Noise

noise

prayer.warnoun

1. sound, especially of a loud, harsh, or confused kind: deafening noises.
2. a sound of any kind: to hear a noise at the door.
3. loud shouting, outcry, or clamor.
4. a non-harmonious or discordant group of sounds.

So expanding this definition to Spiritual noise, one can infer that it is a loud, hard and confused kind usually led by either 1) our old sin nature (past sins, temptations and son on) or 2) demonic influence.  There is Spiritual warfare, whether we want to acknowledge or deny it.  We read in Ephesians 6:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.   This past week, as I have been preparing my heart for Easter Weekend, I have been listening to The Screwtape Letters, by C.S. Lewis and I have also been reading the Book of John.The central theme that I have taken from both readings is that God loves us so much that He gave us His only Son.   That He sent Jesus to atone for our sins by death on an old rugged cross.  That Jesus was born of a virgin, raised on this earth, died on a cross and in three days he rose again and now sits at the right hand of God.  I have also read that the devil hates the Family (whether spiritual or biological).  The evil one wants nothing more than to destroy everything that is good and from God.  The devil wants to destroy the family.

How do you no whether or not you have spiritual noise in your life:
Sexual immorality (anything impure or lustful)
Impurity
Sensuality
Idolatry (of TV, Sports, Travel-League Sports, Hobbies and anything that comes before God that distorts truth in your life)
  • Sorcery
  • enmity
  • Strife
  • Jealousy
  • Fits of Anger
  • Rivalries
  • Dissensions
  • Divisions
  • Envy
  • Drunkenness
  • Orgies
  • And the things like the list above

Some relevant quotes from The Screwtape Letters that highlight Spiritual Noise:

 

  • “Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one–the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts,…Your affectionate uncle, Screwtape.”
  • “It is funny how mortals always picture us as putting things into their minds: in reality our best work is done by keeping things out.”
  • “The more often he feels without acting, the less he will be able ever to act, and, in the long run, the less he will be able to feel.”
  • “Suspicion often creates what it suspects.”
  • “Prosperity knits a man to the world. He feels that he is finding his place in it, while really it is finding its place in him.”
  • “Nothing is very strong: strong enough to steal away a man’s best years not in sweet sins but in a dreary flickering of the mind over it knows not what and knows not why, in the gratification of curiosities so feeble that the man is only half aware of them, in drumming of fingers and kicking of heels, in whistling tunes that he does not like, or in the long, dim labyrinth of reveries that have not even lust or ambition to give them a relish, but which, once chance association has started them, the creature is took weak and fuddled to shake off.”

How much noise do you have in your life? What do you plan on doing about it?  How can you get help?  Why join a men’s bible study?

Thoughts?

Dante

 

We believe

John 16:25-32

English Standard Version (ESV) I Have Overcome the World

25 “I have said these things to you in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures of speech but will tell you plainly about the Father. 26 In that day you will ask in my name, and I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf; 27 for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.[a] 28 I came from the Father and have come into the world, and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father.” 29 His disciples said, “Ah, now you are speaking plainly and not using figurative speech! 30 Now we know that you know all things and do not need anyone to question you; this is why we believe that you came from God.” 31 Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? 32 Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me.

John 17 English Standard Version (ESV) The High Priestly Prayer

17 When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, 2 since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. 4 I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed. 6 “I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. 7 Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. 8 For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. 9 I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. 13 But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.[a] 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them[b] in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sake I consecrate myself,[c] that they also may be sanctified[d] in truth. 20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. 24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. 26 I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”

From Lance and I and our families, HAPPY EASTER (HE IS RISEN)!

Blessings,

Dante

 

 

Consider the Person

iam“Consider The Person”, from Pope Francis, “A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. I replied with another question: ‘tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?’ We must always consider the person. ”

Before I expound on this post, I wanted to share my struggles as a husband, father and legacy dad – First of all, I am a sinner saved by grace.  Secondly, I sin almost every day and on the days that I don’t sin, I sin even more because of my pride.  There is none righteous no not one.  Therefore, what hope do I have in salvation between the outcome of heaven and hell?

Whether you believe Him or deny Him, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life.  No man (woman or child) comes to the father but by me.”  This may be a very hard statement by an awful lot of people but don’t miss the message – Jesus was born of a virgin, was on this earth for 33 years, performed many miracles (thus fulfilling all prophecies about the Messiah), was crucified, in 3 days rose again and now He sits at the right hand of God the Father.

