Promise 6: Becoming a Peacemaker

June 20, 2020By PK ManagerDevotional, PK Men's Study Bible

Promise 6: Unity

A Promise Keeper is committed to reaching beyond any racial and denominational barriers to demonstrate the power of biblical unity.

 

“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell. “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift. “Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny. – Matthew 5:21-26

How important is it for you to be at peace with other people? It’s crucial! In fact, Jesus said that if you’re at odds with someone, it’s your responsibility to go to them right away and do all you can to make peace. That means approaching people in your family, at work and at church, regardless of their ethnic, socioeconomic or educational background.

How important is it for you to become a peacemaker? In verses 24 and 25 Jesus urges you to pursue peace before you approach God for worship, whether that’s in a church or in your personal prayer time. Why? Because a broken human relationship is a roadblock that stands between you and a proper relationship with God.

Is there someone you need to talk with today? Do you need to extend a hand of forgiveness? If so, pick up your phone right now and make that call. Reconciliation is one of the key principles of Scripture; a man can’t be in a growing relationship with God unless he is actively forgiving his brothers and sisters (see 1 John 2:9-11).

 

This devotional is reprinted from the Promise Keepers Study Bible.

Promise 6: No Barriers

June 10, 2020By PK ManagerDevotional, PK Men's Study Bible

Promise 6: Unity

A Promise Keeper is committed to reaching beyond any racial and denominational barriers to demonstrate the power of biblical unity.

 

For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility. – Ephesians 2:14

David knew both teamwork and hostility. In his life he made both friends who would have died for him and enemies who would have loved to kill him. As he considered these two extremes, he wrote in this psalm, ‘Unity is good and pleasant.’

Paul was committed to declaring the message of reconciliation between Jews and Gentiles. He often wrote and spoke about tearing down the barriers that separated Jews and other races. The “wall of hostility” that Paul mentions here is a reference to the ultimate symbol of Jewish/Gentile separation – a barrier that had been erected in the temple courts to separate Jewish and Gentile worshipers.

In his death and resurrection, Jesus Christ destroyed all such walls. But today, as in Paul’s time, Christians have often refused to live in the unity he has won for us. Jesus has freely given us reconciliation between God and our fellow believers, but we fail to appropriate the unity that should emerge from that gift. Tragically, we have chosen to highlight differences between ourselves and others. But Christ’s power still shatters these flimsy constructions, be they physical, psychological, stereotypical or spiritual. Knowing this, our job is to not only point people to Christ, but, like Paul, to remind believers that in Christ there are no barriers.

That message begins with each individual. What can you do today to begin to live in the unity that Jesus Christ has won?

This devotional is reprinted from the Promise Keepers Study Bible.

Fathers

June 4, 2020By PK ManagerDevotional

A good father is one of the most unsung, upraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society. — Dr. Billy Graham

In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day. Roses are the Father’s Day flowers: red to be worn for a living father and white if the father has died … but it wasn’t always so. The idea for creating a day for children to honor their fathers began in Spokane, Washington, right next to the little town where we currently live.

Sonora Smart Dodd thought of the idea for Father’s Day while listening to a Mother’s Day sermon in 1909. Having been raised by her father, Henry Jackson Smart, after her mother died, Sonora wanted her father to know how special he was to her. It was her father that made all the parental sacrifices and was, in her eyes, a courageous, selfless, and loving man. Sonora’s father was born in June, so she chose to hold the first Father’s Day celebration on June 19th, 1910, in Spokane.

My father went to be with the Lord many years ago. He was a gentle and quiet man who really didn’t have much time to spend with me while I was young, but I loved him so much. His legacy to me was his kind heart and great integrity. He taught me to be responsible, that grace was important, but that my poor judgement or bad behavior had consequences. I didn’t get an allowance or trophy unless I earned it. I am so very grateful for him, and I really miss him.

It is human nature to assume and expect that those things we cherish most will always be with us. Many folks are so caught up in their careers that they don’t take time to really show their appreciation to others, especially their parents. I’m thankful that the Lord gave me almost four months during my dad’s battle with cancer to “get it right”. Dad enjoyed going for rides, watching the A’s games, and popping down to the donut shop to get a cup of coffee and a donut with his friends.

None of these things were favorites with me; however, I knew dad enjoyed them, so they became important to me. My greatest regrets in life revolve around my dad. I wish I’d have taken more time to really know him.

