Friday, February 21, 2014

Man of Good Work Ethic
            How many hours do you spend working on certain activities? Sometimes we spend way too many hours on the work in the world instead of spending hours on the work in the kingdom. The work of the kingdom starts to become desolate if we do not make it a first priority. During the time of Haggai, the people were focused about their own work than God’s work. There are two considerations from the book of Haggai on how to be a man of good work ethic.
            First consideration is thinking about the work you are doing. The people were more concern about what they were doing. They were putting all of their energy into their house by decorating it. People were only focusing on their work instead of the work of God (Haggai 1:4). God wanted them to consider their ways on what they were doing. Do you make God’s work secondary in order to make your personal work primary? A man of good work ethic will make the work of the kingdom a first priority while putting everything else second on the list.
            The second consideration is thinking about the work you should be doing. God wanted them to reconsider their ways by rebuilding the temple. If they were to rebuild the temple, the Lord would be pleased and glorified (Haggai 1:8). If they were to make the choice to not build his house, God’s eternal kingdom and the Messiah would not come in the future. All of their produce would not be as good as it should be due to the lack of their laboring hands. A man of good work ethic will reconsider the hours he spends on a certain activity in order to make God’s work a first importance.

            Our work must be the work of God. I want you to start making his kingdom a first priority. The important activity is getting back to work in the church. The other activities become bad only when we start to make it a number one priority over the work of God. Think about what you should be doing now instead of what you were doing earlier. There will always be projects that need to be done. Find the one project and get to work! 

Friday, February 14, 2014

Man of Prayer: Specific Requests
            What was the last request you said in your prayers? Your request may have been someone who is sick, someone who has lost a loved one or someone who is struggling with sin. There are three prayer requests we sometimes forget to pray to God.
            The first request is praying for our enemies. Matthew 5:44 says, “…love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” It does seem weird to pray for people who would oppress and harm you. Yet, God still wants us to make a request to him about our enemies in order to learn to love them. We are not better or important as much as they are not better or important than us. Do not forget to pray about your enemies.
            The second request is believing our prayers. Matthew 21:22 says, “And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” How often do we have a lack of faith while making requests to God? When we are making a petition to God, it is like a formal written request telling God this is what I desire to happen. God wants us to have faith and be confident in order to receive what we desire. Do not forget to pray about having more confidence in God.
            The third request is avoiding temptation. Matthew 26:41 says, “Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” Our spirit and flesh will battle each other every day when we strongly want something. As long as we keep making requests to God to avoid temptations, our spirit will not be defeated by the desires of our flesh. Do not forget to pray about being on the alert for our temptations.

            It might be hard to love an enemy when they hurt you. It might be hard to rely on God if it feels like he has not been faithful to you. It might be hard to resist your temptations when you feel like you want to give up. I want you to write down specific areas within these requests and pray to God for a better outcome of these areas. Let your requests be known to God! 

Friday, February 7, 2014

Man of Disguise
            Every year in the month of October, people put on costumes. Nobody recognizes the person under the costume because their identity has been hidden.  They may even act and talk differently in order to mimic the costume they are wearing.  We sometimes put on costumes too.  We pretend to be something other than what God has called us to be.  There are third passages to remind us why we should not put on a costume.
            The first passage is Galatians 3:27. It says, “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”  The key word is clothed.  If we belong to Christ, then we must be clothed in him twenty four seven.  We cannot put Christ on for church functions and then take him off when you are out in the world.
            The second passage is Romans 13:14. It says, “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.” Instead of taking off Christ, we need to sink into his garment. As long as we submerge as ourselves into Christ, there is no way our minds will be able to forethought any desires we have to take off Christ.
            The third passage is Ephesians 4:24. It says, “…and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” We will be dark in our own understanding and our hearts will be hardened if we do not lay aside our old self. God wants us to dress in Christ in order for the spirit to renew our minds. Do not cause pain to your Holy Spirit by walking in an unworthy manner.

