The Story of Rehoboam

     One upon a time, in an ancient land, there was a king named Rehoboam. King Rehoboam had inherited the kingdom from his father, who was considered the wisest man in all the world. During the reign of his father, the land thrived, kings (and a queen) from all over the world would visit Rehoboams father to partake of his wisdom to see if he would impart something significant to them for their own kingdoms. Rehoboams father, and his father before him, was a devout follower of “the way”. 

     Now, the father of Rehoboam did make some mistakes and strayed from “the way” and it had been prophesied that the land might eventually suffer as a result of his infractions, but the land was still awesome at the time Rehoboam took the throne. One day, Rehoboam was confronted by a people asking that Rehoboam honor them just as his father had done, and, if he could find it in his heart, they asked Rehoboam if he would even offer them a little more freedom. Rehoboam, wanting to be wise, consulted with the same elders that had provided guidance to his father before him. These elders recommended that Rehoboam loosen the reigns a little more as these people were an honorable people. But, Rehoboam did not like that guidance, so he decided to ask his buddies, those that he had grown up with.

     Rehoboams friends told him that he should tighten the reigns and restrict the people even more, for they were focused on ways of old. There was no sound reasoning to this guidance other than they felt Rehoboam might appear weak if he allowed these people to live free, plus, the ways of his father were considered antiquated and not of the times. So, rather than listening to the counsel of the elders that had helped his nation thrive and grow, he listened to his young friends and told the people to get stuffed. Not only would he not give them more freedom, he restricted their activities even more and punished them further. 

     After turning away from the request and will of his people, they fought him and even killed one of Rehoboams servants. A rebellion was kicked off which lasted for hundreds of years. The people of the land grew angry and despised Rehoboam for the remainder of his reign. King Rehoboam had successfully divided his nation in only one generation. 

     At the time of Rehoboam, his generation had decided that they wanted to pursue their own activities, their own agenda. They wanted to establish their own moral code and, if necessary, they would push their code on to the people of the land. They had become naïve and weak due to the prosperity that their nation had achieved over the previous 80 years. It was their forefathers that had grown and conquered the land, it was their purpose to maintain it; however, they decided that the way to do it was to force a new belief system through violence and choice of words. A once successful and thriving nation, following established ways, had been torn apart. 

     A thousand years later, a new prophet would walk the land – the true story continues. The people of the nation had become negligent and, achieved such a level of weakness, they had been conquered and overrun by many different foreign nations and were currently occupied. This new prophet was advising the people that the world was renewed, that there was light in the darkness. But this new movement was under attack, the people of the movement were being tormented and, rather than fight the battle, they would just convert to the ways of the foreigners so that they could live in peace. They did not really believe in the foreign ways, but it was just easier to comply.

     But the prophet continued to preach, that there was wisdom and revelation in “The Way!”. If they kept “the way”, their eyes would be enlightened to the right understanding, that there is hope. While it is easier to conduct ourselves in a way that our bodies desire, “the way” is alive in mercy and love, as long as we stick together in grace. That if they kept “the way”, that the people will thrive, but they needed to keep the faith, not just methods and activities.

     The prophet reminded the people that if they remember what their lives were like before “the way” and compared their lives to “the way”, they were happier and more successful. It wasn’t until the foreigners started to attack “the way” that the people were made miserable and fearful. He reminded them they “the way” is a new covenant and was bound in the blood of those that preceded them in death. For, the people are one, by Spirit, and connected to the source of “the way”. 

     For this very reason, the prophet bowed his knee’s to “the way” so that he would be strengthened through the Spirit in his own body and spirit. He argued that the people should continue to walk worthy of “the way”, bearing one another in love and endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in a bond of peace. They should feel renewed in the spirit of their mind and speak truth with each other and their neighbors. It is perfectly acceptable to be angry, but do not allow this anger to fester or it would bring on bitterness. Only speak what is essential to the cause and necessary to maintain “the way”. 

     Let the bad people continue to do their thing, but feel free to speak out against the new thing, against the foreigners, for while it may seem dark, the people of “the way” will bring light to the darkness enveloping the world. However, beware of letting bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor and evil speaking, put away all malice. Walk circumspectly but not as fools. Do not be unwise but understand the will of “the way”. We are not wrestling with people of flesh and blood but against rulers and authorities of evil. 

