Praise and Thanksgiving

November 18, 2019By PK ManagerDevotional

For many years the Babylonians held the Israelites in bondage. After King Cyrus of the Medo-Persian Empire conquered the Babylonians, God stirred the heart of Cyrus to give the Israelites their Temple back.

In Ezra 3 we read about the rebuilding of the altar so that the exiled Israelites could again freely worship their God. Once the altar and boundary walls were completed, the rebuilding of the Temple itself began. There was much rejoicing and thanksgiving as they saw their land restored.

The people raised their voices to openly acknowledge God’s hand in forgiving them of their sins and bringing them back home. The words to their song and chant are preserved for us in the book of Ezra: “He is so good! His faithful love for Israel endures forever!” (Ezra 3:11)

God is always at work in our lives — past, present, and future — even when we feel as if we are in “exile” or as if our lives are on hold. Today, many people are fearful, anxious, and yes, even depressed. The plight of our nation, the growing concern about the decline of moral values, and the numerous personal problems surrounding our loved one’s cause many to feel alone and desperate.

Thanksgiving is a great time to remind ourselves that we serve a loving and merciful God who wishes to bless His children with peace, joy, and abundance. He challenges us to trust and obey, even when it seems unnatural to do so.

The writer of Proverbs tells us, “The Lord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?” Despite our challenges, let’s try to remember, “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24 NIV)

May you and yours have a blessed and Happy Thanksgiving. We encourage you to have each person at your Thanksgiving table say one thing they are thankful for. May you find that His grace is sufficient.

Personal Application

What are you thankful for? Tell someone how God has blessed you today.

This devotional is a guest post by Dr. Jim Grassi. He is the founder of Men’s Ministry Catalyst, a ministry partner of Promise Keepers.

The Power of Gratitude to Change Your Life

November 11, 2019By PK ManagerDevotional

This is a guest post by Pat Boone. Pat Boone is an American singer and actor who has sold more than 45 million records, had 38 top-40 hits, and appeared in 12 Hollywood films. He is also a dedicated follower of Jesus Christ and the proud father of four daughters. Earlier this year, Pat’s beloved wife, Shirley, went home to be with her Father in heaven. In this post, originally written for the Promise Keepers newsletter, Pat shares how gratitude can change our lives.

Life isn’t easy — no matter who you are.

I’ve been a recording artist for over five decades, and I’ve experienced fame and success. But it hasn’t spared me from heartaches, trials, and grief. For me, one of my greatest sorrows has been losing my wife, Shirley, this year.

Early in my life — when hardships or heartaches came — I learned a secret. Gratitude can lift our thoughts from what’s troubling us, change our perspective, and ultimately change our lives. Being thankful is one of the most powerful forces known to humanity.

Recently I’ve been thinking some new things about gratitude. When I make a list of things I’m thankful for, “breath” is at the top of my list! That sounds pretty elemental, but I find that appreciating something as simple as my breath leads to gratitude in other areas of my life.

For example, when I think of how I received life and breath from my parents, it reminds me to be grateful for my God-fearing, Bible-believing, church-going parents who brought me up to believe the Bible.

For 35 years, I’ve started my day reading the Word of God. I read through it every year, start to finish. And when I read the Bible, I learn that God breathed life into Adam, the first man, and man became a living soul (Genesis 2:7). I also learn that before Jesus ascended, He breathed on His disciples and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22).

Asking God to Breathe into Me

Now, when I start my devotional every morning, I ask God to lean over me and breathe into me His Holy Spirit as He did with His apostles. Just simple gratitude for my breath leads my thoughts heavenward in a plea for His Spirit to fill me and guide me in everything I do and say.

I know that when the Day of Judgment comes and I stand before God, His first question is going to be: “What did you do with My Son? I gave Him to die for you; did you receive Him?” And then, “How about you as a husband and a father? Did you teach your wife and your kids about Me?”

Those questions are going to be asked of every man. And, brother, we’d better be ready to answer those questions because every breath we take is bringing us closer to that moment.

Put Gratitude and God’s Power to Work in Your Life

So I encourage you: Make a list of everything you’re grateful for right now. Remember to put “breath” on your list. The fact that you are alive means God has a plan and a purpose for you.

