Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counselors, “Did not we cast three men BOUND into the midst of the fire?” They answered and said unto the king, “True, O king.” He answered and said, “Lo, I see four men LOOSE, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God” (Dan 3:24-25)~ The fires that were designed to burn up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, only burned up the ropes that were holding them down. Your trials are sometimes there to free you from those things about you that hold you from God’s presence and favor!
In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes (Judg 21:25)~~ Men are more zealous to assert and support their own authority than submit to that of God. They would act better to repent of their rash oaths, bring sin-offerings, and seek forgiveness in the appointed way, rather than attempt to avoid the guilt of perjury by actions so wrong. That men can advise others to acts of treachery or violence, out of a sense of duty, forms a strong proof of the blindness of the human mind when left to itself, and of the fatal effects of a conscience under ignorance and error.
There’s a growing phenomenon of young men who don’t seem to want to grow up. They drift from job to job, live with parents or run with a crew of buddies, and focus much of their energy on drinking, carousing, watching sports, playing video games, and chasing women. What makes this generation of young men different from previous ones is that many are delaying maturity longer than before, and our culture is encouraging them to prolong adolescent behavior. It is a stage of life where guys gather to be guys with each other, unhassled by the demands of parents, wives, girlfriends, job, kids, and the other nuisances of adult life. In this topsy-turvy, Peter-Pan mindset, young men shirk the responsibilities of adulthood and remain fixated on the trappings of boyhood, while the boys they still are struggle heroically to prove that they are real men despite all of their actions and evidence to the contrary. It’s as if these young men have developed a warped idea of manhood. They think becoming a man means getting to do whatever they want. So for them, being a man means giving up their cherished independence. With that type of mindset, you wonder what type of husbands and fathers they will be when they finally set aside their childish ways. Our sinful, human nature craves independence; we want to go our own way, and avoid the responsibilities of commitment to God and to other people. As Isaiah 53:6 tells us, “All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way.” We live in a culture that celebrates youth and beauty and independence—even at the expense of growing up. Many young men today immerse themselves in a world of media entertainment and diversions that tell them it’s okay to live a self-centered lifestyle, free of commitments to anything beyond endless and mindless pleasure. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them (Rom 1:28-32). A man cannot be brought to greater slavery than to be given up to his own lusts!!
In a world like this, where can men—young and old—learn how to become real men? The simple answer is: From other men. Whether we are young or old, we need other men in our lives who will teach us, model for us, and encourage us to make the right choices. Boys growing up without fathers need men who will step into their lives and mentor them. And young men who refuse to grow up need peers and mentors who will exhort them to act like men. There is a constant call by the species of “man” for “men” to be what God calls us to be… Men… in more senses of the word than being over 18 and having the ability to make a baby, pound our chest and seek freedom and independence to go out and act … childish because we can! While none of us ever outgrow the need for having other men to mentor us, it is an absolute essential for those who would seem to have their teenage tendencies still pretty strong inside. Every man has a need for people around him who can call him up and even call him out.
Being a man means taking responsibility—for your choices, for your family, for your community, and for the next generation. Men, husbands and fathers: WE need to step up and take responsibility. Boys – it’s time to MAN-UP!
You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under the grain- measure, but on a lampstand. And it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in Heaven (Matt 5:14-16)~ what God has blessed you with is meant to be seen as a beacon to show others toward Him! People will see how God has “brightened” you up and some of that light will guide their path too! You praised the Lord and He is taking you places…heck, I’m gonna praise Him myself…who knows where I might get!!! Fellow lighthouse! Don’t hide the “light” God has given you! Even the unbeliever will see you and start to believe!
Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations (Jer 1:5)~ imagine this…better yet, KNOW this: YOU are part of God’s excellent plan for today. After God created the universe and populated it with life, He focused all His creative power on His final masterpiece. In an instant of time, He created man in His image so that with the life that He gives, you bear the likeness of God. Realize this! God embedded HIS excellence into the core of YOUR being. From the top of your head to the tip of your miraculous big toe, you are excellent through and through. God has a plan for your life custom designed for just you, and that plan has excellence stamped all over it. You matter to Him that much! Yes– You are that important! You are fearfully and wonderfully made; A part of His wonderful works. Great is His mercy towards you, precious and vast are His thoughts toward you! God says to you: For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope (Jer 29:11). Rejoice in Him today as you live out the plans He has for you!
Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth (Col 3:2); But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness (1 Tim 6:11)~ It ill becomes any person, but especially a person of God, to set their hearts upon the things of this world; people of God should be taken up with the things of God. There must be a conflict with corruption, and temptations, and the powers of darkness. Eternal life is the crown proposed for our encouragement and we are called to lay hold on that. As Heaven and Earth are contrary one to the other, both cannot be followed together; and affection to the one will weaken and remove affection to the other… after all, no man can serve two masters; he will love one and despise the other. And take caution to yourselves, watching out that at any time your hearts be over burdened with wreckless living and drunkenness, worries and cares of this life, and so that day comes upon you suddenly. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man (Luke 21:34-36). Our danger is that the day of death and of judgment should come upon us when we are not prepared; that, when we are called to meet our Lord, that what will be the furthest from our thoughts, is that which ought to be nearest our hearts. This is unfortunately how it will come upon the most of men, who dwell upon the earth, and mind earthly things, and have no focus with heaven. There is so much going on around us right now and everywhere, people are constantly consumed with emotion and distracted by the happenings in the world. All of these things going on are distractions to take your mind off of the peace of God. Remember, the enemy comes to kill, steal and destroy. Jesus came that we may have life and have it more abundantly. Remember, He will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is stayed on Him! Don’t lose your focus on the Lord because He is the source of all peace and life and joy! Faith and Focus to the Finish!
And whatsoever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord you shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for you serve the Lord Christ (Col 3:23-24)~ Today’s society accepts mediocrity as the norm. People do as little as they can to get by, always looking for the easy way out, the favor and the hookup. They simply go to work to pick up a paycheck, then wonder why they’re not promoted. Men and women in marriages take the attitude that as long as they’re THERE, the rest will work out, then we end up in divorce court over infidelity and ‘irreconcilable differences’. We get all of our learning from Social Media and then wonder how we can be uneducated and misinformed. Parents let X-Box, PlayStation, HBO, MTV and BET teach their kids about life, and ask ‘why’ when we’re getting them out of jail or burying them! We follow actors and entertainers on Facebook and Twitter, looking wisdom from anybody who will gather a large crowd of supporters, without any moral consideration, party all night on Saturday, sleep in and watch the game on Sunday… And we don’t even know our Lord and Savior! We all need to do better!!! Whatever we do, we should be doing it to the BEST of our ability. Each of us has a higher and very attainable potential, but we can’t settle for average effort and expect stellar results! You know better, so do better so you can DO better! #AintNoHalfSteppin
TRUST in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths (Prov 3:5-6)~ God’s promise to us has a process. Take the Israelites when they were brought out of Egypt. They wanted instant ‘Promised Land’. But God had a process! The process was for them to be delivered, healed and set free from their past. Many of the Israelites though were not willing to go through the process and as a result of their impatience and actions, they missed the opportunity to go into the Promised Land. God’s plan wasn’t fast enough! The small victories along the way weren’t big enough! They got so wrapped up in the rewards of the Promise…they had to have it “right now” and so they pursued it in their own ways rather than the ways of God. We need to see that if we will just walk through the process, we will continually see blessings and miracles making us gradually better along the way. Not only will we see, we will experience and receive. As you pray for your ‘Promised Land’, don’t be discouraged that you may have to cross a ‘Red Sea’ and take a journey through the ‘desert’ for a period. That journey is God’s process. And what a journey to walk, especially when you are walking it out with The Lord. Allow yourself to see what He’s doing with and for you along the way. You’ll find so many blessings in that itself! You’ll be glad to have gone the process route over the convenience of instant gratification.