Emerging from Isolation

 

For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them—Matthew 18:20

Imagine, for a moment, a man ever isolated, living alone in the mountains, perhaps. Imagine him living a vigorous, adventurous, spiritual life, but lacking community. The knowledge this man would have of God, the knowledge he’d have of himself, would be modest compared to the knowledge he’d have of both, were he to have full access to relationships, friendships, brotherhood.

You see, the isolated man may know about God. But, no matter how much he might read and study, he cannot know God. That takes community. We get to know God by seeing his Holy Spirit moving in others. We encounter God, we experience him, we understand him when he works through the love and sacrifice of other people. In brotherhood, we get to show God to one another. And, the more we’re in community with brothers, the deeper our understanding becomes.

The isolated man may also know about himself—his talents, his likes, his dislikes. But, he cannot know himself. He cannot know the man God intends him to become. That too takes community. It takes others around him, who know his story, who spend time with him, who watch him, to discern and affirm and call forth things true and eternal in him, things God longs for to emerge. It takes brotherhood to call forth the true man.

Okay, so what do we do?

Though we live in cities and towns, many of us are yet like the man isolated in the mountains. We know about God, but we don’t knowhim. We know the men we’d like to be, but we don’t know the men he created us to be. This message, right now, is another call for brotherhood. It’s a call for you, brother, to get into community with other men. Find some brothers; find your place.

Words of Honor

 

Outdo one another in showing honor—Romans 12:10
To honor someone is to build them up, to give them a sense of their worth. Prevailing culture teaches us our worth is weighed by worldly measures. And so, “honoring” becomes hero worship—elevating those good at projecting worldly success and marginalizing those of us with flawed lives, with failures in our past, or who are simply unable or unwilling to devote enough effort to convincing the world of our success. This type of “honoring” is not what God intends. We lead each other astray when we engage in it, because the focus is so wrong.

“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth” (Colossians 3:2).

To honor someone as God intends is to build them up and give them a sense of their true worth. It’s trying to see them as God sees them. It’s pushing right through the confusion of worldly measures—successes, failures, talents, faults, wealth, poverty, titles, appearances—looking for evidence of what God has done in and through them, and what he’s doing currently. And, finally, most importantly, it’s telling them what we see. Our edifying, encouraging words to one another are gifts from God. He allows us to give them to one another . . . and we must.
Okay, so what do we do?

Ask God to help you see those around you as he sees them. Look for how he’s working in and through them. And . . . then . . . tell . . . them. Tell them what you see. We men tend to struggle with the telling. We can be married for years, or in community with other men for years, and never simply tell those closest to us what we see in them. So, pick someone this week and tell them what you see. Honor them with a glimpse of his/her true worth.

If these words impacted you today, send them on!

Gotta Get Humble

I got this from a Daily Devotional that I read.

It is called WiRE. Check it out….Not signed up for WiRE? Get started todaytwice-a-week, totally free.

. . . count others more significant
than yourselves—Philippians 2:3

Let’s first get straight on what “getting humble” is not. It’s not trying to think poorly of ourselves or denigrating ourselves or anything like that. It actually involves taking the focus off ourselves. Getting humble is checking our tendency to think ourselves better than others, or more important, valuable, worthy of time or mind share or respect. Getting humble is shutting down our tendency to “size people up” and position them on some scale—based on money, title, education, geography, whatever. Getting humble is recognizing all people as the careful works of God, equally worthy of love and sacrifice.

Getting humble is counterintuitive, and it moves against prevailing culture. You see, we men want to feel successful, important—and have others consider us so. Culture trains us, therefore, to promote ourselves; to be strategic with our time and attention; to let positions determine our treatment of others. This training is foolish. It misses the sense and strength of humbleness.

Imagine someone humble. They’re often fearless, able to act on convictions, rather than trying to impress. Their decision-making is often sound, unclouded by insecurity or prejudice. They listen and welcome honest differences. They abide critics, crushed not by their criticism. They’re often magnetic, treating all people with respect. They engender loyalty, camaraderie. King Solomon wrote, “with the humble is wisdom” (Proverbs 11:2). We want to work with humble people. We want to work for them and have them work for us. We want them as spouses, friends. But, mostly, we should want to get humble ourselves.

Okay, so what do we do?

Practice getting humble. Choose something this week: initiate a conversation and listen more than you talk; serve in a way that’s mundane or difficult (unpleasant, even); help someone anonymously; give someone the credit they deserve (even if you deserve some too).

