Tag Archives: Men And Women

Extreme Grace

I am thrilled to know and experience the grace of God.  It’s absolutely life changing once you know what God has done for us.

One of the great tragedies of the church in our day is the fear so many have of grace.  They fear what might happen if people really knew they were completely forgiven, loved and part of heaven even now.  That security, for some, is just too good to be true. There must be a trick up God’s sleeve somewhere.  He can’t really mean that we already have everything and can never lose it.  There must be something we have to do, some work, some duty that will let us make our relationship and eternity sure, but there isn’t….it’s absolutely and totally free, available by faith alone and will last forever!
But grace is even more extreme than you think it is.  It’s outrageous and foolish from man’s viewpoint.  In his love God provided for all of mankind a free gift of forgiveness, redemption, salvation, security, eternity with him, and peace now…if they would simply accept his gift by faith.
You have to know I haven’t gotten to the extreme part yet.  Here it is, are you ready?  God has made it possible for us to be his sons, his daughters!  Imagine, a son of God.  That is so crazy I can’t even understand what that

looks like! But there’s more….he’s also given each of his children HIS Spirit to dwell in them, lead them, help them, and be with them….are you ready….forever.  When the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God, takes up residence in us he promises to never leave.  We are men and women indwelt by the God who made us for all eternity!
More?  Ok, here we go…there is nothing you can do, good or bad…ever, to lose what he has given you.  You cannot lose his gifts to you if you have received them.  They are yours by faith alone and eternally yours….you can never be lost.  An eternal, indwelt by the Spirit of God, child of God.  More? We are destined to live with God and be part of his eternal kingdom.  Priests and Kings he calls us.  Children of God he describes us.  The names and provisions would fill pages, more than I have room to speak of here, but his grace extended to us is extreme at the far end of the scale.
The work of God in grace could fill volumes!  It’s not just a “saving grace”, although it is that, it’s an extreme grace that completely changes everything about our lives here and our eternity ahead.
But sadly many have made this wonderful grace a small thing.  They fear what believers might do if they knew.  The tragedy is that if they knew they would fall more deeply in love with God and lean in closer to know him better.  Let’s talk about this extreme grace to those we know and celebrate the amazing love of God in his provision for us. It is a wonderfully glorious magnificent extreme grace!
Visit Mike at Finishing Well.

Whom Shall I Fear (God of Angel Armies) – Chris Tomlin

God is looking for imperfect men and women who have learned to walk in moment-by-moment dependence on the Holy Spirit. Christians who have come to terms with their inadequacies, fears, and failures. Believers who have become discontent with ‘surviving’ and have taken the time to investigate everything God has to offer in this life. – Charles Stanley

 

Becoming Animals

It’s interesting living in the culture we do.

In this post-modern culture, or whatever it’s called now,  there is a wholesale abandonment  of belief in God.  At university level the statistics say that 70% or more of Christian kids will abandon their faith and become agnostic or atheist.

The culture at large is moving away from a belief in God as well.  Around us is a culture proud of its ability to function without God.  They even claim to be moral without God (but that discussion is for another day).

What’s the price for these choices? What does it cost a man to turn his back on God?  Or course you might expect me to say it costs him salvation, and that is true, but there is another price that most don’t realize they pay- they lose their role as image bearers.

The bible says we were made in the image of God, but when we deny him, refuse to believe in him, to follow him, we forsake the very thing we were designed to be- image bearers of God.

As a result we often choose to bear the image of the only thing left, the animal world around us.  I think this is why movies like the Twilight series are so popular.  Men and women becoming vampires and werewolves gives them an image to reflect, an identity….the image of animals.  

This comes out as well in a new TV series titled GRIMM.  In this series a police officer is chasing people who look completely normal, but are really animals under the skin.  When we deny our role as image bearers of God we usually imitate what we see around us.

Romans 1 talks of this, but not in exactly the same way I am here.  It’s clear we were designed to reflect God, to bear his image.  When we refuse our identity we will reflect something, what will that be?

Some wonder why the world around us is becoming so violent, why anger, killing, and war seems to be growing.  In part it’s because we have decided to abandon our calling as image bearers of God and the results are what we see in our world today…men acting like animals.

When you turn your back on God you lose much more than you would imagine.  You lose the God who made you, you lose the promise of life, you lose peace (that’s another post as well) and you lose sight of what you were designed to be, you lose your identity.

