★ Thought for the Day – What’s Rubbing Off On You? ★

Yesterday was the 4 year anniversary of my father’s death.  We never had a good relationship until a year and half before his death when we reconnected and I was privileged to partner with God to lead him to accept Jesus as his savior before he passed.  There was a father wound that lasted fo92 - Daily Dependence -Family at the Crossr good chunk of my life as a result which I believe is what motivated me to be the best father that I could be to my two daughters.  If you are just tuning into our blog in the new year, we have delving into the idea of Leaving a Lasting Legacy…how to become the man or woman that will not only have a positive influence on those around us but have an impact on future generations that will be directed towards God as a result of what you are investing in today.  Today I want to piggyback on a “Thought” that we posted last year called ★ Thought for the Day – Who Are You Imitating? ★ which is based on Ephesians 5:1-2 that we should “be imitators of God,” and that we need to be leaders, not followers…to be the one influencing others, not allowing ourselves to be negatively influenced by today’s culture.  1 Corinthians 15:33 says:

            “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad Company corrupts good morals.’”

92 - 1 Corinthians 15-33 - Bad Company Corrupts

This is something that my wife and I have tirelessly tried to pass on to our daughters.  As one is now a freshman in high school and the other in middle school, we see how very, very important this really is; and how critical it is to be praying for our children’s protection.  Every day we pray that they will be a light in this dark world…to be the hands and feet of Jesus.  Just like 1 Corinthians 15:33 warns, we need to be very careful about who we associate with.  In a message called They Had Been with Jesus Marty Collier preached on Acts 4:13 (ESV) which says,

“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.”

In the sermon, he made these four observations…

“When we’ve been WITH Jesus…

  1. Others will NOTICE
  2. Our confidence will be in Christ, not CREDENTIALS
  3. We will have BOLDNESS like never before
  4. We will be unable to stop SPEAKING about the power of Jesus”

Peter and John, two men who walked alongside Jesus, who spent day and night with Him, who were uneducated fishermen, spoke with such authority and boldness that “astonished” everyone.  What is amazing is that if you read the previous 12 verses, you will see that the events of verse 13 were preceded with Peter and John being imprisoned for preaching the truth of Jesus Christ and after a night in jail, they were brought in front of all the rulers, elders and scribes with so much boldness that people took notice.  Peter and John are great examples for us that when we stand with Jesus we will have confidence to stand up for what is right.  They did not allow the circumstance of being imprisoned to deter them from their mission.  I love that last part, “they recognized that they [Peter and John] had been with Jesus.”  Charles Spurgeon made this great statement which as follower of Jesus we should consider our rally cry… 

92 - Daily Dependence - Charles Spurgeon - Recognize That You Have Been With Jesus“Live in such a way that men may recognize that you have been with Jesus.”  

This got me thinking…What characteristics do we need to embody in order that people would “recognize that you had been with Jesus?”  The answer can be found in Colossians 3:12-13 (NKJV) which outlines the “Character of the New Man”…and I believe you could extend that to cover women as well…

“Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.”

We started off with this question…what’s rubbing off on you?  Well here are some Characteristics of Jesus that I believe we need to have rubbed off on us if we want to be men and women who will be world changers for the Kingdom of God!

  • Holy (see 2 Corinthians 5:21)
    • The New Living Translation says “For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.”
  • Humble (see Matthew 11:29 and Matthew 20:26-28)
    • The New Living Translation of Matthew 11:29 says “Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
    • The New Living Translation of Matthew 20:26-28 says “But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
  • Meek (See Matthew 5:5)
    • The New International Version says “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” Why do you think this is?
    • “In biblical usage, meekness is that attitude of mind that is opposed to harshness and contentiousness, and that shows itself in gentleness and tenderness in dealing with others.” Rick Reinckens
    • I love how Grady Scott described Meekness:
      • “Many associate meekness with an attitude of allowing everyone to run over you because you are afraid of them. This is not meekness. In fact, some of the strongest men who have ever lived have been meek.  A good working definition of biblical meekness is Strength under control.  Jesus could stand up to the winds and the waves. He also chased the moneychangers out of the temple twice with a whip made out of chords.”
  • Compassionate (see Mark 6:34)
    • Throughout the gospels it says that Jesus “had compassion on them,” or “was moved with compassion for them” regardless of whether he was tired or not, Jesus made time for those in need.
    • “Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.”
    • But if we back up just 3 verses, it says “Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.”  He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn’t even have time to eat.” (Mark 31:34)
    • To put this in context in Verse 41 of Mark chapter 6, Jesus feeds Five Thousand Men.
  • Loving (see John 15:13)
    • The New Living Translation says “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
  • Forgiving (See Luke 23:34)
    • The New Living Translation says Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” And the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice.”
    • Regarding the “Character of the New Man”, the New King James Version (NKJV) says “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.”

