Morals

Finish Well

Dear Legacy Dads, When you see that term in Scripture what does that mean to you?  Does that mean to finish well going to Church on Sundays?  Praying before meals? Giving a tithe every Sunday?  Does it mean to separate your dreams and goals from God's will for you life?  Does it mean that you are in control Monday thru Saturday and that you will give God Sunday from 6am to 11:59 before Sunday NFL kickoff?

When we die, for those of us who are in Christ Jesus, what do you think that will look like?

A high-five by an Angel at the Gates of Heaven with an eternal membership to Glory?

A pat on the back saying way to live the life the way that you wanted to live it?

Nice job, you gave it your best ditch effort?

What if it was more?  What if there was an account that needed to be given with what we did with God's time, with the talent that He gave us and with the treasure that He blessed us with?  What if, just what if we had to account for  that?

Would this be something that would make you take stock of your life?  What you are doing with your finances?  How you are spending?  What you are spending on?

Would this change the way that you spend your time?  Where are you focusing on God's Kingdom instead of your own.  What you are doing with this time?  Is it wasted or is it fruitful.  If all of my time was to burned away during this account - meaning all that was measure based on God's litmus test versus all the time that I wasted on me or others that did not build and edify His Kingdom?

What about my talent?  Would you use what talent God gave you to glorify His name?  Or are you using your talents to build your name?

What about your treasure?  Is your checking account God's?  Is your credit card purchases honoring God?  Or is everything that you have honoring you?

Before you say to me, "come on Dante, why are you being so serious?"  Ask yourself this, "What if I, as a Christian, truly have to give an account of my time, my talent and my treasure.

Food for thought,

Blessings,

D

 

Are you making other disciples?

Luke 6English Standard Version (ESV)

The Beatitudes

20 And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said:

“Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.

21 “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied.

“Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.

22 “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! 23 Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.

Jesus Pronounces Woes

24 “But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.

25 “Woe to you who are full now, for you shall be hungry.

“Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.

26 “Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.

Love Your Enemies

27 “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.29 To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic[b] either.30 Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. 31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

32 “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. 36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.

Judging Others

37 “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; 38 give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”

39 He also told them a parable: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? 40 A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher. 41 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 42 How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother's eye.

A Tree and Its Fruit

43 “For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, 44 for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. 45 The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

Build Your House on the Rock

46 “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?47 Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: 48 he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built.[c] 49 But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.”


Currently I am walking with 4 other brothers daily via text and friendship and conversations over coffee, breakfast, lunch and dinner.  We are sharing daily life struggles and encouraging and comforting and urging one another to live worthy of God.  I love these brothers.  I am also walking with 3 men and their wives in our small group that meets every other week (we are taking the summer off as we usually do.

That being said, I texted my brothers this this morning, "A disciple of Jesus will go and make other disciples fully training others to reflect Jesus and to show His love in all that we do keeping God's word as an authority in his life!"  "I love you brothers!  Let go of that which ensnares you today and ask God to take your burdens!  Let the Word dwell in you richly!

This has hit me tonight that I feel the same way about my brother Lance and you, our Legacydad readers!!!

Blessings, D

What I know I should do, I do not

Romans 8:12-17English Standard Version (ESV) Heirs with Christ 12 So then, brothers,[a] we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons[b] of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

Colossians 3:5-8English Standard Version (ESV)

5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you:[a] sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming.[b] 7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.

Why is it so hard to understand some of the things of God?  Why do people try to dilute the Gospel to please the ways of men?  I guess when it is all said and done, I struggle with my sin that God has saved me from.  I know I am a sinner.  I know that my sins have separated me from the love of God.  That is, to say, until I came to know Jesus Christ as Lord.  I was once lost, but now I am found through Christ Jesus who died brutally on a cross for my sin and for your if you confess His name and believe that he was born of a virgin, lived a perfect life, died on a cross and rose again from the dead you will be saved.  Confession is good for the soul.  The hardest thing to wrap my head around is that I still struggle with my fleshly desires.  The difference is that I no longer desire to please my selfish flesh, but to try to please God.  Yet I still succumb to pride and to sin.  I confess this sin to God and to my brothers (Men of Faith) and know that God, through His Son, Jesus Christ, has given me the perfect sacrifice for my soul and my sins of the past, present and future are covered by Him.

This being said, I still wonder and test and seek the truth that is found in Scripture.  For instance, why does it tell us, who are saved and covered forever by the Blood of Jesus Christ, to work out our salvation with fear and trembling?  Why does it say in the New Testament that those of us who give in to the flesh will not inherit the Kingdom of God?  Why does it tell me to put to death the earthly desires of the flesh?  Does the Gospel offend?  Are we to call out sin or just always show grace?  Where is the balance in this?

Why does Scripture tell us to renew our mind?  Why does it tell us to pursue holiness?  Why does Scripture tell us to repent?  Why does the cross have to be so violent?  Why did God have to send His only Son to die for our sins and to be beaten and tortured and crucified for our sins?  Does God hate sin that much?

These are things that I wrestle with.  These are some of the things that I am diligently searching God's word for and looking for his direction of which way to go in the leadership of my family and His ministry.

Repent!  For the Kingdom of God is at hand!

Examine yourselves to see if you are still in the faith?

Pursue holiness and flee any form of sexual immorality.

Pray for me,

 

D

 

 

Magnify

mag·ni·fy  verb  "extol; glorify." "praise the Lord and magnify Him" Psalm 34: English Standard Version (ESV)

3 Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together!

If you were to examine your life (your walk) this past week, ask yourself to take inventory in all that you do.  That is, to say, when you wake, work, eat, play, sleep and interact with others where does the Lord stand in your life?  Is God the Father, The Son and The Spirit the authority in your life, in all that you do?  Are you using your time, your talent and your treasure that you have been given by God in ways to honor Him?  Are you focusing more on what you want and how you want to promote your Kingdom instead of God's Kingdom.