Concluding Analysis:

     Rehoboam allowed “the way” to be overcome with the progressive movement of personal agendas and power of his contemporaries, and his nation was divided as a result. A thousand years later, the people were beginning to wake up to the reality that they were happier and more successful when they followed “the way”, it was only when they were attacked for their beliefs that they would be tempted to stray and were miserable as a result. It is possible to be happy, even while being persecuted. It is ok to speak out in anger against this persecution, but, this anger must be dealt with before going to bed each night; hence, we should remain on guard against bitterness, wrath, and malice. All is done with love as the motivation, saying only what is necessary for edification. This is what it is like when we follow “the way”.


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Keep Going, Keep the Faith, Keep Pressing Forward

As we get ready to celebrate the birth of our Savior, I also look at it as a time to reflect on my own personal relationship with Him. As I meditate on this season, I am reminded about how much I continue to suck at being a Christian – and I am not alone. If you continue to read, you will understand. Keep Going. Keep the Faith. Keep Pressing forward.

Since becoming a Christian, there are some of our faith that will remind me (either verbally or body language) that some of my favorite things are not considered a part of the “Christian circle” and I should destroy them, throw them away or otherwise get rid of them.  I am talking about such things as my music preferences (which includes rock and yep, even some heavy metal), I like beer, and I will read books and watch movies that are secular in nature, amongst other things. [I do like Christian music and I am constantly reading Spirit filled books as well – just FYI]. The thought is that these items will influence my heart and drive me away from Christ – or preclude my walk in some fashion. There are things of the heart and then there are things of the mind – look at the heart and you will see and find a person in love with Jesus. But I suppose there are some that will continue to think, no matter what, that I suck at being a Christian.

But, we then get into the true imperfections of my soul and those things that are valid areas of my personality and character that are a “work in progress”. I talk loud and I talk too much. Depending on who is around me, I will still toss out a little “soldier speak”. I am a large fan of fairness and I am a champion of justice, BUT, I am unfortunately talking about justice and fairness in the eyes of Marcus. I continue to allow the wrong people to push my buttons and I will lash out however it seems appropriate to me at the time. The good news is that this is nowhere near the level it was for me 10 years ago, or even 3 years ago, but it still happens nonetheless. Now this is an area where I continue to suck at being a Christian.  Ironically, after a day like this and an hour of self-criticism and repentance, I will get home and initially relax with a beer and a song or two from Iron Maiden or Metallica [while repenting]. However, I will eventually switch my music choice to worship, reminding me of my salvation and redemption in Christ. I will close out EVERY day, before going to bed, with scripture and a prayer discussion with my Father.  I am always thankful to Him for continuing to correct the flaws of my character, giving me a wonderful family, and taking care of all of my needs – His will for me and not my own. Sounds Christianeeze , right?  Romans 7 reminds us that the struggle is real. In Happy Joy, Romans 8 further reminds us that there is a solution to the struggle. Keep Going. Keep the Faith. Keep Pressing forward.

And THEN, we get to the true meat of the Christian challenge – the nature of the WORLD itself. Continuing to behave as a true and faithful man of Christ is very difficult and challenging.  Losing my oldest son in February of 2011 was very close to the final straw for me, almost took me down. Yet, here I am, continuing to profess my love for Christ, sharing Him with anyone and everyone that will listen, and not concerning myself with what others might think of the position I hold near and dear to my heart. Why? Read Romans 8 again. Keep Going. Keep the Faith. Keep Pressing forward.

We watch our politicians struggle to come together across “The Great Divide” in order to make decisions in areas such as economics, immigration, security, and life choices. We watch as professed Christians condone abortion or tax us in the name of government services. We watch as our national citizenry continue to lose focus on identifying who we are supposed to be as people or who we are as a nation. We watch as Christians publicly condemn people for their life choices instead of remaining compassionate and operating in love for others regardless of their decisions. And we watch as over 2400 Christian denominations argue about their interpretations of Law versus Spirit and right versus wrong. We are taught that the bible is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow – yet some work to change and mold the bible to fit the choices we make as a society in the modern world. If the founding fathers of our great nation were using the same bible 250 years ago as a guide in forming our constitution, then how is it possible that our constitutional processes are wrong and need to change to validate “progress” according to the world today. In this regard, I must suck at being a Christian as my Spiritual beliefs don’t fit the mold of the progressive movement. Nonetheless, while I may not be progressive enough, I still love others no matter what their views and I Keep Going. I Keep the Faith. And I Keep Pressing forward. 

