Archive for November, 2011

November 27, 2010

Relevant:

When the going gets tough, the tough….

2 Cor 12:9-10

We have all heard the saying, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” It is right up there with “Pull yourself up by your boot straps.” As guys, we are very familiar with these sayings and attitudes. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this type of relentless approach and tenacity when facing obstacles, hardships, or challenges. How many times have we tried to take things on ourselves, in our own strength, and come up short? How do we feel? Inadequate? Weak? Not up to the challenge? Even the fastest race car and most formidable land mover machines don’t finish strong without fuel and/or the right operator. I’ve never heard of something that can move tons of earth with ease referred to as ‘weak’ or ‘inadequate”. And neither are you. Jesus Christ said “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Cor 12:9. Don’t feel you have to take on the challenges of life alone or in your own strength. Let the Omnipresent and Omnipotent God work through you and on your behalf.

Challenge: Lean on God and ask Him to help you with some of your challenges and obstacles. For many of you who find it hard to let go of things or feel the need to maintain control, rest in the fact that the Almighty is up for the task. He wants to show you how faithful and capable He is.

Prayer: Father, I am so thankful that You care about the challenges and struggles in my life. I am also thankful that you are capable of handling anything and faithful to never let me down. Please give me the strength, Lord, to allow you to work through me and on my behalf. In Jesus’ name. Amen.  

For more information about Servant Warrior Ministries, visit www.servantwarriorministries.org.   

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November 20, 2011

Relentless:

“Pursuing a thankful heart…”

1 Thessalonians 5:18

Thanksgiving Day is this coming Thursday. It is a day we gather with family and friends and give thanks. For many of us, circumstances in and beyond our control make having a thankful heart and giving thanks difficult. However, we are told to “be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thes 5:18 (NIV). If we allow our circumstances to dictate our thankfulness, or lack thereof, our lives, and joy, will rise and fall like the tide. We will be nothing more than yoyos. “If it is to be, it’s up to me.” It’s a saying we have all heard many times and is one that has absolute application here. How we choose to view our circumstances and allow them to impact our lives is solely up to us. If we will pursue a thankful heart and look for the good in the bad…the silver lining of the storm clouds…we will foster an attitude of faithful anticipation of the Almighty’s goodness. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 (NIV)

Challenge: It is much easier said than done when speaking of finding the blessings in life’s struggles. I’m not talking about smiling on the outside and while the inside is in shambles. That is only surface level and paper thin…and gets shattered by the smallest of trials. I’m talking about knowing that “…nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable – absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love …”(Romans 8:38-39 MSG), that an all loving, all powerful, all present, all forgiving, all sufficient Savior and God loves me, is my strong Tower, my Rock, and is a creating in me a foundation that weather any storm…and a life that can “give thanks in all circumstances.”

Prayer: Lord, Your word says to give thanks in all circumstances. I know that in my own strength and abilities it is impossible. However, you did not give us a spirit of fear but one of power, love, and self-discipline. In Your strength I can do all things. Lord, give me the strength to pursue a thankful heart. Lord, give me the ability to see You in everything…and to recognize Your blessings and provision in every circumstance. You tell me that that whatever I ask for in Your name, it will be given to me. Lord, I am so grateful that Your promises are true. Thank You for loving me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.      

For more information about Servant Warrior Ministries, visit www.servantwarriorministries.org.   

November 13, 2011

Radical:

“Narrow-Minded Simpletons…”

Luke 18:17

“Mark this: Unless you accept God’s kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you’ll never get in.” Luke 18:17 (MSG) Why do we have such a hard accepting the simple message of grace, unconditional love, and salvation? The word “simple” is not used to denote easy, it is used to mean uncomplicated…transparent. I interpret the words Christ spoke about God’s kingdom to say that unless we accept the message of grace, love, and salvation at face value, without clouding it up with any analytical, scholarly, or intellectual insight, we will miss the point entirely and could very well find ourselves on the outside looking in. It is difficult to relate to loving unconditionally and extending unconditional forgiveness to those we know, like, and love, much less those we don’t know, don’t like, don’t like us, etc…Why? As we go through life, the filter we see the things through is impacted by our experiences, knowledge, etc…Children, on the other hand, do not have those filters. They don’t look at anything beyond its face value…its simplicity. Isn’t it funny that the more knowledge we acquire, the less we are able to accept the most simple, basic, and transparent concepts.

Challenge:  There are those that tout a belief in the reality of heaven, grace, unconditional love, salvation, absolute truth, an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and loving God, and an all sufficient Savior who hung on a cross and died for the sins of humanity, past-present-future, is a naïve, narrow-minded, uneducated, and simpleton perspective and point of view. The world tell us that things that sound “too good to be true”…usually are. However, we are clearly told in God’s word that it will take a childlike faith in order to enter heaven. If we will humble ourselves and seek His wisdom ,and not our own, He will reveal a message of grace, forgiveness, freedom, salvation, and eternal life that truly is…“just that simple.”

Prayer: Lord, You are so worthy of my praise. Thank You so much for loving me…for Your grace and forgiveness. Lord, I know that from You comes all things. That includes knowledge, perspective, and wisdom. In today’s world of information overload, please help me accept Your simple, but life changing and eternal message of grace, love, and salvation as truth, and as You intended. In Jesus’ name. Amen.   

For more information about Servant Warrior Ministries, visit www.servantwarriorministries.org.   Also, make statement without saying a word. Visit www.dontdiestupid.net to find out how. 

