Posts Tagged ‘Grace’

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Have you ever been inspired by something? Maybe a great speech, or a seminar you attended, or even a song that really hit you in your core? Maybe whatever it was actually got you to think that something in your life might actually change for the better? Because sometimes lets face it, we need that hope don’t we?

I found myself unexpectedly inspired by a song recently that I want to share with you the main idea in this post because I think it matters to all us as we continue to navigate our lives. You see, some of us find ourselves going back and forth from trying to be good person and then failing miserably. As a result, when we try to get back to God, we feel like we are on the edge of a cliff and we cant get back…we have gone to far and we are going to fall over…which brings me to point of my post and the point of the song…

No matter what path you have been on or may still be on…

 

No matter what has happened in your past that you are ashamed of…

 

No matter if you have experienced failure, disappointment, unhappiness or you just cant overcome what is keeping you down…

I want to point out one thing to you that you may have forgotten along your way.

God has and amazing grace, just for you, and as a result of what Christ did…

THE CROSS HAS MADE YOU FLAWLESS…

Here is what is important to remember; the reality of this part is that we come to God looking kind of filthy because we live down here is this world full of sin (I cant imagine what that actually looks like from God’s perspective). Without the cross, I don’t think God could recognize some of us because we are so covered in the stuff. But that isn’t the end of this story because all of us have grace, which means we (YOU) can approach Him and through the cross, He can see you are Flawless.

I don’t care what you have done…that’s between you and Him but I do know that because of His grace extended…and His righteousness wrapped around you…

You, YES YOU, are Flawless…

Guys, I get this is a very simple message but I also know we can all lose our way and forget even the simple things God has given to us. I believe there is no such thing as hopelessness to someone who recognizes what has been done for him on the cross…why? Because being right with God and being flawless before Him…there is truly no greater place any person can be and that my friend is the greatest hope anyone could ever experience.

Until next time guys…

Enjoy, Flawless, by MercyMe

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We see numerous examples throughout Gods word of men and women gaining the favor and grace of God through their experiences. Moses, who killed the Egyptian was given the grace of God and ultimately gained Gods favor and lead the children of Israel out of Egypt…and don’t forget David, who sinned greatly with Bathsheba but was forgiven and provided grace and we all know he found favor in God Eyes. Even Gods own son came from the line of David. Today though, I want to talk a little about Noah and not the Noah that was poorly displayed in the Hollywood movie some time back, but the real Noah of the Bible. The same guy who was a preacher of Gods righteousness…did you know that?

If He did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly;    2 Peter 2:5

Noah was far more than the picture we all have of him in our minds or the one Hollywood would have us believe. Let me say it to you this way, I really don’t know how many people were on earth at the time when Noah lived before the flood…whether it was thousands or even millions…all I know is what the Bible tells us:

And the Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.  So the Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.”  But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.     Genesis 6:6-8

So whether there were thousands of people or millions of people I don’t think it matters; What does matter is that out of all of the horrible evil that existed; the fact that mans sole purpose was “only evil all the time”…

The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.    Genesis 6:5

Noah somehow found favor in the eyes of the Lord…and he was the only one on earth to do so…I find that fact…amazing? Can you imagine being the only one at your work to be a Christian? And to walk the walk that Noah did, you would clearly have to be different and stand out from the crowd somehow in order to find favor in the eyes of the Lord.

How would you do that? How did Noah do that? What did Noah do to separate himself from literally everyone else on the planet at that time?

Plainly speaking, Gods word says, “Noah walked with God”. He just walked with God. What that means is he sought out God…He looked for God…He pursued God. And in that pursuit, Noah found favor in Gods eyes. The Bible says “Noah looked blameless before God”…What did that get Noah, honestly, a whole lot of hard work for a few years building an ark…but yet at the same time, Noah believed, he trusted and he obeyed God and he and is family were saved from death…

So my question to you guys today is simply this; Do you think you can you walk with God? Can you simply take each day, one day at a time and just trust in Him to take care of you? Honestly, this is truly that simple…the hard part comes when you are challenged to take the wrong road in life but as we saw with Noah, there were a whole lot of people who did choose the wrong way it did not end up well for them:

And all flesh died that moved on the earth, birds, livestock, beasts, all swarming creatures that swarm on the earth, and all mankind. Everything on the dry land in whose nostrils was the breath of life died. He blotted out every living thing that was on the face of the ground, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens. They were blotted out from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those who were with him in the ark.   Genesis 7:21-23

