Archive for June 12, 2012
Tags: Cole, Ed Cole, Edwin Louis Cole, God, Men's movement, Nat King Cole, Paul Cole, Randy Alcorn
How much power does the president actually possess?
That is a question at the heart of most debates about the federal government. Declaring war, writing executive orders, legislating, allocating taxpayers’ money and even influencing what your children learn and eat are just a very small sample of subjects hotly under dispute right now.
Well, I know a position more powerful than the presidency.
I wholeheartedly believe in the Spanish proverb that says, “An ounce of mother is worth a pound of clergy.” But I also believe that men and fathers hold a unique role and power to restore our homes and country.
I believe that as families go, so goes the nation. And men possess three specific keys (powers) that can draw them, their spouses and their children nearer to one another and God, as well as make them all better citizens.
Before I reveal those three keys, I need to tell you where I learned them — from a dearly departed saint who greatly influenced me: Dr. Edwin Louis Cole. I owe what I know to him.
Dr. Ed Cole is called the “Father of the Christian Men’s Movement” because he influenced millions of men worldwide, including many leaders who lead the movement today. His mission statement was simple and powerful: “I have been called to speak with a prophetic voice to the men of this generation and commissioned with a ministry majoring in men to declare a standard for manhood.”
My wife, Gena, and I first met Ed and his wife, Nancy, in 1998 at a banquet honoring “Walker, Texas Ranger.” Over the next four years, there would be many choice moments between Ed and me.
One night in that period, Dr. Cole drove across Dallas through a thunderstorm simply to deliver a message that God had laid on his heart to encourage us to get grounded in the Bible in order to discern between the genuine and the counterfeit in life. What a great lesson. What a great man!
As I shared in my autobiography, “Against All Odds,” in 2002, Ed called our home and asked us to pray for him because he was very ill. After we prayed with him over the phone, we decided to fly to Dallas to see and pray with him personally. It was one of the most moving moments of our lives. It wasn’t long after that when he passed to his heavenly home.
God loved me through Ed Cole, and I thank God for him. And I look forward to thanking Ed again when I see him one day in heaven.
I never will forget or take for granted Ed’s influence in my life. He influenced me to increase my trust in God and to be a faithful husband and father, and — even though I was a “TV tough guy” — he challenged me to be a real man. He challenged me with the three keys I alluded to earlier: to be a better role model, mentor and motivator to my family.
What I wrote and detailed to men and fathers about manhood and fatherhood via those three keys in my New York Times best-seller “Black Belt Patriotism” I learned from Ed. Another great book for men is “Courageous,” by our friend Randy Alcorn. It’s based upon the movie but expanded with 80 percent more story content.
I am not a perfect father or husband. Truth be known, I’ve learned far more from my failures than from my successes. However, I won’t allow them to stop me from pressing on. And I don’t believe that you should allow failures to hinder your fatherhood, either. As Ed used to say, “you don’t drown by falling in the water; you drown by staying there.”
Do you have a few role models, mentors and motivators in your life? I hope so. If not, Ed still can be a part of your life today through his resources found at the Ed Cole Library, at http://www.edcole.org . In commemoration of the 10th anniversary of Ed’s homecoming to heaven, his children and our friends, Joann Webster and Paul Cole, have curated a special edition of “The Collection,” which is a compendium of Ed’s lifework in one digital location.
Ed’s legacy message is this: If we men continue to fight to be the best husbands, fathers and men we can be, we will not only give our family members what they need but also get in return what we need and simultaneously help to restore our country, one home at a time.
That is what I mean by a man who is more powerful than the president — not just Ed Cole but you! The president can’t make or mold your family without your permission. He might try, but that is your jurisdiction and power, endowed by God. Protect it!
As Ed used to say, “do not let others create your world for you, for they will always create it too small.” He also said, “The power of choice is our only true freedom in life.”
Only you have the ability to order your private world. You also have the ability to create, hinder or improve life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in your heart and home.
In fact, I don’t believe one can truly experience life, liberty and happiness as the Declaration of Independence states without a proper lineup of priorities for God, family and country. Those are the priorities our Founding Fathers lived by.
