Lies Couples Believe

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We have all heard lies, half-truths and inaccuracies our entire lives. They started when we were kids (“don’t cross your eyes or they will stick that way”) and continue today as adults (“there is no difference between men and women”).

Married couples bring these into their relationships and seem to add more to the pile along the way. Here are five that are particularly dangerous to fall for:

  1. My spouse will make me happy. Some interpret this to also mean my spouse will fulfill all my expectations, needs and desires. Trouble is – they don’t. The truth is – they can’t. God didn’t create your spouse to do these things. Yes, they will hake you happy often and many times meet and exceed your expectations. But only God can make you truly happy (‘blessed, fulfilled’). Until we put Him first in our daily lives, we will never find true meaning and happiness in life.
  2. Marriage shouldn’t be hard. This is actually code for : I didn’t think I was going to have to work at this. Truth is – life is hard, and therefore marriage is too. Marriage takes work and in order to enjoy it as it was created and intended – each spouse has to diligently work at it. If they don’t, they will drift slowly apart until they barely recognize each other. God didn’t design marriage to be hard (Genesis 1-2), but because of the fall of Adam/Eve, it became obvious that two selfish people living together for a lifetime was going to be extremely difficult. Also see 1 Corinthians 7:28.
  3. Christian couples shouldn’t disagree and argue. I agree that Christian couples shouldn’t argue, but it is nearly impossible to agree on everything for a lifetime. How we handle this disagreement is the key. We must allow the Spirit to direct our words, responses, reactions, tone, body language, etc. or we will find that our flesh (selfishness) will easily take charge and make small matter into large ones.
  4. The relationship is over if you “fall out of love”. My wife and I hear this over and over as we mentor couples of all ages. “I just don’t love him/her any more”. God would remind you that marriage isn’t about love – it’s about Him and His glory. Feelings of love will rise and fall over the lifetime of your marriage, but those feelings are not the gauge by which you measure your marriage. Once again, if each spouse is putting their relationship with Christ as their #1 priority, this will not become an issue. Seek Him first and he will provide everything we need in our marriage. (Matt.6:33)
  5. Satan doesn’t exist and therefore isn’t a viable threat. What a huge lie from the “father of lies”. Believers are told often and specifically about the spiritual war that rages around us, the authority and weapons we have at our disposal, and the armor we are to wear every day in order to remain victorious. Denying this truth or simply hiding our head in the sand and hoping it doesn’t affect us – will be disastrous. There are many books, dvds and other resources available that will teach you more about this warfare and how to fight it. If we don’t believe we have an enemy who hates us and is out to destroy us and our marriages – we will remain in a powerless struggle to find fulfillment in our marriage.

We are told several times in the Bible to “be alert”, to “be on guard”, or to be deliberate in how we live. We are not on a Christian cruise ship, sailing through life hearing great music and messages until we pull into port in heaven. Jesus called us to battle. Our personal, daily relationship with Christ is our primary battlefront, but our marriage is #2. Satan hates marriage and always has. He will continue to destroy it any way he can. Don’t fall for the lies, and stay in God’s Word every day so you know what the truth is and how to live in it.

Blessings,
Rob

 

The #1 Enemy of Your Marriage

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Anyone who has been married longer than a few days will tell you…marriage is hard. Living 24/7/365 with someone of the opposite sex, for decades is extremely hard. I will go out on a limb and even say – “it’s impossible”.

Why? Because there are forces that war against our being happy, complete, fulfilled in our committed relationship. Here are my top 3: (these are actually mentioned often in the New Testament).

1. The World – the world we live in is fallen, without God and marinated in sin. The religion of the world is “to do what you want”, “do what feels good”, and no one should have the right to tell you otherwise. The world tells us there is no God, there are no absolutes (rules, morals) and that this life is all we get. Whatever years you have on this planet should be spent enjoying and fulfilling yourself, because there is nothing after this life.

This philosophy has given birth to seeking a life of pleasure. Everyone loves pleasure and if there are no morals and no God and no afterlife – then why not experience as much of it as possible. The internet and advancements in telecommunications and media have made such seeking so convenient and “private” that you can pursue pleasure from the smartphone in your pocket.

Pornography is rampant among Christian men, and is abducting them at an increasingly younger age (again, thanks to technology). Television and music are saturated with sexual images, innuendo, explicit language and provocation. It is seriously difficult to insulate yourself and your family from the forces of this world that shout to us daily.

