Psalm for the Day

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A Real Man

I have yet to see a real man who has become a real man without having significant mentors and significant peers and significant disciples.

I see some good men who have had great mentors but have no peers and no disciples. The fizzle in the soda. Shake it and its gone. UGH!

I see some good men who have had great mentors and great peers but have not poured their lives into disciples to the point where the disciples rise up and raise them. True disciples mature and eventually become your peers and then your mentors. Your submission to their heart keeps you out of the grey areas that finish off old men. The path is very, very narrow in old age and the ditches are very steep. Only great disciples will keep you out of the ditches.

Find a mentor who is willing to disciple you. Ask him and then follow him. There is one who came to my office and has told me he needs to learn from me. Ok, here is what I want you to do. A week later, nothing. Done. You cannot disciple a man who is not desperate to grow. Herod would take John the Baptist out of his prison and have him preach to him of the coming judgment. They get close but no cookie. Boys in men's bodies and wonder why their wives and soon their children have no respect for them. Old men who do not know how to receive instruction. Undid Solomon and will undo any man, especially old men.

Books can be mentors of sorts but there is nothing like an old man looking you in your face and challenging and encouraging you. Listen to his heart and do everything his heart tells you to do. Most mentors are good for a hot two years. After that, be careful. You will pick up their weaknesses as well as strengths.

Find peers who look like you want to look like. Commit to helping them grow and to letting them help you grow. If they are not growing get them out of your life. No mercy. Ministry, yes. Friendship NO!!! You will become like your friends every time. No time for fools.

When a young man comes up to you and asks you to help him, listen to his heart. What is he asking for? Guide him, be honest. If he is faithful to your heart then you have inherited a son. Raise him and he will raise you.

Are you ready to get married?

A couple in my office the other day asked me if I thought they were ready to get married. I asked him, "Are you submitted to her heart?"

He paused and then stated that he did not understand the question.

I asked her and she quickly yet quietly said, "No."

"Then No. You are not ready. He does not know what he is doing and you are willfully not doing what you are supposed to be doing."

I have seen one thing that the Holy Spirit does again and again in relationships. When a man is in love from his heart, not from infatuation or sexual entanglement, but from God-given heart love, he willfully, joyfully and horribly submits to her heart. Not her head, or her mouth. But her heart and only her heart. A good father senses this and this brings him great peace and rest when he realizes that his daughter is marrying a man after his own heart, for he too is submitted to her heart.

I am wonderfully and completely and horribly submitted to Tori's heart. Anything and I mean anything she can ask me from her heart is hers. Always and forever. Anything. And it would be mine to give with great joy and without hesitation.

I have told this story a thousand times and it is key to my relationship with Gabi, my wife. I was being discipled by a Sergeant named Don Conant. I was madly in love with Gabi. And she with me. For the first time, I really wanted to love her, to love someone with all. And I soon realized that there were others that could provide for her better than I could. I thought it would be noble to step aside and let another "more" worthy man take care of her. My friend and mentor, Don, asked me a simple question, "Is there anyone who is going to love her more than you?" I knew the answer. I was wonderfully and completely and horribly submitted to her beautiful heart. No, there was no one who would every love her more than me. I knew that.

A man is spent in his noble task when he is wonderfully submitted to the women's hearts in his life. A man can do no wrong when he stays so...

A woman is wonderfully encased in God's love and protection when she is wonderfully submitted to the men's hearts in her life. And a woman can do no wrong when she stays so...

What grieves my heart is for the women and men who have no heart to be submitted to... Their lives are lives of confusion and pain, chaos and seeming meaninglessness.

My daughter bought me a pedometer for walking. God's provision for my future health is found in my submission to her heart in that pedometer. Complete and unquestioned obedience to her heart. What a place the world would be if Christ-like followers practiced that discipline.

What if Christ is wonderfully and completely and horribly submitted to our hearts?


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Crucible

A friend is trapped by his soul in a crucible that God is using to free him from the idols in his soul. BUT he keeps getting out of the crucible.

It is so very important to stay in the crucible God creates for us. There are three elements to every crucible that we must master.

1. Time.
2. Pressure
3. Heart

My sainted mother used to pressure cook beef that was too tough to eat any other way. She would but the big steel pot on the stove and put on the lid and this round thing on top that would allow some steam to escape. We kids loved to come in and stomp on the ground. It caused the pressure to escape and she would say, "All your doing is delaying dinner." The meat needed a certain amount of time to become tender. The lower the pressure the longer the time needed to break down the toughness of the meat. Same with God and His crucibles - if we keep taking breaks with the world, sex and sin, we lengthen the time that is going to be needed to become what God is wanting from us.

