"Go and make disciples…and teach them to observe all that I have commanded you." (Matt 28:19-20)

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What will you feed?

Today is the first day of a new year, and I have been considering my goals for myself for this year. Who do I want to be at the end of this year? What do I want to accomplish this year? I know I need to set goals for myself, so that I can be working towards becoming more than I am now. If we do not set goals for ourselves, then nothing is what we do and nothing is what we accomplish. Many people will set out to lose weight or commit to working out on a regular basis and improving their overall physical health. In fact, this is probably the most commonly set “resolution” this time of year. The physical body is important, and we all should take better care of ourselves, but what other things should one consider?

Imagine for a moment that you set out on a journey to become a terrible husband or father this year. Does that sound strange to you? No man would choose such a goal for himself, would he? Like it or not, we all choose this goal and others like it when we are not intentional about our spiritual growth.

Whatever you feed will live, and whatever you starve will die. If you are not reading and studying God’s Word and striving to become more like Christ on a regular basis, then you are starving your soul and feeding your carnal nature. There is no middle ground, here, guys. You feed either one or the other at any given time.

No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. (Matthew 6:24)

The concept of this verse is that you cannot serve God while you are serving yourself (or that which is in opposition to God). If you are not intentionally putting in the effort to become better than you are right now, then you are sliding down that slope of spiritual growth towards carnality. There is no standing still in spiritual growth – one moves either toward God or away from Him.  Therefore, the question for you is this: “What are you doing, right now, to become more than you are?”

Maybe you need to set some goals or make some changes in your life. Whatever the case may be for you, nothing changes when you change nothing. Be careful, men, what you feed this year, whether your own desires or the will of God. One must grow and the other must diminish. Consider the words of Paul as a guide for you as you set your goals for the coming year:

“He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30)

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Your strength, or His?

man alone

Many men eventually burn out from trying to live the Christian life out of their own efforts and in their own strength. Guys, if you are depending on your own strength to live as godly men, you will soon (if you have not already!) find yourself drained, defeated, hopeless, and disappointed.

Jesus promised His followers that the Holy Spirit would fill them and give them power to do all that was asked of them. That’s right. God did not design men to “go it alone!” From the beginning, we were designed to draw on the power of God (The Holy Spirit dwelling within us) to complete the journey before us. You, nor I, were ever meant to make that journey alone. Keep in step with the Holy Spirit, follow His lead, and you will have the strength and power you need to be the Authentic Men that you are destined to be!

“Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.”

(Zechariah 4:6b ESV)


Courage is not Bruce Jenner

This article was found at this web address: http://theveritasnetwork.org/2015/06/02/courage-is-not-bruce-jenner/#more-10022

I wanted to share it here, on this blog.  Read on:


 

Courage is not Bruce Jenner

June 2, 2015 by Greg Gibson

By now, I’m sure you’ve seen the media onslaught of the Bruce Jenner (now Caitlyn Jenner) cover story in Vanity Fair.

This has been a media storm in the making for the past few weeks; however, it was just released yesterday that ESPN would jump on the sails of this storm and make Jenner the headline of their upcoming annual ESPY Awards.  I’m not trying to add to the onslaught, or be an evangelical voice gagging in the wind of this news.  No.  Not my intention at all.

I want to challenge ESPN, and everyone who will listen, on what courage actually is.

FIRST, DON’T FORGET THE MEDIUM IS THE MESSAGE.

I first heard the news yesterday as my family was preparing for dinner.  SportCenter was on in the background, and I heard the news that Jenner would receive the Arthur Ashe Courage Award for the courage “to be herself” and change her identity.  I immediately had two responses:  Shock and speechlessness.

I was, first of all, shocked that ESPN would be reporting this on SportCenter—a family friendly television program.  This announcement from ESPN is coming directly into my home, directly into the ears of my family and children, and directly into our living room.  What I think would be family-friendly sports became a classic case of the medium becoming the message.  ESPN is jumping on the bandwagon of using every medium to host this conversation.  Just the other day, I’m watching a Harry Potter movie marathon on ABC Family (because HP is awesome), and a commercial comes on for a new show about a transgender dad and how this family is now coping with the gender change of the family’s patriarch.  Again, this is on ABC family.  I’m shocked.  I can’t even watch good ol’ Harry without seeing the medium becoming the message.

