Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Our Second General Order - Part 4

 To be honest, there is nothing general about a general order. They may seem simple and be easy to memorize, but they contain complex details we must pay attention to. This is apparent because it has taken me four weeks to expound upon one small verse in Proverbs chapter 4.
Last week, I referred to this quote by C.S. Lewis,  “You don’t have a soul, you are a soul. You have a body.”
As we think about what it means to really guard our hearts,  we must acknowledge it’s a soul matter. Your Soul, also referred to as the heart or inner man, defines who you are! This part of you has no end. It is eternal and has an eternal destination.
Your soul is compromised of your:
  • Intellect
  • Emotions
  • Free will
  • Imagination
  • Reason
  • Affections
Your soul determines everything. It does not control you, it is who you are! You are not a robot. You are a soul with God given freewill to choose how you will live.   
The Spirit, on the other hand, determines your identity!
Your identity is a choice of your freewill. You can choose to be identified as a child of God or an enemy of God. You can choose to follow man or you can choose to follow God… but you cannot do both.
This is why your soul determines the course of your life! FREEWILL
Once you ask God to change your identity, you are forever His. There is absolute assurance of that, because God can be trusted to do His job, even though we cannot.
So how do we do it? We choose to follow His word, step by step. Take a look at Proverbs 4:24 - 27 and allow it to move you to change:
“Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you. Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.”
  • Crooked speech - can be used to mislead yourself and others…
  • Devious talk - Planning and plotting schemes to get your way.
  • Look forward… don’t be watching what others are doing… don’t roam around
  • Your gaze - this is when we fix our eyes on the prize! Where we look and long for Jesus, so we can look more like him everyday
  • Ponder your path.. Slowly study where you are going to make sure it lies up with God’s will
  • Do not swerve.. Do not waver. Not for one moment or one second - talk about the dangers… others lives are at stake..
  • Turn your feet from evil!!!! Flee from it… don’t even get close… because you will get burned.

During your Pit Time today, take a moment to evaluate how well you are doing in applying Proverbs 4:24-27 to your life. Are we living out the protection of our soul in a way that honors the Spirit of the living God?

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Our Second General Order - Part 3

Last week, I began the thought process of our second general order. “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” Proverbs 4:23.

Knowing what to do is only part of our battle when we keep or guard our hearts! We must also look at why we should guard I hearts.

The second part of verse 23 says “... for from it flow the springs of life.

Doesn’t that sound so joyful! However, the reality is, it's only joyful if you are doing a good job of being on guard! Remember, your heart determines the course of your life. Here’s another way to think about it... Are you are taking full advantage of your free will and trusting your emotions instead of the facts of God’s word? Have we professed to know Christ, but our walk with Christ shows no signs of life? Understand, the course of your life is determined by the choices you make!

Here is a fact I know all too well to be true, I’ve seen it over and over again. When you put yourself in bad situations, bad things will happen. It’s not a matter of if it will happen, it’s a matter of when!

So how do all of these choices determine the course of your life? Because… it answers the question, Who are you? You are so much more than flesh and bones. In fact, your physical body is the shortest lasting and, most insignificant part of who you are!

C.S. Lewis said it this way, “You don’t have a soul, you are a soul. You have a body.”

During your Pit Time today, spend time thinking about that C.S. Lewis statement and allow God to show you just who you really are. Pray that God will continue to give you a great appreciation of who you are!

The second general order is

The second general order is

In the army our 2nd General Order stated  - "I will obey my special orders and perform all of my duties in a military manner." This two part order covered anything you were ordered to do. No one needed to say please or thank you. When you were ordered to do something, do it. Do it right the first time and do it in a way that honors your squad, company, battalion, base command, the Army and United States of America. Why, because they were depending on you!

One of the parts of our basic training was focused on learning to defend yourself during close hand to hand combat when your weapon wasn't properly functioning or it's out of ammo.

One of the methods of teaching close hand to hand combat is pugil stick training. A pugil stick is a heavily padded pole-like training weapon used since the early 1940s by military personnel.