For me, this is a daily struggle.  If I am brutally honest, there are days when I wake that I want to just roll over and sleep all day.  Or there are days that I just want to do life for me and my indulgences.  There are days that I just want to be selfish and not look out for others that God has given me to steward over.  

I was talking to our Care Pastor after Men of Faith yesterday, we both went out for breakfast yesterday and instead of the whole group of guys, it was just him and I.  It was really a great conversation and I truly enjoy this man of God who has been serving God's Kingdom since 1983.  When you meet him and his wife you truly see two servants that understand what it means to turn it back toward God.  They serve not to "check boxes" rather they do it to magnify God's glory.  So I was telling him that sometimes I feel so overwhelmed by what God has done for us, sending his Son to die on a cross to cover all of my sins.  I told him that I feel a deep sorrow and compassion for those who do not know him on their day of judgement and that their names that will not be written in God's Book of Life.

I also talked about the other question that we, who are truly Christ-Followers, will have to give an account:  What did we do with all the things that God has given us (His Time, His treasure and His talent).  Did our lives magnify His Glory.  Please don't take this as a condemnation or as a blog where Lance and I are trying to condemn you, the reader.  Quite the contrary.  This is an indictment toward us more than you.  I am an Elder of our Church, the leader of our Men's Group and Family Man that is given the charge to rear my children in the ways of the Lord.  I do not take this question toward you, rather, toward my daily walk.

There are days, months and even seasons where I can honestly tell you that I do get it and that I do magnify God.  But if I am really honest with you, then I feel like I have to share that I feel that there are more days were I am losing the battle against my old sin nature and the ways of the Evil One, who is a liar, and who is seeking to destroy everything good in my life.  He would love nothing more than for me to exist and to gratify my earthly desires - he wins over my life when I do this.  Or to fall in temptation and give in to it - he wins over my life.  Or to self-indulge in my old sin nature - he wins over my life.  A lot of times I hear this silent voice in my life that would say words like, "you hypocrite"  "you fake"  "you're a liar" and "nice CHRISTian example - way to lead your life and your family".  Over the younger years of my life, I would cave and retreat and fall back into that wretched part of my life.  These days, God has given me a stronger understanding of His Word and His love for me that is unmatched by anyone in this Universe.  I say to this silent voice, "Guilty!  Guilty of all that you are accusing me of, BUT I am covered by the blood of Jesus Christ.

That means that all of my sins of my past, my present and my future are covered by His Blood.  That means oh silent voice and accuser of my sins in my life that God has won, death no longer has victory over my life.  Sin no longer can hold me because Jesus has paid for it all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What I wrestle with today is whether my life is magnifying the Lord in all that I do.  Am I being a good steward with all that I do?  I find consolation in that most of the time, I am broken and that I am a sinner and am broken and need daily repentance in my life to continue to make God the authority in my life that I know He is.  I have to ask for wisdom and guidance in all that I do.  Yes, I can be selfish and sinful, but I can ask brothers that I am walking with and my best friend (my wife) to hold me accountable:  Are my actions meeting my daily walk required by God.

Where do I find this in Scripture you ask:

Examine yourself:  2 Corinthians 13:5(ESV) 5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!

Renew yourself:  Romans 12:1-2 (ESV) A Living Sacrifice 12 I appeal to you therefore, brothers,[a] by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.[b] 2 Do not be conformed to this world,[c] but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.[d]

Pursue God's Holy Living (only capable thru complete trust and obedience in Him and His Word):  Colossians 3 (ESV) Put On the New Self 3 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your[a] life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. 5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you:[b] sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming.[c] 7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self[d] with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave,[e] free; but Christ is all, and in all. 12 Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 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. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Psalm 34: English Standard Version (ESV)

3 Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together!

Let us come together and reason with one another.  This life is but a vapor?  What do you want to echo in eternity:  Did I live for my self or for a higher purpose (God's will)?

Blessings,

D

 

 

 

 

What is truth?

John 8:31-32New International Version (NIV) 31 Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”


Jesus said that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life.  He said that no one will come to His Father, but through Him.

If you do no know Jesus as Lord, as Savior and as your redeemer, then the truth is not in you


If you do not know truth (the Lord Jesus), then when you die, you will be asked if you know the Lord, Jesus Christ as Savior.  If you do, then your name will be written in the Book of Life.  If you do not, then you will be thrown into the Lake of Fire that was intended for the Devil and his angels.


If you know the Lord as Savior and Friend and as your redeemer, then you will be asked another question....

 

I believe it will be asked like this:  What did you do with the things that I gave you?  The time, the talent and the treasure that God gave you?  Were you a good steward?  Did you spend it wisely, stewardship His Kingdom.  Was His will done?

Truth - Being in God's Will!

Blessings, D

 

 

The Unholy trinity

Left to our own devices, what hope of eternity with God do we have?  Left by ourselves, what is the likelihood that we may slip?  Left by ourselves, what could possibly go wrong?  In Romans we read that "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  In Psalms we read that we were brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.  In Mark, we read Jesus telling us that from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, fornication, thefts, murders and adulteries.  In Jeremiah, we read that the heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick.  Who can understand it? 2 Timothy 3:2-4 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God."

In all that we do, we have to acknowledge that we were built and made for community.  The Holy Trinity is the perfect and flawless example of this:  God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.  They are the perfect community.  They gave us an example of what perfect community is like.

