Today I decided to share the writing of my favorite author, Max Lucado. Below you can read today’s devotion, found on his website, Maxlucado.com. Max’s simplicity, candor, and practicality have always brought me comfort and joy. Hopefully his writing does the same for you.
“Satan tried to write his own story in which he was the hero and God was an afterthought. He admitted as much when he said, ‘I will ascend to the heavens…I will make myself like the Most High’ (Isaiah 14:13-14).
Satan wanted to take God’s place, but God wasn’t and is not moving. Satan wants to win you to his side, but God will never let you go. You have his word! Even more, you have his help! Scripture says, ‘For our high priest (Jesus) is able to understand our weaknesses…he was tempted in every way that we are, but he did not sin. Let us then, come before God’s throne where there is grace to help us when we need it’ (Hebrews 4:15-16).
You don’t have to face Satan alone. We shout, and God runs—at the right moment.”
Simple faith is the best faith. Jesus agrees. “Unless you become like the little children…you will never get into the Kingdom of heaven.” Jesus isn’t telling us to be immature, but to be humble.
Humble faith is the richest faith. Think of children you know. They ask “stupid” questions (and lots of them!). They laugh when they are happy, and cry when they hurt. They trust their Father. They pray first and worry last. It sounds like a great way to live. Why do we stop as adults?
Somewhere along the way we learned to care more about someone else’s opinion, instead of the Lord’s. Somebody said laughter was inappropriate, or crying is a sign of weakness. Someone said God can’t be trusted. We decided to worry first and pray last. It sounds like a miserable way to live.
Laugh hard, cry big tears, trust the Lord, don’t try to control the things you can’t, and never stop asking for the Lord’s help.
“I know the LORD is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.” – Psalm 16:8
Tough Tuesday? He understands.
Last night I watched a thunderstorm blow through my town. Storms are always fascinating to watch, so long as I’m inside. When my safety is assured, I am free to marvel at God’s creation.
I don’t know what you are facing today. It could be a massive storm, or you could be in a state of complete joy. Regardless of your current condition, whether it’s a storm or a celebration, you are free to spectate.
Sit back, relax, and trust because you are under the protection of the Father. It doesn’t make your situation easy, but it might make it bearable.
Filled with overwhelming joy today? Let it overflow until you are the catalyst of joy for another person.
God bless y’all. I pray you have a wonderful Tuesday.
Manliness is not defined as grease, guns, belches, and wrenches. It’s not clothed in Carhartt, Browning, or Realtree. A man doesn’t have to dip, cuss, and drink to be considered masculine, but there are a few things that are truly manly.
Below are ten traits of real manliness. Most of them are common sense (something that is hard to find in today’s world). A real man:
Leads. It doesn’t matter if it’s a business or your family, the world looks to men for leadership. It is no wonder women are stepping up in the public sector. They are simply trying to fill a natural void.
Is strong. You don’t have to be able to bench press 400 pounds but the world knows a real man when they see it. He carries himself with confidence that speaks for itself.
Learns. Don’t know how to fix a car? A real man takes it upon himself to learn. Not sure how to shoot a weapon? A humble man asks for help and guidance so he can be a capable provider and protector.
Provides. A real man doesn’t have to be pestered or asked to work. He does it because it is required of him by society and he has self – respect. Laziness is not in the vocabulary of a respectable man.
Protects. Safety can be felt from a real man’s countenance. Women and children do not need to fear when a guardian is in the area. They can trust that they will be taken care of if anything threatens their quality of life.
Cares. Sensitivity is not a bad thing. Being a man means knowing how to care without being overly emotional. A real man cares enough to listen and help problem solve.
Solves problems. Although he may not have the solution, he can find the person who does. Whatever it takes to solve a problem, he will either seek the Lord’s provision or be that agent of repair, himself.
Loves his wife and children faithfully. Even in the face of fear, a real man steps up and takes care of his wife and child. He is faithful to his family and loves his wife more than himself.
Disciplines himself. A man of honor asks the Lord to help him. It is only by walking in the Spirit that a man can control the urges that his body presents.
Sacrifices. Either for his country, his family, or ultimately the Lord, a real man will do what it takes to stand up for what he believes in, even if it cost him his life.
Are you pursuing genuine manhood? If yes, great. Continue to be what society needs. If not, find a man who is your senior and demonstrates the qualities above. Learn from him and model his character.
I remember back in middle and high school youth groups the pastor would speak about the issues of “cliques.” He would often encourage us to get outside our comfort zone and make sure that we are not maintining a closed group of friends. Recently, I observed a shift that happens to our friendships as adults.
