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Posts tagged ‘Man in the Mirror’

What’s God’s Purpose for You in 2014?.


What are your life goals for the New Year?
What are your life goals for the New Year? (IStock photo)

New Year’s Day is a good time to do something most of us never do—set some goals. Most of the time we call them “New Year’s Resolutions” and we abandon them within a few weeks. Yet I believe God wants us to do more than that. We must determine God’s purpose for our life and for this New Year.

I’ve done this for nearly four decades by setting long-range and short-range goals. Maybe you can learn from my experience in writing goals and letting God use that to set priorities and to accomplish more than you would without them.

Most people spend more time planning their annual vacations than they do planning their lives. My observation is that even most believers drift along in life with no clear direction. It’s been documented that the people who actually write down and work on the goals they set are the most successful in life. I believe they are usually the happiest too, because they have a sense of purpose and fulfillment.

Myles Munroe believes that God wants us to become people who have plans. He believes that plans are documented imagination. If we can document an imagination, we’ve developed a plan for action.

“If you are having real problems in your life, you probably don’t have a piece of paper on which you have documented your plans for the next five years,” he says. “You’re just living from day to day in the absence of a concrete, documented plan. You’ve been dealing with the same issues and habits and struggles for years. You slide forward a little only to slide backward again. Whenever things get hard, you start reminiscing about ‘the good old days’ and fall back into habits you had conquered. Progress requires a plan of action. Ideas must be put down if they are to influence the way you live.”

It’s important to know how to set goals.

Are your goals written down? Do other people know about them? Does your spouse? Do your friends?

Begin with general goals. I set written goals every week. In the “notes” portion of my iPhone, I have goals for the year—spiritual, family, physical, professional.

Break your general goals down into specific daily tasks. Mine are written in my iPhone so that I have them with me wherever I go. Each month I make the general goals specific and break them down to daily tasks. I probably only finish 80 percent of them because as I complete them, I set more.

The times I get away from fulfilling my goals are the times when I drift. Goals give me a sense of direction, boundaries and priorities.

Set some life goals. I like to talk with people about theirs. One of my favorite ways to relax is to get a bite to eat with a friend and ask them about their goals. I might ask how much money they want to make in five years, or what career path they want to take. I’ll ask what they want people to say in their obituary.

Most people have an opinion about these things, but few actually have a plan.

Establish a personal mission statement. Many people go through a difficult mid-life period, which may rob them of goals or make them feel as if what they have achieved is ephemeral. Patrick Morley, author ofThe Man in the Mirror, says that midlife is like a lake.

“Early in our lives we run swift like a river, but shallow. As we put years behind us, though, we deepen. Then one day, we enter the opened jaws of midlife,” Morley says.  “Where once we felt direction and velocity, suddenly we find ourselves swirling about, sometimes aimlessly, or so it seems. Each of us, like individual droplets of water, will take a different path through this part of the journey. For some of us it will only be a slowdown. Others will feel forgotten and abandoned by the father of the river. Some, unable to see where the waters converge and on again grow strong, will despair.”

Morley’s crisis started at 36. He says that it can occur well into your mid-50s.  (Remember, in our diverse culture there is no singular mid-life experience anymore).  “You come to a point that you feel somehow imbalanced—like something is missing,” he says, “like it’s not enough. All the years of pressure deadlines have taken a toll. You have discovered a vacuum in your soul for meaning, beauty, and quiet.”

He recommends writing a life mission statement that includes four elements:

1.  A life purpose: Why you exist

2.  A calling: What you do

3.  A vision or mental picture of what you want to happen

4.  A mission:  How you will go about it

Morley takes us full cycle through the birth of one vision, the implementing of that vision, the setting of goals to attain it, the commitment to a personal mission statement and on to the birth of a new vision that is greater than the first.

“A new vision must spring up from a foundation of gratitude for what God has already done to use us and make us useful,” Morley says. “The motivation cannot merely be wanderlust; not more for the sake of more. Rather, one chapter has closed and another beckons to be opened. A vision is a goal—a big one. Visions are not the work of today or tomorrow or even next month. Rather, a vision has a longer term.”

