Lessons of Faith, Part 1

Elijah1 Kings 17 New International Version (NIV)

Elijah Announces a Great Drought

17 Now Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe[a] in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word.”

Elijah Fed by Ravens

2 Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah: 3 “Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. 4 You will drink from the brook, and I have directed the ravens to supply you with food there.”  5 So he did what the Lord had told him. He went to the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan, and stayed there. 6 The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook.

Elijah and the Widow at Zarephath

7 Some time later the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the land. 8 Then the word of the Lord came to him: 9 “Go at once to Zarephath in the region of Sidon and stay there. I have directed a widow there to supply you with food.” 10 So he went to Zarephath. When he came to the town gate, a widow was there gathering sticks. He called to her and asked, “Would you bring me a little water in a jar so I may have a drink?” 11 As she was going to get it, he called, “And bring me, please, a piece of bread.” 12 “As surely as the Lord your God lives,” she replied, “I don’t have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die.” 13 Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small loaf of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. 14 For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land.’”  15 She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. 16 For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah. 17 Some time later the son of the woman who owned the house became ill. He grew worse and worse, and finally stopped breathing. 18 She said to Elijah, “What do you have against me, man of God? Did you come to remind me of my sin and kill my son?” 19 “Give me your son,” Elijah replied. He took him from her arms, carried him to the upper room where he was staying, and laid him on his bed. 20 Then he cried out to the Lord, “Lord my God, have you brought tragedy even on this widow I am staying with, by causing her son to die?” 21 Then he stretched himself out on the boy three times and cried out to the Lord, “Lord my God, let this boy’s life return to him!”  22 The Lord heard Elijah’s cry, and the boy’s life returned to him, and he lived. 23 Elijah picked up the child and carried him down from the room into the house. He gave him to his mother and said, “Look, your son is alive!”  24 Then the woman said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the Lord from your mouth is the truth.”

This life event happened for you and I to believe.   This story sums up some truth that we, as Christians, can hold on to for dear life.  I love the word of God and believe that it has a wealth of information and truth that can grow us into the disciples that God wants us to be.

Points to take from this Story:

  • God is in control – two critical times in Elijah’s timeline, God has said, “I have directed”  He is in control ALWAYS
  • Faith without works is dead – God brought His prophet and this widow together.  God had ordained this very meeting.  One person (Elijah) was mature in God’s word and Spirit and believed and acted on his faith in God.  The other person, a widow with a son, was hell bent on giving her and her son one last meal before they surely died – She was hopeless.  Yet, she let God lead her to this Holy man, God’s Prophet, and trusted the words.  Even though, she still thought they were doomed and probably said in her heart, “yes, okay, sure, I will give you my son and I’s last meal” but then realized that she was talking to God’s prophet and she acted.  She took the step of faith – she gave it all knowing the cost could surely be death (she trusted).
  • She went away – she went away to do the man of God’s will (to cook for him) she trusted him and she went away IN FAITH and believed
  • Even in Hopeless times – No matter how hopeless and desperate times seem – God makes the impossible possible.  God fed Elijah, the woman and her son.  God rose her son from the dead.  He is an Awesome God.

How many of us put God in a box and pull him out only when we need Him or only when the situations are too grave for just our little ‘ol selves to handle?  How many of us fear God, yet fail to grow our relationship with him?  (We know that He is in Heaven and in control) yet we forget that He wants a relationship with us.

How many of us are afraid to give it all to God?  Our jobs, our families, our divorce, our singleness, our broken dreams and our money?  Is God in Control?  Is He over it all?  Then why do we limit God’s blessings in our life.  Take a step toward relationship and trust and in obedience to Him see what He has in store for you.

Blessings,

Dante

 

Be Watchful, Stand Firm, Act Like Men

What does this verse mean to you?

To Calvin, it meant, “13. Watch ye. A short exhortation, but of great weight. He exhorts them to watch, in order that Satan may not oppress them, finding them off their guard. For as the warfare is incessant, the watching requires to be incessant too. Now watchfulness of spirit is this — when, free and disentangled from earthly cares, we meditate on the things of God. For as the body is weighed down by surfeiting and drunkenness, (Luke 21:34,) so as to be fit for nothing, so the cares and lusts of the world, idleness or carelessness, are like a spiritual surfeiting that overpowers the mind. [169]

The second thing is that they persevere in the faith, or that they hold fast the faith, so as to stand firm; because that is the foundation on which we rest. It is certain, however, that he points out the means of perseverance — by resting upon God with a firm faith.

