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Why We all Struggle With Anger / All Scripture

Sermon of the Day: 

Audio: Why We all Struggle with Anger Part 1

Full Length Audio/Video: Why we all Struggle with Anger

2 Timothy 3:16-17 NKJV

16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Photo Credit: Trajans Market

Good Morning Men. I hope and pray this message finds you hungering for more of Jesus in your life.

My mornings did not always start off hungering for more of Jesus. In fact more of sleep was always the routine, however a small bit of advice led into a small morning habit that has grown through the years. That is the habit of spending time in God’s Word and in prayer.

The above verse has been on my heart all week, as I have been meditating on the power and grace that this book has to offer each one of us.

I truly believe the first thing each and every one of us needs to do is decide what kind of man, husband, father, employee, etc. we want to become. This personal discovery may be difficult or you may already know, but it is radically important. It is the end goal, or your Why if you will. The fact that you are reading this probably means that you want to be more Christ-like in all those areas. Along with the above verse I want to give some supportt about this amazing book called the Bible.

Hebrews 4:12

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

First of all God’s Word is alive and active. Men God inspired this Word, it is God-breathed and therefore has the power to impact you in ways that no other book can. So much so that it is sharper than any double-edged sword, because a sword can only penetrate you physically. With the right cut, the swords work is done. However with God’s Word it is constantly shaping and reforming the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

John 1:1-3

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.

There are entire books written on these few verses, so in no way am I capable to dive into the doctrine of these verses. The main thing to grasp here is that ‘The Word’ and Jesus are used interchangeably because they are one. To grow in our relationship with Jesus we need to know what He says and then learn to apply it.

Lets try and work backwards with some reverse engineering of our theme verse for today. I truly believe that if you are still reading this you desire to be man of God that is thoroughly equipped for everything you have and will have in your life.

In order to do that we need instruction in righteousness. We need to learn what that looks like in our day to day lives, and then how to apply it consistently so that our character gets shaped by these decisions. This happens as God’s Holy Spirit moves in our heart, convicting us of sin that may be present in our lives, in our actions, in our words. Certain sin may be a little more deeply rooted and will take time, intense and deliberate prayer. The thing to always remember is that Jesus welcomes us to come as we are. We were loved first by Jesus, knowing full well the sin we have in our life. The only way to lose that intimacy is if we ignore the Holy Spirit and don’t allow Him to become a part of all that we are. We don’t want to compartmentalize Jesus, only allowing Him into certain areas of our life.

Making the Word of God a priority in your life, with prayer and the fellowship of other believers will open times for correction and reproof. These are never fun, however they are absolutely necessary if we want to grow in our relationship with Jesus. One of my favorite sayings is that we must learn to become thick skinned and soft hearted. That means to be un-offendable but full of love and grace for others. These are delicate and difficult skills to master, but I truly believe we all can do it if we really want it.

Lastly is learning the doctrine behind scripture. Understanding what certain things mean in the context of the chapter, book, Bible and God’s entire sovereign will. We must grow in our knowledge of Gods Word by understanding all that is in it. However we must equally grow in the grace of God as well (2 Peter 3:18). To have His abounding grace as we love others through their hurt, pain and insecurities that may come off a little rough as we do live with other people. This is why the apostle Paul teaches us that we need the fruit of the Spirit. In fact a prayer I say almost daily is that God would grow His fruit in me.

Galatians 5:22-26 ESV

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

May the Lord bless you, May He make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you, May the Lord show His favor to you and give you peace (Numbers 6:24-26)

Heavenly Father help me to make your Word a priority in my life. Teach me, correct me, and guide me in your truth. Forgive me of all my sin as I surrender all to You and make You Lord over my entire life. In Jesus name I pray, Amen!


One Little Word / Start Asking God for More

Sermon of the Day: 

Full length Audio/ Video: One Little Word that Will Change Your Life

Audio: One Little Word that Will Change Your Life Part 1

Start Asking God for More : Four Reasons We Pray Less


Photo Credit: Desiring God

Article by: Gary Millar

Praying has always been hard for Christians. I once heard John Stott say that prayer was his greatest struggle in the Christian life, and I suspect he wasn’t alone. I’m also convinced that right now in the evangelical world we pray less than we used to. Why might that be?