November 6, 2011

Real:

“Teachable Moment Opportunities”

Colossians 4:5

If we are “real” and honest with ourselves, guilt often hits us more for the things we don’t do rather than the things that we do. You know the “I should’ve done this.” or “I should’ve done that.” Why is that? God is always providing teachable moment opportunities for us to share AND to receive. It is our job not to miss either.   A coach once addressed the kids in his PE class regarding how they should treat each other after hearing that one of the kids complained about another kid, one who was not quite as athletically talented, being placed on his team. Without calling out the young man who made the comment, the coach spoke to the entire group about treating others with respect and that we would ALL stand before God and be judged for every one of our words and thoughts. The following is an excerpt from an email the coach received by a parent of a child in the class who observed the “teachable moment opportunity”.

You did something I have never seen before. You really were able to get your point across to those kids. I could really see God moving in you. You are such a Godly man. You are great with the kids. I feel God has put you in all of their lives for a reason 🙂 I can honestly say you almost had me crying. The way you made them all sit and listen to you at the end of class. You telling them that God is watching and how he doesn’t like what some people do to others was one of the best talks I have ever seen to a group of kids. I get tears just thinking about it. Something else that you did was you didn’t just take boy who said it to the side and say, “You know you shouldn’t do that.” and then just leave at that. You did it in a way that was spiritual. I would like to Thank You from the bottom of my heart.”

Challenge: Galatians 6:10 tells us “…as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially those who belong to the family of believers.” And Colossians 4:5 challenges us to, “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. “ We never know when God is going to throw an opportunity our way that, depending on how we respond, could change someone’s life forever.

Prayer: Lord, looking back there have been so many times in my life I feel like I missed opportunities that You placed in my path. Forgive me. Please give me Your eyes, ears, and heart so I will be open to your divine appointments and recognize the opportunity and Your hand in all situations. In Jesus’ name. Amen. 

For more information about Servant Warrior Ministries, visit www.servantwarriorministries.org.   Also, make statement without saying a word. Visit www.dontdiestupid.net to find out how. 

Compromise…Not An Option

Posted: November 4, 2011 in Articles

Wow…I can’t believe it is already November. Fall is in full swing. Turkeys are feeling a bit uneasy. The anticipation of dressing and gravy, sweet potato soufflé (which, by the way, I only get at Thanksgiving and Christmas…despite my tantrums), and honey baked ham is almost too much to bear. The Lions and the Cowboys stay true to tradition and will once again ensure we have football on Thanksgiving Day. College football rivalries are at their peak. We find ourselves a bit more aware of the blessings in our lives. We make a point to thank and honor those men and women who have served their country, past and present, in our Armed Forces. For all who have served and who are currently serving, Thank You.  And, of course, we celebrate the birthday of the United State Marine Corps. Happy 236th Birthday, Marines. Oorah! Semper Fi.

It has been said many times that character is what happens when no one is watching. That is absolutely true. Unless we have the self discipline and the inner fortitude to do the right thing when no one is watching (of course, there is One who sees everything), chances are much greater that we will not have what it takes to stand our ground when it counts…when others are watching. In today’s world of instant gratification and eroding ethics, maintaining a high level of principles and living an uncompromising life is deemed…well…radical. The book of Daniel is definitely one of my favorite books of the Bible. No matter how many times I read it, I either learn something new or gain a new perspective. The stories of Daniel and the lion’s den and Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (better known as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego) being thrown into the fiery furnace are two of the most beloved stories of the Bible. Both stories end with God showing His faithfulness to those who love, trust, and follow Him. But we sometimes forget how God’s faithful servants ended up in the lion’s den and the furnace. Both situations resulted from an unwillingness to compromise principles, beliefs, and commitments to God despite the potential repercussions.  And in both stories, it could be argued that their (Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego) compromise could be justified given the societal perspective and potential outcome …death. I marvel at the unwavering conviction, courage, faith and fortitude of the three young men, likely in their late teens, as they stood before a merciless king and essentially told him that their God would come through and save them. But even if He didn’t, death by fire was more appealing than bowing before anyone, or anything, other than the God of heaven.  Wow…that is awesome.

That sentiment of “acceptable compromise” is alive and well today. For the majority of us, we will never face a situation where our choice of whether or not to compromise means the difference between life and death. However, we have all faced the choice between what we know to be right and what we know to be wrong, despite the choice’s level of “worldly acceptance”.  When there is an audience of only one…the One…it is sometimes easier to do what is right. But when we are out in public, with a group, or even our family, and presented with a choice of whether or not to stand our ground…maintain our principles…doing what we know is right is sometimes more difficult, especially when the only other person in the group that agrees with our position is God. Peer and societal pressures, eroding values, and the sentiment of “acceptable compromise”, put significant pressure on all of us, especially young men, to maintain a Godly perspective and stand firm in principles and values. Every day, it seems, we hear of men, many prominent and respected men of faith, succumb to the pressure and compromise their values and ethics. Our challenge…bottom line: “Be self controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” 1 Peter 5:8-9. We face choices every day. And even though we want to make the right ones, the ones that the Almighty would want us to make, we don’t always do it. However, there is an incredible thing called grace…and a promise that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. (Rom 8:39). Christ tells us that whatever we ask of Him in His name, He will do it. (John 14:14) So take Him up on His offer. Ask Him for the power to stand firm in faith when faced with choices large and small. Not sure you can? Remember… there is power in the blood of Jesus. And we can do everything through Him who gives us strength. (Philippians 4:13).

Until we meet again…keep it real…keep your focus vertical…and Armor Up.

 Don’t forget: Join the movement…wear the gear…spread the Message…and help save a soul. Make a powerful and life changing statement without saying a word. Visit www.DontDieStupid.net and get your limited edition “Don’t Die Stupid” t-shirt today. 

The above article was published in the November 2011 issue of Power Source Magazine (www.powersourcemagazine.com) and can be viewed HERE.