In the third exhortation, which is much of the same nature, he stirs them up to manly fortitude. And, as we are naturally weak, he exhorts them fourthly to strengthen themselves, or gather strength. For where we render it be strong, Paul makes use of only one word, which is equivalent to strengthen yourselves.

14. Let all your things be done in love Again he repeats what is the rule in all those transactions, in which we have dealings with one another. He wishes, then, that love shall be the directress; because the Corinthians erred chiefly in this respect — that every one looked to himself without caring for others.

—–

To US:  What does this verse mean (what should this verse mean) for Legacy dads around the world:

Be Watchful

  • Study the word of God
  • Know the way your enemy works
  • Be on Guard and ready to act
  • Flee from evil

Stand firm in the faith

  • Do not give in to peer pressure
  • Be ready to give an answer
  • Don’t be swayed from the truth

Act Like Men

Be Strong

  • Trust in the Lord
  • Do not lean on your own understanding
  • God is our strong tower (our refuge)
  • He is our strength
  • Find your Joy in the Lord (for the joy in Him is our Strength)

Let All That You Do Be Done In Love

  • Read Here
  • Carry Each other’s burdens
  • Love one another
  • Do not devour your Christian brothers and sisters

What are you thoughts on this?

 

Dante

 

 

Man up, Lion down

 

WHAT:  ACT LIKE MEN

WHERE/WHEN :  CHICAGO ILLINOIS (ALL STATE ARENA) May 15-16, 2015 Allstate Arena 6920 N Mannheim Rd. Rosemont, IL 60018

WHY:  TO CONNECT, TO GROW, TO DISCIPLE

WHO:  ALL OF YOU

Lance and I cannot believe that Act Like Men 2015 is here again.  We had such an awesome time and had great fellowship with our brothers and forged new friendships and accountability along the way.  There are conferences that pump you up and get riveted and then you go home back into the every day life and entertain sin.  And then their are churches, groups of men, men’s groups and disciples of Christ who go to a conference like Act Like Men and decide that this day will be the day that I take the Lion in my life (the sin that I keep chained in the closet, in the darkness and away from all other eyes) and I am going to drag it out in the street and put a proverbial bullet in its head.

This is that conference.  This is that time.  This is the year.  This is the day when you change it.  This is the day that you will let other brothers in.  This is the day that you will be accountable.  This is the day that you will Act Like Men!

1 Corinthians 16:13English Standard Version (ESV)

13 Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong

Blessings,

Dante

To Sign up for Act Like Men, Click HERE (Note;  If you go to my church or Lance’s Church, contact us privately as we have a church code for this event)

The Ultimate Gifts

ultimategiftbookBoth Lance and I have posted on the Movie, The Ultimate Gift, back in 2007 and 2011, and I decided to have my family watch that movie last night.  My three kids (ages 10, 9 and 7) all thoroughly enjoyed the movie and were saddened with tears through parts of the movie.  I learned a lot about my kids (more teachable moments) in that was both my intention and my hope that they would connect to a life lesson that I was trying to bring them.  The theme of the movie is in its title:  The Ultimate Gift and my family and I were not let down.

There are gifts that the main character has to learn throughout the movie (that are applicable to life)

  • The Gift of Work – if you can appreciate this gift and learn to love the gift you can accomplish anything in life
  • The Gift of Money – when you realize good stewardship and that its all God’s, then you can appreciate what He has given you
  • The Gift of Friends – when hard times hit, you know who you true friends truly are
  • The Gift of Learning – you will never be old enough to continue to learn, appreciate the learning times
  • The Gift of Problems – Read James 1 (life will not be easy, it’s how you embrace them that can carry you through)
  • The Gift of Family – No matter what, family (both biological and church) should always be close to you (and your heart)
  • The Gift of Laughter – Life is too serious, enjoy these precious moments of laughter
  • The Gift of Dreams – Set the curve high and reach for God’s best in your life
  • The Gift of Giving – to give is truly better than to receive, for the blessing lies in this
  • The Gift of Gratitude – appreciate these moments that others do for you no matter how significant or insignificant
  • The Gift of a Day – life, as it is said, is way too short, so appreciate the days that the Lord has given you
  • The Gift of Love – the Ultimate Gift!  In one of my favorite musicals (Les Miserables) there is a line that says, “to love another person is to see the Face of God”…