In my lifetime (I’m 52), there has been a real shift in the way in which evangelicals pray. When I was a student in both Ireland and the UK, one of the defining features of University Christian Unions was the prayer meeting. Evangelical student groups had two main gatherings each week — one focused on Bible teaching, and the other dedicated completely to prayer. Almost universally, coming together to pray was a reliable index of a group’s spiritual maturity and commitment.

For most students, this pattern was replicated in their local churches, where Sunday’s teaching was accompanied by some kind of prayer gathering through the week. The vibrancy may have varied, but a commitment to prayer was at the core of church life. That is no longer the case. Very few churches I know of have a dedicated meeting for prayer.

Prayer Pushed to the Margins

Richard Lovelace, in a book called The Dynamics of Spiritual Life, writes this:

Ask evangelicals what the most essential condition of revival is, and they are most likely to point to prayer. In much of the church’s life in the twentieth century, however, in both Evangelical and non-Evangelical circles, the place of prayer has become limited and almost vestigial. The proportion of horizontal communication that goes on in the church (in planning, arguing, and expounding) is overwhelmingly greater than that which is vertical (in worship, thanksgiving, confession, and intercession). Critically important committee meetings are begun and ended with formulary prayers, which are ritual obligations and not genuine expressions of dependence — when problems and arguments ensue, they are seldom resolved by further prayer but are wrangled out on the battlefield of human discourse. (153)

Lovelace was writing in 1979. If our prayer habits have changed in the past forty years, they have gotten worse rather than better. Corporately, prayer has slipped further down the agenda. Individually, I suspect that prayer is the great guilty secret of the evangelical church. The important question is why.

Why Are We Praying Less?

I don’t think there is a single reason why prayer has slipped off our agendas, but there are several significant factors which make it harder to pray today than in previous generations.

1. The Rise of Bible Study Groups

In almost every church I know, a central midweek meeting which involved at least some focused time for prayer has been replaced by a series of home Bible study groups. Now please don’t mishear me — I think this change has been positive in many ways. But despite intentions, this move hasn’t led to more prayer. The typical pattern is that the study overruns and prayer gets squeezed. And the prayer requests? All too often we don’t get past praying for the sick or dealing with random requests passed to group members for other people.

2. The Increasing Ease of Life

For many people in the English-speaking world, life is better than it used to be. We are more prosperous and safer than ever before. Global terrorism is frightening, but compared to the specter of the Cold War, for example, it doesn’t have the same effect of driving people to pray.

3. The Dominance of Pragmatism

In the past thirty years, we have made a stunning array of technological advances. I now carry hundreds of times more computing power in my pocket than sat on my desk when I was doing my PhD. We have instant access to the entire repository of human knowledge. We can do things. Add to that the changes in church life — in many evangelical churches, the preaching is better, the music is better, the seats are more comfortable, and the strategy is more sound. So why would we pray?

4. The Availability of Good Teaching

A strange side effect of the staggering array of great teaching material online has been to reduce our sense that we need to pray for the preacher. In the bad old days, Christians were basically reliant on their own pastor for teaching. (It sounds bizarre, I know, but it was true.) That moved people to pray — in some cases, to pray very fervently! We knew our pastor’s weaknesses, his tiredness, the three funerals he had performed recently, his sick kids — so we prayed.

But now, if we are sitting in front of a screen watching or listening to a sermon preached by a guy we don’t know, in a place we’ve never been, to people we’ve never met, it isn’t quite the same. To put it bluntly, it doesn’t really matter to us if God showed up and addressed his people through his word that day. It doesn’t really matter what was going on in that church or in the preacher’s life. The only thing that matters is that he produces the goods. And we expect him to. We don’t need to pray, then; we just need to touch play. The connection between our prayers and the sermon is broken — and when that happens, it isn’t easily fixed.

I don’t think we can really argue against the claim that we are praying less. So what should we do? I am convinced that once we grasp what the Bible actually teaches about prayer, it makes a real difference in the way we think about it — and do it.

