Man_Up

Hope and expectation should never be overlooked when it comes to ministry. Much is said about faith and consistent living when it comes to being over comers. It is not possible to be successful without hope and realistic expectation. Don’t overlook them.

We recently returned from a trip Costa Rica where we were privileged to witness first hand for ourselves the culture and the atmosphere of some ministry there. It was eye opening to say the least. You can see pictures and videos do a little more however nothing is like the experience of being there. If you are reading the reports that you can retire on next to nothing and live in certain areas like kings it may not all be true. The culture and lifestyle of the normal inhabitants of Costa Rica was much different than what we expected.

I can’t say that we really knew what to expect except I guess we expected it to be easier to communicate. There are a number of people who are not American transplants that do speak English but I am convinced now that most do not. The man who drove the shuttle arranged by the place where we stayed spoke pretty fluent English. Without too much trouble we were able to communicate. Twice we were given directions to a given location, which is interesting, and the cab driver did not speak any English. That was not fun. As a matter of fact there are certain times as we look back now that it could be very dangerous. Easy communication as it turned out was not a realistic expectation.

We were fortunate to be able to observe a Children Worker Conference which took place at the Bible Institute. It reminded me a lot some of the camps we were privileged to be a part of as our children were growing up. The people were from all over the region. You could tell from their appearance that they were not there to impress anyone or on vacation. They were there to learn and progress in their commitment to fulfill what God had called them to do. They were just there to learn how to recognize opportunity and utilize their abilities to reach children for Christ. There was one thing they seemed to have in common with one another from the looks on their faces and their actions. Hope! They were excited and hopeful about what they were learning and the results that would follow.

The disappointments and discouragements in life associated with failures  and misunderstandings and unexpected situations can absolutely destroy being able to look to the future with any hope. That is just a fact of life we need to accept. Because that is true we need to constantly feed and reinforce hope and realistic expectation in our lives. We must trust that God is in control and He has a specific goal in mind.

Man_Up and be the man that God wants you to be.

 

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Man_Up

We have discussed the importance of hope in pursuing fulfillment or success in our lives but do we view it as essential. When I say essential I mean necessary. Do we really believe that it is absolutely necessary to obtain the success that we are looking for without hope?

I hope that the conclusion we come to is yes. I not only subscribe to the belief that it is a contributing factor but maybe the only contributing factor that will carry through. Think about it. Hope is established by our experiences that we have in life. We face circumstances or are put in the position to have to deal with hardships and as we experience the faithfulness or mercy or grace of God that delivers us from the hardship to the answer then hope is established in our lives. It is extremely important to keep track of God’s intervention.

We are also inspired or encouraged by the word of God. Scripture declares that it exists for that purpose. It is that inspiration or encouragement that causes us to believe. When we act on that belief it is referred to as faith. As we utilize faith and allow God to establish in us that He is who He is and He can and will do just as He said, then hope is established.

As we go through life we are confronted by things that have the potential to absolutely destroy us. Abraham’s body was old but the word says that he hoped against hope. It is not a false sense of security. It is being sure of what you know. It is trusting in God and believing that He is able. It is not just a way but the only way we will see ourselves through life. It is impossible to please God except to believe that He is and trust He will come through. That can be summed up by the one word hope. Hope is absolutely essential for our success in life.

Man_Up and be the man that God wants you to be.

Hope is important

November 8, 2011

Man_Up

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. We have all heard the scripture preached about with the emphasis on the greatest of these is love. There is no doubt that love is the greatest because that is exactly what it says but we should not overlook the importance of hope in our walk with Christ. We know that we are going to be tested. We should know that at some point the very core of our belief will be challenged and when it is we will be shaken. When that time comes we are going to have to be totally convinced that God is for us and that He is able to fulfill what He said He would.

Job said even though God kill him he would still praise Him, however later he became so depressed that he cursed the day that he was born. Jeremiah became so depressed and discouraged that he said he couldn’t do it any longer. He quit until God was able to revive him to the place that he said I have to speak for it is like fire shut up in my bones. Ezekiel was an emotional wreck when he fell to his face and said are you going to kill them all. They each knew the truth. They each were subjected to the stress of their belief being challenged. They had lost or for some reason could not access hope. Life with no hope has the potential to destroy us.

It was hope that sustained Abraham when his core was tested. The word confesses that he believed that God would raise his son from the dead if needed. This same hope was the decisive factor that Jesus gave His life on the cross. He confessed that if He lay His life down God would raise Him again. Having that hope is absolutely essential for our success in overcoming this life. We are to believe that God is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. We are commanded toward strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us.

Hope is important. It is brought about by exercising faith and patience. In Romans we are told whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. What that means plainly is that we must be actively involved in the process of grasping that hope that God has for us.

Man_Up and be the man that God wants you to be.

Hope for today

October 31, 2011

Man_Up

One of the most important things we need for today is hope. We have come a long way in this world as it pertains to things of lifestyle accommodations. We travel around the world relatively easy. We communicate with others around the world somewhat comfortably. However the amount of stress that is experienced by most individuals seems to be more than ever. The stress related to jobs, the economy, families, self evaluated performance seem to exceed what many can handle. That concerns me for God says that He will not allow any to come against us that we are not able to handle. So something is obviously missing. I believe that ingredient is hope.