My challenge to you is this:

Noah walked with God, you too can walk with God if you choose to…but you DO have to choose this path…

I challenge you today to pursue Him with all that you have…there is NO DOUBT in my mind this is a pursuit you will never regret…

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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Today is a sad day for me. One of my friends from work, whom I truly respect, announced to me recently that he has lung cancer…and his outlook isn’t good. He pulled me aside and shared this news with me personally and asked that I not tell anyone because he has requested privacy as he and his family battle this deadly disease. As a result, I will call my friend Joe to protect his anonymity for the reminder of this post.

I know that cancer has directly or indirectly affected just about everyone in this world. Cancer doesn’t show any favoritism whatsoever…it strikes whom it wants, when it wants without notice…and its effects are deadly.

As I sit here and ponder the why…why did Joe get cancer when he already has Type 1 Diabetes and suffers daily simply because of that ailment? Or why does he have to be the one out of all the bad people on this earth to suffer? Honestly, he is one of the good guys. I have this idea in my head whereby I have classified people over the years as I have seen the lengths these men have gone to save their families and I simply call them my heroes. I can name them off for you right now…why? Because when I happen to be feeling sorry for myself on any particular day, I think of my heroes and what they went through and that usually brings me back to earth.

Joe is my hero.

He grew up in a very tough neighborhood in New York City and he actually had mob ties early on in his life. He talks about these circumstances very carefully…never fully sharing anything other than he feels lucky to have survived his childhood and teenage years. What he did have however were very loving parents. He described them to me as always being there when he needed them and they provided him a shelter from all of the chaos that was outside their walls…and now as an adult, he appreciates them even more.

Joe got into graphics and it turns out, he had quite a talent in this area. In fact, not only was he an artist, but he also could run a business as well. As a result, he ended up with his own agency in New York working many hours but doing very well. Then one day his youngest son was diagnosed with a very rare immune deficiency disease and Joe’s life changed. He ended up losing everything he had trying to save his son…the good news is that after years of battling the disease, insurance companies etc. his son survived thankfully due to a very difficult bone marrow transplant from his older brother.

Fast-forward 10 years.

His youngest son, for many years has had to live inside the equivalent of a bubble due to this disease but over the last few years, things have improved. He even has fallen in love with one of his nurses…go figure.

However as the situation with his boys has improved, his own health is failing and although I understand the reality of cancer as mentioned above, I am still back to the why? Why Joe? Because as I’ve gotten to know Joe over the last few years, I’ve realized that I connected with him because he is good man at his core. Deep down inside, Joe has faith. In fact, his faith is what is getting him through this challenge right now…and frankly, Joe’s demeanor is one of positivity and grace. Joe is showing me, and all of his coworkers, why he is one of my heroes…If I ever find myself dying, I pray that I can handle things like Joe…pure dignity.

Guys…I know that God does NOT make mistakes because even now I can see the way that Joe is handling his own health problems he is an example to many people. I can also see where his behavior just might be the difference in someone else’s life…In other words, how Joe handles this adversity could affect another person…that is how truly admirable he is…but is that the reason why Joe was struck with this deadly disease?

Personally, I know this truth intimately because when I went through the death of my own daughter 9 years ago…and as I listened to people explaining to me what my daughter meant to them, I felt like I didn’t know her in that way and it changed me…which meant her death had an impact on people…but is that the reason why God took her? And…Is that the reason why my friend Joe is suffering right now in order that more people might come to know Him?

Think about this…I could be the “angry guy at God” right now but after 9 years…I have come to understand that is NOT who I am…

Why does God allow things like this to happen to good people? If I had the “God” answer, I would share it with you right now…however MY opinion is very simple…

I simply trust EVEN though I don’t understand the “why” of the situation. Joe is a close friend of mine and I am very worried that he isn’t long for this earth. I pray for him everyday and “trust” that God will heal him and will spare his life. However, if God chooses not to, it is HIS WILL and I simply trust Him that He does NOT make mistakes.

Guys…what else can you do? True..you can get angry, but anger has no end or purpose here because that kind of anger is from Satan and it will only destroy you and the ones you care about.

I repeat…being angry with God ultimately has NO value because NOTHING can come of it.