Relearning How to Pray

When we step back from the cultural factors that have made prayer more difficult, and instead return to what the Bible says about prayer, we will change both how we pray and what we pray. Consider first how Scripture shapes how we approach God in prayer.

Recognize Your Greatest Needs

Once we realize that God’s agenda for us is nothing less than transformation into the likeness of Jesus (Romans 8:29) — once we get the fact that God is passionate about enabling us to live wholeheartedly for him all day, every day for our whole lives (Matthew 22:37) — then our need to pray becomes rather obvious.

If we are asked to give a talk, teach a Sunday school class, lead a home group, meet to pray with someone else, or visit someone who is ill, can we do those things? Yes, we can. We can cut out the craft, prepare the lesson, read the passage, make the coffee, and get in the car and drive to the hospital. There are things that we can all do quite competently without being thrown into a blind panic. But can we do the work of God in our own lives or in anyone else’s? You must be joking! We may be able to go through the outward forms of all these activities, but apart from Jesus we can do nothing of lasting spiritual worth (John 15:5).

Paul Miller so helpfully says that “learned desperation is at the heart of a praying life” (A Praying Life, 98). And that desperation comes when we see the massive scope of God’s plans for us and our world. When we see our inability to do anything that makes any difference to ourselves or our world. When we see past what’s happening right now, and today, and tomorrow, to what God has been doing in us and our world, and to what God will do in us and our world. When we see how much we need God to change us by his Spirit, and to change other people by his Spirit. When we see these things, then we will start to pray — and keep praying.

Realize That Prayer Will Always Be Hard Work

There is a commonly accepted myth that if we are praying properly (if we are those who are really spiritual), then prayer will be a real breeze. This is not a new idea; it has been around forever. The problem is that it’s just wrong! Paul tells the Colossians that Epaphras, who is held up as a model of what it means to follow Jesus, is “always struggling on your behalf in his prayers” (Colossians 4:12). Prayer is hard work! A simple glance at Jesus’s prayer in the garden of Gethsemane shows beyond any doubt that prayer isn’t always a walk in the park (Matthew 26:36–46).

Let’s make sure we don’t think that if prayer is hard, that’s a problem — it’s supposed to be like that. Prayer is hard because we live in a fallen world. But it’s also hard because it is intricately linked to God’s lifelong work of transforming our lives. Do you find praying hard? Good — you are on the right track. Prayer is designed to be a key part of God’s lifelong work of transforming us right in the middle of a fallen world.

Pray Patiently and Look for Small Answers

We may not see the answers to all our prayers for God’s work in our lives. We will not wake up one morning to discover that, to our surprise, we are now really like the Lord Jesus. We will not realize, as we lie in bed one night, that now we know all there is to know about God. We will not see the complete answer to many of our prayers. At points, God in his kindness gives us grace-filled glimpses of what he has done in us. But more often than not, we will have to wait. So how do we remain patient and persevere in praying for the same things?

You know how, if you change your car, you suddenly become aware that there are, in fact, far more red Toyotas on the road than you realized? We need to go through the same kind of experience when it comes to prayer. We need to learn to see what’s already there.

I pray regularly for our girls to grow in their love for Jesus — but sometimes I don’t see what happens next as an answer to prayer. The searching question, the sight of one of them reading the Bible in her room, the selfless action that can only be because of grace at work, the uncomplaining commitment to church this week, the hour they spent talking to each other in their rooms, the opportunity to speak the gospel to their friends — these are all answers to prayer that I often miss. Recognizing these “small” things enables us to keep going, praying patient, persistent, gospel-shaped prayers.

Relearning What to Pray

What we should pray for is controlled by the gospel. Over and over again in the Bible, God tells us to ask for stuff because he is delighted to give. It’s no accident that all the words in the Bible for prayer mean basically the same thing. They don’t mean “meditate with a pious look on your face,” or “commune,” or anything other than simply this: ask.

That fits perfectly with the gospel, doesn’t it? The core of the gospel is that we have nothing, contribute nothing, bring nothing to God — we are rescued by grace alone through faith (asking!) alone. It shouldn’t come as a shock that prayer, which is made possible by the gospel and shaped by the gospel, works exactly the same way. The gospel tells us that God gives to us; we don’t give to God. So we need to ask. God has spoken to us; we talk back to him — and basically, that means asking! We ask for help to understand what God has done for us, to live in the light of what he has done for us, to hold on to what he has done for us, to show other people what he has done for us.