Thomas Jefferson clearly revealed that when he wrote to his daughter Mary the year before his presidency, “My attachments to the world, and whatever it can offer, are daily wearing off; but you are one of the links which hold to my existence, and can only break off with that.”
He espoused the same sentiment eight years later, at the end of his presidency, to the renowned explorer William Clark: “By a law of our nature, we cannot be happy without the endearing connections of a family.”
Now there’s a worthy reflection of power and a way to improve your life, your home and our country this Father’s Day.
Chuck Norris is a columnist and impossible to kill.
Tags: Bible, Christ, Christian, First Epistle to the Thessalonians, God, Jesu, Job, Satan, Sin
A couple of weeks ago, my pastor was preaching about the trials of Job, and he was telling the old story of how Job went from one trial to another, one affliction to another. His friends thought he had sinned, and kept telling him to admit what he had done wrong, and ask God for forgiveness, and his wife told hime to curse God and die. But through it all, Job stood strong in his faith, never failing God, or his belief in him. He kept on serving God to the best of his ability, no matter what came his way. We all know the story of how it was God allowing Satan to do all this to Job, because Satan thought he could find a way to make Job turn from God, but God knew Job’s heart, and knew how dedicated Job was to him, just as he knows each of our hearts.
About a week after that sermon, I was riding in my car, listening to the radio, and a similar message was on Focus on the Family, about why Christians have to suffer, so you know that caught my attention. I thought to myself, “Why do I have to be driving, instead of at home, so I can get my Bible, and turn to the passage they were talking about?” I tried to remember the passage, because I knew I wouldn’t be home for a while, and I prayed to God for him to remind me, and you know what? He did! It’s 2 Corinthians 1:4, 7, 9, and 11. Each of these verses explains four different reasons why Christians suffers. Read each part of the verse, and the answer to the suffering is followed by the word “that“.
4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
7 And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation.
9 But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead:
11 Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf.
We suffer afflictions, and tribulations, so that we can help others in their time of need. The Bible says we are going to suffer for the call no matter what, and we should expect that. (1 Thessalonians 3:3-5) Another thought you may want to remember about suffering for Christ is, if Christ, being Holy, came down from Heaven, leaving all that he had, to walk this earth and set the example for mankind, died on the cross for our sins, suffering in agony and alone, being rejected by many, after being brutally beaten, are we any better than HE?
HE is royalty, but HE left HIS royal home in Heaven to die for us unworthy sinners. We are never going to be worthy of what he did for us. We will never repay the price, never be able to thank Jesus enough for giving HIS life for us, as the ULTIMATE sacrifice for SIN. HE did it because HE knew it was the ONLY WAY to reconcile us back to GOD! So many people turn their backs to on Jesus, thinking they have plenty of time, and the next instant, they are in etenity forevermore. I would hate to face God, and hear him say to me, “DEPART FROM ME, I NEVER KNEW YOU!“ This is something everyone needs to really think about, and not wait another minute before giving their hearts to God.
THE SUFFERING HERE FOR CHRIST IS MINIMAL, AND THE REWARD IN HEAVEN IS BOUNTIFUL, COMPARED TO THE ETERNAL SUFFERING YOU WILL HAVE IN HELL IF YOU DON’T GIVE YOU HEART TO GOD!
DON’T WAIT TOO LATE! JESUS LOVED YOU SO MUCH, HE STRETCHED OUT HIS ARMS AND DIED FOR YOU!
Tags: Christ, Christianity, God, James, Jesus, Organizations, Prayer, Religion & Spirituality
Some things are irresistible. For me, it’s bubble-gum machines. I can hardly resist the urge to watch one of those colorful gumballs roll down the tunnel so I can pop it into my mouth. But without a quarter, those gumballs are locked up inside. You can be sure that as long as I have the right coin, I won’t pass up an opportunity to enjoy the mouth-watering treat.
Prayer is the quarter in your pocket when it comes to releasing the vast resources of God’s character and blessings in your life. The “muchness” of God stands in sharp contrast to the leanness of our souls, and without prayer we cannot begin to tap into the reservoir of all that He is waiting to bestow on us. When we long for a satisfying taste of His resources, prayer is essential.