The price is much higher than we even know, but when we deny God we also deny being made in his image and choose a lower image. We choose to become men without souls, without a purpose, without a moral compass, without hope.  We become animals.

 

Visit Mike at FinishingWell.
 
 

Desperate Days

My soft-hearted receptionist came back to tell me there was a lady in real need in our reception area and she didn’t want to just send her away empty handed.

I met with Nancy.  It’s hard to know how best to help at times. Is this person just begging for a living or is this a real need?  It’s sad, but I have to deal with these questions and make difficult choices at times.

Nancy had a very sad story.  No place to live, no money, mental illness and a 16 year old daughter. The only way I can imagine it worse is if she had cancer!  She was desperate for help of some kind.  This is happening more often than we want to admit.  These are desperate days.

In case you’re wondering, yes I helped Nancy and her daughter.  It’s what we do as Christ followers, isn’t it?  It’s why people come to us for help because they know that Christians are supposed to help and we are, we should, we must.  In desperate times like these there is nothing more important than showing the love God extends us by extending it to others.

This spirit of caring comes because God has cared for us.  It’s a response to God’s love for us that makes us reach out to others.  Some are selling their homes, moving into smaller homes and using the extra money to help others.  Others are looking for different ways to help those in need. The love of Christ is motivating them to share what God has given them with those in need.

This is how Jesus fed the multitudes.  He gave the bread and fish to the disciples who then gave it to the crowds.  He made them “middle men” for his provision.  He does the same with us in our day.  We are his “middle men and women” sharing what God has given us with those in need, both spiritually and physically.  
In desperate days like these the love of Christ in us is revealed most clearly as we help those who have nowhere else to go.  The love of God moves us to action just as it did God when he gave to us,  “For God so loved the world he gave….”

Giving out of love is the very nature of our Father.  As his children we have this same heart, a heart of love that gives.  Pray for an opportunity to share the love of God with those in need around you.   Desperate days give us opportunities to show how glorious the love of God is for those in need of both food and faith.

Visit Mike at Finishing Well.

Ministries On A Mission

 

Not A Fan

Join the hundreds of people who have made the commitment to be more than just a fan…

People who are completely, committed, followers of Jesus not just admirers. When we decide to follow Him, He calls for a complete commitment and total surrender. Join those who say, “I am not a fan of Jesus”.

 

 

I Am Second

I am Second is a movement meant to inspire people of all kinds to live for God and for others whether your a celebrity or the girl/guy-next door. You can chat, call, or email 24/7.

 

 

Doctors Without Borders

These dedicated men and women work in nearly 70 countries providing medical aid to those most in need regardless of their race, religion, or political affiliation.

 

International Justice Mission

The International Justice Mission is a human rights agency with a vision to rescue victims of slavery, protect the vulnerable from sexual exploitation, and provide protection for victims of other forms of violent oppression.

 

 

Living Waters // The Way of The Master

Their mission is to equip Christians in fulfilling the Great Commission using very effective media. Matt 28:16-20

 

Open Doors

Their mission to help those living or facing restriction and persecution because of their faith in Jesus Christ, and to encourage their involvement in world evangelism through Bible distribution and education.

 

Voice Of The Martyrs

Helping Christians persecuted for their involvement in spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ by providing medical assistance, food, clothing, and other forms of aid.

 

Samaritans Purse

Samaritan’s Purse is a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world.

 

World Vision

This Christian humanitarian organization is dedicated to serving children and families in nearly 100 countries providing assistance and  serving as advocates for justice.

woundedwarrior Wounded Warrior Project
Consider giving to this dedicated organization raising awareness for the needs of injured service members returning home; to help those injured service members aid and assist each other, and to provide unique, direct programs and services to meet their needs.

 

cultivateCultivate Leadership

Cultivate Leadership is focused on growing leaders for global impact.  Their hope is to equip future leaders to make positive contributions in the lives of others.

 

Modeling Christ

“Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.” -Paul, 1 Corinthians 11:

Paul did something I have not seen others do.  He offered himself as the model of what a Christ follower should look like.  As I read these words this morning they once more stopped me to think about what that would look like in my life and yours.

Paul was so confident that he understood the Christ life and was living it that he invited others to follow him and imitate his life.  “Boys, just watch me and do it like I do it” would be Paul’s words to a young disciple.