Get On with Asking

Now in one sense, we don’t need to get too uptight about this. In a marvelous passage in Luke 11:9–13, Jesus makes it clear that we are free to ask our Father for stuff, knowing that he won’t give it to us if it’s bad for us or bad for his kingdom (or just plain stupid!). So what should we do? Get on with asking!

I’ve learned a lot about this from Rebekah, our youngest daughter. Becky is both completely ridiculous in her asking, and also completely content to take no for an answer. “Daddy, can I have a car of my own?” “No, Rebekah.” “That’s fine, Daddy. Can we have a pet Tasmanian devil?” “No, Rebekah.” “That’s fine, Daddy. Can I take all my sisters’ precious things?” “No, Rebekah.” “That’s fine, Daddy.” I suspect that we are not far here from what Jesus means when he says that we must become like little children (Matthew 18:3–4). Children often have no problem asking, nor in trusting their parents to give them only what’s good for them.

The Focus of Our Prayers

But “ask anything” is not the burden of the Bible when it comes to prayer. The Bible is actually very explicit in telling us what we should be praying for — or at least what the focus of our prayers should be. That’s because there are some prayers which God has said he will always answer. And I would argue that the prayers that God has said he will always answer positively are those prayers which explicitly ask God to deliver on his new-covenant promises.

To put it more generally, God will always answer when we ask him to do his work through his word. So we should pray for God to do his new-covenant work through the gospel.

Become an Expert Ask-er

So, do you want to become an advanced pray-er? Then you don’t need a stopwatch. You don’t need to learn new contemplative methods. You don’t need to do knee exercises. But you do need to become an expert ask-er. This is gospel-driven prayer. You need to realize that without God helping you every step of every day you would make a train wreck of your life and the lives of those around you. You need to realize that the gospel preaches to us, “You are weak and sinful and flawed — but he is strong and gracious and good.”

And then you need to ask him to do what he has already promised to do — especially for the spread of the gospel. God will answer, because this is how he displays his goodness and glory in our broken world. Then keep going until that day when we won’t need to pray, because we will see our God and King face-to-face.

Trusting God / God’s Will, Obedience and Action

Sermon of the Day:

Audio: Trusting God When What He Does Doesn’t Make Sense Part 1

Full Length Sermon Video: Trusting God When What He Does Doesn’t Make Sense

1 Samuel 9:15-16 NKJV

15 Now the Lord had told Samuel in his ear the day before Saul came, saying, 16 “Tomorrow about this time I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin, and you shall anoint him commander over My people Israel, that he may save My people from the hand of the Philistines; for I have looked upon My people, because their cry has come to Me.”

Photo Credit: Rome

Good Morning Men. I hope and pray that you are hungry and thirsty for what God’s Word is going to speak to you today.

The above verse was pulled from a passage that has so much application in our lives. Let me share some of the context, however the best way to get the full picture, is to read 1 Samuel 8-9.

Today I want to draw out three things that I believe are of utmost importance for us to learn and apply in our lives as followers of Jesus Christ. However lets dive into some context first.

The Israelites have been crying out for a King. They have been warned by the prophet Samuel that this is not God’s will for them. Samuel has also warned them of how a king starts to treat the people over time (1 Samuel 8). Most importantly that they are not seeing the fact that God is their king and ruler, however the sinful bent in the human heart continued to pull them away from that.

If your like me, you may be wondering, whats wrong with having a king for these guys? They bring order, structure and good kings bring fruitfulness to the land. The direct conflict for the Israelites is that God has been their sovereign ruler all these years. God has led them out of Egypt, through the wilderness and now into the promise land among many other miracles. Yet now God is not good enough?

Although God will give into their request as you see in the verse above we must understand this was not God’s plan. I like to describe this as settling for God’s plan B rather than His plan A.

We must learn to trust God above all external circumstances in order to get His plan A for our lives. God’s plan A is His very best that He has designed for us before the foundations of the world were laid. As you see here, God may answer our prayers, just make sure those prayers are not forcing His hand. God’s worst will always be better than our best.

