A triumphal warrior’s call

Subversive for the Savior
Devotional by John Piper      (my comments in orange)

When Jesus met the man filled with demons at Gadara, the demons cried out, “What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?” (Matthew 8:29)

Demons learned a mystery here. They knew they were doomed. They knew the Son of God would be the Victor. But they didn’t know until it happened that Christ was coming before the time of final defeat.

Christ is not going to wait until the atom bomb drops to end the war. He has begun to lead a subversive force into the territory of Satan. He has trained a “life-squad” (that’s us boys) to perform daring rescue operations. Christ has plotted many tactical victories before the time of the final strategic victory.

The resulting wartime mentality is this: Since Satan’s doom is sure, and he knows it, we can always remind him of it when he tempts us to follow him. (Remember … “Lake of fire, Lake of fire”.  When assaulted, remind the foul one of his final destination!)  We can laugh and say, “You’re out of your mind. Who wants to join forces with a loser?!”

The church is the liberated enemy of “the god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4). We are the guerrillas and the gadflies. We are the insurgency in the rebel kingdom of “the prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2).  (Big AMEN to that!)

It is not safe. But it is thrilling. Many lives are lost. Satan’s forces are ever on the lookout for our subversive activity. Christ has guaranteed resurrection for all who fight to the death. But he has not guaranteed comfort, or acceptance from the world, or prosperity in enemy territory.

Many have gladly given their lives behind the lines running errands for the Commander. I can think of no better way to live — or die!

The Warrior

One of my favorite movies and books of all time is The Lion, the witch and the wardrobe by CS Lewis.  Aslan is the Christ figure in the story and is this magnificent, powerful, exceedingly kind, fiercely terrifying yet always loving figure in the story.  When Aslan is on the move, the kingdom shakes with anticipation.  And so it is today.

Yes, this world is terrible.  Yes, we face a long laundry list of things to worry about.  Yes, our nation has turned away from God.  There is much to fear about our future.  However…we know how this story ends.  We know the warrior God is coming and He will make all things right.  So men, take heart!  Rise up.  Don’t shrink back.  Be a man of God.  Be bold and fierce and strong yet tender, loving and compassionate.  Be true.  Stand tall.  Fight for your family.  Fight for your wife.  Fight for your kids.  Don’t give up.  Don’t lose heart.

There is a storm coming…

i am the storm

who told you that you were naked?

This morning … wow, it just blew me away.  I’ve seen this 4 times now and each time, I am taken deeper into it.  This is so vital to this journey we are on.  I wanted to get you this link so you can have access to the podcast.

Please invest the 45 minutes or so to watch this.  Let me suggest that you watch it a second time with your wife.  Let God speak into your soul…

go to http://www.mosaic.org — click on podcast/streaming, video podcast and then click on the 3/9/14 episode “The Artisan Soul, who told you you were naked”

Men, this is such a critical part of our journey.  Much like the talk on the Vine, we need to pay attention to the voices we are listening to and in reality, if we aren’t connected to the Vine, we’re going to be listening to the wrong voices.  All of us have those voices – voices of fathers who told us we are half-ass and we’d never amount to anything, voices of older brothers who knocked us down to keep us in our place, voices of past loves who broke our heart and then turned to another man, voices of a coach who told us we probably didn’t need to be on the team, voices of bosses who told us we simply didn’t have what it took to make it in business.  We’ve all got them and they do untold damage to our souls.

And so, we wander around beaten, broken, ashamed and half the man we were meant to be.  And if God could pull you aside right now, He’d simply ask, “who told you that you were naked, who have you been listening to?”

You are a masterpiece, dreamed up by God long before you were ever born.  He created you to create, He imagined you so you can image, He dreamed of you so you can then in turn dream.  So many of us no longer believe this.  But you should – it’s still there buried under the silt and damage of years of lies from the father of all lies, buried under the voices of broken, wounded people.

The prayer for you right now is this – “Lord, make me a masterpiece.  I will be a work of art and an artist at work.  I will dream great dreams and imagine a future that does not yet exist.  I will refuse to let reality limit what God can do in me.”

I won’t ramble (though I could).  I simply want you to watch this video and soak it in and then, if you will, share a comment below as to what God spoke into your soul while you were listening to this.

dig deep.  dream big.  shine.

 

Dreaming (2)

The world needs you to live your most heroic life.  Just look around you.  This planet is reeling and running towards disaster.  We need you to step UP.

McManus said, “We have unimaginable freedom, opportunity, wealth, resources and are probably the most leveraged culture in human history for success and yet we have runaway depression, an epidemic of suicide and an overly medicated culture.  Is it possible that we have consumed and consumed and consumed and taken all that we can for ourselves rather than to create and create and create for the good of others?”

This is a huge statement.  It is what we’ve been talking about as we LiveUP we strive to LiveOUTWARD rather than consume inward.  It is a radical thought.  When you’ve been hurt or let down or disappointed, it is so easy to turn this inward on you and “consume”.  As we think of how this makes me feel or how this hurts me or how angry it makes me, things start to spiral out of control.  The more we make it about “me”, the deeper into the muck we sink.  Thus, perhaps is a key reason, we have become a depressed society.