The Law of Moses, better said, the Ten Commandments was put on this earth not to condemn God’s chosen, rather, to condemn those who do not know His Son – Jesus Christ.  The list goes like this


Commandment #            Old Testament                                  New Testament (Jesus re-clarifies)

1st Commandment          No other Gods before God         Love the Lord your God with all your heart,  mind, body, soul and strength

2nd Commandment         No images (no idolatry)                 keep yourselves from idols (what’s before God)

3rd Commandment          Do not take God’s name in vain do not blaspheme God, His Son or His Spirit

4th Commandment          Keep God’s day holy                      The Sabbath is between you and the Lord

5th Commandment          Honor Mom & Dad                          Honor your parents with respect and joy

6th Commandment          You shall not murder                      if you even hate your brother – you murder

7th Commandment          You shall not commit adultery    if you even lust – you commit adultery

8th Commandment          you shall not steal                            don’t even think about stealing

9th Commandment          you shall not bear false witness do not lie about your brother or sister

10th Commandment        You shall not covet                          the word reveals this often

I have to apologize about the term, Christian, for many wear that badge of honor but truly not many know the cost of being a disciple.  If you truly define yourself as Christian then the world really should see Jesus and not our sinful self – and our diluted version.  Because if we are really honest so many Christians let ignorance (not knowing the Truth) stand in their way of the transformation of the Gospel.  That is, simply said, that

I have issue with the following situations:

  • How can a church that says it is redeemed and saved only by the blood of Jesus Christ turn others away when they (those other sinners) do things that are on the outside of our own very transgressions (meaning the sin that we tolerate versus the sin that God hates?).
  • How can we say that sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, magic, jealousy, anger, rivalries dissensions and divisions, drunkenness and the like are tolerable, but homosexuality in our midst is outrageous? Or you pick your un-tolerated sin?
  • How can we judge others by the very standards that we refuse to judge ourselves? (You know, the proverbial log in our own eye?)
  • Why do we just isolate homosexuality as the unforgivable sin and not any form of sexual immorality (sexual sin).

Before you condemn me on some of my views just stated, I want you to know that I am a leader in my church (an Elder), I love our church and the pastors that preach and the worship directors who praise and the people who serve and the communities that we impact.  Our mission statement is a biblical mandate:  Reach the disconnected and grow the connected – I am overjoyed to serve in a church that stands on biblical principles and loves people as the Lord loves us.

I will be the first to admit that I do not believe or align myself with the Pope or other religions as I am a Christian who believes in my only hope to reach heaven is through God’s Son, Jesus Christ.  Jesus did not come to replace the law, but to complete it- without Jesus the law condemns everyone.  Let me repeat that, without Jesus any transgression of the laws damns us to a hell that was intended for the devil and the fallen angels.

What the Pope challenged us on was to consider the person and not the sin.  That statement resonates with me for many reasons:

  • We are all sinners
  • No one is perfect
  • Even on our best day we fall short of the holiness of God
  • God is holy, holy and holy
  • We are not holy
  • Our sin separates us from Heaven without a blood sacrifice

There are two adages that I like to model my life by and three if we count Lance’s Esse quam videri:

1)       People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you make them feel – Maya Angelou

2)      “Watch your thoughts, they become words; watch your words, they become actions; watch your actions, they become habits; watch your habits, they become character; watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.” – Frank Outlaw

3)      Esse quam videri means to be rather than to seem

If truly want to be a true disciple of Jesus Christ then you will take up the following daily:

  • Die to self, Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
  • Renew your mind, Romans 12:1-2, 12 I appeal to you therefore, brothers,[a] by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.[b] 2 Do not be conformed to this world,[c] but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
  • Put on love, Colossians 3 English Standard Version (ESV) put on the New Self 3 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your [a] life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. 5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you:[b] sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming.[c] 7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self[d] with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave,[e] free; but Christ is all, and in all. 12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

When you take these steps and truly realize that we are all in need for a Savior (who is none other than Jesus Christ) then we have a hope in God that no on (repeat over and over and over – “NO ONE” can take us away from the Father’s Love) then we are truly his disciples.

itisfinishedWhen the world looks at us, do they see Jesus?

When the world looks at us, do they see hope?

When the world looks at us, do they see love?

If not?  Why not?  Pray for God’s guidance and wisdom in taking this path with us today.

