Daily Devotion – Spiritual Fitness

Spiritual Fitness

Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. – 1 Timothy 4:7

In this, Paul is telling Timothy to not waste time on myths or old wives tales but to use that time to become spiritually fit. How does that happen? With consistent nourishment and time. It is easy for us to get caught up in the trappings of the world. We often worry about things that have little meaning in the plan God has for us. Gossip (Ephesians 4:29) is often the demon we battle that tries, and often succeeds in being a parasite. One that sapps away the nourishment that we should be focusing on to reach a better state of spiritual fitness.

What does Spiritual Fitness Look Like?

It’s undefinable and not something that has a visual cue. I’m certain you’ve heard the story of a new pastor who dressed as a homeless man and sat outside of his church as the congregation went in and then proceeded to go in side where he was looked down upon as if he were less than. When the Elders of the church were confirming the new pastor this homeless man who was asked to sit in the back stood up and walked to the pulpit. The congregation was shamed. While the validity of the story may not be entirely true it does have some important lessons on what spiritual fitness looks like. It is also a message to how we deviate away from Christs’ mission. As disciples our mission is for each one to reach one. Even if we only help lead one soul to God in our life we have accomplished something great! Spiritual fitness has no definable physical trait.

How do Spiritually Fit People Act?

When I think of how I need to act so that my spiritual fitness is showing the first word that comes to mind is service. Service to others by speaking life. Giving hope by helping whenever I can in whatever role that God is putting before me. We shouldn’t try to pick and choose the opportunities that He presents us. Each is a gift and to turn from an opportunity that God has placed before us because it isn’t good enough is like turning away from Him and His plan for us. I no way profess that my place in life is better than anyone else when I talk about my qualities, it is just an expression of thoughts, I love everyone or try to, I’m not perfect. Spiritually fit people are always praying (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18), they are serving others (Galatians 5:13), they have faith through their works and not faith apart from their works. Ultimately they strive to be like Christ.

Final Thoughts

Spiritual Fitness requires a regiment just as much as physical fitness does if not more so. We can become spiritually unfit in a moment whether it is by action, thought or even inaction. There are two prizes we can gain from being spiritually ready for things that come our way. The first is the life we get to enjoy here on earth. If you walk with God here the things in your life will improve because you will be speaking life, showing love and acting in service to others through God. We can have a multitude of prizes (some tangible but mostly not) lavished upon us through our life by our service to others. Our works are rewarded in heaven but those works must be done in faith and not apart from it. If we make an effort to become and stay spiritually fit our life in the here and now can be so much better.

Daily Devotional – Who Am I? Discover Yourself

Discover Yourself

This is what the Lord says – He who created you, Jacob, He who formed you, Israel; “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are Mine.” – Isaiah 43:1

This kind of question is right up my alley. I spend a lot of time in reflection, examining what I have done so that I can improve my future. Let me be clear on this, there is a distinct difference between reflecting for improvement versus clinging to a mistake because you spent a lot of time making it. We should see our salvation as a catalyst for doing more than just changing our status in God’s eyes. It should show us how to discover who we are as a person and in Christ.

Discovery

I think that I have learned enough about myself to give you some advice on self-discovery. I know exactly who I am. This is going to be secular advice that will lead into why it is important in a non-secular manner! Understanding who you are is going to help you communicate better in showing the love of Jesus. How you discover who you are can vary based on your actual desire to and the life you’ve lived. I have a penchant for doing everything the hard way. So finding myself was a 10 year journey into depression, overeating, lying and being someone I wasn’t just to fit in. That needed to change, I had nephews and siblings that I wanted to see grow up. My sister had married, my brother had married. I was the oldest and here I was in my mid-20’s living at home eating myself to death. I wanted to see them grow up and I wanted to be there for them, all of them.

