Ashley Madison, Porn and no limits

prov910If you Google “400 church leaders to resign after Ashley Madison hack” you will find a lot of websites this headline.  It is from an interview with Ed Stetzer in Christianity today.  I think what surprises me most is the idea and reactions of the world when Christians are caught.  Even within the church there is this gasp of the fear of being caught.  These notions are foolish because if we are truly focused on the One who is over all can see, hear and do, then we should be trembling in our boots and beds and on our computer screens knowing that this One is the same that can create and destroy.  The One who can save or reject on whether He calls us to know His Son.

There is this false sense of security in the privacy of one’s own space.  Albeit a computer, a laptop, a smart device or television, we think we are immune from the world finding out.  When instead, we should be in complete fear and dismay in knowing that the God of this Universe and the Creator can see, hear, will and do whatever He pleases.  He breathes us into life and knows when He has appointed our time of death.

The mere fact that God is over all (including those that do not know Him or claim that He is not real) is scaringly sober.  How is it that we fear public opinion but we do not fear God when it comes to our sin.  Woe be it to a Christian who sins an does not repent of that sin.  Even more so, woe be it to the lost who sin and does not know God’s son to save them.  Now if you are a professing, transformed and born-again Christian, I do not want you to take away that you can lose your salvation, rather, I do not want you to die with unrepentant sin in your life and meet our Creator.  I would much rather desire that both you and I repent when we sin (and we do sin) and share these sins with our brothers (who we should let have a voice and power of accountability in our life) so that we can turn from this sin and put it to death.

God calls us to be pure and holy.  He calls us righteous (those that confess His Son Jesus Christ).  We are adopted and called sons of the most Holy God.  Therefore, as disciples of Christ, we have a burden of discipleship.  This is not a burden that is beyond our ability, because God knows how wretched we can be, so he sent a Helper (The Holy Spirit) who dwells within the saved.

Job 7:17-21New International Version (NIV)

17 “What is mankind that you make so much of them,  that you give them so much attention, 18 that you examine them every morning and test them every moment? 19 Will you never look away from me,  or let me alone even for an instant? 20 If I have sinned, what have I done to you, you who see everything we do? Why have you made me your target? Have I become a burden to you?[a] 21 Why do you not pardon my offenses and forgive my sins? For I will soon lie down in the dust; you will search for me, but I will be no more.”

Read Psalms 38

Galatians 6New International Version (NIV)

Doing Good to All

6 Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. 2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3 If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. 4 Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, 5 for each one should carry their own load. 6 Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor.

 

7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8 Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

—–

When we approach the throne room of God in repentance (when we sin and if you are like me that is A LOT!) be humble.  Be low in spirit.  Be honest and open and transparent.  Be fearful (you are approaching the Holy of Holy.  Be a friend (spend more time in prayer and word with Him).  Be honest.  Be emotional.  Do not be proud or arrogant and in all that you do, “15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him – Colossians 3:15-18.

To the One who sees and knows and does it all – be fearful and be humble.

Confess your sins to Him and study Him and His will for your life and you will find God’s best for you in whatever He desires for you.

Blessings,
Dante

 

 

Of love!

Part 3 of Faith, Hope and Love

1 Corinthians 13:13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

oflove1 Corinthians 13: 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

John 15:13 (NIV)

13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends

As of disciple and as a legacy dad we have to set our hearts on things above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.  We have to set our minds on things above.  We have to put to death that which is of earth and its desires.

To understand true love we have to study God’s word and build relationships with the Trinity.  God the father wants our praise and honor and glory for him.  His Son wants a relationship with us because he wants more than just a fan because he died for us and rose again to save us.  And he loves us so much that he gave us his Spirit to guide us and direct us in heavenly ways.

To understand love we can try to get a glimpse of it when we serve and love others without expectant wants in return.  We can watch children laugh and play.  We can have children of our own to begin to understand just how much God loves us.  I believe in my heart that is why God gives us children to begin to understand this love.

