Promise 2: Real Men Weep

February 28, 2020By PK ManagerDevotional

Promise 2: Brotherhood

A Promise Keeper is committed to pursuing vital relationships with a few other men, understanding that he needs brothers to help him keep his promises.

“Jesus wept.” – John 11:35

“Jesus wept.” Those two words comprise the shortest verse in the Bible. Yet, they say volumes about real manhood, don’t they? They tell us that real men love deeply (see 11:5 and 36), real men cry when they’re in pain, and real men allow others to see their pain (see v. 38). Most men find it difficult to openly share their pain. After all, if they should cry, others might think they’re weak or inadequate. For most men in our society, crying as Jesus did leaves a sense of being uncomfortably vulnerable. Yet Jesus, during this time of intense emotion, wept. His display was such that others who saw him weeping could openly see the love he had for Lazarus and his two sisters.

Crying can bring healing and much-needed emotional release. In a sense, it cleanses the soul. It also places us in a position where others can express their love to us. They can comfort us during our times of deep pain, and in so doing reinforce the emotional connections that are imperative to strengthening the bond of friendship.

Since our founding in 1990, Promise Keepers has challenged men to keep seven promises. Learn more.

Promise 2: Greatness Comes By Serving

February 22, 2020By PK ManagerDevotional

Promise 2: Brotherhood

A Promise Keeper is committed to pursuing vital relationships with a few other men, understanding that he needs brothers to help him keep his promises.

Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him. ‘What is it you want?’ he asked. She said, ‘Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.’

You don’t know what you are asking,’ Jesus said to them. ‘Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?’

‘We can,’ they answered.

Jesus said to them, ‘You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father.’

When the ten heard about this, they were indignant with the two brothers. Jesus called them together and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.'”

– Matthew 20:20-28

Men often find it hard to get close to other men. Why? One reason is because men tend to view each other as competitors, as rivals. Most men think that opening up to other men will put them at a disadvantage and give the others some kind of an edge. That’s probably why the disciples were ‘indignant’ when they heard about the request of James and John’s mother. If this woman succeeded in her behind-the-scenes lobbying, the rest of them would be on the bottom of the ladder looking up at their rivals.

But Jesus turned their thinking upside down. He told them that the key to true greatness isn’t in climbing over others, but in helping them up and serving them. From Jesus’ perspective, men aren’t rivals who need to compete; they’re allies who need to help each other along on the journey of life.

Since our founding in 1990, Promise Keepers has challenged men to keep seven promises. Learn more.

Promise 2: Faithful Friends

February 1, 2020By PK ManagerDevotional

Promise 2: Brotherhood

A Promise Keeper is committed to pursuing vital relationships with a few other men, understanding that he needs brothers to help him keep his promises.

When Job’s three friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite, heard about all the troubles that had come upon him, they set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathize with him and comfort him. When they saw him from a distance, they could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads. Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was.”

– Job 2:11-13

Faithful Friends

Job’s cultivation of friendships like these is a mark of his greatness. Note how these men responded to news of Job’s suffering. When they heard of his trouble, they traveled from their homes to be with him. They wept and mourned with him, and for seven days they just sat on the ground suffering in silence with their friend. These men spoke volumes to Job’s heart without saying a word. Think about what it takes to develop friends who will do that. Think about what it would mean for you to suffer like that with one of your friends. The investment of quality time in a few other men can pay off for all of you in the tough times.

Since our founding in 1990, Promise Keepers has challenged men to keep seven promises. Learn more.

Promise 1: The Test for Tough Times

January 31, 2020By PK ManagerDevotional

Promise 1: Honor

A Promise Keeper is committed to honoring Jesus Christ through worship, prayer and obedience to God’s Word in the power of the Holy Spirit.

One test of a man’s greatness is what he grabs for on his way down. Job clung to his belief in God’s deliverance. Even in the deepest pit of despair Job knew his Redeemer was alive and would not abandon him. Job believed that even though his disease would probably bring about his death, he would see God with his own eyes after death. His heart yearned to do so.

Where is your center of gravity? What (or who) do you hold on to when you feel your stability slipping? To understand Job’s response in this tough time, read the comment about Job in Job 1:1. What we do about God in the normal times determines what we do about the tough times.

“I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!” – Job 19:25-27

Jesus is the Light of the World!