2. The Devil – Jesus calls this fallen angel the “prince of the power of the air” and the “god of this world”. If you wonder what (or who) is behind the forces in the world we just mentioned – look no further. Satan’s goal is destruction and his weapons of choice are deception, lies and temptation. His primary and most powerful lie – is that he is not real and that there is not a spiritual war going on in our lives, our marriages and homes and in the world around us every day. If we fall for that lie (and most of the world has), then we will remain dumbfounded at the chaos around us and try our best to deal with the seemingly constant barrage of “bad luck” or “circumstances” that seem to plague us.

From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible is full of history and truth regarding our spiritual foe. More on this – From the Garden of Eden until he is cast into the lake of fire by Jesus, Satan will be hell-bent on destroying our lives, our marriages, our children and families, our reputation and our heritage. While a formidable threat, Jesus clearly tells us that we have been given “authority over all the power of the enemy” (Luke 10:19), and have superior armor and weapons with which to win the battles we face. See 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 and       Ephesians 6.

1. You. – Did you think I was going to say “your spouse”? Nope. He/she is not the problem, and never truly the #1 problem. The #1 enemy of your marriage is none other than yours truly. Selfishness is the primary killer of marriages and families in our culture. We are born selfish and even as a Christian, we wake every morning with our mind focused on ourselves and our agendas. You see, we get to choose (just like Adam and Eve) whether we will accept God and His Word as the controlling influence of our life, or turn our back on Him and live life on our own terms, our own way. Will we follow our Creator God, or seek to be the god of our own destiny?

Many a Christian has professed faith in Jesus Christ, has attended church on a regular basis, has read the Bible and taught Sunday School – only to fall for the temptations of the world and the devil…because they chose to. The devil doesn’t make anyone “do” it…we decide to sin. We decide to watch, to listen, to flirt with sin and we are no match for the dark side when we do. We think we can “have our cake and eat it too” – but that too – is a lie.

Read the gospels and the Book of John and see for yourself how desperately Jesus lived. He modeled for us what a life surrendered to the Father looked like. He didn’t have supernatural powers that we don’t have. That would have been unfair for us to try to emulate. He lived in a state of daily desperation. Desperate to hear His Father’s voice, to seek His wisdom and direction, and to obey what He said.

That is what He asks of us. We will never have the life we desire or the marriage we are created to enjoy, until we learn to walk the same way. Jesus said “without Him we can do….nothing”. Don’t fall for the lies anymore….. seek Him tomorrow, listen to Him and do what He tells you.

Then, do it again the next day.

 

Stop Arguing and Start Obeying God

 

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Did you know that arguing and fighting are not Biblical marriage concepts? There is no such thing as “fighting fair” in the Bible. In fact, God says He doesn’t want husbands and wives to fight at all. No offense to those fine authors who write about such things, but my Bible left out those verses.

What the Bible does say is that people, even Christian folks, will disagree and should find a way to come to agreement on things. It leaves room for difficult conversations and for allowing each other room (and grace) to express our feelings and even to complain. But fighting and quarreling are not be allowed in our marriage.

Proverbs 17:19 says, “He who loves a quarrel (fight, argument), loves sin”.

Proverbs 18:1 tells us that a person who starts quarrels is “unfriendly, selfish and lacking sound judgement”

Proverbs 15:18 reminds us that quarrels and conflicts are stirred up by “hot-tempered” people, and that a “patient” person (a fruit of the Spirit by the way) calms a quarrel.

Then there are Proverbs 19,21 and 25 that spotlight a “quarrelsome wife” and how awful it is to live with such a person. I am sure it holds true for a quarrelsome husband as well.

So, stop it!. If God says that arguing, fighting, quarreling/nagging are “sin”, then the short answer is – stop sinning. Don’t look for a way to candy coat it, or justify it, or do it “fairly”.  We don’t do that with other sins.

God is very clear that it is not a sin to “be angry”, but in our anger we are to refrain from sinning, i.e.: not fight, quarrel or argue about it. See Ephesians 4:26. And, by the way, we are supposed to settle such disagreements before we go to bed or else we open our home and relationship open to invasion by the enemy.

James 4 tells us that “fighting and quarreling” come from a battle that wages within us. The battle of selfishness; of not having our expectations met or our deserve-its catered to; a battle we have waged internally since birth – not getting what we want. A four year old responds by stomping his feet, crying or throwing an all-out hissy fit on the floor. As grown-ups we have learned to take the frustration inward. We steam, we stew, we cuss, we fuss, we try to suppress until one day it can’t be held back any longer and the dam breaks. The result is a grown up hissy fit. We nag, we nip, we diss, we jab with sarcasm. Our words and our tone destroy the oneness/intimacy we so desperately long for.