He wants us to understand that love has no record of wrongs.  That is, to say, that when Jesus died on the cross he took all of our broken record and nailed them to that cross.  What that means for each and every one of us who are born again is that we are forgiven of past sins, of present sins and of sins to come.  God gives us His Spirit to guide us and to lead us on our pathway of sanctification.  He calls us to be holy and to pursue His righteousness.  When we sin, we are called to forgive our brothers and to confess our sins to one another.

This is the road map to unconditional love.

When we love our neighbors as our-self we are putting the 2nd greatest commandment to practice.  To love our neighbor as ourselves.  We are called to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength and then to love our neighbor.

Who is our neighbor:

  • Our family
  • Our wives
  • Our kids
  • Our literal neighbors
  • The lost
  • The saved (our brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus)

If you cannot forgive and you cannot love like this then we are called to examine ourselves to see if we are in the Faith.  To see if we are called to be his chosen.

What fruit are you bearing?  Is the peace of Christ and his love evident in your life?  If not, how then can we justify scripture in our lives?  We cannot.

Forgive as we have been forgiven.

Love as we have been loved.  For love has no greater friend then one who lays down his life for us (Jesus did this for you and me).  Now tell me how we cannot do that for our wives?  For our kids?  For our neighbors, communities and churches.

In all that you do seek first the Kingdom, love like we are loved and move to his wants and desires for our lives.

Of all that we do never forget Love.

Blessings,

Dante

 

 

 

 

Of hope…

part 2 of Faith, Hope and Love

HopeMark 5:21-43New International Version (NIV)

Jesus Raises a Dead Girl and Heals a Sick Woman

21 When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around him while he was by the lake. 22 Then one of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet. 23 He pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.” 24 So Jesus went with him.

A large crowd followed and pressed around him. 25 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 26 She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” 29 Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.

30 At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”

31 “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’

32 But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. 33 Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

35 While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?”

36 Overhearing[a] what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”

37 He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. 38 When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. 39 He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.”40 But they laughed at him.

After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. 41 He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). 42 Immediately the girl stood up and began to walk around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished. 43 He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat.

—-

Hope can be a funny thing.  Hope can be a last resort.  Hope can be all sorts of things for different people.  The one common theme in Hope is for the looking forward of something.  Have you ever gone to a funeral?  There is a great likelihood that you have if you have been reading this blog for quite some time.  Funerals can be very sad or in some cases (where there is Hope) can be a celebration and a mourning.  The mourning, is common in all funerals, in that we miss the loved ones that have left this earthly realm and have moved on to another.  It is common for us to mourn that which we once had have and now no longer do.  There are some funerals, however, where there is no hope and more like a statement of “if”, that is, “if” there is an afterlife, “then” maybe this person will be in Heaven.  And then there are funerals where you go to and there is mourning, but there is also a celebration because you and I, who profess the Lord Jesus as Savior and have repented of our sins and our transformed into His new creation, have this hope.  For those of us that have the Lord, as Savior, no longer have to say goodbye to our loved ones.  Rather, we should be saying:  See you later!

Hope can be seen throughout history.  In war, in peace and even in movies we see the thread of hope intertwined in all of these events.  Hope is looking forward to.  Hope, as Christians, comes with a promise:

  • It is all about Jesus
  • The Word was with God and the Word is God
  • Jesus was raised from the dead and now sits on the throne at the right hand of God
  • Jesus will return
  • We have the Holy Spirit in each of us who are saved

Faith without works is dead.  Without hope what is there to look forward to?

I am not sure about you, or where have come from, but I am sure in the Bible.  I am sure in my salvation.  I am sure that Jesus will return and I have faith and hope in my future with Him.

What about your hope?

