Posts Tagged ‘God’

Ronnie Roque continues his teaching from Patrick Morley’s book, ‘Pastoring men.’  In this particular video, Ronnie talks about the importance of a man being adequately trained giving reference to 2 Tim. 3:16 .  Mr. Roque feels that a man is trained properly in the area of discipleship when he is capable of leading himself spiritually first and foremost.”

On the other hand, he feels that an untrained man or rather a man who isn’t discipled has problems with taking his issues before God.  This man professes to know the Lord, but has yet become comfortable in going to him on his own behalf.

“Spiritual reformation of society starts with a spiritual reformation of men,” Ronnie quotes.

What does a disciple look like you may be asking?   “A disciple is called to walk with Christ, equip to look like Christ, and sent to work for Christ,” he goes on to say.

Points to remember:

  • We can give men what they need if instead of looking at the data, we look at  God’s direction.
  •  An untrained Christian is no better  off than an unskilled laborer a high school drop out.  He simply won’t enjoy as much of the abundant life as a man who has been discipled.

Steps to becoming a trained man by Patrick Morley

What is a Quiet Time?

In our Christian culture we hear a lot mentioned about a device called “the quiet time”. A quiet time is a routine period, usually at the beginning or end of the day, in which five, fifteen, thirty minutes, an hour or more are set aside to read and study God’s Word, pray, and possibly perform other spiritual disciplines. For example, sometimes I sing hymns (no one besides God would want to hear), journal or read devotional materials.

Actually, the Bible calls for continual prayer and Bible meditation. “Pray continually” (1 Thess.5:17). “Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests” (Eph. 6:18). “His delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night” (Psalm 1:2).

The quiet time, then, is an accommodation to an overly busy culture. Nevertheless, the concept of setting aside a regular time for concentrated meeting with the Lord can greatly enhance anyone’s walk with God. In fact, without it, it is questionable if you can really have an ongoing relationship with Christ.

How much time should you devote to daily quiet time? If you don’t already have a quiet time, why not consider giving five minutes a day to read one chapter of the New Testament (read one chapter a day five days a week and you will complete the 260 chapters of the New Testament in one year). Then, say a prayer like The Lord’s Prayer, or you could use the ACTS acrostic (A-adoration, C-confession, T-thanksgiving, S-supplication). Consider setting a maximum time limit for devotional life, rather than a minimum. This will keep down the guilt. Later, if you want to increase the time you spend, fine. Many spend 15 or 30 minutes. It is not uncommon for some to devote an hour, and some invest as much as two hours. But start with a realistic goal. The best length of time is the one you will actually do. Don’t bite off more than you will chew.

How often should you have a quiet time? Shoot for five days a week. Don’t expect to make it every day (allowing for early morning meetings, glitches, etc.) You wouldn’t expect to eat once or twice a week and be healthy. Neither can you feed your spirit only once or twice a week and expect spiritual health.

When and where should you have a quiet time? Pick the time of day that you are most alert-your quality time. Give God your peak concentration. Also, it’s probably best to have a routine time and place. It’s the same principle your mother taught you about your schoolwork.

What if you don’t feel like having a quiet time? From time to time I don’t “feel” like listening and speaking to God-but I do it anyway. What if God said, “I don’t feel like meeting with you today either.” You would think he doesn’t love you very much. Whenever a man tells me that he doesn’t feel very close to God the first question I ask is, “Tell me about your devotional life.” Often the problem is just there. If you don’t feel like meeting with God, I suggest you substitute discipline for a lack of natural interest. In time the “feelings” and natural interest will return.

Since the two principal activities of a quiet time are reading the Bible and prayer, let’s look more closely at these two.

Reading The Bible

The Bible is God speaking to man. The Bible communicates the truth of God to men in search of ultimate reality. The God who is, is revealed in Scripture. The Bible, then, is the starting point of a life with God. He is rich who dwells upon God’s Word. Psalm 19: 7-11 says this:

The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb. By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.

A friend in the publishing business tells me that only 30% of college graduates never read a book again after graduation. Reading and study have largely been replaced by television and video. For the Christian, however, reading and study open the door to communication from God.

Frankly, after more than twenty years of following Christ, I find I no longer read my Bible. My Bible reads me. On its crinkly pages I see myself-my motives, my ambitions, my longings, my pain, my sufferings, my sins, my hope, my joy. As the rustling pages turn I see God-His love, His forgiveness, His birth, His death, His resurrection, His sovereignty, His holiness, His character. I love my Bible. I love the Bible because I don’t have to worry about receiving “flash updates” or corrective bulletins.” I don’t have to worry about factory “recall.” I don’t have to be concerned about whether or not a “retraction” will appear in tomorrow’s version. I love my Bible because it is true, and truth doesn’t change. In a world awash with change, I’m glad to have an anchor, a solid rock upon which to build my life.

