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Men's blog

Archive for June 2014

Over & Over Again

Surrender is the glad and voluntary acknowledgement that there is a God and it is not me. Who among you feels good about this statement? I’m not sure that I do. For me, surrendering is hard. I have this insecurity that I live with that makes me want to be in control of my life and the circumstances around it. My heart can be rebellious toward God, telling Him to stay out of my life. I will go where I want, when I want in my life. I will keep this area, this pattern, this relationship under my own control. I will hold onto that grudge and I will enjoy the pleasure that I get from this habit. Jesus, I know You want full surrender of me, but I kind of like being in control, and, to be honest, I’m not sure I completely trust You with my life.

The problem with living like this is that it often makes us anxious and miserable. Only one thing will bring us ultimate peace: a surrendered heart. Sounds easy enough, doesn’t it? Just surrender your heart and things will be great. But you know and I know surrendering your heart is not an easy thing to. Too often we think that if we do it once, if we just say, “God, I surrender to you” then everything will be good. If this is you, how is that working out for you? Surrender is not a one and done thing. Surrendering to God is something that we do over and over and over again. For some it may be a daily occurrence. For others, you may have to surrender multiple times a day. It all depends on your life and the circumstances you’re facing.

The Apostle Paul provides us with a striking image in his letter to the Galatians, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). Part of what this means is that when we surrender to God, we will seek to handle the problems facing us in a way that honors Him. It means that you turn your life over to God and seek to obey Him the best you can in every circumstance. It means you lose a life, but you gain a life much better that the one you lost. And in the end you will see that nothing you lost was really worth keeping anyway.

~ Tim Hall
https://twitter.com/1timothy12
(I encourage feedback, questions & comments – email me at 1timothy46@gmail.com)

Who Is In Control?

I have an ugly little secret…….I like to be in control. I find this need for control permeates all areas of my life; as a husband, as a father, as a friend, I like to be in control and would venture to say that each of you have the same ugly little secret. We would all prefer to run the world, gratify our own desires, and get our own ways. Too often we place our lives in our own hands and rely on our own abilities to solve what needs to be solved and fix what needs to be fixed. We like to be in control. But I wonder if this leaves us feeling more anxious? John Calvin said that the only haven of safety is “to have no other will, no other wisdom, than to follow The Lord wherever he leads. Let this, then be the first step, to abandon ourselves, and devote the whole energy of our minds to the service of God.” In order for us to do this, we must face our greatest fear: the surrender of our selves, the surrender of our control to God. Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” (Matt. 16:24). In others words we need to relinquish control of our lives and surrender to Jesus.

We all like to have Jesus on speed dial and have Him readily available when we need Him: Jesus, I have a health problem and need your help. Something hard is going on at work, and I’d like it to be different. I’m feeling anxious and would like to have peace of mind. Jesus, my marriage is in a downward spiral and I need your help to make it better. Jesus, my child is going down a wrong path; I need your help to redirect them.

These temporary moments of surrender is not what Jesus is looking for from us. Jesus said, “Whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.” (Matt. 10:39). In other words, surrender to Jesus, because the only way to Jesus is through surrender. But surrender is hard and none of us likes to give up control. I wonder if we think surrendering is hard because we view it as being passive. But, to surrender is not the same as passivity. John Ortberg writes, “To surrender does not mean being a doormat. It does not mean you accept circumstances fatalistically. It doesn’t mean you stop using your mind, stop asking questions, or stop thinking critically. Surrender is the glad and voluntary acknowledgement that there is a God and it is not me.”

So, when you surrender to God, you offer obedience and yield to Him. You let go of your life and do what He says. You let go of your ego and every self centered-ambition you have. You let your life be rearranged from the inside out; the way God wants.

So, this week, identify one area of your life that you need to give up control of. Give it to God and pray for Him to change that part of your life.

~ Tim Hall
https://twitter.com/1timothy12
(I encourage feedback, questions & comments – email me at 1timothy46@gmail.com)

A Great Study for Men: A Man and His Work

“Took a look at A Man and His Work this week. The latest in a line of men’s studies called 33 The Series, it was inspired by the Men’s Fraternity material created by Robert Lewis (I reviewed part 1 of the series right here). The relevance of the title caught my attention and the content of the study held my attention very well.” ~ Mark Howell

Read more…

Be the Hero


by Jim Daly from The Good Dad

In honor of Father’s Day yesterday, this week’s ManUp is taken from a devotional I recently read by Jim Daly, President of Focus on the Family. Enjoy!

We talk about our moms as the center of the family. And in certain critical ways, they always will be. But as fathers we have just as important a role to play in the lives of our boys and girls that goes beyond carrying the family’s mantle of leadership. We must get back to the father’s traditional roles of provision and protection.