Obviously, we don’t have to wait for a national holiday to honor our dads or spend time with them. If your father is still alive, consider calling him today to let him know how much you appreciate him. Send him a note or take him to coffee if you live close. If your relationship is strained, too painful, or simply estranged, ask God if you might have any part in reconciliation. If your father has passed away or you never knew him, consider showing your appreciation for other folks in your life who have mentored you, been models of faith, and offered you encouragement. In America, we spell love: T-I-M-E. Let’s not be too busy to show our appreciation.

Personal Application

Let’s remember to “Honor your father…” Matt. 15:4a, and “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” Col. 3:15 Ask God how you might show your appreciation to your father or those in your life who have truly made a difference. If you have a painful past with your father, ask God to bring healing. Remember, He is the Father to the fatherless. Ps. 68:5

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.

Promise 6: David’s View on Unity

June 1, 2020By PK ManagerDevotional, PK Men's Study Bible

Promise 6: Unity

A Promise Keeper is committed to reaching beyond any racial and denominational barriers to demonstrate the power of biblical unity.

 

How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down on the collar of his robe. It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore. – Psalm 133:1-3

David knew both teamwork and hostility. In his life he made both friends who would have died for him and enemies who would have loved to kill him. As he considered these two extremes, he wrote in this psalm, ‘Unity is good and pleasant.’

The imagery of this poem made a powerful statement to David’s countrymen. Only under David and Solomon did the twelve tribes of Israel dwell in unity. For the rest of their history they bickered and fought as two separate nations. There’s a lesson in the fact that Israel reached her political and religious pinnacle when David and Solomon were her kings. United, the twelve tribes did what they could never have done divided. During those glory years they set the standard for worship and left a legacy that has inspired Jewish people throughout history.

God’s Word states here and in many other places: “It is good and it is pleasant when God’s people dwell together in unity.” Anyone who isolates himself from other believers, regardless of the reason, is disobedient to God’s Word and is crippling his Christian witness. David and other biblical writers teach that reconciliation is not just a good idea, it is God’s will and command.

Join those who work for unity among God’s people. Make on phone call or initiate a conversation today that will build a bridge to someone you might not normally contact. Find out for yourself how ‘good and pleasant’ it is when God’s people dwell together in unity.

This devotional is reprinted from the Promise Keepers Study Bible.

Promise 5: Proper Perspective

May 23, 2020By PK ManagerDevotional, PK Men's Study Bible

Promise 5: Changemaking

A Promise Keeper understands that Jesus calls him to be His hands and feet, serving others with integrity. He purposely lifts up the leadership of the church and his nation in prayer.

 

So it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt. – Genesis 45:8

What a perspective! Joseph defined his whole life by the fact that God had placed him in his situation for ministry. Even though Joseph had experienced many tough times and had been in situations that would have made any man bitter, he chose to see these things as God’s sovereign hand at work. Joseph believed that through these events God was placing him where he could best be used as God’s instrument.

Think about the many roles that you fill in life—husband, father, employee, brother, son. God has placed you there to minister. Your church is his place of training; through its ministry and outreach, you can be a modern-day Joseph.

This devotional is reprinted from the Promise Keepers Study Bible.

20 Ways to Encourage Your Pastor

May 21, 2020By PK ManagerDevotional

 

Peter Drucker, a leading authority on management, once made a profound observation on what he believed were the four most difficult jobs in America today: The President of the United States, a university president, a hospital administrator, and a pastor of a local church.

Does this surprise you? Many people might respond, “You’ve got to be kidding!” A few people may even think a pastor’s job is one of the easiest.

Maybe something else will surprise you—pastors may soon be an endangered species! Every year thousands of pastors are leaving the church and terminating their ministries. Exhausted and emotionally threadbare, many are leaving either because they are discouraged or because they have fallen into a baited trap of the enemy. It is a fact that there are fewer churches today than in 1900 . . . and even fewer men to lead them.

Pastor appreciation

Why is this so? Especially now? Isn’t a preacher supposed to get his strokes from God and not look to receive them from men? Well, I have a hunch that the enemy of God, the devil, has created an incredible climate of skepticism and cynicism toward those who represent God. Satan is constantly hurling feelings of unappreciation at the man who has poured his life into others.

So with all the negative press printed about preachers over this past year, I have decided to use the power of the press too, and press you to some positive action for your pastor. The need for action is a 2000-year-old problem—look at what Paul writes: “But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work” (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13).

I want to encourage you with is a list of ways on how to appreciate and esteem your pastor.