I was speechless at this announcement because of the use of the word “courage” to define this person’s actions.  This is one thing with which I have no words.  Farewell ESPN.  Farewell any respect from true sports fans.  Farewell any allegiance to your brand.  Farewell.

I’m not saying this to be the Christian who boycotts anything and everything gender related when I don’t see eye to eye with the announcement.  And I’m sure I’ll watch ESPN all of the time.  I mean, seriously, they are hosting the NBA Finals in a few days.  But when it comes to respectable sports journalism, farewell brothers and sisters—if you had anything left in that world, you don’t anymore.

Your definition of “courage” has left me speechless.

For ESPN, the medium truly has become the message.  As I sit and listen to SportsCenter, and attempt to be entertained by the athletic prowess of athletes (male and female alike), I bombarded with their attempt to bring in a message that has nothing to do with sports.

COURAGE IS SELFLESS, NOT SELF-FOCUSED.

As ESPN has now defined “courage” as a man’s decision to become a female, my heart continually sinks into my chest.  I want to weep for our country, but I can’t.  I’m still in shock.  I want to plead with people to see the sin and depravity in this type of thing, but my flesh wants to fight… and defend the truth of the imago Dei.  I want to act like Peter in the Garden of Gethsemane.  I’m ready to fight, but the Spirit reminds me to pray.

The imago Dei is a latin phrase which means “image of God.”  This is, at its core, an attack on God’s greatest and most prized possession—humanity itself.

May we remember that courage is not self-focused, as the world news and ESPN wants us to believe.  “Oh, how brave it was for her to truly be herself,” they say.  Even the first tweet by Caitlyn Jenner was self-focused, talking more about how this gender transformation has made her “feel.”  Friends, this is not courage.  This is a far cry from it.  This is self-exaltation masked in the rhetoric of a popular magazine cover story, and ESPN is jumping on the bandwagon coining it as “courage.”  This is far from true courage.

[True] Courage is selfless, not self-centered.  Not self-focused.  Not self-exalting.

[True] Courage is not Bruce Jenner; courage is a young family moving across the world to become missionaries so the nations might know Him.

[True] Courage is not Bruce Jenner; courage is someone **standing outside of an abortion clinic pleading with people for life.

 ** my comments added here.: (-This can be done in a peaceful way, but I must admit there have been times when protesters outside of abortion clinics have been less than civil and less than  Christian in their behavior…  just pointing out the truth.)  ** my comments added here.

[True] Courage is not Bruce Jenner; courage is Jim Elliot and 4 other missionary friends giving their lives to take the gospel to the Auca Indian tribe of Ecuador.

[True] Courage is not Bruce Jenner; courage is a mom who forgoes a career to stay at home with her children.

[True] Courage is not Bruce Jenner; courage is a young dad who forgoes his hobbies to be home every night he can to be emotionally, spiritually, and physically present in his home.

[True] Courage is not Bruce Jenner; courage is a young barista standing up for Truth in her coffee shop.

[True] Courage is not Bruce Jenner; courage is a young high school student standing up for Truth in his biology class.

[True] Courage is not Bruce Jenner; courage is a mom and dad attempting to parent their teenager to pursue dating, sex, and marriage differently—to date different.

[True] Courage is not Bruce Jenner; courage is a young couple standing against the tide of culture and intentionally pursuing marriage at a young age.

[True] Courage is many things, but it’s not Bruce Jenner.  What is often veiled in a post-Genesis 3 world, is glorious in eternity.  May we remind of ourselves of that truth.

[True] Courage is not self-focused, self-centered, or self-exalting.

REMEMBER, PURSUE TRUE COURAGE, AND PRAY FOR THE CONFUSED.

True courage is personified in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Where Adam failed in the Garden of Eden (and where the rest of humanity fails), Jesus flourished.  But it wasn’t a selfish act, or a self-exalting act.  It was a selfless act.  He died for the sin of humanity.  He gave his life for His Bride—the Church.  This is true courage.

Never forget the source, the wellspring, from which true courage pours like a summer storm.  It is only found in the gospel of Jesus Christ, and then it bleeds into our lives as we abide in Him.

As we remind ourselves that there are brothers and sisters serving all over the world for the sake of the gospel, may we pray and become heartbroken for those who are confused.