Then ask God to breathe His Holy Spirit into you, and you’ll find your life will change! You’ll be a better husband, a better father, a better businessman, a grandfather. You’ll think things and view life from God’s perspective.

One of my favorite verses is Philippians 2:12-13, which says: “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.”

When we breathe in His breath, God causes us to want to do the right things and then gives us the power to do them. But good luck trying to do them in our own strength!

The rest of my breathing days I look forward to sharing this message with other men because it is a great goal of mine that men would continue to grow into the manhood that God wants each one of them to have. God bless you!

Parachute

October 28, 2019By PK ManagerDevotional

The apostle Paul told the new Christians in Thessalonica to be supportive of one another. He especially wanted them to bless and mentor those who were sharing the Gospel in that area. His words still ring true today. We need to be encouraging one another, especially those in the household of faith (other believers). “Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11) Praise God for those who see the need to offer a word of inspiration to others. I love this story and its implications to our faith.

Parachutes

Charles Plumb was a US Navy jet pilot in Vietnam. After 75 combat missions, his plane was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile. Plumb ejected and parachuted into enemy hands. He was captured and spent 6
years in a communist Vietnamese prison. He survived the ordeal and now lectures on lessons learned from that experience!

One day, when Plumb and his wife were sitting in a restaurant, a man at another table came up and said, “You’re Plumb! You flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down!”

“How in the world did you know that?” asked Plumb.

“I packed your parachute,” the man replied.

Plumb gasped in surprise and gratitude.

The man pumped his hand and said, “I guess it worked!”

Plumb assured him, “It sure did. If your chute hadn’t worked, I wouldn’t be here today.”

Plumb couldn’t sleep that night, thinking about that man. Plumb says, “I kept wondering what he had looked like in a Navy uniform: a white hat; a bib in the back; and bell-bottom trousers.

“I wonder how many times I might have seen him and not even said ‘Good morning, how are you?’ or anything because, you see, I was a fighter pilot and he was just a sailor.” Plumb thought of the many hours the sailor had spent at a long wooden table in the bowels of the ship, carefully weaving the shrouds and folding the silks of each chute, holding in his hands each time the fate of someone he didn’t know.

Now, Plumb asks his audience, “Who’s packing your parachute?” Everyone has someone who provides what they need to make it through the day. He also points out that he needed many kinds of parachutes when his plane was shot down over enemy territory — he needed his physical parachute, his mental parachute, his emotional parachute, and his spiritual parachute. He called on all these supports before reaching safety.

Sometimes in the daily challenges that life gives us, we miss what is important. We may fail to say “hello,” “please,” or “thank you,” congratulate someone on something wonderful that has happened to them, give a compliment, or just do something nice for no reason. As you go through this week, this month, this year, recognize people who pack your parachutes.

I am sending you this as my way of thanking you for your part in packing our parachute. And I hope you will send it on to those who have helped pack yours!

Sometimes, we wonder why friends keep forwarding jokes to us without writing a word. Maybe this could explain it! When you are very busy, but still want to keep in touch, guess what you do — you forward jokes. And to let you know that you are still remembered, you are still important, you are still loved, you are still cared for, guess what you get? A forwarded joke.

So, my friend, next time when you get a joke, don’t think that you’ve been sent just another forwarded joke, but that you’ve been thought of today and your friend on the other end of your computer wanted to send you a smile, just helping you pack your parachute.

Personal Application

Whose parachute have you packed today?

When you need some encouragement can you share that need with someone close? Can you be open and transparent enough to recognize that it is normal that all of us need a “that-a-boy” every now and then?

Pass this along to someone you care about with a note that you would like to weekly send them our devotional to be supportive of them and their spiritual journey.

This devotional is a guest post by Dr. Jim Grassi. He is the founder of Men’s Ministry Catalyst, a ministry partner of Promise Keepers.

Our Thanksgiving Heritage and Why It’s Important Today

October 25, 2019By Vance DayDevotional

Each one of us has a heritage. One form is our lineage, meaning our ancestors who came before us. Another heritage is the cultural type which is handed down through the generations.

Part of our national heritage is the Thanksgiving holiday we celebrate. The roots of that holiday (originally “holy day”) are important for us all to understand. President Lincoln originally called for a National Day of Thanksgiving in 1863:

“The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.”

