What's on Your Mind?

“And Nathan said to David, “Do all that is in your heart, for God is with you.”

(1st Chronicles 17:2)

Imagine having such an intimate relationship with God that you’d know exactly what to do… for He was with you.  David was known as a man after God’s heart, this is why David could place confidence in the matters that were on his own heart.

“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7)

The verse above has troubled me at times.  I don’t want to be that man as reflected by the thoughts of my heart.  Just today I found myself trying to invoke jealousy in my wife because of an innocent compliment given to me by a female co-worker.  The complement was nothing sexual or even anything inappropriate, it was silly, but in some way for a few moments I resorted to thinking maybe I could work it for my own selfish gain.

It was not until coming upstairs to write this blog post that the Spirit convicted me of the matter.  In my mind it was just joking around, yet sinisterly strategizing that somehow maybe she’d desire to be closer to me if a bit of jealously was invoked.  How shallow… how carnally minded can I be?  Yet, somehow I doubt I’m the first man reading this that ever attempted such a sordid strategy.  Sadly, It’s just easier to attempt such a thing than to do that which a woman really wants from a man.

“For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him…”  (2nd Chronicles 16:9)

A woman really wants a man with a heart that is fully committed to the Lord.  This kind of man is irresistible to his wife.  This man is a servant leader, humble, exhibits integrity, honorable, disciplined, gentle, teachable, patient, slow to anger, kind and loving.  A man that romances his wife as opposed to manipulating.  It is this kind of man that experiences what it really means to be desired, loved, and respected by a woman… his gift from God… his wife.

“For I delight in your commands because I love them. I lift up my hands to your commands, which I love, and I meditate on your decrees.”  (Psalm 119:47-48)

David wrote the above Psalm verse.  He was a man who loved God’s commands.  He was a man who meditated on God’s decrees. David was far from a perfect man, but he was after God’s heart so passionately that he was told to do the things that were on his heart because God was with him.  What is on your heart?  Does God desire that which you do, or desire to do?   We can not know the answer to this question unless we too are after God’s heart.   God desires us to be that kind of man…. A man after His heart…. So He is on our Heart.  Be that man!

Blessed is Best!!

Shared by Chad Hellenthal

IF

“IF…. you’d give up everything and become 100% committed to Christ…”  A friend of mine recently challenged me with these words. They’ve played over and over in my head many times since they were uttered.  He then spoke of the things God could and would do in my life…. “If.”

In the world of grammar, “If” is an example of a “subordinate conjunction.”  It implies that a transition must be made and that what follows is dependent on what precedes.  That is a complicated definition for such a short and seemingly simple word.  The problem however is that “if” is a huge word.  It has to do with that whole “dependent” aspect.

“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2nd Chronicles 7:14)

I’ve heard the scripture above many times.  Living on roughly ⅓ of an acre, I don’t necessarily think much of the need for God to heal my land.  However, He is referring to much more than the dirt beneath my feet responsible for growing my grass.   I’m sure you noticed the “If” at the very beginning of this verse, do you see what the “if” is dependent on?

The Parable of the Hidden Treasure

“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasures hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up.  Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”

Men… I’ll assume just by the fact that you’re reading this that you’ve found the treasure, you (like myself) likely fail to understand it’s full value.  Unless you are willing to go and sell all that you have to buy the field in which you hid the treasure…. you’ve failed to understand the significance of what God will do… “If.”

Please don’t think that God is literally asking all of us to sell all our possessions.  I will ask you though whether you view that which you have as your possessions or His.  What God needs is a 100% commitment from us in every area of our life.  I’ve not been able to do this yet in my life, have you?  What would happen if just 5 of us progressed beyond the “If?”  10, 15, 20… We’d impact our lives, families, and community so profoundly the ramifications are honestly indescribable.

I don’t know the exact commitment percent level in my life at this time.  If I had to make an honest estimate I’d say about 40%.  I wanted to say 50% but felt some conviction as I went to type it.  What is your level of commitment?  What needs to be resolved in your life to get to the other side of “IF?”   Some things have not yet been revealed to you, there are other things you know God needs you to let go of “IF…….”

Blessed is Best!

Shared by Chad Hellenthal

Temper's Trap

A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back. (Proverbs 29:11)

When writing this blog I’ll often discuss topics that are challenging for myself, I assume they are also areas of weakness for other men.  My goal is to always be open, sincere, and honest. I believe this to be imperative if any change is going to take place in our lives.  When reviewing the posts I’ve made over the past several months it suddenly occurred to me just how much “personal dirt” (i.e. sin) I’ve shared about myself.  It’s tempting to be concerned with this in fear of someone making judgement about me, I then realize that it is this kind of mentality that causes so many men to “clam-up” as we discussed last week.  In lieu of this knowledge I’ll strive for transparency yet again as I discuss another of my personal challenges.