            We must never change or hide the fact that we belong to Jesus. I want you to go to the places you normally go to during the week but before you go into those places, examine yourself to see if you are wearing a different costume other than Christ. If you are, take it off before you walk in and put on the costume of Christ. Let Christ be seen all around you! 

Friday, January 31, 2014

Man of Caution
            Have you ever put up a fence in order to avoid making mistakes? There are going to be times when preachers need to put up barriers to avoid mistakes. Cautions will arise and damage the preacher if he does not build a fence around his life. There are three cautions the preacher must notice in his ministry.
            The first caution is the gold. Money can be a caution for the preacher if he stares caring about the green he is receiving rather than the souls he is adding to the church. Instead of pursuing for the gold, pursue godliness with contentment of the money in your wallet or bank account. Preachers must be men of caution when the root of all evil comes knocking at the door wanting to take them away from the faith (1 Tim. 6:10).
            The second caution is the girls. Preachers need to be on the lookout for women who might destroy their ministry. Delilah tricked Samson by using his strength against him (Judges 16:17; 20-21).  Women will use your strength against you if your strength is not in the Lord. Preachers must be men of caution when dealing with women who want to deceive them.
            The third caution is the glory. Most preachers have an ego of wanting to be widely known in the brotherhood. They want fame and glory to be the best gospel preacher. Preachers need to have an altar ego of giving glory to God. Humility is the key factor of receiving the glory he deserves (Proverbs 29:23). Preachers must be men of caution of receiving glory for the pleasure of their ministry.

            Preachers have targets on their backs. People are looking for ways to destroy the life and ministry of a preacher. I want you to create a list of what you struggle with on a regular basis. Once you examine your list, I want you to put up barriers around your struggles. Men of caution need to protect their ministry and life.


Friday, January 24, 2014

Man of Encouragement
            Do you know what Vitamin E does for your body? Vitamin E helps keep the immune system strong against viruses and bacteria. It also uses cells uses to interact with each other. Vitamin E should be an important aspect in the Christian life to encouraging one another. There are three body parts of encouragement we need to have if we want to become a man of encouragement.
            The first body part of encouragement is an encouraging heart. Barnabas heard there would be people coming from the persecution of Stephen into the church. Barnabas would use his heart to encourage the brethren in Antioch to remain true to the Lord (Acts 11:23). Men of encouragement need to use their heart to encourage those who have gone through difficult times.
            The second body part of encouragement is an encouraging mouth. The brethren wanted a word of exhortation. After the apostles were done preaching, they were begging to hear more and were encouraged to continue in the grace of God (Acts 13:42-43). Men of encouragement need to use their mouth to encourage one another from his word.  
            The third body part of encouragement is an encouraging backbone. Paul was having a hard time proving himself as a changed man. Barnabas had an encouraging backbone to prove to the apostles that Paul was a New Testament Christian (Acts 9:27-29). Men of encouragement need to use their backbone for others and for themselves to prove they are changed individuals for the sake of Christ.

            God uses vitamin E to encourage us when we need to be strong and when we need to interact with one another. Why can we not do it? I want you to pick one person for a month and tell them something encouraging every day. Men of encouragement must have an encouraging heart, mouth and backbone in order to have vitamin E in their Christian walk. 