He reminds us that visions rarely turn out exactly as planned. The apostle Paul had the vision of going to Jerusalem and then to Rome. He didn’t consider that he would make those visits as a prisoner, but that’s how it came about. Often, God must delay the fulfilling of a vision or desire until He has prepared us to be people who can handle it with grace and humility. It is not God’s nature to give us greater visions and accomplishments if they work to our destruction. Instead, God allows us to be hammered into the shape of a vessel that can gracefully contain the vision.

What God-inspired goals do you have for your life? Are you a scientist or doctor who can set a goal of finding a cure for a disease? Are you an entrepreneur who can pledge to give several million dollars to a credible missions organization? Are you a board member or pastor who can start a program for the poor in your city, or network churches to meet the need?

What would do you if there were no boundaries on your imagination or budget?

If you haven’t had big goals and dreams before now, I pray you will learn to set goals for 2014 and give them deadlines. Keep in mind that when you stand before the Lord, He will hold you accountable for the talents, resources and dreams He bestowed upon you. You stand to lose nothing by going for God’s highest plan for you. On the day when He says to you, “Well done, you good and faithful servant,” you will know that you attempted and accomplished much for your Savior.

Please leave your comments. Do you agree with me? Did I motivate you to set some goals? What is a goal you achieved because you wrote it down? What are the biggest things you hope to accomplish in 2014?.

Steve Strang is the founder and publisher of Charisma. Follow him on Twitter at @sstrang or Facebook(stephenestrang).

Why Marriage is the Biggest Challenge Men Face.


How healthy is your marriage?
How healthy is your marriage? (Stock Free Images)

Four of the biggest recurring challenges men face are marriage, work, health, and money. These are the four areas where most of us will experience our toughest long-term circumstances and problems.

In this excerpt from Patrick Morley’s book, How God Makes Men, see how God employs the principle of a greater good to make men of us in these areas.

Marriage

This is what I believe is the single biggest problem men as a group face today—bigger than all their other problems combined. Their marriages are not working as God designed. What can we learn from Joseph that God can use to make us into the husbands He created us to be?

For our marriages, the message is stay the course. Trust that God does have a purpose and that He is always at work in your life and in your relationship. You may be in a marriage that seems beyond help. I say “seems” because no marriage is beyond the hope of reconstruction by the strong arm of God. Nothing that has happened in your marriage has surprised God. If we learn anything from Joseph, it’s that nothing is beyond His redeeming power.

Consider Charles. All Charles did was work. His wife’s heart grew stone cold toward him. He retaliated by thinking about how happy he could be with other women and planning a divorce. This went on for a long time. Yet he knew divorce was not God’s plan for marriage. Then one day, while he was driving in his car, God supernaturally gave him a deep, unquenchable love for his wife. And the following week God changed his wife’s heart too.

God changed what seemed like irresolvable differences into a greater good–both for them and for others. Today Charles boldly helps other men save their marriages by telling the story of how God intervened in his marriage.

Men routinely ask me how to resolve marriage tensions. A man whose marriage was hanging by a thread asked, “What should I do?”

I asked him, “What do you want to do?”

“I want to make it work!”

“Do you want to be absolutely loyal to God?”

Yes, more than anything.”

Then I said what I always say: “You can’t, but Jesus in you can; so put your faith in Him, not what you see, and give it a few years.” Give it a few years–that’s the school of Joseph talking.

Once I saw a research report claiming that five years after they were divorced, a majority of people wish they would have worked harder to make their marriages work. In fact, an analysis of the National Survey of Families and Households revealed that 86 percent of unhappily married couples who did stick it out found that five years later their marriages were happier.

So if happiness is what you want, stick it out and give it a few more years. Adjust your expectations. Family systems scholar Edwin Friedman stated, “In reality, no human marriage gets a rating of more than 70%.” The happiness that working through your problems will bring far exceeds the shadow of happiness that divorce might bring. Most divorced men I’ve met have attested that the negative impacts of divorce, especially on their children, seem to go on forever. Besides, you’re not the only one whose happiness is at stake.

However, if your wife pulls out anyway, and you are on your own, you can use that time to stand strong and reveal the power and glory of God. You can continue to live in absolute loyalty to Jesus Christ by putting your faith in Him and keeping yourself morally pure until you remarry, or even remarry her. Over a dozen men in our Friday morning Bible study have done just that. Because they stayed true, God brought them back together again with their divorced or separated wives. And it didn’t hurt to have a small group of men to meet with on a weekly basis.

