Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Wake Up and LIVE!

This is a feature Guest Post by Bob Evenhouse. If you are interested in writing a guest post for the Manturity Blog, please visit the Manturity Contact page.

I am thirty, but I am much older. In fact, I am older than God per a quote by GK Chesterton that I will share in a moment. My life consists of much of the same day in and day out. I am married, have wonderful children, a stable job, a house that is not falling apart, lots of friends, and I just finished a novel. I am blessed but I find at times that spiritual progress is lacking. Life, if not lived, can grow stale, unexciting, and make me feel, well old. Wonder and joy have been sapped and replaced by the weighty fatigue that can accompany being a responsible adult. I need to renew and I know it. I need to pray and believe that God can wake me up, raise me from my drowsiness, and bring me life; a rich full life.

Have you ever felt this way? Have you experienced the weight of life, the desire for wonder and excitement again? It comes and goes for me. I believe, like many things, admitting this desire aloud and especially in prayer can bring about an inner revival that can change the course of your day, week, month, year, and life. But do you believe it? Do you believe that God can change you? That he can call you from the self imposed slumber and do something amazing for His Kingdom?

Let’ have a look at the nation of Israel. Please open the scriptures to the book of Malachi chapter 3 verse 10.

If you’ve read the Old Testament you know how much promise came with Israel. They were given everything and yet did not live to the potential God called them. Even the great kings like Solomon, the wisest man in the history of the world and David, the man after God’s own heart, did not listen to prophets and committed horrendous acts.

These horrendous acts may have been moments of passion. But my guess is they happened slowly. David was supposed to be at war with his men, not at home spying on women. For him, it started as any other day and ended with adultery and later the murder of the woman’s husband, an honorable man.

In Malachi chapter 3, Israel has turned away yet again, either through conscious decisions or lackadaisical faith. God asks them to be a giving people once more and says:

“Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have enough room for it” (Malachi 3:10b, NIV translation). In this context God says do not worry about the food that you horde! Don’t keep it to yourselves because I will provide for you. In fact he says he will throw open the floodgates of Heaven to do so!

If you believe what the scriptures say of Heaven, stop and imagine that. Imagine cleaning up the area of your life that needs attention. Live life with purpose and obedience and He will pour open the floodgates of Heaven? If you believe this, pray it. Open your lips right now.

My response – “Really Lord? I’m in.”

Now does not mean God will let you win the lottery, find a spouse, stop you from sinning again and again, land that job, or make that sale? Maybe, but probably not. This is a call to wake up and live. To live every moment with purpose and obedience because this is what we have been asked. The Author of life has made life simple: to obey.

Now, obedience may seem plain, dull or boring, but consider this. Obedience might mean moving across the country or to another one. It might mean starting that ministry you’ve considered for some time or leaving your high paying job so that you can spend more time raising your kids. It might mean volunteering or speaking or simply having that conversation you have rehearsed a thousand times with that person you need to share your faith with.

If you find waking up hard and still struggle with the monotony of life, consider this quote by GK Chesterton who was a spiritual father to C.S. Lewis:

“…perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we are. The repetition in Nature may not be a mere reoccurrence; it may be a theatrical ENCORE.” (Chesterton, Orthodoxy, 44-45).

So reader, where does this find you? Where are you today? Are you living every moment of the day as fully as you can? Have you struggled with obedience or the monotony of the every day? 

Kneel down. Stop what you are doing and pray. Pray for direction and stop to listen. It may not come right away, but God is speaking to you. God is seeking you. Listen to what He is saying and believe He will move you.

If you feel led or inspired please share below. Both stories of coming alive in Him or how you know you need to do so.

Thank you for reading and live well today.

God Bless.


About the author:

Bob Evenhouse is a freelance writer in Grand Rapids MI. He is married to Cindy and has two beautiful daughters and a son due any day. You can follow him and read posts about writing at http://parttimenovel.wordpress.com. He is currently shopping a manuscript for a young adult novel.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Manturity Marriage Quotes Vol. 2

I love being married and God has blessed me with a beautiful wife. Through this union, I have now been blessed with strong son. So what do you like or enjoy about marriage? What are some ways your life has benefited from your marriage? Feel free to share some of your thoughts in the comments at the end. In the meantime, here are 10 original Manturity Quotes on the topic of marriage. Read them, share them and live them.

"Base your marriage of a God who designed it; rather than a world who corrupts it."

"The immature husband will convince himself that a life separated from his wife and kids will be more beneficial than his God given role to lead them." 