Like many lost or wandering souls I turned to God, after I had basically pushed Him away and did what I wanted I came back. Then I came across Psalm 40:1-3 and I had been asking what can I do, what can I change, what more do I need to be better. God answered me there and gave me hope. I would’t be perfect, I know I can’t be but He told me I was enough. I was enough. My sister had a gastric bypass and so then I worked towards having one done. I began eating better before hand and had dropped almost 50 lbs before I had went to see the surgeon and jump through the hoops to get everything done. I still was doing a lot of the things I probably shouldn’t, my language was not great among other things but I was trying and while I didn’t go to church I read the bible on my phone or tablet. Eventually I had the surgery and I lost a lot of weight. I learned a lot about myself in that time because philosophy is a hobby of mine. I came to learn some of my fears, my flaws and my strengths. I was an entirely different person. Who people know me as today was not who I was 3-5 years ago.

It took a lot for me to understand who I am and honestly, I think that in tragedy we do learn the truth. Being honest with ourselves is the hardest thing you can do (Psalm 51:6) on the road to self discovery. Like lots of other step programs admitting the truest facts are the first steps needed to restoration of the former person. It is a hard road to discover yourself but you can do it. It will increase your understanding of how things were, how they are and help you see what you can do for the future.

Testimony

How you view yourself is going to affect your testimony in Christ. If you are an introverted person it may be harder for you to be a witness to God’s work because you have a natural reluctance to reigning in your actions and emotions. Think about this though, David danced in glory of the Lord and sang His praises because of something God gives to us. The Holy Spirit. The Bible instructs us to use the Spirit to reach out to others (2 Timothy 1:7) not fear them. Yes, that is easier said than done but remember, God wants us to grow and we grow by reaching outside of our comfort zone and learning new things. We should let that light increase and touch other lives so that they know the joy we have in the security of salvation.

Discover Who I Am

I am a Child of God. I’m also a father, soon to be a husband, an uncle, a brother, a son. I have many titles and I have many obligations. They all make me up a part of who I am. I’m a man who has made mistakes and I have made some pretty awesome triumphs. I have been a liar, I have been a misogynist, I have been a terrible cook. That stuff doesn’t define me in the way I see myself today. They are chapters to my life, secrets I keep between God and myself. It is also things I have let go. I don’t get it right all the time and God doesn’t expect me to.

It is interesting that this devotional came up today. I was speaking with some co-workers and one brought up what Maya Angelou had said, “You are enough.” It made me think back to my experiences and then I open my devotional tonight and here is this devotion telling me that I am a child of the Most High God. I am important and precious to Him. I have a purpose in this life and I am enough. Yes, I am enough for God, that makes me enough for myself, for those I love and those who may scorn me. Thank you Jesus, thank you for the tears and the heartaches. Thank you for the times that were rough and you let me dwell in them so that when I was ready to spread the word it would burn through me like a wildfire and maybe just maybe reach someone needing it. Someone who may be hurting.

I am enough.

They are enough.

You, God, our portion, are more than enough.

Who Is God to You?

Who is God

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched – this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. – 1 John 1:1

This is going to be really easy and really hard. Who is God to you? Who is God to me? It is something we should ask ourselves to really put in to place how we view ourselves as Christians and how we view God. This is going to be a wholesome activity but I have to tell you, I am unsure if I’m going to enjoy exposing this much of my relationship with God. Not that it is bad or that we shouldn’t. Our testimony is a direct reflection of our walk with God. I am committed to doing this devotional every day, regardless of how uncomfortable it may be for me. The fact that it is there means God wants me to. His command, my obedience.

Who Is God to You – The Easy Answer

Everything. Yep that is the short of it. God has created all things. He is in all things from the air to the mitochondria in our bodies. They were designed by Him for a reason (John 1:3).

Who Is God to You – The Hard Answer

Answering who God is to me is not a hard answer on the surface because He is sovereign but in answering who, we should define what He means to us. If we look at not just who but what God means in our lives we get a richer understanding of how He has moved in our life. God really is everything but the Bible gives him many titles that we, rejoice and proclaim. Alpha, Omega, Sovereign, King, Creator, Father.

