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Love over Fear

For Jesus, giving His life in return for our freedom from sin was a daunting task. In fact, on the night before He was to be crucified, He wrestled with God, His Father, while praying in the Garden of Gethsemane: “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me” (Luke 22:42).
It’s evident His heart was torn between doing what He knew was necessary and being shadowed by the fear of what it required. In fact, the Bible says that Jesus “being in agony… was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground” (Luke 22:44).
Jesus wasn’t in agony over a little something; He was sweating drops of blood. That is a big deal! While I’m sure He was partly afraid of the physical torture that was coming, there was a greater fear. His crucifixion also meant separation from God.
He would bear the entire weight of the world, of my sin and yours, on the cross. And that meant that until His resurrection, His heavenly Father would turn His back on His Son. That perfect relationship would be severed. Physical torture is one thing, but abandonment can hurt even more.
So Jesus asked His Father if maybe, just maybe, there was another way. Yet, He didn’t park on that thought for a long time. Jesus’s prayer quickly continued, and He ended His tear-filled plea with the following: “Yet not My will, but Yours be done” (Luke 22:42). This is what needs to be done, so I’ll do it.
Fear doesn’t make you give your life for someone else. Fear doesn’t make you run into a burning building to save your child. Oh sure, you may hightail it into that building afraid that something bad is going to happen to your kid, but your love for that child will overwhelm that fear.
Fear doesn’t make you take a bullet for someone. But love does. Let love dominate, the kind of love that we choose over our feelings, over peer pressure, over our selfish desires, over our fears, and over our disappointments.
When you want to be the most powerful or the strongest you can be, always choose love over fear.
What are you scared about today? How can you act out of love in that area of your life instead of out of fear?

Devotional, Tim Tebow 31 Oct 16

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Your Life, a Masterpiece

A devotional from Tim Tebow.

Purpose is one of those words that people have tossed around so much, especially in Christian circles, that it’s hard to know exactly what it means. Is it this one grand event that unfolds when you’re at the right place at the right time?
Is it something that you are passionate about or what you are naturally skilled at doing? Is it doing something that makes you happy? Does it have anything to do with helping others?
While I’m not a theologian or a Bible expert, I believe that your purpose is intertwined with your identity.
A man named Paul, one of the earliest church missionaries, wrote that we are God’s “workmanship.” The Greek word for “workmanship” is poiema, or “poem.” Think about this. Before you were even born, God wrote a beautiful poem about your life.
This masterpiece is about you doing not just meaningless or average things, but good works, wonderful things that make a difference. This means that you are important, significant. You matter!
When life gets tough, when your relationship starts to fall apart, when the cancer comes back, when you can’t beat the addiction, when your kids are running wild, when your parents are driving you crazy, when you feel stuck in monotony or routine, it’s important to circle back to God’s love and the fact that He has an amazing purpose for your life.
I don’t know what your purpose is. Maybe it’s to become a doctor and help cure cancer. Maybe it’s to be a parent and shepherd your family.
Maybe it’s to become an entrepreneur and partner with a nonprofit organization. It might be to help children all over the world or just your own, one million people or just one.
Regardless of how your life will impact others and what that will look like, I just know that when your identity is grounded in God, when you trust in Him, you become part of a bigger picture. And you begin to live out this wonderful poem He has written for your life.
What evidences do you see that God is already making something beautiful out of your life?

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Don’t Forget the Invite

With his time on earth ending, Jesus told his disciples, “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever . . .” (John 14:16-17). This Helper “will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you” (John 14:26). He will “guide you into all the truth” (John 16:13).