One may use TV, sports, pornography, anger, alcohol, sex, games, friends to escape the pressure of what God is doing in our lives. We need to learn how to be still and trust Him and let His heat, His time and His pressure have its work in our life.

What a Man Wants

What does a man want in a wife? What are we looking for?

1. Be careful when you ask us. Not sure most of us are aware of what we are looking for.

2. 1 Peter 3:1-6 is what our hearts are longing for...
a. Woman that can hear us without us having to say a word.

b. A woman who knows her beauty is from her heart.

c. A woman who is quiet and gentle. This does not mean silent. Her heart is loud and clear. Her mouth and mind are quiet and gently submitted to her heart.

A man falls in love with a woman because she gives him access to her heart by her laughter. Men live for meaning and when a woman trusts us with her laughter that means she believes in him. After marriage when our wives and later our daughters withhold their laughter from us, it is the greatest punishment that you can give to a man. It makes him seem as if he is living without purpose. If you want to humble a man, any man open your heart to him with your joy. Release your joy in his presence, appreciate anything and everything he does and you will wonderfully humble him.

The Two Great Principles Parents Pass on

The great lessons that children catch from their parents are directly related to their personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Repentance and Forgiveness.

Good, clean, repentance makes all the difference in the world.
1. Own it. You did it. It was yours and you did it. Don't blame it or shame it on others. You may have been influenced by someone else but you are the one who did it.

2. Own the consequences. God forgives the sin completely. In other words, your relationship with Him is perfectly restored and we enjoyed renewed fellowship and communion. However, there are spiritual and physical consequences for our sin. God tempers these for our growth but He does not remove them.

3. Own the damage done to the other person. Reconciliation can take place if you own the wounds that you have caused on the other's person's heart. You may never fully understand how you have hurt their heart but you know that you have hurt them. Own the hurt and the scar. I have done things to my wife and children that they remember years later. The stain of what I did is gone and forgiven yet the scar remains. On some days the scar is tender.

Are you a witness?

Have you seen the glory of God with your own eyes? The eyes of your heart? Have you had a fresh vision of His presence in your life recently?

I have been asking Him for a fresh vision of Him and He has been wonderfully gentle and wise and kind to lead me into His presence. It is like I am becoming aware of His presence and power in my life in a new way but there is really nothing new about it, maybe a better word would be "Fresh".

My Father and God. I delight in Your Presence and Your Power and Your Authority. Thank You for Your continued patience, mercy and grace with me, your son and servant. Thank You for continuing to humble with Your presence. Help me to abide in Your presence and not let the things of the world distract me from You and Your things that You are doing in my life. 

Grant me the grace, please, of instant obedience to the conviction of Your Holy Spirit. Grant unto me the complete response to the conviction of Your Word as well and to also the conviction that comes through a right relationship with Your Body here on the earth. I recognize that I am wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked without You. You have chosen to Agape Grip my heart with Your heart. I surrender to You unlimited and unconditional access to my heart, my life, my future and everything about me.

The Secret Life Shouted

Our children believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ because of two actions that we repeat in front of them again and again: We repent and we forgive.

Parents reveal their personal relationship with God through how clearly and consistently they repent and forgive. If their repentance is muddled with excuses and partial repentance the children will be confused morally and probably establish their own moral lines in their life.

The best way to preach the gospel is to live it before your children and let them testify. The worst way is to live partially the Christian life and have your children testify. Either way, they will testify.

Fathers: the greatest gift you can give to your children is the bold gift of repentance and forgiveness. I believe the thing that centers a son more than anything else is that the father fears God. Good fear that is authored by the presence of God and Jesus Christ centers the son on the Son.

Repentance is the immediate and complete obedience to the conviction of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God and the testimony of the Body of Christ. The repentance begins in the heart and overflows into the soul, mind, will and emotions.

The discipline of forgiveness is a desperate attempt to say thank you to God for our own forgiveness. If I have a hard time forgiving someone then I have a harder time receiving forgiveness from God. He who has a giving problem ALWAYS has a receiving problem.

Forgiveness is always unconditional, not to be confused with reconciliation  and is because of the Agape Grip of God on the believer's heart. Forgiveness should always be given once the offense is realized and grieved. Reconciliation happens when the offender owns the wounds they have caused without excuse or escape. The Holy Spirit ALWAYS marks the repentee with a scar that matches the one they wounded. The scar is not has deep nor as traumatic but it is now a scar they share. This makes reconciliation possible.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Soul Must Die

The soul is what I call the mind, the will and the emotions. When the soul bonds together it speaks a voice, a voice of "I AM". It is a quiet, lying whisper. The Soul that sins must die. This bond, this soul identification now must be removed from the believer. The believer must allow their soul to be crucified again and again.

The soul will never, ever give up the voice of "I AM". Make the young person successful and life will even testify to the quiet whisper and the person will believe they are a god.