My prayer is that the Church would not verbally dry-heave at this announcement.  My prayer is that She would be heartbroken.  May we not consume ourselves with the messages of this world.  May we not confuse the attempted symbiotic relationship of the message and medium with the True message.  Jesus is the hope of the world.  May we live this way.  May we pray towards that end.

And may we never forget what true “courage” is and what it isn’t.


What’s Got Your Attention?

The following post is from my other blog, The Empowered Man:

 

The other day, I had a conversation with a guy about the state of the world we live in. He commented on several things, from the government to the conditions at the place he works. Most of his comments were complaints against the way others did things, and how he had been mistreated. Being a religious fellow, he made sure to talk about how God will judge those people and how close we are to Christ’s return.  So, things are bad…and the only hope we have is to look forward to “the end????”  Is this guy serious?

Not that I necessarily disagree with his comments about us being in the end times, but I realized from his comments just how WRONG his focus was. All he talked about was what was wrong with the world, and all the injustices he sees in the world on a daily basis. Then a thought hit me…

…what if we all focused more on the SOLUTION than the problems we see in this world. Yes, it’s true that the world seems to have “gone to H___ in a hand-basket”, as the saying goes, but should this be what our thoughts are consumed with? Our Enemy, the devil, does a very thorough job of accusing the saints, spreading lies, hate and discontent around the world. Why would we want to meditate on all he has done???? Why spend your time and energy discussing the works of the Enemy’s hands?  But wait…isn’t that TRULY what we are doing when we focus on all the wrong we see in the world?

Why not, instead, focus on the works of the Almighty?  Paul told the Philippians that they should focus their thoughts upon “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise…” (Philippians 4:8).  Focusing and being consumed with all that is wrong in the world is exhausting, it can depress you, and make you miserable, and in many cases bitter against those individuals in the world that do the wrong that you see.  When your focus is only on the negative, you are unable to help those who need it most.  There is a part in the Casting Crowns song “Jesus, friend of sinners” that says:

“Nobody knows what we’re for only what we’re against when we judge the wounded.
What if we put down our signs crossed over the lines and loved like You did?”

Instead of pointing our fingers at all the wrong in the world, all the evil people, all those who offend the cause of Christ; should we not instead be extending the very same grace that was given us through Christ?  Are the wrongdoers of the world not also in need of the Savior [just like you and I]?  I encourage you to let your thoughts and your heart be filled with the Word of God, as the beginning of the Book of Psalms instructs:

Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
  (Psalm 1:1-2)

And to hearken to the teachings of the Book of Proverbs:

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
fools despise wisdom and instruction.
(Proverbs 1:7)

Are you going to be foolish or wise?  Will you show love or judgment?  Will your mind and heart be full of His Word or of your own disappointment with this world?

So what is my point?  There is evil in the world.  God is good.  He is sovereign.  He is our hope.  Remember the words of Christ to His disciples about this very topic:

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

Christ is our hope; our all in all.  Spread the Good News of Christ, not the evidence we see of our Enemy at work in this World.

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” (Joshua 1:8)


Stop Riding Those Spiritual Coattails!

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They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.” (John 4:42)

This statement does not only contain a proclamation of faith. It is “pregnant” [so to say] with an idea and a necessary step of all of our spiritual development as Christians. Let me explain. At first, when we are new believers we take much of what we now know of God on faith. We believe what our Bible teachers tell us and what our Preachers reveal in their sermons about the character and heart of God. That is wonderful, and it should be that way… …for new Christians.

The question we must confront and answer for ourselves is the heart of John 4:42; simply stated this way: “At what point have you stopped depending on others’ faith and started trusting in Christ for yourself?” We must, in our spiritual development, come to the point where our faith is just that — “OURS.” We must experience the goodness and faithfulness of God. We must also experience His chastisement, His rebuke that brings growth and molds our character ever more into the image of His Son. We need to open our eyes and see how He has been moving and continues to move in our lives. We must learn for ourselves that He is trustworthy, and that Romans 8:28 really IS true; no matter the circumstance. Without a concentrated, intentional effort on YOUR part, you will NOT have a faith of your own….you will, sadly, ride the coat tails of those brothers and sister who were brave enough to trudge ever onward and upward in Christ.