After recounting many of the blessings the country had enjoyed, even in the midst of the great trauma of Civil War, Lincoln proclaims the following:

“No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”

My family and I had an opportunity recently to visit Plymouth, Massachusetts, where my ancestors landed in 1623 after a perilous voyage on the supply ship “Anne.” This was the first ship that came to re-supply the pilgrims who had landed two and a half years earlier. My ancestors, Ralph and Joyce Wallen, were “separatists” – those who sought to exercise their liberty of conscience rather than follow the dictates of the government church.

It’s interesting that most people view the Declaration of Independence as being the birth certificate of our nation. But it really isn’t. The Mayflower Compact is our birth certificate. Our forebears laid out a covenant regarding their purpose in the new world:

Having undertaken, for the Glory of God, and advancements of the Christian faith, and the honor of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the Northern parts of Virginia; do by these presents, solemnly and mutually, in the presence of God, and one another; covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politic; for our better ordering, and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions, and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the colony; unto which we promise all due submission and obedience.

From what I can tell, my ancestors were humble people seeking religious freedom in a new land. They had no intention or desire to destroy other cultures, but rather to set free those cultures to the gospel of Jesus Christ. The same should be true for us today. Our culture is not supportive of a Judeo-Christian worldview; in fact, it is hostile to us and our desire to engage in respectful dialogue about truth and the gospel.

Our Lord made it clear that we would face opposition but that he had already addressed that perceived problem: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

This Thanksgiving let us approach the holiday with a great sense of gratitude for what God has done for us personally and for our nation. Unlike any other nation, except Israel (and some include Switzerland), the United States of America was birthed in covenant. This demonstrates God’s great intention toward our people, and places on us, as recipients of that blessing, a duty to discharge to those who came before as well as those who will come after us. Let us have a resident spirit of gratitude to God for the liberty we enjoy.

Fly Fishing and Faith

October 21, 2019By PK ManagerDevotional

Among my many outdoor pursuits is fly fishing. Northern Idaho has a number of Blue Ribbon streams that cover the area like a large spider web. Fly fishing is considered by most anglers as the ultimate experience in luring a fish to take your offering.

In my library are several books that talk about the art of angling. Interestingly enough, angling is not a new endeavor, but is spoken about in several places in the Bible. Remember Jesus asked Peter to cast his line into the water to catch a fish that had a silver coin in its mouth, the annual temple tax – a stater – that would pay the fee for Jesus and Peter (Matt. 17:24-27).

In the second-century AD, a Greek writer Aelian wrote about a way to catch a fish. “Between Boroca and Thessalonica runs a river called the Astraeus, and in it, there are fish with spotted skins (most likely trout).” He suggested to the fishermen of that day a lure “to help snare the fish, by which we get the better of them”. Aelian fastened a piece of crimson red wool around a hook and attach two feathers to it. Apparently, the fish were very attracted to the color and movement believing it was a mouthful. (On the Nature of Animals)

Today, some 2,000 years later, fishermen are still using this lure (fly). It is called the Red Hackle. Isn’t it interesting how often things of the past are still valuable today. In this fast-paced, instant everything, push a button society that many answers we seek to resolve problems and issues of life are things still found in God’s word. The same truths that transformed kings and kingdoms thousands of years ago are still relevant to our lives today.

In Mark 5 we read about how a man, a ruler of the synagogue, pleaded with Christ to heal his daughter who was at the point of death. He asked Jesus to “Come and lay hands on her, that she may be healed and she will live.” Friends of the man came and said she was already dead so he shouldn’t trouble the Teacher any further. Jesus said to the ruler, “Do not be afraid; only believe.”

After Christ took the mother and father into the room of the dead child, he said, “Talitha, cumi”, which translated, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” Immediately the girl arose and walked. The same Jesus who healed that girl, restored health to so many others, gave sight to the blind, encouragement to the downtrodden, and conquered death on Calvary’s cross is still with us today.

According to Scripture (Acts 1), the Holy Spirit is present and available to those who believe. Whenever people or circumstances make us feel inadequate, fearful, or anxious, God offers His children the courage, strength, and boldness to walk without fear — to apply the name of Jesus without hesitation or fear. When we approach challenges and fear with faith in Him who is able, as with Peter and John, we may take note that “we have been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13).

