Prayer and God’s will

2 Kings 20:1-6English Standard Version (ESV)

Hezekiah’s Illness and Recovery

daniel-was-a-man-of-prayer-with-an-excellent-spirit20 In those days Hezekiah became sick and was at the point of death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came to him and said to him, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Set your house in order, for you shall die; you shall not recover.’” Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, saying, “Now, O Lord, please remember how I have walked before you in faithfulness and with a whole heart, and have done what is good in your sight.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly. And before Isaiah had gone out of the middle court, the word of the Lord came to him: “Turn back, and say to Hezekiah the leader of my people, Thus says the Lord, the God of David your father: I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Behold, I will heal you. On the third day you shall go up to the house of the Lord, and I will add fifteen years to your life. I will deliver you and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria, and I will defend this city for my own sake and for my servant David’s sake.”

—-

When I read this, and many other various passages in Scripture, I find hope and anticipation.  The awesomeness of this Scripture, as believers, is that God does hear our prayers!  He knows our hearts and cares for our well-being.  Many academics may argues as to God being Omniscient and Omnipresence, however, I am choosing not to engage in mortal discussion. I am, however, going to literally take the word of God at its merit.  Does God know our every thoughts?  Of course!  Does God know the outcome of our lives and the actions we take?  Of course He does!  Does God want us to pray to Him?  Yes He does:

  • “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” (Matthew 7:7)
  • “Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 18:19)
  • “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” (Matthew 21:22)
  • “Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” (Mark 11:24)
  • “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” (Luke 11:13)
  • “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.” (John 14:13-14)
  • “And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.” (John 16:23)
  • “For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.” (Romans 10:12)
  • “For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.” (Ephesians 2:18)

prayer1This past Saturday, in our men’s small group, we challenged each other to read through the Book of James this week (Monday – James 1 through Friday – James -5).  It has never become more clearer to me that God wants us to not only worship Him (as he so deserves) but He wants community with us.  He wants more than just fanfare, he wants a relationship with each and every one of us.

Prayers that benefit us and not His will is not what He is asking for.  True Disciples of Jesus spend their time (and devotion) on the things that matter:  God’s will (not ours).

Share our fears, anger, sadness and needs with Him, but in all we do seek His Kingdom first.

Blessings,

D

Hate versus Love, Anger versus Peace, Jesus versus the world

angerOften you hear the phrase, “Hate the sin, love the sinner.”  I think this statement can be watered down to the point that it also becomes a passive aggressive statement.  Let’s be honest, sometimes when we really hear this phrase it is meant to exalt the speaker in the sense that they are righteous and holy while the sin(ner) that they are looking down on is indecent and despicable and unloved.  I mean how can someone be continually involved in sin and not turn and repent and continue to do that over and over.  Are they really saying that?

How about comments like, “I can be mad at you because I have righteous anger.”   Or  how about this, “You know, that person is an EGR” (EGR = extra grace required).  I think if we truly interpreted scripture in the way that Jesus wants us to, after all, He is the Word, wouldn’t we want to hit the very mark that Jesus calls all of His disciples to?  As we read through the New Testament there are a few things that become abundantly clear as we read:  1) Jesus is the Messiah foretold of in the Old Testament 2) Jesus is the Savior 3) Jesus is the Son of God 4) Jesus loves us 5) Jesus is the toughest on the religious leaders of the day.  In some circumstances you could say that he was ruthless with these leaders of the temples.

When these religious leaders were referred to as whitewashed tombs, that pretty much sums up the skinny:  Don’t be religious instead be intentional with what God gives each and every one of us.  To put this in another way, those of us that proclaim that Jesus is Lord and Savior have a duty and a responsibility to use the gifts and talents that God gives each and every one of us for His Kingdom and not our own.  He calls us to be Holy and to be merciful and above all to put on love (not hate) to serve (not to be served) to witness (not to be closed-minded and put off).

anger begetsSome truths:

  • Love your neighbor as yourself (there is no room for hate here)
  • Love your enemies (show them kindness, turn the other cheek)
  • Do not hate your brother/sister(s)
  • In all circumstances, lead on God and not your self or your own ideology
  • Test everything (use Scripture, Prayer as your barometer)
  • In all things, let the word of Christ dwell in your richly and seek the peace of Christ
  • Jesus was radical.
  • Jesus did not mince words
  • Jesus was or was not – you have to make that choice
  • None of us can come to Jesus by ourselves, unless God the Father, wills us to Him (this is hard for some, but biblically true)

Maybe for some of you, you feel convicted by some of these thoughts and words, maybe others feel the effects of being judged and condemned by others.  Whether be it mental health, family issues, or things beyond our control.  May be we are even a product of our upbringing and we want to break these chains and be a new link in a healthy legacy.  A legacy worth Legacydads that we are all striving to become.  It’s never too late and it is never over.  We believe in a God of second, third and infinite chances.  He is patient and kind and He loves us so much that He gave His only Son for us.

