It’s never been easy for me to grasp facing the fires. I guess at birth our conditioning starts and we prefer to experience pleasant days, green pastures, blue skies. Isn’t that what signifies God’s favor? A pleasant life? I would almost argue the contrary. From the first sin until now, this very moment story after story people have found them self in the fire. Adam to John, Job to Paul. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. The book cover of courageous men, Christians with a spine, finding themselves in the middle of the fire. It’s easy for us to see the lack of God’s control of a situation, when in fact he’s never left our side. He may not make the situation change, but what if….he’s walking through the fire and that’s the blessing? The fact that we are experiencing fires is the blessing? Remember, God didn’t promise that you’d walk through the rose garden, but he did promise he would walk with us through the fire. Count your blessings, don’t forget the fires.
Have you ever just wanted to quit an addiction, even if for just a short period of time, to detox your body from chemicals that are self induced and abundantly damaging to your general wellbeing? My wife and I did….
Here lately I’ve been doing the Bible study, “The Resolution for Men”. A study based around the concept of the movie Courageous, designed specifically for men who want some good advice and a reminder to their calling from God. Going through it, it’s made me consider how every choice I’ve made, am making, or will make has been from a leadership standpoint (whether or not it was the right choice or not). Trust me I’ve made some terrible choices while at other times I sought after God’s plan and knew that I had lead me and my wife in the right direction.
Seeking after what I believe is His will for my life, this coming week we have both decided to take a fast from things that have proven to be a general distraction from not just Him but also each other. My wife is going to do a blog about it to some extent so I don’t want to steal her thunder, and I won’t go into any detail.
Sometimes you just have to detox the world out of your life. I believe that it would do everyone good to turn the world off and turn God and family on louder. I hope at the end of this period of fasting we achieve 3 main things:
- Spiritual Clarity: we aren’t really seeking clarity on anything specific. But for me, I want to be closer and have a deeper relationship to/with God. I want to stop for just a period and say “God, please speak to me, please be with me….please let me be close to you”.
- Marital Clarity: for me this isn’t an indication that anything is wrong with our relationship, to the contrary it’s still as amazing as the day I met her. But I fear more than anything complacency. I think you can get complacent while everything being great, which could be setting you up for a major let down when it isn’t great. To counteract that I think a couple has to always be sure to work together and serve the other.
- Sound Clarity: For me this is also about bringing simplicity back to my ever hectic life. I thrive off of 2 totally opposite things. I like the grind, the pressure to meet deadlines, the need to do efficient quick work. But….BUT….my wife will be the first to tell you one of my favorite things is to sit on the back deck drink a cup of strong coffee and smoke a quality cigar. I need both in my life but all to often the former outweighs the latter. So a week of playing cards, listening to country gospel, knitting, talking….is exactly what I need.
So hence forth we travel.
-What doest t profit a sir to gain the w’rld and loseth his soul?
If you know me, you know I loathe New Years Resolutions. It’s essentially setting a goal you know you’ll fail at, but you expect to be fully committed and successful at. If you were going to do what you’re wanting to start on Jan 1, you would have started it on Dec 31. That being said. I am making a resolution public that I’ve already attempted since July 2014. Being the man of God that he intended for me to be. At this point in my life, it’s being a Godly husband, the leader to my house, the leader my wife needs me to be, and yes I said needs because…well…it’s biblical. So the next series of posts will be a personal account of my resolution to God, my wife, and my family.
We don’t have s first chapter is basically talking about why children need their father. So as I read through it I won’t lie, I thought “this isn’t for me”. But it occurred to me I missed two very important parts. First, I hope one day we will be blessed with a flannel wearing, camp loving, fishing, rough baby boy. Second, I have a nephew who needs a Godly uncle in his life. So I went back through it, reread it, and came away from it with a different mindset.
