The power of Words

Words that strike chords amongst us all

If I were to say a few words to you, without reacting, be honest with yourself and tell yourself out loud what emotions they initiate:

  • Anger
  • Overwhelmed
  • SuccessfulWords
  • Accountable
  • Reasonable
  • Spiritual
  • Bad
  • Moral
  • Realistic
  • Good
  • Should’ve
  • Forgiveness

Raw emotions when unchecked can cause a lot of pain for some, reactions from others and even some extreme outbursts from a few.  If we were to be completely honest about this, then we would have said (aloud) that some, if not all, these words either had us thinking about something very emotional in our life or about someone else who caused a response in this.

Lance put this quote on his Facebook post that sparked this blog post from me: “When it comes to conflict, hurt and resentment, it is the one who has been wronged who has all the power, not the one who does the wrong. And our power comes in the form of forgiveness. When we forgive, we liberate ourselves to live the life God has given us.”

When we look around there is always someone else who has it better or who has it worse then we do – if you are really honest – that is a true statement.  There are some circumstances that have happened to some of us that can never be taken back – they just happened.   On this side of Heaven, I can never try to explain the “why’s” or the “why not’s” to you on why they happened.

If we are trying to keep record of right or wrongs in what other people have done, let us look first at the wrong that we have done to God – sin!  All of us are guilty, not one of us perfect.

Some verses to ponder before my next post:

  • Mark 11:25 “And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses”
  • Matthew 6:15 “But if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
  • James 5:16 “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”
  • Luke 6:27 ““But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,”
  • Colossians 3:13 “Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”

Meditate on these verses, pray on them, ask the Lord to reveal events, memories and emotions and people that you have to give to Him.  Let go and Let God.

Come, let us reason together!  In my next post we will talk about the response that is required of God’s disciples.

Blessings,
Dante

 

 

Words…

part 2

colossiansOne day a teacher asked her students to list the names of the other students in the room on two sheets of paper, leaving a space between each name.

Then she told them to think of the nicest thing they could say about each of their classmates and write it down.

It took the remainder of the class period to finish their assignment, and as the students left the room, each one handed in the papers.

That Saturday, the teacher wrote down the name of each student on a separate sheet of paper, and listed what everyone else had said about that individual. 

On Monday she gave each student his or her list. Before long, the entire class was smiling. ‘Really?’ she heard whispered. ‘I never knew that I meant anything to anyone!’ and, ‘I didn’t know others liked me so much,’ were most of the comments.

No one ever mentioned those papers in class again. She never knew if they discussed them after class or with their parents, but it didn’t matter. The exercise had accomplished its purpose. The students were happy with themselves and one another. That group of students moved on.

Several years later, one of the students was killed in Vietnam and his teacher attended the funeral of that special student. She had never seen a serviceman in a military coffin before. He looked so handsome, so mature.

The church was packed with his friends. One by one those who loved him took a last walk by the coffin. The teacher was the last one to bless the coffin.

As she stood there, one of the soldiers who acted as pallbearer came up to her. ‘Were you Mark’s math teacher?’ he asked. She nodded: ‘yes.’ Then he said: ‘Mark talked about you a lot.’

After the funeral, most of Mark’s former classmates went together to a luncheon. Mark’s mother and father were there, obviously waiting to speak with his teacher.

‘We want to show you something,’ his father said, taking a wallet out of his pocket ‘They found this on Mark when he was killed. We thought you might recognize it.’

Opening the billfold, he carefully removed two worn pieces of notebook paper that had obviously been taped, folded and refolded many times. The teacher knew without looking that the papers were the ones on which she had listed all the good things each of Mark’s classmates had said about him.

‘Thank you so much for doing that,’ Mark’s mother said. ‘As you can see, Mark treasured it.’

All of Mark’s former classmates started to gather around. Charlie smiled rather sheepishly and said, ‘I still have my list. It’s in the top drawer of my desk at home.’

Chuck’s wife said, ‘Chuck asked me to put his in our wedding album.’

‘I have mine too,’ Marilyn said. ‘It’s in my diary’

Then Vicki, another classmate, reached into her pocketbook, took out her wallet and showed her worn and frazzled list to the group. ‘I carry this with me at all times,’ Vicki said and without batting an eyelash, she continued: ‘I think we all saved our lists’

That’s when the teacher finally sat down and cried. She cried for Mark and for all his friends who would never see him again.

