Archives For Bible

Let me start by saying that moms and dads are very important in kids’ lives. They both play crucial roles. Since I am a father I am going to talk about that. Moms you can read along if you want. Our society tends to be more and more of a dad-less society. Men that are strong and stand for their family seem to be an endangered species. So this post is just an encouragement to you dads out there that are doing a good job. If you are not, it’s a challenge to say you can do more. I already knew that my job as a dad was important, but was shocked at the scientific studies out there on the dad’s role and the child’s health. A great book on the subject is, Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know. This is a great book and I highly recommend it. Dads have many roles. I want to focus on the one that I find the most impactful and that is showing your kids who God is.

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I have heard it said that parents don’t want to push God on their kids. They want them to make up their own mind about religion and the presence or absence of God. When we find something important for the safety of our children we teach them. We teach them not to do drugs, watch out for strangers, look both ways before crossing the street. We teach them so much about the safety of their physical bodies. How much more important is their spiritual bodies? If you believe in Jesus as Savior and that the Bible is true, why would you not teach your kids? You don’t need to know all the answers. Some of the most powerful lessons that took place with my dad was when he said, “I don’t know. Let’s look it up.” Or, “Let’s find out.”

Dads you don’t need to be perfect. You just need to point them toward the Father who is perfect.(tweet that) It is so important that you as the first authority figure in their life show them the reflection of the Father. Whether you believe in God or not your kids will turn to you for answers. If you do believe they will want to know what He is like. Be courageous, get off the center line, and find out what you believe and stand for. Communicate this to your kids.

We have all had successes and failures as a dad. Stay involved, just be there, and work at it. Be the type of man who you want your sons to be or your daughters to marry. Because they will be like you in a lot of areas. The burden is heavy and we should never underestimate the yoke of leadership in our families. Hold tight to God, stay plugged in and show your kids the way. Be the watchman that your family needs. Never underestimate your role as dad!

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Are you thinking your dream to death? I’m guilty of this. I get excited about something and nothing can stop me. Then when the excitement wears off, I think the thing to death. I can often figure out the fatal flaw or build a huge mountain in front of me. I was reading about David and Goliath and noticed something. He was offered armor and didn’t take it then when Goliath challenged him, it says he ran at Goliath and killed him. No thinking just doing. These 3 things help me to be like David!

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1. Get out of your head. David didn’t sit there and think, “should I fight him or not? Should I wear the armor or not?” He went with His God and his past experiences with the sling. He had killed bears and lions protecting his family’s sheep. He did not over analyze the situation, but truly believed with God all things are possible. If you are like me your problem is not in analyzing, it is thinking about it for days. When confusion sets in you have thought about it too much. Most decisions do not need a lengthy process to determine.

2. Action flowed. Figure out the pros and cons and pray about it, but make a decision and go. It helps me to make a deadline and go in the direction I feel is needed at the deadline. It is the second guessing that will eat your mind alive. So, also make a “no matter what” deadline. I’m running this way no matter what until this time. Commit to go and run toward your dream.

3. God was and is enough. In the end if you have God; you have enough. What separates a giant from a tiny shepherd? The power of the almighty God. We need to truly embrace who we are in Christ to have victory in our lives. God was enough for David, He is enough for me, and He is enough for you. Walk with your shoulders back and head high because you are a son or daughter of the most high.

So I will leave you with this. Face your giants, whether a new habit you need to start or one you need to stop. Dream big dreams and face your Goliaths. Take heart in these words of David in 1 Samuel 17:45 -47, “You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies—the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. Today the Lord will conquer you, and I will kill you and cut off your head. And then I will give the dead bodies of your men to the birds and wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel! 47 And everyone assembled here will know that the Lord rescues his people, but not with sword and spear. This is the Lord’s battle, and he will give you to us!”