December 23, 2019By PK ManagerDevotional

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” – John 8:12

My wife and I love this season. The clear cold nights seem to accent the moon and stars. There is a radiance and brilliance in the mid-night sky that we do not see on those warm summer evenings. As we look over the vast Northern Idaho prairie to see the variety of Christmas decorations, we are impressed with the many lit trees, houses, clock towers, church steeple, and manger scenes.

As precious as it is to see the many lights that cover our landscape, nothing compares with the light Christ’s cast into the darkness of our sinful world. As God looked into the darkness of man’s soul he realized that a special kind of light was needed. His son coming to earth as the God-man would remind mankind how far we strayed from the warmth of our Creator’s light. His ultimate love and compassion for sinful man came in the form of a babe in the manger.

The Word (Light) was made into flesh. And unto us a child was given. The Psalmist tells us, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” (Psalm 119:105) God’s word also challenges us to watch out for the ways of this world as we endeavor to walk in the light of His word. We are warned to be careful, “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:4)

As we ponder the opportunities we will have to share the Christmas story let us remember God’s word: “Come, O house of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the Lord.” (Isaiah 2:5) “He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe.” (John 1:7)

Let us pray for those who do not know or have not yet received the light that a relationship with Christ can bring. And as a reminder, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.” (Ephesians 5:8)

Personal Application:

His light radiates through each person who has accepted Christ into their lives. Who do you know that needs some light and joy in their lives? Why not invite them to a Christmas program at a local church.

If you have a good friend or relative that doesn’t know Christ pray for an opportunity for the Holy Spirit to move their hearts to ask questions that allows you to respond. The answer book (God’s Word) has answers to every question or concern. You can directly access our Ready Reference Bible Guide through any electronic device. Simply go to https://mensministrycatalyst.org/bible-ready-reference-guide/

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.

Generosity: The Tell-Tale Sign of Godly Masculinity

December 20, 2019By Ken HarrisonDevotional

Many of the rivers in Oregon are cold and treacherous. When we were kids, our favorite river wound its way north along the eastern fringes of the Portland suburbs, through a thick forest of Douglas fir, spruce, and cedar. The river is deep and rocky, filled with crushing rapids and dangerous undertows.

There are several bridges that cross the river, where a kid can illegally jump into the icy waters fifty feet below. But danger lurks. Where the river was ten feet deep the summer before, it may be only two feet deep the next spring due to winter’s torrential rainfall washing a massive boulder downstream.

On a hot day in early spring, a boy from our high school named Mark was the first to throw himself from a bridge. He hit a rock that hadn’t been there before and was killed instantly. His parents prepared for the funeral and sent notice that everyone was welcome.

His Diary Revealed One Young Man’s Impact

My brother Frank wasn’t going to go to the funeral because he didn’t know Mark. My brother was a two-time all-state running back, was ruggedly handsome, and is one of the most loving people I’ve known.

Frank didn’t just have friends; he had hordes of kids following him through the halls, hoping for his attention. Yet Frank often searched the cafeteria for any student, boy or girl, who was sitting alone and sat down across from him or her, bringing his fan club with him. He’d grill the person he’d just met with questions and spend time talking. When you became Frank Harrison’s friend, you became everyone’s friend.

Mark had been one of those kids. Frank didn’t remember him but recognized his picture as someone he had spoken to once. Frank decided to go to the funeral because he wasn’t sure how many kids would attend, and he wanted to honor Mark.

During the service, Mark’s father read some excerpts from his son’s diary, including a pointed section about Mark’s rejection at high school and how a star football player had taken the time to talk to him and make him feel important.

That moment had changed his life and made Mark a popular kid at school and the leader in the church youth group. Mark’s father pointed at the square-jawed boy with the thick neck and bulging arms: “Frank Harrison was my son’s best friend,” he said.

Generosity Is Giving to God What Is Rightfully His

What my brother Frank did is generosity. Generosity is giving every aspect of yourself back to God, to whom it belongs. It’s giving Him your money, your prayers, your time, your effort, your reputation . . . your rights. Most often, we do this by giving to His children here on earth.

Generosity is actually the ultimate act of worship. Worship is not just singing and praising. Worship is generously and adoringly giving back to God what He has given us. A key part of doing that is seeking out ways to sacrificially meet the needs of others.

Generosity is the ultimate in trust because it says to God, “I can share my time, talents, and treasure with others because I know You will take care of me.” When you teach a child how to swim, you’ll ask him or her to jump from the side of the pool into your arms in the water. You have great joy when, in complete trust, your child leaps into your arms. Generosity is the same. When you practice generosity, you’re jumping into God’s arms, knowing He will care for you. And those around you receive a blessing as well.

