Be Transformed by the Renewing of Your Mind.

 Salvation, along with the recognition of it, is changing me. “Recognizing” that salvation is changing and defending me is important or else I wouldn’t need to wear it as a helmet. Some of the things I realize in recognizing salvation’s work is that it gives me joy (Ps. 51), it moves me into action (Phil. 2:12-14), it builds hope (1 Thess. 5:8), and it gives me “dreams and visions” of what “will be” in my future (1 Pet. 1:3-5, 10-ff; Rev. 21-22). Those are all things that are different from my life before Jesus. These things are changing me even if I don’t recognize it, but more so “IF” I do! Salvation means that I am SAVED. I am saved both “FROM” something and “FOR” something. I clearly needed to be rescued before I was saved.
Just like with many English words, the Greek word for salvation and its various forms has several meanings. It can mean saved, rescued, delivered,found, and even healed (cf., James 5:15; Mt. 5:23). Sometimes it even has more than one of those meanings even in the same sentence. Even when that is not the case, being aware that there can be multiple meanings to a word is something to consider in Bible study. Let me give you a startling possibility of this idea. Clearly, the intended meaning in regard to the helmet of “soteria” (the Greek word translated salvation in Eph. 6), is just that: salvation. So, – the “helmet of salvation.” But…, what if Paul also wanted me to recognize, recall, or remember that “soteria” also means “healing.” If so, then according to Ephesians, I would be putting on the “helmet of healing.” Now…, before totally throwing this idea away, consider that the helmet is PROTECTING OUR MINDS.
Most assuredly, before I was in Christ, my mind needed healing. In fact, it still needs constant renewing and transformation (Rm. 12:2). So, while I believe that Paul intended us to think, “salvation,” when we read about the helmet, I am willing to suggest that, crafty man that he was (2 Cor. 12:16), he at least hoped that we would consider different meanings as “part” of his intended message! Salvation does protect my mind and continual “healing” for my mental capacities is important in spiritual warfare.
OK…, that was “fun,” but it’s time to state the strongest points that I can think of right now regarding “how” salvation protects my mind. First, salvation is God’s plan, not man’s. He Himself “put eternity in our hearts” (Ecc. 3:11). So, whatever “junk” the enemy throws at us trying to insinuate that humans themselves came up with the idea of salvation to ease our collective insecurities, is a huge lie designed to weaken our faith. The “funny” thing about salvation being “made up” by mankind is that even if we had made it up, we would have never imagined our Savior dieing on a cross for our salvation (1 Cor. 1). It just doesn’t make “common” sense! Second, “God is the HORN of my salvation” (Psalm 18:2). Without going into a lengthy explanation, “horn” symbolizes “STRENGTH” in OT wisdom literature. So, simply said, God is the STRENGTH of my salvation!!
Now honestly, that is the probably the one “strongest” reason that salvation protects my mind. There is literally nothing in this universe that is stronger or more secure than God. He is not only the Originator and strength of my salvation, He actually “‘IS’ my salvation” (Psalm 27:1). When I seriously recognize these things and that His “arm is not too short to save” (Is. 59:1), the enemy’s lies will bounce off of this helmet without even making a dent!! Recognizing these truths gives me assurance against the enemy’s lies that is “out of this world.” Now that is “mind protection!!” With recognitions like those in place, I really don’t need to add more. Nevertheless, there is one thing that I feel compelled to add. Paul was actually quoting a prophesy from Isaiah when he wrote the words “helmet of salvation.” I will try to give the Cliff’s Notes version here, but if you have time, Isaiah 59 in its entirety is worthy of serious meditation.
OK, in short fashion, Isaiah recorded that God saw that there was no one able to save us, “so His own arm worked salvation and … He put on the helmet of salvation” (Is. 59:16-17). Now God did that TO SAVE US, but the wording is “mysterious” because Isaiah wrote that God worked salvation FOR HIM (i.e., for HIMSELF) and put the helmet of salvation “ON HIS HEAD.” Well, simply put, God doesn’t NEED saving or anything else! So, don’t ask me how this works, but as Christians, we have the “mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:16; John 15:15). So, this “sacred mind” planned and worked out a salvation so great (Heb. 2:3) that it includes putting His mind into our minds! Even prophets longed to look into this incredible salvation (1 Peter 1:10). WOW! “Living” out the changes this salvation brings (Phil. 2:12) while recognizing it’s work is powerful protection for our minds in Christ! I’m saved!!