If “Mr. T” (my tongue) had a father…. TEMPER would be his name.  I’d like to be able to just blame this on the man I was raised by, he surely did NOT set a godly or positive example of this in my life.  As a father for 16 years and a husband for over 14 years I am not able to blame anyone but myself.  The problem is I’ve never been able to know TEMPER very well.  He tends to appear suddenly out of nowhere and never sticks around for discussion after he reveals his ugly self.

Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the heart of fools. (Ecclesiastes 7:9)

I view many sins and personal struggles to be continually persistent, for example, addictions such as alcohol, nicotine, gambling, etc.  There are certainly those who spend so much time with TEMPER that they are always yelling or screaming about something (See “Bobby Knight”).  Typically however, TEMPER seems to prefer to utilize the “hit-n-run” method of attack.  This makes it hard for me to defeat him because he normally rushes up and quickly jumps me from behind.  There does however almost always seem to be a warning bell that sounds in my head about 2-seconds before I’m overcome… it’s the decision we make in those 2 seconds that determines the outcome of the situation.

Many men have forever changed the course of their lives (and the lives of others) because of a failure to respond correctly during the 2-second warning.  Other men have caused fear to rise up in those they love as a result of their relationship with TEMPER.  I sit here convinced that many scars caused by the TEMPER of those closest to us throughout our life never fully heal.  We may forgive the action that caused the wound,  but the scar tends to remain there forever.

       For the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.  (James 1:20)   

Avoiding a meeting with TEMPER is in direct relation to our ability to remain focused and filled by the Holy Spirit.. this is just one of the many reasons we should make this the primary goal in life.  Keep pressing into God and let Him remove things in your life that keep you from being filled with Him.  To paraphrase James 3:17  “…Let us share the wisdom from above which is pure, peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.”  This is how we should guide and lead our family.  Enough with TEMPER already.  Blessed is Best!

Shared by Chad Hellenthal

Clam Man

The Giant Clam can grow to over 4.5 wide, 400 lbs, and estimated to live over 400 years.  They live in a symbiotic relationship with the billions of algae they allow to live in their tissues, consuming produced proteins and sugars while providing them a safe place to live.  They get one chance at life, once they select a location to fasten themselves they remain there permanently.

At this point of my life I’m roughly 2 feet wide, 200 lbs, and a bit over 40.  I do however feel as if I’m sometimes related to the clam.  I’ve grown to have a hard protective shell but a rather soft inside.  There are times when I’ll open up, but much of the time I remain closed. When I fix myself to a position it can prove nearly impossible to move me.  After I’ve closed up, attempts to open me often prove to be futile.

“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.

           When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.”  (1st Corinthians 13:11)   

I’m not quite sure that this is how a man should live, it is certainly not how one who desires to be a “Man of God” should live.  I’ve come to learn that this “clam mentality” is determined by my diet, habits, and thoughts.  As a believer in Christ resurrected and temple to the Holy Spirit, there is a light within me that desires to shine before all men, everywhere I go, in every situation.  There is the fleshy nature of my physical body that desires to snuff the light out, preventing it to ever shine, ever grow, ever even flicker.

The “diet” I speak of is the consumption of the Word of God, driven by a hunger and thirst for righteousness.  The habits are the little things we do throughout the day.  Thoughts are our most persistent challenge fought in the battleground of our mind.  Failure to glorify God in these areas of our life makes a man “clam up.”  We close up, keeping our vulnerable parts hidden…. and the pearl that resides within us to ourselves.

Your wife, children, friends, family, the cashier behind the counter…. they need to see the hope and strength that is within you.  We live in a dying world and we spend so much time thinking and worrying about ourselves.  When we fail to sincerely place God as the #1 priority in our life we neglect our opportunity to personally experience Him completely, we also lose our ability to share His love with others.  It’s not like we even have to walk around with a street preacher mentality, fill up on Him and He’ll radiate from you so strongly that opportunities will arise simply because His Spirit is so alive within you.

I don’t know what you eat, what you do, or what you think.  What I do know is that you (as myself) are not 100% fully committed to Him.  I know that there are changes in our diet that need to be made, habits that need to be implemented or destroyed, and thoughts that need to be purified.  We need men, brothers, friends, that are willing to open up and be real. Men that are willing to share their struggles and challenges with each other.  I don’t need to see your hard outer shell, nor do you need to see mine.  It is not who we really are.  We need to open up and reveal our inner-selves.  Much like the clam, opening is a slow and gentle process but the decision must first be made to open.

A simple challenge I’ll pose as we move forward this week.  The thing that God has been tugging on your heart about… do it.  Pray more, read more, love more.  Be a MAN…. not a CLAM.  Blessed is Best!

 
Shared by Chad Hellenthal