Much of the weapons training we did in the military required you to remain calm and focuses on your breathing in order to make an accurate shot. The pugil stick battles weren't like that at all! They were gritty, aggressive and required the willingness to do whatever it took to stay alive. You needed to be a skilled defender, an astute aggressor and have an understanding of the key role timing plays in your victory. It was without a doubt one of my favorite parts of basic training.

While thinking about verses for our second general order, over and over again, I kept coming back to Proverbs 4:23 - “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life”
Over the next few weeks, we will be looking at this one verse to discover what it means, why this is so important, who we become in the process and what it looks like to really guard our hearts.

During your personal pit time this week, put some time into thinking about a time you had to guard or defend something or someone with vigilance. Put yourself back in that moment and be reminded of the sacrifice required.

Our Second General Order - Part 2

Last week I began the thought process of our second general order. “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” Proverbs 4:23.

One of the things I love about scripture, are the wonderfully descriptive words used by God’s inspired authors. Over and over again, I am driven to my dictionary, thesaurus and ‭Strong's Concordance to discover the meaning of these gems! Today, we are going to dive into the deeper meaning of three of these nuggets in order to mine out the truth they hold for us.

Keep your heart with all vigilance” Proverbs 4:23a ESV

  1. Keep - to watch, to guard, to protect
  2. Heart - your inner man, mind, will, intellect, emotions, imagination, affections
  3. Vigilance - Be alert and watchful especially to avoid danger
  4. The NIV version says “Above all else, guard your heart”

What does this mean for us? Here is my expanded interpretation based on the research I did. “Watch, guard and protect your intellect, emotions, imagination and affections! While you stand guard, be alert because there is danger ahead.”

In the first part of this one small verse, we are told to keep watch on our heart in two very different ways. I guess the writer was trying to convey this is very important. It’s not enough for us to guard our hearts, we must do so with a sense of urgency, understanding our enemy is trying to steal who we are for his purpose. For each of us there is danger ahead, of that we can be certain. Sometimes it’s easy to identify the danger, but at other times it can be more difficult.

For those of us who are chasing after God and pursuing Him with all we have, our dangers may not be the obvious pitfalls of life, but our failures may be mistaking business for the Lord with faithfulness to Him. I once heard “God doesn’t need you to be awesome, because He is awesome! What God needs is for you to be faithful.”

During your personal Pit Time this week, take time to confess areas where you need to be more faithful and areas where you have become just too busy.

My first general order, part 2

My first general order, part 2

As I was marinating on my thoughts for Pit Time this week, I recognized both our Army and Biblical general orders have two distinct parts.

Army - “Drill Sergeant, my first general order is ‘I will guard everything within the limits of my post and quit my post only when properly relieved.’ Drill Sergeant.”

Biblical - And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Matt 22:37-39

The first part of each order speaks to the requirements of the job we are given and the second part of each is about our willingness to stay the course until the job is done. Let me explain:

Last week, we looked at the first part of general order one in detail, so I won't dig into that any further. However, I do want to show the parallel between guarding our post and loving the Lord with all we are! To guard your post means you put the needs of the post above your own wants. In the same way, when we agree to love the Lord God with all our hearts, souls and minds, we are agreeing to put the needs of the Lord God above any personal desire we may have. As a result, over time, there have been many martyrs for our country and for the Lord God. This is what service above self really looks like.

In order for us to walk out the second part of general order one, we must live out the first part. To see a plan through to completion means we accept the assignment and are committed to it. To love yourself or others without loving God is impossible. We can enjoy people, we can enjoy ourselves, we can be entertained and experience a full range of emotions but without God real love is really impossible.

According to Barnabas Ministries, there are two main verbs in the Greek New Testament that are normally translated “love:” agapao (agapaw), phileo (filew).In verses 37 and 39 of Matthew 22, the same Greek verb is used for love agapeo. This word agapeo demonstrates a love that is shown or proven. It is a love that we long for, desire, place first in one’s affections. This is no ordinary love. It is not an emotional state. It is a love requiring our availability and desire. In other words, it is a love that we can only give after we have received it.

During your personal Pit Time today, take some time to think about the ways you are receiving love from God and giving it to others. God’s love is the irreplaceable foundation by which all our general orders are formed.