A Generous Spirit Forgives

Forgiveness is the ultimate in giving to others what God has given us. To hold on to bitterness, resentment, and old wounds is to refuse to give away the forgiveness that Jesus gave us – the very basis of our salvation.

In many years of discipling men, I am amazed at how many are held back in life by resentment toward their fathers. Don’t get me wrong: hurt is a real thing. But it can only take two forms: open wounds or scars.

When you generously forgive, you release the other person, free yourself, and let God heal your wounds, so they become only just a scar. That’s the power of generosity.

Ken Harrison is CEO and chairman of Promise Keepers. Founded in 1990 by coach Bill McCartney, Promise Keepers was one of the largest Christ-centered movements; today, Promise Keepers is calling men back to bold servant leadership as change makers for their families, churches and communities. Harrison is also CEO of WaterStone, a Christian Community Foundation that oversees donations of millions of dollars a month to build God’s kingdom. After starting his career as an LAPD street cop in South Central, he spent nearly two decades in commercial real estate. Married and the father of three, Harrison has a new book, “The Rise of the Servant Kings: What the Bible Says About Being a Man.” This post is excerpted from that book.

The Grandest People of All – Part II

December 10, 2019By PK ManagerDevotional

Last week we discussed the impact that grandparents can make on their grandchildren. In today’s world, where 41% of the nation’s youth will go to bed tonight in a home where there is no biological father, grandparents have an even bigger role to play in the development of the younger generation.

Spiritual Mentoring and discipleship is best modeled in the family. It is especially important for granddads to spend time with their grandchildren. Discipleship is a relational process that requires people to become actively involved in their faith. Paul said to Timothy, “I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois…” Yes, it is true that grandparents can make a real difference in shaping a child’s vision, future, character, and self-worth. Most importantly a godly grandparent can help a child develop great faith.

How can grandparents use their “grand positions” to the best advantage? God’s Word says that grandchildren are “a crown to the aged” (Proverbs 17:6). I believe we wear that “crown” by actively investing in their lives.

There are five tools I’ve found helpful in being a grandparent or adopted grandparent:

  1. Prudence – It takes a little time for grandparents to find the right balance, learning to be involved without interfering. Grandparents have a lifetime of wisdom stored up, and unfortunately, most of our children feel threatened by our knowledge and prefer that we keep silent on most matters. That is difficult given the depth of our love and commitment to helping them become successful. Developing prudence is an art. The waiting game is often difficult. Pray, Pray!
  2. Presence – Do all you can to be accessible for your grandchildren. Open your home and schedule opportunities to read to them, talk with them, share stories and create adventures. There is no day wasted in the life of an effective grandparent.
  3. Provision – Grandparents can provide materially for their grandchildren. A bit here and there will help. Providing for the vacation treats or extra needs tell a child they are special. Also, setting up a college fund will project to them the importance of obtaining a good educational foundation.
  4. Patience – Have patience with your children and grandchildren. They don’t value or realize the significance of grandparents until later in life. When spending time with your grandchildren model a patient spirit and temper your reactions. They need to know that both quality and quantity time are part the job description of a loving grandparent.
  5. Prayer – Samuel said to the Israelites, “God forbid that I should sin against Heaven by failing to pray for you.” In the same way, we should pray for our grandchildren. And, often, grandparents have more time for prayer and Bible reading than anyone else.

Personal Application:

Did you know?

A West Virginia housewife and grandmother first suggested national Grandparent’s Day to President Jimmy Carter. He established it in 1979 on the first Sunday after Labor Day.

How can you more directly impact your grandkids with God’s Word?

What would be a special treat for your grandkids that would also allow them to see God’s love in a more tangible way?

Who among your acquaintances have children who don’t have a grandparent nearby? Would you consider being available to help fulfill that role?

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 Grandest People of All – Part I

December 3, 2019By PK ManagerDevotional

Grandchildren are the crowning glory of the aged. – Prov. 17:6a

We have many beautiful trees in the Inland Northwest. I especially enjoy the cedar. The cedar offers a wonderful metaphor for the Christian life. It grows by dying. As it develops, stately and beautiful, putting forth new boughs and leaves, the old ones drop off so the tree can give strength to the new ones.

