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Time may or may not be the most precious asset we possess. (If you’re scrambling to pay your mortgage or trying to figure out how to afford college, you can probably build a pretty solid case in favor of money.) But time is unique among our commodities.
Every day, every person who draws breath on this earth receives the same amount of time: 24 hours, 1,440 minutes, or 86,400 seconds, depending on which denomination you prefer.
At the end of every day, every person’s allotment is depleted. Time cannot be rolled over or stockpiled. When it’s gone, it’s gone.
Time cannot be stolen or transferred into another account. Its market cannot be cornered. The rich cannot get richer, where time is concerned. Its system cannot be gamed, hacked, or tampered with.
Time cannot be exchanged or refunded.
Time is extremely limited—yet insanely in demand. Think of the things that are competing for hours—or even a few minutes—of your time.
Your overtime demands and opportunities.
Your responsibilities as a friend, neighbor, church member, and concerned citizen.
Your kids’ practices, games, recitals, and programs.
Your hobbies and pastimes.
Your body’s requirements for sleep and relaxation.
So many options, so little time to explore them all.
No one understands that truth better than a person whose primary love language is Quality Time.
If you’re married to a native Quality Time speaker, you should feel at least a little flattered. Your wife isn’t looking for Words of Affirmation or Gifts or Acts of Service. She just wants you. She will experience love and affection—she will feel genuinely cared for—simply by sharing some of your precious time. A half hour here, an hour there, or a weekend on occasion is enough to keep her love tank filled.
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Lust says, “I want it.”
Entitlement says, “I deserve it.”
And Pride says, “I can handle it.”
Remember how Samson told his parents he wanted to marry the Philistine woman? Well, what does every guy need before he can get married? That’s right—a bachelor party! And in Samson’s case, that meant a kegger. As you’ll see in today’s reading, Samson wanted to get together with his buddies to get hammered.
Before we read, here’s another thing I want to remind you of: Samson’s first rule:
1. Don’t drink alcohol.
Samson was not supposed to drink alcohol at all. But Samson figured that, because he was so strong, he could handle it. You’ve probably heard this before. A guy believes he’s really tough (and he may be), so he convinces himself that he won’t suffer the same consequences as other guys. Maybe you’ve even been that guy. And thinking you can handle it doesn’t just have to just be about substances:
Just one drink/puff/hit isn’t going to kill me. I can handle it.
Man, I really love this car/house/bass boat. I can make these payments.
I know I’m not ‘supposed to’ look at this website/image/video, but I’ve got my smart phone. And it’s just this one time.
Because Samson was the strongest man who had ever lived, he genuinely believed he could handle it all. But do you know how Samson ended up? If you’ve never heard his story before, I won’t spoil the ending for you. Let me just say this: he couldn’t handle it. So what makes you think you can?
We don’t have to follow the same path Samson did. Remember, your enemy wants to DESTROY you, to DEVOUR you. The key is to read his playbook ahead of time and prepare yourself. If you learn how he operates, you can avoid his traps. Three of his most effective weapons are lust, entitlement, and pride.
Don’t let your enemy use your pride and selfishness and shame to trick you into trading your God-given power for things that tempt your fleshly appetites. You were made for more than that. You can be a man of spiritual strength, integrity, and courage. You can be a man who serves his wife and his family. You can be a man who unselfishly gives to others. The bravest thing we can do is admit that we’re weak and vulnerable, and that we need God’s strength and his presence. When we come to him in humility, he redeems us and fills us with purpose and meaning.
Building New Gauges
We men love to measure things. And we have, at our disposal, highly accurate gauges for measuring just about anything, including the progress of our lives. I mean, we never have to wonder which careers are most prestigious; which jobs are most coveted; which neighborhoods are most exclusive; which vacations are most glamorous; which cars are most luxurious. Our culture makes sure its gauges remain well calibrated.
“Listen carefully . . . and be wary of the shrewd advice that tells you how to get ahead in the world . . .” (Mark 4:24 MSG).
The problem is, such things are not proper for measuring the progress of any life. There’s nothing wrong with careers or communities or cars, in-and-of themselves. They’re just not appropriate gauges in this context. Using them is like using a thermometer to measure the weight of a steel beam. It doesn’t work. Likewise, improper gauges won’t work for us, for measuring our lives as men. We must create and calibrate new gauges, ones that can properly measure our lives, because they measure the right stuff—like how we’re doing as husbands, as fathers, as friends, as neighbors; and how we’re doing toward becoming the men God intends us to become.
Okay, so what do we do?
