Motivated by the Mercies of God

I have the unique privilege of mentoring young men every week.  I challenge them to sacrifice their lives for our risen Savior, Jesus Christ.  I also have the unique privilege of coaching at a private school in the city in which I live.  I coach basketball during the winter, but during the fall and the spring I coach distance running.  The irony here is that what I teach the guys I mentor is very similar to what I tell my distance runners.  To live the Christian life requires sacrifice, and to run long distance requires sacrifice!

Why would one want to sacrifice their body and run long distance?   Why would one want to live a life of sacrifice for King Jesus?  Could the answer be the same?

Paul tells us in Romans that God’s glory is revealed in creation.  I 100% agree with this!  Check out these pics that show the glory of God.  I must confess I chose these pictures because they were taken by my daughter, Gracie, and I wanted to brag on her a bit.  I also wanted to sneak in a new one of Baby Levi.  I know shameless bragging again.  The bottom line is this though – These pics declare the glory of God through His Creation!  Check them out:

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How can we look at this and not see God’s glory?  Many do not and God gives them over to their sin.  Paul tells us this in Romans.  For those who are able to see the glory of God through creation, God reveals to them the wickedness in their hearts and shows them their need for a Savior.  In Romans Paul tells us we have been purchased by God through Christ’s blood, and through faith in Christ we are truly alive!  Praise the Lord!

Paul then goes on in Romans 12:1 to tell us that it is God’s mercies that motivate us to live a life of sacrifice for Him.  I challenge my distance runners to focus on God’s glory in creation.  I challenge them to focus on what Christ did for us on the cross.  If their focus is on Christ’s glory and Christ’s cross, what I tell them is that they will be able to sacrifice their bodies for the race they are about to run.

Is not the same true about life?  Can we focus on God’s glory through creation?  Can we fix our eyes on the one who rescued us from hell, from sin, and from ourselves?  When we do this, aren’t we motivated to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice? This is true worship.

Let us run the race of life today sacrificing our lives for the one who is both Creator and Savior.

How is Christ asking me to do this today?  How is He asking you to do this?  Let’s find the answer to that question together so we can get to the feet of our Savior and worship Him!!!

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Majestic, Messiah, Master!

There is a ton going on in our culture right now that is dishonoring to God.  Most of the time on this blog I devote my writing to the sexual immorality that is dishonoring to God, but there are ton of things going on in the world, within American culture, even within American church culture that are dishonoring to God, not just sexual immorality.

The question is this: What would make someone want to live a life that is honoring to God?  I think it helps to know these three things:

1. God is Majestic!

2. God is Messiah!

3. God is Master!

God is Majestic:

If I do not understand the Majesty and the Glory of God, then I am going to have a hard time submitting to how He wants me to live my life.  His Majesty is described all over the Bible.

  • Genesis 1 & 2 – Creation
  • Exodus 33 & 34 – God reveals a very small percentage of His Glory to Moses, and Moses shines radiantly!
  • Psalm 29 – The breath of God is so strong it snaps the cedars of Lebanon in half!
  • Isaiah 6 – God reveals His Holiness to Isaiah and portions of the temple shake!
  • Isaiah 40 – God holds the waters of the earth in His hand and measures the Heavens from pinky to thumb!

These are just a few of the passages that show the Power, the Holiness, the Glory, the Majesty of God.  This is a God worthy of our praise, our worship, our lives!

God is Messiah:

It is simply amazing to think that the one who is Majestic and Glorious is also the same one who is Messiah.  He is the one who rescues us from our sin, from ourselves.  Colossians 1 does a great job describing Jesus as Majestic, but it also does a great job describing Him as Messiah.  He created all things and sustains all things and holds all things together.  The same one who does this is the same one who rescued us from darkness and sin.  Through faith in Christ, we are transferred into God’s Kingdom of Light!

God is Master:

The bottom line is this.  If God is Majestic and Messiah, then we must let Him master our lives.  Let’s take a look at an issue that is dishonoring to God.  Since I look at sexual immorality so much, let me go ahead and use homosexuality as an example.  I thought I could pick a particular issue that would be non-controversial.  Okay so there might have been a little sarcasm there.  I chose one that is controversial.  For those who know me well, that should come as no surprise.

Anyway, so let’s look at homosexuality.  God in His grace has let me connect with two young men that were once participating in a homosexual lifestyle.  Christ has rescued and is rescuing these young men from this.

In today’s media driven world we live in, they would tell us that we are defined by our sexuality.  In Romans 1 God’s truth says that homosexuality is sin.  This is where I have a choice to make.  Who is going to master my life?  Myself?  The culture?  If God is Majestic and Messiah, then I have no other choice than to declare Him to be my Master!

These two young men I am working with at one time really believed that they were gay.  What decision have they made?  They are saying they are not defined by their sexuality.  What defines them is that God is the Master of their life, no matter how hard or what it costs.  That is pretty incredible on their part.

So What?

As we examine our lives today, have we slowed down long enough to just dwell on and think on His Majesty?  Have we let Him be our Messiah and surrendered control of our lives to Him?  Is He our Master, truly Master of all aspects of our lives?

Let us worship with our whole heart the One who is Majestic, Messiah, and Master!

Just Be Faithful!

I must confess as I write this that I am fighting some discouragement.  I honestly think it is the forces of darkness really working on me.  Three weeks ago our son was born, and now we have 7 children at home.  Praise the Lord!  By the way, check out this pic taken by our 14 year old daughter of him.

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We happen to think our daughter is a pretty good photographer and that our son is exceptionally handsome.  Sorry, I have really rabbit trailed.  The point I was making is that we are so thankful to the Lord for our son, Levi.  It a joyous time.  It just seems the forces of darkness are trying to steal my joy.  I got to thinking that I am not the only one this happens to so I thought I would blog about my experience for two reasons:

1. Just to be real and authentic about where I am at

2. To offer some encouragement and clarity regarding what exactly the Lord asks of us

Anyway, let’s get back to the whole joy stealing thing.  The birth of a child is an incredible thing.  It is an amazing miracle.  I cried tears of joy when Levi was born.  It is an incredibly joyous time when you get to bring a baby home to enjoy with your wife and your other children.

In the midst of this, I have been overwhelmed with feelings of discouragement.  When I get discouraged, I move to anger pretty quickly.  Discouragement and anger can truly steal your joy!

Why am I angry and discouraged? I find myself looking at the internet pornography addiction problem and always feeling like we can do more.  It can truly be overwhelming.  I meet with guys one on one to help them with this, but they do not always want the freedom that Christ offers.  This is very hard for me to accept.  God may be working in them later down the road, but I want to see the fruits of my labor now.

I look at the prophets in the Old Testament.  If they were judged on people’s repentance, they would have been in big trouble.  How did God judge them?  He was focused on their faithfulness.

Let me focus on one prophet:

He told Isaiah in Isaiah 6 to share a message that the people would not be able to receive.  They would have eyes and not see it, have ears and not hear it, & have hearts and not understand it.  Wow!  God tells Isaiah to deliver this message until judgment comes.  I believe Isaiah was judged on being faithful to the call God had on his life, nothing else.

What is my point?  The forces of darkness cannot steal my joy when my focus is on faithfulness.  I must answer one question: Am I being faithful to the call God has on my life?

May we not let our circumstances or the Enemy steal our joy.  May we be content with being faithful to God’s call.

Thanks for letting me rant, and thanks for letting a dad indulge in bragging on his photographer daughter and his incredibly handsome, baby boy.