All to often, men, we fall asleep at the wheel. We are the driver, think about how dangerous this really is. Personally I never looked at this life as being in a car but it is the best analogy that could have been printed. Men fail in two ways in this aspect:
- Asleep: I am extremely guilty of this. I forgot that money isn’t the most important thing. My wife, bless her, has been sick 2 days. She needed me to stay at home and nurture her this morning. What did I do? Go off to my second job, which adding in I own the business I went to work at. I didn’t need to go, we didn’t need the money, it was unnecessary and I was needed at home. I put work first and it was a wrong decision. This chapter was about being a dad though so I only half related. When it comes to my nephew though…I failed him in the most agonizing way. This last summer when we were planning the wedding I was at my in-laws house and me and my nephew had a moment we went outside to catch crickets for my spider. Eventually, after catching 1 giant camel cricket he stopped and looked up at all of the stars and said “wow I’ve never noticed how many stars there are”. Ding ding ding wake up Matt! Wake up! WAKE UP!!!!!! Missed it. Asleep at the wheel. I said yeah check out the Big Dipper, see that it’s the Milky Way, let’s see if we can see the satalite passing by….blah blah blah blah blah. Stupid. I missed an opportunity to connect with him in a deeper way than I’ve ever had before or since.
- Dictatorship: or some men take this leader thing to a new level. You can’t lead on a high horse, leading means you get into the mud and get you hands dirty. I hope I’m not this way ever so my experience is limited, but I will say that me and my wife work together as we can. I pick up where she lacks as does she when I lack. Even with that I fail sometimes.
Opportunities though. Young men and women, boys and girls, need a father. How will your son know what love is if you don’t know the love of Our Heavenly Father? They will by default look at you and connect God to the love you show them. If you are not getting up, taking you son or daughter to church, talking to them about God, praying with them and for them, teaching them to be Godly. You are handing them over to the world. You are failing them, and your not fulfilling your role as a Godly rolemodel. Then when they’re 16 on drugs, pregnant, in prison…..you’ll wonder why. No I’m not saying if your child is 16 and any of those you didn’t stand and be courageous when the time was nigh, but you did fail them and God…and some of the reason falls on your head. You have to ask yourself, am I willing to let sin into my home, into my child’s life, and risk their soul? Are you willing to work to many hours, sacrifice time in front of a tv, reaching for a bottle, to jeopardize your child’s salvation?
“Right now, this generation doesn’t know what true fatherhood looks like. They rarely see it modeled in the media or at home. And sadly, the result is another generation deeply struggling to understand what God is really like” (Kendrick & Alcorn, 2011). This is what it’s came to? Stand up, wake up, take the wheel. Be the leader.
“I do solemnly resolve before God to take full responsibility for myself, my wife, and my children.” (Kendrick & Alcorn 2011)
Kendrick, & Alcorn. (2011). The Resolution For Men. Nashville , TN: B&H Books.
I think if you’ve kept up with my blog you’ve found that I do not go with the general flow very often. It’s probably arguable that I go against the flow more often than not, it’s probably one of my most noted characteristics. I am very strong in my convictions and try to stand by them, even in the face of adversity I try to be a rock. In the past few months I stood against essentially all of my social media friends pertaining to the recent election, and I may write a blog soon about how I think the church turned against the calling of God and commands of God to vote for either option. The common consensus though was that my vote counted for something. That sentiment was quite right from any side of that paradigm even the one where you vote for neither, which many forgot that. That being said there’s been many other situations I’ve stood against the flow and nothing has changed and probably never will.
I named my blog biblicallyinclined because I have a tendency to apply the Bible to everything I can, sometimes following what it says and other times failing to do so. Recently I started a study on Philippians, so far only 13 verses into the first chapter. I’ve always had a passion for the teachings of Paul because we both experienced prison, although my conversion to Christianity didn’t come until a few years later. One of the reasons i am shameful for that time period was that I fooled many people including my own family into thinking I had just backslid away from Christianity, when in fact I personally do not believe I was ever saved. (Another story for another time).
The primary point in this episode is to reiterate that standing behind your convictions isn’t wrong. Also, voicing those convictions is far from judgement. In the past few months I’ve been accused of judging someone for their actions, when in fact I posed a simple question concerning the validity of their “conversion” because of those actions. Which essentially brings me to the point that judgement is different than discernment.