It demands two important things in a life, 1. that you know what a life lived as an imitator of Christ looks like, and 2. that you are actually living that way.  It demands a clear map of the route and a confidence you are on the path as a disciple yourself…that you are in fact imitating Christ.

But this is exactly what we are supposed to be doing in our lives, isn’t it?  Dads, are you telling your sons and daughters, “just watch me live the Christian life and you will be ok”?  Pastors, are you inviting others to follow you around and imitate your life, your words?  You should!

Paul has given us the foundational principle of discipleship- modeling.  “Imitate me as I imitate Christ” are heady words to say to someone.  It means you must know where you are going, what it looks like, and actually be going the right way. It means you know that others are watching you, following you, imitating you.

If someone is imitating your life will they get it right? Will they be a follower of Christ or a deformed version of one?  Have you invited someone to imitate you as a Christ follower?  If not, what do you need to change? Where are you going that you wouldn’t want another to follow?  Are you modeling Christ for others to follow?

This is our greatest need in the church today…men and women following Christ and inviting others to imitate them in the way.  What do you need to change to make that offer to another?  Could it be that most of us don’t know where we are going in the first place?  If you have never offered this invitation to another what must you change to invite another to follow you?

“Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.”  What an amazing invitation from the pen of Paul.  I’ve never been invited to follow another in this way, nor have I made the invitation.  I wonder what would change if we did…….

 

Visit Mike at Finishing Well.

A Little Word And A Big GOD

One of the most amazing chapters in the bible is Daniel 11. It stands out because of its content. In this chapter of 45 verses you will find one little word repeated more than 116 times! Here’s how the chapter is set up-

The angel Gabriel appears to Daniel near the end of the book and near the end of his life. In this encounter, planned by God, Gabriel tells Daniel, “Now I have come to give you an understanding of what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision pertains to the days yet future.” In the 45 verses to follow Gabriel unfolds the entire end-time history of the world. A history we are living in right now.

What caught my attention as I read was one little word. A word repeated more than 116 times in this one chapter. It’s this word- will. This king will do this, that king will arise and do that…. On and on, more than twice a verse, the word will is used by Gabriel to talk about future days. There is a certainty to the word “will”. It’s not “might” or “maybe”, but it’s “will”. These events told more than 3,000 years ago will happen.

It caught my attention that this little word of just four letters tells me something very important about God- He is in charge of the events of our history. He’s unfolding a plan to save men and women and glorify himself. All of history will unfold as he describes it through Gabriel. That does at least two things for me. It gives me peace that God is in control when it feels like everything is out of control. And, it gives me confidence that God has a plan he is moving the events of history towards. We are seeing the unfolding of God’s grand plan to save mankind and glorify his name.

All of this could cause me to be a fatalist, but in reality it brings me great peace that as I see what seems to be a world out of control I’m really seeing the unfolding of God’s grand plan with everything completely in control…HIS control.

This morning I’m blessed by a little word and a big God.

Visit Mike at Finishing Well.

Thankful

“In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” -1 Thes. 5:18

Today is Thanksgiving day in our country. It started with a group of men and women pausing to thank God for his care and provision. It continues as a tradition that has lost much of its initial purpose.

Today it’s a day off, football, turkey, family, pumpkin pie, a nap…..

Today God will find only a brief mention for those who give thanks for the meal, but there is so much more to say. Paul’s exhortation to the church speaks volumes for us. All that we have, all that happens, all we experience gives us opportunity to thank the one who gave it from his great kindness. Let me share a portion of my list as I begin this day of thanksgiving.

I’m thankful for God’s great goodness to me, for the day, for sight, for health, for family, for a warm home, for salvation…oh how wonderful is that, for purpose, for hope, for love, for food, for clothing, for God’s love in my life, for his constant care, for feet that work, for grace to experience, for friends…oh what a blessing they are, for a God who hears when I pray, for my bible…I so love God’s word, for my wonderful wife, for children I dearly love, for grandchildren, for glorious parents, for life itself, for this moment to celebrate a good God, for stars that show me how grand God really is, for thousands of other things, moment by moment, I say thank you, God. You are glorious!

 

Visit Mike at Finishing Well.

Courageous Living

Helping you to stand up courageously!

I hesitated as I saw the book title sitting in my email.

Courageous Living: Dare To Take A Stand; A book that is a call for men to stand up, fight back for their faith and get involved with their families written by Michael Catt, Pastor of Sherwood Baptist in Albany Georgia.

