Man, What’s the Point?

For I was envious of the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked—Psalm 73:3

Do you ever look around, at people who are prosperous and follow God either not much or not at all? Do you ever find yourself envying such people, who embrace the world wholeheartedly and enjoy it’s successes? Do you ever get discouraged? Do you ever wonder, what’s the point? I mean, do you ever just get tired of trying to follow God in the midst of people who aren’t? Are you ever tempted to relent and embrace the world a bit more, too? 

A man named Asaph, psalmist in the time of David and Solomon, was tempted to relent. He was surrounded by faithless men who seemed “always at ease” and to continually “increase in riches” (Psalm 73:12). Asaph envied them and his “heart was embittered” (Psalm 73:21). “All in vain,” he cried, “have I kept my heart clean . . .” (Psalm 73:13). We may not admit it as boldly as Asaph, but many of us harbor similar thoughts.

When we face that choice, though, to embrace God or embrace the world, we must remember—we’re part of something much larger, much more important than houses or vacations or titles. We’ve been invited into an ancient and remarkable battle. For “we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19). We’re agents of the resistance, behind enemy lines. We cannot allow ourselves, therefore, to be beguiled by our enemy or the world under his power.

Okay, so what do we do?

Are you ever, like Asaph, nagged by this kind of envy? If so, talk about it. Simply talking about it—with God, a spouse, a friend, with brothers in community—undermines its power. It also allows others to keep you “fueled and aflame” for the battle ahead (Romans 12:11 MSG).

Thanks for reading, these are the words from a devotional that I read throughout the week called the Wire?. I hope they inspire you as they have me.

Arthur Poston Jr.

The Next Chapter

. . . he is a new creation. The old has passed away;
behold, the new has come—2 Corinthians 5:17

We write with God all the time. Working alongside him, we write the stories of our lives. He creates the settings and the characters. He creates the conflicts—the situations requiring choices. And we get to make those choices as the characters in his stories. God may encourage us, invite us, surprise us, persuade us, challenge us, convict us—but we and we alone decide, for ourselves.

As we move along in our stories, as we live them out, we sometimes try to convince ourselves that some decisions aren’t actually written down or that we can selectively somehow strike decisions from our stories, after we’ve made them. Looking forward, we tell ourselves, “no one will know.” Looking back, we think, “no one can ever know.” The truth is, every decision is captured: large, small, good, bad. Every decision is written into our stories, immediately, indelibly.

Thankfully, the plot God intends for us involves making some mistakes, some bad decisions, but learning from them and allowing him to redeem them. He can, you know, redeem even the worst decisions (Romans 8:28). What we must do, going forward, is to keep our stories in mind, when we come upon decision points. What we must do is ask ourselves, at those points, “What decisions do we want to be written, permanently, into our stories?” Asking ourselves that, in those moments, is how we begin to lay aside our old selves and put on our new selves (Ephesians 4:22-24).

Okay, so what do we do?

When you come to a next decision point—today, tomorrow—ask yourself, before you decide, “What do I want to be written into my story?” Ask yourself, “What do I want the next chapter of my story to be about? Trust or mistrust? Selflessness or selfishness? Love or resentment? Maturity or immaturity? Redemption or sin?”

If these words impacted you today, send them on!

These words are from the WiRE’s email publication that I receive twice a week.

Thanks for reading,

Arthur Poston Jr.

Trust No One

 

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
in him my heart trusts—Psalm 28:7

The Apostle Paul set a challenge before us: “having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor” (Ephesians 4:25). No small thing, that one. We men have such a hard time with transparency, with vulnerability. “I don’t know you guys that well.” “I have a hard time trusting other people.” “I don’t know everyone here.” These and objections like them surface naturally in men facing the prospect of being transparent and vulnerable with brothers in community. We’ve all said them, in some version or another. But, this approach, of hesitating and waiting to open up, waiting to tell our brothers what’s really going on, what we’re afraid of, what we’re struggling with, until we have complete trust of the men we’re opening up to, is foolish and based upon misplaced trust.

You see, we can trust no man completely. All “have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). So, waiting for complete trust means waiting for something that’ll never happen. We’re all broken, capable of wickedness even toward those we love most. God, however . . . God is not. So, in him and in him only, brother, should we put our trust (Psalm 118:8). He calls us to be transparent, vulnerable with others, so we must. Now, it might not always go well (at least from our perspectives). That’s okay. It’ll go well from God’s perspective—our obedience to him always does. And, he knows better than we.

Okay, so what do we do?

Next time you meet with a brother or two or three, look around. Which of them do you trust more than God? In that moment, tell yourself: “I trust God. So, I know what I must do” No more lies. No more pretending. No more posturing.

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.

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.

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?

Bold Move Men!

 

 

 

 

 

Reposted from a christian email I received.

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What’s the Bold Move?

The Lord is on my side; I will not fear—Psalm 118:6

“What’s the bold move?” It’s a question that should be asked often, in one form or another, when men gather in Christian community. It’s a question that challenges us to press our intellectual understanding of the truth of our King, Jesus Christ, into clear, practical action. It dares us to form Gospel words into living, breathing reality.

“What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? . . . Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works” (James 2:14, 18).

When we men move boldly in faith it demonstrates—with our actions, with our lives—that we do indeed trust Jesus. It confirms that we’ll actually live our lives like we trust him. Maybe it’s finally deciding to draw clear work/home boundaries, despite ambition or difficulty; maybe it’s confessing some sin, despite embarrassment or awkwardness; maybe it’s giving money or time, despite greed or inconvenience; maybe it’s sharing our faith, despite discomfort or fear; or maybe it’s something else entirely. For each of us, there comes a time when we just must take action, must take risk. There comes a time when our faith mandates that action and risk are the only real options. And that’s when things begin to happen—big, breathtaking things—not because we seek them out necessarily, but because they’re the byproduct of lives that reflect faith.
Okay, so what do we do?

How might you live out your faith with a bold move? Choose something simple, near-term (i.e., this week), and achievable. If you’re in community with other men (and you should be), formulate your bold moves together, customized to each individual and circumstance. Then, keep one another accountable for executing them. This is one way communities of men must work.

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