He is more than words or title. He is mine. He is Bethany’s. We are his. When that clicks this light bulb comes on and you’re just awed. He is this being we cannot quantify because our understanding is limited to the words we know. He has saved me, he is pure grace to me. When I think about Him and writing this I get all knotted up inside and swell up in adulation that I get to talk about Him.

He is what draws me to my knees and has compelled me to plant my face on the ground in obedience to his will. He is what makes my hands raise when I am on fire from the inside. He is Yahweh, Lord, and God.

Final Thoughts

God is in everything. He is part of everything. To confine Him to a set of words is truly a disservice but that is all we have because we are not with Him until our lives have ended. Once we are welcomed in to His kingdom only then can we see the truth of Him. Faith gets you there and it will see you through tough times in life. God should be the focus of a Christian man’s heart. God is what gives man a family, the wife who is devoted in the good and the bad. The children to bring unexpected joy when a day has been long and hard. The family outside of his immediate kin to show him additional love. The pets he shelters in his home that bring him untainted love and devotion. God gives us all of that and He does it knowing we will fail Him at some time because He is a Father. Fathers encourage children in their dreams and ambitions even if they may see some hurt coming because they know that as a parent they will be there to support them and lift them up when it happens. That allows the child to grow even in failure.

I’m jealous of John. He was there and got to be with Jesus, to touch Him and to have his feet washed by Him. What greater gift can we receive from God beyond salvation? His presence. The best news, he is always there.

Daily Devotional – There in the Tough Times

Tough Times

God had made me forget all my troubles and all my father’s household. – Genesis 41:51

I think we all have a tendency of forgetting how awesome God is all the time. Especially when the good times are rolling. We don’t give thanks nearly as often then but as soon as something bad happens it is the first thing out of our mouth, ‘God help me’ or some variant. God is here good or bad. So what about when things are more than marginally bad? Do we complain to God about it because we are experiencing trauma. Instead we should be seeking the comfort of His love. Joseph who was sold in to slavery, imprisoned despite his innocence never blamed God for the bad fortune. Instead he looked to God and then God raised him up higher than his brothers could have imagined!

Perpendicular Plans

For many of us our plans compared to God’s plans look very different. God’s plans are definitive and look like a straight arrow. Or plans on the other hand look like a winding snake over His plans. In fact it looks like this;

Sin Wave

 

As our walk gets closer to God those waves, those deviations lessen and sometimes they become the same straight line but we are human and prone to error. Even in those times when we are far far from God’s plans for us He is there filling in those gaps with His grace.

Life is Tough

Because we are promised suffering (2 Timothy 3:12) we should become comfortable with seeking God in the hard times. If you’ve ever found yourself in the floor crying out to God for help then you know exactly how powerful God can be when He moves. His plans may be that someone has a hard life from the beginning and uses those experiences to lift that person into ministry. It could be the death of someone so that others connected to that person come running to Him. There is no shame in reaching out to God in your greatest need but it should not be the only time. He deserves out attention all the time not just when things suck.

Final Thoughts

God is the perfect father because he is there endlessly. We may come into friction with our parents here on Earth and in some cases those parents will disown us. God does not do that. He waits until you are broken and with no second thought picks up the pieces to make sure His children are whole. Life is really tough and being a Christian does not exclude you from that. In fact, you become a target because Satan wants to lure you away more than anything. It’s not the lost souls but the ones that know Jesus so he can tell God to look at how his servant is failing him. If we can be like Job or Joseph we take that power from Satan because God gives us that armor. I feel like one of my biggest strengths is that I do keep my eye on God in good and bad. Part of why I can is because of Bethany. She is far more than I ever deserved in my life and yet God planted her there for me. I am also surrounded by Greg and Melissa who are just an awesome God loving couple. My parents love God and encourage my relationship with Him. The support system you build helps you remember that God is there always listening when things are great and when they are tough.

