Posts Tagged ‘Men’s Ministry’

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel.” ~ Proverbs 12:15

Most men are long rangers, says Ronnie Roque, founder of Who me be a leader, the word counsel is like a slap in the face to them.”

What is it that keeps a fool from being wise?

His way is right in his own eyes. He thinks he is in the right in everything he does, and therefore asks no advice, because he does not apprehend he needs it. He is confident he knows the way, and cannot miss it, and therefore never inquires the way. The rule he goes by is to do that which is right in his own eyes, to walk in the way of his heart. He makes his will his law. He is a fool that is governed by his eye, and not by his conscience.

What it is that keeps a wise man from being a fool?

He is willing to be advised, desires to have counsel given him, and heeds and gives attention to counsel—what has been said, being reserved and restrained in manner when it comes to his own judgment and having a value for the direction of those that are wise and good. He is wise (it is a sign he is so, and he is likely to continue so) whose ear is always open to good advice.

To learn more about a wise man please watch Ronnie’s Youtube video.”

Excerpts taken and revised from Matthew Henry Commentator.

In today’s video Ronnie discusses what it means to be content with us.  Of course, I’ve jotted down some of my thoughts from his video to share with you.

As I think about the title the first thing that captures my mind is the fact that “Godliness plus contentment is great gain” is exactly what the Christian needs in order to grow spiritually, and it is what’s needed for our own personal fulfillment.

Contrary to what many of us read in the Word and are taught in church about money, most people still believe that money brings happiness.  Have you ever noticed that some people with money and an abundant of material possessions often times still crave more?  This wanting more and the lack of contentment for what we have can get us caught up in an endless cycle that often times leads to ruin and destruction in various forms.

How can we keep away from the love of money and become people who have learned to be content you asked?

I’m so glad you did.  Here goes:

  1. We must live like we will die one day and we do that by recognizing that our money and material possession will part from us one day.  They will be gone.
  2. Simply put, we must learn how to be content period.
  3. We must monitor what we are willing to do to gain our money and our things {our possessions}.
  4. We must be sure to love people more than we love our money and our possessions.
  5. Love God’s work more than we love money
  6. Freely share what we have with others
  7. We must prayerfully learn how to discern between our needs and our wants

So many of us have all that we need to live but we let ourselves become anxious and discontent over what we merely want.

Consider being like Paul—learn how to be content without having all that you want.  The only other alternative my friend is to become a slave to our desires and who wants to be a slave?

Marriage. Oh, where to begin?

I suppose the only logical place is to begin where marriage actually began – in The Garden.

To be created in perfection and in the image of God is a thought really inconceivable to me. If Eve only knew how good she really had it. To be created genetically perfect and without flaws. The things that we as women can stress about such as cellulite, bad hair days, bloating and crows-feet, these would have never been an issue for Eve. That would be awesome! But if there was ever an example of ‘hind-sight is 20/20’, then just learn from Eve. What really matters is that humanity was forever changed as a result of that one historic decision.

Eve was not being malicious in any way, if anything her curiosity just got the best of her. She certainly was cunning and had a way of talking Adam into something he knew was wrong. It is interesting to me because this was prior to the fall. What Eve did was not a sin because at this point sin had not yet entered the world. They had yet to partake of the forbidden fruit. So, what was it about her? How could she so easily convince Adam to do something he had no doubt was wrong? Did she entice him with her naked body? We know that up to this point they were not even aware that they were naked, but certainly there was a natural, God-given attraction between the two.

Was it the way in which she approached him – a twinkle in her eye, a tone in her voice?

Perhaps it was the way she tossed her hair or maybe she used the incredible power of touch. Whatever it was, it came natural to Eve, as a woman, because that is the way God created her. Just like He created men to at times be easily persuaded or enticed by a woman. Now that we are living in a sinful world and we are undoubtedly depraved people, these natural, God-given attributes and abilities are far too often used to manipulate and control our spouse.

