- Fri May 9, 2014
We men have some weird ways of proving our manhood, but that's because we have some strange ideas of what it means to be a man. Many of us did not have fathers who took us by the hand, and later stood shoulder to shoulder, to show us the way of the world. Many of us never had a dad acknowledge our manhood, which means we have been locked in a desperate search for someone, or something, that would acknowledge it.
Therein lies the problem. We spend our lives doing stupid stuff to try to fit in, prove ourselves in the heat of battle, or show off our abilities. Our focus is on what other guys think, whoever they are. But we are playing to the wrong audience. God Almighty is the only audience we need. When we play for God, we become God's men. It's His jersey, His team we're playing for.
And He has our number.
- Thu May 8, 2014
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 need to do something or be somewhere. It's choosing purity of mind and body and exercising spiritual discipline that honors God. It's saying no to impulses that place a higher priority on material things than on people. It's being real and honest rather than just preserving an image. It's giving away encouragement and praise rather than taking over the spotlight. It's staying childlike in our trust of God's way versus the world's way. It's caring more about God's opinion than man's opinion.
To gain Christ in our lives, we must lose the world. These's no such thing as peaceful coexistence on this battlefield. To lose the world, we must move against our fears, choose faith over feelings, and be convinced of Jesus's proposition that when we lose the world we gain Him: "Whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self? (Luke 9:24-25).
- Wed May 7, 2014
Have we gone blind? What can we expect from our across-the-board commitment to the middle ground? Don't we realize that our recent converts to Christianity will become just like us? Will it be a comfort to see them just as lazy regarding their personal devotion to Jesus as we are?
And don't we realize what our slack standards are costing us in our witness to the world?
In Revival Praying, author Leonard Ravenhill writes,
This present day is like an arena whose terraces are filled with the militant godless, the brilliant and belligerent skeptics, plus the blank-face heathen millions, all looking into the empty ring to see what the Church of the living God can do. How I burn at this point! What are we Christians doing? To use a very tattered phrase, are we just "playing church"?
- Tue May 6, 2014
Certain occasions signal or trigger prayer. In each of these cases, prayer is linked to a specific event. This kind of relationship with prayer is inculcated into communities of faith and has trained us to avail ourselves of prayer based on the setting or circumstances. And while these settings absolutely call for and should involve prayer, the practice of prayer should not have starting or stopping points, appropriate and inappropriate settings, or even certain set times. Search the Scriptures for boundaries into which prayer must fit and you will find none. Prayer belongs everywhere, anytime. For example:
- "One day Jesus told his disciples a story to illustrate their need for constant prayer and to show them that they must never give up" (Luke 18:1, NLT, emphasis added).
- "Pray at all times and on every occasion in the power of the Holy Spirit. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers" (Ephesians 6:18, NLT, emphasis added).
- Mon May 5, 2014
Oneness is no more automatic with Christ than it is with our wives. Our salvation is expressed in an ongoing process of spiritual growth in which we're strenuously involved.
Take sexual purity, for example. At a single moment, salvation freed us to be sexually pure. But in another sense, salvation gave us only the opportunity to be sexually pure. We still must chose oneness with Christ.
"It is God's will that you be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality" (I Thessalonians 4:3). Oneness, then, is an act. While feelings of intimacy flow from oneness, oneness itself is not a feeling. It's a state of being. Feeling regret over my sexual sins did not make me one with Christ. Preaching against sexual sins did not make me one with Christ. Walking purely makes me one with Christ. If I'm sexually pure, Jesus and I are one in this regard. If I'm not, we aren't.