Have You Enlisted or Are You Waiting to be Drafted?

27 06 2016

imagesHere in the USA, the military draft ended at the end of the Vietnam War. In some nations around the world, there is a required season of serving in the military for young men and women. I imagine for most it’s not a bad deal, i.e., education, learning discipline, obeying authority and good physical health. I enjoyed much of the process of “becoming a man” in the US military. One of my favorite memories was leading many of the lonely, homesick men into a relationship with Jesus. Evangelism opportunities were everywhere. images-2

The kingdom of God is a 100% voluntary army. Did you enlist wholeheartedly in this army or are you waiting nervously for the draft? Are you voluntarily and willingly seeking God for your next assignment or are you holding back until you feel pressured? Are you responding to God’s still small voice or do you avoid that voice hoping it will soon become silent? Those who enlist are often ‘all in,’ while those who wait for the draft are frequently and silently hoping they’ll be inconspicuous enough to be overlooked. To them, being overlooked is better than taking a risk and living outside of their security level.

There are also those recruits who say, “Anywhere, Lord, but Africa”? They’re truly not enlisting. If they did go to Africa, their heart would not be with the people of Africa. They’ll be waiting for orders to return to their familiar, secure place. But, I choose to be an enlistee…all in…excited about my next orders from heaven and fully trusting my heavenly Father. He knows what He’s doing with my life. After all, He created me, He placed me on the earth for this brief period of time and I desire to fully follow Him. I owe Him my full cooperation and obedience as my Commander.  Consider these verses: Acts 17:24-28





Walking in Integrity and Avoiding an Affair

20 06 2016

To walk in integrity outside of moral failure has some great benefits to it.  I am not sure if you have ever thought about the consequences of having an affair, but here are a few to meditate on:

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  • Working to rebuild trust and an uninhibited marriage of oneness once again (spiritually, sexually, emotionally)
  • Embarrassing family, losing their respect and trust
  • Having to walk away from a job or ministry position
  • Possibly having to relocate
  • Possibly facing newspaper articles, publicly printed communication and social media about personal failure
  • Facing rumors, gossip and lies
  • Having to face untold and far-reaching negative consequences either based on truth and fact or hearsay
  • Maybe having to face the law or possible law suits
  • Losing or forfeiting many friendships and local church relationships
  • Living with wounds and scars
  • Feeling as though everyone is watching youimages-7
  • Suffering from overwhelming thoughts of failure
  • Continually reliving the past and coming up with regret and loss
  • Living with continual condemnation
  • Struggling to sleep at night
  • Waking up in the morning and wondering how to look forward to a new day
  • Having to be concerned about who one may face or encounter throughout the day
  • Suffering the loss of vision
  • Having to go through biblical discipline and a restoration process
  • Being unable to look at one’s family and all others in the eye
  • Being unable to look at oneself in the mirror without feeling condemnation and feeling like a failure
  • Suffering from an unclear conscience; walking through life feeling a cloud over oneself
  • Feeling the loss of ones peace and joy
  • Suffering through the loss and grief of broken relationship with God
  • Living with the deep hurt and pain you caused the one with whom you vowed a promise of fidelity




Celebrating a Graduation

17 06 2016

unspecified-2Our younger son, following graduation from college, spent seven years traveling the USA in a rock band, recording two albums in Nashville, getting married, having a son himself all the while also working at a local law firm, has recently graduated from Weidner Law School as valedictorian. He has worked so hard and we are so proud of him as any parent would be. But there’s more to the story and it is this ‘more’ part that causes us to be especially proud – his speech delivered at graduation before his classmates, his professors, guest speakers and the many family members gathered there that day.

Marc congratulated all graduates, thanked his professors and his family and then told us that becoming a lawyer has to be more than making money. He said there has to be a larger cause than just work and stuff. In part he said, “As law students and soon to be lawyers, we are privileged. We are privileged to have attended this school to become lawyers. What will we do with that privilege? When we enter our practice, we must remember the poor, the needy, those who cannot help themselves and the incarcerated. Serve the poor around you and remember as John Bradford said, ‘If not for the grace of God, there go I.’”unspecified-1

It is that heart we are most proud of. It is that heart that our Jesus has shaped and molded in him. It is that heart that occurred through mission trips as a teen, youth group, small groups, family devotions and life experiences. We love You, Father, for birthing that heart in our son. We love you, Marc, for walking in these heart values of your heavenly Father.





Integrity is Not Perfect

13 06 2016

images-3Can we maintain integrity even while we are on a mistake-filled journey here on earth? We can, as godly character is grown over time and we realize mistakes are a part of that growth. If we live under strict codes, then all failures are placed upon our permanent record. But in living under grace, we find forgiveness for our failures and an Advocate who comes along side us to reinforce the right responses for future application and personal growth. The journey, while not an excuse for sin, is about growth in the process, not perfection.

Recently, I was traveling over Memorial Day weekend and within a four-hour time span I counted no less than one dozen police officers patrolling along the highway. It was a constant reminder to obey the law or I would suffer the consequences. If I disobeyed or was disobeying, fear would be my response.   If I obeyed the law, assurance of no wrongdoing was my confidence. That’s how the law operates. But God’s grace in the process does not operate that way because “…perfect love casts out fear.” (I John 4:18)images-4

Love accepts that integrity is not perfect. Love embraces the journey. Love forgives the wrongdoing and love promotes more love, not fear. There are plenty of faults to find in the Psalmist David’s life, but in Psalm 41 he wrote, “In my integrity you uphold me and set me in your presence forever.” Thank you, Father, for upholding us, building integrity within us and setting us in Your presence!





What Years of Ministry has Taught Me About Integrity

6 06 2016

imagesIntegrity is a condition we choose to walk in. If we choose not to walk in integrity, we will eventually need intervention in our lives.  The following are examples of life lessons in integrity.

  1. Integrity is God’s choice for me. (I Kings 9:4)

 

  1. Integrity is a choice that I must choose. (Job 27:5,6; Psalm 7:8)

 

  1. Integrity starts in my heart. (I Chronicles 29:17)

 

  1. It is easier to not be a man or woman of integrity. (Job 2:9)

 

  1. It is something that you grow in. (Psalm 103:13,14)

 

  1. Finding a model to emulate is helpful, as well as being that model. (Titus 2:7)

 

  1. It means humbling ourselves when we fail. (Romans 12:3)

 

  1. It means not being able to defend yourself before others at times. (Psalm 25:21; 41:12)

 

  1. Jesus maintained integrity before men who constantly judged him. ( Mark 12:14; Hebrimages-2ews 5: 8, 9; Proverbs 29:10)

 

  1. The closer we come to Jesus, the more integral we become. (Proverbs 2:21; 10:9 NLT; 11:3; 13:6)







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