From the streets of inner cities to the most isolated deserts and mountains, men of all ages are fighting a war waged against them both physically and spiritually. The battle begins at birth and ends at death. Unfortunately, we live in a time and era where people are tired of war and think about peace. That is a great desire. All of us would love to live in relative peace and harmony, but this is not possible for men. Much like the extreme Muslim terrorists who repeatedly work at penetrating our borders and attacking innocent people, Satan sends his minions to do the same in every spot on this planet.
God is faithful to provide knowledge of His enemy, tactical considerations for obedient living, brothers for the battle, and armor for engagements. He wants us equipped to live and war as strong men, mighty warriors. Like Jesus, both men and women in a local church should don His spiritual armor every day as he moves out into the battlegrounds of life.
For most of us the holidays are great times of hope, peace, and joy. Unfortunately, for others they bring grief, pain, and depression. Don't give the enemy a foothold in your life.
"Elijah was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain, and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months," (Jas. 5:17). Elijah is here brought before us as an example of what may be accomplished by the earnest prayers of one "righteous man," (v. 16). Ah, my reader, mark well the descriptive adjective, for it is not every man, nor even every Christian, who obtains definite answers to his prayers. Far from it! A "righteous man" is one who is right with God in a practical way: one whose conduct is pleasing in His sight, one who keeps his garments unspotted from the world, who is in separation from religious evil, for there is no evil on earth half so dishonoring and displeasing to God as religious evil (see Luke 10:12-15; Rev. 11:8). Such a one has the ear of Heaven, for there is no moral barrier between his soul and a sin-hating God. "Whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight," (1 John 3:22).(1)
I am afraid far too many today are more self-righteous than Christ like.
(1) AW Pink, The Life of Elijah, Chapter 3
I want to personally thank all those military veterans who have or are currently serving our country. In a world that is increasingly open anti-Christian, your service has and always will be condoned and respected by our sovereign God. Your willingness to sacrifice so others may live is a Christlike attribute and often overlooked by most non-veterans. This is true regardless of your faith.
God bless you this Veteran's Day.
In John 1, John the Baptist gave the first public confirmation of who Jesus is. The next day, two of John’s disciples decided to follow Jesus. Seeing them follow Him, Jesus asked them, “What do you want?” They replied by asking, “Where are you staying?” Jesus begins His ministry with a few basic but powerful words, “Come and you will see.” Andrew went to Simon his brother and claimed to have found the Messiah. He then brought him to Jesus. The next day Jesus found Phillip and said to him, “Follow me.” Phillip then found Nathaniel and told him about Jesus. Nathaniel reacted with uncertainty. Phillip’s response to Nathaniel is a classic example of mentoring and discipleship. He said, “Come and see.”
It is crucial for men to find like-minded brothers who are seeking truth and want to make an impact in the world. After meeting Christ and finding out He is the Messiah, they discuss this fact with their friends and family. The way Christ leads His disciples models the importance for joining a band of Christian brothers and learning to minister to others.
As God’s men learn to live as disciples of Christ, they will naturally develop a similar progression as the first New Testament band of brothers. They start out as followers, become friends, and then (as mature disciples) faithfully discharge their mission to go make disciples of all nations.
A godly man or woman views the workplace as an opportunity to represent the face of God as he or she lives and works to help transform their lives and the lives of those around them. When this takes place, men and women work on earth to do jobs while they look to God to supply their needs, provide for their families, and lead others to a saving knowledge of Christ.
The workplace is an outstanding environment for evangelism and witnessing. As odd as it may seem to most Christians reading this blog, there are far more opportunities to share the faith than there are hindrances to speaking the truth of Scripture.
All men regardless of their race, region, or religion are born into a world at war, a spiritual war that makes earthly battles pale by comparison. This war involved the first man at the Garden of Eden when he allowed his wife to listen to the serpent and take control over the spiritual leadership of his family (Genesis 3:1-7). Homes have been at war with Satan and each other ever since. The war will not stop until Christ returns and throws His enemy into the lake of fire, which was prepared for the devil and all his angels (Matthew 25:41). It is an epic story of good versus evil.