We need to be hopeful. I am not talking about a false sense of security. I am not talking about dreams of a fairy tale life that only good things happen. I am talking about the reality that disappointments and unexpected situations will occur but that is not what defines our outcome. It is God who determines and defines our outcome. Our hope is accomplished or gained by our participation in faith and patience. By faith we act on or pursue what we believe in or for. That same belief or trust in causes us to patiently or confidently wait or endure for. That doesn’t sound very enjoyable if you are going through a severe situation right now because we all feel as though we have been faithful and that we are being patient because and we assume they both entail a continued state of suffering and that’s not what we want to hear.

Listen to these words from Jeremiah chapter 29 and verse 11 that were spoken by God to Jeremiah.  For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, plans to give you a future and a hope. They simply state that He (God) has a plan that is good and that He is for us. I believe this. Nothing will ever take the place of fulfillment. However something has to take in between and that is faith and patience. That faith and patience depends on what we believe. We must believe and I mean have it settled that God is not against us but for us. That is hope. The same hope that set Abraham apart that said God is able to raise him back to life is the same hope that Jesus said He could lay down His life because the father was able to raise Him up again and it is the same hope that you and I must possess that says what may look like the end is not the end because God has given an expected end. Have Hope.

Man_Up and be the man that God wants you to be.

Hopeless? Is it the End!!

October 27, 2011

Man_Up

Maintaining a balanced life in the face of adversity can be difficult. God’s plan and our expectation seem to collide into an unexplainable series of events that leave us hopeless. What seems like the end often times is not really the end. Job probably didn’t envision reclaiming his losses. In the end Job was blessed with double what he had before.  The truth is it just seemed like the end.

Joseph probably was not planning tomorrow’s meals.  What could have been the end was not the end.  God intervened again.  The brothers sold him to a band of gypsies.  The brothers without Rueben reasoned among themselves that this way they would get something out of the deal and his blood would not be on their hands seeing he was family.  It’s really interesting the way people think.  People haven’t changed much in three thousand years. They still don’t have the last word.

The truth is God hasn’t changed much either.  As a matter of fact the Word says he hasn’t changed at all.  He is the same yesterday, today and forever.  That means we don’t have to worry about his promises not being fulfilled.  He will do what He says He will do.  He will finish what He starts.  So where does that leave us.

We may not be able to see how our expectations fit in God’s purpose however if we will remain faithful and accept His plan and where ever that takes us we will be took care of. He is well able to deliver and protect. God and God alone is in control. His plan is for good and not for evil. Accept His plan. It’s not the end.

Man_Up and be the man that God wants you to be.

Man_Up

What A Man

We all wonder at times why things are happening the way they are happening. There are times we question if God is really on our side. We all believe that if we had more we could do more and if things didn’t come against us at the most inopportune time we could accomplish more. We will not have a lot of control over when and where circumstances seem to obstruct our path. We could and would possibly do more if we had more and there is no right or opportune time for opposition. Realistically the time is always now and that is when things happen. Just be assured of this. God is now and always on your side.

As we search the scriptures we find that all men of God have had to face and endure their share of misfortune or opposition. Some men have even been taken from this life before receiving the promise yet it didn’t detour them. God promised He would never leave us nor forsake us and His word goes on to say that all things work together for good to them who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

Each step of a righteous man is ordered of God. It is important for us to understand that God will tell us each step to be taken. It is equally important to accept that God uses each of those steps to confirm His leading us to that place of righteousness in Him. May we discover how to follow God in such a manner that we can hear Him say “well done.”

Living a balanced stable life in Christ is constantly being challenged. Not thinking too highly of ourselves when things go right and staying constant when things go wrong are issues we will have to deal with in this life. The ability to remain focused on forward progress is difficult at times. Work on a constant daily devotion time where time is spent not just reading the word but time is spent listening and responding to God and documenting what is being communicated. Purpose will be established and the direction to fulfill it will be communicated. We are responsible for making the right choices and ultimately for the choice of our spiritual maturity or growth.

Man_Up and be the man that God wants you to be.

Have you given your all

October 15, 2011

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Give your all. We know it is important to live a balanced life. We know it is important to be faithful. We know it is important to be devoted to consistent bible study. We even talk about commitment but what about giving our all.

This morning while walking I was thinking about some of the situations that life had seem to direct my way and how I was going to handle them. My thoughts took me to drawing a line and setting a date and saying this is as far as I am going. Immediately that thought was challenged in my mind by the question of whether that thought was right. If I have told God that I would go wherever He wants me to go and that I would do whatever He wanted me to do, is it a contradiction to say this is as far as I am willing to go? I am challenged. At this point in my life I didn’t expect to be placed in this situation. I expected the steps of a righteous man being ordained of God meant all things falling into place.

I can’t answer for others but I don’t want to miss God. My expectation of what life would be has been much different than what I thought. The direction God has chosen for me has been difficult at times. I am encouraged however that through all the life changes God has been faithful. In the end we will discover that it is about fulfilling His purpose.