 

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Open Handed Stewardship

Zechariah Newman —  September 3, 2013 — 1 Comment

I have been thinking about stewardship a lot lately and about what is the proper way to steward. I believe that this must be done with an open hand. Let me explain. If we are grasping on to what is “ours,” it is impossible to manage all that we are responsible for. Money is the easiest object to see if we are open or closed handed, but really it is true of everything whether people or objects we must steward with an open hand. These 3 things help me to steward with an open hand.

“Stewardship is the position and duties of a steward, a person who acts as the surrogate of another or others, especially by managing property, financial affairs, an estate, etc.”

1. God owns it. The recognition that it is not mine is the first step to proper stewardship. This is the biggest step and often the one we forget the easiest. In the church we love to throw around words that we don’t know what they mean. I believed that stewardship meant being good with money. What it actually means is that what we own we are really caring for on behalf of God. When you are tempted to close your hand remember this very important piece of stewardship.

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2. Steward what you have. Steward what you are responsible for. Our time, money, God given gifts and abilities, our influence, and our bodies all comes from God. In Luke 16:10 it says, “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” Even if it is something that seems little take care of it and it will flourish. You and you alone have been entrusted to take care of everything that you have.

3. Steward now. What you take care of today determines what you will be taking care of in ten years. I have heard many people say they will give money when they have more of it. This is not really how it works. If you are not giving money when you have a little of it, you will not give when you have a lot of it. We as humans have limitless desires. Learn how to give and be generous in the small days and you and I will be generous in the days we dream about.

If you have struggled with stewarding I am with you. It is not perfection we should be after but a soft and open heart. Closed hands indicate a place in our hearts that has become hardened. Pray for a new perspective. God is faithful and will give you wisdom. Zechariah 4:10 says, “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.” Be blessed and enjoy the journey as we learn to steward with an open hand!

 

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Fallen down? Broke your word? Walked in the flesh? Join the club. I feel like Peter this morning after denying Jesus three times. It is so easy to say, “Yes Lord I will stand for you,” and then it’s a whole other ball game when we are actually in the heat of the moment. I told God that I would not put my time with Him below writing, but I did. Slowly but surely they switched places. Frustration began to build until I reached out back to Him and got in my Bible first thing this morning. It is amazing how the word washes us! I feel new and hope has returned. I’m back on my feet and ready to fight for His kingdom and glory. I learned these 3 lessons from Rocky and Peter!

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1. Retake the test. God is so cool. We don’t fail but just retake the test. In God’s school there is no “F” instead there is a “try again.” There are consequences to our actions, but we will keep taking tests until we pass them. It feels to me like God is saying, “Get back up son and try again.” Just like a child learning to walk, He picks us up and tells us “try again.”

“Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the LORD will be my light.”~ Micah 7:8

2. Chance for redemption. I love the Rocky movies. He fails, then trains and redemption comes in the end through the battle. Peter denied Jesus three times and Jesus after His resurrection says three times, “Do you love me?” Then He said, “Feed my sheep.” He asked the same amount of times that Peter rejected Him. I’m sure that this strengthened Peter in the end when he was martyred.

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”~ Thomas A. Edison

 

3. We are still a rock. Jesus changed Simon’s name to Peter when he was anything but a rock. He does the same for us. You are called out by what you have not attained. He calls you the rock before it is true. We need to accept what He calls us and walk in it as if it is true, not something we are trying to obtain. God calls us righteous so walk in His righteousness. This is not something to gain rather something that has been given by Jesus’ shed blood and resurrection. This is what makes us like a rock; our righteousness in Christ.

We all fail. We all feel some days as if God made a mistake calling us. We all feel anything but righteous. What God says about you is the truth. Hold on to that. Just like Rocky and Peter we need to get back up off the mat. Renew your strength in God and fight on!

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When there is a bend in the road we need to slow down. The only way the road ends is if we don’t turn with it. I love country drives when I don’t know where the road goes. Simple turns take the road in a direction that I never imagined. Jon Acuff refers to these moments as “hinge moments.” When we look for huge changes in life we miss the small things that will really change our world. Most of us want to believe that we run along and jump onto another road. This is not how effective change usually happens. The only way to be able to see these hinges is if we are not rushing through life. I need to slow down. Do you? I get into the doing in life instead of the being. I can be extremely task oriented, pushing harder and faster until I run off the road. These 4 things help me to slow down so I see the “hinge moments” in my life.