In this story the enemy of God wages heavy warfare against all mankind. If you take a look, you will see constant attacks on anything that promotes or builds godliness into men and women. Satan hates masculinity that reflects the true manhood of Jesus and femininity that reflects the true fruit of the Spirit. Christ waged spiritual warfare with Satan and won. The battle between Jesus and Satan is a classic example of what Satan attempts to do to destroy God's men and women, and Jesus’ response shows how His people can defeat Satan’s attacks (Matthew 4:1-11).
So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. I hated all the things I had toiled for under the sun, because I must leave them to the one who comes after me (Ecclesiastes 2:17-18).
The majority of people in America today has said or at least heard someone make the satirical comment that work is a four-letter word. The term “four-letter word” refers to words that have four letters and are considered profane.
Occasionally the phrase four-letter word is a humorous way to describe any word composed of four letters when someone feels frustrated or angry. This is generally the case when someone claims work is a four-letter word. The individual speaking wants to treat work as unpleasant and shares this as a slight bit of satire. On some occasions people refer to golf as a four-letter word because the player's past or present performance becomes an exercise in frustration and futility. The truth is all forms of work and sometimes our play can be filled with frustration and futility. Like the verse listed above, people can get so frustrated that they hate the life they live and the people they know at work. That is not a joke!
The recurring idea that God’s creation is good stands in contrast with pagan versions of creation. Most pagan cultures picture the world as a dark place from which to escape while the biblical account shows the world as beautiful place in which to enjoy. God provides beautiful and wonderful things for His creatures including a plan for worship, work, and rest In six days He created light, darkness, water, vegetation, animals, livestock, and human beings. After completing His daily work, God would look at the accomplishments and see it was good(Genesis 1:13, 18, 21, 25, 31).
Take some time today to look past the ugly parts of our human behaviors and seek out the beauty of His creation. I love the fall for its changing colors and picturesque landscapes. Thank you God for changing season and radiant colors.
Grace provides forgiveness but not forgetfulness. Take for example the life of Manasseh (2 Chronicles 33:1-20; 2 Kings 21:1-10). He is considered one of the worst Kings who humbled himself in Assyrian exile, was heard by God, forgiven of his sins, and returned home (33:10-13). Manasseh reigned 55 years but did a lot of evil in leading the nation before his repentance.
His sins included: murder, oppression, idolatry, and witchcraft. He erected altars to the Baal's, made Asheroth poles, worshiped the stars, burned his sons as an offering, used fortune-telling, omens and sorcery, and dealt with mediums and necromancers. I find it interesting and scary that although he repented and tried to right the wrongs with a spiritual reformation, the people continued to sacrifice at the high places (17). A half a century of raw paganism could not be counteracted by a half a dozen years of reform. The sad part is that God spoke to Manasseh and the people but they refused to listen (33:10).
Here is the kicker, although God forgave him, restored him to the throne, and led him in his reformation, Manasseh is still credited more than any other person as responsible for the final destruction to the kingdom of Judah (2 Kings 23:6; 24:3; Jeremiah 15:4). So, does God extend grace and mercy? Yes, but He will also hold us accountable for our sins and this includes the sins of our nation.
What will you be held accountable for?
Some thoughts for today.
- Throwing sons into the fire - Abortion on demand...
- Worshiping the Stars - Horoscopes daily...
- Worshiping Baal's and Asheroth poles - Pornography on demand...
- Conducting Omens, Sorcery, Mediums and Necromancers - Speaking with the dead, Ghost stories...
Take a moment to think about this question: What is the main product produced at Boeing? Although it is true that Boeing is the world’s largest aerospace company and leading manufacturer of commercial jetliners, aircraft, planes and jets are not its end product. Boeing’s primary purpose is to produce air transportation. They make planes and jets that satisfy a wide range of aviation transportation needs.
Considering this illustration, what is the product of the church? If you say godly people, you are correct. The church should be producing godly people who reflect the character of Christ. However, like aircraft, godly people are a means to an end. The final product of a local church is a transformed world. Just as Boeing fulfills its purpose to meet air transportation needs every time it manufactures an aircraft, the local church needs to realize that the purpose of building Christ-like men and women is to transform a hurting world.
What is your church producing?