Reposted from Every Man Ministry
He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will. Ephesians 1:5
Going through life is like riding a pendulum. If we swing more to the world, we’re further from God. If we swing toward God (by making a conscious decisions to follow Him), then we distance ourselves from the world.
Sometimes our friends and coworkers want to swing the pendulum for us. When that happens, it’s up to us to resist. If you’re away on a business trip, and a couple of the guys from the office say they’re going to a strip club, what are you going to say? How are you going to handle the pressure to blend in?<
Riding the pendulum toward the Baby Dolls Club is going the world’s way. But insisting that you’re going to stay at the hotel and ride a stationary bike in the fitness room is steering the pendulum God’s way. This is practical commitment in action.
Watching one of those pay-per-view soft-core adult movies in your hotel room is swinging the pendulum the world’s way. Calling the front desk as soon as you reach your room and asking them to block out the skin flicks is swinging the pendulum God’s way.
In other words, loving God means resisting the world moment by moment, it’s putting forceful, compelling feelings aside in order to remain obedient. It’s placing another person’s need above our own. It’s caring more about God’s opinion than man’s opinion. There is right and wrong in this world, isn’t that rational. If obedience is too hard a word, let’s be rational and use the brain God gave us to worship him. He did create you and then forgave every sin you’ve ever committed didn’t He?
Father thank you for allowing the pendulum to swing back to you again and again.
Reposted from Radical Mentoring
Everybody has a past. Things we would do different if given the chance. Screw-ups that hurt ourselves and others. We bear the wounds of parents who didn’t love us well, teachers who vilified us, coaches who belittled us, bosses who disrespected us, customers who fired us, and friends who betrayed us. The past can be tough.
Some say wisdom comes with experience, but that’s not always true. Wisdom comes from evaluated experience. Wise people learn from their experiences and the experiences of others. They take responsibility, learn and get better. Fools blame others, fail to learn and become bitter.
Agathon said, “Even God cannot change the past.” He was right. What’s done is done. While God can’t change the past, He can use it if we’ll let Him. Look at how the writers of the Old Testament use the experiences of the children of Israel to show us God’s nature, His grace and His truth. Look at how the writers of the New Testament use the life of Jesus, the Apostles and the early church to inform us of the nature of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
As we walk through life, we face similar circumstances over and over. Each time, we get a chance to respond differently. The question is will we? Will we follow the ‘street definition’ of insanity . . . “to act the same way but expect a different result”? Or will we learn from the past, make better decisions and grow in wisdom?
Every year, I watch my mentees deal with the guilt they associate with their pasts. For them and for most of us, it’s just so hard to grasp that God’s forgiveness separates us from our past sin “as far as the east is from the west.” ‘East’ and ‘west’ aren’t locations, they’re directions. When God forgives the sins of our past, He removes them and keeps removing them from us. Out of gratitude, our response is to move in the opposite direction from those sins as well as the temptations and ‘triggers’ that can lead us into them again. God’s forgiveness cost Him His priceless Son’s life. Far be it from me to belittle that gift by dwelling on past sins God has already forgiven and forgotten.
Owning your past, taking personal responsibility, gratefully receiving God’s forgiveness (and His correction), gaining wisdom by evaluating the past and learning from it? Yes. Replaying the tape of those sins and all their consequences? No.
A cool line in a song I heard last week . . . “You can’t steer a boat by looking at the wake.”
Another good line I heard a speaker say recently . . . “A crucified man can only look forward.”
Let go of the past and move forward in gratitude for all that God has done for you.
Scripture: He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west. (Psalm 103:12)
Reposted from Every Man Ministry
Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Ephesians 6:13
Too many of us presume that we can follow our bliss and then — appetites temporarily satisfied — return to God’s good graces and suffer no consequences at all. Foolish, yes, but how else do we explain this type of behavior?
An adulterous affair isn’t necessarily just the experience of the soft touch of a woman’s body. If a man is concerned more of how he’s being accepted by the world than by his wife and children or even more the things that he claims now are the center of his life, could that be similar to an adulterous affair? In fact, isn’t that similar to an adulterous affair with yourself? After all, in any adulterous affair the damage is not only to those around us but to ourselves. Do you suppose our loving Father, who by the way loves us perfectly, would allow some very unhappy circumstances to follow? Your Father God will not let His child get away with this. Doesn’t that make total rational sense? Then why would any rational, right thinking man continue this activity? Whatever it is.
Satan wants us to act stupid. He uses our feelings to get his job done. Don’t be stupid, snap out of it and make some very important immediate decisions. Your moral house is burning down while you are straightening pictures on the walls. Take a cold shower and get a grip. God will fulfill his promises.
Father, thank you for tough love, when I need it.
Reposted from Radical Mentoring
Imagine for a moment you were faced with a life and death question. Imagine if your answer determined what your current and future life would be like? Well, there is such a question. It was first posed by Jesus to Peter (recorded by Mark in Chapter 8, verse 28). He asks . . .
“Who do you say I am?”
Of all the founders of the world’s major religions, only Jesus predicted His death, died and came back to life as a man. Not a spirit, not an apparition, not reincarnated into another species . . . but as a living, breathing, breakfast-eating, scar-wearing human being. He shared time ‘up close and personal’ with His guys. He let one of them (who was overwhelmed with doubt) touch His wounds. He was also seen by 500 other people over the course of 40 days. Those sightings were recorded by at least 3 independent eyewitnesses, whose 2000 year-old reports are still with us today. There are people who still don’t believe we went to the moon but based on the pictures and eyewitness accounts, I’m pretty sure we did. Similarly to me, the accounts of these eyewitnesses verify that Jesus died and came back to life, meaning He is the Messiah, God incarnate. What’s more is that proves there is life after death. And with that premise, our question from earlier becomes personal . . .
“Who do I say Jesus is?”
C.S. Lewis was a brilliant English philosopher and essayist. He started out thinking there was no God and not thinking of Jesus at all. He was an atheist until age 29 when he came to believe in God and then after 4 years, he trusted Jesus as his Savior and Lord. Lewis believed that each person has to decide for himself who they think Jesus is. He gave three options that provide a clear distinction: Lord. Liar. Lunatic. He finally found himself seeing Jesus as Lord and spent the rest of his life learning about and leaning into his faith in Christ.
For all the hatred and distrust of “Christians,” none of the major world religions are negative about Jesus. They all say He was a righteous man, a prophet, a great teacher . . . even a role model. But to say He is Deity . . . that Jesus is God gives a lot of people heartburn. Even more troubling is this statement . . .
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
Research shows that a little more than half of American Christians believe Jesus is the only way to God. Among young people, it’s only a third. It seems that the smarter we get as a culture, the more we question God’s plan. We put ourselves in the position of ‘judge’ and decide what’s reasonable and fair from our point of view. The problem is we’re not God. We don’t know what He knows or see what He sees. We can take Him at His word and in faith, trust Him. Or we can research, reason, imagine, doubt, ponder and wonder. But there exists the very real possibility that we will face the same question Peter faced when Jesus asked . . .
“‘But who do you say I am?’ He asked. Peter answered, ‘You are the Christ.’” (Mark 8:29)
You can’t fake an answer to this question because God knows the truth . . .
“O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar.” (Psalm 139:1-2)
And you may not have time to think about it . . .
So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. (Matthew 24:44)
Scripture: “But who do you say I am?” He asked. Peter answered, “You are the Christ.” (Mark 8:29)