 

 

So many men go the opposite ways of what God intended for us:

  • Samson - he was one of the judges that God set forth for Israel.  The only community that he had been those that opposed God's will around him  He did not listen to his parents on who he should marry.  He hung out with the wrong crowds who wanted to use him and others in his life to find the very essence of his strength.  He never reasoned to common sense or to God's will for our life.  Instead he reasoned with himself and what he wanted in that of immediate gratification.  It was not until he was stripped of everything, eyes dug out from his head and chained to the enemy's pillars, did he realize how much he needed God for his strength.   Imagine if Samson was surrounded by friends who were truly in community with him  Telling him the way that it really is and being able to have permission to speak truth into his life when he veered to places he had no business going.  Imagine if his parents rebuked and corrected his waywardness.  What more do you think God would have done in this man's life.
  • King David:   We read early of a shepherd boy who has the heart of God.  We read of a boy challenging a giant of the enemy who profaned the name of the Lord.  We read about a boy (who would be anointed King) that began a friendship with the existing king's son (named Jonathon who was the rightful heir to the throne, but he was a prince that honored God's will instead of man).  Jonathon was more than a fried to David, he was a brother.  He kept him safe and alive when David wandered from the truth.  He saved David from his own father, King Saul, and hid him from this danger.   He gave David whatever needed.  When this friend died with his dad in battle, David never found this accountability with other men (Yes, he did have the 400 might men of valor and they kept him somewhat accountable, but not in the way of biblical community and accountability that we need).  We read at one point when Kings should be off to war, that David wasn't and because of that, he wondered from God and lusted for a woman on the rooftop and his life changed forever more.  There was a great sin that kept getting worse and worse until God sent Nathan to call him out.  Can you imagine being Nathan?  Whoa, that would not be my first choice.  All this to be said, what if Jonathon were still there or a brother (in Christ) that was there?  Do you think David would be left behind or would he be in community with this trusted friend(s) and off to battle with them to where God wanted him to be?
  • Job- was a man who God told Satan that there was no other man like this man of faith in all the earth.  Job was a mighty man who prayed for his kids diligently and did all that was right in the eyes of the Lord.  When he was tested and tried by the Devil we find that he lacked true community.  His friends were not there for him in the way that God intends us to be with our brothers in Christ.  They did the first thing right with him in that they sat quietly beside them.  But then, like many of us, they tried to find all the "specks in Job's eyes" that had to be there for all these terrible things that happened to Job.  Instead of treating him like he needed to be treated:  To comfort, encourage and urge him to life a life worthy of God.  Can you imagine with me if he had friends that sat beside him, allowed him to mourn the loss and didn't judge him.  Can you imagine if he was surrounded by men of faith that truly cared for him and could not explain God to him, but instead trusted that God would see him through this and that they would be there through thick and thin because they loved him without condition?  I mean, his own wife said to him, "why don't you curse God and die!"  Really?  Just imagine if they all said, "we are not sure why this is happening to you and I but come let us pray to God and seek his answers and know that we got your back?"

We all need to take a hard look at our lives and pray for God to reveal the logs in our own eyes before we try to point to the speck in our brothers eye.  We need to seek purity and righteousness and try to be the men that God calls us to be.

We need to take an honest inventory of our life and write down the fruit of the Spirit that is evident in our life and if not that fruit, then we need to confess the sinful nature stuff in our life and ask God to remove that from us.

We need to put a brotherhood of community in our lives:

  • Pray with others
  • Be honest with others (that we can trust)
  • If we don't have that or are not sure where to look (then we need to pray to God for him to bring them into our lives)
  • We need to find a bible study of men where this is going on.
  • We need to trust God by being in community with others.

We need to realize that the unholy trinity in our lives (me, myself and I) is not what God has intended for us, but what the enemy of our souls intends for us to do- to gratify our desires by the desires of the flesh and to turn away from God's Truth - HIS WORD!

Repent, confess and go the other way - for there is no other way but to trust and obey!

Blessings,

D

 

 

 

Why do we need the church? Part 1

need the churchMy friend, Lance (founder of Legacy dad), penned this blog post, "Dear Church, Are We Off Course?" in which he spoke from the heart and from some frustration and pure honesty with issues in today's church in the free world, The United States of America.  If you haven't read it or have, I encourage you to read it again and then ponder to yourself to ask what you see in your church and where are we going. In Ephesians 5:25 we read are "Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her", which applies to those whom Christ died for.  In Matthew 16:18, Jesus said that "I will build my church."  In the Old Testament they reference to an assembly of people who worshiped God.  The Greek word, Ekklesia, is a term that is translated as church, which simply means assembly.  The Church is both local and universal.  The church is both visible and invisible.  It is not defined as brick and mortar.  In metaphors in the New Testament, the Church is referenced as "an olive tree (Romans 11:17-24), a field of crops (1 Corinthians 3:6-9), a building (1 Cor. 3:9) and a harvest (Matthew 13:1-30 and John 4:35).  The Church is a group of new priests, holy believers (that is you and I who are set apart for Him).

Some reasons why we need the church (found in Scripture):

  • The church is for a community of believers (others known as a family) that come together to worship God
  • The church is there to nurture its members.  In Colossians 1:28 we are to understand that the church is there to "present every man mature in Christ".
  • The church is there for evangelism and Mercy - we are to go unto all the earth and make disciples (not just fans) of Jesus Christ
  • The church is called to remember and practice the Sacraments (Baptism and Communion)
  • The church is there to preach the Word (hear it and listen to it and to live it).  There is reference to this with Jesus talking to Peter in Matthew 18 (bind and loosen).
  • In practical terms, the church should be a hospital (always there to help, that is, to comfort and encourage and urge each of its members to live a life worthy of Jesus Christ)
  • The church is there to discipline  (Matthew 18)

I was very moved by this post from Lance that I started asking fellow Elders to read it and to comment back to me on it.  I asked some of my Pastors' their thoughts on this and to give us feedback on it.  One Pastor actually wrote back to me in regards to Lance's post.  This pastor has been both an encouragement to me (as he officiated my father's funeral) and a mentor.  In replying back to me he said that Lance has asked some great questions that we need to continue to ask ourselves and we should always be evaluating.

When we appoint Elders and Deacons we should be selecting leaders based on gifting and their fruit (reference Galatians 5).  However, the Pastor told me, that we need to be careful in making broad assumptions - meaning sometimes a person's profession/generosity are examples of gifting that need to be included in leadership.