Now that you have sped through this familiar list of characteristics, go back and look at them again, but first pray for God to show you in what ways you are excelling and what areas you need to work on more.  I will close with this great encouragement from Charles Stanley’s Life Principles Bible:

“God has chosen the specific era, location, and giftedness with which you would exist for the purpose of serving Him.  You are not a mistake – your strengths, weaknesses, and situation in life are part of His plan to be glorified through you.  Your ministry does not start sometime in the future when your circumstances change. It begins the moment you believe in Christ.  Serve Him obediently with this in view.”

What’s rubbing off on you?  What area do you need to work on?  God can use you wherever you are at, you are not a mistake.  He loves you so much that he gave His Son for you and I to be reconnected with Him…The choice is yours!

92 - Daily Dependence - John Wooden - Choices

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★ Re|Engage – Sexual Intimacy ★

ReEngage - Lesson 14

As a result of the recent “25 Days of Thankfulness” series we took a break from the sharing about the Re|Engage class that we attended.  We will remedy this now and finish the remaining 3 classes within the next month.  If you would like to catch up on the previous posts.  Continuing with the Principle to Grow in Intimacy, Lesson 14 builds on delves into the topic of Sexual Intimacy.

The main idea is:

“Sex is God’s gift in marriage to experience a unique physical expression of oneness and intimacy.

The book started off with this clarification of what to expect…

“The goal of this lesson is to help move you toward a biblical understanding of sex.”

ReEngage - Lesson 14. - Sex is Powerful Part of MarriageAs we have talked in past posts, Satan is always looking for an opportunity to drive a wedge between us so we really need to have the uncomfortable conversations so that we can eliminate the foothold he can have in our marriages.

“In marriage, people generally make one or two mistakes in regards to sexual intimacy: either they make too little of it, or they make too much of it.  Rather than seeing it as a good gift from God to be enjoyed, they can minimize it or obsess about it.”

In the book they asked whether you minimize or maximize the importance of sex?  They made these two points in regards to these two different mistakes:

“Sometimes you can minimize sex in marriage because of guilt and shame from the past, your upbringing, pain during intercourse or past abuse.  Often someone with this can selfishly use sex as a bargaining chip to manipulate their spouse and exert control in the relationship.”

“If you overemphasize sex, you often become manipulative to get what you want and angry when you don’t get what you want. Sex is a very important aspect of marriage, but God did not intend for it to be the important.”

In the book they listed the Proper Views of Sex:

  • Sex is good.
    • “The act of sex itself is good.” In Genesis 1:28, God instructs men and woman to have sex…”Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth…”
    • “In a fallen world, we forget that when God created sex, He created it to be a good thing. Some of us think of it as dirty because of things we’ve done or things that have happened to us.”
  • Your body is good.
    • “You must believe that the physical body you bring into sex is good. Genesis 1:37 and 30 teach that men and women were created in God’s image and God sees their body as good.”
    • “Our bodies are not something we’ve been cursed with or have to manage, but are a gift from God.”
  • Sex is a gift to be enjoyed. It is a gift.
    • “Sex was not given as for procreation alone. It was also given as a gift to be thoroughly enjoyed by both husband and wife (Song of Songs 5:1b).”
  • Sex is an opportunity to glorify God.
    • “1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” You might not have thought about it before, but “whatever you do” even includes the way a husband and wife have sex.”

Here is the great dichotomy:

“It’s difficult to not minimize or overemphasize the role of sex in marriage. To make matters even more complex, if you tend to minimize sex, you probably are married to someone who overemphasizes sex, and vice versa. Seeing sex as a good gift from God to be enjoyed and a chance to glorify God is the starting place for growth in intimacy that God designed married couples to experience.”

Lesson 14 discussed “What is Permissible” with Sex:

  • Cannot involve others (See Matthew 5:28)
  • Cannot be selfish (See 1 Corinthians 13:5 and Philippians 2:3-4)
  • Cannot violate your spouse’s conscience (See Romans 14:15)

“Remember the goal of sex is physical and emotional openness.  It is definitely fun to be creative and try new things in the bedroom, as long as you remember the goal of sex in marriage is oneness.”