 

Elzathion (Pet) Lomick

What I remember of you is strength. You and grandmother used to pick up Leslie and I to spend the weekends with you guys. The first few times were a little hard for me because you were in my eyes not approachable very stand-offish, as time went on I noticed that you spoke a different language. One that didn’t consist of a lot of words or great performances; they weren’t needed. Writing this and thinking about how you shaped me for life is tough. We talked only when necessary yet I learned so much in those few conversations. It wasn’t a strange relationship that we had it was a great one, one where you gave me the space to become the man I needed to be. The man you knew I could be and eventually would be. You did that for all of your grand kids and children alike. Your Strength is something that you have an abundance of and have passed that throughout our family with ease. Seeing you each time would fill me up to carry on the next adventure till I saw you next. The 4th of July will have to be the day when you filled my strength tank and the others for the rest of our life’s journey’s. You are now are now physically out of our reach and we will have to carry on from here. I know we as Lomick’s, Earl’s, McKnight’s and Poston’s along with a large community of relatives that loved you will be fine. We will all carry on the strength that you passed out to us. I love you Grandpa

Strength Honor and Grace

Arthur George

Teaching Manhood and Continuing to watch and Learn from your Mentors

Manhood in the male community seems to be for sale right now. I say that because of the way a lot of our traditions have been modified to create an accepting policy for just any male “Any Male” no matter the belief system. Myself I have a few true men that I really look up to and listen to and respond accordingly to. I try to make sure that my son’s utilize those same principles. Young men today need to be taught I guess how to speak, I think.

The news has it really messed up trying to relate to that is not realistic.

Television would have the general people who get their news from them “NEWS outlets” believing that what has been reported is just how it is in the world. Those are sounds bytes from a small population of this country. Dads, and other men who have younger guys that look up to them need to always create that safe place for the younger men-tee to be able to speak up. Words have power and if young men won’t use them then their power is being taken from them, every minute they stay quiet or choose to allow violence be their voice.

Too long but I think I addressed what I needed to.

A Good Day in Bessemer City, NC

It was a great day yesterday in Bessemer City, NC. We were able to attend my grandfathers annual cookout at his house. What makes it so great is that this guys is ninety-five(95) and able to still do a lot of things and able to carry a conversation on with you. Amazing that he has lived such a full life and still able to enjoy us being there when we arrive and visit with him. It was also good seeing the rest of my aunts and uncles and cousins, but grandpa  you are the man. Wish I had a photo from yesterday to add to this post.

Had great conversation and fellowship, an absolute great day.

Manhood in America

There seems to be a lack of manhood in America today in not just the black community but in other ethnicities as well. If you are a man and you see a young one struggling to get to his feet, reach out to him and help if allowed.

Some of these young men out here have no idea what it means to be a man. I have 4 sons and I strive everyday to be an example for them and my daughters guy friends. If they need a nugget of inspiration I try to provide it for them. If each of did this for a young man near us; I believe that the little ones now without fathers would begin to heal.

No woman can teach a man to be a man. Mom can support him, but she can’t teach what she doesn’t know. He will have to see what that looks like to become that.

The Friend Everyone Longs For

Devotional

The Friend Everyone Longs For

We all have a mental picture of the kind of friends we want to have in our lives. We want friends who will be supportive. Who will stick with us when life is tough. Who will encourage us and not tear us down. Who will not judge us. But today we’re going to flip this around. We are going to consider how we can become the kind of friend for others that we want to have.

Life always begins with becoming rather than finding. Dating is not about finding the right person for your life. Marriage is not about finding the perfect man or woman. No, it’s about becoming the person God wants you to be. In this way, whether you do date and get married… or you don’t… you still win, because you are becoming the person that God wants you to be.

So, with this in mind, we need to look at what it takes to be the kind of friend we want to have in our lives. First, we need to be a friend who is sincere and not phony. A friend with no hidden agendas. A friend who isn’t hypocritical or two-faced. A friend who doesn’t just tell others what they want to hear but speaks the truth.

Second, we need to be a friend who extinguishes evil and celebrates good. We do this by de-escalting conflict insteading of fanning the flames of conflict. We speak the truth as we extend mercy and forgiveness, just like Jesus did for us. While we do not turn a blind eye to the truth, we assume the best of people and are ready to humbly work to restore relationships without thought of personal gain.

Third, we need to be a friend who is open-handed with our resources. We share and actively meet needs.

Fourth, we need to be a friend who rises above the situation. We don’t have to show up to every fight in which we are invited to participate. We can choose to politely withdraw from conflict. To do the unexpected by blessing those who curse us. There is freedom in not having to get even. As we follow God’s purpose and leave it to him to deal with those who curse us, we honor the size of our God and trust he will take care of everything in the very best way.

Fifth, we need to be a friend who moves freely among all people. We all want the friend who says, “I can float with the up-and-ups and the down-and-outs. I can float with the high-and-mighty and be just as happy with those in lower states.” A true friend is there in all circumstances, whether we are at the top or the bottom. The gospel doesn’t treat people differently, and neither should we.

Sixth, we need to be a friend who is a peacemaker. We need to recognize that while we don’t have the power to change others, we can change ourselves. We may not be able to have peace with another person in our lives, but we can have peace toward that person. And if we are at peace with that person, then we are reflecting the gospel. We are living free.