We watch as some argue that science is stronger than faith and then watch as the same group says science is wrong in declaring what gender we are at birth – but I suck at being a Christian because I hold an opposing view even while continuing to love those that declare it. We watch as more church leaders are caught in scandals or, even worse, identified as pedophiles. I suck at being a Christian because I am glad that these people are being caught. But I Keep Going. I Keep the Faith. I Keep Pressing Forward.

So why, as I suck at being a Christian, do I keep going, keep the faith, and keep pressing forward?

Because there are guys out there that are good, honest Christians. There are guys out there with tattoo’s, who occasionally use “soldier speak” and who like to drink beer.  These are people who exhibit behaviors that would typically get you kicked out of the God Club. Aren’t they living in sin?  Do they suck at being Christians like me?  This is not why I am a Christian, just FYI, that would be a stupid reason.

These same guys love me for who I am and they love people who are hurting and messy. These same guys, tough on the outside, share openly about how they hurt and are repeated failures. They love their wives unconditionally and always speak highly about them. It is the joy I see in their eyes even in the middle of their tears and pain. They absolutely do not pretend to have it all together nor do they claim to have all of the answers – it is ok to simply say “I don’t know”. They Keep Going, They Keep the Faith. They Keep Pressing Forward.

What they do know is contagious, it is infectious – if only you were to listen. They are big, bold, and beautiful and it is fascinating, if you will only pay attention.  They are like me in many ways, we don’t believe that it is simply about believing in Jesus and living a morally correct life to get to heaven. It is much more than that. A life in Christ is not following a simple set of rules to earn God’s favor. If that were true, there are more morally correct people out there who live much more moral lives than Christians. In fact, I would argue that it is very possible that there are more non-Christians helping more people than those sitting in Church on Sundays.

To the dude with tattoo’s, the dude that talks loud or way too much. To the dude that likes to occasionally listen to rock music or drink a beer when he gets home from work. To the dude that occasionally talks like a soldier. We all believe in the same thing – that the cross where Jesus died is a reminder that as good as we try to be, we still need someone to save us from ourselves because at the end of the day, we like to compare ourselves to scoundrels. If Christianity teaches anything, we learn what a train wreck we are and when we see people in this light, we are humbled beyond compare. We might suck at being a Christian but we are real, heart felt, Christ loving men that keep going, keep the faith, and keep pressing forward.

Some religions say: “This world is going to hell. It doesn’t matter. It’s not real, but a shadow, so we wait until we die and escape this. We wait until the next life.” However, Christ teaches that His goal regarding the resurrection is to transform the world. Christ teaches His goal is a new heaven and new earth here on earth. Not that we convert people to our tribe and wait for God to nuke this place, but that we’re in the business of restoration. That we bring hope to the hopeless. That we love everyone regardless of their views or choices in life. That we help the needy, poor, and oppressed. That we give generously, freeing the captives and the addicted. That we transform the world where disease and suffering are alleviated. That we treat others different than us better than ourselves.

The truth is, being politically incorrect, that some Christians happen to be really skilled at covering their flaws and look pretty externally. And even the one’s who are pretty on the outside usually get disillusioned or just end up judgmental cause they are “nailing it” (although that attitude reveals massive heart issues). I happen to be “that guy” that occasionally wears my train wreck on his sleeve. But I keep going, I keep the faith and I keep pressing forward.

This may be surprising to many but the day that I became a Christian is not the day I asked Jesus into my heart. I had not even been attending Church, so I had never confessed to anyone that I was down with this whole confusing Jesus dies on a cross, resurrects, and is God, but God can’t die because he’s eternal…….Instead one day (labor day weekend 2008) I had an experience that was so over powering and so over whelming that I instantaneously knew that I had been wrong my entire life, I had the epiphany that “I’m all in and I guess I’m one of them.” It would be another two weeks before I prayed the confession and started openly identifying as a Christian. I started going, I started in faith, and I started to press forward.

