world will throw at you.

If you exercise your relationship with God, I can guarantee you a different result when you ask for discernment.

There…you now have the answers to the test.

The question is…what are you going to do about it?

 

Until next time guys-

Happy New Year from IronmanStrength!

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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…

band-of-brothers-pic-jpg

A few years ago, I posted a blog about brothers that has been one of my all time best posts ever. I can tell you that every time I read it, I think of my own brother and thank God that he is around because of the dangerous deployments he has had in the last 28 years of his military service. But I also think that’s really the point, because this post is about Brothers…whether they are your blood or not, and I encourage you to read this and remember your brother even if he lives in heaven, or give him a call if he lives somewhere else. Either way, be thankful for your time with him and enjoy this short read…

5 important things you NEED to tell your brother:

The definition of a real brother can be more than just a blood sibling; He can be the guy you have spent your entire life with since you were just a little man, or it can be someone else who through the journey of life’s ups and downs, has become as close as a brother. In either case, a true brother in your life is the one who is there for you when you need him, no matter what the circumstances.

It’s always painful for me when I hear someone tell me they haven’t spoken to their Brother in many years because of something that was said along time ago and they can’t get over it. In the meantime, everyone in the family loses out on that connection families receive from spending time together.

My bottom line is this, when your parents inevitably pass from this earth, you will have your brother(s) and that strong brotherly bond should be forever because frankly, brothers should look out for each other throughout life’s journey. That’s the way God planned brotherhood…you have each other’s back, no matter what the circumstances.

I know for me, I wasn’t as close to my brother when I was younger but now I appreciate the man he grew to be and respect the father and husband he is today. My only wish would be to get to live closer to him so we could spend more time together.

I ran across this list of important things to tell your brother and I thought it very appropriate for this blog because we are all about Iron Sharpening Iron (Proverbs 27:17), which means, brothers strengthening brothers.

Next time you see your bro, blood relation or not, give him a bear hug and let him know you’re thankful he’s around…and whatever you do, don’t live your life with regret that you didn’t take the time to mend fences. You know what I mean…

Remember these words:

There’s no other love like the love for a brother.  

There’s no other love like the love from a brother.  

 

Terri Guillemets

5 important things you NEED to tell your brother:

  1. Hey Brother, Be the kind of man that when your feet hit the floor each morning, the devil says, “Oh Crap, He’s up!”
  1. Hey Brother, life is too short to wake up with regrets, so love the people who treat you right and forgive the ones who don’t. Not because you should, but because you can.
  1. Hey Brother, believe everything that happens to you, happens for a reason. If God gives you get a second chance, grab it with both hands. If that second chance changes your life, let it.
  1. Hey Brother, Always take a few minutes to think before you act when you’re angry. Forgive quickly. God never told us life would be easy, He just promised it would be worth it.

 

  1. Remember this my Brother; A real Brother walks with you when the rest of the world walks on you.

 

In 2016 we say “Brother, I have your six.”

I end this post with a great quote from one of my favorite Baseball players of all time from the past, Harmon Killebrew who said:

My father used to play with my brother and me in the yard.  Mother would come out and say, “You’re tearing up the grass.”  “We’re not raising grass,” Dad would reply.  “We’re raising boys.”

Do me a favor my friends, call your brother today…

 

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…

 

WTBtower-of-babel2Some of you may have read the Old Testament before and remember the story of the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11). To help you recall, this story comes right after the epic saga of Noah in Biblical sequence. What I have always found to be sad in this story is how in so few years after the flood, where we saw God destroy everyone and every thing because of evil everywhere on the earth (Genesis 6:5)… that here we see once again, the people of the earth essentially following the same path. When will they learn?

God had already promised to not destroy the earth again (Genesis 8:21) but when He comes down and sees what the people are doing and saying, I can only imagine what He was thinking, something like, “here we go again”. Possibly? But I would like to give you another perspective on this issue that I heard shared recently that I found enlightening.

All my life I just took this story at face value; In other words, God came down, saw these people full of themselves to the point that they decided to build a tower to Heaven. In their minds, they were working every day on this project and as it grew taller and taller, they hoped they would somehow meet God in the air? From our vantage point now, that idea seems extremely crazy but let’s go with it for a minute; In the meantime, God comes down, sees what they are doing and instead of wiping them out…again…He confuses them by changing their languages. In other words, one minute you can communicate with the guy next to you and the next minute he is speaking French. Very quickly after that happened, the people collected together in their language groups and then went off and settled elsewhere leaving the tower project unfinished.

I would like to submit the idea to you that on that day, when God confused them with different languages, He saved them from sure destruction. Think of this scenario this way:

  • These people were doing what THEY wanted to do and NOT what God wanted them to do…
  • By pursuing what they wanted to do, they excluded God.
  • Because their pursuit was for their own glory and NOT Gods, this is a quick ticket to a very bad place.

Guys, I share this with you because I know it is easy to get sidetracked along the way in our lives. The pursuit of what we want to do is a very powerful thing and can or will overwhelm us to the point of complete exclusion from God. That is exactly what these people from the tower began to say:

Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” Genesis 11:4

I am telling you that God saved mankind that day by confusing them with different languages. They were on their way to sure destruction with the intent inside their hearts…

I am telling you the very same thing today. If your existence is to make a name for yourself at the exclusion of God, you too are on the wrong road and I caution you right now to recognize this and refocus back on Christ.