Of course, no one can guarantee any specific outcome for your relationship with your wife. What we do learn from Joseph, however, is that you can trust God’s Word that nothing has happened to you by human decision–yours or hers–apart from what is permitted by His will. And what God allows He will also use to put His power on display. What God wants from you now is the absolute loyalty that can come only from putting your faith in Jesus Christ. Remain faithful, and God will use your seemingly dead-end marriage to reveal His glory through a greater good. So stay the course.

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE/ NEW MAN.

Patrick Morley is founder and CEO of Man in the Mirror. After building one of Florida’s 100 largest privately held companies, in 1991, he founded Man in the Mirror, a nonprofit organization to help men find meaning and purpose in life. Dr. Morley is the best-selling author of The Man in the Mirror, No Man Left Behind, Dad in the Mirror, and A Man’s Guide to the Spiritual Disciplines.

Patrick Morley: A Plea to Disciple Younger Men.


Have you had the opportunity to disciple a younger man?
Have you had the opportunity to disciple a younger man? (Shutterstock)

A former business colleague is discipling a college student and asked me which of my books I would recommend he use. Without blinking I wrote back, “How God Makes Men.”

In the email, I included the following book excerpt, which explains why:

“By now, I’m sure you’re not surprised that God sends men in much the same way He has been sending them down through the centuries. Once you’ve been enlisted in God’s army and learned how to clean and shoot your weapon, you’re going to be deployed. Sending is simply going wherever God wants you to go to do whatever God wants you to do. Of course, making disciples is not the only thing God sends us to do. But in this chapter we’re focusing on the Great Commission, or ‘making disciples,’ part of sending. Let’s consider the priorities of making disciples.

“First, making disciples starts at home. Your most important ministry is to your wife (if you have one). A friend of mine was having marriage problems. He came to one of our conferences and got inspired to disciple men. Since that brought him joy, and home brought him distress, he started putting more and more time into discipling men and spending less and less time with his wife. When he asked me about it, I said, ‘I don’t want you doing ministry to men until you get your ministry to your wife right.’ To his credit, he went back and put his own marriage in order. Today, he has a flourishing ministry to men.

“Second, after your wife, your most important ministry is to your children (if you have any). A man’s number one discipleship group must be his family. No amount of success anywhere else can compensate for failure here. God has ordained you to disciple your children. If they don’t get discipled, that one’s on you. You are God’s designated way to release the power of the gospel to your children.

“Finally, once you have your own house in order, then you can have a disciple-making ministry to others. All kinds of people need discipleship. But let me make a special plea. You see, one of the greatest needs in our day is to disciple younger men. An incident from the animal kingdom illustrates this.

“When elephants overcrowded South Africa’s Kruger National Park, the government authorized killing adult elephants and relocating their offspring to other parks. As the orphaned male elephants became teenagers, they were clueless about what normal elephant behavior looked like. When their testosterone levels spiked, the orphaned bulls turned aggressive. In one park they savagely killed thirty-nine rhinos. A park ranger watched as a young bull elephant intentionally knocked over a rhino and trampled it. The situation was out of control.

“Then rangers brought several adult bull elephants into one of the parks. Just by being themselves, these animals ‘mentored’ the younger bulls, demonstrating to them what normal male elephant behavior looked like. No more rhinos were killed after the mature bulls arrived.

“It’s not easy to become a man. Many young men today have grown up as ‘practical’ orphans. They’ve been left to guess at what normal male behavior looks like. The faith of young men is under severe attack. That’s where the battle is raging. And frankly, mature Christian men are just not getting the discipleship job done. Consider these challenging words:

“If I profess, with the loudest voice and the clearest exposition, every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christianity. Where the battle rages the loyalty of the soldier is proved, and to be steady on all the battle-field besides is mere flight and disgrace to him if he flinches at that one point.”

So, consider discipling some younger men. That’s a place where you can really make a difference.

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE/ NEW MAN.