We lash out, we yell, we accuse, insinuate, blame, berate. We have not learned to harness our anger – so, we sin. We hurt, deeply and saying “I’m sorry” hours later simply doesn’t make up for the hurtful, hateful, sinful behavior we have unleashed.

Answer? If you profess to be a believer in Christ, the answer is…… stop it. Turn to Him for help. Walk with Him. Be filled (continually) with His Spirit (Galatians 5). If you are an addict – get help, now. Find a mentor. Do whatever it takes to change. Like other sins, we cannot change ourselves. Only God can do that for us, but we have to want to, we have to choose to. Then, we have to choose to live differently and walk daily with His help.

Fighting, quarreling, nagging, yelling and arguing have no place in a Christian marriage, or home. Christ came to bring”peace on earth and good will to men”. Let’s embrace His gift and start enjoying it this Holiday season.

It is to one’s honor to avoid strife – Proverbs 20:3

Rob

 

 

The Real Agenda Behind Same Sex Marriage

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“I should have the right to marry whomever I want. I should be able to marry several people if I want, or my sister or my cousin. The growing movement to grant certain animals “personhood” will spawn the “right” to marry my pet chimpanzee or great dane. After all, it’s my life and I should have the right to do whatever I darn well want with it.”

Truthfully, same sex marriage is not about the human rights of lgbt people. It is about man shaking his/her fist at God and telling Him we don’t want to follow any rules and want to do things our own way. This independent human spirit first showed itself in Eden. Even though God had laid out specific rules regarding the tree Adam and Eve were not to eat from (and the associated consequences) – they decided they wanted to do what they wanted and not what God wanted. They chose to shake their fist at their Creator and seek their own path in life.

Mankind has been selfish and fiercely independent ever since. We want our way and we will stop at nothing to get it. With a willing media and court system in the U.S., if one keeps shouting long enough and loud enough, he/she will most likely find someone who believes in their cause and declares they have a “right” to do what they are seeking.

Gone are the days of absolutes. Right and wrong are now relative; are not taught at school or in most homes; and our individual rights now trump the rights of others. And, those other people (who disagree with the same sex agenda) are expected to not only accept their wishes, but to support and embrace the promotion of them. If not, they are labeled “phobes”, “intolerant”, “haters” and their beliefs, wishes and values are vilified and condemned.

Marrying someone of the same sex today is a “right” that judges and the media have decided is perfectly normal and should be embraced by everyone on the planet. The agenda behind the movement is actually an “anti-God” agenda. For people who believe in God, and that in the Bible He told us what was truly right and wrong, acceptable and unacceptable – they believe differently. They believe what God says about the matter and feel they have an equal “right” to believe that way, and to live their lives and teach their children accordingly.

In order for the same sex movement to prosper, they have to be successful in convincing their constituents that God doesn’t exist, or if He does, His Word doesn’t really mean what it says (again, an argument made by Satan in the Garden of Eden). The agenda is to get us back to the place where we once again shake our fists at our Creator, ignore His love and plan for us, and selfishly choose to determine our own destiny in life….to do things our way.

It is obvious to this writer that the real battleground is not gay vs. straight – but a spiritual battle as old as mankind. Ephesians 6:12 reminds us that our battle is a spiritual one and will not be decided by rallies, marches, judges or the talking-head media.

This conflict is NOT against people who believe differently. This battle (and it is a battle) is part of the cosmic, spiritual battle for the souls of men; a battle raging since before man was created; a battle we are called to participate in.

Hoping it goes away is not an option. The consequences (like those in Eden) will be devastating…..

Jesus told us to pray – “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

Rob

The Other Marriage Reality – Part 2

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Several years ago, a dear friend of ours and godly man also ended his life and left a loving wife and three adolescent children. We have walked with them over these years and have seen firsthand the devastation and heartache left in the wake of that decision.

In the midst of the sadness, an anger built up within me. The enemy had won again. It infuriated me. It continues to motive me to once keep pounding the drum, to shout from the rooftops, to shake people from their stupor – our enemy is alive, he is everything the Bible says he is, and his plans haven’t changed since the Garden. Destroy man. Destroy his relationship with God. Destroy his marriage.

