Do you Trust its quality?
When people encounter you, they experience a taste of the true nature of God? Do you get a sense of the presence of God in the people you surround yourself with? Do you Trust its quality?
This should be a prevalent question in this day and age especially when the soon return of the King is at hand. You don’t have to be a Rocket Scientist to see that our culture even in Christianity has become very much opposite of the culture of God’s Kingdom.
None of the negatives of our culture exist in the Kingdom of Heaven, so they shouldn’t be the key aspects of our story line here on earth. Grace is foreign to the way the world thinks and speaks. Unconditional love has an unfamiliar vocabulary. Reconciliation looks more like agreeing to disagree, and the provisions of righteousness and justification that come as a finished work of the cross of Christ are doled out based on the popular opinion of the religious. The promises of God seem foreign to our culture and knowledge of the scriptures is even worse!
Taste of the true nature of God!
Why is it that we see so little application of Kingdom principles in our culture today when Jesus truly is Lord and His Kingdom is present in our lives?
I would suggest that we spend too much time in the Kingdom of this world and have very few characteristics of the Kingdom of God. Why else would we not forgive one another, why else would we passively judge and compare ourselves with one another? Is it possible that the only way to correctly see and understand the ways of God’s Kingdom is through the lens of Jesus? Is it possible that being transformed by walking and talking intimately with God is so key to understanding the way He perceives, thinks and speaks about you and I that our life around becomes a natural response to our relationship with Him.
It is important to note that exposure to Gods Kingdom can so transform our story that it can become unlike what people are used to hearing and seeing so resistance to our story is possible when folks are living with other kingdom mindsets. For instance, In times of turmoil, if you speak out of the peace that passes understanding, you may be accused of not caring. As if worry and anxiety are a sign that we care? Perhaps your story has aspects that involved sin or failure and when Christ forgave you and redeemed your story, others were unwilling to restore you or walked away from a relationship with you.
Even if people don’t understand your devotion to walking closely with Him, I believe that this is the only way for people to see and understand the work and impact of Gods Kingdom in our lives. It must always line up with scripture but as you hear Him, as you understand His Word, your own perceptions and ways of thinking and speaking naturally become more and more like His, until eventually, when people encounter you, they will experience a taste of the true nature of God and you will be free to navigate your story without worrying about what other people think.
A walk with the Lord in the cool of the day is as simple as it gets for those who wish to see His Kingdom impact their lives. How much time will you spend with Him today?
Becoming a Man
Prayer is the catalyst for the formation of a real man
It takes prayer to become a man, It takes prayer to be the leader of your home and marriage, Prayer is the catalyst for the formation of a real man, a man who quietly lives out their faith with great distinction and incredible achievement, without notoriety.
For many, it does not come until later in life when trials and hardships have driven them to the point of an all-important discovery of the need for peace, strength, and hope in the direst of circumstances.
Abraham Lincoln is credited as having said “I have prayed in times of great crisis because 'I found that there is nowhere else to go but on my knees.”
After Hammarskjold died in a plane crash in September 1961 in what is now the African country of Zambia, his private journal was published two years later and made his strong Christian faith unmistakably clear to the world in which he served.
Hammarskjold' was a Swedish diplomat who in his private journal, writes that he prayed for years for God to give him a "life-defining task." That prayer was answered in 1953 when the U.N. General Assembly elected Hammarskjold's as the secretary-general of the intergovernmental organization.
He used his position to become a "champion for the underdog," advocating for nations seeking independence from colonial powers during the 1950s.
It is important to note that simple prayer was the antidote for seeing the defining task play out in his life. In the same way Jesus was a man who was in constant communication with His Father who became the ultimate champion of the underdog and still is. He has a heart for the poor and marginalized and the oppressed and He is their champion too."
"People can fixate culturally on the outward attributes of any individual man. They log the details of past failures as if it was protocol for governing their relationships with others. Many form their conclusions based on un-relational acquaintances and so-called friendships in social forums like Facebook and Instagram. It is unfortunate that we never acknowledge important things like a love for God and a simple but powerful prayer life that have guided an individual’s way.
I can think of countless memories and examples of men who I have encountered in life that I could have taken a posture of entitlement with or distanced myself from because at the time I didn’t think they got it culturally.
Prayer is the mark of the man and it leaves its mark on other men.
One story in particular was with a contractor who had hired me to work around his house. Our families had been connected for many years and when we came to live in a new, strange place His daughter was the only person I knew and became like a sister to me. To this day we still give each other a good ribbing. It was hot… There I was digging ditches, not far from the best swimming hole on Evans Creek so when sis walked up and had nothing else to do, it only seemed natural to go for a dip! After a half an hour to ok, an hour of swimming, I look up and there is boss hog, her dad, and he says… “Come pick up your check.” I looked at sis and said, “Is it payday?” My butt was not only wet, it was fired!
I could have let that experience become the end of any impact that this man would have on me over the next 40 years, I could have blown it off as a cultural or generational gap thing but I knew this man was not only a man but, as a man of prayer. I have always known of him as a man of prayer and I am thankful for the example he set to this day. Prayer is the mark of the man and it leaves its mark on other men.
Have you become a man yet? Is your life governed by and a response to prayer or does life govern you? Do you live your story based on what others thing of you or how God feels about you? Do you see yourself through the Lens of Jesus or the lens of others?
I have the privilege of walking through life with a couple of great guys who pray with their families and will pray with me. They are more than just acquaintances and much more than just friends. They get the importance and the simplicity of prayer and I consider them to be real men and I welcome more of these kinds of real men in my life!