So, today try to be the friend you want to have. By doing so, you will find friends who will recognize the power of the gospel in your life and be drawn closer to God.

Respond

How would you describe the bulk of the friendships that you have had? What do you look for in a friend?

What is the difference between finding a friend and being a friend? What do you find is the most challenging part about being a friend?

If God could do one thing in your life to empower you to “live at peace with everyone,” what would you want it to be?

Becoming Someone vs. Finding Somebody

This was a strong devotional message that I read the other day and thought I would share it with the people that may actually read it.
Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
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Devotional

Becoming Someone vs. Finding Somebody

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught a kingdom message about what it means to live in relationship. Jesus, after describing God’s care for the smallest parts of his creation—the birds of the air and the flowers in the field—poses this question: “Are you not much more valuable than they?” Jesus says that God is going to provide for us more abundantly than he provides each day for them. We don’t have to be anxious for anything.

Unfortunately, anxiety tends to be a huge part of our lives. We worry about what job we will have. What house we will have. How others will perceive us. This anxiety carries into our relationships. We worry about meeting that special person. The wedding we will have. The children we have to raise. But Jesus says don’t worry about tomorrow, for you have a Father who promises if you will make seeking him a priority, he will make providing for you a priority.

God knows that what you need most is a Maker, not a mate. When you’re focused on the Maker, you won’t be distracted by the cares of this world. When you’re working on falling in love with your Maker, you become the person someone else wants in his or her life.

You can’t control the people who come into your life and how they respond to you, but you can control how you invest in becoming the person God wants you to be. You can burn a lot of energy seeking that right person and miss what you need to work on in yourself.

When you submit yourself to God to be molded, he will move you toward the people he wants you to meet. You don’t have to be anxious about being in the right place at the right time or fear who will miss out. If you commit to submitting to the process of becoming, God will be responsible for the process of bringing. So, if you want to get close to somebody, the answer is to move toward Jesus.

The enemy will try to get you to stress about your relationships and whether you will meet that special person. He knows if he can get you to worry about the future, it robs the power of what God wants to do in you today. The power you need is not in what God has done in the past, though you should certainly celebrate that. It is not in what you hope God will do in the future, though you can have confidence in that. The true power is what God, through Christ, wants you to become in the here and now.

There’s a whole world of people who think their happiness depends on their ability to get what they think they need right now. But true happiness is rooted in a Father who sees what we need and is able to provide into our lives at just the proper time. We have the same needs as everyone else on planet Earth. Food. Clothes. Shelter. We all need the same stuff—we just believe the solution is in bringing those things to God and trusting that he will provide.

Respond

How easy or difficult is it for you to take Jesus’ words at face value and not worry about the future? What do you tend to worry about the most?

What do you find yourself worrying about more: the past or the future? How does this worry affect your relationship with Jesus?

What does it mean to shift your priority from finding somebody to becoming someone? Where do you need God to shape, sculpt, and form you?

Enduring Love Today

images-14How many of us can say that we have an enduring love for anything? I mean sure we like to think we have enduring love for our parents and children that we have because we come from them and they from us. How do we fair in a relationship where our faith comes into to play. Marriage, faith in GOD, friendships, or just plain relationships all need the trust of enduring love if we can muster it. It is not something that comes to us easily. We have to get rid of our ego’s and the shame that has happened in the past that causes us not to be able to see in others what God sees in us. When we are able to do this we can move forward in life with the strength that was meant for us.

I have been seeking this mindset for sometime now and I finally feel that I am beginning to see what we should in each other. It is a fragile state though, we as humans here on earth are vulnerable to every form of doubt imaginable. For me to get to this point in myself I have joined a great church and learning from the life groups available through the church itself. Earlier I didn’t put much faith in church and trying to seek a glimpse of the face of Christ. I now see that there is power in prayer and that we all can make changes in the world by using this powerful tool that is available to us. With all that is going on in the world today we need it in the worst ways.psalm-145

Family and friends that knew me previously will probably think that I am on a Jesus kick now. This couldn’t be farther from the truth, I haven’t gone that way in the slightest. I do faith in Christ and that he is alive in us though. I don’t push my beliefs on anyone that isn’t searching for Christ. I am ready and willing to speak his existence and truth when asked about my personal walk. His Grace is all we need when we are weak, it works best when we are at our weakest.

2nd Corinthians (12:9); Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.

I will continue to work on this one because I am still understanding it myself. All relationships will someday cause a strain on the love we have for those in our lives. We may think it is the enduring love that s being called into question when is probably our trust. The two kind of go hand in hand. Our minds will call into question things that have hurt us in the past. This will cause mistrust in those because things may be lining up as they did with a past situation. It will be hard to not listen to those thoughts and suggestions from our conscience’s. We do have to believe that God hasn’t brought us through all that he has only to just leave us cold. He is always with us we just have to trust it.

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