Posts Tagged ‘Presence of God’

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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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top-10-list1Lists. The top 10 “this” and the top 10 “that”…We are surrounded by them. Some of them are great information or funny and I might even find them compelling now and then…but in thinking about “lists” it got me thinking about something else. What if I could create a list that was more eternal in nature? Maybe I could create a list why I think you should consider making a free choice that would affect your personal forever? So that is what this list is about…Give it a read and maybe even give it some consideration…so here are my:

Top 5 reasons you should consider becoming a Christian

1. It’s free…and YOU get to make the choice…

In this day and age of self empowerment, freedom of choice, self-help and the “just do it” mentality…Christianity offers YOU, the individual, the ultimate Free choice of your personal lifetime…You get to choose where you would like to spend eternity.

2. Salvation is an amazing thing…it gains you eternal life.

As mentioned above, you make a very free choice and personal for salvation and that choice gains you citizenship inside a heavenly kingdom…unmatched and incomparable to anything mankind could ever imagine…

3. When everything around you fails…Jesus never does

News Flash: You are surrounded by failure. The washing machine fails, the car fails and even your spouse fails now and then. But what if I told you that one person will never fail you even in the worst of times? Would you consider listening to me? This is a very simple answer to a very tough question…Jesus Christ will NEVER fail you…

4. We are never alone…especially during the tough times

Loneliness is the worst feeling. It will suffocate you if you can’t control it…With Christ you are NEVER alone. We are promised that He will never leave us or forget us…When the going gets rough (and it will get rough), sometimes we find ourselves all alone, deserted…It is right then and there that Christ will meet you…He will NOT desert you because He is your anchor during your storm.

5. It doesn’t cost you your life…it just saves it.

Do you know where you are going when you die? I mean definitively? Not what you hope…but what you know…? Can you answer that question honestly to yourself? If you say yes to salvation you not only saved yourself from a painful existence here on earth, but also guaranteed a forever that can’t be compared to anything you could ever think of on your own…

So that is my top 5. Simple, but hopefully effective. I hope you will take a moment to look at your own future and determine for yourself if my simple list above might be worth examining closer…

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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NEWS FLASH…If you think that Satan is a myth…you are sorely mistaken. If you think Satan is a pacifist, you are dead wrong. If you somehow think that Satan doesn’t know who you are…that will be the death of you…

Do I have your attention?

What I am about to share with you is not a new revelation. These are NOT new ideas or concepts because I have found them written in the Bible. They are however, very important because they profoundly affect all of us. In the past, I have written about these topics in posts but today finds me more passionate and frustrated with the direction I see our country moving. To be honest with you, and please pay attention to me here because this is becoming more clear to me everyday why America is not mentioned in the book of Revelation…why?

Because, when Revelation finally happens…America is NOT relevant…

Does that matter to you? Have you ever heard someone say that before? Guys I have a sense of urgency as I write this to you. I believe that from my vantage point, America appears to be in some sort of trance. Things that should matter to all of us…things that we know are wrong…continue because there is no resistance.

So why don’t we wake up? What will it take before we care?

My diagnosis; this is all a part of Satan’s plan. Right now, he has man completely transfixed with himself. A.W. Tozer said, “The concept of Majesty has all but disappeared from the human race. The focal point of Man’s interest is in himself” as evidenced by the nineteenth century poet Swinburne who wrote, “Glory to man in the highest! For man is the master of things” we have become a race of self-absorbed, narcissistic humans with no other focus other than ourselves. We are so smart, talented and athletic that it almost seems like we don’t need God or maybe God isn’t the same as He was before. It almost seems like the smarter we get, the dumber God gets…like His power has been diluted.

Has God changed since I became an adult?

I believe that part of the reason is that man is trying to make God look like himself. As we continue to gain more insight into the world that is around us, we become more and more egotistical rather than humble. We try to fit God into something that He isn’t…Conceivable. I see this every time I hear an atheist speak. Because God does not humble himself down to their level whereby they can comprehend Him, then he does not exist.

God doesn’t need us…we need Him.

The God of the Bible cannot fit inside the human mind nor does He want to. Isaiah said, “His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts.” Psalms 50:21 says, “You thought I was altogether like you?” God’s job is not to bend down to us, but rather for us to reach up to Him. The Bible says “Humble thyself in the sight of The Lord and He shall lift you up.” NOT the other way around. The Bible also says “Pride goes before the fall.” Again, mankind’s view of himself is the reason why the relationship between God and man is broken. He is God and not us.

Please understand that I speak of a God who is the Majesty in the Heavens, God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, the only wise God, our Savior. Not the picture version inside the pages of your kids Bible.

(Continued in 2 days…stay tuned)

I am Not a theologian and never will be and for that reason I get frustrated when I don’t know answers to certain questions raised about God. The title of this blog post is, ”Why would a good God send people to hell’? I have heard that question brought up to me many times before and for years it has frustrated me to no end. I mean really? How could God allow that to happen? Good people in hell makes no sense. But then as time has passed, I have begun to understand more about who our God is, which in turn has clarified some answers.

When you ask questions using the word “why” you need to go back to the original source and determine what you don’t understand…How could God allow good people to go to hell? To me, we need to begin with God and who HE is to try to answer this question. There must be reasons why He acts and behaves as He does rather than just what I see here on Earth. What I’ve discovered is there are reasons which cause God to be who He is…I’ve just never investigated them before…

Let’s start with Holy. I never really understood this word but yet when applied to God, our creator, all the reasons are completely clarified. Here is what I mean; God is completely Holy and good and it is His character that decides what is right and wrong. That perfect character He puts forth is what dictates our world and how we are to behave. In other words, that is how inherently we know that killing is bad and helping our neighbor is good. It is in our DNA. Yet why is there so much killing in this world? The answer is simple… Satan is alive and well and he seeks to devour all that he can:

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8

Satan is working just as hard to distract you as God is trying to get your attention.

