Category Archives: Mens Devo

Afraid Of Nothing

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Afraid of Nothing

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me—Psalm 23:4

This is perhaps one of King David's greatest and most quoted Psalms. Think of this writing as a peek into a private journal entry of David, where he shares his deepest insecurities and reveals his greatest fears. At a glance, some could interpret this moment in his journal as "weak" or "emasculating." But David's words could not be more brave and masculine as he seeks to comfort himself in God. It's a display of his security in God while feeling insecure about the present and future. Even though David was a king, he always understood that he served a greater authority. A King whose hand is strong and sturdy. A Shepherd whose rod protects and directs. A Father who hand comforts and guides. Perhaps David states this here not merely to remind himself, but to remind us—that there is nothing to fear when we walk the valley of the shadow of death.

PLAY THIS: Ross King, Things I'm Afraid Of on Spotify iTunes

PRAY THIS: God, let me know your stregth, power, and might when I walk through those dark times.

JOURNAL THIS: "I am worried about this [insert the situation]"

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Fight The Right Battle

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Fight The Right Battle

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”—Ephesians 6:12

It's going to happen today. You are gonna "wrestle" with someone. But it's not a person you can see; it's not "against flesh and blood." Rather the force that opposes you is far more devious. It's a "cosmic" battle on three fronts—it's with "rulers, authorities, and powers" of a cosmic nature. Yeah, it sounds a little out of this world, but it is more real than you realize. And while you will want to wrestle with the people you see, you need to know you may be fighting with something unseen. This devious cosmic ruler, authority, and power wants to unravel your life by getting you to wrestle with the wrong enemy—so don't do it. Your opponent is not who you think.

DO THIS: Don't fight the wrong battle.

PRAYER: God, help me to see the battle and run to the right fight.

JOURNAL IT: "While [insert name] appears to be my enemy, here is the real issue I'm having with them."

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Be Different

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Be Different

When looking, acting, and talking countercultural becomes familiar, it's no longer countercultural. It’s ordinary and expected. And because of this trend, it's getting harder to look different from our culture. Or might it be getting easier? Here is a word of timeless wisdom on this subject.

My son, do not walk in the way with them; hold back your foot from their paths.—Proverbs 1:15

  • The term "walk" here is synonymous with the word "live."
  • "Hold back" is synonymous with the word "restrain."
  • "Your foot" infers "intentional and action."
  • "Their paths" infers "a pattern of living."

So we could read it this way.

My son, do not live the way they live; restrain your intention and action from their patterns of living.—Vince Miller Paraphrased Version.

Being a Christian is to be different. There can be nothing more countercultural than a follower who is obedient to the teachings of Scripture and looks, acts, and talks like Jesus. Jesus instructed us to love those who hate us, give honor to the least, be last in line, and go the extra mile. But there's more. He taught us to make God the highest priority, sell everything before following Him, reorient our desires and give Him glory, pray for political leaders that He appoints, reserve sex for marriage, and avoid even a hint of immorality. Could there be any way of life more countercultural than this?

DO THIS: Be different and be a devoted follower of Jesus Christ—it's real counterculturalism.

PRAYER: God, help me in my looks, actions, and words to be different from the world today. May I be devoted enough that people will see something different in me, because of you.

JOURNAL IT: "Two things I want to do different today are..."

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The Long Road

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The Long Road

There are roads traveled that are difficult for a man to walk. These roads have obstacles arising either from issues others have created or problems we have created for ourselves. Sometimes we must endure their consequences for weeks, years, decades, or a lifetime. Down this challenging road, people say "trust God" and "keep the faith." At times this word of encouragement can feel trite and trivial—maybe because they're right. But what we really want is a relief, a redemption, and a rescue. Saul in the following verse was about to experience just that, the end of a long road. This moment was a time when the Lord intervened and sent another man to restore Saul's sight and redeem his soul. In just hours, Saul would receive sight and become a new man—Paul the Apostle. And while one road did end, a new one began. And some would say it was the hardest and most invigorating of his life.

And the Lord said to him, “Rise and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying—Acts 9:11

DO THIS: Pray for an ending and a new beginning.

PRAYER: God, my road has been long. I am tired and weary. I need to be rescued from my own sins and the sins of others. Show me a new road—a road that glorifies you.