So today, my brothers, I call you to step off of whatever spiritual ”coattails” you are riding on, be uncomfortable, get your feet wet, and stand [on your own feet] for Christ. I promise there will be difficulties, trials, hardships and pain on this road…. But I also guarantee that the journey only gets sweeter and more fulfilling with every step you make with Christ. Follow Him. No matter where He leads. No matter the cost. The reward for doing so is absolutely immeasurable! Just ask David:

“You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11)


A Biblical Response to Irritating People

Do you know people that irritate you? Do you have some friends or family members that you find annoying? No, these are not trick questions, just honest ones. The Holy Spirit wrote the Bible to help you deal with irritating, annoying people. And, as always, God’s answers are not our answers.

The church in Philippi was having some people problems. So, Paul wrote a letter to address their concerns. There is much for us to consider in Philippians about relationships. But, I just want to focus on one point today.

God wants you to consider the irritating, annoying people in your life as being more significant, more important than you are.  Now, obeying God’s command to do this will not, necessarily, make these individuals less irritating. I can hear someone saying, “Oh great! I obey God, but I am still stuck with the irritation.”

Let me put this in context. Let’s say the president of the company you work for is an irritating individual. In addition let’s say that one of the maintenance crew is also irritating. Is there a difference in the way you respond to these individuals?You might well be grumpy towards the maintenance worker, but would you also be grumpy towards the company president? The response is no, I wouldn’t be grumpy with company president. Why?  “Well, isn’t obvious, he is the one who hires and fires. He may be irritating, but he is more significant.”

Now you understand the strength of Paul’s argument, “Consider others more significant than yourselves.” You wouldn’t fuss at the company president, but at the maintenance worker, why not!

You see, when you interact with other people and they are bothersome, you forget that you are a sinner. If you focus just on the irritations of others, you forget how irritating you might be to them. 

Trust God and see what happens when you begin to treat that irritating, annoying person in your life as being more significant than yourself. They may or may not change, but your love for God definitely will!

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus… Philippians 2:3-5a

Originally posted by : Jay Younts
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Jay Younts is the Shepherd Press blogger. He is the author of Everyday Talk and other materials on parenting. He has been teaching and speaking on parenting issues for 30 years. Jay and his wife, Ruth, live in Fountain Inn, South Carolina. He serves as a ruling elder at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He and Ruth have five adult children


What Happened to Sin

I thought this author made some great points, so I wanted to share his article here on my blog.  Original article by:

In the opening paragraph of his book Whatever Became of Sin?, Karl Menninger, one of the founders of the famed Menninger Clinic in Topeka, Kansas, tells a funny but very significant story.

On a sunny day in September, 1972, a stern-faced, plainly dressed man could be seen standing still on a street corner in the busy Chicago Loop. As pedestrians hurried by on their way to lunch or business, he would solemnly lift his right arm, and pointing to the person nearest him, intone loudly the single word ‘GUILTY!’

Then, without any change of expression, he would resume his still stance for a few moments before repeating the gesture. Then, again, the inexorable raising of his arm, the pointing, and the solemn pronouncing of the one word ‘GUILTY!’

The effect of this strange accusatory pantomime on the passing strangers was extraordinary, almost eerie. They would stare at him, hesitate, look away, look at each other, and then at him again; then hurriedly continue on their ways.

One man, turning to another who was my informant, exclaimed: ‘But how did he know?’

The United States was founded primarily as a result of people wanting freedom of worship and fairness in government. There is no question that the United States was founded as a Christian nation.

For nearly two centuries the mainstream Protestant Churches and the Roman Catholic Church taught that man was guilty of sin and needed to repent. In the second quarter of the 20th century, liberal Protestantism began putting less emphasis on sin and the negatives of the Christian Faith and concentrating on the positives. In the 1950s, Norman Vincent Peale, famed minister of the Marble Collegiate Church in New York City, concentrated on the power of positive thinking, which became the title of his bestselling blockbuster.

Peale asserted that by concentrating on the positive things of life one could overcome the many fears of failure and develop the self-confidence needed to capitalize on his/her true God given talents and achieve success. He was criticized by many theologians and medical doctors of preaching false hope, but he was enormously popular. He was followed by Robert Schuller, founder of the Chrystal Cathedral in Orange County, California.

Gradually, mainline Protestantism has concentrated on the positive aspects of the Christian Faith. It has been the evangelical churches that have continued to stress the sinfulness of the human race and the need for repentance.

Does it really make any difference in everyday life whether or not sin is focused on? My answer is a resounding “yes.” And here is why.

