How did we get here?

July 12, 2010 at 8:31 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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Have you ever had a moment to stop and look at your life? Have you ever stopped, examined your life and where you are, and wondered: How did I get here? I’ve done that a few times and it’s always been eye-opening. I never seem to have been where I thought I was. Sometimes I was further along than I thought and other times I wasn’t as far along as I expected. As I looked back on the path that I trod to get where I was, when I began studying where I walked, I could easily see the things that had gotten me off track. Things like disobedience, willful blindness, and sin led me off of the narrow path and out into the weeds. Because of my lack of diligence or awareness I had to work harder to get back on the path. I had to push through painful thorns and cut through the vines of worldliness that were trying to hold me down and choke me out. Through God’s grace alone, I am here. I’m cut up, bruised, and worn out, but I’m here. As I was pondering these things, I couldn’t help but wonder if the body of Christ has ever done this. I can think of one time when I would say this happened, but other than that, I don’t think that something like this has ever taken place. I wonder why? Does the church not see where it is? Do they not care where they are going? Or are they afraid of what they’ll find? Regardless of the reason, I think that the church would benefit from taking a little time to look at where it is in the face of the state of the world. Continue Reading How did we get here?…

Image

February 15, 2010 at 1:59 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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When you take a look at the world today, much of what goes on is based on image. How things look dictate a lot of how we live our lives. What the weather looks like determines what we wear, where we go, and what we do. What a person looks like often causes us to make a  quick, all-inclusive judgment as to the person’s demeanor, their lifestyle, and possibly even their childhood. A large majority of the items that we buy today are bought based on their image. Ad companies try to make everything from clothes to cars to cigarettes more appealing by giving them an image that will draw people in, regardless of whether the product is really as good as they say it is (which is seldom the case). Movies, TV shows, magazines, and music are all given a special image that the producers hope will cause millions of people to part with either time or money for that product. They strive to make each image unique so that it “stands out” from the rest of the products. Continue Reading Image…

Boys or men?

October 19, 2009 at 3:49 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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It seems that the definition of what it means to be a man has changed over the last 50 years. When I was growing up, a man was someone who worked hard to support his family, taught his children right and wrong, and disciplined them when they were misbehaving. Men were those who acted with honor, integrity, and dignity. They were protectors and role models and people looked up to them. They knew about sacrifice and were willing to do without so that family, friends, and even complete strangers could be helped. They married one woman for life and, barring death, stayed with her through everything; not just for the sake of the kids, but because he loved her. While this definition of a man still fits some, it seems to be a dying breed.

In America it is common now to see single mothers trying to eke out an existence on their own, working to support their kids and hardly having the time to spend with them to nurture and guide them. While there are the strange cases where the mothers don’t want a man around to help them (which I really can’t figure out…), a large percentage of them are due to the “man” leaving the woman and children to fend for themselves. Marriages are getting to be less common then they were and divorce is rampant (many due to “irreconcilable differences”). Now, “men” go around in fancy cars, designer clothes, and spend a lot of money in an effort to “get the girl” for a few weeks or months and when the newness wears off, they’re out. Some don’t even wait that long. They act like bigger versions of their high school selves with all the drama and tension.

When did men forget what it means to be a man?

Before someone gets mad at me, I’m not saying that all men that have nice cars, designer clothes, or spend a lot of money are boys in bigger bodies. Seriously though, when did men forget what it means to be a man? When did it become “cool” to leave the woman you professed to love yesterday for the new woman you met this morning? When did it become fashionable to leave the kids that need you so that you can go “do your own thing”? When did your word become so meaningless to you that you are willing to break your vows or walk out of a marriage? I just don’t get it. Look, I know that there have always been men that have been adulterers (the Bible shows me that). And I know that there have always been men that have requested divorces from their wives (the Bible tells me that too). I don’t recall there being much talk about what is currently going on though (and it’s not just America). The stories that I hear about many of the “men” in America are appalling. It’s like they’ve never grown up or learned to take responsibility for their actions. It’s like they are still back in high school playing all the little games that the kids play. And then there are the “men” who just don’t care. Where did this all start?