Blessings,

Dante

Of Faith…

part 1 of Faith, Hope and Love

FHLJesus Honors a Syrophoenician Woman’s Faith

Mark 7: 24 Jesus left that place and went to the vicinity of Tyre.[g] He entered a house and did not want anyone to know it; yet he could not keep his presence secret. 25 In fact, as soon as she heard about him, a woman whose little daughter was possessed by an impure spirit came and fell at his feet. 26 The woman was a Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia. She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter. 27 “First let the children eat all they want,” he told her, “for it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” 28 “Lord,” she replied, “even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” 29 Then he told her, “For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter.” 30 She went home and found her child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.

Luke 7 (NIV)

The Faith of the Centurion

Luke 7: 7 When Jesus had finished saying all this to the people who were listening, he entered Capernaum. 2 There a centurion’s servant, whom his master valued highly, was sick and about to die. 3 The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant. 4 When they came to Jesus, they pleaded earnestly with him, “This man deserves to have you do this, 5 because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue.” 6 So Jesus went with them. He was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: “Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. 7 That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. 8 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 9 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.” 10 Then the men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well.

Often I imagine myself in a situation where I am being watched by a cloud of witnesses and Angels and the Lord all watching me and during a trial or tribulation I say or do something that would please them for my faith.  Often I find myself falling short of this reality and either being too distracted, too tired, too frustrated or the like, wondering just how many times that I have missed these opportunities of faith?

I realize that when I rely on myself in the course of my day, then I am liking setting myself up to fail.  However, when I find myself in the word, reading Scripture daily and praying regularly, more often than not, the Holy Spirit guides more toward these opportunities.  I think the big question here is am I allowing myself the time for the Spirit to guide me?  Am I available?  Am I trusting God for His leading?

When I read the Old and New testament I am continually amazed how God uses ordinary men, women and even children to do extraordinary things through His will.  That blows me away that God decides to use us to build His Kingdom.  To be a part of that and to be available for that is an amazing thing.  When I mentor, when I coach and when God puts me in leadership, I am truly humbled that He gives me the ability to do this, but even more so to be even more blessed by what I get back in return.

When we serve we should expect:

  • To be blessed
  • To be needed
  • To be used for God’s glory
  • To be his light (more Christ-like)

When we serve we should not expect:

  • To be exhausted
  • To have a bad attitude
  • To not have the time (We are called to be stewards of His time, talent and treasure)

As a men’s ministry leader I find myself walking with various men of all ages ranging from my son to high school all the way up to men that are in the 60’s and 70’s.  When I find myself walking with men and being asked by them to mentor them I often ask them to mentor me.  Sometimes you will find that when you mentor, the mentee is regularly mentoring you even more so by their walk and truth and humility toward Scripture – it is a beautiful thing.  The one thing that I like to challenge these men with is that if they want me to walk with them then they have to be in the Word regularly and have to be in prayer as well.  The reason that I request this is because if they aren’t listening to God’s word then there is nothing possibly in my life that would or could bring them to the truth.  They have to be rooted in the word!

When you walk in God’s truth and His light you will often find yourself living a life of faith!

Blessings,
Dante

 

Why the Church

Faith ChurchWhen you think about life, the Bible and God’s plan for us, it is amazing to think and believe that God chose us.  God chooses to use us to build His kingdom.  God chooses us to share his love.  God chooses us to share His Son, Jesus Christ, to the world.  We are called by the Son to go and make disciples unto all the world.  Remember the important narrative here in that God chooses us!

In His wonderful creation and word, God shows us the importance of community.  After all, in the beginning God created (the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit) everything.  The older I get the more I see man’s hypothesis and science give way to the Truth, to the Way and to the life given to us by God the Father.  God shows us the importance of community by Himself, His Son and His Spirit who are three-in-one and one-in-three.  That is a concept that is way above my understanding, yet when you test it against the truth in Scripture that is the only way that it could be.  God gives us community by the living, breathing, and awe-inspiring love that He has for us.

Ephesians 3:9-10 (ESV)  9 and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in[a] God who created all things, 10 so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.