Friday, January 17, 2014

         Man of Integrity
Have you ever done something you knew was not the right thing? Integrity is not only the way one thinks but the way one acts. In the movie Courageous, four men and their families are standing around ready to sign a resolution to be better leaders in their homes. Later in the movie, one man was caught stealing drugs from his own work environment. He was not a man of integrity publicly or privately when he signed that document. We as Christians must become a man of integrity in order for us to be true to ourselves and others around us. There are two observations of integrity that can be observed from the book of Daniel.   
        The first observation from the book of Daniel is a public integrity. Daniel 3 describes a situation between king Nebuchadnezzar and the three friends of bowing down and worshipping a golden image. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego had a public integrity of proclaim who they were going to worship as their God. Their integrity was seen by two choices, dying or living of bowing down to the golden image. Our integrity will be proven through the choices we make in the public.
            The second observation from the book of Daniel is a private integrity. He was an excellent example of a man who had lived an honest life. The commissioners and satraps spied on him, talked to others about him, and watched him. They just had to find some kind of dirt on him so he would be lacking in integrity. However, there was nothing they could find on Daniel because he was living an honest life. Our private integrity will be proven through the honest lives we live.
            Paul tells us we must watch our life and sound doctrine closely (1 Tim 4:16). This means we need to pay attention to what we do in both our private and public life. The two cannot be coherent with each other.  I want you to write down everything you do every day, privately and publicly, and examine how integrity is being proven in your life. Let me just remind you, it is never too late to start doing the right thing.  We need to live it, commit to it, and start doing the right thing, not only for you but mainly for God. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

A Man of Obedience

Many people do many different things whether it is a favor or if it is out of obedience.  For example, parents always ask their children if they have cleaned their room or if they have completed their homework.  Usually our children will say, “No but I will do it later,” or “No not yet, I am doing something.”  When we give those kinds of answers to our parents, we are really saying, “I do not want to do what you are asking me to do.”  We simply do it out of a favor instead out of obedience.  Now the question is, what is the difference between doing it out of a favor and doing it out of obedience?   When we do things out of a favor, we have a mindset of not really wanting to do what is asked of us.  But when we do it out of obedience, we have a mindset of willing to obey no matter what.  This is how our relationship is with God.  We read the bible daily and we understand what God is telling us to do, but yet we are not willing to obey on what He says.  This is when we do it out of a favor by doing what makes us “feel” good in our relationship with God so we can also feel better about ourselves.  In our relationship with God, we need to start doing what He says out of obedience. 

 In Psalm 81:15 it says, “Those who hate the Lord would pretend obedience to Him, and their time of punishment would be forever.”  If you truly want to obey God, then you cannot “pretend” to do what He says in your life.  However, if you do make the choice of not obeying God, then you will suffer the consequence of receiving eternal punishment.  I know this might sound pretty weird for a second but we should be more like dogs.  Dogs are the number one most obedient animals on this earth.  When someone trains a dog how to do certain things, the trainer is really teaching the dog how to obey certain commands.  Just like how a dog is obedient to its trainer, we need to be obedient to Our God!  If God says to do something even though we are not comfortable of doing, we need to have trust in Him in order for us to become a man of obedience.  When we have this trust or this faith in Him, then we will start doing what He wants us to do.  Although, we see a particular man in the bible by the name of Moses who disobeyed God only one time when he was with the Israelites leading them to the promise land.  God commanded Moses to uphold His holiness among the Israelites but he had failed to do this commandment.  Therefore God told Moses that he would only see the land from a distance but not allowed to enter the promise land.  His lack of obedience led to consequences to his own actions. We must take a lesson from Moses that if we sometimes intend to have a lack of obedience towards God, therefore our actions will lead to serious consequences in our lives. 

 Now you may be thinking to yourself that I want to make the decision of obeying God out of obedience but then this leads to another question, what are you willing to do to become a slave of obedience?  Are you willing to give up everything you have in order for you to be obedient towards God?  In Matthew 19:16-26, we see a story which Jesus tells about The Rich Young Man who is not willing to give up everything he owns in order to obey Jesus by receiving an entry into the kingdom of heaven.  He was too busy caught up with materialistic things and not focusing on heavenly things.  We do not know if he gave up his possessions or not during the story.  However, some say he didn’t give up what he owned because he went away weeping.  This would make the man disobedient towards God through his actions by not giving up his possessions.  We must learn and analyze the example of Moses and many other people in the bible when they did not obey God and they had received a consequence because of their own choices they made during their own times.  We need to keep making wise choices towards our own obedience in our daily walk with God in order for us to enter through the kingdom of heaven.  We must become like an obedient dog through the training of God so that we can be called “A Man of Obedience.” This is the kind of man God expects us to be as a leader in our lives.