I actually think that I know when and where this all started, at least in America. This all started back in the early sixties when they began removing God from our public lives. When God and the Ten Commandments were removed from the schools, a number of troubling things started happening. Teen pregnacies rose by hundreds of percentage points. Sexually transmitted diseases rose too. Promiscuity and vulgarity weren’t far behind. I wonder how many people know that back in the early days of movies there were actually laws that prohibited the blasphemy of God’s name? They also prohibited profanity and other shameful things that have become commonplace in the “entertainment” industry. Because we removed God, He removed His hand and we’re reaping the results of that. Our kids are growing up in an increasingly immoral society. They are taught (and even raised) by immoral people who came from the same system. Back when it began, there were still reminants of the decency that comes from a fear of God. Now, those things are all but gone. Sins like homosexuality, pornography, fornication, and adultery are not only condoned, they’re celebrated (If that doesn’t sound like Romans 1 then I don’t know what does)! Greed and covetousness rule the political, industrial, and individual lives of many Americans. Murder is nothing to us anymore and to see that someone died is just another “normal” day.

The fact that our nation has thrown out its morals is the reason that we no longer see men being men. Now our many of the “men” in this nation are monsters, animals (which is what they’ve been taught through the evolutionary indoctrination they get from public school – so much for public schools being religion free…), or effeminate. They have become nothing like the men who used to be here. And the saddest part of all of this is the fact that more often than not, these same “men” are in the church! Some of them are actually leading “churches”. The church is full of men who let their sexual desires run rampant with no concern for themselves, the women, or God. It is full of boys in mens’ bodies who think they know what it means to be a man and are really nothing but a shadow of what they could (and should) be. It is filling up with “men” who love other “men”, “men” who have denied the way that God has defined them and chosen to let their depraved minds lead them down a path of sin. Marriages are torn apart by “men” who spend more time looking at pornography than they do with their wives trying to build their marriage up. Is it any wonder that our country is like it is when the “men” of the church are playing the roles they should be? I think that it’s somewhat amusing that there are many inside and outside the church who talk about what it means to be a man and each of them have their own definition. Oftentimes, these definitions contradict one another, but who cares right? I mean, as long as my definition of a man fits me and appeals to me, what else is there? What these “men” don’t realize is that it’s not their definition of what a man is that counts. The atheists, evolutionists, and secular humanists can talk all they want about how man is just a glorified monkey, but that definition isn’t true. Other’s talk about how a “man” is the one with the biggest house, the newest car, and the most money/toys; but that’s not the true definition of a man either. See, in our post-modern world, we’ve been taught that we can define everything however we see fit. If we don’t like something, we can redefine it. We see this is everything from public schools to the presidency. But that’s not how things work.

If something already has a definition, then that is how it is defined, whether I like it or not. A square is defined as a geometric shape with four sides that are all the same length. If I see a shape that has five sides then it’s not a square. If I see another that has four sides of differing lengths then that’s not a square either. The only things that are truly squares are those things that fit the definition of a square, regardless of how hard or how many times we try to redefine what a square is. The same is true for men. While we can try as hard as we want to define what a man is so that it suits us, if it doesn’t fit the true definition of a man, it’s not one. The true definition of a man is found nowhere else but in scripture. The Bible tells us exactly what a man is and what it’s not. If the “men” in our country don’t fit that definition then they aren’t men. Period. They can talk all they want, they can whine about it and how it’s not fair, but that doesn’t change the definition of a man. God has defined what man is and that’s that.

So what is a man? Here are some scriptures that will help make the definition of a man clear:

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. (Genesis 1:26-7)

-Man is made in the image of God. This means that we are like Him in many ways. It also means that while we are in His image, we are not exactly like Him. Unlike what many of the prosperity preachers seem to think, we are not “little gods” or “god’s with a little ‘g'”. We cannot create anything from nothing. We can’t “speak things into existence” or command wind and waves like God can. We can be relational. We can communicate and even create.

“Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed, for in the image of God He made man.” (Gen. 9:6)

-Here we see that God values the life of man. If God values the lives of men (and women and children), then a true man will too. They will protect the innocent and the defenseless.

He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord. (Deut. 8:3)

-Regardless of what some “scientists” and other mockers of God say, every person on the planet owes their very life to God. A true man knows this and respects God.