In a similar manner, mature Christians live their lives for the growth of others. Our goal in life is to meet a need or spread a seed. And when God calls us home, our legacy of investing in others is what remains and will sustain them.

In our case, our immediate family lives out of the area, so it has been a real pleasure to be adopted as grandparents by families who live nearby. This has given us some time and experience to build and work on our grand-parenting skills.

Sometime ago I was asked to deliver a message at a workshop for retirees. My message on “Strategies for Being an Effective Grandparent” suggested different ways we can better connect with our grandchildren. A few Christian psychologists are touting the importance of the grandparent-grandchild relationships. “The bond between a child and a grandparent is the purest, least psychologically complicated form of human love,” says Dr. Arthur Kornhaber. “Grandparents can offer an emotional safety net when parents falter. They pass on traditions in the form of stories, songs, games, skills, and crafts.” They also can serve as a model of godly character and can demonstrate the importance of grace.

And grandparents have another magical ingredient that parents often lack – TIME. Kornhaber has found that children who are close to at least one grandparent are more emotionally secure than other children; and they have more positive feelings about older people and about the process of aging.

Another great thing about being a grandparent: ya get do-overs! It gives every grandparent a second chance. Perhaps history’s most dramatic illustration of that truth is the story of King Manasseh in 2 Chronicles 33. Manasseh has been called the most wicked man who ever lived, but in his old age he repented and turned to God. The son who succeeded him was also evil, but Manasseh’s grandson, Josiah, became one of the most godly, beloved kings in Jewish history.

By studying the chronology, we learn that the last six years of Manasseh’s life and the first six years of Josiah’s overlapped. And the last six years of Manasseh were his repentant years, his godly years, his years of reform and contrition. It was too late for him to influence his own son, Amon. But it wasn’t too late for Josiah, and we can easily picture the old king spending long hours with his small grandson, telling him, “Now, one day you will be king. Don’t make the mistakes I did. From the beginning, serve the Lord.”

My wife and I find it very hard doing long-distance grandparenting. It is especially difficult when the lives of our children are so busy. They are so absorbed in trying to meet all the demands for ministry and parenting that there isn’t much time left over for them to engage with us by long-distance. Their children, our grandchildren, are also very busy.

It takes extra effort to understand how to utilize some of the younger generation’s communication tools like texting and Skyping. But the effort is worth every minute of your investment. If ever there was a time when the younger generation needed the mentoring and wisdom of more experienced people, it is now.

Personal Application:

What kinds of challenges do you encounter in communicating with your grandchildren?

What new ways can you think of to connect with your grandchildren?

What stories can you tell your grandchildren from your life that would encourage them to walk with Christ?

What skills or knowledge could you impart to your grandchildren to help them mature?

What other ways can you demonstrate your love and God’s love to your grandchildren?

What are some ways that you can come alongside your children as they raise your grandchildren?

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.

Thankmas

November 29, 2019By PK ManagerDevotional

“Can this be Christmas?” was the question our grandchildren asked when we announced that right after our 2006 Thanksgiving weekend at Mt. Hermon we would be having Christmas at a little second home on our friend’s property in Castro Valley.

Our sons had been asked by Mt. Hermon Christian Conference Center to provide the worship music for their very popular Thanksgiving Weekend Conference.  With the approval of our son’s families, Louise and I decided to attend the conference, enjoy family, and then retreat to a friend’s wonderful guest house on Sunday, November 26 where we prepared a nice feast for the immediate family.

For years, we have seen our sons absolutely exhausted on Christmas Day, having just led their respective churches in three to five Christmas Eve Day services.  Due to the hectic pace that is involved around that holiday season we decided to move our family Christmas celebration to the Sunday after Thanksgiving. We all call it Thankmas!

It was so wonderful to celebrate our time together with hearts of thanksgiving.  While there were plenty of gifts (grandparents must spoil their grand-kids a little), we made sure that Jesus did not get lost in all the wrapping paper and Christmas decorations.  Each grandchild read from Scripture as we remembered the reason we even have a Christmas.

In preparing this devotional I came across this little poem that portrays the importance of the Christ child in Christmas.  I plan to read it to our family when we gather for our Christmas celebration.

Can This Be Christmas?

What’s all this hectic rush and worry?
Where go these crowds who run and curry?
Why all the lights—the Christmas trees?
The jolly “fat man,” tell me please!

Why, don’t you know? This is the day
For parties and for fun and play;
Why this is Christmas!