JOURNAL IT: "Here are the lessons I have learned on this long road."

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We Must Be Taught

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We Must Be Taught

People want the truth, and I believe they're on a search for it. The truth we desperately want is found outside of us—it originates from God. God's Word is the revelation of the truth, and Jesus is the physical representation of truth. But we cannot know the truth if we don't know how to spend time in the Word and with Jesus. Merely challenging someone to stay in the Word is not enough; a person must be taught how to do it and how to remain in it. We need to know to practice it, live it, and share it with others. Jesus understood this, and therefore he took the time to teach.

Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.”—Luke 11:1

DO THIS: Don't just tell someone, teach them how to engage with the truth.

PRAYER: God, teach me so that I can teach others, especially those within my circle of influence.

JOURNAL IT: "May I be taught so I can teach and mentor others, who will do the same."

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Discipline

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Discipline

There are all kinds of discipline in this life, but there are only two ways discipline is imposed. There is discipline that others impose and discipline we self-imposed. Neither is pleasant, but both are beneficial. Depending on the intensity and length of the discipline, it can be very unpleasant. But this doesn't mean it yields no benefit. For example, when we restart a diet, workout, or any new spiritual discipline, for a period we feel no benefit, only pain, agony, and suffering. But we need to push through the pain to realize the benefits. And when the benefits come, like weight loss, increased strength, and spiritual growth, these become a substantial reward. This reward can become so gratifying that we may think we have arrived on our strength because of our discipline. In the physical dimension, to some degree this is true. In the spiritual dimension, nothing could be further from the truth. Spiritual discipline is done from a different motivation and a different reason, not to bring glory ourself self, but glory to God.

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.—Hebrews 12:11

DO THIS: Practice a spiritual discipline and do it for God's glory, not your own.

PRAYER: God, show me my need for discipline and help me respond with the right motivation giving glory to You.

JOURNAL IT: "I am not burdened by the responsibly of results, but I am burdened by the responsibility of obedience."

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Benny Hinn’s Shocking Rejection Of The Prosperity Gospel

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Benny Hinn's Shocking Rejection Of The Prosperity Gospel

I was blown away when I watched this video "confession" that has gone viral. I had to watch it more than a few times. What caught my attention was not Benny Hinn's renouncement of prosperity teaching and his concerns about how this preaching was spiritually misguided. Try to ignore the shock this renouncement given this message has been a cornerstone of his ministry.

What especially caught my attention was this statement.

"Steve Strang and I go way back, and he's already asked me, "Are you ready to make [your position on prosperity] public?" [I said,] not totally because I don't want to hurt my friends or my love who believes things I don't believe anymore... Frankly, I don't care what people think about me anymore."

I love this moment because I believe this is the moment men are made. Yes, theology is essential. But I think in this instance it is secondary to courage. Courage to go against the flow. Courage to seek guidance with another brother. Courage to go public before your faithful followers. Courage to speak publically what you believe privately. Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with what Benny Hinn said, you have to respect him for his courage. For taking a leap of faith. For going all in and not looking back. This is where men are made.

Then you will prosper if you are careful to observe the statutes and the rules that the Lord commanded Moses for Israel. Be strong and courageous. Fear not; do not be dismayed.—1 Chronicles 22:13

DO THIS: Do something courageous today.

PRAYER: God, at the moment I need it today, shower me with the courage I need and don't have.

IDEA: Get motivated to lean into fear today by watching this 1-minute clip: Lead Courageously.

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The Downward Spiral of Antonio Brown

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The Downward Spiral

Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.”—John 5:14

It's often not until too late that we realize the compounded impact of bad choices. Frequently there is a delay between bad behavior and human consequences. Because of this delay, we repeat "unsuspecting" bad behavior thinking we've gotten away with it—when we haven't. What is especially dangerous is realizing too late that the drive that has led to success in one context is amplified in the "manner" which we sin. As men, we must give attention to this, as it leads to momentum in the wrong direction.

In the past two weeks, A.B. and his behavior have been center stage. While nothing short of a legend on the field, what is center stage today is not his athletic ability, it's everything from front office conflict, backroom discussions, contracts, trades, heckling Instagram celebrations, Twitter stabs, and now allegations made by a woman he met in a college bible study.