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1. Be still. It is hard for me to sit at the feet of God with no agenda. No praying or music. The amount of time is not as significant as just some time. If you are like me two minutes feels like two hours. Just sit and listen. If God brings something up, put it at the foot of the cross and go back to listening. He is the still small voice. We need to plan in time to just listen. Most of the time we give Him our requests and praise instead of listening. Maybe He wants to say something?

  “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”~ Psalm 46:10

2. Turn off technology. It is sad how hard this is for me and many others. No computer, phone, and t.v. Schedule it in if you have to. The world will get along just fine without you for an hour. Be present with your kids, spouse, friends. Nothing is more obnoxious than pouring your heart out to someone and they look at their phone.

3. Exercise. Sometimes you need to do some intensive cardio to free up your mind. If you exercise regularly it will change you mentally more than physically. This decompresses my mind so I can relax. I look at the world more confidently and see things I didn’t see before.

“Leave all the afternoon for exercise and recreation, which are as necessary as reading. I will rather say more necessary because health is worth more than learning.”~ Thomas Jefferson

4. Margin. We need to plan margin into our day. Some days I’m rushing from the moment I wake up to the second I go to bed at night. How are we going to hear or see any whispers from our heavenly Father or turns in the road with no space in our schedule? Plan time of space into your day.

Slow down and enjoy your life. Stop doing and start being. If you don’t find healthy ways to slow down, your body will eventually make you slow down. Life changes too fast so we need to be in the moment. We need to flex and turn with life by adding stillness and margin. Caution: there are curves ahead.

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Are you lusting after your dream? I do sometimes. Lust is an overwhelming desire or craving. I believe pursuing our dreams turns to lust when we can’t be happy with our life until we achieve what great grandeur is in our minds. I’m trying to put the dream in its proper place but to be honest it is hard to do. I have found certain things to be successful in increasing patience which leads to me putting my dream in its proper place instead of lusting after it. These 3 things help me to chase my dream and not lust after it. 

“And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.” Hebrews 6:15

1. Trust God’s timing. Do you believe God’s plan for your life is perfect? Do you believe He knows you better than you know yourself? Don’t give some religious answer. My first reaction is, “Yes I trust God with my life. Well with this part of my life at least. If I give Him access to all of my life I will have to sell everything, have no friends, and do things I hate. No, no, no, I can only put Him in the church box.” Then I wonder why it’s hard to wait. If we truly are allowing God into all areas of our life He will give us the desires of our heart or He will change your heart. Trust God with your whole life, including the timing.

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”   ~Epicurus

2. Gratitude. If I am lusting after my dream, I am ungrateful for everything in my life. All I can focus on is everything God is not giving me. How could He be so unfair and give other people my dream? Oh the humanity! This is no way to live. When I focus on my three beautiful kids who are healthy, the finances I do have, the influence I currently have, I am excited for the day, energized and ready to go out to the world with a smile on my face. Attitudes of gratitude are attractant. Your dream will happen sooner when you are grateful. (tweet it)

3. God of abundance. God’s blessings are not a finite resource. Other people receiving things earlier than you does not negatively affect your dream. If you don’t understand this, it is too easy to covet and lust. Your friend will buy a big house, expensive car, have kids that listen, a spouse that adores them, and you won’t be happy because you’re too busy wishing it was you. Be happy for them! They are your friend so rejoice in their happiness and triumph. God has more than enough for you to get yours.

“Instead, I have an abundance mentality: When people are genuinely happy at the  successes of others, the pie gets larger.” ~Stephen Covey

These 3 things help me and I pray they helped you. Don’t waste valuable time lusting and start taking footsteps toward your dream. Live life the way God designed it. God’s promises are true; hold on to that. Restore your hope and faith. Trust the one that created you!