Prayer

Prayer is man speaking to God. God wants us to pray. Prayer is how we communicate with God.

When a friend of mine became deathly ill with cancer, another friend asked me how he was doing. “He’s a very sick boy,” I said. “I guess the only thing we can do is pray.”

“No,” he corrected. “The thing we can do is pray.” What gave his statement added authority was that he offered this advice just six months after his own wife of 26 years had died from cancer. Another friend was going through a crisis at work. “I’ve tried everything I can think of. I guess I’ll pray.”

Why is prayer often the last thing we do and not the first? Why don’t we pray more? First, we don’t pray because we’re not sure that prayer really works. If we really believed God hears and answers our prayers, we would pray all the time. If we really understood prayer, it would be the principal habit of our hearts. It would be our first resort, not our last.

Second, prayer is hard work. One day I was in the car with Bill and Vonette Bright. At the time Vonette was the chair of National Day of Prayer-she even got Congress to make it a law! I nearly ran off the road when she said, “Prayer is hard work. Sometimes I find it hard to concentrate. My mind wanders.” Well, I already knew that was true for me! But I didn’t know it was true for one of the world’s great prayers! What an encouragement! Prayer is hard work. At times it’s hard to stay focused. Also, no one holds us accountable to pray.

Prayer is the currency of our personal relationship with Jesus. However, it does us no good if we leave it on account. We must make a withdrawal and spend some of it through prayer. Pray with a pencil-the benefits of seeing how God has worked will be well worth the efforts.

Prayer changes things. However, God doesn’t answer petitions that are not presented. If we go about solving our challenges in our own strength, we rob God of the glory He wants for Himself. He would rather us come humbly before the throne of His grace so that He can give us mercy and help in our times of need.

Prayer changes us. Prayer breaks strongholds. Prayer determines the destinies of men, their families, their communities, and their nations. Only an army of men on their knees can turn the destiny of America back to God. It’s time for us to get on our knees and fight like real men!

Reflection and Application

1. How important is Bible Study? Can you think of any other way to become a Biblical Christian other than by studying the Bible? I can honestly say that I have never known a man whose life has changed in any significant way apart from the regular study of God’s Word. Why not consider making a commitment to study God’s Word as an exercise of spiritual discipline?

For example, in our quiet time you could read a chapter a day from the New Testament as already mentioned. Or, you can purchase a one year plan to ready through the Bible at your Christian bookstore. Personally, each year I read through The One Year Bible in a different version- it only takes 10 to 20 minutes a day. If you want accelerated growth, read your Bible with a pen and pad nearby. Write down questions about passages you don’t understand. Then ask your pastor or a Bible teacher what God meant in those passages.

2. What is your prayer life like? Is prayer a significant part of your life? Do you sense a close, personal communion with Jesus when you pray? Or is your prayer life more limited, mechanical and unrewarding?

3. What kind of commitment do you currently have to a quiet time with Bible reading and prayer? What kind of commitment are you prepared to make? This may be one of the most important decisions you will ever make.

To read this article in its orignial writing please visit Patrick Morely’s blog: Man in the Mirror.

Please view the trailer to Patrick Morley’s new book: Man Alive

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In this video Ronnie talks about fear being another cause of the failure of men when they fail to make the tough decisions. A lot of times we are fearful because we want to be liked by the world and we fear rejection. We also would rather not make any decision at all  than to make a wrong one. This is when our fear can set us up for failure and stifle us as leaders.

 

In this video Ronnie talks about the danger of letting things slide. Failure come in many different ways. One way is being passive. This passivity leads us to falling as men and the ones that suffer are our families. Men, I want to challenge you to have the guts to make the hard choice to do what is right for the benefit of the kingdom and your family.  But first you need to know the difference: if you never know what wrong is, then how will you know what is right?

 

If the fall of man were to have occurred in our times, one can hardly conceive of the consequences. I would imagine that the American Civil Liberties Union would immediately file-suit against God and in defense of Eve and her husband Adam. The suit would probably be pressed on the grounds of an illegal eviction, “and after all”, we would be told, this alleged sinful act was performed in the privacy of the Garden, and by two consenting adults. But most of all, we would be told that the crime and punishment were totally out of proportion. Could God really be serious in what that account claims to report? Because of a mere bite of some ‘forbidden fruit’, the man and woman are evicted and will sufer a lifetime of consequence? More than this, due to this one act, the whole world and all mankind continue to suffer the evils about us.