Two thoughts:

  1. A.B., as your brother in Christ, please do everything you can to stop the downward spiral. You are given an opportunity that most men never get. You are granted a stage on which you can provide evidence for our faith through your play on and off the field.
  2. No good friend, brother, or Christian would let a man continue a downward spiral. When you see this happening in a man's life, say something. If not for their sake, and for the sake of their fantasy team. Sorry, I had to say it. ;)

DO THIS: Stop the downward spiral.

PRAYER: God, give me the courage to confront sin in my life and others I know.

CHALLENGE: Tackle Defeating Repetitive Sin in your small group and stop the downward spiral before it starts.

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The Impact of a Mentor

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The Impact of a Mentor

The report of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose, for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord. So Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch, the disciples were first called Christians.—Acts 11: 22-26

Who would you consider to be one of your mentors?

Behind every great man is a great mentor. No man can develop himself any more than a knife can sharpen itself. There is a great myth that exists about the kind of man who needs no other. This is a false belief. Being isolated and exerting tremendous effort does not make you a better man, just more ineffective than a man with a mentor. Paul, who wrote most of the New Testament, was mentored—he did not develop on his own.

Of course, Paul had some gifting and talent, but we have to attribute his early development to Barnabas. Barnabas, a man of God, sought out Paul and spent a year mentoring him. Out of this apprenticeship, the name "Christian" appears.

Who is your mentor, and who are you mentoring? These are two fundamental questions to which every man needs an answer.

DO THIS: List the men who have developed you and send them a note of thanks. If your list is short or non-existent, pray the next prayer immediately.

PRAYER: God, present me with the next man who you know will make me better.

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Nadal vs. Medvedev | The Epic Battle

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Nadal vs. Medvedev | The Epic Battle

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.—Ephesians 6:12

If you missed the U.S. Open Championship on Sunday night between Daniil Medvedev and Rafael Nadal you missed a historic battle. Two men were battling it out exchanging points on the field of play for almost 5 hours. I was exhausted from watching and know they had to be far more exhausted. I was compelled to watch to the end because I had to know the outcome. In the end, I was inspired by these men because of their willingness to stay in the fight—game after game, set after set, point after point—until that final point. Neither quit. Both men fought hard for each point and every time. I thought numerous times to myself, "If God's men only fought this hard" for their marriages, families, integrity, and faith how different the world would be. If we as men battled this hard against sin, complacency, temptation, and indifference how different men would be. Gentlemen, we have a battle, and it's not against other people, it's "against the cosmic power over this present darkness." We must fight till the end and in exhaustion fall to the field of play with deep satisfaction knowing we've fought like men who've already won.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.—1 Corinthians 9:24-25

DO THIS: Battle hard today.

PRAYER: God, I need the strength to engage the battle as one who has won.

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Pure Leadership

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Pure Leadership

"For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control"—2 Timothy 1:7

Without God, courageous leadership is possible, but it's self-directed and self-motivated. And any leadership driven by self-interest will have an impact—often negative. But courageous leadership that originates from Godly motive has mysterious "power, love, and self-control." The difference is noticeable when self-interest is subdued. You've probably witnessed this mystery at some point.

Brother, you can know the courage of Abraham as he prepared to sacrifice his son on Mt. Moriah. You can know the courage of David as he ran to meet Goliath in the Valley of Elah. You can know the courage of Paul's contentment in any circumstance. But it's only possible when our motives are subservient to the "Spirit." 

DO THIS: Lead with courage, but be courageously led by the Spirit.

PRAYER: God, as a subject and servant may I lead with courage today.

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Restored – Rotting Jaguar

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Restored

For I will restore health to you, and your wounds I will heal, declares the Lord, because they have called you an outcast.—Jeremiah 30:17

Over my lifetime I have seen some epic restorations. Like this Jaguar, I have met men who have been taken from rotting to restored. Restored in relationship to God and others. Much like this recent find in a rotting garden, God sees our value. Even when we feel beyond repair. Even when we see no value in ourselves. God is ready to restore you. Will let him do this valuable work?

PRAYER: God, take me, heal me, refine me, and restore me.

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