    • Surprise him and his wife by taking them out to a nice place to eat. Talk with them about something other than your problems.
    • Schedule a Sunday (well in advance) when the laymen take the Sunday services and give him a long weekend away with his wife (Friday ’til Monday)—arrange babysitters, too.
    • Find out from his secretary what books or periodicals he’s been wanting for his library; order a few and sneak them in after he’s gone.
    • Over lunch, ask him how many free evenings he has each week to be with his family. If it isn’t enough considering the age of his children and the needs of his wife, engage in some straight talk about the pace he keeps.
    • Perk him with a two-week study time at a seminary during early January or in the summer. No major corporation in existence spends less on the continued training, education, and care for their staff than does the church.
    • Force him and his family to take a one-month authentic sabbatical at least once every 3 years. No ministry. No giving. Just pure fun with the family, refreshing time off to read and re-vitalize his relationship with Christ.
    • Give him and his wife free sessions with a financial planning consultant, who will help him budget and anticipate college education for children and retirement.
    • Write him a hand-written note of appreciation for who he is and how God has used him in your life. Be specific; avoid broad generalizations.
    • Pray for him daily. Then call him and tell him you’re doing just that and ask him for his prayer requests—pray for his wife, too.
    • Offer to meet him at his house on his day off to help fix things around the place. Some ministers are all thumbs when it comes to working with their hands … (like me). Others are too busy to take the time!
    • Occasionally send him a clever cartoon or joke that mirrors a point he made in a sermon—just so he’ll know that you’re listening!
    • Do a “This is Your Life” program at church one Sunday evening—don’t roast him, but refuel his spirit with testimonies and a fun time. He’ll be embarrassed, but that’s okay! It is biblical to receive rewards on this side of eternity (see Mark 10:28-31).
    • Find out what problem in the church that, if solved, would move the church forward in the coming year. Then, roll up your sleeves and offer to help the leadership solve it.
    • Help him get some exercise by either meeting him 3 or 4 times a week at a health club or jogging with him in the morning.
    • Clean his car while he’s at the church office one day. (One of the pastors at our church even told me where he leaves his keys!)
    • Call and express appreciation to the pastor who started you on your spiritual pilgrimage, or who helped you at a critical time in your life. Be specific about how he helped you.
    • Let him know that you appreciate the load he carries: the pressure of caring for sheep, the pace of a growing ministry and the daily sacrifices he makes for ministry. Communicate that you understand he does more than just show up and preach.
    • If you’re an elder or deacon, then why not schedule annual job performance evaluations, walk through his year and express appreciation for a job well done. How about a bonus if he’s really been effective … and a raise! After all, just think how much a raise encourages you.
    • Go to your pastor and ask him where you can assume a position of responsibility. As one pastor put it, “A position in the church where I can learn the fellowship of Christ’s suffering—you only suffer for what you care about and you can only prove you care by taking responsibility” (See Philippians 3:10-11).
    • And don’t forget your pastor’s wife. She makes many sacrifices too in giving up her husband to ministry opportunities. Send her notes of appreciation, flowers or a gift certificate. Express gratitude for the part she plays in the teamwork of pastoring your local church.

Why not take some time right now to consider how you can esteem your pastor? Then do it.

This post is shared courtesy of our ministry partner, FamilyLife, and first appeared on their blog.

Free Resource: 7 Promises Bible Study

April 15, 2020By PK ManagerDevotional

We’ve updated a classic Promise Keepers resource for a new generation of men’s discipleship.

Lock arms with us as we develop a new wave of support for the men of today. Send this Bible study resource to a friend—it’s completely free to share.

 

Promise 4: CEO or Servant?

April 15, 2020By PK ManagerDevotional

Promise 4: Commitment

A Promise Keeper is committed to building strong marriages and families through love, protection and biblical values.

 

He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, ‘Lord, do you wash my feet?’  Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.”

John 13:6-17

 

Just about every work situation has a “gopher.” That’s the guy who does the odd jobs, runs the errands, and cleans up the messes. He’s usually underpaid and overworked. It’s a job with little hope for advancement and less affirmation. It’s the job nobody wants. 

At the time of Jesus nobody wanted to be a slave. Especially demeaning was the job of foot washing—a role assigned to the lowest slave in the Oriental home. Foot washing was traditionally observed at times like this, before an intimate meal or banquet. In this dry and dusty region, sandaled feet were quickly soiled. Having washed and prepared themselves for the meal earlier, the attendees would only need their feet washed to be completely clean and ready for the festivities. 

As the disciples and Jesus gathered for this Passover dinner, they had also prepared in this manner. But there was no servant present to wash their feet, and nobody was about to volunteer. The disciples wanted to be served, not serve. They wanted to rule, not be ruled.