As the story unfolds we see that God gives in to their stubborn request, and decides to honor them by selecting a man to lead them. This man is shown to be a simple shepherd boy. In fact he states in 1 Samuel 9:21 that his family is the least of his tribe, and his tribe is the least of all the tribes.

God gave them a king that fit the physical appeal, because that is what they were looking for. God is going to reveal over time to them, that what our eyes see and desire is not how God sees things.

So the story unfolds as a young man name Saul is sent by his father to go look for some lost donkeys. Saul and his servant search all over the country side looking for these donkeys. When by God’s divine leading they have the idea to go see the prophet Samuel and get some advice. These two young men go seeking for donkey advice and end up with a whole different package.

As Saul and Samuel meet, God’s Word comes true as you see in the above verse. Many call things like this chance, you could call it an accident when you don’t know all the back story. You could even call it settling. We as followers of Christ have to understand that God is completely sovereign over everything. When i say everything, I mean everything.

The main takeaways here men is that God is orchestrating everything around you for His ultimate good and your ultimate joy. There are two things that needed to get activated in order for this to unfold. The first was obedience. Saul need to be obedient to his father and go search for the donkeys. Saul could have hid and pretended to go, like many kids or even adults do when they should be doing the right thing.

Secondly Saul acted. Saul took action, followed through on his obedience and went searching high and low for his fathers donkeys.

Men we have to learn to be obedient to the things we are supposed to be doing. When you are not sure what to do, just do the right thing. The right thing is usually an inconvenience, but when you put action behind obedience God can move. God can open doors for you that you never knew existed. God can bring people into your life that can help you, or you can help them. Either way God gets glorified when we are most satisfied in Him and obeying Him.

In closing, lets learn to pray God’s will. Don’t force His hand it will never end up God’s best for you. Secondly do the right thing, always be where your supposed to be, doing what your supposed to be doing. This is where obedience and action collide at full stride and God will move powerfully in your life. Aligning His heart with your heart, making His desires your desires.

Heavenly Father teach me to trust You so that I never force Your hand. I always want Your Plan A. Teach me to allow obedience and action to led me down paths of righteousness. So that Your name is magnified and glorified in all that I do and say. In Jesus name, Amen.


Overcome the Evil Aimed at You / Conquered by God

Sermon of the Day: 

Audio: Learning to Overcome the Evil Aimed at You : Part 1

Full Length Sermon: Learning to Overcome the Evil Aimed at You

Joshua 5:13-15 ESV

13 When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” 14 And he said, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the Lord. Now I have come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped and said to him, “What does my lord say to his servant?” 15 And the commander of the Lord‘s army said to Joshua, “Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.

Photo Credit: Greece 

Good Morning Men. My hope is you will be strengthened and encouraged this week through God’s amazing love and grace.

The above verse has always caught my attention and fascinated me. I decided to read a few things about the background of this passage. I wanted to know why Jesus showed up to Joshua like this.

I have attached an article for those of you that want to read the full story : The Captain of the Lord’s Army

To summarize what I have learned lets grab some context.

Joshua has recently taken over as the Captain of the Ship, the leader of the Israelites. They have just crossed over the Jordan river on dry ground which was a tremendous miracle (See Joshua 3). Now they are preparing to start conquering the people of the area to claim the promised land God has declared for them.

Joshua is approached by a very interesting individual. In fact Joshua is by Jericho, not in the camp of Gilgal with the people. Which means as the leader of the army he is undoubtedly scouting out their next battle. Preparing strategy and tactics with I’m sure his military leaders. Then out of nowhere a man with a drawn sword appears.

So who is this man?

There is no doubt by Bible Scholars this is none other than the pre-incarnate Christ. Jesus Christ the King of Kings and Lord of Lords has made an appearance to Joshua. Wow, this must be a big deal.

This battle is very important, but what is more important is how the heart of Joshua will be with each battle and conquest. Joshua is just like us, in the sense that we view struggles as how can I fix this? What resources do I have to resolve this problem?

We are going to learn here that is never how God wants us to view our problems no matter how big or how small.