Paul had an opportunity in his life to stay Saul, even though that would have probably kept him blind and he probably would have went half mad in the process. I don’t think that people realize the impact that Paul had on the future of the world. Through the sands of time Paul’s faith in God paved the way for Christianity as we know it today. Had Paul have said “I feel your conviction, I just don’t want to sit in prison the rest of my life” we wouldn’t have the New Testament in the capacity that we have it now. Paul knew why he was going through the persecution to an extent, but he also knew the impact his faith was having on the Christian community. Philippians 1:12 “But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel.” Can you imagine the opportunity to be put under persecution to further the gospel? It’s not likely that any of us truest can because we in the US live under this shield of protection called the constitution (although it’s slowly deminishing each day). Furthermore most of us, me included wouldn’t stand up under the kinds of persecution Paul faced. I asked my self why Paul did this and was answered in vs 13 “So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in ALL the other places.” This should be our mind set. “I’m going to stand for God 110%, even if it costs me my life. For Paul it did cost him his life, for Jesus he gave his life, for me and you, what do we go through because we’re Christian? A joke in the locker room at work? Backlash on social media for an “Offensive” post? This cushion we have is killing the church in America and we don’t even see it happening. Who was effected by Paul’s faithfulness? All of the brethren Vs 14 “And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word with out fear.” What happened to the Christians with a backbone who would stand up and say “Hey this is wrong” the ones who didn’t settle for lukewarm? What happened to the faith that standing for right 110% would yield a profitable crop? Pleasing to God. Woe is me that we’ve came to a point that we cherry pick what sounds good and skim over the parts that don’t fit our worldly agenda!
Have I succeeded in every aspect of my life to stand for what is right? No. But trying and failing is human, it’s the mortal sin we hold so close while not even meaning to. Church, if we don’t start standing for right 110% how can we expect God to bless us at all? If we keep muddying the waters, watering down Christianity, if we keep cooling it down to Luke warm how? If we can not be the fire this world needs and a shinning light in the face of evil…even if it’s the lesser evil…we will be trodden down and our flame put out.
“According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in NOTHING I shall be ASHAMED, but that with all boldness, as always, so now Christ shall be magnified in my body whether it be by life, or by death (21) For to me to LIVE is Christ, and to die is gain”
One mans faith set the future of Christianity in stone….
I felt like this was needed. This, fast from Facebook. It seems as if all there is anymore, all this month and year have been about is this election. It’s sad. It’s sad that it’s came down to abortion as a deciding factor. Let that sink in. It’s came down to, not if all abortions are murder, only if some are. That’s from both sides. So, it came to my attention that I stir up trouble with in the Christian community because my stance is different. I choose neither. for most this is a hard concept. You have to choose one or its a vote for the other. I’m not sorry that I’ve stood up for what I believe is right. I’m also not sorry that I called out some of the brethren on these matters. I am sorry in the manner in which I did it, but not sorry for what I said. It is simple…
So why not Hilary? Well for me it goes deeper than abortion, benghazi, the emails. It’s about principle. It’s evident she has no moral compass. I do not trust her with America. But I truely believe we should vote for the Christian. Hands down. It’s quite obvious by her lies, social stance, and own admission that she’s not a Christian. So no, I can’t imagine being part of a group of people that help put her into office for my own moral fortitude.
So why not Trump? Trump is obviously narcissistic. He believes only he can save America. Thirty years ago we wouldn’t have voted for him because of his instability, instability people marvel at now. He is the text book definition of a sociopath, because of his lack of empathy and lack of true emotion or remorse. It is what it is…
So the question remains when you’re voting, does the bible say vote for the Christian? I could go into what it says about leaders but the debate will arise that we’re not electing pastors. So it’s debatable. For that I agree. We are electing someone who is put forth to lead this country though. To help protect this wonderful gift from God. This country is a gift. Imagine God handing you something and saying… here this it is your responsibility to put someone in charge of it…. to protect it, to uphold it’s laws, to lead it to better laws. This is My gift to you….
These two people aren’t it. These two people by their own admissions have said they will dismantle the US and it’s structure. Each in their own individual ways. Each disregards what is right and although I’m in agreement that abortion is worse on a certain level than tax evasion or disrespect to women; both are wrong.
Is there a right choice? No, and I think most of us can agree that Trump is far from equipped and ready to be the president.
All of that being said. Day 1 was about me getting over this election. Deciding that I have peace about not voting because I never gained peace about who to vote for.
When it is said that a man’s vote isn’t important or is wasted, for whomever that may be, our democratic voting process has already failed. When it is reduced down to 2 people being the only choices, be it literal or figurative, our system has also failed. The only reason it’s still a democratic voting structure is because there’s 2 and not 1.