So, Why Am I A Christian?

Because I know I’m a flawed human being. But I also know that God loves me 100% as is, right now. I know there are some church people out there that are good at following the rules but I also know that there are Christians out there acting out in judgment instead of compassion and love. I can be outrageous on occasion when I should be silent and I can be neutral-silent on other occasions when I should be loud. And yet, God loves me and is cheering for me as I get better and especially when I fall down. Where I see failure, he sees opportunity for growth. When I give up, he whispers, “No, you can make it”. This is why, even as I suck at being a Christian, I Keep Going, I Keep the Faith, and I Keep Pressing Forward.

So maybe if we can all accept the idea that God’s love is wholly separate from our actions, receive it, and give it to others maybe then we’d have more Christians that look like Christ. Christians that don’t feel it’s important to beat people down with their theology and doctrine, but instead spend their lives in the gutter bleeding alongside other people. Maybe then, even millennial’s will stop looking at Christians as bigoted and judgmental and out of touch with the times.

I think maybe then, we might even just see Christ’s kingdom here on earth.


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The God I wanted vs. The God I needed

Gal 5:22-26 (NLT) ……the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!  Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to His cross and crucified them there.  Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another. 

Many Christians were born and raised in a Christian household and cannot recall not being a Christian. They have been immersed in a Christian environment practically their entire lives – their conversion was slowly absorbed into their heart, soul, and body versus one giant, dramatic leap from someone that had been living a “worldly” lifestyle.  These Christians do make their own independent declaration of faith in Christ, but they generally do not experience a dramatic experiential transformation – they have already been walking in His grace.

Walking from the “world” into a life of Christ is a conversion where a lightbulb is suddenly turned on, going off in front of your eyes.  I have come across a few since my connecting with Christ that cannot identify with that unmistakable moment (a small number have been fascinated by it). For me, my experience in September 2008 was immediate and very dramatic (I was shaken to my core and knocked to my knee’s), but then, tapered off over time due to my conflicting worlds (materialism vs. Christian “morality”) and silly events that would breed whispering seeds of mistrust. To be clear, I am accountable for my tapering off, not the Father. 

Rom 5:3-5 (NLT)  We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love. 

The true turning point for me came when I stopped seeking the God I wanted and started seeking the God who is. I surrendered completely and fully committed myself to a relationship with Him and followed Him.  I surrendered my will, my heart, my mind, my soul and my strength to Him.  We dealt with, and still deal with, temptations and made/make some wrong choices, we have been taken to the mat a few times, but the Lord has always been there for us and we have walked away victorious. Actually, these moments are becoming much more clear to me personally, adding strength to my spirit and deepening my resolve and determination to follow Jesus wherever He takes me. We will experience a series of battles and trials, but it is through these events in our lives that we are made stronger as we honor Him and when we give Him the glory.

1 Peter 1:7-8 (NKJV)  that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 

It is not the way of Christ that leads to everlasting life, it is the Person of Christ. It is not what we follow, but whom we follow; not a set of values, but a Person. This has been my lesson over the last few years – learned via some hard knocks. Jesus said “Follow me.”, He did not say, “Follow My principles”. If we imitate His life but don’t know Him personally, we will become exhausted. In the beginning, I was trying to simply follow a set of rules and what I thought of as Christian principles and values. This was me “yesterday”, it is not me “today” or “tomorrow”.


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My First 40 years – Part 1 (How did I get here?)

Jonah cried out, “When my life was slipping way, I remembered God, And my prayer got through to you, made it all the way to your holy temple. Those who worship hollow gods, god-frauds, walk away from their only true love” (Jonah 2:7-8 MSG). Jonah could not know it, but when he humbled himself, God initiated his comeback. When we humble ourselves and turn back, God initiates our comeback.

 

Over the last 10 years, when I talk with people, they always ask about “how I’m doing”, “when did I come to the Lord” and “what was that experience like”. But, a few weeks ago, I was having lunch with one of our Church Elders and he asked me a question that I had never been asked before “Why did it take me 40 years to come to Christ?”.  What an excellent question.

