Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s on the sin of lust

Hebrews 12:1-  (NIV) 12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

The following is a quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s book, Temptation:

calls a man“In our members there is a slumbering inclination toward desire, which is both sudden and fierce.  With irresistible power, desire seizes mastery of the flesh.  All at once a secret, smoldering fire is kindled.  The flesh burns and is in flames.  It makes no difference whether it is a sexual desire, or ambition, or vanity, or desire for revenge, our love of fame and power, or greed for money…”

“At this moment God is quite unreal to us. [Remember those words.] He loses all reality, and only desire for the creature is real.  The only reality is the devil.  Satan does not here fill us with hatred of God, but with forgetfulness of God…  The lust thus aroused  envelopes the mind and will of a man in deepest darkness.  The powers of clear discrimination and of decision are taken from us.  The questions present themselves as, ” Is what the flesh desires really sin in this case?” And, ” Is it really not permitted me, yes, expected of me now, here in my particular situation to appease desire?'”

UnWhich

This week is Founders Week at Moody.  There are some great speakers and you can click here to listen to the Speakers and their messages.  I was driving home today and listening to a an excerpt from Ron Hutchcraft about Christians who were trying to run the race and would not even begin to leave the starting line because they were bogged down with too many rocks in their backpacks of life.

He referenced certain rocks:  The rocks of unforgiveness, the rock of hatred and so on.   Later in his message he talked about the rock of Kryptonite (that which takes the strength from Superman), and prevents him from doing his very best.

How many of us Christians are stuck in our own proverbial ruts of life, in life and because of life circumstances.  Some more than others of us may have justification:

  • Parents divorce
  • Being made a victim as a child
  • Abuse
  • Neglect
  • Being unloved
  • Parents dying
  • Our health or lack thereof

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

Discipleship Part 2: The lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the Pride of Life

Do Not Love the World

1 JOHN 2: 15Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. 17The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.

When you think about these words, they are really tough to handle as a disciple of Jesus Christ.  Tough to handle in the way that our old self (dead to sin) is still at war with our new self born again in Jesus Christ.  We are no longer owned by death, as death has lost its hold on those who profess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  The problem is when we entertain lust in our lives.  Lust is defined as, “intense sexual desire or appetite”.  There are three things that can pull us away from what God’s perfect plan for us is:

lust of the eyesLust of the eyes:

  • Beauty (desiring what we see, but cannot have)
  • Nudity
  • Sexual appetite
  • Desire
  • Want
  • Greed

itsallaboutmeLust of the Flesh

  • Acting on that which we desire by sight
  • Giving in to the temptation of the eyes
  • Gratifying our desires via the flesh
  • Gluttony
  • Overdoing
  • Insatiable Appetite (nothing can fill it)
  • Addictions (drugs, alcohol, sex) and giving in to them

Pride of life

  • Putting our needs before God’s will
  • Succoming to our desires, thereby following the worlds path instead of God’s
  • PrideBecoming god-like without the power to save (we did it our way NOT God’s way)
  • Selfishness
  • Arrogance
  • Un-repentance

 

How to equip yourself for these 3 major battles:

  • Put on the new self
  • Holy Living (click here)
  • Become a living sacrifice (click here)
  • Renew your mind (daily and for some minute by minute)
  • Confess and Repent
  • Turn away from (in simple terms: RUN)

Next up, running the race:  Equip, Prepare, Fight
Blessings,

Dante

It is the Veteran

“IT IS THE VETERAN”

It is the Veteran, not the preacher, who has given us freedom of religion.
It is the Veteran, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the Veteran, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the Veteran, not the campus organizer, who has given us freedom to assemble.
It is the Veteran, not the lawyer, who has given us the right to a fair trial.
It is the Veteran, not the politician, who has given us the right to vote.
It is the Veteran, who salutes the Flag,
It is the Veteran, who serves under the Flag,
To be buried by the flag,
So the protester can burn the flag.

Author: Anonymous

To all of you who have served, are serving – we at Legacydad would like to thank you for your sacrifice (of time, of talent, of treasure and even unto death) we thank you for your integrity, bravery, fortitude and all around real american hero!

May the Lord bless you and keep you and make His face shine upon you and give you the peace of Christ –

Best wishes,

Lance & Dante

 

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

 

 

Faith without works…

In Genesis 22, we read the following passage:

Genesis 22 New International Version (NIV)

faith-without-works-is-deadAbraham Tested

22 Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!”

“Here I am,” he replied.

2 Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”

3 Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. 4 On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. 5 He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”

6 Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, 7 Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”

“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.

“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”

8 Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.

9 When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”

“Here I am,” he replied.

12 “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”

13 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram[a] caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”

15 The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time 16 and said, “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, 18 and through your offspring[b] all nations on earth will be blessed,[c] because you have obeyed me.”

19 Then Abraham returned to his servants, and they set off together for Beersheba. And Abraham stayed in Beersheba.

—–

BELIEVEFor many of Christians (true Jesus is the only way Christians) we have a hard time with this.  That is, to say, that we believe in Jesus.   We believe that he was born of a virgin, that he fulfilled all the prophesies about him (every one of them), that he was crucified (and died) and that on the third day he was brought back to life and that he now sits at the right hand of God.  Here is where the issue or problem may occur for us as Christians – the without works part of our faith.  Do not misunderstand me here, there is no works that we could possibly do in order to save ourselves – only God can save us through His Son Jesus Christ.  The point being that our bodies are living temples to God’s Spirit who resides in our temples.  How can we expect the Holy Spirit (who resides in each follower and believer in Jesus Christ) not to bring good works out of us?