Lance is spot on in discipleship.  I will go onto to say that if a church's discipleship "program" (or model or way whatever you call it) is not built upon the word in creating overseers/leaders/lay leaders, then I would be confident to say that church's model is flawed both Biblically and internally.  I would go further to say that we have a lot of "head knowledge" in the American church but not all have connected the head to the heart.  There are too many religious (theologians) and not enough disciples!

tonyevansOne caution for us to be quick to judge the Church is to look all over and make broad brush assumptions about the whole.  The real life changes happen in a man/woman or child's life when they let go to self and let God and His Spirit move us to where He wants us to be.  The old saying applies, "Don't be quick to judge a man, until you walk a mile in that man's shoes."  This could mean that maybe he is right where God wants him to be.  The other side of this coin is that maybe, just maybe, a lot of these men have never been mentored or discipled the way that God calls us to disciple.  In 1 Corinthians 3:5-9, you read that our job is to plant seeds and water seeds, after that, it's God's job to grow and by how much He grows each of them.  We should be careful to deceive ourselves that every person is going to reach the level of sanctification continuum that we think is appropriate.  The Church's economy is to take care of those in need from within and to reach outward to those who do not know Christ and to grow those who come to know Him.

As far as those of us that are in the church versus those of us that are out of the church, the Pastor friend of mine and I would both agree that there are two scales of economy here to consider:  1) Those of us that are in Christ have a different understanding - a biblical economy and understanding then those who are outside the church and have a completely different set of economies.  The world's view versus the Christian view.

The "American" church compared to all other churches in the world will not always look the same.  There are some non-negotiable qualities that should be identified in God's  Pure Church:

  • Solo Scriptura
  • Biblical Doctrine (the right preaching of the Word)
  • The Church preaches the Word
  • The Church is accountable the Word
  • The Right use of Church Discipline
  • Genuine Worship (Lyrics that point and are based on the Word)
  • Effective Prayer
  • Effective Witness
  • Effective Fellowship
  • Biblical Church Government
  • Spiritual power in Ministry (being the hands and feet the body of believers and to the world around it)
  • Personal holiness of life among its members
  • Care for the poor
  • Love for Christ

The "American" church does come under fire because, at times, we can make it about ourselves and our legacy instead of pointing those from within and from the outside to Christ (this needs to be repented of).  Also, climate can play a big deal in this.  For instance, as I am writing this in the Midwest there is rain and freezing rain and then there is cold temps and in climate weather, whereas in other places of the world they are not bound by this.  In other places of the world, Christianity is illegal and a crime which is punishable by death so they need to be hidden in home churches and the like.  For instance, my Pastor friend says that you have a church building in Ethiopia but no heat (obviously not needed) but if you go to the same building in the Midwest during the dead of winter - it would not be that ideal to hear God's word under such harsh circumstances.

Lance said in this his post, "It’s not that I’m angry or even frustrated, I just long in my heart to find Christian leaders and other men who actually live their lives both in public and in private – congruent with the faith they profess."  My pastor's comment to this was "Amen. When our actions match our beliefs, we have integrity."

For me, it is tough, because one of my gifting's is discernment.  For someone like me, this is not always a good thing, because I can be very direct and shoot straight from the hip.  That being said, I need to continually pray for wisdom in when to act on this discernment or when to wait on God to act or to find that He may have someone else in mind to act.  This brings me to the point that I can find myself being very critical of church pastors and leaders and overseers, including myself.  That is, to say, that I am a church leader (both an Elder and leader of Men's Ministries).  Do I always get it right?  The answer is clearly no, because I am a sinner.

Here is a clue for you, believer, to use.  When finding a church or if you are currently in your church and Lance's post has hit a nerve or is causing you discomfort in that some of his talking points have hit the mark, then my encouragement to you is to do some things about it:

  • Read God's Word
  • Pray
  • Fast
  • Walk with other men (and if you are a woman walk with other women) and be open, honest and transparent and definitely in the Word.
  • Humbly talk to your leaders - that is, don't tell them the way that you want it to be, ask them what they think Scripture says on this matter
  • Don't panic - God's got this - Each one of your leaders will give an account and will be responsible for what they have done, are doing and will continue to do.  We read this in Hebrews 13:17:  "Be responsive to your pastoral leaders. Listen to their counsel. They are alert to the condition of your lives and work under the strict supervision of God. Contribute to the joy of their leadership, not its drudgery. Why would you want to make things harder for them?"

My church is a hospital, a place to grow and a place to learn.  My church is full of sinners that are saved by grace.  I am not sure if all of its members (or attenders) are truly born again Christians.  That is up to our leaders to discern and to pray through and to comfort, encourage and urge the body to live a life worthy of Jesus Christ.  All this being said, does my church and its leaders make mistakes?  The answer is yes (remember that we are all sinners).  BUT when we error on the side of grace and love and mercy, that is, forgive as we have been forgiven, we can come together and reason and in a humble and biblical approach we can see God's will reign in all that we do.

Why do we need the Church?  Because we are a family of believers.  Each of us that are born again ,whether we like it or not, are now brothers and sisters in Christ.  We are called to love one another.  To encourage each other, to comfort each other and to urge each other to live a life worthy of Christ.  We need the Church because we need to worship God together and hear His word together and to be the hands and feet together.  We are family!

Blessings,

D

Sources:  The Bible.  Systematic Theology (Wayne Grudem).