PATRICK MORLEY/MAN IN THE MIRROR

Patrick Morley is founder and CEO of Man in the Mirror. After building one of Florida’s 100 largest privately held companies, in 1991, he founded Man in the Mirror, a nonprofit organization to help men find meaning and purpose in life. Dr. Morley is the best-selling author of The Man in the Mirror, No Man Left Behind, Dad in the Mirror, and A Man’s Guide to the Spiritual Disciplines.

How to Become That True Man of God.


 

Are you a man after God's own heart?

Are you a man after God‘s own heart? (Stock Free Images)

A man asked, “I have faith … but how do I become a true godly man? How do I become a true disciple of Christ? I want to burn with desire for Him and lead others to Him.”

Isn’t that the meat of the coconut? A clear, simple statement of the Christian mission is “becoming and making disciples.”

Personally, I have never known a man whose life has changed in any significant way apart from 1) the regular study of God’s word on his own and 2) active participation in a small group.

So build the “becoming a disciple” part of the mission around three practical goals: attend a weekly worship service, join a small group, and read the Bible for yourself (e.g., four or more times a week). Obviously there are other spiritual disciplines too, but these three are simple, easy to grasp, and if you do these three you will likely find yourself doing the others.

And from the beginning, a big part of “becoming a disciple” is to get equipped for service and “to make other disciples.” So part of the mission is to find training opportunities to make disciples (e.g., how to lead a small group), and for the other service and ministry opportunities in your church.

Think of it as a progressive process that you ease into over the next couple of years. For anyone who has faith but yearns to be “all in” you have to start somewhere, so start here. And no matter how wise and mature you become, that true man of God will never stop doing these things.

Patrick Morley is founder and CEO of Man in the Mirror. After building one of Florida’s 100 largest privately held companies, in 1991, he founded Man in the Mirror, a nonprofit organization to help men find meaning and purpose in life. Dr. Morley is the best-selling author of The Man in the Mirror, No Man Left Behind, Dad in the Mirror, and A Man’s Guide to the Spiritual Disciplines.

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE/ NEW MAN.

PATRICK MORLEY/MAN IN THE MIRROR

Exploring a Husband’s Role as a Prophet, Priest and King.


Priest of the home
Are you the priest, prophet and king of your home?

Ephesians 5:25 offers the principle instruction to married men: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church.” If you want a biblical marriage, then you need to understand how Christ loved the church.

Some men think Christ is Jesus’ last name. Of course, Christ is not a name but a title for Jesus that means “Messiah” or “anointed one.” Jesus loved the church—His family—as its Christ, or anointed one. Since husbands are to love their wives in the same way as the anointed one loves His family, they need to know exactly what Jesus was anointed to do. In the New Testament, as we shall see, husbands become anointed ones.

In theology, Christ occupies the classic threefold office of prophet, priest and king. Let’s explore how this relates to you.

1. The role of a prophet. A prophet represents God to people. In the Old Testament, a prophet would face the people and speak. Jesus was a prophet who spoke the Word of God to the people and was, in fact, the Word incarnate. A prophet speaks for God.

A husband is to be the family prophet. He represents God to his wife (and, by extension, his family, the fruit of their union). When his wife reacts emotionally, he calms her with God’s wisdom. He proclaims the gospel of faith to his family. He provides biblical instruction and training to his wife and children without becoming legalistic. He prepares family devotions and encourages private devotions. He is the arbiter of family values. He insists on regular church attendance. He is a messenger from God to his family.

2. The role of a priest. If a prophet represents God to people, then a priest represents people to God. In the Old Testament, a priest would turn his back to the people and mediate for them before God. Jesus is the High Priest who mediated between people and the Father by the sacrifice of His life. A priest mediates before God.

A husband is to be the family priest. He represents his wife and children to God. He spends time in prayer each day remembering the needs and concerns of his wife. He prays for the salvation of his children. Like Job, he asks the Lord to forgive the sins of his children. He sets the spiritual temperature in the home. He sacrifices his life for theirs. He is a mediator to God for his family.

3. The role of a king. A king takes responsibility for the welfare of his people. He provides both justice and mercy for them. Jesus is a king from the line of David. A king provides for and offers protection and security for his people.