Here are but a few verses you must know and heed:

Satan and his minions are real – Ephesians 6:12

They blind people’s minds (if allowed) – 2 Cor.4:4

They enslave people who allow them – Titus 3:3

They deceive – 2 Cor.11:3

They lie (and can only lie) – John 8:44

Their sole purpose/mission is to kill, steal & destroy, especially believers – John 10:9-10

This is a very small sampling of the Scriptures devoted to letting us know we are in a battle, every day. We have a formidable enemy who is hell-bent on destroying our lives, our homes, our families, our marriage, our witness, and our legacy.

We must believe this. We must equip ourselves for battle and know how to fight to win. People all around us are being tormented, harassed, deceived, blinded, lied to, and destroyed. We have been called and equipped to win these battles and to show others how also.

We are never to fear this foe, but to become aware of his presence, his influence and his schemes. We have all the weapons we need, we just need to use them.

Where does this battle take place, and how do we win?

I guess we need a Part 3.

Rob

 

 

The Other Marriage Reality

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One day Adam and Eve were “naked and unashamed”, enjoying each other as no other couple has ever since. They were completely happy and walked with God every single day. They heard His voice and enjoyed His presence. He taught them about life, work, love, sex and how to be fulfilled in their marriage relationship.

The next day Adam and Eve were embarrassed by their nakedness, clothed, hiding from their Father God and blaming each other and God for their circumstances. That same day they were banished from His presence, didn’t hear His vice, and had no clue how to be fulfilled in their marriage relationship.

What a difference a day makes. What happened?

They encountered a creature like non other they had ever encountered. An attractive, affable, engaging creature that spoke with them and planted thoughts in their heads they had never considered before. Eve no doubt pondered his words and took them to heart. She spoke with her husband about them and convinced him that the creature might be right. Maybe God was holding out on them; maybe He wasn’t looking out for their best interests and they should choose for themselves what was best.

After considering the creature’s arguments, they concluded he must be telling the truth – so they took him up on his offer, and did what God had told them not to do. That decision cost them everything, and has cost everyone born afterwards – dearly.

They discovered the hard way that married couples have to know more about life and marriage than essential principles: communication, intimacy, roles, etc. They discovered that creature was actually their mortal enemy, and the destroyer of marriages. Regrettably, they discovered he was actually a liar (“the father of lies”), a thief, a deceiver and a destroyer.

As married couples we face this same enemy today. Because of Jesus, he has been disarmed and defeated – but he still lurks and he still destroys marriages every single day. He continues to be the #1 reason for divorce and destruction in our relationships. If we don’t recognize him (like Adan & Eve did not), and don’t know how to deal with his schemes – we too will become prey to his substantial skills.

How?

Part 2 – coming soon….. Please read it, and please send it to all the married couples you know. It is crucial for all of us to know.

Above all else, guard your heart –

Rob

The Real Battle

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The world is not what it seems. In the U.S., we wake each morning to find the same ole’ battles underway. Republican vs. Democrat, liberal vs. conservative, country vs. country, product vs. product, sports team vs. sports team, gay vs. straight, criminal vs. victim, successful vs. not-so-much, media vs. media, and scores of other “conflicts”. Our day is rife with them, the media is dominated by them – we can’t escape them.

We busy our minds with battles that seem immensely significant, but we scarcely notice the battle that rages around us that is truly, eternally consequential. Even though all of us witness its effects, and many of us have been wounded in various degrees from the conflict – we remain somehow blinded to our real and diabolical enemy.

While most of us would acknowledge a conflict between good and evil, we stop at the cultural notion of good and evil being influences – and not what they really are……

Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him     Rev. 12:7-9 (Read the entire chapter for a better understanding).
 

The Bible very clearly tells us that we live on a planet inhabited by beings whose entire existence is focused on “leading people astray” (away from God), and who have great power to influence the thoughts/actions of men.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Eph. 6:12
 
For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ –                 2 Cor.10:4-5
 
And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will. 2 Tim.2:24-26

There are many other scriptures that expound in great detail that we actually live in a world of war. Real, tangible powers of darkness, beings, angels relentlessly prey upon the citizens of our world. We cannot be content to bury our spiritual heads in the sand or cover our eyes & ears and pretend they aren’t real or aren’t truly a significant threat.

Mental and physical illness and disfunction, obsessions, compulsions, phobias, violence, rage, addictions, perversions, hatred, torment – and many other of our world’s great ills are primarily attributable to the presence and power of our mortal enemy and his minions.