Jesus was comforting his disciples. “Let not your hearts be troubled,” he said (John 14:27). Though he was going away, they wouldn’t be abandoned. There’s someone coming, he told them, who’ll be with them all the time and forever. A constant companion. One who will actually occupy a place deep within their inner machinery. He “dwells with you and will be in you” (John 14:17). This “someone” is, of course, God the Holy Spirit—and he was not just for the disciples. He is for us too. He is our constant companion. He abides with us and occupies a place deep within our inner machinery too.
Okay, so what do we do?
When you gather in Christian brotherhood, you mustn’t forget to invite, into your gatherings, the input and influence of your Helper, your Teacher, your Guide. You needn’t invite him. He’ll be there already, for sure. But he won’t force his input and influence—you’ll need to ask for them. You’ll need to invite his goodness and light, especially into the dark places you’d prefer to keep hidden. Few of us want help in those places, but we must ask nonetheless. It’s in those places that we most need it. It’s in those places that the Spirit most wants to work. And, as reluctant as we might be, it’s sure easier to trust and ask for help together, with brothers standing by us, doing the same.

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Guilty

Newsboys 2015

When did it become breaking a ruleTo say your name out loud in school

When your names the only one that sets us free

When did it become incorrect

To speak the truth about life and death

When your life gave us all eternity
Even if it gets me convicted

I’ll be on my knees with my hands lifted
If serving you’s against the law of man

If living out my faith in you is banned

Then I’ll stand right before the jury
If saying I believe is out of line

If I’m judged cause I’m gonna give my life

To show the world the love that fills me

Then I want to be Guilty
I’ll rise up and honor you

I’ll testify to all the good you do

Cause your Grace and your Mercy have overtaken me
So even if it gets me convicted

I’ll be on my knees with my hands lifted
If serving you’s against the law of man

If living out my faith in you is banned

Then I’ll stand right before the jury
If saying I believe is out of line

If I’m judged cause I’m gonna give my life

To show the world the love that fills me
Then I want to be Guilty by association

Guilty of being a voice proclaiming Your ways

Your truth

Your life

I’ll pay the price to be your light
If serving you’s against the law of man

If living out my faith in you is banned

Then I’ll stand right before the jury
If saying I believe is out of line

If I’m judged cause I’m gonna give my life

To show the world the love that fills me
Then I want to be Guilty by association

Guilty of being a voice proclaiming Your ways

Your truth

Your life

I’ll pay the price to be your light

Oh I want to be Guilty

Posted in Spiritual

Army Retirement Assistance

If you are planning on attending college/university after your transition there are some things you will need to consider.

Calculate American Council on Education (ACE) credits earned for military training

http://www.acenet.edu/Content/NavigationMenu/ProgramsServices/MilitaryPrograms/index.htm

Find Student Veteran Organizations for your intended college/university

http://www.studentveterans.org

To assess your educational  options consider these sites:

http://www.gibill.va.gov

http://www.careeronestop.org/militarytransition/

If you are planning on becoming a small business owner then contact your Transition Counselor at your servicing SFL-TAP facility to schedule attendance to the Entrepreneurship Workshop.

Something else that you will need to take into consideration is developing an effective spending plan. A spending plan is simply a tool to assist you in reaching your goals. Below are some characteristics of an effective spending plan:

  • A guide and a servant-not a master. Some people think of a budget or a spending plan much like a diet. “I have to suffer through this, and it will be painful, but hopefully in the end I’ll achieve my goals.” If your spending plan accounts for all of your needs but also for some of your wants, it won’t necessarily feel restrictive. I it should free you from worry.
  • Is not necessarily a down-to-the-penny accounting. That is not to say it cannot be down to the penny, some people like it to be that specific with their money. However, if you are not much of an accountant, don’t worry. The spending plan process will help you build up accurate and effective numbers.
  • Easy to understand. In its simplest form, a spending plan is a list of money that comes in and money that goes out. It should not be any more complex than it needs to be for your situation.
  • A reflection of your needs, wants, values and goals. It should reflect the way that you actually spend your money. Anyone that you share your fiscal life with should be involved in the budgeting process.
  • Based on current income, savings, expenses, and debt. If you don’t know what your current income, savings, expenses and debt are, estimate as closely as you can then update it when you have correct numbers. After you have given it your best then you need to take your plan for a “test drive”. That means that you need to track all of your expenses for 30 days. Make this as easy on yourself as possible.
  • Practical and realistic. It has to be based on reality. You may only want to spend $50 per month on gasoline for your POV, but is this truly realistic? You might want to start riding your bike instead of driving, but is this realistic or practical? As you work through your spending plan ensure that you keep it real.
  • Flexible. It should not be a straitjacket. Build in some flexibility by adding a cushion, or better yet, build up your reserve or emergency savings so that you can be flexible when you need to be.
  • Provides for pleasure as well as necessities.  It bears repeating that your spending plan does not need to be so restrictive that you have no room for some of life’s pleasures. It is reasonable and expected that people will build into their spending plan some money for pleasures, as well as necessities.
  • Can be short or long term. A short-term budget is for something that is less than a year from now while a long-term budget is for more than 12 months.
  • Determine SMART goals. A budget should be SMART: Specific (list as much detail as you can), Measurable (set criteria so that you can measure progress), Achievable (set steps and develop attitudes, abilities, skills to reach them), Realistic (are you willing and able to work toward a goal?) and Trackable/Timely (what is your intended timeline to achieve it?).