Hebrews 10:24-25 (ESV) 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Community is a very important part of God’s mission.   God made us to be in community, we crave community.  He exemplifies true community in the Holy Trinity.  He wants to model this some community in the Church, the body of Christ.  We are to love each other and to continue to do good to each other in brotherly (and sisterly( love).  The more that we let the Spirit bless us with His fruit (for the Fruit of the Spirit is: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control).  This is fruit that should pour out of our lives, in community, when we bear the name Jesus as Savior.

What we believeWhen Jesus was on this earth he exemplified this model to us all through walking with His disciples and having them walk with others along the way.  Remember, in the Gospels, that there was a point where Jesus sends out the disciples two by two and Scripture reveals to us that there are 70 disciples plus the twelve with Jesus.  Where did these 70 come from?   The answer is simple:  Through community.

Do you remember where Jesus is talking to Peter about the church and references him in regards to on this rock, he will build His church.  This is not a reference to any specific religion, rather, this is referencing the Church – God’s church.

When we are in community and doing God’s will, then we can see His purpose and wonderful path that he has for each and everyone of us.  How can we do this:

Be in community

Serve together

Share God’s love story together

Read the Bible daily

Pray often

Walk with other brothers (if you are a man) and with other sisters (if you are a woman)

In all you do, do in love and forgiving each other (in the church) as God has forgiven you

Love one another

In all you do, Coram Deo.

Blessings,

Dante

Independence Day

What has God freed you from through his Son...

All throughout history we see history of men who stood for truth and justice and independence – their freedom from evil and tyranny:

William Wallace, King Leonidas (the 300 Spartans), Winston Churchill, Mahatma Ghandi, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, , William Wilberforce, William Tyndale (translated the Bible into English), Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Apostles,

What about Jesus Christ – what did he do to sin, to death and for us?

  • 1 Peter 2:16 – Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants[a] of God.
  • Galatians 5:1 – For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
  • 2 Corinthians 3:17 – Now the Lord[a] is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
  • Hebrews 12:1 (ESV) Jesus, Founder and Perfecter of Our Faith
  • 12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us

 

If you are a bible believing, Jesus Christ professing Christian and you believe in you heart that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin, lived on this earth and was crucified and rose again on the 3rd day and now sits at the right hand of God, then you have been set free.

Therefore, put to death the old self and put on the new self which we are in Jesus Christ and his Spirit resides in us.

Happy Independence Day.

Lance & Dante

Here’s What’s Wrong with Manhood

I respect my wife and serve her every chance I get, I love my child like I’ve never loved anyone before, I give my time and money to organizations I believe in, but I’m not much of a man (or so society seems to think). Here’s why:

I’m not a big sports guy. Motor sports, yes. The typical “ball in play” sports, not so much. I can’t tell you how awkward it feels when I’m at work in the morning and people are talking about the game the previous day.

“What do you think about the game, Scott?”

*Awkward silence and crickets*

Me: “I like Formula 1 and Moto GP…”

bodybuilder-646482_1280

Continue Reading »

Should we keep on sinning

If I were to look at the church from the outside in approach (as not being a Christian) in most American churches I would most like being skewed and left with hypocritical opinion of the church.  That is, to say, that I would probably ask why do I need God if Christians continue to do the same thing that they did before and continue to sin and keep on sinning.  I would say how can they judge me when they keep doing the very things that they say that they are saved from.

cheap graceIf I were to look at most men in these churches in America, I would be disappointed by the statistics that compare the world to them, meaning there probably wouldn’t be much difference.

If I were to be real with these American churches that were just lukewarm, I would look to the book of Revelation and say to them what Jesus said to one of his churches about being lukewarm – he would rather have that church be hot (on fire for Him and His will) or cold (worldly) instead of lukewarm (which is like vomit in His mouth).

stopBased on the way that some Christians live, some in the world can conclude that the salvation of that church (living like the world) is like a lottery ticket – meaning that they can be “saved” and also live like they used to live by continuing to keep living the same way as before (this is the world’s view). I would caution any church against living a lie such as this…you will be held accountable by misleading others.

Let’s test that against Scripture:

Continue Reading »