So, this is Christmas, do you say?
But where is Christ this Christmas day?
Has He been lost among the throng?
His voice drowned out by empty song?

No. He’s not here—you’ll find Him where
Some humble soul now kneels in prayer,
Who knows the Christ of Christmas.

But see the many aimless thousands
Who gather on this Christmas Day,
Whose hearts have never yet been opened,
Or said to Him, “Come in to stay.”

In countless homes the candles burning,
In countless hearts expectant yearning
For gifts and presents, food and fun,
And laughter till the day is done.

But not a tear of grief or sorrow
For Him so poor He had to borrow
A crib, a colt, a boat, a bed
Where He could lay His weary head.

I’m tired of all this empty celebration,
Of feasting, drinking, recreation;
I’ll go instead to Calvary.

And there I’ll kneel with those who know
The meaning of that manger low,
And find the Christ—this Christmas.

I leap by faith across the years
To that great day when He appears
The second time, to rule and reign,
To end all sorrow, death, and pain.

In endless bliss, we then shall dwell
With Him who saved our souls from hell,
And worship Christ—not Christmas!

~M.R. DeHaan, M.D., Founder, Radio Bible Class


Personal Application:

  1. How can you make the holiday season more directed to Christ?
  2. What does Galatians 1:10 say about honoring God versus man?

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.

Hang on, Baby!

November 26, 2019By PK ManagerDevotional

“He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.” 1 Corinthians 1:8-9

I often think about that picture of a cat hanging on for dear life to a table top. The expression on the animal’s face says it all. Just like the cat, sometimes all we can do is pray and hang on. Perseverance is defined as steadfastness or persistence. It is one of those character traits we admire but don’t really like to experience.

A good friend of mine, Bob Schmitt, owner of Mack’s Fishing Lure Company, tells a story from his youth when all he could do was to “hang on”. Bob and some of his teenage Southern Utah friends decided to do their first big game hunting trip together. These determined lads packed a lunch, loaded up their guns, and headed to the nearby woods. They split up and began their hunt through the forest. Bob went uphill and his two friends went downhill to scope out the lower forest.

Within an hour Bob spotted a small herd of five deer about 250 yards from his position. He brought up his Remington 700 30.06 and began checking out the deer. A nice 4X4 mule deer appeared in his scope. Bob peered through the lens and squeezed off a round. The deer appeared to Bob to be hit but didn’t go down. Bob and his friends headed up the hill to see if they could track the animal. Shortly thereafter, Bob saw the wounded deer staggering in his direction. He again fired a round. This time the old buck hit the ground. With shouts of joy Bob ran up to the buck, placed his gun against a nearby tree, and pulled out his trusty knife to bleed out the deer.

Just as he mounted the deer and raised its head to expose the neck area, the dazed deer stood up and began to run downhill. Bob was now becoming a rodeo star right in front of his friends. With Bob on its back, the deer passed by his two astonished friends who were laughing out loud and evaluating Bob’s ability to stay on. While trying to keep his balance, all Bob could do was “hang on” to the antlers and ride it out. He knew that eventually, the animal would slow down enough for him to escape.

After jumping off the animal, Bob ran back to the tree where his gun was placed, aimed at the runaway deer, and squeezed off another shot that brought the deer down permanently. This adventure really did happen.

Today, many families are coping with various issues that could feel just like riding a wild animal and the only counsel one can give them is to “hang on”. I know two wonderful families who are currently going through very traumatic circumstances. One middle-aged man is fighting cancer as his young family wonders about the future. Another couple that Louise and I are close to has a daughter who is struggling with her pregnancy, an older mother who is very sick, and the unknowns associated with a new start-up business venture.

What can you tell folks who are struggling with what seems to be insurmountable situations? I would feel empty of thought if it weren’t for what Scripture tells us. The writer of Hebrews reminds us to hang on, baby! “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23 “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.” Hebrews 10:35 and “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” Hebrews 10:36

The Apostle Paul tells us to hang on baby! “That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.” 2 Timothy 1:12 “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

There are those times when, humanly speaking, we can’t do anything. God designed us to trust Him – to lean on Him – to embrace Him even when we are in deep despair. Another way to put it is to just stand firm on what you know and the faith we have.

“Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us,” 2 Corinthians 1:21

Personal Application: Psalms 46:1 reminds us that God is our refuge and strength. Are you regularly seeking His counsel by reading His word?

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.