Joshua poses a question:

“Are you for us, or for our adversaries?”

This is a very valid question, tension must be high, rumors are spreading and the Israelites are on enemy ground. However the mindset behind Joshua’s question is really the foundation for why Jesus is on the scene.

Jesus answers the question really with two parts; the first answer is: No. Secondly I’m not here to reveal a side I am here to take over. Joshua instantly recognizes this is no earthly being. Not only does his reaction of falling on his face and worshiping the Lord reveal that, but he is allowed to do that. Anytime people in the Bible bowed before angels they were told to stop.

Jesus is here to help Joshua understand that before they can conquer anyone, they must be conquered by God. Lets pull out a few principles.

First, many times we have the understanding the we rally God to our battles. Instead we need to fully surrender to the LORD, then follow Him.

Second, Jesus is reminding Joshua of His personal presence and His powerful provision. There are several examples throughout scripture where what is in the unseen is far greater than what is in the seen (Elisha and his servant, Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, and the ministering spirits described in Hebrews 1).

So what can you and I work on to live this type of surrendered life before an almighty God.

First thing is we have to know and remember that we are called to be God’s servant. We must have a servants heart that longs to please our master. This heart is exemplified all through scripture. Secondly we need to understand that whatever our struggle is, this is a holy calling. God has called us to walk as children of light, proclaiming His name through how we live. Both of these are expressed in 1 Peter 5:6-7.

The next thing is we have to be in God’s Word with a listening ear. We have to approach His Word with a hungry and expectant heart that is ready to receive, hear and apply.

Lastly, our normal reactions may be to find activity and run ahead. Trying to make things happen in our own strength and resources. When what we need to do is worship and inquire of the LORD.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the example of Joshua that I have to learn and draw out transformational principles. Help me to learn to always surrender to You and follow You. Help me to always remember you are always with me, and your provisions are far greater than I could ever understand. Help me to have eyes to see and ears to hear. Teach me to walk out the holy calling you have on my life as I worship and inquire of You each and every day. I thank you and praise you for all You are. In Jesus name, Amen.


God’s Best for Your Life / Leadership is Influence

Sermon of the Day: 

Daniel: Learning to Get God’s Best for Your Life

1 Corinthians 10:23-24 ESV

“All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. 24 Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.

Photo Credit: Rhodes, Greece 

Good Morning Men. I hope and pray this message finds you well in the Lord.

This week I wanted to highlight a few leadership principles that jumped out at me from the teachings of the Apostle Paul.

Every single one of us is a leader in some way shape or form. Although their are many ways we could all define leadership. I believe the most all-encompassing definition is that: leadership is influence.

Throughout our day we all are influencing someone. If your a husband, a father, a manager, supervisor, friend or relative. Of course this list is not exhaustive. I hope you get my point. We all influence people around us by how we act, things we do and say. In some relationships we have greater influence than others. At times we may be influencing people and not even knowing it.

So lets extract what Paul is teaching us.

All things are lawful, but not all things are helpful.

All things are lawful, but not all things build up

As a Christian or leader we have extreme liberty to come and go as we please. Jesus Christ has paid the ultimate price for you and I so that we can have this freedom.

When we make decisions about the things we do or say, who does that decision benefit the most?

If that choice benefits you the most, or you are centered in that decision. Understand you may be influencing in a way that could be producing undesirable fruit.

As leaders we need to start asking is this helpful for everyone I am influencing in this decision? Will this decision build people up, or tear them down? Will I cause someone to stumble in their faith because of this decision? Or will I cause a non-believer to be turned off by my decisions or actions?

Honestly, this can be tough. Especially if you are a new believer. You may also have been a believer for many years, but maybe you have not been applying this type of decision matrix. Remember that years as a believer really does not equal maturity.

Maturity in our faith or leadership is expressed by the decisions we make. Do I benefit most from my decisions or do others? Am I willing to give up things, or not say certain things that could cause harm so that others may benefit? Technically others don’t even have to benefit, it could just be so that others do not stumble. Or follow poor leadership decisions and continue a cycle that is not helpful or does not build up.

The key to tying all this together lies in the last statement of our verse.

Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.

