Tag Archive | cost

Vigilante!

This post is not about taking the law into our own hands but at the heart of the dynamic of a vigilante is a sense that something has to change and someone should do something about it.  Their frustration with the ruling authority’s inability or reluctance to act drives them to action.  These thoughts are all contained within the 23rd verse of Proverbs 4 –

“Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts!”  The Message

The ruling authority, God, is informing us that He is not going to do what only we can do –  it’s ‘our heart!’

The short three-word sentence; keep vigilant watch, translates this way –

keep with more vigilance than you would use for anything else. Barnes commentary.

The NIV puts it this way – “above all else!”

The number one priority and discipline is to guard our heart as if it were the most valuable resource, commodity or treasure.  The language of this verse seems over the top but actually, it is the language of a very concerned Father, who is seeking to help a beloved child, as they take their place in this world.   Chapter four starts with this counsel – listen and pay attention to a father’s instruction.  God as our Father, is trying to get us in the loop and see what’s vital and important, as we start out into adulthood – Guard your heart.

The last part of the verse – for that’s where life starts, carries the idea of the fountainhead or spring, i.e. the starting point of a river.  Just as the spring of a river has its starting point deep within the ground, so too does the ‘downstream of our lives!’    The state and condition of the river are directly affected by the state and condition of the source, that is the spring.  Making sure the spring was fenced off and protected from debris and dead animals would result in the downstream river quality being at its best.  So, it is with the heart!

I have learnt, the hard way, that I cannot change me or my circumstances without first making the effort to go to the source and see if I have allowed anything in into my heart, that is directly affecting what it is I am seeking to change.  This is vitally important because if I take new actions but still hold the same heart attitude, eventually my heart will win and my actions will wane and I will be discouraged.

Life, literally in the Hebrew, means boundaries and they are set within our heart and so, real transformations have to begin in the heart!

The context of verse 23 is from verse 20 to 25 and contains hints and warnings about how debris and death will try to get into the heart, so as to affect the downstream –

  • Ears – Pay attention, to what it is our ears are listening closely to v 20
  • Eyes – The words we continually focus on will get into our hearts
  • His Words are life & health to our downstream life v 22
  • Lips – put & keep far away perverse & corrupt speech v 24

 

God, as ruling authority, as our Father, is letting us into how He set up the system and informing us of our part.  How vigilant we are, is our decision because love does not insist on its own way.  However, love desires the best for us and as a father, He is not a passive observer regarding our life.  Therefore, He will try to influence us for good and for change.

His influence centres around the event that lead to the ongoing discipline called self-discipline.  The event is to show and reveal any perceptions, thoughts & attitudes that are in our heart.  The saying is often true: the way we see the problem is the problem! Biblical transformation begins and only happens by the entire renewal of the mind.  Roms 12:2.

After event number one comes to the ongoing process which will regularly lead to more of event number ones, and that is self-discipline or self-control.  This is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit and He longs to help us through this ongoing event and process of transformation.

When the spring that’s producing our downstream is cleared of debris and death, the water and flow of our lives will run clearer.

 

 

 

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Masculinity P4 

Navigate, Engage, Empower and now finally, the fourth ability of the MH&S – Sacrifice.

Although last in sense of these blogs, this dynamic is at the heart of what it means to be a man made in Father’s image.  At its core, Biblical masculinity reveals a Father who sends His Only Son and a Son who lays down His life, to accomplish His Father’s greatest desire: that His estranged sons and daughters would come home.

Sacrifice has two key components to it – value and cost.

Cost is what the one making the sacrifice is prepared to pay because of the value they see in the one they are sacrificing for or toward.

God so loved, He gave…. Jn 3:16

For the joy set before Him, He endure the cross. Cf Hebs 2:10 & 12:2

What we value, we sacrifice for.  Therefore, we can locate what we value by following the trail of our sacrifice.  Biblical masculinity understands the need to value and to sacrifice and how these interact with it other, and the benefits sacrifice can and does release.

So how does sacrifice fit in with the other abilities of the MH&S? It costs you to walk the terrain and produce the map.  To engage you have to disengage first! This too, is the language of sacrifice.  So where does empowerment fit into these?

The law of combination states that when two elements are combined they release a compound, that is energy.  As we as men, take our navigation experiences and combine them with engaging with those we love and value, power is released.

We put something on or in, those we value.

Sacrifice like maturity, is in the minority.

There’s far too much selfishness around.  In fact, there is a dangerous cocktail within society today: boys in men’s bodies in relationship with girls with too much princess syndrome.   The combinational out working of these is often not pretty!

Time and money are real treasures and Jesus said where our treasures are so too is our hearts!   Evaluating what we spend our time and money on, will reveal what we truly value and therein love.