 

 

 

 

 

Tell Your Story

whats-your-story-4I gave my life to Jesus Christ on November 7, 1976 in a fundamental, independent Baptist Church.  The pastor was a humble and intelligent man named Reverend Donald G. Humbert.  He was a godly man who believed in the Bible word for word.  I grew up Catholic, meaning I grew up in a tradition and religion rather than a genuine faith and friendship with our Creator.  That is, to say, that I was not connected to God's word, His truth, nor did I have a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.  My sister started attending this church and eventually got my mom and I to start attending this church.  After several months, I remember one Sunday evening (11/7/1976) that I was so convicted by the Holy Spirit that I stood up during the "alter call" and gave my life to the Lord. I cannot tell you that I always followed the road to biblical discipleship (read more:  Here), but the Lord never gave up on me even at my most darkest of times.  During my late adaloscent years and even into my early teens I was on fire for the Lord.  I was President of my youth group and CEO of our high school ministry.  I loved the Lord with every part of my being.  And then I met high school football and the like and turned away from God and toward earthly idols.  My youth Pastor, and my friend, noticed a dramatic change and wrote me a letter about this (I still have this today) and called me out (or tried to) in being raw and honest with his walk.  I really always love and respect that man for his truth in love.  As a result, I walked away from my relationship with God for over a decade (again see the post above).  It was not until I went to a friend's wedding and met his wife's best friend did my life begin to change.

This woman, who would later be called my wife, introduced me to another Bible Church in her hometown.  She even had me waking up at 6am in the morning to drive out to her church in the western suburbs of Chicago to help her lead a 2 and 3 year old class.   At the time that we officially started dating, we were on a double date downtown for her birthday and I found out from my dad that that early morning my mother had a massive heart attack.  She was given 6 months to live and my dad had just lost his brother.  Needless to say, I got a second opinion and my mom lived 10 years past the original 6 month diagnosis.  After my mom had her open heart surgery, she woke up and asked me to make her a promise (i said of course) and she asked me to go to church again and to start reading my bible again.

That begin a long road to recovery (sin nature stuff takes some time to work through the carnage and scars), but my wife said to me during this process of early marriage, "do something about it" (she was referring to my walk and what I needed).  This began to formulate my walk with other brothers and to truly grasp what Galatians 6:1-2 says (click here).  So I started walking with other brothers and started to repent of all the justifications (that were sin) in my life and confess to a Holy God that which I did and was repenting of.

What do I believe (in) today:

  • I am a work in progress.
  • I am going to finish well.
  • I believe and confess that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior and my friend.
  • I believe that God is the authority over my entire life.
  • I believe that God calls us in to community and to walk with each other.
  • I believe that He has given me a story, my story, to tell others about the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

What I am asking you to do today:

  • Take a hard look at your life and ask yourself if there is any sin nature stuff in your life that needs to be repented of
  • Pray continually
  • Ask God to lead you
  • Examine yourself daily (in and through the word of God)
  • Let God be the authority of your entire life
  • Walk with other brothers (if you are a man) and other sisters (if you are a woman) - confess your sins to one another!
  • Finally, I ask you to tell your Gospel story of your life to others in your circles of life.

To God be the Glory, D

 

 

 

BE SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE

If you are an American, like me, then unless you are completely off the grid then you have been drastically affected by social media like myself.  That is, to say, both mentally and physically this has been a really exhausting poltical year.  I have to say in this Presidential election neither candidate would have made my top 20 list of who I would vote for.  As a matter of fact, given the political climate and social barometer there weren't too many that would have made the list in the first place. In either case, we the American people, had to choose to 1) vote for either candidate, 2) vote for neither and pick a 3rd party that has no chance of winning (which was a vote for the incumbant candidate) or 3) choose not to vote giving up our right and privilege to vote.    Either way, you had to make one of these choices, however, if you choose options #3, then shame on you if you are one of these protesters or internet haters (in my opinion, you shouldn't be allowed to have the right a privileges as an American citizen - just my opinion).

Okay, now enough about me and my opinion on the 2016 Election.

Here is an article about posting on Social Media from the Gospel Coalition:

1. Will it edify? Or significantly inform a useful conversation? (Mark 12:29–31; 1 Cor. 14:26)

Think of what will edify others. All we do is in obedience to the command to love God and others. How will it increase their knowledge, faith, or love? Am I accurately representing positions you disagree with? Am I sure of my facts? Trivialities hopefully fill up our lives less than they do so much of the Internet.

As John Piper has said, “One of the great uses of Twitter and Facebook will be to prove on the Last Day that our prayerlessness was not from lack of time.” He’s right.

2. Will it be easily misunderstood? (John 13:7; 16:12)

The privacy of a personal conversation limits misunderstanding. Some public posts will sound one way to those who know us and another to those who don’t. Negative assessments are often best shared privately, or not at all. How many of us have learned at our workplace that e-mail is a terrible way to share negative comments? When it comes to public postings, ask yourself: Are there reasons I may not be a good person to speak on certain matters?

3. Will it reach the right audience? (Mark 4:9)

If you’re correcting someone, should the audience be wide—or more narrow? Is that audience correctable? When you use social media, consider who’s listening. What if everyone in your church eavesdropped on your conversations today? Yet we do this all the time online.

4. Will it help my evangelism? (Col. 1:28–29)

Is what you’re about to say going to help or hinder those you’re evangelizing? Is it likely to diminish the significance (to them) of your commitment to the gospel, or enhance it?

5. Will it bring about unnecessary and unhelpful controversy? (Titus 3:9)

Think carefully about controversy. The line between the vigorous exchange of ideas and a kind of social war is sometimes thinner than we think. What’s this particular controversy to which I’d be contributing good for? Might it be unhelpful? How much time will it take up? Is this an unavoidable primary issue, or a matter about which disagreement is fairly unimportant? Will this controversy play into any other division that threatens the unity of my local church?

6. Will it embarrass or offend? (1 Cor. 12:21–26)

Will anyone be embarrassed or offended by what you’re saying? I understand that the mere fact something is offensive doesn’t mean saying it is wrong, but we must be sure it’s worth it.

7. Will it convey care? (1 Cor. 12:21–26)

Will those mainly concerned appreciate your motives? Privacy in communication conveys care, an honoring of the person receiving the information. You like the fact that your doctor’s report is private, but you don’t mind that the store’s sale is advertised. If someone would rather be addressed in person, why not do that?

