Archive for the 'Life Lessons' Category

Nov 20 2007

Separate the Men (A Reflection)

Published by under Life Lessons

Where are the Men of Old that we read about in the scriptures, Men of renown that were willing to stand up for their convictions?

Where are those who would say “This far and no farther shall we go”?

And what of those who would shout from the hilltops that a Loving God does not equal a Blind Fool?

Where are the Abraham’s, the Noah’s, the Daniel’s, the Jeremiah’s, the Peter’s and the Paul’s?

What has become of the Men of God that we should be silenced in this lost and dying world?

The Book of Hebrews called them Men of Faith, who feared the Lord more than the reprisal of this world.

Many of these men died without ever having seen the promises that God gave them come to pass in their lifetime. And yet, stand they did.

Others were tortured and killed and of them the scripture states, “the world was not worthy of them”. Hebrews: 11-38

And how does my life stand up to this critique? After my time down here has run its course, how shall I be measured? And how shall my Lord welcome me?

These are the questions that burn, or should burn, within the Man of God. And I think I’ve had my fill of the Metro-sexual Preachers that plague our pulpits and airwaves. Give me a John the Baptist or a Joshua who said, “But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD”. Joshua: 24-15

I long to see the likes of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who, when confronted with death, declared that even if God did not spare them they would not bow down before King Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel chapter 3.

But bow down we have. On our jobs, in our marriages, with our children, and with God’s people, we bow down and cave in to the predominant philosophy of our time.

And how, one might ask, have we done this? By the same way that Adam relinquished his position by yielding to the counsel of his wife. By the same way Esau forfeited his birthright to his brother for a bowl of soup. And by the same way countless Christian Men have made of non-effect the authority in Christ that has been given them.

We simply laid it down. The reasons for this may be numerous, and yet lay it down we have. For a brief reprieve from our spouses, or to please a difficult boss, or to pacify a wayward child, or even perhaps for a few moments of pleasure, the Men of God have abandoned their posts and left their God given Call to Duty in the hands of someone else.

Let me ask another very important question, and one that I believe is the hinge upon which this topic is fastened. In your mind, as a Man of God, what separates the Men from the Boys?

Apart from our willingness to admit that we need Christ to save us and are, in fact, all together unworthy of His love, what is the deciding factor between the Mature Steadfast Christian Man and the Foolhardy Immature Unstable Boy?

Is it not by realizing and accepting that, as Men, this world is not about what is “Convenient” or “Pleasurable” for us? As Christian Men, our priority is about looking after that “Which has been Entrusted to Our Care”. And this we do because we alone must give an account to the Lord for the responsibilities He has mandated.

After the events leading up to the Fall of Man in the Garden of Eden had transpired, who did God initially come to and ask for an account? Was it the Serpent or Eve? No, it was Adam that He addressed and questioned.

The reply Adam gave, which was to blame someone else, held no water with God then, nor does that holey bucket fare any better today.

So, what now? We have laid down the Scepter and how shall it be recovered?

With prayer, diligence, and fortitude the Man of God MUST reclaim it.

1) Let us not leave the Spiritual Education of our children to our wives and Sunday School Teachers.

2) Realize that our responsibility to our families is not only a financial one.

3) Be willing to consult with our spouses over important decisions and be a Husband.

4) Pray over our financial decisions, as this is a primary cause for divorce.

5) Guard our Eyes and our Hearts. The Master sees what’s done in secret.

6) Raise our sons to be men of Dignity and Honor. They are our Mirror Image.

7) Don’t be afraid to object to your Daughter’s fashion. She will thank you later.

8) Establish and take a position on your Biblical Convictions, and study God’s Word.

9) Find a Ministry and get involved. Guys, nothing will please your woman more.

10) A Quote: “Pray as if everything depended upon God and work as if everything depended upon man.”

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Oct 27 2007

We All Have Our Isaac’s

Published by under Life Lessons

Genesis 21:1-5

21:1 Now the LORD was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did for Sarah what he had promised. 2 Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him. 3 Abraham gave the name Isaac to the son Sarah bore him. 4 When his son Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him, as God commanded him. 5 Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.

Genesis 22:1-18

22:1 Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!”

“Here I am,” he replied.

2 Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.”

3 Early the next morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. 4 On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. 5 He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”

6 Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, 7 Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”

“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.

“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”

8 Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.

9 When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”

“Here I am,” he replied.

12 “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”

13 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.”

15 The angel of the LORD called to Abraham from heaven a second time 16 and said, “I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, 18 and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”

1) Abraham was _ _ _ years old when his son was born.

2) Abraham did not _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ when God commanded him.

3) God _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Abraham for his obedience.

Hebrews 11:17-19

17 By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, 18 even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” 19 Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death.

James 2:21-24

21 Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. 24 You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.

1) Abraham responded in _ _ _ _ _ when God tested him.

2) God accounted his obedience as _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Psalms 17:1-3

Hear, O LORD, my righteous plea;

listen to my cry.

Give ear to my prayer–

it does not rise from deceitful lips.

2 May my vindication come from you;

may your eyes see what is right.

3 Though you probe my heart and examine me at night,

though you test me, you will find nothing;

I have resolved that my mouth will not sin.

How do we respond when God examines our hearts and puts us to the test?

Can we say with sincerity that he will find nothing hidden in our heart?

Have we resolved to not sin and be bitter when we go through the trials?

Luke 8:11-15

11 “This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13 Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. 14 The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. 15 But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.

In the parable of The Seed Sower where would we find ourselves in this story?

Do we fall away in the time of testing and are we choked by life’s worries?

Do we really believe the passage in Romans that says;

Romans 8:26-32

26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will. 28 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. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. 31 What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all-how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

Let’s Read On:

Hebrews 12:1-11

12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

4 In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons:

“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, 6 because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.” 7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8 If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! 10 Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

Hebrews 12:14-15

14 Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.

Ouch! Now that hurts a little, doesn’t it? Sometimes we lose sight of the fact that God is preparing us for eternity and he has our best interest at heart.

1) When we lose sight of this, _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ sets in.

2) And when left unchecked, we can become _ _ _ _ _ _.

3) Afterwards, _ _ _ _ _ _ takes hold and we no longer _ _ _ _.

In Closing: Let’s look at the words of Jesus when asked about the greatest command. And remember this, no matter how noble the cause, anything that means more to us than our relationship with Him is _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _.

Matthew 22:34-40

34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

 

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