Male Friendships

I came across this blog entry.  I believe it to be a fairly good assessment of the reality of our lives.  It’s food for thought.  I’d love to hear your ideas.

by Matt Patrick

The other day I was hanging out with a group of guys at a local cigar shop.  We were all telling stories of the crazy things we did as young men.  It was fun to reminisce.  One thing that stood out to me was how we spoke of friends we had in high school and college.  It got me thinking, why do adult men not seem to have the kind of friendships they had when they were younger?

It seems that it is more and more common for men to not have any friends. Most men I know don’t seem to have the kinds of friendships they had in high school and college.

What has happened?  Why don’t we have friends like we did when we were younger?  There are numerous reasons, but I want to draw our attention to two major reasons.

1.   Proximity

Most men post college are not forced to live in close proximity to other men.  Yes, you work closely with other men, but that is very different from having a roommate or living in a dorm, apartment or fraternity house with other guys.  Things like sports, school, or serving in the military also offer instant community and brotherhood.  If you don’t have the close relationships with other men that you once had, part of the reason could be a lack of proximity or natural community with other men.

2.   Availability and Responsibilities

When I was freshman in college hanging out in the common space of my dorm late at night, if some random stranger said he was going out to get food and asked if anyone wanted to come, I was there. Being married for 6 years and having two kids, I’ve learned that I don’t get to do that anymore. My availability is very different.  One of the biggest reasons you don’t have the friendship you once had is that your availability has changed.

What would you add to this list?  What are the major things that have caused the nature of your friendships to change?

Most men I know have three spheres of people they spend time with: drinking buddies, work acquaintances, and social circle acquaintances. The problem, most of the time, with most guys is they spend most of their time together talking about sports or the weather or politics and never really go below the surface to connect at a soul level.  We have settled for a version of friendship that does not help us grow into the men that God is calling us to be.

In part two, we’re going to talk about some ways we can go about having great and soul level friendships again.

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How to Be Your Teenage Daughter’s Hero…It is Possible

Raising a teenage daughter can be intimidating. It seems as though you have entered the realm of the uncool and that they no longer need you like they did when they were tiny. If only they would run to you like they did when they were young. full of joy, excitement and unconditional love. For many dads of teenagers, it seems as though they just want you to TRY not to embarrass them and to let them live their life. Compound this perception with the fact that you have never been a teenage girl, and you have a recipe for disaster. Most men operate on the principle that if I can’t win, I won’t try. This begs the question…what should I do? Here are a few suggestions: Nothing is fool-proof but these may help.

Understand she needs you now than ever. Read the previous blog post to find help know what she is wanting you to teach her.

Your relationship has changed but you will always be her daddy, and that is the most important relationship in her life PERIOD. This is an honor not a burden.

She needs to know will you listen, AND hear what she has to say. When you take time to listen, not fix, you communicate worth to her in a way that your words can’t. When you are patient with her emotions she can process them in a way that will allow her to learn to cope with life.

She needs to know that her being your daughter is one of the greatest joys of her life. Even when you and her disagree.

Practical steps you can take.

1. Take her on a date…a good one. Make her dress up. Clean the trash out of your car…go all out. You can teach her what a good date is and how she should be treated, but more than that she is special. If possible give her a gift that will be a reminder her of the commitment below.

2. Be honest. Tell her your a hairy-legged man who understands very little about teenage girls, that your not sure how to do this thing right, and that occasionally you feel like a failure.

3. Commit to her. Tell her what will never change.
You always have time to listen.
Your love is not dependent on her behavior, external beauty, or anything else.
You will always make time to listen to her.

4. Show emotion and that will communicate her worthiness. If you are transparent with her and communicate your feelings with her. She will look for the kind of man who will do the same.

Again, this is not fool-proof, but it is a great start.

25 Things Little Girls Need to Learn From Their Daddies

It’s long but worth the read. I’ve seen these floating around lately.  It’s an article by Tara Hedman and it should lead us to consider the things that we are teaching our girls about the men they should marry.  Start now.
I’m spending the morning waiting for my car in the repair shop. Four men in flannel (I missed the flannel memo) and I sit around smelling tires and inhaling exhaust fumes while an enchanting little fairy is in constant motion around her daddy. She climbs on him, giggles, turns around, and then she’s back to twirling on the tile.