Personal Application:

  1. Take a few minutes to read Mark 5 and see how Jesus heals through the faith we develop in His power to heal.
  2. What are you anxious about today? Remember His word and explore some of these verses: 2 Cor. 1:3-4Ps. 23:4Matt. 5:4

How can we pray for you today? Send your confidential request to me at lgfjim@frontier.com

This devotional is a guest post by Dr. Jim Grassi. He is the founder of Men’s Ministry Catalyst, a ministry partner of Promise Keepers.

How Do We Experience True Joy?

October 14, 2019By PK ManagerDevotional

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?” 

Matthew 16:24-26 (NLT)

Many people are on a quest to find what the world defines as “success” and “personal happiness.” Our culture projects models of wealthy, famous, well-dressed people and says that if we can just become like them, we’ll be happy. What Hollywood and professional sports often parade as “winners” are really unhappy and unfulfilled people.

Look at the number of despondent people that you encounter every day. Road rage, violence, suicide, drug abuse, and divorce rates among the rich and famous are no different from those of modest means. The incidence of “bad behavior” among the social elite and politicians is an embarrassment to those of us who hold to a biblical worldview of what’s good and decent.

The Bible defines what joy and happiness really look like. It says we find happiness by following Christ into the life He has planned for us. The way to be happy is to live a joy-filled life in Christ. Happiness is merely an emotion that comes and goes with our circumstances. Joy is more intrinsic and prevails in spite of circumstances. Joy exudes from a life surrendered to Christ and led by His Spirit (Galatians 5:22).

The way to be a joy-filled person is found in numerous Bible passages. In the above-mentioned phrase, Jesus gets right to the point by saying to the believer, “If you give up your life for My sake, you will save it.” He wasn’t talking only about physical death, (although in some parts of the world, that is a reality for committed believers). He was saying that you must submit to God your will, your plans, and your future.

The all-knowing, all-powerful God has a plan especially designed for you. When you gratefully walk in the direction He has planned for you, you will find fulfillment and true happiness. That doesn’t mean that you can’t set goals and work towards attaining them. Instead, you make your plans and set your goals always seeking God’s guidance, then walk obediently as each step becomes clear.

Let’s seek a life that models joy by remembering what the Psalmist told us, “Light shines on the godly, and joy on those whose hearts are right.” Psalm 97:11 (NLT) “Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart’s desires.” Psalm 37:4 (NLT)

Personal Application:

Parable of the Talents

In the Parable of the Talents, Christ describes the joy of a servant when he does what his master has asked him to do. (Matt. 25:21). What is God asking you to do?

When you read God’s Word remember what He told us: “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” John 15:11

Be of good cheer my friend.

This devotional is a guest post by Dr. Jim Grassi. He is the founder of Men’s Ministry Catalyst, a ministry partner of Promise Keepers.

Coping with Struggles

October 7, 2019By PK ManagerDevotional

I can’t remember a time when so many friends were under such physical, mental, and/or spiritual attack. Maybe it’s a sign of my age. Maybe it’s the result of the chaos in the sin-filled world we live in. I don’t know. I do know that there are many people suffering and being challenged.

Job had a season in his life when everything went wrong. When Job asked God – Why? God’s “answer” to Job’s question was, “Hush, child. You wouldn’t understand if I told you.”

Scripture gives us some understanding as to why some suffer so much.

“The God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, will perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.” (1 Peter 5:10)

“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:17)

“You speak always like someone who has suffered,” says Arctura, one of George MacDonald’s characters in his book Donal Grant. “Who has not that lives at all,” is the response.

Someone once said that, “Indeed, life is suffering: contradiction, misfortune, disappointment, and heartbreak surrounds us.” Why must we enter the Kingdom of God through many tribulations?

I used to believe I knew the answers to those questions, but life – now that I’m much closer to its end than to its beginning – has knocked most of them right out of my head. God chided Job and his friends, as Jesus chided His disciples when they drew unwarranted conclusions from suffering.

In the face of affliction, I’m learning now to be more or less silent. When my friends tell me their lives are difficult, I answer, “Of course I understand and will pray for you.” When they ask me why they’re suffering, I tell them, “I really don’t know, but my God won’t let anything touch His children that first hasn’t touched His hands.”