If then we are raised by Jesus Christ (from being dead in spirit to life) then why do we not expect to see the fruit of the Spirit?  Sometimes this is difficult in that God lays before us trials and tribulations (tests) that for some can be painful or could stretch us in ways that we never wanted to be stretched.  In sacrifice that we never wanted to make, in works that we never wanted to work out.

Abraham had Isaac at the ripe old age of 100 years.  God then called him to take his son and sacrifice him.  Many of us read this story as blind faith (I don’t).  Abraham believed in the Lord and his works (by his faith in God) was counted to him as righteouness).  Abraham believed for years that God would give his barren wife a son (God did).  Abraham believed in the power of the living God (because he witnessed time and time again).  As you read the story in Genesis 22, we see that Abraham did all that the Lord required of him (even binding his one and only son) and he was even going to sacrifice him to the one true God (he trusted God because he knew God and what he did and could do).  Because of this work (Abraham had to work – do the action – that the Lord required of him before the blessing could occur).  Does the Lord have the power to bless us without action (of course), does the Lord bless us with the fruit of His Spirit (of course, he can do as he pleases).

Most of the time God calls us to action (as you read in James 1), in order to build us and strengthen us to who He knows we can become (disciples of His).  I want to end this post with words from the Book of James:

James 2:14-26New International Version (NIV)

Faith and Deeds

14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”

Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.

20 You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless[a]? 21 Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,”[b] and he was called God’s friend. 24 You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.

25 In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

—–

When it is in our power to do good and we don’t – shame on us.

When it is in our power to do good and we do – God smiles on us.

When we can do good to others – it is better for us (not expecting anything in return)

The blessing in this is that we truly get blessed more than the one(s) who we are blessing.

When you give, do not let the left hand see what the right hand is doing (because God knows and watches the actions of our hearts).

Blessings,

D

 

Are you a good listener?

The old adage of, “I know you can hear me, but are you really listening to me….” seems to be a recurring theme among men that I talk to both in life and in ministry.  The real problem here is that when you strip back the layers it really isn’t just one-sided – rather, it takes two sides.

downloadCountless relationships find communication problems that start out small but end up monumental.  Others seem to let the little things pass them by and then realize over several years that these “minor problems” have become major and in some cases even ending relationships.

Why?  What is the root cause and how does it happen so quickly (look at the previous blog post and realize that we all have an enemy who roams the earth looking to devour – especially those who walk with God.

How to be a good listener:

  • Step 1:  Be a good friend and listen to what the person (wife/husband/friend) is saying without interrupting or hearing what you want to hear and interjecting along the way
  • Step 2:  Remember that God gave us 2 ears and only 1 mouth – I really think that this was for a reason:  Don’t just hear, but listen to what is being said.
  • Step 3:  Do not be quick to judge.  Be slow to speak and slow to become angry
  • Step 4:  When you decide to work on being a good listener, then put down the phone, the texts, and turn your eyes upon the one who is talking to you.  This instantly shows them that they have your attention and respect.
  • Step 5:  If you have distractions that you cannot control (phone, tv, computers, etc.,) remove them or mute them.
  • Step 6:  Body language – make sure that you are giving them every sign and body movement that you are engaged and that the world (at this current juncture) could end and that the only thing that matters is them.
  • Step 7:  Along the way, without being rude, cocky, ignorant or whatever could be deemed negative, ask the person to clarify when in doubt, or say something along the line of, “If I am listening to you correctly, I believe that you are saying…., or that you mean…. – and then ask them to clarify and then continue.
  • Step 8:  Be intentional with your new-found listening skills and ask relevant and insightful questions in regards to the person, the situation and the subject.  This will have positive impacts for both you and the talker as both are feeling validated.
  • Step 9:  Don’t force the conversation.  Even if you know that they are holding back or not ready to fully open (and even if you know what could be said next – Don’t say anything)  by listening and being a good listener, then you will show that you can be trusted (with listening) and that sooner or later that person may decide to open fully up to you.
  • Step 10:  Regardless of the level of conversation, do not devalue it or make it seem like it is not relevant.  Whatever the topic or the issue or the conversation show the person (spouse or friend) that they matter, they are relevant and you do care about what they are saying
  • Step 11:  Do not make light of it.  Do not discard it and do not blow it off.  If it is important to them, no matter what the subject, then value that person by valuing what is important to them regardless of your own feelings or knowledge
  • Step 12: Pray before you talk, during and after for God to lead you the way that you should go.  Listen for the Spirit to guide you to either encouragement, comfort or urging of that person.

top-activelisteningMen, whether we like it or not, God has intended us to be the Spiritual leaders.  That is a big necessity that is lacking in a lot of cultures.  Where are the men with integrity, honor, valor and the like?  Imagine if we all worked on being a better listener at home, school, work and community (and church) – what would that look like to those around us?  How do you think people would respond?

What are some of your steps?

Let’s hear from you,

Dante