This is radical.  This is difficult, but with complete trust and surrender – all things are possible.

What about it?  Can you free yourself to forgive?  Can you free yourself from condemning?

Thoughts,

D

 

 

 

 

Awesome weekend: Joy and Excitement

Dear Legacy Dads,

It has been a while since I posted, not because I do not want to, rather, life has been somewhat busy.  This past weekend was pure excitement and joy for me.  First of all, my son, decided to finally make a profession of Faith and now is a new member at our church.  He really has been saved since about 3 (he truly gets his salvation), but I didn’t want to pressure him, instead I wanted him to own his faith.  So he went through our Church Class to become a member and this weekend he brought me joy.

TreyI am not sure about your goals and dreams, but my wife and I have a top priority and that is leading the type of life where our faith is real and our kids really want to own it.  Our prayers have been that they will all come to know the Lord as Savior.  So far, we are two out of three and I couldn’t be happier.  The youngest is very smart, and may even be able to comprehend her love toward Jesus, but I am waiting on her (not what I want).

The coolest part of this weekend is just how much he internalized the moment.  I was so excited that he was called to be called a son of God and now to have a community of believers walk around him as he grows in wisdom and discernment.  This was a very humble moment for me and I am still so thankful that the first of three has made a profession of Faith.

My in-laws made the trip out to attend this service and I was just so excited by the Legacy of Faith that was present.  My mother-in-law and father-in-law raised girls that love the Lord, love their husbands and teach their children scripture and purity – it is an amazing thing to watch and I am so thankful that God keeps all of his promises (even when we don’t).

He is a God of second and third and so many chances because He loves us so much that He gave us His only Son.  With all this joy in my life that came from this event and the weekend of worship and praise, I didn’t think I could get any more excitement until she walked into my room and I paused and took a picture.

AudreyI am not sure about you (who have daughters) but I can tell you that I would sacrifice my life and for any one of my kids and that I want them to enjoy their lives and to love their spouses and to love the Lord with all their mind, body, soul and strength.  My middle child walked into my room and showed me a glimpse of my future (Excitement) and to be perfectly honest (as a father) some concerns:

  • Am I being the dad/father that I need to be?
  • Am I teaching my girls what to look for in a man?
  • Am I treating them like I should be (the way that I want their husbands to treat them)?
  • How can I be more intentional in my parenting and influence?
  • What else do I need to be doing?
  • Am I giving them enough of my time (hugs, kisses and quantity of time)?
  • Are my wife and I parenting as well as we should be?
  • I only have just under 10 years left to truly parent with 100% influence? What’s next?
    How can I get others to help me along this process?

 

When it is all said and done, I would like to achieve a few things in my life:

  1. To lead a humble and content life
  2. To leave a legacy for my wife and kids and men that follow
  3. To leave a love that can never be replaced (except by my kids spouses and their new lives together)
  4. To have my tombstone say that I did it right
  5. and most important to hear the words from our Lord, “Well done thou good and faithful servant.”

What about you?
Blessings,

D

 

 

Top 10 things in order to be an effective leader

Top 10 things in order to be an effective leader:

  1. You must have a vision (where are we, where are we going and how do we get there)
  2. You must be able to communicate this vision and convey it to your leaders (if you turnaround and not everyone is following refocus your efforts on communication)
  3. You must encourage those around you
  4. You must listen to those who you empower to carryout your vision
  5. You must often refer to #1 (have a vision) and #2 (communicate this vision)
  6. You must be relational (this means that you should comfort, encourage and urge others around you
  7. You must be open to those who you are empowering (give them a voice, because if they believe that they have value then your vision becomes even more invaluable)
  8. You must continually go through this list in order to make sure that you didn’t stray into your own circle of non-communication to your team
  9. You must be a humble leader
  10. You must be an accountable leader

All of this is only possible when your vision is aligned with God’s truth.  This is not about a man, instead it is about God who became man to save you and me!

