Quotes of Jesus

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.
I came that they may have life and have it abundantly!"--Jesus

A Special Message from Andy

If you are new to this blog, I invite you to begin reading the We Are At War series with its first installment The Reality posted in January 1, 2012. All other installments are posted in sequential order.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Take on Tiger

I watched with great interest along with the rest of the world when Tiger Woods made his official public apology for his marital infidelity. He admitted his sexual addictions as well as acknowledged his need for continued therapy. Up till now I've been relatively silent on the issue. I do believe there are some things that we as men can learn from Tiger's experience.

I know as I watched the conference, I could not help but identify with Tiger's dilemma. If every man in the world were honest, they would probably say the same thing. The reason being is that every man poses in one or more forms. Just as Adam hid from the Lord in the garden of Eden following his fall from grace, so we "hide" in ways that are not beneficial but destructive. For Tiger, it was an insatiable hunger for power. His latest achievement was never enough. He built for himself an empire. He became the only billion dollar athlete. His quest for power spilled over into his sex life as he sought to "have" woman after woman, including a porn star. You heard his confession, "the rules that govern everyone else, didn't apply to me." To the world, he was seen as powerful and larger than life. In his heart, though, he probably felt small and powerless.

I don't presume to know Tiger's story, but I do know that his actions are revealing his heart cries for validation. It's the cry of every man. "Do I have what it takes?" Tiger went everywhere he could think of to find it, including other women. Problem is, none of his accomplishments satisfied his deep hunger. As a result, his world came crashing down around him, jeopardizing his wife, his family, and those closest to him. Forget all his professional endorsements, those loses can be recovered. The real damage caused to loved ones will leave scars that will last forever.

Truth be told, all men want to be known as powerful. We all want to know that we have what it takes to be a man. The desire is God inspired. The problem arises when we seek sources other than God to find that desire fulfilled. Therefore, we become less than what we are made to be.
Thankfully, our God is not one to leave us to our posing. He actually calls Adam out. "Where are you?" He exposes us. Which can be the greatest thing that ever happens to us. It's where true transformation begins. It's how we begin on a pace of internal healing, to find our truest selves.

I'm happy to know that Tiger is committed to his therapy. Some have criticized him that he would never have come out had he not been caught. I agree with that possibility, because it often takes getting caught (exposed) for restoration to take place. It's my prayer that Tiger will return to the only heavenly Father he has, forsake a religion that has already proven insufficient, and look back on these days as the greatest ones of his life. Days that, though painful, were most transforming. It is also my prayer that you and I will take an honest look at our own lives when others stories, like Tiger's, are revealed, and allow God to show us where we may be posing.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Fighting for the Hearts of Our Children

It was nothing short of a breakthrough. I have an eleven year old daughter. She is a beautiful girl full of laughter with gorgeous bright blue eyes. On one particular evening, we're sitting around the kitchen table having dinner, a traditional evening meal. We were enjoying our time together when all of a sudden things started to go south. My radar was up as the meltdown began to take place.

When things start to go down one must be aware that there is always more going on than meets the eye. What could have been easily misinterpreted as a child acting out, turned out to be stunning revelation. All fathers have wounded their children. There is no way around it. The question becomes how have we wounded them. With my daughter, I was preparing myself for exactly what I did not want to hear.

I want to be very careful and not reveal too much of my daughter's dilemma. It's her story and not mine to tell. That's not what is important. What is is how a man must deal with such a situation. It is a battle over the hearts of our kids and it must be fought with much cunning and discernment. Whether they are 7 or 75, we must learn how we can fight for our children. Most men would probably turn tail and run by dismissing it as unimportant. However, if we are to fight for them we must be willing to go there.

In the case of my daughter, I learned about how poorly I can relate to her at times. By admitting that openly to her and undoing the message she had been receiving from the enemy, the tears began to flow. Tears are necessary. They let us know that the pain we are experiencing is real. They were beautiful tears. Tears of an open heart, an invitation for restorative healing. They were tears of freedom.

A man must choose his words wisely. They can either aid in the process of healing or tear down very destructively. "I'm sorry, will you forgive me," were the only words that would suffice in that moment with my daughter--and the only words necessary. I go to her, lift her up, let her cry in my shoulder, and tell her everything she is to me. "I do notice you, and I love what I see." Here the healing begins.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Prepare For Battle

I keep a sword in my bedroom next to where I sleep so when I wake up, it's the first thing I see. I want to see it. I need to see it. Because the life I want for me, my wife, and my kids is difficult. It's difficult because it is so opposed. This does not mean that I walk through life paranoid, constantly looking over my shoulder. I enjoy life. I enjoy my wife. I enjoy my kids. They are worth fighting for.

The sword is primarily a symbol for me; meant to remind me, "heads up". It is also a reminder of God's strength in me. Now, if you think I'm coming across as a little melodramatic, then the Apostle Paul was over the top. What did he tell us to put on in Ephesians chapter 6? The whole armor of God. The belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of the readiness of the gospel of peace, the helmet of salvation, the shield of faith, and the sword of the spirit. In other words, don't go out unarmed and unprepared for a fight. He reminds us that we are at war with our enemy, and we had better be prepared in order to take him out. "...[Be] strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms," ~Paul, Ephesians 6:10-12.

Is this how you live? Most people, Christians included, do not live as if there is a war raging all around them.

Be careful not to confuse the work of our enemy to be limited to your misery. How often do we hear, "Oh, the devil is really fightin' me today, just makin' my life miserable?" While I don't dare say that the suffering of people is not partly the result of our adversary's work, it's not the only thing he is after. He wants to take you out! Jesus makes that clear when he tells us, "the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. He is after something much more valuable than our comfort. Primarily, he is after our heart, and he'll use whatever means to steal from it, kill it's passion, and destroy it's hope.

Every day we wake, we are facing a battlefield full of danger and opportunity. We must be armed and prepared--with sword in hand--to defend what is most precious: the hearts of our wives, our children, our friends, and yes, even our own hearts.