Procrastination is the act of willfully delaying the doing of something that should be done. In this video Ronnie talks about the affects that procrastination can have on your life and your family. Although the Bible does not specifically talk about procrastination, it does address the issue of delaying things that are necessary. Proverbs 15:19 warns us against laziness and being slothful. Colossians 3:23 says that whatever you do with all your heart to work for the Lord and not for men.

So, men if you find yourself being a procrastinator, remember that we all must give an account to God based on what He has entrusted to us.

The only way a man can look and talk like God is to take on the image of God. God wants men who are about His business and not their own. In John 14:11, Jesus was getting ready to leave His disciples and He comforted them with these words: “I am in the Father and the Father is in me.” God wants men who are  in His word and His word  in them so that the world will see them and be drawn to Him.

Men, the challenge for you is to be about serving God and building His kingdom and not your own. Remember that if you don’t examine your life then you will never know what changes need to be made. May God truly bless you.

In a world where image is important, who do you look like? In Gen. 1:26, God said, “Let us make man in our image according to his likeness”; too many men look like everything but God. Our passion is to get men to understand that if it is not done for God, then it is done for nothing. We need men who are clear in their thinking and wise in their actions. The bible tells us to quit being naive, (Prov. 1:22), and challenge men to love the Lord, love your family and remember if you are going to look like God then you should walk like God.

I’m reminded of something I heard at a conference. If you are not going to act like a Christain, then don’t tell anyone that you are. So guys, get up each day seeking to examine yourself. May God bless you and keep you is our prayer.

 

This week we are going to take a look at the conclusion of Charles Swindoll’s message about mental barriers that prevent us from hearing the voice of God. Second Cor 5:17 says we are a new creature once we accept Jesus as Savior,  however, we still have our old nature and old habits dwelling within us. Thus far what we have learned about the mind is that it needs to be cleansed, renewed and strengthened in order for us to truly be men of God.

Charles Swindoll:

Along with the mental wall of habitual resistance, the humanistic reasonings that give it strength, and the proud, lofty reactions that keep the truths of Scripture at arm’s length, there are actual thoughts, techniques, and devices we employ that push away God’s Word and His promptings. Let me be specific.

Some of us have formed the habit of  getting even rather than overlooking wrongs done against us. So when we come across scriptural instruction that requires an alternate plan, our inner reaction is “No way!” When God’s counsel encourages us to be generous, to release rather than to keep, we can think of half a dozen reasons it won’t work. It’s like having a “Murphy’s Law” mentality that is immediately ready to spring into action. This keeps us from deciding favorably toward God. That’s a mental barrier.

A vital point I don’t want you to miss is that we really have no reason whatsoever to keep serving our secular mentality. We have been freed. Gloriously freed!

Before salvation we had no hope. We were victims of all those impulses and defenses within us. But at the cross, our Savior and Lord defeated the enemy. He said, “It is finished,” and it was!! No longer does sin reign as victor. But, you see, our old nature doesn’t want us to believe that. It resists all messages that would give us freedom, “All renewed mind information is to be muffled,” commands the sinful nature within us. And with every effort, it puts up a wall, guards, towers, and thoughts to turn all such input away.

Do you realize what our old nature resists the most? It is revealed in 2 cor 10:5: “taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” When that happens, the “renewed mind” is in full operation….. and it is marvelous! At that moment, servanthood is neither irksome nor a thing to be feared. It flows freely.

When Jesus Christ truly takes charge of our minds, bringing our every thought captive to Him, we become spiritually invincible. We operate with supernatural power. We walk under God’s complete control.

 

Excerpted from “Improving Your Serve: The Art of Unselfish Living, pg 84-86, 1981 by Charles R. Swindoll.

One of the most tragic things we can do as a Christian is to let our thoughts go unchecked. Another thing I know from my own life is that a thought can hold you captive to the point that  you are unable to move forward in life. This is why the Bible tells us to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ in 2 Cor 10:5. The challenge I have for each man is to get up each day and examine your thoughts. This way you will not have to speculate on what God wants from you.

From Charles Swindoll:

As the Spirit of God attempts to communicate His truth to us, He runs up against the “wall” of our overall mental attitude, our natural mind-set. Along with the wall-like fortresses, we have natural, humanistic reasonings that give the wall additional strength.