The density of people in society is so thick that we forget that life will end one day. And we don’t know when that one day will be.

So please, tell the people you love and care for, that they are special and important. Tell them, before it is too late. And One Way To Accomplish This Is: Forward this message on.

Colossians 4:6English Standard Version (ESV)

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.

The Word of God changes lives

titusIn the Book of Titus we read how the Apostle Paul has left Timothy in Crete to with a big to do list:

  • 5 The reason I left you in Crete was that you might put in order what was left unfinished
  • Appoint Elders in every town
  • Train Elders to be God’s man
  • Rebuke those parties that need rebuking (Cretans and the Circumcision Party)
  • teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine
  • Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.
  • Teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4 Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.
  • encourage the young men to be self-controlled
  • In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness 8 and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us
  • Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, 2 to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone
  • avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless
  • Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them. 11 You may be sure that such people are warped and sinful; they are self-condemned

When Paul first leaves Titus with these men in this church, to the average eye, this would seem like a hopeless task.  But with God, everything is possible as we read in the following texts in Titus:

  • Titus 2:11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
  • Titus 3:3 At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. 8 This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone

discernment-1Remember this:  For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)

Left on our own devices we can be overwhelmed, stressed and left hopeless, but with the Word of God we can see how Titus takes these men in Chapter 1 (those who are lost, liars, Cretans and evildoers) and we see the Word of God,  a Man of God and the Spirit of God changing these men to God’s men!

The Word of God changes lives!

The Word of God can teach us!

The Word of God gives us Wisdom!  (The fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom).

Don’t leave home without the Word of God.

 

Blessings,
Dante

 

 

 

Completed Devoted

Be relational and real and God will bring them

our-daily-breadWhat if we trained for a marathon race at 25 percent?  What if we committed to our partner 30 percent?  What if we paid taxes on only 30 percent of our income?  What if we spent very little time investing in our family and our marriage?  In all of these questions what do you think the likely end result would be?  Would it be a happy ending?  Would it be edifying?  Would it be worth it to change these questions to what if I gave it my all?

I don’t think very many of us would even remotely try to argue that results would certainly be much different.  All this being said to ask our question of where does our devotion truly stand with the Creator of this Universe?

Some key verses for you to ponder:

  • Deuteronomy 6:5 “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
  • 1 Samuel 12:24  “Only fear the LORD and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you.
  • Proverbs 3:9 Honor the LORD from your wealth And from the first of all your produce;
  • Romans 12:1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.
  • 1 Corinthians 6:20 For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.
  • 1 Corinthians 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?
  • 2 Corinthians 5:15 and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.
  • 1 Thessalonians 2:12 so that you would walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.
  • 1 Peter 4:2 so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.

 

If we were to honestly look at the daily journals of our lives (Our time:  How are we spending it?  Our Treasure: If we were to show everyone in our lives and our churches how God really matters, would our checkbooks show it?  Our Talent:  When we are saved, Scripture tells us that the Spirit gives us fruit, so how are we sharing that?)

Some of us need to take serious inventory of our lives:

  • Ask your spouse to list the top 5 things that are important to you (Where does God line up with that?)
  • Ask your children to list the top 5 things that are important to you (Is God even mentioned)
  • Take a look at your time (Where is God on that list)
  • Take a look at your treasure (What does our checkbook and spending tell us?)
  • Take a look at your talent (Are you using it for God’s kingdom?)

My next post will be on prioritizing…

Blessings,

Dante

 

 

 

TOP 10 WAYS TO BUILD YOUR CHILDREN UP

top-10-mistakesTOP 10 WAYS TO BUILD YOUR CHILDREN UP:

#10     TEACH THEM HEALTHY BOUNDARIES

#  9     TEACH THEM TO RESPECT THEMSELVES (AND THEIR BODIES) AND OTHERS

#  8     TEACH THEM GOOD STEWARDSHIP (OF TIME, OF TALENT AND OF TREASURE)

#  7     INVEST YOUR TIME IN THEM (THEY NEED MORE THAN QUALITY – THEY NEED BOTH QUALITY AND QUANTITY)

#  6     PUT YOUR PHONE DOWN, MAKE EYE CONTACT AND SHOW THEM THAT THEY MATTER TO YOU DAD

#  5     SHOW THEM YOUR FAITH:  MAKE THE BIBLE AN AUTHORITY IN YOUR LIFE, MAKE SERVING OTHERS A PRIORITY, MAKE YOUR FAITH REAL TO THEM