8. Will it make people better appreciate someone else? (1 Cor. 12:21–26)

Point out God’s grace in the lives, ministries, and arguments of others. Highlighting something that will build esteem for someone else glorifies God and encourages others to see his work in them.

9. Is it boasting? (Prov. 27:2)

Does what you communicate online draw attention to yourself more than your topic? How could that be spiritually harmful? Will it leave people with a more accurate understanding of yourself? Are you simply being tempted to draw attention to what you know? When was the last time you encouraged others by sharing something embarrassing or even sinful about yourself?

10. Is the tone appropriate? (2 John 1, 12; Col. 4:6; Eph. 4:29; 2 Tim. 2:24–25)

Will people understand and be encouraged in the truth you communicate? How important is the tone to your message being rightly received? Is it evidently kind, patient, and gentle? The literal tone of your voice and the look on your face fill out so much of what you mean. In a personal conversation, you can more quickly understand that something needs clarifying. The Internet doesn’t sanctify anger or frustration.

11. Is it wrong to say nothing? (Rom. 1:14)

Do you have an opportunity or even a responsibility to communicate something? Some of you do this for your job. Have you established a “relationship” with readers, friends, and followers online that would expect you to comment on a particular issue or situation? Our freedom of speech is a wonderful stewardship. Use it well and responsibly.

12. What do others advise? (Prov. 11:14; 15:22; 24:6)

When you’re about to communicate something provocative, do you have good sounding-boards to help you estimate the response? Do you take the time to consider before you publish? Speed of response is both an ability of the Internet and a temptation to speak too quickly (contra James 1:19; Prov. 10:19; 14:29; 16:32; 17:27). Remember, you will give an account for every word you type (Matt. 12:36). Does saying things at a “safe distance” from people tempt us to say things we wouldn’t say in person?

Perhaps you could write down these questions and ask a friend to look over your social media feeds with them in mind. Or, even ask someone you know disagrees with you on an issue you’ve posted about and see what they say.


 

“Watch your thoughts, they become words; watch your words, they become actions; watch your actions, they become habits; watch your habits, they become character; watch your character, for it becomes your destiny." (Frank Outlaw)

 

Blessings, Dante

 

 

What really matters?

A story of two men.  One man who lacked nothing and another man who had to work for everything.  The Rich Man for all intents and purposes was all that the world would define as successful.  His retirement account was fully funded  at the age of 30 had 8 zeroes attached to it and his kids and grand kids (future children) and wife were fully funded as well.  He drove an Audi, a Porsche and a Range Rover along with an Indian Motor-cycle.  He had a condo in Vail, Colorado, a summer home in the Hampton's and a Penthouse in Chicago.  Everything that he touched whether good or bad seemed to always work out in his favor.  There was even one year where he had a bad year in investing in the stock market and bought property instead only to find out that he bought the bottom of the real estate market and doubled his investment in less than one year.  His parents were divorced as their parents were divorced as well.  He was a trust fund kid and never really appreciated anything that he earned or was given.  This man was very agnostic.  He knew that there was some superior being, because to say that there wasn't would be foolish.  But he lacked any positive legacy in faith and or mentoring in the way that God would call us to do so. The other man had a decent job by worldly standards.  He wasn't rich, by US standards, but he wasn't poor either.  If you were to mark him down based on income tax he would fall in the upper middle-class.  He had a wife and three kids and a family that he looked forward to getting home to every day.  He was by far not the smartest nor was he the dumbest.  He was average to above average in all that he did.  The difference is that he had to work hard for everything.  His dad instilled in him a work ethic that could be rivaled by few.  His mom gave him the importance of relationships and to treat the least of these with the utmost respect whether they deserved it or not.  His mom had a faith that was unending and yet realistic to know that she was a sinner that was in constant need of God's grace and forgiveness.  This man's relationship with God was the knowledge of Jesus Christ as his Savior, but to say that he was truly a friend of Jesus would be a stretch. That is, until a men's conference that challenged the very core of his being.  One speaker in particular asked him what legacy would his life leave?  That question haunted him and the other 40 men that went to this conference.  Ten of the men (including this man) pledged to take this further, to be real with each other and to confess their sins together.  They were not going to do fluff or pat each other on the back, but they were going to get real and get accountability and to start a regular men's group at their church.  So that very night six months before his big work trip came about these ten men confessed to each other.

All of these 10 men did not hold back nor hide anything.  One shared some infidelity, six shared pornography, one shared anger and two shared addictions.  All shared that they loved Jesus and they no longer wanted to just follow him, they all wanted to befriend Him and be His disciples.  So the journey began.

Six months later these two men, unbeknownst to them, met on their way to South America.  As God would have it, their paths crossed on first class.  The Rich man always flew first-class, but the other man was traveling for work and both of these men were going to somewhere in South America.  Both flew 11 hours to their destinations and both coincidentally sat next to each other on the flight down.  Out came the nuts, and the drinks and the dinner and dessert.  They both sat next to each other and both started a conversation about life and what really matters.  The man (who was in his 40's) respected the Rich young man because he was both astute and very well-educated.  Even though he exuded money and privilege, he didn't flaunt it in public, which was contradictory to what was written earlier about him.

The Rich young man envied this other man because something was different from any other man that he met or chatted with on long flights.  This man had contentment in a way that surprised this Rich young man.  He loved his family and he could tell there was something different so he asked.  And Faith was the topic of the remaining few hours and couple of glasses of red wine.  They talked about faith, about religion, and about this man's faith in God and His Son Jesus Christ.  At one point, the Rich Young Man asked if the other man was trying to convert him.  Of which, nothing was said either way, just what this men's group and God's word was doing in his life.  The conversation was riveting and neither man slept through this flight as both were intrigued by the other's lifestyle.