ReEngage - Lesson 14 - All Marriage is Foreplay

Here is some additional information from Watermark Church that was:

A Special Note to Women: 

1.  Make sure you have a biblical view of sex. (Song of Songs 5:1)

  • Sex is not dirty but is a good gift to be enjoyed.
  • Sex is both a celebration of a great marriage and a means to oneness in your marriage.
  • The world focuses on sex but we can tend to downplay it. It is just as important as communication, emotional intimacy, having fun together, etc.

2.  Pursue a correct image of your body. (Psalm 139:14)

  • Believe and trust that God made us and we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Meditate on Psalm 139:14 to change the way you view intimacy.

3.  Pursue your husband.

  • Initiate and be creative with your spouse to honor him. Not waiting until you’re exhausted late at night, but making an effort and initiating.
  • Know that his frustration sexually feels the same as your frustration about emotional and communication issues.

4.  You are his protection.

  • Men are visually stimulated and so there is a struggle with lust; our role is to help them and be available.
  • He is still responsible, but you are his protection as his only sexual outlet. Sex is not a bargaining chip.

5.  Ask your husband about his desires and preferences.

  • Be willing and open to try different things that don’t violate your conscience. Meditate on the verses that say sex is good.


A Special Note to Men:

1.  Become a great and godly husband. (Ephesians 5:25)

  • God wired her to respond to you. If she is not, there is a good shot it is you not loving, accepting, or serving her.
  • If you love her well, that’s the best way to pique her interest in sex.

2.  Pursue purity. (Job 31:1)

  • Do not look at porn or compare her to others. Your wife is your new standard of beauty; let her know you have eyes for her only.
  • Masturbation is the lazy way out and does not breed self-control. (1 Thessalonians 4:3-4 – avoid sexual immorality and control our bodies.)
  • Watch out for Facebook affairs (men and women). Don’t friend or accept friend request from previous romantic interests. Instead pour your emotional energy into your own marriage.

3.  Pursue her emotionally and physically. (1 Peter 3:7)

  • Share encouragement. Sex doesn’t just start in the kitchen or in the morning; it started yesterday and the week before.
    • Ie, “I saw the way you handled xyz earlier and thought you handled it so well.”
  • Non-sexual touch. Physical touch does not always need to lead to sex.

4.  Practice romance and creativity. (Songs of Songs 7)

  • Suggest you take the dishes, homework, bath time and bedtime while she goes to dinner, reads a book, goes to Starbucks.
  • Don’t focus just on the climax.

5.  Ask your wife about her desires and preferences. (James 1:19)

  • Serve her by asking about the state of your sex life and marriage.
  • Stop pushing her to take part or live out your ideas that come from porn (adultery we committed).
  • If you can’t have this conversation, get help.

I will close with this challenge to discuss with your spouse about the following experiences because they can have a big impact in your sex life.

  1. Confess any issues you are having with pornography or any other form of infidelity.
  2. Discuss with your spouse if you have ever been sexually abused in the past.

If you would like to read the next installment in the re|engage class, click here…★ Re|Engage – Completion ★

If you want to read previous re|engage lessons click here…

https://dailydependence.wordpress.com/category/reengage-class/?order=asc

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★ Thought for the Day – What’s On The Inside? ★

Have you ever participated in a white elephant gift exchange?  I know Christmas is over but as I was thinking about this Thought for the Day I could not help but think about the popular gift-giving experience where people contend with one another to walk away with the best present. Though there are many different options on how to conduct the exchange, everyone brings a gift to contribute to a common pile, in which participants draw names or numbers to determine what order they will go in.  As each person makes their choice and discovers what they have gotten, each subsequent person has the opportunity to steal it away.  It never fails, even though I try to size up what is on the inside of the mystery gift, I always chose the wrong present and no one ever steals what I end up with.  Hahaha!

At the top of the year I posted this ★ Thought for the Day – Living A Lasting Legacy ★, which was about making the most out the “brief time on earth,” to make an impact on the future generation, not just for my children, but for my children’s children!  Today’s Thought will build upon this idea of a Living A Lasting Legacy to give some practical application.  If you have a pulse, you should be thinking about what kind of impact you are making on the relationships in your life whether it is with family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, or even strangers.  God has put these people into our lives for a reason, and it is our responsibility not to waste the opportunity.  I love what Marvin J. Ashton said,

“Be the one who nurtures and builds.  Be the one who has an understanding and a forgiving heart one who looks for the best in people.  Leave people better than you found them.” 