People around the world are suffering more now than at any time in my lifetime, and probably much longer: brutal religious wars resulting in human atrocities carried out by masked militants; long-lasting civil wars, accompanied by girls and young women being gang-raped with family members forced to watch; wars of words and armaments between nations of the Middle East, resulting in the loss of life and property, with refugees by the tens of thousands left homeless; disease that resists the marvels of today’s healing remedies; homelessness and poverty, even in well-established and wealthy nations; hunger; child abuse, resulting in scared lives that never heal; shootings in schools and on college campuses; overflowing prisons; racial violence; violent crimes; dishonesty in business and government; and the list goes on and on.

But the peoples of the world, including we who live in and love the United States, have become increasingly permissive and secular. I suspect that every reader of this column, and its writer, would respond in much the same as the man in the opening story: how did he know? And we probably would add, and who else may know. Know what? Our sins — sins we have managed to keep to ourselves. Little by little we have become accustomed to, and stopped finding fault with, sin — our own and the sin of others. We as a society do what we want, find ways to justify what we are doing, and ignore the consequences.

Think with me about the Ten Commandments: (1) You shall have no other gods before me. (2) You shall not make for yourself a graven image. (3) You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain. (4) Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. (5) Honor your father and your mother. (6) You shall not kill. (7) You shall not commit adultery. (8) You shall not steal. (9) You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. (10) You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife . . . or anything that is your neighbor’s. (Deuteronomy 5:6-21)

For those of you who are less religious, take a look at the last six commandments, starting with the fifth; they deal with how we treat one another. If we were to stress the importance of these, the sinfulness of violating them, and the need to repent if we do violate them — think what a different world this would be. Remember that “repent” is a military term that means “about face,” that is, turning around and going the other direction. Just saying “I’m sorry” is not enough! We need to change what we are doing.

Add to the Ten Commandments of the Old Testament the two Great Commandments of Jesus: (1) Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and (2) Love your neighbor as yourself. (Mark 12:28-31)

Many people today find fault with evangelical Christians, not wanting them to influence life, religion, or politics. But it’s time for us to turn back to our Judeo-Christian roots and spend more time and energy talking about the detrimental consequences of sin and our need as individuals and as a society, regardless of our personal religious convictions, to look to the Ten Commandments of the Old Testament and the two Great Commandments of the New Testament for direction and guidance in these chaotic times, even though it may not be politically correct.

What has happened to sin?


Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/william-b-bradshaw/what-happened-to-sin_b_5815160.html

 


The Battle-cry of the disciple of Christ

I read the following passage recently and it greatly resonated with me. It is based on Romans 1:16-17, which reads:

“16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.  17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”

The passage below, written by Dr. Bob Moorehead should be the Battle-Cry of all those who claim to be disciples of Christ. Please read on:

“I am a part of the fellowship of the Unashamed. I have the Holy Spirit Power. The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ.”
My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is secure. I am finished and done with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tame visions, mundane talking, miserly giving, and dwarfed goals.

I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, praise, or popularity. I don’t have to be right, first ,tops, recognized, commended, regarded, or rewarded. I now live by presence, learn by faith, love by patience, live by prayer, and labor by power.
My pace is set, my gait is fast, my goal is Heaven, my road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions few, my Guide is reliable, my mission is clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, deterred, lured away, turned back, diluted, or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.

I won’t give up, back up, let up, or shut up until I’ve preached up, prayed up, paid up, stored up, and stayed up for the cause of Christ. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I must go until He returns, give until I drop, preach until all know, and work until He comes.
And when He comes to get His own, He will have no problem recognizing me. My colors will be clear for: “I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.”

-Dr. Bob Moorehead

 

I am making every effort to make this my personal statement of my determination to know Christ, and make Him known.  Who will join me?


Insignificant Obedience?

Cool weather, the briskness of morning, a chill in the air, fall is here; and with it a change in the seasons. At the changing of every season, I am reminded of how God’s creation, even after “the fall” functions much in the same way as it did when He first created it. Each year the leaves change, the nights grow longer and all that is green fades off to sleep until Spring. What if Creation did not obey the Creator? What if the world around us rebelled in much the same way we do. Imagine the chaos we would live in If it did [not that it could].

Genesis 8:22 says: “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.”