As they landed, both were shocked to find that they were staying at the same South American hotel.  The Rich Young Man offered the other man a ride in his arranged car to the hotel, of which the other man willingly said yes.  As they grabbed their luggage and found their driver they both were given water from the driver.  Only something was desperately wrong.  There was a woman in the front seat (the driver said it was his niece and he was going to give her a ride to the city after these men were dropped off.)  The Rich Young man said that would not be a problem and to bill his card for both of the men.  As there was long conversation on the flight and more than two glasses of wine, both men willingly drank the water and both did not realize that the water was drugged.  Hours later they both woke up somewhere in the rain forest and both were in shock as they were locked in separate rooms next to each other.  Drugged and tied and being held for ransom.  These men were the victim of kidnapping and the other man was at the wrong place at the wrong time given the Rich Young Man's status.

They were held for ransom and the ransom was huge.  The older man's company was working with the Rich Young Man's corporation on trying to negotiate for these men's lives.  Months had passed and the camps that held them were moved every 3 weeks.  A trust and friendship began between these men and the only thing they were allowed to have with them were the Bible that the older man had.  As his men's group was working on Scripture memory he gave the Rich Young Man his copy of the Bible.

And so they read - through the entire Bible.  Focusing on Romans, on James and on John.  Not really sure of the date, as either men weren't sure of how much time that had passed, these men both discovered God in a whole new way - one had a new Savior (Jesus Christ) and the other had two new best friends (Jesus and the Rich Young Man).  Through this conversation and conversion there was a guard in the camp that took a liking to these two men and took more of a liking to what was being shared between them - the Word of God.  This guard also came to know the Lord and just one week before these men were going to be either negotiated for ransom or killed for lack of payment, the guard freed them late at night and drove them across the border to the US Embassy.  These men were able to call their work and families before a ransom was paid out and the Rich Young Man chartered a plane to take them both back to Chicago.

They made the local newspapers and then the national news papers and then the talk shows and then more and more kept coming.  They both had their "10 minutes of fame" but neither used this for their own kingdom - instead they used it for God's kingdom.

Both were asked what really mattered when they were being held prisoner and both said the same - their faith in God, in His Word and their relationship with Jesus Christ.  They both left the US wanting and both came back completely content.  Their lives were forever changed and from that moment of conversion for the Rich Young Man and the other man was life-changing.  Their wishes and desires were no longer what they wanted, but instead was replaced by what God wanted from their lives.

"When it is all said and done", they said in their last television interview, "and we are kneeling at the judgement seat of Christ, we only want to hear two things:  1) Our names read in the Book of Life and 2) Well done my good and faithful servants".


what really mattersWhat really matters to you?

The world's view:

  • Riches
  • Wealth
  • Retirement
  • Popularity
  • Fame

God's view:

  • His Word
  • A relationship with His Son Jesus Christ
  • To be his disciples
  • To love the Lord God with all of our hearts, minds, souls and strength and to love our neighbor as ourselves
  • To finish well

Blessings,

Dante

 

 

 

Top 10 ways to build up your family

top-10-mistakes  

 

 

 

 

Top 10 ways to build up your family:

 

10.  Play board games with them

9.  Go on long walks

8.  Ride your bikes to the local ice cream store

7.  Date your wife and kids (individually) - one each date

6.  Read the Bible with them

5.  Talk about Scripture and how it applies to our lives today

4.  Pray with your wife and kids

3.  Serve with them

2.  Love them

1.  Take vacations with them (slow down - relax - enjoy - be thankful)

 

What are some of your top 10's?

 

Blessings,

Dante

 

 

Unforgiveness

warningPart of being a legacy dad means not only talking the talk, but also walking the walk.  As both Lance and I have shared in the past and will continue to share into the future, both of our wives read this blog and our children are watching us.  That being said, more than just our wives would call us out!  Does that mean that we are perfect?  Absolutely not!  Our wives and close friends know that we are sinners who are saved by grace.  What it does mean by being a legacy dad is realizing and committing to the fact that there is a greater authority in our lives other than ourselves.  That the beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord.  The beginning of being a legacy dad is putting God in our lives where He should always be:  On the throne room of our lives.  God should be overall.  God is in control of my life, my family, my work, my personal life and I am subject to His will!  This doesn't always mean that I get this in the correct order.  This also means, if I am being honest, that I sometimes try to put my old self back on top and on my throne room of my heart.  God has given me emotions and the ability to think and to have free will.  He is Sovereign and He is in control of all things.  He knows what I will do. One of the hardest things for men to overcome is forgiveness.  On our own, we are incapable of it.  To be honest, even when we are walking the walk, forgiveness can be a very difficult thing to do.  When someone wrongs us (or we feel wronged) or someone wrongs ones that we love, it is next to near impossible to forgive even when God calls us to forgive.

1 John 1:5-10 English Standard Version (ESV)

imagesWalking in the Light 5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

1 John 2 English Standard Version (ESV)

Christ Our Advocate 2 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. 3 And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: 6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

The New Commandment 7 Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard. 8 At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because[a] the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. 9 Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. 10 Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him[b] there is no cause for stumbling. 11 But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

Ephesians 4:32English Standard Version (ESV)

32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

When we subject ourselves to God's truth (The Bible) then we have a really hard time trying to justify the wrongs in our lives:

  • A bad marriage
  • A difficult work situation
  • An event
  • Difficult living situation
  • Addictions
  • Being wronged

No matter how we try to defend our positions, it is impossible to justify the wrongs that we have done against God.  We are sinners in need of  a Savior.  Left on our own devices we have no hope, no salvation and no chance of salvation.  But with God's plan, there is a hope.  There is His Son.  There is salvation and redemption and forgiveness through His Son, Jesus Christ.

So if God can forgive us...