Blessings,

Dante

Top 10 Ways to Strengthen Your Walk

isolated 3d golden text "TOP 10"1)    Read the World Daily

  • Be intentional in reading scripture
  • Journal your reading with your thoughts
  • Journal your reading with what the Holy Spirit reveals to you
  • Pray – ask God to reveal His will for you each day

2)    Join a Men’s Group

  • Find a men’s group that reads the bible
  • Find a men’s group that discusses real life issues
  • Find a men’s group that talks relationally
  • Be open with that men’s group

3)    Write down your life story

  • Where did you come from
  • Where did you encounter God
  • Where did you confess your sin and repent?
  • How are you growing
  • What is different about your life today
  • Where do you think God is taking you
  • Why is your life story so relevant in sharing God’s story

4)    Read the Book of Proverbs in 31 days (correlate with the day of the month(s)

5)    Read the Book of John to re-encounter God’s son, Jesus

6)    Fast

  • When you fast, look healthy and be silent about it
  • Ask God for him to speak to you through fasting
  • Fast for something in particular
  • Seek Him (through prayer, praise and worship and reading the Word)

7)    Ask someone to mentor you (find a Paul in your life)

8)    Find someone to pour your life into (give them time, and be honest with where you came from and what you struggle with) (find your Timothy)

9)    Be intentional in life through God’s Word

10) Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry

What is your top 10 list?

Blessings,

Dante

Don’t miss opportunities – the middle seat

This year’s Spring Break took us to Dallas in the beginning of the trip, however, I had to fly back Sunday night for a report on Monday that could not be avoided.  After work on Monday, I caught a 3:15 pm flight back to Dallas to join my family.  As I got on the airplane, rushed and frustrated by the time taken out  of my vacation I began to pray and thank God for:

  • A job that gives me the luxury and privilege to take vacation
  • For a family that I can travel with on vacation
  • For his amazing grace and new mercies everyday (granting me the ability to catch my flight – ON TIME)
  • For His Son and His Word and His Spirit
  • For a seat near the front of the plane (not to delay my exit to join my family – and I got an aisle seat – oh yea!)

don't miss heavenJust then, the middle seat which was vacant, suddenly became seated.  I stopped my complaining and my fatigue of flight/work/flight in less then 24 hours and thanked God again.  I stopped my grovelling and look over at this very nice woman.  Something was wrong, something was clearly not right.  After takeoff, I began to chat with her.  She shared with me that her stepfather had passed away and that she was returning from the funeral from the Northeast back to Dallas.

She shared some very personal information with me that allowed her to share even more on her journey toward seeking God.  The most awesome part about this whole Spring Break is that I didn’t miss this opportunity.  I didn’t “close” myself off from being social with “my neighbor” and I was able to share the Gospel of Jesus with her from beginning to the end of the flight.  The most coolest part of this trip for me was seeing the demeanor of her face change from hopeless to hopeful and smiling by the time we both landed in Dallas.

She was telling me about her stepfather and the testimonies at the funeral from some people whose lives had changed drastically do to the witness of her stepfather in their lives.  She said there was a legacy in that funeral that changed her and made her question her path “to the light”.  Her stepfather was a changed man, that is, he wasn’t the man that was previously married to her mother and he was changed.  She was going to that funeral in pain and came back to someone who was questioning who this Jesus.

Enter me next to her on that flight.  On the second journey of the flight, she asked my why I started to talk to her and why I shared my faith with her.  I simply said because I have to.  I have been given a gift of immeasurable worth and I am called as a legacy dad (as a disciple of Christ) to share this good news – so I did.  I quoted scripture and I shared my faith and my walk with her.  I shared with her why God loves us so and why God loves her.  She talked about family (both extended and immediate) and some tough conversations that would be ensuing this journey – I told her to pray, to ask God for his path and to ask Him to reveal Himself to her!step up

She didn’t accept Jesus on that flight (that I know of), but her disposition changed in a significant way – her countenance was peaceful.  I encouraged her to find a bible-believing and teaching Church (I told her to look up Matt Chandler’s Church) and to look for a Celebrate Recovery to walk with her and her family.

I did what scripture calls each of us to do:

1 Corinthians 3:6

English Standard Version (ESV)

6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.

Come Holy Spirit come!  Reach that woman and call her and her family to be your child.

Thank  you Lord for the opportunity to share your good news.

What are some things you can do in each of your days to witness to God’s good love?

Lance and I would like to her more from our readers – what do you want to hear from us (Topics? Themes?  Posts on Scripture?)  Email us here:  Dante, Lance.

Blessings,

Dante

Remember the Alamo

Battle Summary:

alamoDuring the early days of the Texas Revolution, a Texan force under Stephen F. Austin encircled the Mexican garrison in the town of San Antonio de Béxar. On December 11, 1835, after an eight-week siege, Austin’s men were able to compel General Martín Perfecto de Cos to surrender. Occupying the town, the defenders were paroled and sent back to Mexico. The fall of Cos’ command eliminated the last major Mexican force in Texas. Returning to friendly territory, Cos provided his superior, General Antonio López de Santa Anna, with information about the uprising in Texas.