Maybe this evaluation will lead to a life transforming revelation: the need to re-distribute and reallocate our ability to sacrifice.  To give more time and spend less elsewhere or to spend less money and to sacrificially invest more into those things that move Father’s heart – Ps 68:5&6

  • A father to the fatherless
  • A defender of widows
  • Setting the lonely in families
  • Leading prisoners out with singing

 

Road work!

Champions aren’t made in the ring, they are merely recognized there. What you cheat on in the early light of morning will show up in the ring under the bright lights.  Joe Frazier Joe-Frazier-007
The ring is the potential place of the reward, it is also the place that reveals our rituals.  It is the moment that will uncover how we have used our ‘daily moments!’
Without a commitment to rituals, there can be no rewards.
road
There’s always a road that leads to the ring, and it is our commitment to our road work, that prepares us for the ring and positions us for victory in the ring.
The ring here can be literal or it can represent a task, job challenge, character issue, a marriage, business, concept, an issue of justice or a humanitarian undertaking.   The fight has to be prepared for and road work, daily rituals have to be adhered to.
boxingring
Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last for ever. 1 Cor 9:25
Don’t you just hate the word ‘everyone!’
Every competitor who wants a crown has to come through strict training, whether those crowns are temporal or eternal.   crowns
Can I also just highlight that ultimately we are in competition with ourselves, with the potential that has been given to us and our human nature that dislikes words like everyone, strict and training.
Lining up the road and the ring, the ‘here I am and here’s where I’m heading’ is the first step.  Then we break down what it will take to get us there, and then these become our daily rituals, our non-negotiables; our road work!
Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. v 27
 
I have never failure to start anything, knowing where I’d like to be and writing it down, has never really been the issue.  It’s the road work, the preparation that is the problem!
Years ago, Frank Bruno was asked why he ran on Christmas day? 
I want to be the champion!  
Road work takes on that part of us the Bible calls our flesh, which has a core desire; its own way, that reveals itself through wanting comfort and avoiding pain! 
No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave.
This is bottom line thinking: I have to exert strength and power on my body, so that it becomes my slave, that is it obeys where I’ve decided we’re headed.
The Father is not letting anyone, especially His sons and daughters of the need for preparation before they inherit what He has purposed for them.  Whether that be crowns down here or up there!  
He Builds up,  before we enter into the ‘Our time, He has prepared for us.
A walker as he entered a new village asked a question of an old man leaning on the village sign: “Any great people been born here?   Nope, said the old man. Only babies!!!
‘Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. Acts 20:32
Being built up, comes before the conjunctive; and, which means there is a contractual dynamic to this inheritance, and that is preparation.  There’s an inferred level of maturity that has to be reached before we can have, hold and enjoy what Father has planned 
What I am saying is that as long as an heir is under age, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate.  Gal 4:1  
 
There is a set time, and although this verse is about the Father sending His Son at the right time, it also reveals His desire to give what He has written into His will for our lives, only to those who qualify: the mature.  Children do not make good inheritors because they have a tendency to spend or use, that which has been inherited on themselves.
You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. James 4:2a-3
Is it Father saying; “here you go, have this.” Or is it our ego?   If it is Father, then get ready for some road work, be prepared for daily rituals and each time you do them, hold the reward in your imagination and power through the pain, therein releasing your given potential.   
Father as no favourites.  See Roms  and one truth I glean from this, is that He will treat everyone the same, so all have to undergo training.  All have to do road work. 
For Abraham is was over twenty years
For Joseph around seventeen
For David over twenty
For Mary around sixteen
Even Jesus had around thirty years!
Disciples, ones in the loop, understanding road work!  Like Daniel of old, they add something extra to their daily, to their ordinary, and so they become extraordinary 
Daniel outshone all the ministers and satraps because an extraordinary spirit was in him, and the king considered setting him over the entire kingdom. Dan 6:3 NASB
This extraordinary spirit, the spirit of God, Daniel worked with.  He availed himself of what Father could do through Him, and Daniel daily chose to do more than the status quo, to go beyond the norm.  He understood what was needed; something extra and so he aimed for that and drew on the spirit of God, and  his desire and His power, released wisdom, words and actions, which meant he distinguished himself.  
He outshone the competition! 
Daniel’s covenant with God, I need to tread carefully here, was not as full or as powerful as the one we have, or can have through Christ today.  The power in us, is the same as that exerted to raise Christ!!!
This power is the other side of the grace, which we have been given in Christ but it can lay dormant because we may not be aware that Father wants us to distinguish ourselves and has given us the power to succeed.
Is grace dormant in us?
Is grace buried under the soil of our wrong motives?
what’s our attitude to road work and rituals?
Father has assigned the ring, allocated the rituals and has set the appointed time of our reward!
He gives us grace, His unrivalled power, for each part of His designed process.
It’s not rituals vs rewards but ritual equals rewards!