Last week, I shared a resolution, in a very public and transparent way, declaring my identity in Christ and our household decision to serve the Lord. It is critical to both my personal and professional calling and one that I am very excited about (I do work

for a Ministry). Why would I do that? Some might consider it embarrassing (perhaps too personal). I did it because before I can move forward, it was a necessary step forward for me “spiritually” and I had been concerned about how my faith would be received by those that believe me to be something else; not because of how I “walk” but because of how I had “walked”. I never really shared the joy and love of Jesus with many and this was stifling me in my relationship with God. It was not right that I was holding back in sharing Him with others, I was living in sin by allowing my fear to have a stronger hold on me than our Father. The Lord had been preparing me for over a year to share my faith openly and publicly, recent events made it absolute – the time was now. What I was struggling with were the right words. My fear of doing such a public thing were blinding me to what the Holy Spirit was guiding me to. So what did He do? He humbled me and influenced me in very indirect ways. A movie, devotionals, books, some course work, and a few conversations with some great men. The bottom line is the time was right to do so, doing so was in obedience, and He graciously provided me with the resources necessary to find the right words. 

But, why share at all? What specifically was I afraid of? Some may advise that this is personal and some may argue not the business of others. My personality runs smack down the middle of Introvert and Extrovert, my introversion side wants to dominate my extroverted side. Some of you are strangers, we only exist as social media connections or business relationships. Some of us have not really communicated in over a decade and therefore only know me “before Christ”, you do not know me any other way. There are others that know me “after Christ” and are focused more on my transitioning from 40 years without Christ to my new life with Christ – they recognize me more based on my challenges and stumbles than on who I truly am in Him. I don’t blame anyone, we are naturally human after all and I did stumble a few times, sometimes in glorious and dramatic fashion. I am also very bad about maintaining long term relationships (some of you know what I mean, I have been bad at it). We have all read books and other literature about how failure makes us stronger – when we stumble with the Lord or go through trials, it is a true statement that we can come out stronger on the other end. I share to show that with God as our strength, we can overcome anything – even something like this. I share to show that the Lord loves us, no matter our circumstances, no matter our past, no matter our character. I have been wondering recently how many others are holding back from being honest with themselves and are confident enough, and courageous enough, to declare their relationship with the Father, or, do they feel safer being what worldly social and cultural norms prefer them to be. This is where courage comes into place. 

During my transition to building a relationship with Him, I was trying to live two worlds at the same time, I wanted to live a life with Christ but I also wanted to keep what I had and the momentum I was on, I did not let it all go and allow Him to fully operate in my life. I was a moralist trying to be a Christian and a materialist. These worlds are completely at odds with each other and I fell into a warfare, a series of ups and downs. And then, the big one hit, our son Christoffer died while serving in the Middle East – man, this was a tumble. I stopped going to church for three years and pretty much cut off all contact with my church relationships of the time. I still recognized God but I fell into a blame condition, blaming myself, but more dangerously, holding Him accountable for our loss. This affected me personally and professionally. 

I fell back to my old self and was once again focused on me (me, me, me). I was wrong and was failing Him, I had removed “me” from His grace and righteousness. I did eventually get over myself when I realized that I was happier when I actively had God in my life; after three years away, I started the process of reconditioning myself back to the Lord – I was making a comeback. I repented, sought His forgiveness, and recognized that my way ahead would be via His grace and glory. This reconditioning started slow but exponentially increased. I observed and I listened. Finally, after a few setbacks in my walk with Him, I gave it ALL to Him. I surrendered. Took myself completely out of the equation and turned it all over to Him and His will for the life of my family and I. BAM!!! What an awesome experience, instantaneous freedom. This is where He wanted me to be. The more I focused on Him, the more He revealed to me. I had not experienced such peace in a very long time. My heart was lifted and most of the worries and concerns I had at the time, were erased away (the New Testament discusses this intimately). The desire to speak and the desire to share was very difficult to hold back, but I held my seat. And then, the fear to share (even in writing) starting to sneak its way in and I started to panic about what I was being guided to do. I would go through short spurts of speaking and sharing in corporate settings and church environments and then feel convicted about sharing (the time was not yet right). 