Establishing his headquarters at San Luis Potosí, Santa Anna began assembling an army of 6,000 with the goal of marching north and putting down the revolt in Texas. In early 1836, after adding 20 guns to his command, he began marching north through Saltillo and Coahuila. To the north in San Antonio, Texan forces were fortifying the Misión San Antonio de Valero, also known as the Alamo. Possessing a large enclosed courtyard, the Alamo had first been occupied by Cos’ men during siege of the town the previous fall. Initially manned by about 100 volunteers, the mission’s garrison grew as January passed.

The Alamo was again reinforced on February 3, with the arrival of 29 men under Lt. Colonel William Travis. A few days later, the Alamo’s commander, Colonel James C. Neill, departed to deal with an illness and left Travis in charge. Travis’ ascent to command did not sit well with Jim Bowie, who led the volunteers, and had arrived on January 19. A renowned frontiersman, Bowie argued with Travis over who should lead until it was agreed that the former would command the volunteers and the latter the regulars. Another notable frontiersman arrived on February 8, when Davy Crockett rode into the Alamo with 12 men.

To the surprise of the defenders, Santa Anna’s army arrived outside of San Antonio on February 23. Having marched through driving snow and foul weather, Santa Anna reached the town a month sooner than the Texans anticipated. Surrounding the mission, Santa Anna sent a courier requesting the Alamo’s surrender. To this Travis responded by firing one of the mission’s cannon. Seeing that the Texans planned to resist, Santa Anna laid siege to the mission. The next day, Bowie fell ill and full command passed to Travis. Badly outnumbered, Travis sent out riders asking for reinforcements.

Travis’s calls went largely unanswered as the Texans lacked the strength to fight Santa Anna’s larger army. As the days passed the Mexicans slowly worked their lines closer to the Alamo, with their artillery reducing the mission’s walls. At 1:00 AM, on March 1, 32 men from Gonzales were able to ride through the Mexican lines to join the defenders. With the situation grim, legend states that Travis drew a line in the sand and asked all those willing to stay and fight to step over it. All except one did. At dawn on March 6, Santa Anna’s men launched their final attack on the Alamo.

Flying a red flag and playing the El Degüello bugle call, Santa Anna signaled that no quarter would be given to the defenders. Sending 1,400-1,600 men forward in four columns they overwhelmed the Alamo’s tiny garrison. One column, led by General Cos, broke through the mission’s north wall and poured into the Alamo. It is believed that Travis was killed resisting this breach. As the Mexicans entered the Alamo, brutal hand-to-hand fighting ensued until almost the entire garrison had been killed. Records indicate that seven may have survived the fighting, but were summarily executed by Santa Anna.

—————

The odds were unbeatable and the men that were defending the Alamo were estimated between 180 to 200 people against an unstoppable force of 6000 Mexican troops.  The outcome was severe and only women and children who were in the church were eventually freed.  The Christian walk is a lot like this.  Our battle cry is Remember the Cross, which was the instrument that saved us from an eternity of punishment for our sins.  Remember Jesus Christ who came, died and rose again for our resurrection.  Remember the love that God has for us that He gave us His only Son – Hallelujah!

If you do not think, as a Christian, that we are at war, then you are kidding yourself.  Ephesians 6, “12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”

What then, if we are really at war, should we just live each day to satisfy ourselves and to let the world move on?  What if, just what if, we really did have an enemy who wanted to destroy us – no surrender, no prisoners to be taken, that this is a battle for our very souls – then what?

2 Timothy 4:1-3

English Standard Version (ESV)

Preach the Word

4 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound[a] teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,

1 Peter 3:15

English Standard Version (ESV)

15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,

What I learned this past week when visiting the Alamo:

  • Worrying beyond the point of action causes nothing but stress and worry and inaction
  • Trusting a greater sense of urgency (call it valor, integrity, righteousness) listening to that voice that gives us right from wrong – make a stand when you hear that voice
  • You cannot measure cost based on what others think you will lose
  • Choose this day who you will serve,  as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord
  • Never give up, never surrender and trust Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength
  • Have others around you who you can trust
  • In the end, God wins, therefore, we win

On our drive back to the airport, on a Spring Break trip that took us from Chicago to Dallas, to San Antonio, to Austin, back to Dallas and then home to Chicago – my family and I had a chance to talk about the Bible, about our hopes for them when they became adults and how important their choice in faith is to their mom and dad:

Things my wife and I told my kids:

  • We choose our friends, our family is forever and we are to love and respect each other
  • We want our children to own our faith in Jesus Christ, therefore, I walks have to be real
  • We want them to grow up to be independent, confident, and equipped to navigate the daily jaunts of life – we have to live it and model it for them
  • We can agree to disagree, but we still have to respect each other
  • No matter what society and life tells us, the Word (the Bible) is true and awesome.
  • When talking to them about other religions, we told them not to put down other religions, but rather, to challenge others to have a real relationship with Jesus Christ, not to just be a “follower” but instead a Disciple!