Unlike grade school, as adults we often have to be encouraged to work to maintain high quality friendships. Having a tight clique can be a source of strength and encouragement. It can also test our patience. There will be times in life where we need support that comes from outside our family unit. Here are three benefits to having tight – knit friendships.
They can help sustain you in hard times. Many of you have lived this principle. God often uses friends to help us when we feel our strength faltering. Friends provide the medicine of laughter[i], the comfort of proximity, and freshness that comes from seeing a face that isn’t family.
They provide an accurate account of your walk with the Lord. Friends can see hypocrisy. They see growth. They sense annoyance and feel your anger. The beauty of friendship is the fact that they can observe all of the bad moments and still be loyal to you. However, a good friend will not see a pattern of destructive behavior and just ignore it. If your friend is truly sharpening you, then be prepared to hear the hard truths about behavior that you may need to address with the Lord[ii].
Friendship teaches us selflessness. It is easy to say that romantic relationships make us more like Christ and require a sacrifice. Commitment to quality friendship requires the same kind of selfless love. Being reliable, taking time to listen, sacrificing your own wants, holding your tongue, and avoiding anger and frustration are all traits that have to be mastered in order to love the people closest to you. God sanctifies us through relationships with friends.
Think of your closest friends today and thank God for their presence in your life. Commit to serving them and loving them even more than you already do.
Almost monthly I feel like I open up the Christian Post only to read a story about another Christian leader who has failed morally. These stories break my heart. Also, what breaks my heart are the tragic responses of some Christians.
When someone fails the natural human tendency is to feel superior. Our public reputations stand unblemished while someone wallows in their own mess. Pride is lurking, waiting to takeover the recipient’s heart when he or she hears the news. Here are some helpful ways to respond to the public moral flounder of a leader.
Pray for the individual. This is a pretty obvious point that almost goes without saying, but prayer still gets overlooked. When someone you look up to and have served under falters, intercede on their behalf. Your prayers will help minister grace and mercy to them in their time of need. Think of a time you failed and reflect on how much you wanted someone to pray for you.
If possible, reach out to them. You don’t have to send a long email or leave a comprehensive voicemail. When leaders loose their positions, sometimes they experience a time of disillusionment because part of their identity has been taken from them. It is natural for them to feel like they are of less value to God and the church after failure. Fight that lie by letting them know that they are more than a “title” to you.
Don’t slander. Don’t feed gossip. If someone brings up the news in a malicious way, tell the gossiper that you are praying for the individual, and then let the topic go. It can be tempting to want to stir up drama and discuss rumors, but there is no edification for anyone from that kind of chatter. Be simple and to the point. Don’t give yourself or them any opportunity to slander or gossip.
Step up and help out where you can. If a leader leaves a void, help fill it if you have the right gifts. Preachers aren’t the only men who fail in the church. Be ready to step into the small areas that need as much attention as preaching and worship.
Dealing with people’s shortcomings requires grace and mercy. Make sure that you are allowing the Holy Spirit to make you a more gracious, kind, and loving person. These kinds of people are the agents of healing that mistaken leaders need in their lives.
We have all been there. We had a full week. We are worn out. We overworked ourselves on Saturday and stayed up to watch the game. The alarm goes off on Sunday and our bodies scream out “don’t do it!” In that moment, discipline and resolve are necessary if you are going to make it to church.
There will be times in your Christian walk that you simply don’t want to go to church, regardless of the quality of worship service that you attend. I want to point out three realizations about church that are vital. Often times, simply having the right perspective can change your attitude.
The moment that you want to go back to sleep is actually spiritual warfare. Granted, it may not be the most intense war being fought, but it is a struggle between serving self and serving the Lord. Identify your desires and tell them to God. Sometimes we think less of ourselves for having to say a prayer for strength to simply get out of bed. There is nothing wrong with asking God to help us do the right thing.
Be proactive about fighting fatigue. If we are honest, there are times that we struggle to get out of bed because of poor choices the night before. I am as guilty of this as anyone. Set a realistic bed time for yourself (and your spouse, if you have one) and guard it diligently. Being happy and refreshed will enhance your worship the next morning.
Think of all that you miss out on. Of course, sometimes the songs sung aren’t your favorite, the coffee isn’t hot enough, or you just don’t want to have to talk to that certain “someone.” But, these aren’t valid excuses for why you should miss out on church. Remember, all the social aspects of church only add to the blessing of being in the presence of the Lord. You will not be adequately fed in your spiritual life if you are not going to church consistently. It keeps you accountable and focused on the right things during the week.
These are meant to be helpful tips for beating that draggy feeling when it comes time to wake up. I will deal with hurt from the church body at a later time.