Daily Devotional – Rejoice and Be Glad

Rejoice

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! – Philippians 4:4

All praise belongs to God. Everything we do, everything we experience is by our Father’s design. So we should always rejoice in Him. It is an outward showing of an inward treasure. God has made you alive again and in doing so has brought great joy and comfort to your life. Your place in Heaven is secure because the Father has given up His Son and the Son has prepared a place for us (John 14:1-3). To me it is the most fantastic thing, to know that my Father is ready for me to come home whenever that may be.

Why is rejoicing important?

Rejoicing in the Lord is worship. We worship God to show our love for Him as He has shown us uncountable love already. Rejoicing is something that the bible speaks about 286 times in some form or another. God clearly wants us to rejoice in His love and in His works that have been performed for us. Rejoicing in God is more than just praise and worship. It gives us strength to overcome things and it shields us.

Rejoicing is part of your testimony

Rejoicing in God is a tool that Christians can use in testimony. Think about this, even in trials if we rejoice we get the strength to persevere (Romans 5:3). God knows we will see suffering but He is an awesome Father and will pour in to us, the Holy Spirit to strengthen us if we call upon Him. There are lost souls out there that may find your tribulation as the catalyst to come back to God. God has used you to bring another child home. Maybe there is no trial to go through but God has touched you and to someone else that may be what they want. To be able to rejoice in the Lord in all things. Our active rejoicing in God is an outward showing of our change to inspire others to make that leap of faith and become One with the Father.

Rejoicing is Protection

When I rejoice in the Lord it helps me focus when I have doubts or am struggling in my walk. God is peace and He is protection (Philippians 4:7). By focusing on God I can push away the troublesome thoughts I may have. Most of my thoughts surround whether I make the right choices for my family or whether I am putting Him first in my choices for them. All of that is Satan whispering in my ear to make me doubt. If I remember that through the blood Jesus shed I was given the tools to defeat Satan (Revelation 12:11).

Final Thoughts

Rejoicing is a privilege that anyone can make use of. In fact, I don’t feel that you necessarily have to be a Christian to use it because God works on the hearts of the unsaved and if they thank God for bringing them back to Him it is just as good as if I did it. Rejoicing allows us to be closer to the Father and to thank him for all he has accomplished and will. I fail often enough that it makes me upset with myself and makes me determined to thank Him more. If we make a habit of thanksgiving we will never forget that God works for us always. I should rejoice in the Lord more because I want Him to tell me I’ve done well. I want to please Him and rejoicing is a great way to start that.

Live like Jesus

Live like Jesus

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. – Romans 12:10-12

The most effective and influential leaders are also the best servant’s. Time has proven this again and again not just in a biblical sense but in the world outside of Christianity. As Christians we should live like Jesus lived. As a Muslim you would live like Muhammad. The Pope in Catholicism is the successor of the Apostle Peter whom Christ built his church upon (Matthew 16:18). All of these men, holy in their religions are servant leaders. They have loved and treated people as they would be treated. Christ was persecuted and killed for his beliefs despite his unending love for anyone who came to him in adoration or anger. In his final days he was joyful in the hope of humanity, patient with the afflictions placed upon him by humanity and faithful in prayer to His father, our Father while humanity slew Him. We can and should live like Jesus at work because we touch so many lives while there that it is a missed opportunity if we do not share our testimony.

How would Jesus have acted at your workplace?

He would not have felt compelled to hide his Christianity for the sake of offending others. He would not have thrown it in their faces either. He was a man that walked the walk and talked the talk. He did not need to be flamboyant in explaining his beliefs and his love for man. He would have been kind and patient. I need to be more patient with co-workers, my mind makes all kinds of leaps in a conversation and I get irritated when they do not follow along. Jesus served all because he knew that his service to others was what God wanted of Him. I do try to help anyone, even if the question seems to be rudimentary to me because we all grapple ideas in different manners and great communicators find ways to give answers and messages in a way that everyone can consume them. It’s why the message Jesus gave us is for everyone sinner, saint, boss, co-worker or those you employee beneath you in a hierarchical structure.

