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

Discipleship

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)

Advertisements

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)


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!