We could cite many verses that mention this statement of what living like a Christian is all about. Loving your neighbor as yourself. However I will share one of my favorites, because it is an amazing call to arms. A call to really decide how you want to live and why.

Luke 9:23 NIV

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.

Leadership is about putting others before yourself. Leadership is 100% responsibility and 0% rights. Although technically we may think we have all the right, especially if our leadership role has some power, persuasion and rank.

My hope is that the Lord will stir you and I on to good works through good decisions. Not because we have to, but because we want to.

Heavenly Father, teach me to do all things in a way that is helpful and builds others up. Help me live a life of positive influence so that Your name is glorified. Give me the strength and humility to carry my cross and deny myself daily so that I may follow You wholeheartedly. In Jesus name, Amen.

Give God What He Wants / Integrity

Sermon of the Day:

Abraham: Learning to Give God What He Wants the Most

Joshua 24:14 NKJV

“Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord!

Photo Credit: Illuminations

Good Morning Men. My hope and prayer is this message finds you strengthened in the Lord and His goodness towards you.

The above verse is a part of a theme that has been continuing to pop up on my radar this past week. That theme is integrity. In this devotion I would like to share a few verses and concepts that have entered my field of vision this week. Hopefully they are an encouragement and a compass for all of us to readjust and focus on.

So in the above verse Joshua is talking to the Israelites as they are stepping out of the wilderness and beginning to conquer the promise land, the land of Canaan. Over the last 40 years they have seen the wrath of God multiple times for disobedience, lack of faith, idolatry and everything in between.

As they prepare for what God has for them, Joshua needs to give them a clear warning and reminder.

“…Fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and truth…”

For some of us, especially for those of us that may be new in our faith journey. The concept of fearing the Lord may sound a little different. However this fear is a holy fear, a healthy fear that understands our role and place in the context of an almighty God.

Lets look at a few verses that highlight this.

Proverbs 14:2 NKJV

He who walks in his uprightness fears the Lord,
But he who is perverse in his ways despises Him.

What does this mean to walk in uprightness?

I’m sure there could be many definitions, however I heard a great concept that is the opposite of walking in uprightness. That concept is called Situational Integrity. This is an integrity that varies depending upon the situation or people we are with. This is not a place we ever want to be. This is what Joshua is warning the Israelites about. That is why he tells them ‘put away the gods your fathers served on the other side of the river’. In other words stop being double minded. Lets be true to God.

Proverbs 14:27 NIV

The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life,
    turning a person from the snares of death.

When we can learn to fear the Lord in a healthy way it becomes a fountain or wellspring of life. Allowing the best of you to be an outpouring into every area of your life. Most importantly turning us from decisions, or actions that will be death to us. Spiritual death happens when sin is not dealt with correctly and becomes destructive in our life with other people. Sin will also destroy our relationship with God.

Psalm 145:18

The Lord is near to all who call on him,
    to all who call on him in truth.

So how do we live this out? How do we serve the Lord with sincerity and truth? Call on Him in truth?

There are a million answers we could reference, however lets just look at a starting point for all of us. This starting point is an area we all can work on and should want to improve on.

That starting point is Integrity. Within integrity there are three words we can pull out and make a concentrated effort to focus on in our daily lives.

Humility -Honesty – Transparency

These words do not need definitions, we all understand these words. The part we do need to understand and work on is how we can live these out in every situation in our lives. When these words are lived out in our lives there is no such thing as situational integrity for us.

Remember that God is more concerned with your character than your comfort. God wants you and me to be known and described by these words. Not for our benefit or people pleasing desires, but because when we say we are Christians, or your co-workers know you go to church, or they see you praying over your lunch at work. You now represent God. You are His ambassador.

So how are you going to choose to represent Him?

We have two choices, situational or in sincerity and truth.

Heavenly Father, I humbly come before you and ask that you help me to fear You. Develop a holy and reverent fear of who You are in me. Let a fountain of life pour forth from my life. Teach me to walk uprightly before you. That I may call upon You in truth. Let humility, honesty and transparency define who I am in You. That I may be a light for You in all that I do. Thank you Father. In the name of Your Son Jesus. Amen.