We can succeed. We can overcome. It will be worth it. God will come through for us.

Man_Up and be the man God wants you to be.

 

We all have thought about going to special places and doing special things. We need God’s favor.

Man_Up

Why spend time reading or taking time for our daily devotion. Why work on being faithful. Why the discipline of holiness or faith. Why make the right choices of bible study and allow expectations of God working on our behalf to influence our lives. Why place ourselves under the leadership of others only at times to be taken advantage of. Because of the “Favor of God.”

We don’t need to discount hard work, skills or abilities.  However without the favor of God the success is not the same.  It is even more exciting when others recognize it.  When they really get it they don’t want to hold anything back.  Potiphar recognized the favor of Jehovah.  Some versions just say that Potiphar grew fond of Joseph and turned over all his belongings to his care. It was more than that. From that point God blessed all of Potiphars house. Everything that was done both in the house and in the field was blessed. Potiphar came to trust him so much that it is declared that Potiphar only concerned himself with eating his meals.  Everything else concerning his household was turned over to Joseph.  In case there is any doubt that God was in control let’s consider what we know about Joseph before this time.  We don’t see anything that would suggest that he possessed any extraordinary management skills before now.  What we have seen is the youngest son in an atmosphere of sheltering and extreme jealousy.  He was the favorite and quite likely didn’t have to perform like the rest.  What we are seeing now is absolutely phenomenal.  There should be no doubt that what is being manifest is God’s blessing and favor.

I have to believe God will do the same for us.  I believe God is honestly looking for ways to do so.  But it wouldn’t have happened without Joseph doing his best either.  So let’s keep things in proper perspective.  God is looking for those to bless.  We must walk forward doing good deliberately.  Doing what is right purposefully and making the best of every situation.

Be encouraged. Fulfill God’ purpose for you. Look forward to your future. Keep things balanced.

Man_Up and be the man God wants you to be.

Trust God

October 12, 2011

 

Man_Up

Trust God in the steps he leads you in. I recall the words of a wise man who once told me “if you are going to stop don’t start and if you are going to stop don’t start.” I took them as a wise statement to remember at the time. I have even made it a point to intentionally look at them from time to time. Incorporating them as rule to live by has been sometimes difficult. The challenges and difficulties in this life have been more than I have wanted to bear at times. That’s life. Be a man.

Ezekiel was warned early on by God that he was being given an extraordinary task. Excuses were not going to be tolerated. The message was going to be plain and direct. If he waivered with the message and they died in their sin, he would be held responsible. His emotions would be tried. His compassion for others would be put to the test. His anger would be tempted. The requirement for him would be to finish the task.

Situations and circumstances in this life seem to try to interrupt the tasks that we engage in. Emotions can get in the way. We do not want to appear to not be compassionate. We must be careful about allowing anger a place. Being pulled in so many directions will cause you to think about terminating the mission. Focus on the task at hand. Learn to recognize and appropriately deal with distractions. Finish what you have started.

Every successful person has had to deal with the distractions of life and every successful person has met the requirement of overcoming things that were meant to detour them. It is through the challenges of life that we are able to progress to the success that God wants in our lives. Challenges in life are not only possible but they are necessary for our growth.

Start and don’t stop. Be encouraged with the fact that God is for you and stay the course.

Man_Up and be the man that God wants you to be.

 

The challenge of the day

October 11, 2011

 

Man_Up

There is time in each of our lives that we need to be ready to step to the next level. The waves of life can be challenging. There are a number of challenges that we face in this life. Some of them are hard and some are down right devastating to say the least. How we handle or deal with the difficulties in life as well as the successes is important. Both have the potential to hold us back. That statement may come as a surprise but it is true.

We recognize that Ezekiel sees the glory of God and is successful in obeying God in the work that He has for him. What is often overlooked is the fact that he had to be forcefully removed from the presence of God and was angry for the removal. Ezekiel chapter three and verse fourteen says “The Spirit then lifted me up and took me away, and I went in bitterness and in the anger of my spirit, with the strong hand of the LORD on me.” He liked what he saw and enjoyed what God was doing in his life. He was learning and felt as though he was growing and in the center of God’s will and he was right except when it was time to go it was time to go. It is the same for us.

The temptation to not move during times of difficulties is just as real. Nothing affects our lives like discouragement. It will make you complacent because you get tired of asking for relief. It will make you angry because you will entertain that God has lied to you and left you. It is possible to be so afraid of failing that we are afraid to move. It is real and regardless of how strong we think we are we are vulnerable. Job may have said “even though God slay me I’ll still praise Him”, however he came to a place that he cursed the day he was born and we are not exempt. Thank God we serve a real live God that does care.

The temptation is to be scared or content and not move. The challenge is to be in tune with the voice of God and sensitive to His Spirit and willing to move as God directs. Trust is an issue that must be addressed. Encouragement is a key ingredient that must be found. Daily devotions will be discovered as beneficial to find direction. God’s purpose can  be discovered.

Accept the challenge.

Man_Up and be the man that God wants you to be.

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