I can only imagine that the very first martial fight also occurred after this historic, life-altering event. Although there is no documented evidence of it, my thoughts are that it went something like this: Adam and Eve were very frustrated and trying to figure out how to sew their fig leaf fashions. Adam could have said, “How on earth could you have believed that smooth talking, slick snake?”

Eve in reply, “But Adam, you weren’t giving me any attention, you were out in the fields and I had no one else to talk to and that tree was just so beautiful.” Adam, certainly upset said, “But Eve, you were supposed to be helping me!” This is where it is most likely the ‘blame-game’ originated – the beginning of time. Although that scenario is fictional, the message is not.

How we interact with our spouse and treat each other is a part of developing our holiness. Psalm 10:19 says, “When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, but he who restrains his lips is wise.” Also Psalm 18:21a says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” Showing verbal restraint can be difficult in a heated situation, especially in marriage, but taking time to consider our words can lead to healing as opposed to catastrophe.

Not long ago I heard a very life-changing sermon about marriage. God created us to be Holy, not to be Happy. Say what? But what about “happily ever after”? Does He not care about that? Where is my white picket fence and this “marital bliss” that I’ve heard so much about? Don’t get me wrong, I know it’s not all about me. But, the reality is happiness is not the ultimate goal in marriage. Ephesians 1:4 says, “just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.”

Sure, He can bless us with unbelievable happiness along the way. Our God is gracious and awesome that way. But, this is God’s marriage, not mine. It is His creation, His covenant and designed to give Him glory. 1 Peter 1:15-16 says, “but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior, because it is written, ‘You shall be Holy, for I am Holy’”.

Knowing why we are married and why we should stay married is crucial. Are we planning to maintain our marriage just as long as our earthly comforts, desires and expectations are met? More than seeing marriage as a mutual comfort, we must see it as the most important thing humans have ever received – that there is a divine relationship between God and His people. 2 Corinthians 5:9 says we should make it our goal to please Him. When something is the motive force behind all we do, it becomes the driving force for every decision we make. Paul is very clear: The first question we should ask ourselves when doing anything is, “Will this be pleasing to Jesus Christ?”

The reality is this earthly life is short and I have an incredible responsibility to make it count. God knows me completely: flaws, insecurities and all. The scripture that really speaks to me regarding the urgency of striving to live a holy life is Psalm 103:14-16 which reminds me, “For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust. As for man, his days are like the grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourishes. When the wind has passed over it, it is no more.” Also, Psalm 144:3-4 says, “O Lord, what is man that you take knowledge of him? Or the son of man that you think of him? Man is like a mere breath; his days are like a passing shadow.” Meditate on that for a moment. We are ‘but dust’ or a ‘mere breath’ and just like the passing of a breeze or a fleeting shadow, we will no longer be.

When dealing with my husband, I must ask: Am I putting his needs before my own? Am I supporting him and demonstrating love and respect toward him in a way that he appreciates? Am I working to manage our home in accordance with his plan and leadership? Am I being a Proverbs 31 woman? After nearly 17 years of marriage I am still trying figure this thing out. What I do know is that I love him, even when I don’t (if you know what I mean).

Do I get it right all the time? No way. Most of the time? Not hardly. But thanks be to God that His mercies are new every day. Each day that He blesses me with another chance to grow in holiness, my goal is to please Him. If I do that, then I know Ronnie will be pleased. Maybe even happy. And when I have reached the end of this temporal, earthly life and have gone to be with my Heavenly Father, it is there that I will see those pearly gates with a white picket fence.

Today’s man lives in a  time that encourages men to relegate God to a few hours on Sunday morning, to talk about Him just enough where they feel good about themselves for bringing Him up, if they are a Christian, or they ignore Him altogether.

Our society forces us to treat God’s law as His mere recommendations to us.  Some actually believe they have the right to accept or reject God based on their own particular circumstance or their own particular idea and not face any consequences.

In today’s video, Ronnie shares with men, by giving them 5 points, how a balanced life not only helps them, but their balance life has a direct impact on how balance their wives are.