Ask any guy who has been angry towards God and he will tell you that he is NOT better off now BECAUSE he was angry. He will tell you he lost his wife and kids and wishes he would have listened to the person who told him to let go and TRUST God…

I know this is probably NOT the best answer you want to hear but this is where we are…God is NOT like you and me and therefore His ways do not match ours. Once we get that particular fact…then what I said above can make more sense.

I care a lot about Joe and pray that his outcome will be positive…but if it Gods will to take him home…Then Joe is in a better place and NO longer in pain and even though I will miss him…I’m ok with that…

Because I get to see him again…

I know this has been a much longer post than normal and for that I am sorry…but please listen to what I am saying to you…

Don’t get angry when you don’t understand what God is doing…

Just trust…

Until next time guys…

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As I have gotten older, I have come to like Grace a whole lot. I like to hear the word, I like to see it carried out, but most of all I like to receive it. Usually, when I receive grace it is because I need grace. If I forget to do something on time and I find out I have been extended more time…I like that wonderful feeling of relief…of grace…

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness… 2 Corinthians 12:9

I have read these verses many times before but I think right now maybe some of you may need a simple refresh…The verse above are Christ’s words to the Apostle Paul as he wrestled with his “thorn in the flesh” which many scholars believe was poor eyesight. Even though Paul pleaded with God 3 separate times to remove this “thorn” from him, God chose NOT to do so…which is when we see Paul make reference to the verse above…why would God choose to NOT answer Paul’s prayer?

GOD WANTED PAUL TO TRUST HIM…

The “weakness” referred to here are the low points or the difficult times we experience along the paths of our collective lives. I know this isn’t a surprise to you but accepting Christ into your life doesn’t negate hardships…in fact, I believe we are presented with more challenges or “grace opportunities” as Christians simply because God wants us to learn to trust Him during the times we need Him the most. I don’t know about you, but I have a tough time with trusting. How do you handle adversity when it’s thrown your way? If you are like me, I am one of those people who have written about and believe that it is our Lords desire is to surround himself in heaven with people who understand and practice God’s power being made perfect in weakness (see verse above). In other words I believe that in eternity, God wants to hang out with the people who stood toe to toe against Satan during life’s battle and said, “Is that the best you can do?”…

And frankly, I have to admit, so do I…

But back to the beginning; if you recall, the first part of our verse talks about Gods grace being sufficient; sometimes I have struggled to understand what grace really means to me? Is it a “get out of jail free card?” or is it simply just a friend helping me get back up when I fall? Then I read recently an easier way to think of grace. Grace is simply the “presence of God” in our lives. So think of it this way, substitute the phrase “presence of God” for the word “grace” from now on and you will see what I mean. Grace is God’s physical strength from Heaven given to you, and to me, when we call on Him. I like that a lot. When I call on God you can bet I am wrestling with something and need His help. Isn’t it encouraging to understand and recognize that in our weakest points ever, God’s strength is made perfect in us? He is there! We are NOT alone…you are NOT alone. His grace, or His presence, is there to see us through our personal difficult path (whatever that is for you).

Brothers, I hope you can be encouraged by these words but even more important, consider extending some grace in someone’s direction that maybe needs it more than you do…

Until next time guys…

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See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and to defile many. Hebrews 12:15

Have you ever known someone that seemed to be terminally in a “bad” mood all the time? Maybe you have someone like that in your family so that when holidays come, everyone tries to avoid that person because no matter what is said, he or she will lash out? Hollywood glamorized the grumpiness of two old guys when they made the movie “Grumpy Old Men” and we all laughed. But the reality is, grumpiness or bitterness, is an infection that can completely ruin a persons life. Moreover, as some of you may know, bitterness can destroy a community of believers faster than you can imagine. Bitterness is like a virus and left unchecked, can grow and permeate your entire body until you reek of it.

I am sharing this with you because it is very important not only for us, but the person infected to feel the touch and the presence of God before they are lost forever. Yes, I did say forever…Bitterness can and will destroy lives and the Bible is very clear about this.

Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness, no one will see the Lord.  Hebrews 12:14

I assure you guys, when you are bitter…you are NOT holy and we can see from the above scripture how important holiness is to God…and to us.

So why do I tell you this now? Sometimes I really don’t have a specific plan in mind, I just find myself reading somewhere in the Bible and then a verse or a concept strikes me. In this instance, when I read the bitterness verse I realized that I have friends just like that and they have no idea how serious their future is jeopardized by NOT taking action to try to make things better. Paul tells us in Ephesians 4:27 to

…Do not give the devil a foothold.