I needed more revelation and I needed to be consistent. I also needed to be in unity with my wife, she needed to be on the same page and in total agreement. This condition climaxed in a series of events throughout 2017; it was obvious that every decision we had made and every step we had taken, with His guidance and His input, had led us to that moment, right then. We had new instructions, it was time to follow a new path that He had wanted us to follow. We know that with Him leading and prodding us, every step we take and every decision we make will take us to where He wants us to be. The Lord told my wife and I that it was time to walk out in total faith. With the Lord as our guide, He has truly lit our path and is continuing to lead my wife and I. For He is with us and we have placed all faith in Him; And He has delivered. Here’s the deal, it is one thing to write words, it is another thing to walk it out in a way that matches what you read. Is my walk consistent with what I am writing? This is all part of my identity resolution. I now have all of you to help hold me accountable. 

Back to the question I was asked. Why did I block the Lord from my life for so long? This was something that I had thought about in retrospect but I had not pondered or meditated on too deeply. Not even Pastors that I had shared intimate conversations with or otherwise spoke with had asked me this; they were more interested in who I was today than who I was yesterday, looking forward and not looking in the rear view mirror. Nonetheless, it was very soon after this discussion that the Lord started to reveal to me the answer, what a wonderful Father. 

Meditating on this question and what the Lord would reveal to me is important because it is part of who I am and how I got here (spiritually). This was the final push I needed to finish writing and sharing my “identity resolution”. With the permission and support of my wife, clarity from spiritual accountability partners, and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, over the next few weeks I will share this story as He guides me and brings definition to things. My journey will be shared in what I believe will be three Parts. I pray that my telling of this rather honest and very transparent story bless you and encourage you to reflect, ponder, and write your own story as our Father guides your path.


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A Public Resolution and Key to Identity

I have a resolution I would like/need to declare and share. It has been burning in my heart and spirit for almost a year but I had been blocked by fears and concerns about how it would be received, or perceived, by those that have known me or think they know me – a coming out if you will. Some will read this and understand and agree, while others will “mock it or ignore it”1; some will even roll their eyes and possibly break our connection. Some will believe that I am being true to myself and in some cases others will believe me to be in some form of crisis or have somehow gone out of my mind. Please understand that I am not in crisis. It has taken me a bit of time to gain the courage, and the confidence, to be who I was intended to be as a professional and who I need to be as a person – it is intermixed. While always a courageous person, I have allowed my truth to be clouded by what I perceived the reality of the world to be and those who I have connected with in the past, I have been afraid of what some would think. I have come to the conclusion that I cannot progress in who I am unless I share this. Whether you support my calling or not you may still agree that regarding my caring about what others would think- “How stupid is this”? No more, I am to be real to who I am, a man of Christ. Christ wants me to be courageous. He wants ALL men to be courageous.

As a non-believer for the first 39 years of my life, I held myself accountable to what others thought of me or tailored my actions to what I thought others wanted me to be and how they measured success (professionally). I was also holding myself accountable to what my father had convinced me of throughout my youth, that I wasn’t worth it (his perspective changed when I was an adult and he later accepted Christ before he passed away). Simultaneously, I allowed my desire (my mind) to accomplish the mission at the sacrifice of my desires for relationships (my heart) and what God had planned for me. My “orphaned” identity would constantly shift based on my worldly surroundings or to what mattered at the time. This allowed for a bit of collateral damage in my life.

I was wrong and have known that I was wrong for many years. Yet the shifting orphan identities I had created for myself were dominating my life and the life of my family. While I made a dramatic shift towards the Lord almost 10 years ago, it has been a process to change and rewire almost 40 years of thinking and 40 years of beliefs, to what I now know to be THE TRUTH. I had been holding myself to my own accountability on the outside (my thinking); on the inside (my heart), however, was a different story. My heart was in constant conflict with my attitudes and how I treated others and my surroundings. I know now that my identity is a son of God and that is the identity I now endeavor each day to be. Far from perfect, but I work towards excellence and the Lord knows this. I have made many mistakes and I will likely make more. But I know that the Lord will be there to pick me up. My accountability is to the Lord first and primary, anything else comes second at best. But oh man, there is constant temptation to backslide!