A husband is to be the family king. He provides for the needs of his family. He works diligently to earn enough for food and shelter. He administers discipline with fairness. He quickly forgives and overlooks offenses. He acts in a manner worthy of receiving honor. He treats his wife with consideration and respect. He is careful not to be harsh with her. He is a provider for his family.

Husbands are to be the anointed spiritual leaders of their wives. God has anointed you to lead your wife as her prophet, priest and king. Because of the fall, your wife, according to Genesis 3:16, has a desire for you that is best rendered “a desire that borders on disease.”

So you must be gentle and wise because she is more fragile than you. It is God’s will for your marriage to work. Give her a voice in the marriage. After God, but before all others, make your mate your priority.

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE/ NEW MAN.

PATRICK MORLEY/MAN IN THE MIRROR

Patrick Morley is founder and CEO of Man in the Mirror. After building one of Florida’s 100 largest privately held companies, in 1991, he founded Man in the Mirror, a nonprofit organization to help men find meaning and purpose in life. Dr. Morley is the best-selling author of The Man in the Mirror, No Man Left Behind, Dad in the Mirror and A Man’s Guide to the Spiritual Disciplines.

Why Reaching Men Is Becoming Critical.


The need to disciple men has reached a critical point
The need to disciple men has reached a critical point. (Stock Free Images)

My father-in-law and I have lunch once a week. Last Monday our waitress, Stephanie (not her real name), seemed a little down so I struck up a conversation.

She told us the parking lot in front of the restaurant had flooded during a torrential Florida storm the day before and now her car wouldn’t start. She had tears in her eyes, so I knew there had to be more to the story.

I guessed she was so overwhelmed by what for most of us would be a small inconvenience because she didn’t have much money. I told her how sorry we were and that we would say a prayer for her when we prayed over lunch.

Then I asked her a few more questions. She is 26 years old, a single mom with 6- and 8-year-old boys, and has no family in Orlando. The father of her children isn’t in the picture—he’s a bad actor. So she’s left to raise two sons without a father figure by working for tips.

Her mother died when she was 14 and her younger brother was 8 years old. Their father did not step up. Perhaps he didn’t know how, but he failed them. She made some bad choices, but now she’s trying to do the right thing by her two sons. Yet she worries they have no male influence.

When she brought our food, she started walking away. On impulse, I called her back and invited her to join us as we prayed; she did, and I sensed that God encouraged her heart.

Then she went on to say she was deeply worried about her younger brother, now 20, who, without a positive father figure, is on the cusp of becoming a bad actor too. So I told her about the work we do with men and gave her a copy of The Man in the Mirror for him.

I don’t know if I will ever see Stephanie again. I hope so. But if not, Dad and I did what we could that day. I trust God is already sovereignly orchestrating others to make appearances in her life. And I will continue to pray for her as the Lord brings her to mind.

It’s an all too familiar pattern, isn’t it? Stephanie has five men in her life. Her father? A bad actor. The father of her children? A bad actor. Her brother? Which way will he go? Her two sons? What will become of them?

What a perfect example of why God wants us to disciple men. Experiences like this are why we can never, and will never, tire or lose our passion to help evangelize and disciple men. The mission of men’s discipleship is for all of the broken people, like Stephanie and her sons, left in the wake of misguided men. Those men have no idea of the destructive forces they are setting in motion that will devastate multiple generations.

That’s why we must urgently help every church disciple every man.

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE/ NEW MAN.

Patrick Morley is founder and CEO of Man in the Mirror. After building one of Florida’s 100 largest privately held companies, in 1991, he founded Man in the Mirror, a nonprofit organization to help men find meaning and purpose in life. Dr. Morley is the best-selling author of The Man in the Mirror, No Man Left Behind, Dad in the Mirror, and A Man’s Guide to the Spiritual Disciplines.

Should You Tithe When Things Get Tough?.


Should you forego tithing to get out of debt?
Should you forego tithing to get out of debt? (Stuart Miles/Free Digital Photos)

Recently a man who attends The Man in the Mirror Bible Study every Friday online asked a question about tithing that I suspect a lot of men wonder about. So with his permission, here’s our exchange.

Abe: I have a question about tithing. I have not treated God’s money very well over my life. I am 52, married five years and have three very young children.