Creation will faithfully serve the Creator without question, without complaining, and without ceasing. Can you see the value of the obedience of Creation in the mundane, uninteresting, and common, every-day things? We depend on Creation doing “its job” without fail. We set our calendars, make our plans, plant our fields, and know when to harvest- all based on the seasons. Don’t you see just how much depends on being faithful in the “small things?” My pastor spoke recently about  how important this is! Imagine what history would have been like if David had disobeyed Jesse and refused to take that bread and cheese to his brothers in the camp-the very day that God had ordained and purposed for David to slay Goliath!  One small, seemingly insignificant act of obedience was the key to great victory and fulfillment of destiny in David’s life. What blessings are you forfeiting today? Who are you letting down today?  What God-ordained destiny are you forsaking today, because you will not obey, in the mundane?

And Samuel said,

“Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,
    as in obeying the voice of the Lord?

Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
and to listen than the fat of rams
.” (1 Samuel 15:22)

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge [Proverbs 1:7a], to obey is better than sacrifice [1 Samuel 15:22b]; therefore, to know the Lord is to love the Lord; to love the Lord is to serve the Lord; to serve the Lord is to obey the Lord; to obey the Lord is Wisdom. Wisdom is the faithful, obedient application of all we know of God to the will of God, motivated by our love for Him.

“Jesus answered him, If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” (John 14:23)

Get up! Get out there, and do those mundane, boring things God has called you to do!  Today’s battles and today’s service prepare us for tomorrow’s challenges and makes us ready to receive and fulfill our God-given, God-ordained destinies! 

 

Rise up, Men of God, and let’s be “All that we can be”  for the glory of God!

Bullet-proof

I was thinking the other day how cool it would be to be “bulletproof.” Not too long ago, another remake of the original “Superman” movie was released into the box offices across the nation. I’m not sure how successful the movie was considered to be overall, but according to a June 23, 2013 article I found online, it had already grossed $398.3 million, worldwide. Apparently, the world is very interested in a story about a man who fights for what is right, just and fair…and who just happens to be “bulletproof” as well.

Of course, it is impossible for us mere mortals to have bodies that are impenetrable to bullets, as the “Man of Steel” does, but there is good news still to be heard today. The God we serve is infinitely higher and greater, stronger, faster, wiser, and more powerful than all of our ideas of what a “Superman” would be. Jesus is the perfection of all that we hope for, for all that is just, right, and fair.

Sadly, however, the majority of the human race chooses to reject Jesus, in all His splendor, and chooses instead to believe in ideals and fiction that will never be. Humanity simply cannot rise above and become altruistic. Man cannot become better than he is now. It is not in our nature to do so. So many, so sadly, spend their entire lives pursuing that which will never be. Only God, His will, His plan, His blessings and a relationship with Him are real, worthwhile and beneficial to man.

While the ideal of the “Superman” as Hollywood presents it is not a reality, there really is a way for us to be “bulletproof.” This “secret” is contained in the pages of the Book of Isaiah:

“No weapon formed against you shall prosper,
And every tongue which rises against you in judgment
You shall condemn.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,
And their righteousness is from Me,”
Says the Lord.”

So here it is, the way to be “bulletproof.” This is not a way for us to bounce bullets off our chest, but a way to be capable of dealing with and not being ultimately defeated by all the bad things that come into our lives. The verse does not say that we will not deal with adversity. It does not say that we will not have times that we are knocked down, attacked or even brutalized. What it does tell us is that we have the undying, unquenchable, unending hope that our God will “never leave us nor forsake us.” We may be struck down, but we will not be defeated. We will rise…again and again…. Much like the mythical creature the Phoenix, we will often rise out of the ashes of what the Enemy “meant for harm” and [if we allow God to forge us], we will become more than we were before. By His hand we can become more than we are, we can grow, we can increase, we can become….all that He has called us to be.

We may never fly, jump tall buildings in a single bound, be we can all be SUPER men (of God) because Christ is the perfection of manhood, our goal, the standard by which we compare ourselves. Through the hand of God at work in our lives, allowing and trusting Him to use our adversities and our pain and suffering to change us, we can become true “men of steel”, impervious to all the attacks that our enemy might hurl at us.

Like Isaiah says, it is the heritage [the inheritance and the God-given right] of the servants of the Lord to enjoy His protection, His deliverance, and His blessings. So, put on “the whole armor of God” as you leave this morning and let’s be to those around us the example of what God would consider to be a Super man!