"The strong Christian husband stands apart from other men because he is leading his family with honesty and is also being led by God faithfully and daily."

"If your communication with your wife is struggling, better check your communication with God too."

"A man that decides to get married is a man that chooses, better yet VOWS, to be the protector, the provider and the spiritual leader."

"A strong, mature marriage will communicate in a way that is genuine, loving and Christ like."

"A common failure I see in married men is that they treat people they hardly know with more respect then they give their own wife. This is absolutely wrong, DO NOT be this man."

"You do not gain respect by demanding it from your wife; you gain respect by serving your wife."

"You can tell how much a husband loves his wife by the way he talks about her when she's not around."

"Whether a man be dating or married or neither, his first priority relationship must be of his and Christ."

"A husbands love for his wife should not be based on how much his wife loves him; rather he should love her diligently each day, love her through any situation or conflict and love her as Christ loves the Church."

Be sure to share your thoughts or your favorite. Also, check out Manturity Quotes Volume 1.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Every Man Sets His Own Standards

Are you in control of your choices each day or is somebody else?

Over the years I have ran into many men who quote something like the following, "I don't believe in Christianity because my father never believed" or "I don't believe in that kind of stuff because of what 'they' say." Who are 'they' and why are they saying these things, I ask? I tend to get frustrated when I hear these type of responses, because quite frankly, they are not responses they are excuses. This is a man who is not in control of his beliefs and he has allowed the influence of others who may have not known the truth to set the standard for his life.

How long will a man choose to live according to these lies or excuses before he decides to take matters into his own hands? 

How much longer till he matures and decides to search out the real truth himself?

Before the days of Manturity, I lived my life according to the standards of others. I chose to base my beliefs off of things I had simply heard and grew up learning. I used the excuses I mentioned above every time I was approached by someone who actually knew the truth and was essentially trying to help me. I found a strange comfort in this lie I was living when I was in the moment, but I also felt empty afterwards. I didn't know what to do until my life started to fall apart piece by piece.

I was quick to anger, I was quick to use sarcasm as a means of protection and I was quick to defend my "standards" even though I knew I had none at all. I was irritable in my marriage, I was unloving to my wife and went down a destructive personal path that almost destroyed my marriage. A good Christian friend of mine finally got a hold of me and challenged my standards. He could see though my false protection measures and told me to step up and find out the truth myself. It was time.

Even a man without standards should be smart enough to recognize a man that has standards and his life is living proof of it. As shallow as it sounds, this played a major role in choosing to stop living according to the standards of "them" or "they" and find out the truth for myself. Note that this should be an example for all of us men that the way we act and are seen by others can be enough to cause another man to change his life. This was over two years ago now and I am still learning, growing and striving to be the best man of God I can possibly be each and every day. Let's choose to let Jesus be our standard!

So who is setting the standards in your life?

Are you living to please others or are you living to please God?

SHARE some of your personal experiences in the comments below.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Manturity Original Quotes Vol. 1

If you have read my recent post "5 Daily Challenges for Men", you will know that one of my daily challenges is to write an original quote. I have found this process to be a very powerful way to keep myself thinking about positive things and on Christ. Since these quotes are mainly shared on my social media sites, I thought I would start publishing them in volumes of 10. Quotes from famous people are great, but they take no effort. Step it up men and challenge yourself by coming up with your own original quotes!

"Maturity is the ability to act and speak with self control"

"Men, true spiritual maturity is more than just the Sunday service head nod and the occasional men's breakfast. Instead it is striving daily to set HIS example, it is seeking communication with HIM daily and it is being thankful for HIS daily blessings."

"When building, the right tools can make all the difference. God has provided us with many tools like prayer and His Word. We must use these often!"

"Always remain a man that is teachable and willing to learn."

"For some men, the process of spiritual maturity begins when they realize their physical strength is not as important as their spiritual strength."

"You can't pick and choose which parts of Christ you'll accept; you have to be ALL in!"

"The immature actions of men are direct insights into their weaknesses. On the opposite hand, the mature actions of men show their strengths and adherence to discipline."

"No one ever said the journey would be easy and sometimes it may not seem worth it, but it is in those times that we MUST learn to lean and depend on the power of Jesus!"

"Spiritual maturity will teach a young man that the broken relationship with his earthly father can be healed by his heavenly Father."

"Spiritual maturity is not an overnight occurrence; it must be diligently sought after in your DAILY thoughts, actions and prayers."