In ten years of ministry at a well to do North Dallas church I met men and women who thought they were God or at least a god or equal to God. They were young, very successful and believed that they had earned their god-status. I envied them and wanted to be like them, at least my soul did. I wanted them to admire me like they admired each other for their success and god-like qualities. It seemed like everything they did became successful. Except for their relationships.

In a black church you don't have to tell a brother he is not God. Perhaps the suffering has written God's name on his heart and spirit. Yet something is changing in the new generation of young African American men. We are losing something and it is going to hurt all of America.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Friends with my kids

Just learned something. I need to develop hobbies with each of my kids. And together as a family. We function together well but that does not keep the bond up after they graduate. I commented to Andrew that most of his friends will not be friends after he graduates unless he has developed hobbies outside of their function as students at the same university.

I applied this to my life. The friends, good ones, I have left behind have been left because we did not have a relationship outside of whatever function we had together. Hahn Germany? Security Police or Hahn Baptist Church. We functioned together and then left. We rejoined some later in Titusville to build a ministry to affect the world. Then when that failed we all fell apart.

As an extended family we used to play Peanuts. A crazy card game.  It was a lot of fun to introduce new people to the game. And it got passed on.

If Luke, my youngest, and I develop a hobby together we will have something for later once the normal function of the parenting situation matures. When he has children, I will begin to function as a grandparent and that will help our bond.Yet a hobby will help develop the relationship as well.

This works with Gabi and I. We work Tres Dias together. A lot of hard work, fun and ministry. Together. Not as a function of our marriage or family. A distracting bond outside of the duty of marriage and family. We get to know each other on a different level. And in the fall of 2013 she gets to be my boss!!! I think that she has been waiting for that for a long time!


Saturday, May 4, 2013

Jesus Face


I just saw Jesus. I just saw Jesus' face. I just saw what Jesus looked like when He was on the cross dying for my sins.

A father was betrayed by his daughter. They came to see me to reconcile their relationship. She was open and honest about her damage to her father's heart. He was open and honest about the pain and grief. Right in the midst of his crying, I told her to look into his face, her dad's face. That was how Jesus looked when He was dying on the cross for her sins. 

There was no anger in his face. None. The pain of his heart was evident by the tears and groaning. The love was evident because he could not take his eyes off her face. His longing was for her to see the pain, let the pain soak into her, become a part of her; let His scar be placed upon her heart to keep her safe in the future. He longed for her to share His scar, let them become One together in their woundedness over her sin. He did not want to push her away, He wanted to invite her to join Him in their grief. I was surprised over the lack of anger. Her open heart quickly dissipated His need for anger and His heart quickly moved toward her. As she responded with tears and allowed her to expose the lies that she believed as she treasured her soul greater than she treasured His heart. 

After the session, I reflected on the dad's face. That is what Christ looks like when I sin, when He suffers for me and my actions. I am still surprised by the lack of anger. I expected anger. I have used anger in the past to communicate my hurt. But here I did not see any, not even a trace. 





NOTE: This father and daughter came to see me a long time ago. These are notes from the encounter.

Justice

I was overwhelmed with pain the other day. I saw a Spiritual Director who was/is friends with a person that has done me great hurt. We talked, were polite. Afterward, I was overwhelmed with grief and pain. I forgave again. This time I decided to YADA the pain. Yada is the Hebrew word for knowing intimately.
First be quiet. Then be still and then rest. And then listen and finally reflect back what my heart heard.

I heard Justice as I YADA'd this person's name. I said their full name and worked through being quiet, being still, resting. The grief overwhelmed me. It was good to release it again. I so want to be done with this person and this pain. Justice. Not sure I want justice. I have lived, survived and thrived off of God's wonderful mercy time and time again. I am not interested in seeing God call to justice my sins, secret and known. I tremble but God was gently leading me down a path. I could tell it was Him. So I spoke the word JUSTICE. I then worked my way through YADA saying the word JUSTICE and this man's name. Slowly and carefully through each step, Quiet, Still, Rest, Listen and Reflect.

After breathing, walking, resting my way through YADA I then wrote down three words related to JUSTICE.

1. Money
2. Reputation
3. Time

I spent the next few days praying through these three. I arrived at a number, roughly of what was lost due to their actions. I was surprised. The number was horrific.

I recorded what would have to be done to temper the damage done to my reputation. The dollar amount made sense and could be somewhat recaptured. Yet the reputation was difficult. Ouch. This would last a lifetime. The arrow that was shot would affect me and my children for life. There are those who would not have anything to do with me because of their words. There are those who hesitate to have anything to do with me because of their words.

Finally, time. The time is lost. The opportunities lost. This cannot be recovered. Justice for time lost?