  • We can forgive our spouse - some of us, if we are honest, have let our marriages die.  We have stopped pursuing our spouse because we feel hurt, we feel betrayed, we feel broken and disappointed by some things in our past.  The marriage that we thought we would have - we don't.  The spouse that we thought would meet every expectation - doesn't.  The relationship that we thought we would have until we get old - isn't.  Because of these shortcomings or acts or events some of us have grown weary, hopeless, and embittered.  There is unforgiveness and anger and in some relationships even dangerous anger.
  • We can forgive our children - some of us have wayward children or children that did not meet our expectations or what we thought we would see them grow up to be.  We have been callous with them and even neglected our parenting and call to disciple them because they continue to disappoint.  They have wandered or committed some unforgiveable sins that we can never get over.  How could they embarrass us like that?  How could they shame their mother and father the way that they have?  How can they sin and continue to have unrepentant sin in their lives?
  • We can forgive those who persecute us - whether some of us have been a victim or have a situation where we have been wronged or have been persecuted or have even ben maligned in ways that were not justified we feel that we have righteous anger, that is, we think we are justified in being unforgiving toward those persons or situations in our lives that persecute us.
  • We can forgive those who have wronged us - some of us have been a victim of drugs and alcohol or of loved ones who have hurt us not only physically, but emotionally and have destroyed our spirit and will to live.  As a result, we find our lives in a sense of rebellion and for some even with destructive habits that are reckless and in some cases malign others around us because we feel that if we have been victims then why should the rest of the world get away with this (this lifestyle leaves a wake of destruction and bitterness in its path).
  • We can get over ourselves (and for some of us our horrible pasts and let God move in our lives) - some of us try to say that our pasts (and present) is so horrible that we can not forgive ourselves, that we were really bad and that there is nothing or no one that can forgive the sins and atrocities that I have committed.

To all of what was just said above, I have one thing to say to all of us:  Forgive as the Lord has forgiven you.  Do not withhold love when it is in our power to act.  Love and forgive as God loves and has forgiven us through His Son Jesus Christ.

How about this, Legacy dads:

  • Instead of blaming our circumstances on our wives (our children) our work, our outcomes, we let go and let God have control over it all.
  • Instead of withholding love, we love unashamed
  • Instead of judging with a measuring stick that puts us in pure hypocrisy, we judge ourselves by the measure we judge others.  Quickly realizing that this cannot be, then we let the only One judge others.  Instead we can love and live the lives that Jesus calls us to live (Read Romans 12:1-2 and Colossians 3).
  • Instead of living in the past (past mistakes, past transgressions, past wrongs instead of rights) we turn that over to God.  We surrender the pain, the unforgiveness, the un-love in our lives and let God through His Holy Spirit fill that up with His love allowing us to show others God's love and what God is doing through our lives by forgiving others (by letting His will be done).
  • Instead of saying that we cannot forgive ourselves of the sin and atrocities that we have committed, we finally come to understand that biblically speaking we cannot forgive our sins because only God can forgive us through His Son.

What is holding you back from receiving God's best design for our lives?

What is holding you back from letting go of all it and giving it to God?

What is holding you back from letting God move in your life and filling the void that you thought others should fill?

What if, just what if, we did all of this and realize that when we completely surrender that under God's will and plans and timing - we will have the abundant life that He promises?

Do you believe this?  Can it be true?  Do we serve a God who raises once what was dead into life?

Forgive as the Lord has forgiven you!

Blessings,

Dante

 

 

 

No Longer Slaves...

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"No Longer Slaves"

You unravel me with a melody You surround me with a song Of deliverance from my enemies 'Til all my fears are gone

[2x] I'm no longer a slave to fear I am a child of God

From my mother's womb You have chosen me Love has called my name I've been born again Into your family Your blood flows through my veins

[4x] I'm no longer a slave to fear I am a child of God

I am surrounded By the arms of the father I am surrounded By songs of deliverance

We've been liberated From our bondage We're the sons and the daughters Let us sing our freedom

You split the sea So I could walk right through it My fears were drowned in perfect love You rescued me And I could stand and sing I am a child of God...

You split the sea So I could walk right through it You drowned my fears in perfect love You rescued me And I will stand and sing I am a child of God

Yes, I am I am a child of God I am a child of God Yes, I am I am a child of God Full of faith Yes, I am a child of God I am a child of God

[3x] I'm no longer a slave to fear I am a child of God

America the Beautiful

[youtube id="EmP9LvHgcaA"]The Declaration of Independence: A Transcription

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good. He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them. He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only. He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures. He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people. He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within. He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands. He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers. He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries. He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance. He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures. He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power. He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation: For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us: For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States: For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world: For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent: For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury: For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies: For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments: For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever. He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us. He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people. He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation. He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands. He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

The 56 signatures on the Declaration appear in the positions indicated:

Column 1 Georgia: Button Gwinnett Lyman Hall George Walton

Column 2 North Carolina: William Hooper Joseph Hewes John Penn South Carolina: Edward Rutledge Thomas Heyward, Jr. Thomas Lynch, Jr. Arthur Middleton

Column 3 Massachusetts: John Hancock Maryland: Samuel Chase William Paca Thomas Stone Charles Carroll of Carrollton Virginia: George Wythe Richard Henry Lee Thomas Jefferson Benjamin Harrison Thomas Nelson, Jr. Francis Lightfoot Lee Carter Braxton

Column 4 Pennsylvania: Robert Morris Benjamin Rush Benjamin Franklin John Morton George Clymer James Smith George Taylor James Wilson George Ross Delaware: Caesar Rodney George Read Thomas McKean

Column 5 New York: William Floyd Philip Livingston Francis Lewis Lewis Morris New Jersey: Richard Stockton John Witherspoon Francis Hopkinson John Hart Abraham Clark

Column 6 New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett William Whipple Massachusetts: Samuel Adams John Adams Robert Treat Paine Elbridge Gerry Rhode Island: Stephen Hopkins William Ellery Connecticut: Roger Sherman Samuel Huntington William Williams Oliver Wolcott New Hampshire: Matthew Thornton

The power of Words

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...

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

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

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.

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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