the ultimate giftWhat I really liked about this movie is:  Everything!  What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his own soul (answer:  nothing!).  This movie encapsulates a road to discipleship that is biblical and that it truly tells you that giving is better than receiving.  This is completely counter-culturual in that it shows you that when you give without expectation (letting the right hand not know what the left hand is doing) God’s blessing is so much better than what we possibly could think.

This movie aloud me the privilege to share a beautiful teaching moment with my family – What really matters in life.  I taught about God’s love for us and what he calls us to do in return.  My youngest (7) was hit hard with the realization of death and that one day mom and dad will be gone (be sensitive to this), but what the tears aloud us to do was to connect on so many different levels.  I learned not to be afraid to share bitter truths in life with our kids.  The reality and frailty of this conversation led to a much bigger theme:  The Gift of Family and the Gift of Love (God’s love for us).  When we put these things in our life and move towards God’s path for us, then we find the abundant life that He promises us.

I would love to see a follow-up movie on this.  My theme in this would be a man who used to be a trust-fund brat and totally of this world, moving to a true disciple of Jesus Christ making a difference in the world.  Looking like something Job quotes in his book: Job 29.

Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  In all of your ways acknowledge him and He will make your paths straight (Proverbs 3).

Blessings,

Dante

PS – there is a sequel/prequel called the ultimate life (movie preview to follow once it is viewed)

 

Happy New Year – From Legacy Dad

Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV) “11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare[a] and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

Philippians 3:13-14 (ESV) “13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

chicago skylineWhether you celebrate the New Year by toasting grape juice, pillows (going to bed early), or even Champagne, we would like you to look back for a gander in 2014.  For some of you, it has been full of travel and work and more travel and for others it has been just another year under the belt.   For some, it has been a year of trials and tribulations and for others it has been a year of jubilee and blessing.  While yet, for others, it may have been a year of both trial and blessing.  Whatever and where ever you are in this life – we would like to humbly wish you all a very Happy New Year.

So what is our challenge for 2015?

  • Calling all Legacy dads:
  • Strain toward the goal (finish well)
  • Press toward walking more with God
  • Lean more on God (Jesus and His Spirit) and less on ourselves
  • Declare God’s plan for our lives (and not our own)

0112-top-earth_lightsWhen we work toward the goal of Jesus, we learn to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, then we see more of God’s will in our lives and less of our will.

 

Remember, God does have plans for us – really good plans.

 

 

Happy New Year and the best to your and your families in 2015!

Blessings,

Lance & Dante

FOMO(D) = Fear of Missing Out (Disease)

FOMOFear of missing out or FOMO is a form of social anxiety, whereby one is compulsively concerned that one might miss an opportunity for social interaction, a novel experience, profitable investment or other satisfying event. The fear is especially associated with modern technologies such as mobile phones and social networking services such as Facebook and Twitter, which provide constant opportunity for comparison of one’s status. Through an increased reliance on the Internet, a psychological dependence to being online has developed and results in anxiety when one feels disconnected, thereby leading to a fear of missing out.

The older I get, the more that I am horrified of what technology and social media has done to this world.  Seriously, walk into a restaurant, a coffee bar, a shopping mall and look around and observe:  Mostly everyone has their heads in their smart phone or Ipad and are missing out on the beauty around them. God made us to be social beings, because in His trinity, he is teaching us the importance of community.  God made us as social beings – he wants us to be social.  “Go and make disciples” has explicit community attached to that statement.  God calls us to be pure, to be faithful and to be good stewards of our time, talent and treasure.  I think when we spend so much time in fruitless matters (on FOMO events).