But turn it the other way, what if when your children hurt you and disappoint you or when the burden of this thing you must do to help a friend weighs on you — what if — what if instead of turning it inward, you LivedOUTWARD?  What if instead of focusing on self, you instead focused on the child and what she needs.  Yes, she disappointed you or made you mad but she needs you.  She needs you to love her.  Yes, the burden of meeting the need of a friend which takes away your night or your weekend can strain you but what if instead, you simply focused on what it is your friend truly needs rather than how this “puts you out”.

We have consumed, consumed and consumed and taken all we can and it leaves us empty with an even deeper void than before we started.  These things make it hard to dream.

We’re talking about dreaming and the call to your most heroic self.  We hear a lot the phrase, “If you can dream it, you can do it” and that’s simply not true.  There are things I cannot do no matter how much I dream about them.  But the converse is an undeniable truth – “If you don’t dream it, you’re not going to do it.”  We need to dream.  You need to dream.  There is something out there just waiting for you to dream it up.  Imagine.  Create.  Be able to see a world that does not exist and imagine a future yet to be created and see yourself as the person you have yet to become.

Your imagination is supposed to unleash you so can begin to pursue that life.  To dream a dream that so compels you that it demands to become your life.

What is that for you?

Or, do you find all of this seemingly impossible?  Do you sit and think, “Man, I’ve got so much junk in my life and I am just so barely hanging on that all this dreaming stuff is sort of like, ‘yeah, whatever'”

Then let me remind you of Jeremiah and his words of each of us being “A dream in the mind of God before you took your first breath.”  You, my friend, are a work of art…a Masterpiece.  You have gifts, talents, skills and abilities breathed into you by the Mighty Lord as He dreamed you up into existence.

Who are you going to believe?  The enemy who whispers in your ear, “It’s too late, you’ve got too much baggage” or, the Master of the Universe who dreamed you up as a work of art and gave His son as a ransom on your behalf?

You need to dream.  You need to sit back and let God speak into your soul.  He can dream far bigger than you ever imagined.  You need to be still, attach to the Vine and let Him feed your soul and then see what dreams He has for you.

wide awake dream (1)

Wholeness this week & a comment on hope

This week at ManSchool, we will dive into Wholeness.  We will not meet next Wednesday (the day before Thanksgiving).  We will resume on December 4th, 11th and 18th and then break until sometime in January.  I don’t think we’ll finish Uprising and so we’ll spend a few weeks on it early in the Winter and then transition to our Spring study.  We want to have a ManSchool testimony sometime after Uprising and before we start the new study.  We envision at least two men speaking for a few minutes about ManSchool and what it has meant to them.  We would also like all the men who are in ManSchool to be there on stage standing as a group as our brothers share their testimony.  Unity.  humility & Gratitude.  Be praying about this.

So onto Wholeness and I came across an old journal of mine and found this on Hope which is a huge part of wholeness from John Piper…

Romans 8:19-22 – “Creation groans to be set free from its bondage and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.”

It isn’t going to be “better” in this life…

  1. The whole creation groans – creation is in slavery to bondage.  No place on earth escapes it.
  2. It is futile to try – creation is subjected to futility (8:20) but we will be set free (8:21).
  3. God judicially sentenced the world to this suffering for man’s sin.  Adam & Eve did it their way “we’re going to eat what we want and do what we want and you can just get out of here with all your rules.”  We do the same thing only we’re more sophisticated and subtle.  This world seethes with rebellion in a nice, clean, suburban form.  So it is not an overreaction for God to say in effect, “This world is going to stay this way until my Son comes.  You’ll experience pain, suffering, bondage because that is how serious sin is.”

But there are also some promises…

  1. After this – we will see this pain end.  Glory will be revealed to us and in us.  Why does man desire greatness?  Canyons, mountains, The Lord of the Rings?  Something in man wants greatness.  That’s God.  We long to be near greatness – that’s the image of God in us.  John 17 Jesus said, “I want them to see my glory.”  He so love me that He wants me to experience glory!
  2. We’re going to be revealed – “Anxious longing of creation that waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God.” (Romans 8:19)  We will be titans!  Matthew 13 – “The righteous will shine like the sun in the presence of the Father“.
  3. We’re here in hope – there is a futility of home (8:20) when life, after all, seems futile.  But remember, we are here in hope.  Redeemed Christ became a curse for us.  My death and suffering are no longer God punishing me.  As a believer, God is for me.  He has no wrath for me.  He’s just purifying me.  Death, which was originally a curse, now has no sting.  It is a doorway.
  4. All creation will be freed – and brought into His glory (8:21).  Creation was made for me.  There will be a new me, a new body, new senses, new pleasures as God reveals a new creation.

We should take this and be so Heavenly minded so as to be radical in our pursuit of God because we have nothing to lose.  The people who are “no good” are those that have it all now – a fully funded retirement, plasma TVs, iPads, new cars, all the luxuries, fame, fortune, acclaim of others — these are idols to make Heaven come now because they don’t believe it is out there in eternity.

If you’re really sold on this, you will become so humble,  you’ll go into the hard places, the hard relationships, for healing, redemption and service because you have an inheritance coming.

The miseries of this life are not death throes but rather, birth pains.  8:22 – “a new Heaven, new earth” – all pain is a birth pain.  I’m not going to death, I’m going to life.  Whatever I know of suffering, I know this, Christ felt all I feel times 10.  Humiliation, pain, loneliness…  And so I know with full confidence, when God undertakes to do great things in me, He will first break me to humility to prepare me.

Let us rejoice in these promises – they are a critical part of wholeness.  Let us LiveUP!

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