Build new gauges for yourself, brother, ones that measure things like . . . how many nights you are home for dinner; or how often you sit down and pray with your wife or girlfriend; or how often you have conversations with your sons or daughters about their dreams or their fears; or how often you meet with brothers in community; or how often you drop what you’re doing to spend time with friends in need. Get practical. Build a simple spreadsheet, for example. Or create a calendar. Do what makes sense for you, but start measuring, today.
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God’s at work in us—every one of us—whether we can see it or not (Philippians 2:13). He’s working to transform our character into the character of his son, our King, Jesus Christ. And he’ll continue working until the work is complete (Philippians 1:6). Our job is to join him. Our job is to follow Jesus and work ourselves, in obedience, to increase the amount goodness and light in our lives . . . and to decrease the opposite:
“. . . do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’” (1 Peter 1:14-16).
Who among us doesn’t need more goodness and more light? That’s rhetorical, of course. And when’s a better time to increase our intentionality about increasing our holiness than at the beginning of a new year? That’s rhetorical too.
So how do we? Well, we get intentional by looking at the choices we’ve been making—whom we’ve been spending time with, the practices we’ve been engaging in, the experiences we’ve been enjoying. We get intentional by taking time to reflect upon those choices . . . and upon their results. And we get intentional by deciding which relationships, which practices, which experiences we’d like more of, going forward, because they increase holiness—and which we’d like less of, because they don’t.
Okay, so what do we do?
Consider the past twelve months. What was good? Who was good for you? What worked? What wasn’t so good? What didn’t work? Now, draw up (and commit to) a simple, practical, achievable plan for bringing more of what’s been good, and what’s worked for you, into the next twelve months . . . and less of what wasn’t and what didn’t.
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Am I as spontaneously kind to God as I used to be, or am I only expecting God to be kind to me?
Does everything in my life fill His heart with gladness, or do I constantly complain because things don’t seem to be going my way? A person who has forgotten what God treasures will not be filled with joy. It is wonderful to remember that Jesus Christ has needs which we can meet—“Give Me a drink” (John 4:7). How much kindness have I shown Him in the past week? Has my life been a good reflection on His reputation?
God is saying to His people, “You are not in love with Me now, but I remember a time when you were.” He says, “I remember . . . the love of your betrothal . . .” (Jeremiah 2:2). Am I as filled to overflowing with love for Jesus Christ as I was in the beginning, when I went out of my way to prove my devotion to Him? Does He ever find me pondering the time when I cared only for Him? Is that where I am now, or have I chosen man’s wisdom over true love for Him? Am I so in love with Him that I take no thought for where He might lead me? Or am I watching to see how much respect I get as I measure how much service I should give Him?
As I recall what God remembers about me, I may also begin to realize that He is not what He used to be to me. When this happens, I should allow the shame and humiliation it creates in my life, because it will bring godly sorrow, and “godly sorrow produces repentance . . .” (2 Corinthians 7:10).
Lord, how I long for You to bring me face to face with Yourself! My soul thirsts for You, for the touch of Your grace, the breathing of Your Spirit.
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Every one of us has no doubt said something we wish we hadn’t spoken. What came out of our mouth was embarrassing, maybe even hurtful to someone else. Perhaps we said a curse word or repeated gossip someone told us. Whatever the case, we wonder, “Where did that come from?”
For me, this truth was driven home when I said something off-color in front of a couple of ladies in a coffee shop line. There I was, the leader of a Christian organization and an elder in my church, and I said something inappropriate in front of some women I knew. I was embarrassed the moment the words came out, but I didn’t give it a second thought. I rationalized it wasn’t that bad.
A few weeks later, there I was at the same coffee shop and the exact same comment slipped out in front of another woman! This time the words grieved me. I walked away repenting and hearing the Lord tell me there was something wrong with my heart.
As you spend time fasting from words of judgment, criticism, sarcasm, negativity, complaining, and gossip, it is important that you reflect each day on transgressions made with your words. Notice if certain patterns develop. Is there a particular person you feel free to gossip with? Are you being critical of your boss or your spouse daily?
The same way a person’s language reveals what part of the country he’s from or his national origin, as followers of Christ our words quickly reveal what kingdom we’re living in. Does the kingdom of this world or the kingdom of our God rule in your heart? If sarcasm, criticism, and complaining flow forth from our heart to our lips, then our country of origin is exposed as worldly.
Submit your words to the Holy Spirit’s control so that His kingdom will rule in your heart and the words that flow from your lips will be pure and pleasing to Him.
Ask yourself, “Have the words I’ve spoken recently reflected the kingdom of this world or God’s kingdom?” If any words come out of your mouth today that you need to repent of, do so. Ask the Holy Spirit to touch your heart and keep those words out of your mouth tomorrow.
HHey, everyone I realize that our podcast has been off air for quite a while and you guys have been asking for when’s the next show. But I declare that we havent forgot about you all. Joseph and myself are definitely coming back to the air but when remains to be seen at the moment.