Unfortunately, I am embarrassed to say we have no savings and about $38,000 in debt outside our condo mortgage. About $12,000 of that is credit cards, $10,000 is student loans, and $15,000 is from a friend who loaned me money for the condo. We had been giving 5-7 percent of our net income until this year when we upped it to 10 percent. If we did not tithe, we could put that money to our credit cards and pay them off much sooner.

Do you think that would be biblically wrong or does God want us to suffer and pay the price for my immature and irresponsible attitude towards money? Our financial situation is a large source of tension in our marriage. I feel I have let our family down. My wife asked me to shoot you a message to see what you think.

Response: Abe, no one else can tell you what God’s will is for anything unless it is specifically commanded or prohibited by scripture. In my opinion, tithing falls into the category that it is commanded in the Old Testament and confirmed by Jesus in the New Testament at Matthew 23:23.

My own story is that, even though I faced bankruptcy every day for seven years, my wife and I tithed every penny we ever earned—actually more. And God has wonderfully provided for us. We have never lacked for anything. And I was spared from bankruptcy.

My advice would be to keep tithing. I know it’s counterintuitive, but God honors those who honor Him. You’re going to get through this. Make God bless your decision.

Men, I hope you already tithe. But if not, I would like to encourage you to test and see if it’s true that, by tithing, God will watch over you as He has watched over me.

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE/ NEW MAN.

PATRICK MORLEY/MAN IN THE MIRROR

Patrick Morley is founder and CEO of Man in the Mirror. After building one of Florida’s 100 largest privately held companies, in 1991, he founded Man in the Mirror, a nonprofit organization to help men find meaning and purpose in life. Dr. Morley is the best-selling author of The Man in the Mirror, No Man Left Behind, Dad in the Mirror, and A Man’s Guide to the Spiritual Disciplines.

Would Jesus Tweet?.


Connecting social media
(Suphakit73/Free Digital Photos)

Technology has shifted yet again—this time advancing from “communication” technology to “connection” technology.

  • Technology 1 is industrial technology—mass production, systems, processes.
  • Technology 2 is information technology—computers, copy machines.
  • Technology 3 is communication technology—fax, overnight, email, the Internet.
  • Technology 4 is connection technology—Facebook, Twitter, Caring Bridge, Instagram, etc.

Of course, former technologies don’t go away. Instead, like amoebas, they divide and expand. While not every man will be drawn to technology at all, much less the “connections” of Technology 4, many men tilt in that direction, and especially younger men. In fact, it’s hard to imagine being thought of as relevant by younger men if you are technology resistant.

In the end, people, churches, denominations and ministries that fail to make a place for connection technologies will be marginalized (e.g., think about the “old time” Christian radio shows that seem stuck in a time warp).

The first step is always to understand. Personally, I decided to spend 2009 to understand more about Facebook and Twitter—enough to get involved. Now I love both. They’re each a tremendous ministry resource and free.

About the only technology Jesus and His disciples had to use were roads. But they did use them. And every generation of Christians since has worked hard to fully exploit the best technologies available—the printing press, the telephone, radio, television, airplanes, computers, the Internet … you name it!

So, would Jesus tweet and post on Facebook? Isn’t it obvious? While there are many penultimate purposes, the ultimate purpose of technology is to fulfill the Great Commission. And I have no doubt Jesus would make the most of every connection technology He could.

Come to think of it, some of the best tweets I’ve seen merely quote Jesus!

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE/ NEW MAN.

PATRICK MORLEY/MAN IN THE MIRROR


Patrick Morley is founder and CEO of Man in the Mirror. After building one of Florida’s 100 largest privately held companies, in 1991, he founded Man in the Mirror, a nonprofit organization to help men find meaning and purpose in life. Dr. Morley is the best-selling author of The Man in the Mirror, No Man Left Behind, Dad in the Mirror, and A Man’s Guide to the Spiritual Disciplines.

Is Someone You Love Not Walking With the Lord?.


Jesus walking

If someone you know or love deeply has professed Christ but now isn’t walking with the Lord, you neverhave enough information to say, “They are not a Christian anymore.” You don’t know that—no matter how bizarre or painful their behavior. That’s drawing a conclusion.