 Every man is to give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord your God which He has given you. (Deut 16:17)

-A true man is generous. He gives as much as he is able to help those in need because he wants to. He doesn’t have to be forced to give or guilted into giving. He doesn’t hoard the things that he has because he knows that God has given them to him and can just as easily take them away (Job 1:21).

Blessed is the man that does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scoffers, but his delight is in the law of the Lord and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but they are like chaff which the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish. (Psalm 1)

-A true man will not give an ear to the wicked. He will keep himself from their schemes and the calamity that comes with them. He will not live his life in a way that will keep sinful man from coming to repentance. While he will be truthful and call things as they are, he will not mock or scoff like so many boys do. A true man meditates on the Law of God and keeps it in front of him day and night that he may not sin against the Lord.

What is man that You take thought of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet You have made him a little lower than God, and You crown him with glory and majesty! (Psalm 8:4-5)

-A true man recognizes his place and does not see himself any higher than he should. While confident, a true man is humble enough to see his shortcomings and admit them.

A man will not be established in wickedness, but the root of the righteous will not be moved. (Proverbs 12:3)

-A real man does not depend on wicked deeds or schemes to build his life. Instead, he does those things that are right in God’s eyes, knowing that it is these things that will keep him strong in the toughest trials and worst storms.

A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just. (Proverbs 13:22)

-A true man thinks of his wife, children, and family before himself. He endeavors to leave his children better off than he was. He doesn’t do this just with material things because he knows that those things are fleeting. He leads his family in the way of the Lord, teaching them the things of God so that they spend their lives glorifying Him.

A good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil. (Matt. 12:35)

-A true man knows that his heart is the source of evil things like murder, adultery, theft, fornication and other sins (Mark 7:21). He understand that his heart must be changed by God so that it will bring forth the good treasure that he and those around him need.

For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith;  as it is written, “The just man shall live by faith”. (Rom. 1:17) 

-A true man does not live by his intelligence alone. He knows that this is foolishness because his heart and mind can deceive him. Becasue of this, he lives by faith, not in himself, but in the truth as revealed to Him in the scriptures of the Bible. This faith is not blind, but is the 20/20 vision that he needs to see through the veil of lies the world weaves.

Blessed is the man who’s sin the Lord will not take into account. (Rom. 4:8)

-A true man knows that he is forgiven. He knows that no work that he has done has merited him the free gift of salvation (Eph. 2:8-9). He understands, through the cross, the manifold grace and mercy of God that has been directed toward a sinner like him.

When I was child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; but when I became a man, I did away with childish things. (1 Cor. 13:11)

-A true man knows that maturity is one of his hallmarks. He doesn’t think like a child. He thinks like a mature adult. He doesn’t use the reason that he used to because he’s grown up and gained knowledge and wisdom. He has respect for God and for others and because of this, he does away with childish speech, thinking, and reasoning.

Do not be deceived,  God is not mocked; whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. (Gal. 6:7)

-A true man is not deceived. He is honest about himself and others. He knows that his actions have effects not only in his life, but in the lives of those that he loves. He knows that his actions can hurt others and therefore strives to live like God calls him to live so that he blesses those around him.

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. (James 1:12)

-A true man understands that although he strives to live holy before God, trials come to test him and glorify God. He understands that others actions and choices can affect his life and takes everything that happens to him in light of the scriptures so that he can walk in righteousness.

While these scriptures are no exhaustive, they are an indication that the definition of a man does not come from anatomy alone. According to God’s definition, the definition of a man has nothing to do with the money that he makes or any other material thing. Instead, a man by God’s definition is so much more. The definition that the scriptures give for a man is not something that will be easy to live up to. It is something that will cause a man to choose difficult things and make him look at himself in the purest light. But a true man will make those choices becasue he loves God, loves his family, and loves the lost.

If our nation is to become a place that we desire our children to grow up in, then it will need men to act like men. The church needs the same thing. It is time for the “men” in church to grow up and stop playing. It is time for them to act like men as defined in scripture so that their children will grow up to do the same.

If you think that this is ust about men, you’re wrong. This is about women too. Women need to be women. They don’t need to try and fill the roles that men do. They have their own roles to fill and can find many graces and blessings in doing so. It won’t be until men are men and women are women (inside and outside the church) that things will truly change.

Play the man (or woman)!


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