Why life should be this way, I cannot say, but I do know this: It will not always be this way; there will be an end. Eternal glory lies ahead, as Peter promised, “After we have suffered for a little while.” There, in that “eternal school room,” our Lord will explain “each separate anguish,” but I doubt, then, that we will care. In the awesome flood of His wisdom and love, and in the beauty that will be ours for all eternity, we shall forget “our present, light, momentary afflictions and discouraging trials.”

My friends, it’s a matter of perspective.

I Shall know Why
By Emily Dickinson

I shall know why-when Time is over–
And I have ceased to wonder why–
Christ will explain each separate anguish
In the fair schoolroom of the sky–

He will tell me what “Peter” promised–
And I–for wonder at his woe–
I shall forget the drop of Anguish
That scalds me now–that scalds me now!

Personal Application

If you or someone you love is experiencing pain or struggling remember God’s promises:

He is the God of all comfort. 2 Cor.1:3-4

I will fear no evil, for you are with me. Ps. 23:4

When I am afraid, I will trust in you. Ps. 56:3

This devotional is a guest post by Dr. Jim Grassi. He is the founder of Men’s Ministry Catalyst, a ministry partner of Promise Keepers.

Our Stuff

September 30, 2019By PK ManagerDevotional

“Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Matthew 10:37-39

There is something about men and their stuff.  It might be a classic car, a beautiful home, a special set of tools, a fast boat, fishing and hunting gear, or some other type of precious possession.  Whatever it is, we don’t typically part with our stuff too easily.  Most garage sales I’ve been to have household items and some women’s clothing.  The guy’s stuff is usually carefully stored on shelves out of sight from the potential buyers.

It’s interesting to realize, we really don’t possess what we have in this life: our homes, our jobs, our toys, our automobiles, or even our family.  They are simply entrusted to us for a period of time by a loving God.  After all, He is the author of live, death, prosperity, success, and promise.  It is all His.  He gives us the capability and relationships to acquire things, but ultimately, He owns it all.

There are times we have a tight grip on our things.  For some their stuff is so precious they won’t trust even their closest friends with it.  When we recall the story of Abraham and Isaac we stand amazed at the fact that Abraham would seriously consider taking the life of his only son, for whom he waited 100 years.  To surrender this child was the test given by God. Now, none of us would consider our children, our spouse, or other family and friends as “stuff.”  So, at the risk of being redundant, the point is that EVERYTHING we have comes from God.  So, colloquially speaking, it was as if God said, “Trust me with your stuff” (i.e., everything in your life). Why would God ask Abraham for such an overwhelming act of obedience?

God knew that Isaac was never in danger, but Abraham’s faith and obedience was on trial.  Abraham could have disobeyed God and held on to his son. After all Isaac was his prized possession.  God tested Abraham’s heart to identify his true priorities and willingness to realize that everything he owns, including his precious son, was God’s.  Abraham passed the test of trusting his son to God when he was willing to place God’s will and plan for his life above his own desires.  How would you do with such a trial?

The test proved that Abraham didn’t really own his son – God did.  It was God who provided the ram to be sacrificed instead of Isaac.  God was simply asking Abraham, “do you really trust me?” God was saying, in effect, “do you trust your own understanding more than mine?” And the amazing thing is that Abraham trusted God so much that he said to his servants in Genesis 22:5, “And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass, and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.”  Did you catch that?  “I AND the lad will go yonder and worship, and COME AGAIN TO YOU.  Abraham had such faith in God that he knew the boy would not die—or if Isaac did die, God would resurrect him from the dead. Friends, that is faith.

If we follow Abraham’s example and hold on to everything loosely, then we can see God’s plan regarding how our stuff is to be used for His purpose. The Apostle John said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.” John 14:1

And so, my friends, whom do you trust with your stuff?

Personal Application:

What seems simple isn’t necessarily easy.  In what ways is God asking you to consider relaxing your grip on something you think belongs to you?

How can you utilize and share the very possessions God gave you to assist others?

Are you holding your stuff too tightly?

This devotional is a guest post by Dr. Jim Grassi. He is the founder of Men’s Ministry Catalyst, a ministry partner of Promise Keepers.