“We are all accountable for our positions and the influence we have on our friends, our families, and work mates. We should be a model on how to walk with honor and integrity and treat others with respect”1 – value everyone. “We need to be responsible to live our lives for what matters in eternity”.1 Instead, some of us are living our lives with an identity of self and are holding ourselves accountable to the way the world views us and the way others look at us. This isn’t courage, this is adapting. The world should not shape us, the Lord is our architect and our creator. In my orphan identity, I had seen firsthand the hurt and devastation that a life without God brings to a family, to the work space, and to the community, to our nation even. “This is because we are living recklessly and following the same patterns of irresponsibility that many of our fathers have shown us”1 – carrying their wounds while also adding our own wounds as we forget, or neglect, who we are and are supposed to be.

Every child desperately needs a father; there’s no way around this fact. As adults, I believe that our Father is in heaven, serving as our counselor, our comforter and our exhorter. Additionally, the Lord designed us as relational beings, we need and require relationships with others to live fruitful lives. As some know, 7 years ago my family endured the tragic loss of our son, Christoffer. Over the last few years, his death has forced me to realize that not only had I not taken advantage of the priceless time I had with him, but that “I did not truly understand how crucial my role was as a father to him and our other two children”.1 I have been extremely hard on myself regarding Christoffer and my relationship with him, I even blamed God (really??). Nonetheless, over the last few years, “I’ve asked God to show me, through His Word, how to be the father that I need to be, what kind of husband that I need to be”1, what kind of son “of God” I need to be, and what kind of man I need to be.

I believe that “God desires for every man to courageously step up and do whatever it takes to be involved in the lives of his children”1, to be united with their wives and love them unconditionally, to be good stewards of the prosperity the Lord provides, and “to be the man of courage that the Lord has designed us to be. More than just being there or providing for their families, men are to walk with them through their lives and be a visual representation of the character of God”.1 Have the courage to stand up and support the Godly convictions that you know to be the truth for our society today. We must also live the example in our work environments, in our local communities, on the stage, wherever it is that we find ourselves. I believe too many men have neglected God given responsibilities and have forgotten who they are truly accountable to – going back as far as a century and more, getting progressively worse. I believe this is the root of our problems in our nation, and world, today. “Men of God should stand up, take up the mantle of courage”1 to show the world what a true believer in Christ is, and feed the roots of our true heritage as sons of God.

“A father should love his children and seek to win their hearts. He should protect them, discipline them and teach them about God”.1 A husband is to love his wife unconditionally, honor her, pray with her, and readily receive her guidance. “While so many mothers have sacrificed to help their children survive, they were never intended to carry the weight alone. We thank God for them”.1 Men must walk in unity with their wives – there is a power in a communion that is recognized by God. Men should be proud of who they are in Christ and live the plan that He has for them. Where it is missing, bring God back into our families and into our communities.

Some men will read this and mock it or ignore it, I mentioned this earlier. “But I tell you that as a man, you are accountable to God for the position of influence he has given you. You can’t fall asleep onlyto wake up one day and realize that your job or your hobbies have no eternal value”1, but the souls of your family and our fellow man does.

“Some men will read this and agree with it but have no resolve to live it out themselves. Instead, they will live for themselves and waste the opportunity to leave a Godly legacy for the next generation. But there are some men who, regardless of the mistakes we’ve made in the past, regardless of what our fathers did not do for us, will show strength and live the rest of their days to loving God with all that we are”1 [and to work with other men to do the same], and, whenever possible, to love and mentor other men who desperately need help and direction. The good news is that the Lord gave us all free will, a choice; I just pray that we stand up together and make the right one.

Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. Joshua 24:15

Note: this resolution was inspired from a speech given in the movie “Courageous”. While most parts of this are mine, some words have been highlighted from the speech. While credit is to be given to the writers of this movie and the final push I needed to put this out there, ALL credit is given to the Holy Spirit for His guidance in my version of this resolution. I pray that this resolution lights a fire in the lives of other men (even if only one), just as it has aided and inspired me to share the parts that are relevant to me in my life. If this only catches the positive attention of one man, then the glory goes to Him. God bless.

 

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