In Romans 12:1-2, The Apostle Paul writes:
I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will.

The Lord wills that we be good fathers to our children and good husbands to our wives. Is manliness just brute power and strength and might? Or does it say, “I’m going to lay down my life for you”? On the surface, sacrifice can feel weak and powerless, but it’s not. It’s powerful. Christ may have looked weak and powerless on the cross during his moment of ultimate sacrifice, and yet that sacrifice remains the most powerful act the universe has ever seen.

It’s another paradox.

We are at our strongest when we lay down our lives, even in small ways, for our wives and children – maybe especially in small ways.

It’s hard to do. We get into arguments because we don’t always do it well. But I guess that’s why it’s called a “sacrifice.” If it were easy, it wouldn’t be a sacrifice.

When you look at healthy families, you see one common characteristic – sacrificial men.

Men who take time out for their kids – even when they’d rather do something else. Men who talk with their kids – even when some part of them just wants to watch the football game. Men who deal patiently with their kids – even when they’ve got to mop up the spilled milk from the floor for the third time that week. When men do the right thing for their families and offer that life-giving sacrifice, it pays big dividends. The families that result from that kind of fatherly commitment enjoy robust health.

“We’re called to sacrifice for our families. We’re called to be the men our wives and children need ant the heroes God wants us to be.” – Jim Daly, The Good Dad

~ Tim Hall
https://twitter.com/1timothy12
(I encourage feedback, questions & comments – email me at 1timothy46@gmail.com)

Can You Imagine A Love Like This?

In John’s gospel we read some challenging words which Jesus spoke directly to people who wanted to follow Him and be His disciples. These words aren’t only meant for the original audience of Jesus, but that are meant for you and for me as well.

Jesus said that we are to “Love one another” (John 13:34). Now some of you might be thinking that’s not so bad. I already do that. I’m good person, I treat others decently, and I don’t really talk bad about people too often. So yeah, I think I got this love thing down. I’m good!

But not so fast; Jesus elaborates on this and says these challenging words, “As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (John 13:34). Now things are a little uncomfortable, aren’t they? Because the way that Jesus loves you is and the example He set for us is a love that is void of self. It’s a love that is self-sacrificial and self-giving. You see friends; the way that we are supposed to love another is with a selfless love. The love we are to have is a unique quality of love inspired by Jesus’ own love for His disciples, His love for you and His love for me.

How is that going for your? Do you still think you have this love thing figured out? Do you still think that you are doing a good job with loving one another? You see, Jesus doesn’t want us to just follow Him or profess a belief in Him; He wants us to do something way more difficult than that. He wants us to love one another, to love those around us (even the difficult people) the way that He loved those around him and the way that He loves you and me.

Imagine what would happen if you did that? Imagine what your communities would look like, what your work place would look like, what the market place would look like, what your church would look like, and what your families would look like if we just get this one teaching of Jesus right. What would it look like if we love one another the way Jesus loved?

So, this week, I want to challenge you to love. Think of one person in your life that is difficult to love and to the best of your ability become a crazy lover of that person. What would that look like? How would it affect that person? How would it affect you and change your world if you made that choice to love the way Jesus loves you? This week let your life be defined by a selfless, unconditional, generous, compassionate kind of love.

~ Tim Hall
https://twitter.com/1timothy12
(I encourage feedback, questions & comments – email me at 1timothy46@gmail.com)

Name Change

Whenever you read about, hear about, or see someone following Jesus, it always includes changing something. Why? Because each of us have something in our lives or many things in our lives that need to change. Maybe it’s a compulsive habit you can’t break or an addiction you have been hiding. Maybe it’s a resentful spirit that is ruining relationships in your life. Or perhaps it is envy, greed or insecurity that is so prevalent in your daily life.

When Andrew brought Peter to meet Jesus, his name wasn’t Peter, it was Simon. Jesus looked at him and said you shall no longer be called Simon, you will be called Peter (John 1:42). You see, becoming a follower of Jesus comes with a change and an incredible promise: you shall no longer be called. This is really good news for many of us, because a lot of us live with some really dark names. Names like addict or hypocrite. Names like judgmental or selfish. Names like resentful or bitter. Names like adulterer or promiscuous.

These are hard names to be called and to be known as. So, what name do you have that you need to hear the words: you shall no longer be called? All it takes is engaging Jesus and following Him. When you do this, when you make that choice, you get a new name; you are now called a child of God.

“Expect great things from God, and attempt great things for God” – William Carey

~ Tim Hall
https://twitter.com/1timothy12
(I encourage feedback, questions & comments – email me at 1timothy46@gmail.com)