How would He have handled the problems you face?

With more grace surely. I think that Ephesians 6:5-8 sums up how he would handle my particular problems which are related to the management directly above me. I feel like I have hit a glass ceiling at work in both development and position. In fact, this specific set of verses is something I remind myself of. I do respect those above me and perform my duties with the highest amount of dedication that I can summon even if I may not like the circumstances at the time. Jesus completed the greatest work of all even though he knew that the process to complete it was painful, scary and ultimately deadly. He completed our road to salvation with servitude and wholeheartedness because he knew the reward, our freedom through his death, was just and worth it.

Conclusion – Live like Jesus

Jesus completed the heaviest of work that was ever assigned to anyone. He suffered during that work and did it anyway because it pleased His Father (1 Peter 2:18-20). We are instructed to complete our work dutifully even if we are treated unjustly because our rewards at the end of this life are far greater than the suffering we may endure on Earth. God does not want us in an unhappy spot for our employment long term because it will wear on our soul and that will trickle in to our families. Work is to me an institution of the Christian faith. By working hard I can provide for my family and can touch people with my testimony. Jesus didn’t shuck his work when he didn’t like it and neither should I. Whether we are top managers or front line employees we should live like Jesus and show the world the love and servant attitude He did (Colossians 3:17).

Daily Devotional – Love The Lord Your God

Daily Devotional Challenge

 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” – Mark 12:30-31

In introducing this challenge I purchased a daily devotional to complete this and spoke about the greatest commandment. I did not expect that the first devotional would be on just that subject. I did not open the book until now to do this. I think that going in with no expectations is the best way to do this because then we can eliminate the bias of the subjects. That being said I want to examine the questions raised in this devotional and answer them. My answers are not guarded and I have no intention of upsetting someone. I am just a man chasing God with my heart, I am not wanting to be right or wrong, just to grow.

How do you see God and how do you view yourself?

God is my father, He is father to us all. That is an undeniable truth because He has created everything and that is but one role a father does, He creates. I am His child, He has created me and formed me in my mother’s womb to be not only who I am but to witness what He has done for me. I did not always feel this way, I was raised in church mostly of my own doing. This is no slight on my parents but I chose to go to church more often than they went with me. I’ve also turned from God and have been the belligerent child. Now, I am His again and forevermore.

Do you see God as loving and available?

Most times. This doubt I know is my own doing and not His because God told us He is always available (Joshua 1:9) we just have to seize that love and wrap ourselves in it. I doubt when I am upset about something or Bethany and I have disagreements about how I parent versus her idea of parenting. I wonder if I am a good father and question myself, not God.

Do you see God as being involved in your life?

I do, I see him in everything. He brought Bethany in to my life as a way to get me in back to church and change my heart from what it was to who I am now. Two years is a long time in our life if we really look at our normal lifespan. It’s more than 2% of our time! He’s given me the courage to step-out of my comfort in ways I did not want to. I was not always a “social butterfly” but now I know no stranger because I want them to see Him in me. Good or bad I know God is there but I also know he isn’t going to do it all for me. What father does? He teaches His children to be self-sufficient in some ways but in others they still remain entirely dependent on Him.

Do you see Him as a loving Father in your life?

I do, good or bad I see Him work on me. When I am in doubt I pray and even if I don’t get an answer I want I get comfort and a father comforts His children. Every day I get time with Him when I drive to and from work I get to pray uninterrupted and sometimes it is the whole drive and other times it may be five minutes but when I’m done I feel like I’m closer than I was before and I feel loved. We don’t need miracles to know He is our father but we do need to feel His love when we are happy or even when we are troubled (Zephaniah 3:17). He is there for me with no questions asked.

How do you see yourself, as a child of God?