Moreover…God is a very Holy being and He is bound by that holiness to react in a certain manner…that means He HATES sin… He hates to see it, smell it or even be around it (read Mark 9:42-47). But yet you and I reek with it? We are born into it and without the saving salvation of Jesus Christ, stink to the outskirts of heaven of it…Have I made my point?

Lets summarize quickly at this point:

1. We learned God is Holy

2. Holy means God must behave according to His perfect character.

3. Holy means God can’t be around sin.

Now, for those of you who did not know, God did solve the problem of sin for us by sending His blameless son Jesus, to take our place as a sacrifice for our sin committed.

So try to understand things this way, because God is holy, He MUST judge everyone according to His perfect character and because He is perfect, His judgements are fair and right.

Lets keep going. As mentioned previously, Jesus came to this earth to solve the sin sacrifice issue but He is also the most loving person who ever lived, but yet it is He who teaches us the most about the reality of hell. Why? because Jesus knows hell is a very real thing and He doesn’t want us to suffer the inevitable consequences of our rebellion against God. What is that rebellion you ask? Rebellion is having sin in your life and NOT doing anything about it…living in sin is rebellion against God…why? Because God is holy…

Are you beginning to see a pattern here?

Heaven and hell are actually defined by a relationship. Heaven is enjoying the amazing gifts of a Father and more importantly, being with Him. Hell is the absence of His blessings; love, communion, presence, beauty etc.

Simply put; Heaven is being with our holy God and Hell is being apart from Him.

Think about that for a moment. The closest thing to Heaven on earth is to have a relationship with Him and to feel the His presence in our lives.

Hell on earth is simply the opposite of everything GOD.

So now that we understand a little more about the God we serve I must make this statement to you and ask this question;

If we truly understood how absolutely holy God is, we shouldn’t be asking the question why would a good God send people to hell…the real question should be…

How can God allow anyone into Heaven?

Bottom line…going to heaven or hell is a choice WE get to make while here upon this earth. God doesn’t send good people to hell…they get to make that decision for themselves…

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…

I have always enjoyed the carefully worded answers that new coaches give when speaking to the media about how they plan on turning around a poorly performing football or baseball program; “We are going back to the basics” or “We are starting again with the fundamentals of this game, blocking and tackling etc.” They always say the same thing because they want their players to forget about the past and focus on the present. New coaches don’t want memories of bad seasons to haunt their new message of a new beginning. I understand these reasons of why coaches speak this way which is the reason I think this same method will work for this blog post as well. I believe we need to get back to the fundamentals of how God intended our relationship to be with Him. I believe that God had a different plan of interacting with humans than what we see in our world today…So let us begin there…

I have always been fascinated by the dozen’s of times the phrase “Fear of God” or the “Fear of the Lord” is mentioned in the Bible. I can say from experience that if the Bible mentions the same subject over and over, you might want to pay attention, it’s probably important. As is the case here, the Bible tells us:

The Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom…(Proverbs 9:10)

The Lord has compassion on those who fear Him (Psalms 103:13)

Moses even told us in Psalms “Who knows the power of your anger? For your wrath is a great as the fear that is due you.” (Psalms 90:11)

Now I think we can assume that the wrath of God is beyond anything we can imagine because we have never seen His wrath personally. So if Moses says His wrath is as great as the fear due Him? then I think we humans are extremely “out-of-balance” in our relationship with the Almighty. In other words, do you fear God or even think about fearing Him as a part of your daily life? Has that thought ever crossed your mind before? If it hasn’t, I’m not surprised, because that lack of understanding of who God really is, I believe is the core problem and why I am writing this post now. This is what I meant earlier about returning to the fundamentals in our faith because I believe this society is lacking a healthy “reverent fear of God” (1 Peter 1:17).

I am suggesting that we either have forgotten who God is, or we never really understood our relationship with Him in the first place. Unfortunately, I fear the latter is more accurate. To take this thought a step further, when the idea of God is lowered to our human level, then life becomes very hard to live out the way He intended because it is difficult to “Fear Him” if we perceive ourselves to being on the same level with Him…Like He is your “buddy”.

A.W. Tozer, the theologian said, It is impossible to keep our moral practices sound and our inward attitudes right while our idea of God is erroneous or inadequate. He also said, It is my opinion that the Christian conception of God current in these middle years of the 20th century is so decadent as to be utterly beneath the dignity of the Most High God and actually to constitute for professed believers something amounting to a moral calamity.

Now I understand that times have changed even from when he wrote these words in 1961 and I agree our society is completely different from what it was back then, but I think Tozer’s point still resonates…We have drifted our focus from Him, to all of the “really important projects” we deal with everyday. When we are absent from Him, we are not close to Him. What I am suggesting to you, is going back to the fundamentals. Take a few quiet minutes each day to pause, pray and reflect on God and who he is. The impact of this time will be mind-blowing and LIFE CHANGING…

I know you probably think I’m nuts and I can understand because seriously, how can anyone take the time and do what I am suggesting? I mean who has the time? My answer is this; if you can just slow down long enough to grasp even a microscopic understanding of the Almighty God, how HUGE He is and how small we are…and yet He cares for you, He loves you, because your YOU…This concept is so very hard to get our minds around because it is NOT what we hear in the world but I assure you, IT will change your life forever…

The overwhelming impact of this knowledge is we realize how selfish we have been for not enjoying our time with Him regularly…the Magnificent Creator who simply wants to hear from us…

I challenge you! Take the baton from me and run with it!

I have never been more sure of anything in my life…your efforts will NOT return void…

Until next time…