“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”  ~ C.S. Lewis

The true servant of God possesses an insatiable appetite for what is right, a passionate drive for justice. Spiritually speaking, the servant is engaged in a pursuit of God . . . a hot, restless, eager longing to walk with Him, to please Him. That’s who Jesus referred to when He said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness” (Matthew 5:6).

Eleventh-century Bernard of Clairvaux expressed it in this way in his hymn, “Jesus, Thou Joy of Loving Hearts”:

We taste Thee, O Thou living bread,
And long to feast upon Thee still;
We drink of Thee, the fountainhead,
And thirst our souls from Thee to fill.¹

Bernard’s pen dripped with that insatiable appetite for God.

But there is a practical side of this fourth beatitude as well. It includes not just looking upward, pursuing a vertical holiness, but also looking around and being grieved over the corruption, the inequities, the gross lack of integrity, the moral compromises that abound. The servant “hungers and thirsts” for right on earth. Unwilling simply to sigh and shrug off the lack of justice and purity as inevitable, servants press on for righteousness. Some would call them idealists or dreamers.

Another teacher, the great seventeenth-century preacher and Bible expositor, Matthew Henry, offers an eloquent assessment of this concept. He points out that true righteousness grows in humility, through patient acceptance of whatever life may throw at us. Whether life brings us poverty or wealth, sickness or health, or just normal day-to-day existence, the deeper rewards of the Christian life come through patient and obedient dependence upon God. Henry writes:

Those who contentedly bear oppression, and quietly refer themselves to God to plead their cause, shall in due time be satisfied, abundantly satisfied, in the wisdom and kindness, which shall be manifested in the appearances for them.²

The idea of hungering and thirsting for righteousness may sound a bit strained to our modern ears, but Matthew Henry tells us that those who seek God’s blessings will naturally desire to experience genuine righteousness. And righteousness, he says, grows out of a deep and abiding love for Jesus Christ. The blessings of heaven are purchased for us, not by our own holiness or piety but by the righteousness of Christ.

And what will happen when this passionate appetite is a part of one’s life? What does Jesus promise? “They shall be satisfied” (5:6). What a picture of contentment! Contented in soul and satisfied within, the servant with an appetite for righteousness will be filled. It’s comforting to hear that promise.

Normally, one would think such an insatiable pursuit would make one so intense there would be only fretfulness and agitation. But, no, Jesus promises to bring a satisfaction to such hungry and thirsty souls . . . a “rest” of spirit that conveys quiet contentment.

1. Bernard of Clairvaux, “Jesus, Thou Joy of Loving Hearts,” trans. Ray Palmer, in Hymns for the Family of God (Nashville: Paragon, 1976), hymn 451.
2. Matthew Henry, Commentary on the Whole Bible: Genesis to Revelation (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1961), 1220.

Excerpted from Improving Your Serve: The Art of Unselfish Living, pages 101–103. Copyright © 1981 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. (Thomas Nelson Publishers). All rights reserved worldwide.

The writer Karen Blixen, otherwise known as Isak Dinesen, wrote a short story that in the early 80s was turned into an amazing film called Babette’s Feast.

The setting is Norre Vosberg, a remote fishing village on the Jutland of Denmark.  It’s a dour little place, all smoke and stone and drizzle and thatch, hunkered down in the mud.  It is surrounded by cliffs and rise sheer and menacing above the North Sea.

Norre Vosberg began as a strict religious sect, and over the years has become in-grown and rigid.  The aging founder of the sect has two daughters, Martine and Philippa, and after his death they carried on his religious vision.

But they lack his sternness and his fire, and the community splinters and ossifies like an old bone.

The remaining members meet on the Sabbath, and sing about grace, and preach about grace.  They just never taste grace.  They never extend it.

One night, a woman staggers to Martine’s and Philippa’s door seeking shelter.  She has been sent from Paris by an old friend of their father.  Her name is Babette.