It is time for God people to become reacquainted with our role in this cosmic theater of battle. One of the primary reasons Jesus came to earth in the first place was to “destroy the works of the evil one”. 1 John 3:8

Jesus gave each of us the authority of His name, the authority of His shed blood, the power of the Word of God, and the word of our own testimony as weapons to use against this evil, as well as His impenetrable armor to wear during the battles. He has also already defeated our enemy and disarmed him. (see 2 Cor. 10, Eph. 6, Luke 10, Col.2, Eph. 1).

But, no weapon is effective if you don’t use it. We need to stop allowing ourselves (and our families) to be tormented or harassed by this defeated army. It is time to suit up, grab our sword (Bible), and leap into the battle. As heads of our households, we are responsible and accountable to wage war against our family’s true enemy.

For His kingdom !!

Rob

P.S. If you want more help or resources to know better how to fight and win the battles you are facing – please get in touch with me. I am privileged to help in any way.

Porn – A Wife’s Perspective

When Rob asked me to write something to you guys from a wifely vantage point, let me tell you I was fully intending to address something from the lighter fare of married life…. like, how one hand-picked flower on a Tuesday night dinner table means more than a dozen standard red roses on V-day.

But (sigh) this is not your pancakes-for-breakfast kind of post. And, I guess this is not a light and fluffy blog anyhow so I hope to be in well-accustomed company. If this is your first time, welcome, please
come back for more. I hope I don’t scare you away. Maybe I’ll scare you to stay…

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom…Prov. 1:7

I come to you in a spirit of great humility as I share with you, from a wife’s perspective, what it does to “me” when you are looking at…her.

I pray this is not a struggle for you! If it is, or it is for someone you know, read on, but be aware…it is about to get real, reeeeal. Early in our marriage, my husband struggled with pornography, an addiction that plagued him from his early teens. Praise God he is walking in freedom now. Are you??

I want you to go for a walk with me. A walk into the soul of a woman, a wife as her husband struggles with this most pervasive habit. What follows are some of the myriad of thoughts that flood her mind and heart as she too wrestles with this painful reality.

“Oh my husband, can you hear me?

I have tried to tell you this before, maybe even screamed it, if not to you then on the inside. I live in
fear that saying it again will only push you further into the arms of your addiction, into the arms of her.

How can I ever measure up to her? I know you say you don’t compare us, that it’s not about me, but in
my eyes there is another woman in our bed. Another woman captivating you. I used to captivate you.

I want to give up on myself, in part I already have, it hurts too much to try. I feel rejected and
weathered when I see our internet browser history, how can I ever compete with her body and what
she can do with it? A one dimensional woman in our 3D world of bills, meals and baseball fields.

I am but a mere competitor for your attention in the midst of a covenant relationship that should be
safe. You promised.

We go to church, you and I. We look nice, you are good to me otherwise…”that’s hopeful, that should
be enough, I can’t have it all” I tell myself. That doesn’t last, though. It’s the middle of the night and
you are outta bed again. Once again I’m confused and angry that you are not the “Hi, how are you?!”
church-man at 3 am when no one is looking.

Oh how I hate seeing you as her slave, self-shackled, chained , linked to her lust, the Key within reach.
I’ll help you be free if you’ll let me. That shame you feel, I feel it too. I want freedom as much as you.
Your sin choices reach far beyond the midnight hour.

I shudder at the thought, but sometimes it hits me, “Will you look at our daughter this way?” (I told
you…real.) What would our precious girl think if she caught you in the act or found your stash? Would
she be able to recover? Would the father wounding be too much, her body image shattered in a matter
of moments when she finds out what’s lovely to you? I beg God to protect her from what you look at.
Don’t you want to protect her?

How will our sons ever walk in freedom if you are not fighting? They will be men soon, sooner than we
think. Who will tell them that Jesus is enough if He is not enough to satisfy you? You are a good man,
but will our sons see your goodness or just the addiction and the hurt I carry…Will you give them a fighting
chance to win against this fleshy epidemic. Their great chance begins with you.

Do you know I hope, pray and long for your freedom? Oh, how I deeply dream, hope, call it yearning (I’m
not sure there’s a word to capture the deep-down-ache) for you to be FREE.

I want to RUN with you into the arms of Jesus for freedom and call you my hero husband! I know deep
down it is who you are and who you long to be. I remember.

Change OUR legacy. I believe in you, bring that belief out in me.

I want to stand by your side with forgiveness in my eyes and hear you say:

“It is finished…I am done with her.”

 

Well guys…… are you??

Joni (not her real name)

Galatians 5:1 – “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be
burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

Choosing Freedom

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So often in life we take the easy way “out” when dealing with sin. Actually, it is no way out at all, it just makes us feel better about ourselves.

