Tag Archive | grace

C.O.R.E  

My Father and Creator did not create humans but a man and a woman; therefore He created and specifically formed the masculine heart and soul and vice versa.   We are different but have the same Father and I am speaking more than biology!

Just like our physical core strength determines our external performances i.e. what we can lift, carry, push, hold and resist, so too our masculine core.  Our physical core needs specific exercise to develop it and therein our external performance, so too does our masculine core.   Using the word core as an acronym let’s explore what  muscles our masculine souls have and what specific exercises will help us develop them.    

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C.O.R.E

  1. Certainty
  2. Opinions
  3. Resources
  4. Expectations

These are the four core muscles of our masculine soul as designed by our Father and they are vitally important to our success and achievement as men and also our fruitfulness and productivity as disciples!

Being uncertain at our core is destabilising and leads to increasingly erratic behaviour. The exercise that will strengthen and develop our ‘certainty muscle’ is validation and affirmation.  These validations and affirmations have their roots in the Father’s voice and not in the voices of our mums, spouses or girlfriends!  There were many things my mum gave me and I am forever indebted to her.  So to Dawn my wife, she is a constant reminded of grace and beauty which are vital macro-nutrients to my masculine heart and soul.

However, for years I unknowingly took my need of validation and affirmation as a man to Dawn but she just didn’t have, by design, what I needed.  My need could only be met by my father(s).  I put the letter in brackets because I have two Fathers – a heavenly and earthly one.

When life happens by design; then earthly dads see the need for validation and affirmation and act and speak accordingly into their sons’ masculine heart and soul.

Many men I have met are still uncertain at their core, never having the validation and affirmation from their fathers and spending years seeking it from the women in their lives.  If you’re one of these men and your father is still alive, then it’s never too late.  If like me your earthly father is no longer around, the good news is, the heavenly Father loves to validate and affirm His sons.  Cf Matt 3:17 & Roms 8:16

If you are still seeking validation from the key women in your life, give it up and let them off the hook!

The nature of this vital validation and affirmation is this; our worth and value is rooted in who be, not in what we do.  This truth and experience avoids the massive deception that we as men can get so easily suck into – ‘performance related approval!’  PRA is a toxin to the masculine heart and soul; a slow killer that leads to either driveness, striving or hiding.

My father never validated and affirmed me because I don’t think he ever got me and now, retrospectively I understand this and no longer hold a frustrative attitude toward him.  He did a very good job.  Thanks Dad!

Certainty is really about confidence which is the doctrine of  assurance and this truth is a vital experience our Heavenly Father deeply desires we understand, live in and function from.

Before Jesus had preached a sermon, healed or driven out a demon, His  Father locked onto His heart, who He be and loaded it with His love, His assurance, His approval.  Out of this Fatherly assurance, Jesus ministered, worked and rested! We can and must too!

Uncertainty has its root in fear: Future Events Appearing Real.  We look out from our core as men and ask two vital questions – What is a man?  Am I one?   The Father’s love drives out fear 1 Jn 4:18  and His love starts by answering, in the affirmative, the above two questions. The Father does this by asking us to meditate on the finished work of His Son and inviting the Holy Spirit to testify to our spirits.

John 1:12 says to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave them power to become children of God.  To all! Period!

Meditation is the core mental exercise that will build our certainty muscle, along with taking stuff on but that’s another blog.

If we have come back to our Father by believing His Son’s finished work  on the cross, then He has given us the power to become His adopted sons.  This title and all the realities that come with it are bestowed. They are an utter gift.  Not earned but given!  This is a real stumbling block for us men who have been raised to believe there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

Well guys, that’s untrue and grace will continue to be a stumbling block until we let go of this lie.

The primary work or ministry  of the Holy Spirit in the life of an adopted son, is to testify to them that they ARE, who Father says they are and they HAVE what Father says they have.  The key verses to memorise and meditate on regularly, I call this my ‘gym time’ is Roms 8: 15-17

For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16  The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. Rom 8:15-17 ESV

Meditation on His word is the spiritual equivalent of the  plank exercise to our core.

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The Holy Spirit bears witness to our spirit that we are, by the gift of grace bestowed; sons, heirs and co-heirs!  Heirs of all the Father has put in His will and co-heirs of all that He promised to His son.

This isn’t a free lunch.  It’s a lifelong feast and we are distinguished guests.

Lack of Father given validation and affirmation in men,  leads to us being and becoming increasingly frustrated.  There are a lot of angry men out there and the answer to their struggle is to come home to Father, get His validation and affirmation and begin to feast at His table.

There we find the Father given nutrition that will feed, grow and develop our masculine souls.

Is it time to come home men?  The table is set!

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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!