 

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1 Corinthians 13:4 “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.” It is sad that three words into the verse I struggle. I’m good with love, I’m good with is, then patient. Wham sucker punch! Patient? Come on. Why not love works a lot, or love kills the spiders? Love is patient. You mean love doesn’t sit by the door with his shoes on him-hauing about being late for church. My bad. Patience is one of my biggest struggles. Sometimes I feel about as patient as a 2-year-old when they are denied something they want. I may not flop on the ground on the outside, but inside it kind of looks the same. When I am more patient I have noticed a pattern, so here it is. These 4 things help me with patience so that I show love to my wife.https://www.facebook.com/KCNewmanPhotography?ref=ts&fref=ts

1. Plug into the vine. What I mean by this is submit our will to the spirit of God. I wrote about this more in His Yoke Is Easy. How do we know when we are submitted to Him? We spend time with Him. Reading the Bible, praying, and studying the Word. We need to know what God stands for so we can submit our lives to Him.

2. Proper sleep. I don’t know about you but I’m much more irritable without proper sleep. For me that’s eight hours. Some people will need more and some less. Listen to your body. If you’re like me with three kids ages four and under sometimes sleep doesn’t really happen. My point is make it a priority. We should work out of our rest not rest from our work. Sleep affects so many areas and pretty much every part of physical and mental health.

3. Eat throughout the day. When my blood sugars get low, I have a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde type experience. It’s bad enough that if I am cranky my wife knows that I need to eat. She will ask me, “Do you need to eat?” aka code for cool your jets. So do what I struggle with and eat small meals throughout the day. It is good for your health and your temper.

4. Opportunity cost. This means the cost of an alternative that must be forgone in order to pursue certain action. With my example in the beginning, waiting by the door, my opportunity cost for losing my patience is pretty large. I lose the opportunity for a nice drive to church without tension. Also if I’m extra ridiculous it could pour into the rest of the day. Getting on the crazy cycle is pretty easy.

So my challenge is, let’s be intentional with our love by working on our patience. Walk with God and take care of our body so that we can live a life of patience, a life of love.

His Yoke Is Easy

zechariahnewman —  May 29, 2013 — 8 Comments

Mathew 11:30 30 “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” I remember the first several times I read this and thought “bull.” Maybe this is not “spiritual,” but it’s the truth. Living the way God wanted me to did not seem easy and light. Still doesn’t sometimes. Out of pure frustration I looked into this more, praying for insight and direction. Nothing I was doing felt light and easy, rather straining. What was I doing wrong? When God are you going to make it easy? Those were my questions then and the following explains what it means to me now.

Yoke is defined as a device for joining together a pair of draft animals.

In John 15:5 it says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” So we need to be joined up and remain into God then our burden is light and His yoke easy.

So how do we remain in God? We submit our will to the spirit of God.

Augustine wrote, “Without God we cannot, without us God will not.”

An illustration of the two verses listed above came to me; it’s like driving a screw into a board with a drill. All we have to do is plug it in and our torque goes way up making it easy. The drill has been there the whole time but it’s true power only exists while it is plugged into an electrical outlet. Have you tried to use a drill without power? Of course not, but that is what I do with my life sometimes which is just as useless while I’m unplugged.

This is what I have done in the past and do not recommend:

I have plugged the power cord into myself. Epic fail! All this leads to is self-condemnation and frustration. I have plugged the power cord into others. Talk about disappointment. Expectations for others are a big way to feel jaded. I most often do the on/off method. Plug-in, unplug, plug-in, unplug. This gets exhausting. I try my own will and effort then give up, plug into God then life’s burdens get easy (well at least the straining stops). Then I slowly place the burdens back on my own shoulders until I have had enough again.

“On our knees we are the most powerful force on earth.” ~Billy Graham

So if you have unplugged, plug into God our source. All else is vanity leading to death. Partner with Him, yoke together with the creator of the universe and He will give you peace, joy, strength, and fulfillment. He does not promise no problems, but a new lightness comes in when you remain in the vine.