“Leave people better than you found them.”  I am a firm believer of that way of living.  Just a couple days ago I was listening to a podcast from Louie Giglio called “The Piñata and the Iceberg,” in which he contrasted the decorative cardboard and paper mache animal containing candy, and the significance of the large floating mass of ice.  In the message, he made this powerful point:

“The Piñata is a picture of the culture we live in.  We live in hollow days.  Richard J. Foster said it this way,

91 - Daily Dependence - Richard J Foster - Superficiality is the Curse of Our Age
‘Superficiality is the curse of our age. The doctrine of instant satisfaction is a primary spiritual problem. The desperate need today is not for a greater number of intelligent people, or gifted people, but for deep people.’

It is a difference to being a piñata in the world or being an iceberg in the world…An iceberg is what it is because of the substance that you cannot immediately see.  It’s what is below the surface that makes an iceberg something of substance.”

That is what I want to be, a man of substance.  A man who has depth and always on mission as Paul stated in Acts 20:24 (NLT)… 

91 - Daily Dependence - Acts 20-24 - Tell Others About Grace of God“But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.

After sharing this with the guys in my life group, there was some great conversation on what it means to be a Man of Substance.  One of threads from the group text was this great listing that I just have to share in its entirety because it’s just that good…

“There is more to being a Man of Substance than just holding everyone accountable to just the spiritual side.  I believe it’s a balance with a lot of different aspects.  This is what we as men need to work on if we are going to do this.  

Areas of Concern:  

  1. 91 - Daily Dependence - James 1-22 - Just Do ItAlone time with Christ.
  2. Alone time with wife.
  3. Alone time with kids.
  4. Alone time with yourself. 
  5. Alone time with guys only.

Non-Negotiables as Men:

  1. Provider of family – Full Time Job.
  2. Financial steward of money – Tithe
  3. Physical activity – Exercise. 
  4. Protector of family – Boundaries. 
  5. Spiritual leader of home – Modeling. 

I believe Jesus’s brother James nailed it when he said, “Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”  James 1:22. 

We not need to “Just Do It!”  Otherwise we are just fooling ourselves!  What a great list of how to be a Man or Substance…and I dare say you could extrapolate that list to be a guide for how to be a Woman of Substance as well.  I truly believe that these items are exactly what God wants for us, and are practical stepping stones to move us away from the “piñata culture” of superficiality and hollowness to a life as an iceberg that has great depth.

91 - Daily Dependence - Matthew 6-33Jesus’ gave this command in Matthew 6:33 (ESV)…

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

If God is not a priority, and if we are not chasing after Him with all our heart, then the chances of getting the rest correct on that list is slim to none in my opinion. I love that list, and I completely agree with everything on it…Balancing all the aspects of life is essential…but God MUST BE FIRST and once that is case, all the other aspects will begin to fall into place.

Here are some suggestions that will help you to center your life on God and seek after His Kingdom and His righteousness. These are strategies that I learned and implemented from Todd McIntyre, the Men’s Pastor at Gateway Church which has helped me greatly develop in my spiritual maturity:

  1. Daily quiet time (usually before my family gets up,) filled with prayer, journaling and reading scripture (sometimes a reading plan and other times a section of a book of the Bible.) You can read more about this in the post ★ Back to the Basics – Silencing the Noise ★, which is all about developing your Spiritual Maturity.
  1. Fast and pray from sundown to sundown once a week for sanctification and revival in my life, (usually on Monday.)
  1. Meditate on, and write a “Thought for the Day” once a week that God has been speaking into my spirit and heart. This was not from Pastor Todd by was a natural outflow from my quiet time, and ultimately that is how this Blog was born!

I don’t share this to brag but rather to give a model of what has worked for me to develop my spiritual fitness and deepen my walk with God.  I certainly don’t always get this right, or do it all perfectly but I try…and these habits have resulted in “Becoming a Glacier” as Louie Giglio described in the sequel to the “The Piñata and the Iceberg.”  To become a glacier is a slow, purposeful process over a prolonged period which is synonymous with steadfastness or sanctification that will lead to becoming more and more like Jesus.  The key is patience…

“Impatience is the nemesis to habit.”  Louie Giglio   

So the choice is yours, what will you decide?  Continue down the path of superficiality or will you heed Jesus’ command in Matthew 6:33 and dig deeper?  I will close with this quote that I read somewhere…

“Faith can move mountains, but don’t be surprised if GOD hands you a shovel.”

It is going to take work and time but it’s worth it, I promise you!  If you are interested here are posts focused on what I learned from James MacDonald’s book called “Act Like Men, 40 Days to Biblical Manhood that could be a supplement to your walk.

 

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