Calling Out Our Men

September 16, 2019By PK ManagerDevotional

“But also look ahead: I’m sending Elijah the prophet to clear the way for the Big Day of God—the decisive Judgment Day! He will convince parents to look after their children and children to look up to their parents. If they refuse, I’ll come and put the land under a curse.” – Malachi 4:5-6  (The Message)

Why is Men’s Ministry Catalyst so passionate about helping churches create vibrant ministries to men? What are the trends among men that create the need to rally men of faith to stand-up and be counted?

The words of the apostle Paul ring loudly every day of my ministry life: Be on alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love. (1 Cor. 16:13). Recent studies testify that too many men are disengaged with the church and their faith.

Today, we praise God for the opportunity to be one of the most experienced men’s organizations in this country that is dedicated to “calling men out”. Statistics tell us that ministries like MMC are needed more than ever. Over 61% of the people filling church pews on Sunday are women. Over 60% of the children in America will go to bed this evening without a biological father in the home. It is over 80% in the inner-city areas.

Too many men believe the Christian Church is not relevant. Research also shows that men are struggling in many areas of their personal lives with depression, despair, loneliness, pornography, deception, debt, and feel spiritually empty. Our culture and lifestyle continue to ask for more from men without regard to a man’s dedication to their faith or family. Many of us have problems saying “enough is enough”.

As in the days of Malachi and David, we need to “call out” men. There needs to be a wake-up call to the male gender. Upon King David’s death bed, he gave Solomon his son a message that we need to hear today. And let’s hope that God fearing men will not forget the instruction like Solomon did.

When David was about to die, he called his son Solomon and gave him his last instructions: “My time to die has come. Be confident and determined, and do what the Lord your God orders you to do. Obey all his laws and commands, as written in the Law of Moses, so that wherever you go you may prosper in everything you do. If you obey Him, the Lord will keep the promise He made when He told me that my descendants would rule Israel as long as they were careful to obey his commands faithfully with all their heart and soul.” 1 Kings 2:1-4 – The Good News Translation

God wants Christ-loving men to embrace our families, our nation, and our world. Let’s amplify the words of the song written decades ago as a rally call to men: “Rise Up O Men of God.” Men’s Ministry Catalyst continues to passionately work with churches, men’s groups, families, and retreat centers to help men better understand what biblical manhood looks like. We desire to help build intentional leaders who really know God and make Him known. Our resources and books are designed to equip men with a spiritual suit of armor to face the arrows from those who seek to kill, steal, and destroy.

Thank you for supporting and praying for our work. We feel His presence and your encouragement.

Personal Application:

Are you or someone you know struggling with some of the issues identified in the message?

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain. Gal. 2:20-21

How could you better inspire and equip those men in your life who are struggling with faith issues and spiritual warfare? (Luke 2:46Acts 5:34)

This devotional is a guest post by Dr. Jim Grassi. He is the founder of Men’s Ministry Catalyst, a ministry partner of Promise Keepers.

Costly Distractions

September 9, 2019By PK ManagerDevotional

For most of us, life is full of too many distractions. Our hurry-sickness and fast-pace culture too often cloud our thinking and distract us from the important stuff. Our time with God through devotions and Bible study often are placed on the back burner as we answer a phone call, respond to a text, or an issue pops up requiring our attention.

Over the years and in a variety of situations, I’ve felt that I’m a pretty good multitasker. I believed that I could usually handle several issues or thoughts at the same time, but a recent experience shocked me to my very core.

On a beautiful spring day, I had driven about an hour from our home to meet with a colleague regarding a ministry opportunity. In packing my truck to return home I was interrupted by my friend to check out one last thing. I had my Bible in hand at the time and rather than take the time to unlock my vehicle and place the Bible inside I put it on the back portion of the cover to the bed of the truck. That way I would see it upon my return to my vehicle. The bed cover is a slick hard plastic piece with no raised edges or guides.

That forty-year-old, leather-bound Bible has all our personal notations and comments in the margins on every page of this treasured masterpiece. Needless to say, it is priceless to my wife and me.

After the fifteen-minute distraction with my friend, I piled into my pickup while I was thinking about several issues we had discussed. The ride home was enjoyable once I got off the curvy road leading to the highway. After driving about 50 minutes I glanced at the passenger side of the cab to check that my Bible was riding securely where in normally sits.