Guys, when you swallow the bitterness and resentment pill you give the devil a foothold in your life…and trust me, once he has a foothold, he will NOT stop there until he has destroyed everything he can. 1 Peter 5:8 says:

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

The devil wants to destroy you and there is no other way I can say that or sugar coat it so it sounds better. That, my friends, is a fact.

But remember guys, bitterness doesn’t just affect you…It affects your wife, kids, parents, your coworkers and imgresthe list goes on. As I mentioned before, bitterness is a virus and must be dealt with by getting on your knees and seeking Gods grace and forgiveness. There is NO OTHER WAY… Paul tells us again in Ephesians to:

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Ephesians 4:31

I know that getting rid of this issue is easier said, than done but really…you have to get rid of it…Shake it off as you would a bad day. I encourage you to seek God and to then seek help.

If you can read this post and recognize that the person I am referring to is you…then you need to start first on your knees before Him. The Bible says:

Humble thyself in the sight of the Lord and He will lift you up.

If you are suffering from bitterness at present, doesn’t being lifted up sound really good right now? And that is just the beginning. If you allow the Holy Spirit to envelope you, God will melt that bitterness root right out from underneath you.

I challenge you guys today to be men and take the tough first step and recognize you have the bitterness root within you and humbly ask God to take it away.

He will NOT let you down. Of that I am concretely sure…

Until next time guys…

Guys, I have been writing to you on this Iron Man Strength blog now for almost two years and during that time, I have worked to encourage and provide support to you as you walk down the path of being a Dad and a Husband. As we all know, this path is not an easy one but through Gods amazing grace, we all have access to power through Christ Jesus…all you have to do…is believe.

But I have a sense of urgency now that I need to begin to share in this blog that some of you may or may not appreciate but I must press on. This blog will never be political, but only encouragement about our lives and our relationship to our God, but I tell you now that we are living in an extraordinarily turbulent time now in America and there are powers at work that you and I cannot control but through prayerful persistence. We are told in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 to pray without ceasing and my friends, now more than any time in your life, I pray that you heed my words.

We learn back in the Old Testament in the book of Daniel, that there are powers and principalities that are unseen that you and I must consider as Christians. I am not trying to scare you or blow your mind with crazy talk but yet the truth is the truth and I ask you to listen. There is an unseen battle going on right now in America and the unrest and nervousness that you and your neighbors are feeling is because of that battle. It is not just simply we are struggling to make ends meet or the economy is bad, look at what is happening around you…people are reacting by killing one another all over the world. I find myself afraid not for me, but for my children. What does the future hold for them in this world? How will they live and support themselves? You and I…well…we can only pray and pray and pray and while you are praying, please consider this…

In Daniel chapter 10, we learn that Daniel had been fasting and praying for 21 days and had not received any word from the Lord. At the end of that time, we learn from an Angel who came and met with him that during the time he was praying, there was a battle like I am referring to above, going on which prevented Daniel’s answer from getting to him. Only when the Archangel Michael, a really large and powerful stud Angel squashes the Prince of Persia, does the answer reach Daniel.

So what does this story mean to you and me? Believe it or not…Satan was able to hold up that answer to Daniel’s request for 21 days and he can do the very same thing with our prayers. Read 2 Corinthians 2:11 where Paul tells us:

In order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are NOT aware of his schemes.

Guys, he seeks to devour and thwart our efforts when we are seeking a relationship with Christ and if you are an, on-again off-again, inconsistent, I’ll get around to it eventually kind of guy, you may not realize that your prayers maybe held up or slowed before they reach Him. Jesus tells us in His own words in Luke 18:1-8 about persistence in prayer…He says in verse 7, “and will not God bring about justice for His chosen ones, who cry out to Him day and night?

My advice to all of you is very simple…If your relationship with God is good or not so good…I urge you to continuously and persistently seek God each day and pray to Him for both yourself and your family. Gods desire is to have a relationship with you that is eternal but the only way that will happen is through YOUR efforts while here on earth…so right now, while things here are more turbulent that ever before, seek God with all your heart because I assure you…

When you seek Him, He will find you…and that my friend will have very Heavenly implications…

Until next time guys…I leave you with this…