Blessings,

Dante

 

 

What are some of the most important things to teach your children

Clearly there are numerous books on raising children.  Many have world views and some gems have biblical foundations in their writings.  My wife and I have relatives that told us (pre-kids) that you do your best parenting before kids.  We did the proverbial laugh and thought that we had it all figured out.  That, as you know, was not entirely so.  Kids are hard work.  Kids teach us a lot and if you asked me before kids, during it now and or when they are grown if I would change my view on having children, my response will always be the same – I wouldn’t trade them for the world.

The older I get (I am in my mid-forties now), the more I believe that God gives us the right to parent in order to show us just how much He loves us.  For instance, when our kids really screw up or make huge mistakes, my initial thought is that I want to scream and sometimes (depending on the infraction) put them through the proverbial drywall.  That is, until I realize to my self and say, “Self, this is how you make God feel about you (ALL THE TIME!).  My posture changes, I calm down and show them love.  Truth in love to be precise.

The Bible doesn’t specifically spell it our for us on how to parent, BUT it does give us a really strong foundation:

Make your faith real:

  • Proverbs 22:6 ESV Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
  • Deuteronomy 6:7 ESV You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
  •  Psalm 127:3-5 ESV Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.
  •  2 Timothy 3:16 ESV All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
  •  2 Timothy 3:14-17 ESV But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
  •  Matthew 19:14 ESV But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”
  •  Romans 8:28 ESV And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Do not provoke your children:

  • Ephesians 6:4 ESV Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
  • Colossians 3:21 ESV Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.

Give them boundaries (don’t be afraid to discipline and say no):

  • Proverbs 29:15 ESV The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.
  • Proverbs 23:13 ESV Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die.
  • Proverbs 13:24 ESV Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.
  • Proverbs 29:17 ESV Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart.
  • Proverbs 22:15 ESV Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him.
  • Proverbs 19:18 ESV Discipline your son, for there is hope; do not set your heart on putting him to death.
  • Proverbs 15:5 ESV A fool despises his father’s instruction, but whoever heeds reproof is prudent.
  • Proverbs 20:11 ESV Even a child makes himself known by his acts, by whether his conduct is pure and upright.

Pray

  • Pray for God to call them to be his children
  • Pray for the Holy Spirit to guide them to the truth
  • Pray for their safety and wisdom
  • Pray for their future spouses
  • Pray for their ears and hearts to understand God’s truth

Shepherd your child’s heart (there is a book on this):

  • Don’t try to shape their behavior, instead challenge the way they think
  • Don’t try to argue them into submission, be consistent with your words and discipline
  • Do encourage them to live a life worthy of God
  • Do comfort them (give them love, security and warmth)
  • Do urge them to live a life worthy of God

Parents that I respect the most are the ones who lead humble lives and have children that are jewels on their crowns.  Does that mean that they got everything right?  Of course not, but you can tell that there is something different with these parents.  Something worth looking into and perhaps asking them to mentor us on…

What are some of your lists?

Blessings,

D

 

 

Discipleship: Chronicles through Job (Part 2 of 5)

what-it-means-to-be-a-disciple-of-jesus-2_t_nvThe more that I read through the Bible the more the more I realize that it is reading me instead of me reading it.  There is a wealth of information in this great book and the Holy Spirit truly inspired the writing of this great manual.  Application from stewardship to living to contentment and so much more is find within these pages.  One thing to note, each time you read the Bible, pray that God will continue to reveal His truth for you and what He wants you to glean form this reading.  Pray for wisdom and understanding and take notes on what you read and what thoughts come to you.  When you feel conviction (journal) and when you learn something new, make a note in the margin.  Often, when you journal and re-read it is amazing how the Spirit works in each one of us to build His Kingdom.  Remember:  Less of me, more of God.

In Chronicles we learn to:

Be thankful, Sing Praises to God and Tell of His Good Name (share the Gospel) – 1 Chronicles 16:8-10

Be Strong and fight bravely using the word  of God

Devote your heart and soul to seeking the Lord - 1 Chronicles 22-19

Serve God with whole-hearted devotion – 1 Chronicles 28:9

God is good and His love endures forever

Humble yourself before Him - 2 Chronicles 7:14

God will strengthen you when you are fully committed to Him – 2 Chronicles 16:9

Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther

Stand for Truth, Integrity and Justice – The Book of Nehemiah

God is in control, so don’t be afraid to step out in faith for Him – The Book of Esther

God sees it all – Job 7:17-19

Jesus is there for us (from the beginning to the end):  Job 9:33-35, Job 16:19-21, Job 19:25

How to live each day – The Book of Job

How to gain wisdom understanding:  Job 28:28

How to avoid lust – Job 31:1

More to follow on the pathway of being God’s disciple.
What are some of your thoughts?