I’m thinking of those defense mechanisms, rationalizations, and other thinking patterns that are habitual to us. In Romans 2:15 we read of two such “guards” – blaming and justifying.

As the Lord God pushes His truth to enter (and thus “renew”) our minds, our habitual reflex “guards” the entrance of such alien thoughts! This explains why there is often such a battle that rages when biblical truth is introduced into a mind that has been walled and guarded by years of secularized thinking. We defend the old rather that consider and accept the new.

This could have happened in your own mind when you read what the Scriptures teach on forgiveness. It also may occur when you read what the Bible teaches us to do when we have offended someone. More than likely, you found yourself resisting and defending. I certainly did when I first discovered those truths! We would much rather blame the other person than accept our responsibility. Our “speculations” work like that. They put up a guard against change, causing us to rationalize and justify our actions.

Accompanying the resistance of our internal wall and guards are “lofty things” that reinforce our defense system from within (2 cor 10:5). It’s the idea of a thing lifted up or exalted.

What comes to your mind right now? How about pride? And those things pride prompts: argumentation, an unteachable spirit, stubbornness, and refusal to change. Is that striking a nerve yet?

As the principles of the Scriptures are declared, our natural, unrenewed minds not only resist them, they ask, “Who needs that?” or “I’ve gotten along pretty good up ’til now.” These are the lofty things that are “raised up against the knowledge of God,” as Paul put it (2 Cor 10:5).

We need to destroy those things . . . . . before they destroy us.

Excerpted from “Improving Your Serve: The Art of Unselfish Living.” 1981, by Charles Swindoll

Proverbs 23:7 says: “For as a man thinks within himself, so he is.”

As I travel around to different places and talk to men from all walks of like, the one thing that is clear is that men don’t like to think about deep stuff such as God’s agenda for their home. We think more about things than we do about people. Proverbs 13:22 says a good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children. I think as men we need to be more about God’s business than our own.

Everyone that has visited this blog long enough knows that Chuck Swindoll is one of my favorite teachers and he has a three part devotion called “Mental Barriers to God’s Voice”, based on 2 Cor 10:1-7. As you read it, I would like you to think about what mental blocks you may have that are keeping you away from God.

Mental Barriers to God’s Voice, Part 1

When the world tries to squeeze us into its mold, God’s message gets muffled. Our minds pick up on the strong secular signals so easily that we subconsciously tune Him out. It comes naturally.

In ancient days, a city, in order to prosper, needed a security system to protect it from enemy attack. Of primary importance was a wall which restrained enemy troops from invading and which also served as a major means of defense in battle. Guards needed to be on constant watch from their sentinel posts on the wall. There needed to be towers within the city high enough for those inside to see over the wall. And finally, at the time of attack, men of military savvy and battle knowledge were needed to give orders and to direct the troops in the heat of combat from within the protection of those towers.

Paul drew a series of analogies from that familiar scene of his day… but remember, he’s not dealing with a city but rather with our minds. The passage in 2 Corinthians 10:1-7 sets forth a vivid description of the mental barriers that block out God’s directives and His counsel. Look closely. Paul uses four terms that we need to understand. If you have a pencil handy, circle each in your Bible:    fortresses….. speculations….. lofty things….. thought.

As the Spirit of God attempts to communicate His truth to us (biblical information on servanthood, for example), He runs up against our “wall,” our overall mental attitude, our natural mind-set. For some, it’s prejudice. With others, it’s limited thinking or a negative mentality. Whatever it is, it’s a huge mental barrier that resists divine input just as firmly as a massive stone wall once resisted invading troops.

We all have our fortresses. And occasionally we get downright obnoxious as we operate under the control of our “walled fortresses.” Need a good example?

A vagrant was looking for a handout in a picturesque old English village. Hungry almost to the point of fainting, he stopped by a pub bearing the classic name, “Inn of St. George and the Dragon.”

“Please ma’am, could you spare me a bite to eat?” he asked the lady who answered his knock at the kitchen door.

“A bite to eat?” she growled. “For a sorry, no-good bum – a foul-smelling beggar? No!” she snapped as  she almost slammed the door on his hand.

Halfway down the lane the tramp stopped, turned around, and eyed the words, “St. George and the Dragon”. He went back and knocked again on the kitchen door.

“Now what do you want?” the woman gruffed.

“Well, ma’am, if  St George is in, may I speak with him this time?”