#  4     DATE THEM (TAKE THEM OUT ON ONE ON ONE DATES: IF THEY ARE YOUR DAUGHTERS THEN SHOW THEM HOW A LADY SHOULD BE TREATED.  IF THEY ARE YOUR SONS THEN SHOW THEM HOW TO TREAT LADIES AND BE A GENTLEMEN.

#  3     TELL THEM ABOUT GOD – READ THE WORD WITH THEM. PRAY WITH THEM, OPEN UP TO THEM.

#  2     LOVE THEM, KISS THEM, HUG THEM – DO NOT WITHHOLD LOVE WITH THEM.  EVEN WHEN THEY MESS UP – FORGIVE THEM AS GOD HAS FORGIVEN US.  SHOW THEM HOW TO APOLOGIZE AND TO FORGIVE (AND THEN SHOW THEM HOW LOVE DOES NOT KEEP SCORE, DOES NOT KEEP RECORD OF RIGHT AND WRONG.

#  1     TELL THEM ABOUT GOD.  ABOUT JESUS AND ABOUT HIS SPIRIT.  SHARE WITH THEM WHAT GOD HAS DONE FOR US THROUGH HIS SON JESUS AND WHAT JESUS HAS GIVEN US AS HE SITS AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD – HIS SPIRIT.

 

The Portrait of a Real Man

Meaningful manhood by Dr. Tony Evans

real mean liveGenesis 18:19 (NIV) 19 For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.”

According to Dr. Tony Evans, there are four things that contribute to the portrait of a real man:

  1. A real man has a sense of Divine Destiny
  2. A real man has a responsibility to disciple the future of his wheelhouse (his children, his wife and his family)
  3. A real man has dignity
  4. A real man has a sense of dominion (in charge-ness)

Appropriate Scripture to manhood:

James 1:27 (NIV) 27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Job 29:7-17 (ESV)

7 When I went out to the gate of the city,

when I prepared my seat in the square,

8 the young men saw me and withdrew,

and the aged rose and stood;

9 the princes refrained from talking

and laid their hand on their mouth;

10 the voice of the nobles was hushed,

and their tongue stuck to the roof of their mouth.

11 When the ear heard, it called me blessed,

and when the eye saw, it approved,

12 because I delivered the poor who cried for help,

and the fatherless who had none to help him.

13 The blessing of him who was about to perish came upon me,

and I caused the widow’s heart to sing for joy.

14 I put on righteousness, and it clothed me;

my justice was like a robe and a turban.

15 I was eyes to the blind

and feet to the lame.

16 I was a father to the needy,

and I searched out the cause of him whom I did not know.

17 I broke the fangs of the unrighteous

and made him drop his prey from his teeth.

—–

Divine Destiny is knowing that God is in control of it all and he has plans for you and I, plans to prosper you and I (this is not the prosperity gospel, rather the biblical definition of the abundant life) and that on this earth we have a purpose to worship the Lord and to give all praise, honor and glory to Him.

We have to disciple others – our children, men and boys around us and those that God has given to us.

A real man has dignity – has character, has integrity and is bearing the fruit of the Spirit.

A real man knows his place on this earth and knows that God is over everything (even his problems).  If you put a bible in this man of God, you will see dominion.

Dr. Tony Evans references this fight in where Rocky remembers all of his fights and cannot get back up until he sees (and remembers) his deceased coach and hears Mickey say “get up you bum, because Mickey loves you”  Because Rocky remembered someone who died and whorose again (in his memory) and overcame all the doubt and all the pain and all the defeat and told him he could do it.  Referring this to Jesus – Dr. Evans says that Rocky found power that he did not have because he remembered someone who died who came back to life to tell us he loves us.

When in doubt – be the man who God wants you to be.  Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, lean not on your own understanding, acknowledge him in all of your ways and he will make your paths straight.

 

Blessings,
Dante

 

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.

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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