All you can do with certainty is make the observation, “They are not walking with the Lord.” You can make the observation but not draw the conclusion. That’s because, as Scripture says, “Man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7, ESV).

God has an altogether different way of thinking about His sheep when they go astray. The idea is simple: No one who has believed in Christ can ever fall so far that the hand of God will not rescue and restore him. Jesus put it this way:

“All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. … And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day” (John 6:37-39).

Theologians call this concept “the perseverance of the saints.” Or sometimes “eternal security.” It’s the doctrine some of us refer to as “once saved, always saved.” The Westminster Confession of Faith explains the details of perseverance like this:

“They, whom God hath accepted in His Beloved, effectually called, and sanctified by His Spirit, can neither totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace, but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved.

“This perseverance of the saints depends not upon their own free will, but upon the immutability of the decree of election flowing from the free and unchangeable love of God the Father; upon the efficacy of the merit and intercession of Jesus Christ; the abiding of the Spirit, and the seed of God within them; and the nature of the covenant of grace: from all which ariseth also the certainty and infallibility thereof.”

That doesn’t mean we’re immune from falling into sin. Nor does it mean we’ll get a pass on paying a David-like penalty for those sins. The confession goes on:

“Nevertheless, they may, through the temptations of Satan and of the world, the prevalence of corruption remaining in them, and the neglect of the means of their preservation, fall into grievous sins; and, for a time, continue therein: whereby they incur God’s displeasure, and grieve His Holy Spirit, come to be deprived of some measure of their graces and comforts, have their hearts hardened, and their consciences wounded; hurt and scandalize others, and bring temporal judgments upon themselves.”

For these reasons, we must never, ever give up on anyone. We simply do not know what God will do or when. So do not grow weary and give up. Hang in there. Keep the faith. Trust God. What else can we do? God wants that person to love Him more than we ever will.

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE/ NEW MAN.

PATRICK MORLEY/MAN IN THE MIRROR


Patrick Morley is founder and CEO of Man in the Mirror. After building one of Florida’s 100 largest privately held companies, in 1991, he founded Man in the Mirror, a nonprofit organization to help men find meaning and purpose in life. Dr. Morley is the best-selling author of The Man in the Mirror, No Man Left Behind, Dad in the Mirror, and A Man’s Guide to the Spiritual Disciplines.

Commitment vs. Surrender: Where Are You With Christ?.


Man surrendering
(Stock Free Images)

Word had spread throughout the hospital about Ken, the upbeat 80-year-old man in room 3330. His buoyant, cheerful attitude was infectious among the hospital staff. Ken was my best friend. We had lunch weekly for 32 years.

One morning, a doctor appeared at the door of his hospital room and read his chart. After looking it over, he said to Ken, “I wonder if I could talk to you for a minute?” He was not one of Ken’s doctors.

“Sure, what’s on your mind?” Ken replied.

He said, “Well, I’ve heard about you around the hospital, and I’d like to know how it is that you, at your age, with the difficulties you’re having, can be so upbeat and cheerful?”

Ken answered, “I would be happy to tell you, but first, you tell me, how do you find your enjoyment?”

“To tell you the truth,” the doctor said, “I really don’t have much enjoyment. I had a plane, and I thought that would do it. But that didn’t work. Now we have a boat, but that doesn’t seem to work either. I’ve got a big income. That’s really brought me no lasting satisfaction.”

Ken said, “I know what you’re going through. In my lifetime, the only thing that I’ve ever found that has provided me any lasting peace and satisfaction is a relationship with Jesus Christ.”

About that time, Maria, a Hispanic maid about 50 years old entered the room. Ken had spoken with her on several previous occasions. She wrung out her mop and started working on the other side of the bed from where the doctor stood. Maria was the lowest person in the hospital. She would work for the next 20 years to earn as much as this doctor would make in the current year. ,

Ken said, “Maria, can you come here please?” She looked up, and her peaceful countenance radiated sunshine throughout the room. Then Ken said to the doctor, “I want you to look into Maria’s face,” for she had a beautiful face and lovely smile. “She has what I’m talking about. Do you see it?”