I would love to hear your thoughts on these quotes. Be sure to get involved in the comments below and feel free to share these quotes on your own social media sites!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

How To Make Your Marriage Last

It has been my experience that Satan will do anything he can do to destroy the sanctity of marriage, which was created by God. Satan is there to seek and destroy what is meant to be beautiful. (1 Peter 5:8, John 10:10) Marriage can feel like an inescapable trap for some… that is where I was about 4 years into my marriage… hopeless, helpless and miserable. I didn’t see any way out. I began to contemplate the ‘D’ word. It was at that time that I began to realize that marriage was not meant to be this way. Marriage, according to God, is meant to be a wonderful, comforting, loving thing. For those who have discovered the secret it is just that. Right now you are probably wondering what this big secret is. I’ll tell you, I promise… But you must promise to listen very carefully.

It is altogether simple and devastatingly difficultHere it is:

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

5 Ways Self Control Builds Maturity

Attaining and maintaining a high level of maturity may be one of the hardest things we ever experience in our lives. Two years ago, I had no idea what real maturity in life and in Christ meant, but with a name given to me from God like Manturity, I knew the truth would soon be revealed to me.

I've recently been re-reading through most of the New Testament. This time I'm heading through it, well, backwards; so much for self control. Don't ask me why I chose to do it this way, but regardless; I have been able to pull out some powerful information. As many of us know, Paul, Peter and the author of Hebrews lead the way with the teachings on the topic of maturity. There inspiration, of course, is the life and example of Jesus. They don't really use the actual word "mature" to often, but if you have a heart to hear the many teachings, then all of that seems to come out it is the idea of maturity in our Christian life. So without rambling too much, here are "5 Ways Self Control Builds Maturity" in a man. 

1) Our Enemy is ready, are you?

1 Peter 5:8, "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." I have used this verse in the past and will continue to use it because it is TRUE and it is POWERFUL. Peter is giving the elders and the young men instructions on how to live our lives. Peter quickly goes over the elders training and jumps right into the training of young men. The teaching of self control in this verse is relevant today, because it is very obvious that there is an enemy lurking and waiting to attack. The enemy loves to attack when you are most vulnerable; tired, angry, sick, emotional, frustrated, etc. The enemy knows where you are weak and will attack at the first signs of weakness. Stand Firm!

2) Learn how to tame your tongue!

Titus 2:6, "Similarly, Encourage the young men to be self controlled." Paul is giving Titus specific instructions on how to teach the various groups. When Paul speaks about the young men, the first thing he talks about is self control. His more direct teaching after this verse deals with speaking with integrity, showing seriousness and soundness in speech. Paul's reasoning for this good speech was so that anyone who heard Titus would leave him and not condemn him, they would have nothing bad to say about him. We must also pursue this type of sound speech as we learn and grow in our walk with Christ. This must be when we are at work, with friends, with our family and to our wives! Speak Firmly!

3) Wake up! It's time to fight!

1 Thessalonians 5:8, "Let us be self controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate and the hope of salvation as a helmet." Do you know why the breastplate was so important? The breastplate was worn to protect a soldier's vital organs and without it he was as good as dead! The same can be said for us, unless we are wearing our breastplate of righteousness, we leave ourselves open for attack and fatal injury. Guard your heart! The helmet also plays a major role in keeping a soldier safe and does the same for us by keeping the enemy out of our head. A well built helmet of salvation must be worn to keep out the evil thoughts and the false feelings of this world! Wear your armor daily!

4) Learn to live with maturity!

2 Peter 1:5-7, "Make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self control; and to self control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness, and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love." Paul gives a wonderful example of godly living in these verses. Self control falls right in the middle of all of these qualities. I can agree that there is a learning curve that comes before understanding self control and there are apparently many things to come after self control. Paul goes on to teach us that if we can live according to these things, we will be effective and produce great works for Christ. Make every effort and be eager gentlemen!

5) Be self controlled, no matter what!

Philippians 1:27, "Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ." This was the only verse I chose without the actual words "self controlled", but I thought it brought the entire post home. Paul is writing to the people of Philippi while still in chains. His hope was that whether he was able to see them again or not, they would stand firm in their walk with Christ. This verse does not leave any room for excuses. In all things and in all situations gentlemen, we are to present an attitude and manner worthy of Christ. I think we all need to pray for strength on this one. It starts with prayer and consistency!

We must learn to be men, who not only talk with maturity,
but learn to walk with maturity.

Share how God has taught or shown you maturity in your life in the comments below.