Overcome Hypocrisy / Change…Then

Sermon of the Day: 

How to Overcome Hypocrisy in Your Public Life 

Romans 12:2-3 NLT

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.

Photo Credit: Mt. Rushmore

Good Morning. My hope and prayer is this devotion finds you hungering for more of Jesus, the author and giver of life.

The goal today is to piggy back on last weeks devotion. My hope is to bring a few of the words in these verses to life in connection with last weeks verse. Then make a parallel between these three verses that I believe the Apostle Paul is painting for us.

As a recap, last week we discussed a powerful equation that is relevant for every area of our lives:

Gratefulness = Maturity

Relating to Romans 12:1, our gratefulness of God’s Mercy will develop a maturity that allows us to walk in Gods Power. Pursuing holiness through developing into a living sacrifice.

Verse 2 is now going to challenge us to not follow the world, don’t copy the behaviors, patterns or customs of the world. Which sounds totally great, I’m sure all of us, agree with that 100%.

The problem is, are we living that?

Well lets do a self test based on verse 2. Paul says: ‘let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.’

Self test #1: Do you still think the same way you did before you were saved?

I am not talking about the random thoughts that come to our minds. That is an entirely different topic. I’m specifically talking about firm opinions and beliefs. Especially those that do not line up with God’s Word.

Self test #2: Your answer to test #1 is; No. Do you believe your thinking now is good enough and no longer needs to be changed?

My hope is no matter were we are on our personal journey, all of our answers to this question is a massive, clear black and white, No.

Which I am sure most if not all of us would probably agree with that. “Of course I don’t think my thoughts are good enough”.

If that is the case, then one more question: What are you doing to improve and change the way you think?

Of course all of this is easier said then done, and there could be a million combinations of thought, reason and logic that we all could go in circles on. My goal men is to get all of us really looking within. Start challenging your thought patterns. Does this thought, opinion or belief line up with God’s Word? Am I willing to admit that maybe the way I think about a certain topic is not entirely correct? Am I willing to not be easily offended when someone else has a different viewpoint? So in other words, my thought pattern is okay, but it affects my actions which are not too okay.

Why is this important? Well lets look at the bridge in verse 2. When we can allow God to transform the way we think, which happens through living out His Word; day in and day out…THEN!

Then and only then, will we learn to know God’s will for our lives.

Men that is just mind blowing for me, and my prayer is that these words I have typed have portrayed that power shift that needs to happen.

I know all of us reading this want to know God’s will for our lives. I know all of us want to live more for the glory of God. I know that because you are reading this. We gotta get real with ourselves. Lets look at verse 3.

Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.

This verse is so interesting in light of the previous two. So we were told by Paul to not be conformed to the world, we need to renew our mind. Change the way we think, not adjust a little. But CHANGE.

Humility is screaming out of verse 3. I believe Paul is pointing at the dangers of self righteousness and legalism in light of presenting ourselves as a living sacrifice. Our human nature loves to elevate our self image when we think we are doing better than others. Paul is trying to squash that very quickly here.

Men, what if all of us could really learn to walk by God’s Spirit and live this way!? Do you think we could have a greater impact for the Kingdom of God in our daily lives??

My answer is absolutely.

One more test. Sometimes our self-evaluation is a little skewed. A wise man once told me, “If you want to know how good of a Christian you are, ask a non-believer.”

Let me close with a few cliff note equations that help me summarize all this:

Humility / Honest Self-Evaluation –>Mindful / Grateful of God’s Mercy –> Living Sacrifice —> True Worship

Humility / Honest Self-Evaluation –> Do not follow the world –> Renew Your Mind –> God’s Will for You

Heavenly Father, my heart longs to enjoy deep and rich intimacy with You. Teach me to walk in line with Your Spirit. Help me to honestly evaluate my life, I confess my sin before You. Cleanse me, wash me and make me whole in You. Teach me to be honest in my evaluation of myself. Change the way I think, transform my thought life to be in line with Your Word. That I will not follow the patterns of this world. Renew my mind, fill my heart with gratefulness of Your mercy. That I may present by body as a living sacrifice, enjoying true worship and living out Your Will for my life. In Jesus name, Amen.

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