We sin, and then convince ourselves that “that’s just the way I am”, or “that’s just who I am”, or even “well, I’m just a sinner saved by grace”. We compromise, even justify, our actions as just the natural by-product of our fallen life here on earth. All along though we still feel a little sorry ask God to forgive us – again – and encourage ourselves by saying something like “I’ll never do that again”. Most of us have simply conceded defeat, and try our best to continually make peace with God and ourselves saying we’re sorry and trying (for a while) not to do “that” again.

Yes, the Bible says if we “confess our sin He is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9), and “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). Do are forgiven when we confess and ask for it. We are not condemned because Christ’s blood covers all our past, present and future sins. BUT – we are not condemned to live a life of sin, guilt, shame, confession, forgiveness, sin, guilt, shame…….

The Bible is also very clear how to live above that roller coaster. Jesus didn’t just die in order to provide forgiveness for our continual sinning – he died to offer us freedom from it. His death also offer us a way off the roller coaster. A life of freedom and joy as we walk with Him.

You see, most of us choose the easy way out. We honestly don’t want to work very hard, or live deliberately. We would rather spar with our sin than live the kind of life that would actually destroy it and set us free. Sad isn’t it.

Romans 8:13

For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death (mortify/kill) the misdeeds of the body, you will live.

Colossians 3:5-9

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you once walked, when you lived in them. But now put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and foul talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old nature with its practices.

James 4:7

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

2 Timothy 2:22

Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.

The Bible clearly calls us to action – to a deliberateness about our approach to life. We cannot coast our way to godliness. In just the two passages above, notice the call to action – put to death, mortify/kill; put away; submit yourselves, resist, flee, pursue.

Walking in holiness is not God’s responsibility. We are holy, spiritually speaking, because of what Chris has done. Our soul and body (flesh) do not automatically live in holiness simply because we are Christians. In order to walk like who we are (God’s children, created in His image), and to live a victorious life of freedom over sin, guilt, shame, regret, futility, etc. – It Takes A Deliberate Lifestyle. God will not put to death, mortify, put away, flee or pursue for us. We must decide to walk that way, every single day of our life.

Are we coping, or conquering? Are we warriors, or fencers? Are we deliberate, or coasting? We get to decide.

In closing, let me also remind us all that God tells us very specifically what it takes to live victoriously. All we have to do is embrace it and walk in it

Galatians 5:16

16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.

 

Join with me in deciding to make 2013 the year we learn to walk in total freedom and joy – and then doing something to make it so.

 

Deliberately,

Rob

 

The Man on the Wall

Nehemiah’s heart was broken because the city of Jerusalem had been destroyed and left in ruin. He asked the king for permission to take men and rebuild the sacred city, and it was granted him. He also knew that there were enemies in the land that did not like the Jewish people, and did not want the city rebuilt.

The book of Nehemiah is a wonderful illustration of men doing God’s work in a land filled with enemies. While a great story of Jewish history, it is also a guide for us today as men trying to lead our wives and children; build great marriages and families; all while trying to advance the kingdom of God – all in a land swarming with enemies as well.

How do we do this? What does God say about it?

Living in a world at war requires a deliberate lifestyle. As a soldier living in a combat area, you would never dream of living one minute, much less one day, without your body armor and helmet on – and our assault weapon in your hand. Sadly, most Christians today walk through their days in their underwear expecting their life, marriage, children, job, health, etc. to be unaffected by the world. It is no wonder half of them end up divorced, and far too many live unfulfilled, wounded lives.

The Bible is very clear that we have responsibility to protect ourselves and to live deliberately as soldiers in this fallen world:

Proverbs 4:23 – Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life.

1 Peter 4:7 – The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray.

1 Peter 5:8 – Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

Proverbs 16:17 – The highway of the upright turns aside from evil; whoever guards his way preserves his life.

Proverbs 22:5 – Thorns and snares are in the way of the crooked; whoever guards his soul will keep far from them.

Malachi 2:15 – Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth.

Nehemiah gives us a great example of how to lead well, protect ourselves and our family, all while building the Kingdom – in chapter 4, verse 17:

Those who carried materials did their work with one hand and held a weapon in the other, 

We are wise to wake each day, put on the “whole armor of God”, and go about our day with one hand on the work at hand, and another firmly on our weapon. We live in a world at war and need to be reminded daily how critical our role as leaders is, and how God is entrusting (and empowered) us to lead and protect well.

Suit up, stay alert…

Rob