Joyous. Blessed. Loved. I see myself as all those things. I also can be petulant or angry or wandering. God is bigger than that though. He is patient with me when I want it my way. He is calming when I am angry because I don’t understand why God let’s things happen. He is the shepherd when I have wandered off and have begun choosing things I probably shouldn’t. How do I see myself as a child of God? I see myself as one of the most cherished children in the world because my Father loves me enough to look past any iniquity (Romans 8:37-39) I have created and still wants me.

Conclusion

Day 1 and I already feel like God is the best Father a child could ask for. I want to be like that with my own kids even if it may be hard it is worth it. God is here with arms wide open ready to share His love, His will and His voice with us. I just need to step forward and listen so that I may hear Him when He speaks. Knowing this means I know I have a relationship with God it must be nurtured on myself because Jesus finished all the work ever needed. It’s time to dig deep, get dirty and come up with the gold my soul requires.

The Importance of Devotionals and a Challenge

Importance of Devotionals

Devotional is a word Christians know well. It is a way for us to pursue God outside of church and the extra activities that most churches may provide. It is something that can be personal or shared. Doing devotionals with your spouse allows you to communicate with your spouse on a God-first basis and gives you a window in to their personal relationship with Jesus. That exercise with your significant other is something I love to do because Bethany is sharing with me and that alone is priceless. In groups you build community and still get that look in to their relationship with our Savior. So devotionals are great but how are they important outside of the obvious reasons I’ve given?

Knowledge

Our knowledge of God’s word is never going to be complete because He is fathomless (Romans 11:33) but if we use devotionals often we store up (Psalms 119:11) this knowledge and it helps us stay on the good path. We know God more by immersing ourselves in His word and devoting our time to pleasing him.

Spiritual Readiness

As Christians we are charged with the golden rule (Matthew 7:12) which is so much easier said than done. This rule is often called the rule of reciprocity and is something you can find in cultures and religions the world over. It is part of the greatest commandment Christ gave us because it is what God was telling us to do before the new covenant (Deuteronomy 6:4-5) & (Leviticus 19:18) but we have a terrible way of not listening to God, don’t we? Daily devotionals help us listen to him and help prepare our spirit to act upon these commandments. The man on the street who is a drunkard. That one buddy who is struggling with thoughts of infidelity be they in pornography or from a woman at work.  Devotionals help prepare you to share your testimony with them to help them!

Spiritual Warfare

It could go without saying but even if we prepare our spirit for the helping of others it does little good if we cannot defend ourselves. How can you protect the family you love if you first cannot protect yourself? We need to be spiritual warriors to defend the family we are commanded to protect. We are told (Ephesians 6:12) quite directly that we are at war and within the same breath we are given the tools (Ephesians 6:13-18) and directions on how to defend ourselves. We can apply this defense to our families but raising them with the same weapons to defend themselves. We can arm brethren and strangers alike but to do so we need to keep those weapons and senses sharp, devotionals help us do that.

Devotionals Challenge

It’s pretty clear that devotionals have benefits that we may not consider normally unless we really look at their purpose. That is why I have a challenge. This challenge is for me because I’m going to do this publicly and if I fail I want anyone who reads this to hold me accountable.

I want to do a public daily devotional.

Every day from today, Easter Sunday until Easter Sunday in 2017 I will post the devotional and my thoughts on it, how it affects me, the things I learn. I want to invite you in to my heart and in to my journey with Jesus.

Will you come along and uplift me when the times turn tough or celebrate with me the times of joy? I hope so.

Consistent Nourishment

Consistent Nutrition

A tree planted by water.

Or maybe the farmer scattering seeds is what you recall from the parable [Matthew 13:1-9] that Jesus spoke of in the Bible. As a child I was taught about the farmer sowing seeds but as an adult I enjoy the idea of a tree more. The reason for this is because trees are consistent, you’ll hear this word a lot going forward. Plants, like those sown by the farmer are seasonal. These plants grow quickly, become fruitful but almost never multiply without help. Without consistent nourishment.