Imagine the disciples’ shock when Jesus took off his outer garment, wrapped a towel around his waist and washed their dirty feet! The master became a servant. The CEO became a gopher. He even washed the feet of Judas, who would betray him into the hands of the Jews who wanted him silenced (v. 11); and of Peter, who would later deny that he even knew who Jesus was (v. 38). 

When he finished cleaning the disciples’ feet, Jesus told them to follow his example of humble service. We too need to follow his example in our family and work lives. We should serve our wives, children, coworkers, bosses, friends, and even enemies. Take a few minutes an identify some jobs or chores that you don’t normally perform and volunteer to do them.

Promise 4: Jesus Encourages Hate?

April 14, 2020By PK ManagerDevotional

Promise 4: Commitment

A Promise Keeper is committed to building strong marriages and families through love, protection and biblical values.

 

“Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.

“Salt is good, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is of no use either for the soil or for the manure pile. It is thrown away. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

Luke 14:25-35

To many readers this passage seems confusing. Hating self and family seems like the opposite of God’s ideal for his people today. But Jesus wasn’t telling his followers they were to hate their families and themselves. Instead, Jesus used this vivid imagery so his hearers would realize that all earthly commitments and affections were to pale in comparison to their love for him. 

Amazingly, when we love Jesus above everything else, everything else takes on more meaning. A man who is completely devoted to Christ will allow a Christlike attitude to permeate all of his relationships—even his relationship to himself. This man will soon discover that he’s more devoted to his wife, his children, his work, and his brothers and sisters in Christ.

Promise 4: Happily Ever After?

April 13, 2020By PK ManagerDevotional

Promise 4: Commitment

A Promise Keeper is committed to building strong marriages and families through love, protection and biblical values.

 

“Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: ‘It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.’ But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

Now as a concession, not a command, I say this.​ ​I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another.”

1 Corinthians 7:1-7

 

Four-year-old Suzi had just heard the story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs for the first time. When she got home, she retold the fairy tale with wide-eyed excitement. After telling her dad her Prince Charming had arrived on his beautiful white horse and brought Snow White back to life with a kiss, Suzi asked, ‘And daddy, do you know what happened next?’

‘Yes,’ he said, ‘they lived happily ever after.’

‘No!’ she replied with a frown. ‘They got married.’

In childlike innocence that little girl spoke an in-depth truth without realizing it. Getting married doesn’t necessarily mean the same thing as living happily ever after. Marriages require hard work and devotion in order to be strong. One other important factor in a healthy and happy marriage is commitment to moral purity. In this passage, Paul gives us guidance toward that end. Underlying his instructions is an assumption that the husband and wife are in a committed, exclusive relationship that they look only to each other to meet their needs for intimacy.

First, Paul says, the husband and wife are to meet each other’s sexual needs. Notice how Paul’s instructions exhort the couple to focus attention on the other’s needs, not their own. A man whose sexual appetite is greater than his wife’s might find such instructions a bit unsettling. After all, if he focuses on his wife, his sexual needs might go unmet. The sacrificial nature of the marriage relationship may call for this at times. But Paul’s instructions not to ‘deprive each other’ stand equally for both marriage partners.

Second, the husband is to regard his body as belonging to his wife, and the wife is to do likewise. Sometimes men make the costly mistake of getting this backwards, thinking that this passage calls their wives to be there for them. But look at Paul’s instructions again: Neither the husband nor the wife is to think of the other as being there for them. Instead, they’re both to view themselves as being there for their mate.

Third, a husband and wife need to take time to devote themselves to prayer. Paul lays out the ground rules for this time period: It should be mutually agreed upon. Its focus should be on prayer, not abstinence. It should also be short, so that the increased sexual energy won’t provide Satan the opportunity to tempt either spouse.

The idea of voluntary abstinence from sex within marriage may be new to you. Indeed, you may wonder why Paul would urge couples to periodically abstain from physical intimacy. Many couples find that following Paul’s instructions helps to develop spiritual and emotional intimacy between partners. They see this as an exhortation for married couples to maintain a balance in their lives. They find that the transparency of prayer links them together on a number of levels, helping them find and maintain that delicate balance.

The God-honoring marriage relationship encompasses all aspects of the couple’s lives—physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, and so on. Prayer between marriage partners dissolves barriers. It creates emotional intimacy. It strengthens the relationship, and in so doing brings partners closer together on all levels.

Paul’s instructions leave no room for spouses to ignore the needs of their partners. They urge husbands to put their wives’ needs before their own, and vice versa. A couple who demonstrates such sacrificial love will have made a good start on the journey toward living ‘happily ever after.’