In a world full of video games, technology, one thousand reasons not to, here we are enjoying the beautiful gift that God gave us. These are our friends…most of them at least. These are the friends you know you can count on in the good times like these, and if bad times arose I know I could count on them to help pull us through. The fact that we are standing here in this photo is proof enough. I thank God every day for the friends he has placed in my life, the people he has put in my path that I can yoke to. Good, godly friends. Don’t get me wrong there is diversity among us, but these are the kind of people you want to call your friends.
Today was homecoming at church and after a good meal we all decided to go have fun, and so after an hour of driving and a 20 min hike to the top we ended up having an afternoon of fun throwing frisbee, laughing, some jogged, others sat but all in all its days like this I’m glad we all took a few minutes to record via photo but most importantly etched into the memory bank for all time.
I have been studying lately about who to yoke yourself to. It is a very big concern of mine because it’s something we have to be careful about. The bible is explicit in telling us to not be yoked with nonbelievers. Luckily all of our friends are Christian and each of us not just me and Kendra try to have days or evenings like this where we fellowship with each other.
Why should we be careful, you could argue that Jesus hang out with sinners. For me I need this fellowship, it keeps me grounded, it keeps my focus towards God, and I think it’s influential in having a godly walk. We all need that. It’s clear in the church today that many Christians have let the world creep into their life, being yoked with other Christians you can keep each other in check. Heath said tonight that it’s nice to be able to go out and hang out with fellow believers and friends because we all keep the world out of our time together. There really isn’t a better discription to this group of friends. We don’t drink, we don’t cuss, we are just down to earth Christians.
I really wanted this post to be some what deeper in nature about yoking your self with someone, but in writing it its occurred to me that it’s pretty cut and dry. We had a great day, a great time, good fellowship, and overall a day where we literally and figuratively put the world to the side.
And so, I am blessed with a group of diverse friends. We view somethings differently, but these are my brothers and sisters….
Today I spent most of it watching about the tragedy of the “could be” terrorist attack on the plane just outside of Egypt. It saddens me and ,y heart goes out to the famlies of the victims. It also angers me to an extent because not only where there men and women but three young children. This world is the epitome of evil. As I write this countless women and children are being raped. People have taken their eyes off God, which is why it’s more important now than ever that we as Christians keep our eyes and hearts set above.
Jesus is coming back soon. I think it’s fairly evident in what the bible says about the end of times vs what’s happening around the world that the end is near, judgement is coming. It comes with out question really, are you ready? I don’t mean are you saved, although if you’re not now would be the best time to accept God into your life. I recently planted a garden and the little vegetables are coming up, I can’t wait for a fresh tomatoe and cheese sandwich. Others in my family are looking forward to the squash, corn, okra, cucumbers….I have reaped a decent garden and I expect its yield will be enough to feed my family for a little while at least. What I have reaped I expect to sow.
It isn’t any different in literal life. America is blatantly mocking God. In Galatians it tells us God will NOT be mocked. People claim to be Christian and live like the world. In fact they live like the world Sunday-Saturday and for 1 hour on Sunday morning decide to put on this mask and act like they’re Christian. They’re playing the part. I’m not saying I don’t sin, I fail God all the time, but it’s not bout our failures….it’s about knowing you’re wrong and trying to live better. People put this mask on to play their part and the only people they’re fooling are themselves number one and number two the people around them at church. Mocking God, has become the norm in almost every facet of America. Our musicians sing about God and prayer in one sentence, then divorce and drinking in the other. Our tv shows have taken God out all together and replaced him with homosexuality. Our president will bow to Allah and rebukes the notion of a Christian prayer. I believe judgement is coming on America. Americans have spent so much time taking God out of everything, even church, and I believe a time is coming where God says “You wanted me out of your schools, so I left, you wanted me out of your music so I left, you wanted me out of your White House so I left…and now you want me out of your church….”. People might disagree and say no we don’t want God out of the church we need a revival. Then why is your life reflecting that you don’t want a revival. All of these churches are having revivals, so where is the revival? I believe soon, God is going to lift his hand of protection off America and what’s coming…we’ve had coming. What we have reaped, we are about to sow.
You can keep,playing the part or you can get out there and start planting seeds….harvest time is just around the corner.