While working on a devotional recently with Bethany I was reminded of this because it is exactly what we covered in the devotional which focused on Psalms 1:1-6. If there was ever a single chapter devoted to the need for consistent nourishment in the bible it is this one. So after we completed the devotional which was about this nourishment we get from our connection to God, I let it marinate in my heart some.

One of the greatest things about God is that he is an awesome father. He makes sure we get the nourishment we need whenever we need it and it is abundant. The cupboard is never ever bare!

I would be lying if I said that I was that consistent in providing a soulful nourishment for my kids or those around me. It’s hard and we don’t get it right all the time. We aren’t supposed to either because we aren’t perfect and we were never made to be perfect. God made us according to his image and according to his likeness but he did not intentionally create us as a perfect creature. He created us with free will and the choice to not only be what he created us to be (human) but also to make the choice to be in his likeness. They are two different things that I want to cover in another article.

How consistent should you be?

When it comes to God, always. When it comes to your children, always. At least that is should be. Still there is something here that we should look at and it is what the farmer and his seeds represent. I want to look at it from multiple angles and hopefully inspire you to not only get nourishment consistently but to also give nourishment consistently. This applies to anyone you meet not just a friend, not just your Pastor and certainly not just a Christian. The person may not know immediately they are being nourished by the grace God has given you but in time they will realize it.

We are eternal servants to the spiritual nourishment of others. In fact, we are charged [Matthew 5:16] to show others this consistent nourishment because we are also nourished by giving to them.

How to be more consistent

It’s harder than it sounds otherwise I wouldn’t have been moved to the point that I am writing this! However I think that the method to be more consistent is simple. Just be mindful!

I forget this sometimes because I don’t do anything half measure and I don’t give up. It leads to arguments. Be mindful of what you are projecting to your children, to your wife or significant other. Is it in God’s likeness? Then stop. Put yourself in a strangers shoes a moment and look at yourself, this man, this dad with his children or his wife. How are you being perceived when you are with them?

Even if we are experiencing rough waters within ourselves we should project kindness. Even Christ who prayed at Gethsemane went quietly with the guards when arrested knowing that his fate was death. Did he want to run? His humanity may have but he prayed fervently and God heard his prayer and saved him from the eternal separation that the sin he bore would have caused. Instead he knew that he would be separated from his father only for a little while and this gave him the strength to carry on.

This to me is so very important because how can we nourish our children if we put separation between them? We should be making every effort to speak kindness to them even if we may want to send them away when they are misbehaving or not acting to our adult standards. I forget this and I think you would be hard pressed to find a parent who has not done this.

The Farmer

If we look at the farmer we can place him in to four different categories of spiritual nourishment;

  • The seeds that fell upon the wayside were eaten by birds. These seeds signify the uninvolved Christian who jealously holds close the love that God charges them to spread. Their work is no nutritious at all.
  • The seeds that fell upon the stony places. These seeds signify the hard-hearted Christian who spreads the love God charges them to spread but not to everyone. They bear fruits swiftly and they die just as quickly because their work is not nutritious enough.
  • The seeds that fell upon the thorns. These seeds signify the inflexible Christian who does not know how to encourage the growth of other Christians. They can spread the love that God commands us to spread but often-times they will leave the new believers without a safety net. Their work is a trickle and the fruit they bear will grow but eventually it will slowly die.
  • The seeds that fell upon the good ground. These seeds signify what God commands us to do! This is the servant Christian who is involved, open-hearted and the flexible child of God who approaches the stranger and loves on them regardless of the circumstance and then after bringing them to Christ continues to walk with them and encourage them as they take their next steps. Their work will bear fruit that lasts the hard winters and seeds that carry in to new seasons.

Let me ask these bold questions of you. What kind of man are you? Are you giving consistent nutrition? Are you seeking consistent nutrition? You should be. We all should be, both man and woman. I should be.

I will. I will be a tree planted by the water.

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