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Men's blog

Archive for September 2014

In The Beginning…Grace

Genesis 1-2

When you hear the word grace, what do you think of? Some of you might think of Jesus. After all, grace was personified in Jesus. John tells us that He was “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). Others, when they hear the word grace might try to define it, but defining grace can be a difficult thing to do. Some definitions I have heard: Grace is getting what we don’t deserve. Grace is God’s unmerited favor. A.W. Tozer said, “Grace is the good pleasure of God that inclines Him to bestow benefits on the undeserving.” At the heart of the word grace is divine favor. It acknowledges the full implication of sin yet does not condemn.

Grace is all of these things and more. Grace is not a one-time event in the life of a Christian. Rather, the entire Christian life is empowered and driven by grace: “…for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods… (Hebrews 13:9).

Because grace is at the heart of the Christian life, each of us who follows Jesus has a grace story or many grace stories and all of our grace stories begin in the same place. They begin, “In the beginning” (Genesis 1:1).

Why did God create anything? If you think about it, the act of creation was an astonishing act of grace. God created life, which created the potential for you and me. Creation gave each of us an opportunity to be, and God was under no obligation to give us that opportunity. So, from His abundant grace, God created and part of that creation is you. Thus your grace story begins.

This week think of areas in your life where God has shown you marvelous acts of grace. This might be the stopping of a habitual sin, protection from a sinful lifestyle, an answered or unanswered prayer or not giving you want you think is best for you. These are all part of you grace story.

If you are willing to share a grace story, I would love to hear from you. You can email me at 1timothy46@gmail.com or call me at 402-201-5693.

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

Integrity: Don’t Leave Home Without It!

This week’s devotional is excerpted from The Joshua Code by O. S. Hawkins. Since integrity is an integral part of who we are, I thought it was appropriate to share. I hope it challenges you like it challenged me.

“He who walks with integrity walks securely, but he who perverts his ways will become known.” – Proverbs 10:9

What is the single most important trait of a person who desires to truly make a difference in our world today? Some would say it is intellect. After all, knowledge is power in many ways. Others contend it is intensity, that spirit of conquest accompanied by a passion that becomes contagious. Still others suggest it is insight, good old common sense, along with the ability to clearly see certain issues. However, I contend the most important trait is integrity. We have all known people along life’s journey who have incredible intellect, but no integrity, and they are no longer in the race. Others possessing amazing intensity and passion but little integrity have gone the same way.

The same is true of people with keen insight but no integrity.

Integrity is our most valuable commodity. Integrity is that state or quality of being complete, and it is freedom from corrupting influences or motives. The thesaurus equates it with such words as honesty, completeness, and incorruptibility. Yes, “he who walks with integrity walks securely.”

Each of us lives in distinct spheres of life and influence. You live in a private world. There is a part of you where no one really goes. Not even those closest to us – our husbands, our wives – know all our private thoughts.

No one invades your private world except you… and the God who knows all your private thoughts.

You also live in a personal world. This is the part of you that you share with a small circle of immediate family and perhaps a few friends who really know you intimately.

Next comes your professional world. This existence consists of dozens or even scores of men and women who, although they do not know you personally, much less privately, know you in a professional setting. Finally, you live in a public world. This is the world in which people have never met you personally or dealt with you professionally, but they have formed an opinion about you. We call this our public persona. The reality of these four spheres raises an important question: where is integrity in life rooted?

Even though it will probably be very convicting, take a ruthless inventory of your private, personal, professional, and public spheres of influence. How would you rate yourself in integrity? How would those closest to you rate you?

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

Hardened Hearts

“Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts…” – Hebrews 3:8

“Hardhearted” or “stiff-necked” are terms to describe people who live in willful rebellion against God. A sinful lifestyle or a failure to surrender to God can lead to one being hardhearted or stiff-necked. What about those who pray to God for healing for themselves, a sick loved one, or a dying child? They pray and pray, but all they hear is silence. Do you think that could cause a hardened heart or one to be stiff-necked?

Whatever the reason is that causes a hardened heart – whether it is rebellion, pride, independence, anger, resentment, bitterness or lack of trust – all of these things can cause great harm in your spiritual life and the only cure is God. He alone has the cure to soften a hardened heart. God says, “I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God” (Ezekiel 11:19-20).

Where in your life do you sense your heart being hardened to God? Are you being still before God and trusting Him in this area of your life?

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

Guard Your Heart

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” – Proverbs 4:23

This morning, my four year old son told me I was breaking his heart because I wouldn’t play airplanes with him. This is actually the third time in the past week that he has used the phrase “breaking my heart”.

So, this got me thinking about how important our hearts are to our relationships – our relationships with others and our relationship with God. Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind“ (Matthew 22:37). Your heart is key to your relationship with God.

But we all know how easily a heart can be broken. A relationship ends and it breaks your heart. A family member passes away and it breaks your heart. You have a sick child and as their parent it breaks your heart that they are not getting better. You have a dream for your life, it isn’t happening and your heart breaks. You have an unanswered prayer and it breaks your heart. You have a parent who won’t play airplanes with you because they are writing a devotional that touches many lives and it breaks the heart of a four year old which in turn breaks your heart.

Many things break our heart so we guard them and protect them, but what are we protecting them from? Most of us would say from emotional pain, but the writer of Proverbs is looking at something more than emotional pain. If your heart is key to your relationship with God, then shouldn’t you be protecting your heart from those things that diminish your devotion to Him? Yes!

Where in your life do you need to place a hedge of protection around your heart? Are there compromising positions you’re putting yourself in that are causing your character to be suspect? Is there a temptation in your life that is so powerful that it weakens your devotion to God. Have you asked someone to walk beside you and hold you accountable in your devotion to Him?

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

Set Your Heart

“For the Lord sees not as man sees; man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” – 1 Samuel 16:7

We live in a society where one’s outer appearance is looked at the most. Is the person easy on the eyes? Do they have a strong physique? What kind of car do they drive? Where is their house located? Too often we focus on the superficial parts of a person to determine if we like that person, if we want that person to be part of our group or if they will make a good leader. But here’s the thing: as you look at the depth of the person, you may find that they really aren’t all that attractive. As you look beyond the exterior of the person, you may see that they have no integrity, personality, character, or leadership skills.

You see, what matters most is not what is on the surface, but what is inside. What matters is a person’s heart. So, confession time. How is your heart? What grabs a hold of your heart? In other words, what is your heart set on? It is important that we think about this, because too often our hearts are set upon guilty pleasures or things that make us look good in this world.

To “set your heart” (2 Chronicles 11:16) means to make following God your number one priority. It means making Him more important to you than anything else. Setting your heart to God means nothing else can take first place in your life. That position must be reserved for the One who can put everything into perspective in your life, for the One who can bring real change and satisfaction. That position of first priority must be reserved for the One who accepts you just the way you are, with all your flaws, all your baggage, and all your history.

So do you need to change who or what your heart is set to?

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