The three of them fell quiet. The doctor looked into Maria’s face. Ken and Maria alternated glances between each other and the doctor. Ken could peer into the doctor’s mind. Yes, this doctor saw what Maria had. It was transparent that what she had was the thing for which he had been searching. It was clear that he wanted what Maria and Ken had found. It was a poignant, spiritual moment.

“Maria,” Ken finally said, “do you have the Lord in your life?”

It seemed impossible, but Maria beamed even more broadly and said, “Oh, yes, I love my Jesus Christ.”

Ken thanked her, and she continued with her chores.

Over the span of 15 minutes, Ken told this restless doctor that many years before, he had felt the same way. “One Monday morning,” he said, “I cried out to God to come into my life, forgive my sins and give my life meaning. Blinded by tears, I had to pull over to the side of the road. That morning, I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ.

“All I ever asked Him to give me was peace and joy. He answered my prayer, and that’s why you’re in here right now trying to find out what’s going on. What I want to encourage you to do is go find a quiet place and cry out to Jesus Christ. Tell Him what’s in your heart. Ask Him to forgive your sins and surrender your life to Him in faith. In five more minutes, you’ll be gone from here, tomorrow I’ll go home, and we’ll never see each other again. But this is the one thing that can change your life and bring you peace.”

Surrender vs. Commitment

Adrian Rogers, a famous 20th-century Baptist pastor, once went on a mission trip to Romania. Over the course of two weeks, he bonded with his interpreter but hadn’t learned much about the man’s thoughts. So toward the end of the trip, he asked the man, “Tell me, what do you think of American Christians?”

“I don’t want to talk about it,” came the strange reply. This, of course, only made Dr. Rogers more curious, so he began to press the man for an answer.

After several attempts, Dr. Rogers finally said, “Why won’t you tell me? I really want to know.”

Finally, the interpreter capitulated. “Well, OK then, but you’re not going to like my answer. I don’t think you Americans understand what Christianity is all about. Back in the 1960s, you started to use the word ‘commitment’ to describe your relationship with Christ. However, any time a word comes into usage, another word goes into disuse.”

The man continued, “Until the 1960s, you Americans talked about ‘surrender’ to Christ. Surrender means giving up control, turning over all to the Master Jesus. By changing to the word ‘commitment,’ your relationship with Christ has become something you do, and therefore you are able to keep control. ‘Surrender’ means giving up all rights to one’s self. You Americans don’t like to do that, so, instead, you make a commitment.”

The Act of Surrender

Have you truly surrendered—not just committed—your life to Jesus Christ? Maybe you have “prayed a sinner’s prayer,” maybe not. Maybe you’ve surrendered in the past but have taken back control of your life. In any case, be sure to settle this issue before you stop reading this.

You can surrender, or re-surrender, your life by humbly telling God in your own words that you desire to yield control of your life to Him in repentance and faith. Or, if you wish, you can pray this prayer:

Lord Jesus, I need You in my life right now more than I ever have. I have very little joy, peace and passion in my life. I confess that I have been trying to have the best of both worlds, that I have been double-minded and that I have been seeking the God I have wanted and not the God who is. I am so sorry, and I repent. Please forgive me. Thank You for loving me so much that You would die for all of my sins so that I can have eternal life. By faith I receive (or renew) my salvation and surrender my life to You. Take control of my life. Make me into the kind of man that You want me to be. I pray this in Your name, Jesus, and for Your glory. Amen.

If you’ve just surrendered or re-surrendered your life, congratulations! The surrendered life is the foundation under everything. Let me add one suggestion. Because I am a rebel, as most men are, I realized that I must each day come humbly to the foot of the cross in a spirit of repentance and faith and once again make a full, total, complete surrender of my life to the lordship of Jesus.

That’s the deal. Let me encourage you to also practice daily surrender. If someone forwarded this article to you, let them know if you surrendered your life. In any case, be sure to get with some other surrendered men and figure out how they do it.

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE/ NEW MAN.


Patrick Morley is founder and CEO of Man in the Mirror. After building one of Florida’s 100 largest privately held companies, in 1991, he founded Man in the Mirror, a non-profit organization to help men find meaning and purpose in life. Dr. Morley is the best-selling author of The Man in the Mirror, No Man Left Behind, Dad in the Mirror, and A Man’s Guide to the Spiritual Disciplines.

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