I’m a lady that stands up for her faith and I am and will always be involved with my family in that my greatest desire is that my children serve the Lord faithfully while my husband and I follow the path set before us.

I admit that I half-heartedly downloaded the book fromchristianaudio.com.  I’m truly glad that I did!

Not only is this book a call for men to “man up” courageously, but ladies, much of it applies to us too.

This book reminds us that we need men to boldly lead the way, following Christ and husbands/dads to hold their family accountable in their actions, owning their mistakes.  We need men to courageously stand up for what is right, even if you are standing alone.

The book is filled with example after example of courageous men and women doing what God has called them to do with modern day applications that will encourage the timid, motivate the discouraged and inspire all who read to courageously do more.

Ladies, we are not off the hook here.  Much of what is in this book applies to us too.  We want men to lead the way, but we resist following them.  We use the fact that our husbands don’t go to church to simply stay home because “what’s the use anyway.”  We let our children do whatever they want to because it’s such a bother to keep up with them and we wonder why they don’t choose to serve the Lord when they move out. Enough of the excuses…..time to “man up” ladies.

Being a Christian isn’t easy, never has been, but when in your life time have you heard of a stoning in the USA? Sure it’s often not a life of convenience, but neither is anything that is worth having.

Courageous Living is a call to action for each and every one of us.

It’s our choice to boldly stand and choose right courageously.  It’s our choice to own up to our responsibilities and make a difference for the Lord.  It’s our choice to get involved and be faithful to our local church.

If you don’t like the study groups that are going on, suggest a new one – LEAD a new one, but don’t just be passive about it.  DO SOMETHING. Go, be faithful and get involved!

Be courageous….and watch how others around you will gather courage as well.

Will you answer the call? Will you dare to stand?

This book was filled with many lines that I could quote for days. 

Get the book and enJOY.

(Ladies, anytime you see the word man or husband – simply replace with woman/wife. WE need this too.)

  • We need a new generation of men that don’t look to the corporate as a measure of their success; rather they look into the lives of wives and children.
  • We desperately need men who find their significance in faith, family and hard work.
  • Greatness is determined by God not by man.
  • Life should not be about stuff, it should be about the Savior.
  • A life of courage will see what others can’t see and believe what others can’t believe.
  • Courage demands a decision.
  • The Church can’t resurrect what the family puts to death.
  • If fear is contagious then courage is also contagious. 
  • Fear focuses on obstacles, courage focuses on opportunity.  Fear sees with eyes of the flesh, Courage sees with eyes of faith.
  • Following Christ should not be multiple choice in your home.
  • The faith that once cost people their lives, doesn’t even motivate us to stay faithful to the local church.
  • You aren’t a man until you take responsibility and live in accountability. 

This audio book is read by Maurice England and is extremely easy to listen to  as he reads with passion.

I’ve not seen it as of yet, but I’m sure the movie will be just as good. Watch a trailer of Courageous the Movie here. 

Thank you to christianaudio for a complimentary copy of this book via the Reviewers program.  I am not required to give a positive review of this book. 

Christianaudio has a free audiobook for your downloading pleasure each and every month, as well as gift certificates for the audio book enthusiast in your world.

Hezekiah and Judah

It’s clear, as you read the bible, that Godly leadership evokes a following. If a man, one man, will pursue God then others will gather and follow a man hungry after God.

As I read further into the life of Hezekiah it’s obvious that after many years of poor leadership his walk with God was refreshing to Judah. He brought them back to God and they responded.

As I read more of his life story it was interesting to me that he even went into Israel to clear out the idols of the land. There was a passion in him to follow God, to wholeheartedly follow God. There was a desire to seek God that others wanted as well. From that man came a revival in Judah. The priests returned to God, the people returned to God and the results changed a country that had for years forgotten the God of Abraham.

It doesn’t take a big church, a great choir, an amazing preacher or dynamic youth pastor. It can start with me, with you. One person, following God, seeking God, hungry for God will change the culture around them. One person who is really seeking God, not the glory of man, will find men and women hungry for the same thing. As one old preacher said years ago, “Set yourself on fire for God and the world will come to watch you burn.” I may be only one man, but I want God. I’m not interested in much else….just him. From that passion for him will come a community of people seeking after him as well. I hope to be a man like Hezekiah….a man seeking after God.