Its been just about 8 months since I moved away from home in St.Pete and I can honestly growing up has been somehwat of rough process. Mostly influencing my life are my mindsets and relationships. My mindsets have been somewhat shattrered, and finding a wife seems to be a more a search than I anticipated. Nonetheless, the conflict within my own sin and dealing with people has come to the forefront and this is where I realized that I had a child’s mentality about life, not in a developmental stage but a situational like being able to handle business like a man.
Knowing when to speak up and keeping my mouth closed, dealing with anger, which I thought I had a decent handle on up until a couple months ago. Standing up for my friends as much as myself. All of these things has been challenged in some shape or form. To this day, I’m still navigated thru at least 1 of those issues everyday. Although it begins to be well… Frustrating to deal with.
I was listening to message by Pastor Stephen Darby and he had mentioned that even though we repent of sin that we will suffer consequences for the crime against God. And it had me thinking a lot about my relationships and those I have confused and hurt. Those people I have spoken about behind their backs because I was to much of a coward to say my peace face to face. The punishment for running my mouth unjustly was hurting someone I loved and I can’t apologize enough to that person for what I did. Now, the growth portion of this will be moving on from this issue and making sure I become more responsible about how I conduct myself in the future.
To those friends and family alike reading this and may have different thoughts about whether sharing this is right or wrong. Well, as the Bible says and I’m not directly quoting but contextually saying that “with our tongues we should expose the devil as a liar” think about it.
Money itself is never the measure of a person’s character. It is the use of money that reflects character. The Bible talks about money, business and possessions more than any other topics. How we deal with our finances tells a lot about our character. There is great virtue and success in following the directives of the scriptures concerning our finances and how we distribute them. Here are some of the things that my father taught me and that I have learned through the years from the Bible that will help you.
1. WORK HARD AT YOUR JOB AND GOD WILL BLESS YOU
“Through good times and tough times, entrepreneur-type people will seek new frontiers to explore and to enhance. They will gladly accept any challenge, because through risk and challenge, we grow both in worldly wisdom and spiritual strength.” —Sir John Templeton
2. USE YOUR MONEY CAREFULLY; DON’T WASTE IT
“Beware of little expenses. A small leak will sink a great ship.” —Benjamin Franklin
“The prosperity of the Nation really must depend on the thrift of the people … the sunshine of prosperity can always be depended upon when the people are thrifty.” —S.W. Strauss
3. DON’T GO INTO DEBT
In 1900, the average American saved 22% of his income and had no debt. By only just five years ago, the average American’s savings rate had eroded to a negative 3%! Each American household on average is $14,500 in debt, not including their mortgage.
4. SAVE PART OF YOUR INCOME REGULARLY
“He who gathers money little by little makes it grow.” —Proverbs 13:11
“Teach economy. That is one of the first and highest virtues. It begins with saving money.” —Abraham Lincoln
5. BE HONEST IN ALL YOUR BUSINESS DEALINGS
“The life of a nation is secure only while the nation is honest, truthful and virtuous.” —Frederick Douglass
“In the end, no person and no nation can prosper who tries to ‘get something for nothing.’” —Anonymous
6. GIVE GENEROUSLY OF YOUR FINANCES
Lord I pray that everyone who reads this is able to apply it and bare fruit with it.
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Crazy. Crazy. Cray
As I sit here thinking to myself what next with my relationship with God and other believers. I continue to sit back patiently waiting for a breakthough, my season, my harvest…
^Hmm… No lol.. I’m not going there^
Let me think! I reflect back on the week mostly about the hard work I had done at the job. Very productive, as I would say. Always thinking about the next task and how pleasing it would be for me to serve the Lord by doing a great job was my focus.
You know what’s troubling me the most from the heart. Doing all the research I can to make the podcast as popular as possible. It’s hard with a lot of legwork on the tail end. And I’m also feeling some conviction inside my heart. I am always checking myself consistently, there’s a lot that goes with popularity but truthfully I just want the young believers of Christianity to get the truth of God uncompromisingly. I want to help them learn about their gender roles in life, be able to fight for the kingdom valiantly, become responsible role models, Fathers and Mothers for the next generation of believers of God. It makes me angry sometimes, to hear people preaching bad doctrine or preaching prosperity with no substance. I mean sure, we all have it wrong in some areas of Christianity whether its a few verses taking out of context or mis-quoting but we can not allow for satan to gain a foothold with the next generation. Think about everything we spoke about in our last show about how children are raping and taping the vile acts of sexual abuse then broadcasting it on the internet to show to world. Young males hitting young ladies like men and thinking they’re cool for doing it. How does this change or stop? What should we do first as being the older and more mature (I hope) generation.
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