She’s bouncing and spinning around in her pink frilly skirt. Her black cable knit tights are sagging around her tiny knees, and her puffy coat makes her arms stand out further than is natural. To top off the ensemble is a shiny crystal tiara. It’s been tacked down to her head with what appears to be about 60 haphazard bobby pins.

She’s probably 4 years old. So little, so vulnerable. She doesn’t seem concerned about it as she sings about teapots and ladybugs in her black Mary Janes. I feel myself tear up as I watch her. I tear up as I watch him watch her. She could not possibly know at 4 what impact this man, his character or his words will have on her for years to come. And, maybe he doesn’t know either.

So, to all the daddies with little girls who aren’t old enough yet to ask for what they need from you, here is what we wish you knew:

1. How you love me is how I will love myself.

2. Ask how I am feeling and listen to my answer, I need to know you value me before I can understand my true value.

3. I learn how I should be treated by how you treat my mom, whether you are married to her or not.

4. If you are angry with me, I feel it even if I don’t understand it, so talk to me.

5. Every time you show grace to me or someone else, I learn to trust God a little more.

6. I need to experience your nurturing physical strength, so I learn to trust the physicality of men.

7. Please don’t talk about sex like a teenage boy, or I think it’s something dirty.

8. When your tone is gentle, I understand what you are saying much better.

9. How you talk about female bodies when you’re “just joking” is what I believe about my own.

10. How you handle my heart, is how I will allow it to be handled by others.

11. If you encourage me to find what brings joy, I will always seek it.

12. If you teach me what safe feels like when I’m with you, I will know better how to guard myself from men who are not.

13. Teach me a love of art, science, and nature, and I will learn that intellect matters more than dress size.

14. Let me say exactly what I want even if it’s wrong or silly, because I need to know having a strong voice is acceptable to you.

15. When I get older, if you seem afraid of my changing body, I will believe something is wrong with it.

16. If you understand contentment for yourself, so will I.

17. When I ask you to let go, please remain available; I will always come back and need you if you do.

18. If you demonstrate tenderness, I learn to embrace my own vulnerability rather than fear it.

19. When you let me help fix the car and paint the house, I will believe I can do anything a boy can do.

20. When you protect my femininity, I learn everything about me is worthy of protecting.

21. How you treat our dog when you think I’m not watching tells me more about you than does just about anything else.

22. Don’t let money be everything, or I learn not to respect it or you.

23. Hug, hold, and kiss me in all the ways a daddy does that are right and good and pure. I need it so much to understand healthy touch.

24. Please don’t lie, because I believe what you say.

25. Don’t avoid hard conversations, because it makes me believe I’m not worth fighting for.

It’s pretty simple, really. Little girls just love their daddies. They each think their daddy hung the moon. Once in a while when you look at your little gal twirling in her frilly skirt, remember she’ll be grown one day. What do you want her to know about men, life, herself, love? What you do and say now matters for a lifetime. Daddies, never underestimate the impact of your words or deeds on your daughters, no matter their age.

Extras from the 33 Series

The 33 Series has showed us a lot about what it means to be a man of God.  Most importantly, that becoming a man of God requires courage, and that we need to unlearn a lot about what we learned growing up.  The four faces of manhood, (Warrior, King, Lover, Friend) require that we learn how to connect the emotional side of our brain to the intellectual side of our brain.  In other words, we must learn to process  emotions and events before they end in anger. For MOST men, ALL emotions end in anger.   For others, we just simply shut down and detach from the conflict.  The common thought it that if I refuse to feel, then I can’t get hurt.  That is effective and it works…until it doesn’t. When these strategies don’t work, then we leave a wake of destruction in our path.

Make no mistake, to change course requires courage, determination and a Savior.  To change course and leave a legacy requires that we “Be a Man.”  Consider the following video and reflect on your own life.  Is this an accurate starting point to becoming a man of God?

Joe Ehrmann has been an educator, author, activist, pastor and coach for more than 25 years. He was a college All-American athlete who played professional football for 13 years. Among numerous awards, Joe has been named “The Most Important Coach in America” for his work to transform the culture of sports.