D

 

 

Discipleship: Genesis through Chronicles (Part 1 of 5)

Do you find yourself often wondering what God’s will is for your life?  Questions like is what I do relevant to God’s Kingdom?  Is what I am doing now where God wants me to be?  Am I the father that God wants me to be?  Am I the husband that God wants me to be (my wife wants me to be)?  Am I the dad that my children and God need me to be?  Do I love the Lord with all my heart mind, body and strength (does my checkbook and actions prove that)?

Dare

So many things matter to men and we are very deep minded creatures.

In Proverbs 20 verse 5 states, “The purposes of a man’s heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out.” (NIV)

As I was reading through the first fourteen books of the Bible, I was very keen to what discipleship would look like through the “OLD” testament.

 

I found these things to be true, accurate and confirming by the Holy Spirit:  As disciples of Christ we are to:

  1. Master Sin (even in anger):  Genesis 4:6-7; Leviticus 19:18
  2. Master Finances (Give God a tenth of our time, talent and treasure):  Genesis 20:20-22
  3. Obey God Completely:  Exodus 19:5-8; 1 Samuel 15:22
  4. Bless Others:  Numbers 6:24-27
  5. Keep His Word:  Numbers 30:2
  6. Do not fear any man, instead fear God (which is the beginning of wisdom):  Dueteronomy 1:17
  7. Love the Lord (with all of your heart, soul, strength) Deuteronomy 6:5-9
  8. Study and meditate on God’s word:  Joshua 1:8
  9. Serve wholeheartedly:  Joshua 24:15; Joshua 14:14
  10. Know your charge (what are my marching orders):  1 Kings 2:2-3
  11. Sing & Praise God Always:  1 Chronicles 16:8-10

God isn’t asking his disciples to just be fans – he want followers.  He wants men who want to know His Son as more than the God Man, instead He wants us to know him as friend.  Life is hard enough with its daily jaunts and stresses and questions in life.  Instead of pursuing what we think is best, why not pursue the maker of the world and to build community with Him.

Thoughts?

D

 

How to live a pure and peaceful life (a post from my 10 year old son)

treycar1My son has been fanatical about cars and not just any cars, but serious sports cars.  That is all he talks about and that is what he likes to think about.  Don’ t get me wrong, he loves God, loves his Mom and his sisters most of the time, but he constantly has cars in the commentary.    Which leads me to this post, because one day I had finally said to him that I was getting seriously concerned about his focus on materialism and the ways of this world.  I asked him, “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his own soul?”  His response was right on, he said, “Dad, there is nothing that is worthy losing your soul for.”

We then started talking about Abraham and Gideon and David and the Saints of the Bible and why there stories are so important.  I, then, talked about discipleship and what that looks like in our lives (weekly, daily, hourly and so on).  We talked about stewardship and responsibility and what God requires of us.

I love my boy!  He wrote this on a sheet of paper:

How to live a pure and peaceful life

  • Show self-control in every action
  • Do no fear what isn’t to be feared
  • Admit your emotions.  Do not be afraid to share them but be on guard with whom you share them with.
  • Wrath, anger, hatred sloth, fear are not to be shown but to be admitted to if absolute
  • Praise God day and night for faith in Him shall NEVER be feared
  • Obey Him always.

the listJames says to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to be angry.  Paul says that if God is for us then who can be against us.  Paul also says not to become angry.  David was a warrior and a man with emotion and a man after God’s own heart.  The sinful nature is to be put to death daily.  The Psalms tell us to let everything that has breath praise the Lord.  Jesus, God, the Bible and its Apostles tells us to obey and submit.

I am not sure about you, but I am pretty sure that this boy is on the right track.

Dear Lord, give me the wisdom and discernment to guide this boy into a full-fledged relationship with you.  Teach me to teach him to Trust in you with all his heart, mind, body and soul.  Teach me to teach him not to lean on his own understanding.   Teach me to teach him to acknowledge you in everything.

Thank you Lord for your faithfulness (even when I am not faithful!)

Blessings,

D