Babette’s husband and son have been killed in the French Revolution, and she is in danger and needs a place of refuge.  She offers to do anything if they will only let her stay.  Reluctantly, they agree.

They will let her cook and clean, without pay.

The sisters teach Babette to prepare their daily meal: boiled cod and a stiff tasteless gruel made from water and bread.

One day—twelve years later, Babette gets a letter.  Her friends in Paris have every year entered her number in the French lottery, and she’s won!  Ten thousand francs.  Babette tells Martine and Philippa, and they congratulate her, but they’re sad.  They have come in their prim and aloof way to love Babette.  Now they are sure she will leave them.

That evening, Babette asks them for a favor.

She has never, she reminds them, asked them for anything since the night she arrived.  But now she has one request.  Yes?  The sisters are getting ready for the hundredth anniversary celebration of the founding of the religious sect.

Can Babette prepare a French meal for the anniversary?

The sisters are surprised, taken aback…speechless, but they agree.

Then the ships start to arrive.  Burly seaman haul up armloads of exotic things…vats of crab and lobster and great bulgy—eyed fish, crates with pheasant and quail, baskets brimful with dervish of activity—her little a riot of steaming pots and sizzling pans.

The townsfolk grow more and more alarmed.  Martine and Philippa conspire with the last and ancient 11 members of the sect that whatever Babette prepares, they will endure and eat without comment.

The evening arrives, and with it a surprise visitor.  The nephew of one of the sect members, General Loewenhielm, a world-renowned and world-traveled man.

The feast begins and everyone from the religious sect eat it without expression, not a word passing between them.

But the General extols with every sip of wine and every morsel of food!

When Babe the Bay Quail prepared en Sarcophage is served, he announces that there is only one time in his life that he has seen that dish: the famous Cafe Anglais in Paris, where once a woman chef had wowed the world.

Finally, General Loewenhielm is so transported by the meal that he stands and makes a speech:

We have all been told that grace is to be found in the universe, but in our foolishness and shortsightedness we imagine divine grace to be finite… But the moment comes when our eyes are opened, and we see and realize that grace is infinite.  Grace, my friends, demands nothing from us but that we shall await it with confidence and knowledge it in gratitude.

Something miraculous happens then . . . the little group of men and women, bent and hardened by their bitterness, comes to life.

They start to laugh, two people who have not spoken in years, speak and embrace.  A man confesses a sin he’s hidden for decades.  Then they all go outside, and hold hands, and sing the old songs of grace like they mean them.

The film ends with Babette sitting in the kitchen, among the mess and clutter, weary and dreamy.

“It was quite a nice dinner, Babette,” Martine says, awkward.

Babette doesn’t seem to hear.

“I was once a cook,” Babette finally says, “At the Cafe Anglais.”

“We will remember this evening when you have gone back to Paris,” Martine says.

“I’m not going back,” Babette says.

“But what about the ten thousand francs?”

Babette looks at the two sisters, “I spent it.”  She says.  “On this feast.”

The sisters are stunned and stricken.

“Don’t be shocked.”  Babette says.

“This is what a proper dinner for twelve costs at the Cafe Anglais.”

Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever!
Let the redeemed of the LORD say so,
whom he has redeemed from trouble…

… they cried to the LORD in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress.
He sent out his word and healed them,
and delivered them from their destruction.

Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love,
for his wondrous works to the children of man!
And let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving,
and tell of his deeds in songs of joy!..

Let them extol him in the congregation of the people,
and praise him in the assembly of the elders…

Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things;
let them consider the steadfast love of the LORD.

~Psalm 107 ESV

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 last weeks video we talked about procrastination being a willful act of delaying the doing of something that should be done. This week I wanted to bring it from the perspective of a wife, so I decided to ask my friend and co founder of Life Change Ministry which is the umbrella of Whomebealeader, Cynthia Davis, to come and talk to us about what a wife should be doing when she has a procrastinating husband. So men, in this video pay attention to what being is said so we can better help our wifes be better managers of our homes and may God bless you and keep you is our prayer.

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.

 

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.