 

 

 

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With Whom Do You Gather?

We men often find it hard to gather with other men in Christian community. Calendars are full: “I just don’t have time for one more thing.” Pride is high: “I’m good . . . I’m doing fine on my own.” Aversion to vulnerability is strong: “Oh, man . . . I’m just not that good at opening up.” If we are followers of our King, Jesus Christ, though, we must gather—“not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some” (Hebrews 10:25).
But . . . why? Why is community so important for men? Well, a couple reasons. “Two are better than one,” Scripture tells us—we are stronger, less vulnerable, together (Ecclesiastes 4:9).
“For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up” (Ecclesiastes 4:10).
Even more important, though, Jesus tells us that he is uniquely present when we gather in his name (Matthew 18:20). You see, God the Holy Spirit dwells within each follower of Jesus (John 14:17). Therefore, when we gather, the power of the Spirit flows from one to another and back. When we gather, the work of God is done: confessions are made; sins are repented; love and compassion are expressed; hearts are healed; encouragement is given; lives are transformed. Men are lifted up, up out of sin and rebellion, into life and identity and calling. Work is done that just cannot be done in isolation.
Okay, so what do we do?
Grab some other guys . . . one guy, even. Start meeting on a regular basis, weekly is best. Fight for community, brother—against calendars, against pride, against fear. King David sang: “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!” (Psalm 133:1-3). This is so very important.

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Persevere

Want More Persevere(ability)?
The ability to persevere—to remain strong and steadfast in the face of difficulties and delays and distractions—is a fundamental skill, necessary for any man choosing to devote himself to our King, Jesus Christ. He showed us how in the wilderness and against the temptations that followed (Matthew 4:1-11). Like him, we too must bear up against the pressures of the world, and not only for a while, but until the very end of our days. Though any one trial or temptation may be short lived, there’s always something out there capable of our destruction.
Preparedness is paramount. You see, when we’re unprepared and trouble comes (at work, in our relationships, our finances, our health) it takes us down: into anxiety, anger, bitterness, despondency, depression, isolation. When we’re unprepared and temptations come (material, carnal, moral) they too take us down: away from God and into sin. Compounding our lack of preparedness, the enemy is always quick with interference and misinformation.
“You won’t make it.”
“This’ll be long and difficult… too long, too difficult for you.”
“You’re alone, forgotten.”
“You won’t have strength enough to persevere.”
“You should just give-up/give-in now, and avoid the grief of waiting, just to give later.”
Okay, so what do we do?
Perseverance isn’t innate; it’s learned. All of us can do it if we train. So, brother, manufacture some pressure and train yourself. Push your limits, physically, mentally, spiritually: climb a tough summit; tackle a hike of many miles; fast for a period of days; turn devices off and embrace quiet and solitude and prayer for an uncomfortable period. Remember, God designed you for perseverance. So, by training, you’ll simply learn what you’re made of (plus you’ll expose the lies of the enemy). It doesn’t take much to learn a whole lot about yourself!