The other day, I was out to dinner with my family and noticed a handsome couple, it seemed obvious that they were on their 2nd or 3rd date as they both seemed relatively new to one another.  The thing that I found was really sad was that they both spent more time in their phones then looking into each other’s eyes.  How many conversations that you are in, do you notice people, over generations, have lost the art of conversation.  Seriously observe the next time you are talking or watch others talking:  They are not focusing on the person in front of them, or in conversation, they are looking for the better thing, or the more interesting person walking along. My wife and I try and teach our kids this art of conversation.  When someone talks to you, look them in the eyes and acknowledge that they are important to you.  If you are at a restaurant (or service location) and the server (employee) is asking you something, give them the respect of their time and engage their conversation – this is an art of respect.

TOP 10 REASONS WHY WE NEED TO LET GO OF FOMO

  1. When you are not in the moment, you may be missing the very blessing that God wants you to receive (or to give)
  2. When you are suffering from FOMO, fear and anxiety can often set in
  3. When FOMO rules your life, you are missing the beauty that is around you
  4. When FOMO dominates your life, you are quickly overwhelmed by social media, electronics and the like that become idols in your life
  5. When FOMO reigns in your life, you are not serving God the way that he wants you to
  6. When FOMO becomes more important then the person in right in front of you, you are not honoring God’s request in our life for community
  7. When FOMO has overrun you, you are quick to be bored
  8. When FOMO controls your thoughts, expectations and anticipations, it is really hard to be satisfied
  9. When FOMO controls you, you will likely put a smile on the evil ones
  10. When FOMO is put in its rightful place (the least of your priorities) you will soon be finding God’s will in your life

I am not sure about you and what FOMO looks like in your life, but I know the more of what I put in my life, the more my life bears that fruit.  What fruit do you want to bear?  The Fruit of the Spirit or of the sinful nature.

Thoughts?

 

Dante

Trust in the Lord – a time of reflection

Proverbs 3 New International Version (NIV)

trustWisdom Bestows Well-Being

 

  • 1 My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart,
  • 2 for they will prolong your life many years  and bring you peace and
  • prosperity.  3 Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck,
  • write them on the tablet of your heart.  4 Then you will win favor and a good name
  • in the sight of God and man.  5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart  
  • and lean not on your own understanding;6 in all your ways submit to him,
  •     and he will make your paths straight.[a]
  • 7 Do not be wise in your own eyes;  fear the Lord and shun evil.
  • 8 This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.
  • Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops;
  • 10 then your barns will be filled to overflowing,  and your vats will brim over with new wine.
  • 11 My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke,
  • 12 because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.[b]
  • 13 Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding,
  • 14 for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold.
  • 15 She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her.
  • 16 Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor.
  • 17 Her ways are pleasant ways,  and all her paths are peace.
  • 18 She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her; those who hold her fast will be blessed.
  • 19 By wisdom the Lord laid the earth’s foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place;
  • 20 by his knowledge the watery depths were divided, and the clouds let drop the dew.
  • 21 My son, do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight,
  • preserve sound judgment and discretion;
  • 22 they will be life for you,
  • an ornament to grace your neck.
  • 23 Then you will go on your way in safety,
  • and your foot will not stumble.
  • 24 When you lie down, you will not be afraid;
  • when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.
  • 25 Have no fear of sudden disaster
  • or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked,
  • 26 for the Lord will be at your side
  • and will keep your foot from being snared.
  •  27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due,     when it is in your power to act.
  • 28 Do not say to your neighbor,
  •     “Come back tomorrow and I’ll give it to you”—
  •     when you already have it with you.
  • 29 Do not plot harm against your neighbor,
  • who lives trustfully near you.
  • 30 Do not accuse anyone for no reason—
  • when they have done you no harm.
  • 31 Do not envy the violent  or choose any of their ways.
  • 32 For the Lord detests the perverse but takes the upright into his confidence.
  • 33 The Lord’s curse is on the house of the wicked, but he blesses the home of the righteous.
  • 34 He mocks proud mockers but shows favor to the humble and oppressed.
  • 35 The wise inherit honor, but fools get only shame

—–

Some take-a-ways from Proverbs 3:

  • Read His word daily (keep His commandments and repent when you don’t)
  • Work out your salvation daily (with fear and trembling of God’s AWEsomeness)
  • Let Love and Faithfulness abound in you daily (and in your daily walk)
  • Fear the Lord and do not entertain anything perverse/evil
  • Do not hate His discipline, but understand that He is treating us as a loving father would treat his son
  • Do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight (keep the word close to you and your heart)
  • Honor the Lord with your wealth (tithe).  This is the only time that we can test the Lord (Malachi 3:10-11)
  • Try and out give God in doing good (see what He does for you)
  • Do not withhold good and charity from others when it is in your power to act (this will be a great sin against the saints, so repent if you do and ask for his path the next time)
  • Do not envy the violent or worldly individuals (their wealth and prosperity is fleeting if their hope is not in the Lord)
  • Do not choose their ways of living (worldly) for this does not prosper us, nor does it make our Father (in Heaven) happy
  • Do not grieve the Holy Spirit that is in each of us that profess the name of Christ
  • Finally, Trust in the Lord with all of your heart
  • Lean not on your understanding
  • In all of your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.

 

Blessings,
Dante

Top 10 reasons when you know your life is too busy

isolated 3d golden text "TOP 10"Back when I was in college for both my undergraduate and graduate degree, I had the privilege to travel to many different countries.  One particular year I was able to take an international course in Rome, Italy.  This was a two-week course in graduate school, which allowed some of my friends and me to travel all around Italy, Greece and Switzerland.  I thoroughly enjoyed this time and was in awe of how laid back the Italians were especially during their siesta.  Literally, in the afternoon there was a four-hour siesta (time for rest) and the town that we were staying was literally shut down.

There is a lot to be said for that, sometimes when we find ourselves in life’s fast lane, we need to take a break and slow way down, and even get off at the proverbial rest stop.  This got me thinking about this post and how important time management is as stewards of God’s time.   How important are some of the most little things in life that we are so busy (world standards) that we miss God’s standards.

So here it goes, my top 10 reasons when you know your life is too busy:

#10   You worry too much  - the demands in your life keep pulling you in every direction (Job lists keep growing, there is always more to do, your kids activities are taking you in every direction – family dinners are in the family vehicle going from one sport to another instrument).  You have not been keeping up with the goals that you set for yourself when you were younger.  You are not sure about this economy and what that means for you your loved ones.  You don’t give these worries to God (let’s be honest, if you worry too much, I want to challenge your prayer life)

#    9   You are too busy to forgive others – you let everything else pull you in every direction and to do things that really don’t matter.  Relationships that need to be edified and nurtured and cultured.  Sometimes we neglect loved ones (our wives, kids, family members and friends) You need to say you are sorry and make them a priority.   You need to forgive if you let life get in the way of forgiveness.

#    8   You are lonely – let’s be honest here.  You can be successful, you can technically have it all and you could have a wife and family that loves you and friendships that would do anything for you, but you are too busy to notice and to busy to realize that you are wealthy in friends and family and relationships – so you feel lonely

#     7  You are in debt – because of the busyness and the time pull you justify the debt in your life due the demand of this rat race called life

#     6  Your family and friends’ relationships are suffering – as point #8 said, because you are so busy the very things that give you peace, contentment and happiness are left out in the cold of this busy and the time away both by being their presently and or being pulled away by life still keeps you disconnected from the ones that you need to cultivate and build up and invest in

#     5   You procrastinate too much – you have so many good ideas and dreams that will bring you to levels of contentment and happiness, yet you are too busy to take the tasks to hand

#     4   You are truly bored – life is crazy, you are way to busy to slow down and breath in the life of peach and tranquility, therefore you believe that you are bored instead of busy – so you make your life busier and busier pursuing the very things that are in front of you (slow down smell the roses)

#     3   You have no spiritual life – the way you used to pray, the way you used to spend time in the word, the way you used to devotion – where is the time

#     2   You are lacking community – what more needs to be said, refer to #8 #4 and #9

#     1   You are not making time for the right things – Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, body and strength.  The second greatest commandment is to love your neighbor as your self.  Put God first.  Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding, acknowledge Him in all of your ways and He will make your path straight.

LDWhen you reflect on these things (and be honest) my next post will point us to Scripture to meditate on (Start with Proverbs 5).

Blessings,

Dante