To my shock it wasn’t there. I quickly looked to the back-passenger side seat to see if I had placed it there. No, it wasn’t there. How could I have been so distracted that one of the most important possessions I own would have been lost in such a careless manner? I immediately pulled off the highway and made a turn onto a side road. I opened the rear door to check the space behind the driver’s seat to see if I had placed it on that seat. It wasn’t there either. I sadly looked at the spot on the rear cover where I remember leaving it and reflected upon my mistake. Then as my head turned to get back into the truck so I could retrace my route, I noticed tucked against the rear window was my Bible.

I couldn’t believe my eyes. I kept saying out loud, repeatedly, “Lord, how is that possible?” I got into my truck and began to weep as I considered God’s grace, mercy, and omnipresence. Wow, He is with us even when we mess up. Praise God!

I’m reminded how the Psalmist must have felt when he scribed the words, ”Give ear to my prayer, O God. And do not hide Yourself from my supplication. Give heed to me and answer me; I am restless in my complaint and am surely distracted.” (Psalm 55:1–2 NASB)

This experience was a wake-up call for me. I’ve noticed that all of us can allow ourselves to so focus on things like the crazy news on our radios or televisions; the hurried pace of our culture; the endless list of “to-dos;” the financial burdens associated with never ending lists of demands; a health crisis that threatens our peace and joy; and the constant attacks upon our faith and liberties that we can forget about the most obvious and important things in life.

Life is full of distractions, some of them costly. Those distractions could take us to the end of life without fulfilling our dreams and, most importantly, our calling. In Mark 13, Jesus warns us against some major distractions that we must be mindful of, particularly between now and His return.

In this chapter, Jesus is sitting on the steps of the temple as He discusses questions the disciples have about the temple and end times. Jesus helps His disciples focus upon three things in the practice of being mindful and intentional in what they think and do.

1 – Be Mindful of Ignorance

He says, “Beware that no one leads you astray.” (v. 5).

The word “beware” is translated from Greek meaning “to see” not only with eyes, but also with mind’s eyes. It means “to perceive” or “to be mindful.” He says, “Many will come in my name and say, ‘I am he!’ and they will lead many astray.” There will be false teachers out there that prey on the gullible. You must be mindful, or you will be led astray, just like a sheep being led astray by a thief.

How do you become mindful of false teaching? The solution is to get intimate with God’s Word — the truth. In verse 23, he says, “But be alert; I have already told you everything.”

We aren’t to allow ourselves to become so distracted that we forget about our responsibilities as His witnesses. We are His sheep and need to hear His voice.

2 – Be Mindful of Noise or Clutter in our Lives

Not only ignorance can distract us, but also mischance can distract us. Jesus said:

When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed; this must take place, but the end is still to come. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. This is but the beginning of the birth pangs.

— Mark 13:7–8

Sometimes the noise and clutter in our lives can distract us from living a life God meant for us to live. He said, “do not be alarmed.” That means we cannot avoid misadventure, distractions, or a gaze that takes our focus off His will for our lives. The word “alarmed” is translated meaning “to be troubled in mind.” When your mind becomes troubled, you lose your mindfulness.

How do you overcome the distraction of confusion and clutter? He says, “This is but the beginning of the birth pangs.” Mothers understand this best. We all know the pain of giving birth, but on the other side of pain is a beautiful new life being brought to our presence. So, don’t let your mind be troubled by the mischance. Realize it is just the birth pangs. God is giving birth to a new world. Keep your faith alive so that you won’t get distracted or distressed by all the noise and confusion found in our daily living.

3 – Be Mindful of Inactivity

In addition to ignorance and mindless clutter, we can also become distracted by inactivity. Jesus said, in Mark 13:32–37 (NRSV):

But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. Therefore, keep awake — for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.

In this passage, He emphasizes the mindfulness with watchfulness. He says, “be mindful and be awake.” Don’t be asleep or inactive! Activate your mind and heart to take a stand for Jesus. Become active in your church, community, and with your neighborhood.

God enabled me to reclaim His word and the many promises we have recorded in our Bible. My Bible is back in its rightful place at my bedside. Thank you, Jesus!

Personal Application

Lately, what distractions have pulled you away from God’s Word?

How can you be more intentional about protecting and receiving God’s Word?

Are you mindful of the distractions in your life?

This devotional is a guest post by Dr. Jim Grassi. He is the founder of Men’s Ministry Catalyst, a ministry partner of Promise Keepers.