The best thing about this trip was the time that my wife and I got to spend with our kids and how we were able to talk about real life issues both in life and our faith through these circumstances.

I am not sure about you, but today I am remembering the cross, Jesus and how much God loves us for what he did for us!

Blessings,

Dante

 

 

Count your blessings

countI am not sure about you, but for me, sometimes in the daily jaunts of life and the trials and tribulations that I may be going through (some of my own device, some of spiritual warfare and others just because of the situations that I am in) I forget to count my blessings.  Also, when I look back at my journal and prayer log I find myself amazed at God’s faithfulness even when I am not.

Jesus asks all of of to be faithful stewards with our time, talent and treasure.  He wants us not to just be followers, but to be actively involved in his path to discipleship and in teaching others about the Good News (the Gospel of Christ).

 

2 Timothy 2:12-14

English Standard Version (ESV)

12 if we endure, we will also reign with him;
if we deny him, he also will deny us;
13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful—

for he cannot deny himself.

A Worker Approved by God

14 Remind them of these things, and charge them before God[a] not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers.

2 Peter 3:9

English Standard Version (ESV)

9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you,[a] not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

Psalm 103:2

English Standard Version (ESV)

2 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,

2 Timothy 3:16-17

English Standard Version (ESV)

16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God[a] may be complete, equipped for every good work.

So, now that Scripture is clear, please indulge me while I count my blessings:

  • For a loving wife
  • For three beautiful children
  • For a Church that stands on the word of God
  • For friends who love me
  • For Men of Faith
  • For the gift of work
  • For the gift of marriage (between one man and one woman)
  • For discernment and wisdom in various situations
  • For being an Elder
  • For vacation(s)
  • For a school staff that love my children

What are some of your blessings?  Have you counted them recently?

Blessings,

Dante

 

Through the storms in life (our trials and tribulations)

walkonLast night I had the pleasure to teach on our Midweek Service at my church.  I was humbled to be in that position and it felt very good to see the Word resonate and make a difference in peoples lives.  The main scripture that was taught was:

Mark 4:35-41

New International Version (NIV)

Jesus Calms the Storm

35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”

39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”

I do not know about you, but what this said to me was that I need to let things go.  That is, to say, that I have been given gifts by the Spirit that God promises to those who love him and I am called to use this gifts to build his Kingdom.  For some that means the gift of giving, for others the gift of hospitality and so on and so on as each of us have been given different gifts which make up the body of Christ.  Jesus tells us in Scripture that if they have persecuted him that we (those who profess His name) will surely be persecuted – so then why do we think that Christianity and our disciples walk should be easy?  It’s not!

As in life, as in Discipleship, there are highs and lows and different seasons for us all.  In the book of James we read:

James 1:2-4

New International Version (NIV)

Trials and Temptations

2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

I used to struggle with the phrase, “Consider it pure Joy” until I came through some of those trials and tribulations.  I think the ultimate compliment to any disciple is that when the world and the chruch looks at them, that they no longer see that person, rather, they see Jesus.  To me, that is gain, and all else is loss.  The thing is that we are going to struggle and we are going to face trial and tribulations – the problem is not whether or not we face them, but are we going to try and go at this alone or lean on Him who controls the storms and sea and the winds…?

imagesCA4Q2GTZIsaiah 43:16-19

New International Version (NIV)

16 This is what the Lord says—
he who made a way through the sea,
a path through the mighty waters,
17 who drew out the chariots and horses,
the army and reinforcements together,
and they lay there, never to rise again,
extinguished, snuffed out like a wick:
18 “Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
19 See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.

What Jesus is really telling His disciples is, do you trust me?  Have I taken you this far to let go?  All he is asking of us (for what he has done for us) is to let go and let God have control over all of our lives…

What does it take for you:  PROAPT

Pray – “Lord, teach me your way”
Read – (read His word)
Observe (What is the text saying, what does it mean for our life

Apply – (how can i use what i read and answer to prayers or quiet voice in my life – where should i go)
Pray – (be bold)
Tell – (Be a disciple – not just a follower)

Thoughts?

Dante