Let me leave you with this verse in Proverbs:

Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established. Proverbs 16:3

An easier way to look at this verse is simply this:

Commit your plans to God FIRST…and they will succeed…

 

Until next time Guys…

horseplay-with-dad

A couple of years ago, I recall my 10-year old son asked me a very interesting question that caused me to think about the person I am and the roots where I came from. He said, “Dad, do you think you and I would have been friends if you were younger”? I was kind of taken aback for a second because I was recalling I was kind of a jerk when I was a kid…My response back to him was very quick to say “absolutely, I know we would have been friends”…but in my mind I thought, would we?

Another time, I was over at a friend’s house picking up the very same son from a sleep over and the mother pulled me aside to tell me that my little boy was adamant that when he went to bed, that he be allowed to sleep without his shirt on because that is how his Dad sleeps. She thought that was great…I stood there in amazement thinking my little man is watching me all the time…

I don’t tell you these stories to get the “Ahhh” effect; I tell them to remind you that your children are watching you and me…24/7 and what you say and do now…well, in a couple of years they will also say and do the very same thing…are you are ok with that?

Look guys, let me say it this way, as someone who has lost an older child I know I have a different perspective than most of you causing me to be far more focused on the time I have with my kids because as I found out, you never know when that time will end. I can tell you this first hand, don’t be left wishing you would have said something or did something different, because that feeling sucks…

dad-son-flyingBut if I were to narrow in on your perspective right now, where do you spend most of your time? Are you focused on your hobbies or your business first?, versus your family? It’s a pretty simple question to answer and frankly, not anything you haven’t heard before from someone else or maybe even this blog. The question is, do you understand at your core, what your true legacy will be when you leave this earth? I assure you it will not be all the time you spent at work or at play…It will be the family you helped create and what kind of people they grew up to be…

Guys, I can’t stress that fact enough. Your legacy is NOT your work but your children. Everybody will forget what you did rather quickly, but they won’t forget the people you made and the impact they ultimately had on other people.

I know you know this so I won’t beat this drum forever. Take some time and be the Dad your kids need you to be. Just hang out with them and make them laugh…those can be some of the best times ever and its so easy…you have it in you, I know you do…you just need to let that fun guy out again.

Honestly, this is probably one of the simplest posts I have ever done which stands to reason as to how easy this one is to complete in your own life. TRULY, what I am telling you is NOT rocket science, it’s just Dad Stuff

Until next time guys…

reset_button-scaled500

We recently finished a very successful Little League season that had us advancing to and winning our local city tournament. After a 24-game season and then a tournament where we faced 6 more local teams…to actually win first place, was very gratifying…

But I have to be honest it wasn’t always that way.

This season provided many of the normal low points that most seasons typically do with one exception; as a team, we discovered something we dislike universally…playing badly. But even more important, we discovered a way to stop this team from “falling off the cliff”. Honestly, this one simple moment truly saved us from being one of the worst teams into being one of the best.

I remember the actual game and frankly, the one particular inning where we literally could not do anything right. We could NOT get an out to save ourselves…hit after hit and run after run, we could not stop this train from certain destruction. When we finally hit the 10-run threshold and to many errors to count, I told the other coach “let me go talk to them”…he mumbled something completely incoherent because I honestly think he was in shock.

As I walked to the mound, I called the entire team over for a conversation. As I stared into those 11-12 year old boys faces, I saw tears and I saw anger but most of all I saw hopelessness. They literally had given up the thought they could do anything right. They were so upset and had completely lost their direction…does this sound familiar to anyone?

I told them “Guys, you are so much better than what I see here today. We have practiced these plays over and over again…frankly, to many times to count”.

“Here is what I want you to do, in this game right now…I want you to hit the reset button inside of you. From urlthis point on, we are starting this game over. We are playing from the beginning again…We are resetting”.

They all looked at me like I was crazy. Our shortstop Tyler spoke up and asked, “what do you mean coach?” “How do we reset?” I told him, “When you reset something, it clears the past or the previous from affecting the future”. Everything that has happened in this game is now over. We are each going to reset and focus on the next play, our next at bat and all of us are going to try our hardest to get out of this inning”

Our catcher chimed in at this point, “come on guys, we can do this, we have to reset. We have to hit the reset button”

So here is what I will tell you, we did not win that game. But we did get out of that nasty inning without giving up another run. More importantly however, the next time we had the beginnings of another poor inning, our catcher pulled the infield together and gave them the reset speech…and guess what, it worked…

As you can imagine, that simple life lesson got me thinking about you guys and the painful 10-run bad inning equivalents we have in our own lives. News flash: sometimes life hurts and it does NOT go our way. In fact, I firmly believe there are many of you right now reading this that are having a very hard time for a variety of reasons and frankly are just looking for some hope. Guys, I am not going to insult your intelligence by saying to just hit your internal reset button and everything will magically get better. We all know that is not the way anything in this life works.

What I will tell you though is if you hit the reset button with God…that will work.

Right now, God is patiently waiting for you to run to Him. He is not the God who will write in the sky, “Hey (your name here)…call me now and let’s fix this” we know He doesn’t work that way. Our God has a still, soft voice that is always calling…we are just too loud or too busy to hear Him.

Guys…today…take my challenge to you…

Hit the reset button with God by praying this prayer right now:

“God…things are not going well right now and I need you to help. Humbly I ask that you take over my life and cause me to reset my relationship with you. I can’t do this on my own. I need you to direct my steps and make my paths straight.

God, I trust in you and I believe in you and no matter what happens, I know you are in control. Please use your Holy Spirit to help guide me during difficult times and thank you for what you are doing for me right now”…

If you prayed that prayer and believe you hit the reset button with Him, I could not be any happier…congratulations. I would also ask that you leave me a note on this blog if you prayed that prayer. This blog has always been about encouragement and knowing you hit your reset with Him is very encouraging to me…

Until next time guys…