James makes it clear that our prayer needs to be “fervent” and “effective” (James 5:16). God is not into ritual but reality. He wants us to avoid formulaic prayers in exchange for a persistent passion. We are to approach His throne of grace with a keen awareness of our need for Him.
As James stated earlier in his book, “You do not have because you do not ask” (James 4:2). The more we pray, the more we receive, and before long our lives will demonstrate the life-changing reality of the muchness of God.
The more we go to God in prayer Intent to seek His face, The more we’ll want to be with Him Before His throne of grace. —Sper
Much prayer, much power; little prayer, little power; no prayer, no power!
Tags: Cross of Christ, God, Jesu, John, Luke, Pharisee, Saint, Tax collector
They said to Him, ’Rabbi . . . where are You staying?’ He said to them, ’Come and see’ —John 1:38-39
“You are Simon . . . . You shall be called Cephas” (John 1:42). God writes our new name only on those places in our lives where He has erased our pride, self-sufficiency, and self-interest. Some of us have our new name written only in certain spots, like spiritual measles. And in those areas of our lives we look all right. When we are in our best spiritual mood, you would think we were the highest quality saints. But don’t dare look at us when we are not in that mood. A true disciple is one who has his new name written all over him— self-interest, pride, and self-sufficiency have been completely erased.
Pride is the sin of making “self” our god. And some of us today do this, not like the Pharisee, but like the tax collector (see Luke 18:9-14). For you to say, “Oh, I’m no saint,” is acceptable by human standards of pride, but it is unconscious blasphemy against God. You defy God to make you a saint, as if to say, “I am too weak and hopeless and outside the reach of the atonement by the Cross of Christ.” Why aren’t you a saint? It is either that you do not want to be a saint, or that you do not believe that God can make you into one. You say it would be all right if God saved you and took you straight to heaven. That is exactly what He will do! And not only do we make our home with Him, but Jesus said of His Father and Himself, “. . . We will come to him and make Our home with him” (John 14:23). Put no conditions on your life— let Jesus be everything to you, and He will take you home with Him not only for a day, but for eternity.
Tags: Apple, Book of Job, Commencement speech, God, Job, Lord, StanfordUniversity, Steve Jobs
”At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised’.” — Job 1:20–21
The book of Job provides us with a stunning example of courage in the face of adversity. Who is not touched by Job’s faith in the face of unfathomable tragedy? Just as he finished learning that he had lost all of his worldly possessions, he discovered that he had also lost every single one of his children. All on the same day!
Job went from being the wealthiest and most blessed man on the planet to being an example of destitution and loss. His response is startling. He did not curse God and he did not question Him. Instead he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”
In a moment of clarity, Job realized that he never really had anything to lose in the first place. Every human being enters this world with nothing and he/she will leave with nothing. Anything acquired in the meantime is a gift, but oh-so-very temporary.
Thousands of years later, these words were echoed in the powerful words said by the late CEO and co-founder of the Apple computer company, Steve Jobs. In a commencement speech given at the Stanford University, Jobs said, “All external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure, these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”
Job and Jobs are making the same point. We come to this world with nothing and we leave with nothing. But that’s not depressing; that’s inspiring. Knowing that we have nothing to lose is comforting, and even empowering.
Because the moment that we let go of our physical attachments and petty concerns, we are free to focus on what really matters. We are free to try new things and to risk failure. We can go after our dreams! Failure is not nearly as scary when we have nothing on the line.
What would you try if you knew that you had nothing to lose?
Tags: Elisha, Gehazi, Israel, Jordan, Jordan River, Naaman, Pharpar, Syria
Ben-hadad, the dark-eyed King of Syria, could no longer leap into his chariot and drive his swift horses through the fields as he used to do. He could not draw the bow of steel or fling the heavy spear as far or as straight as the young men of his tribe, for he was getting old; and he had given up going with his warriors on their fighting across the Jordan, leaving it to his younger chieftains.
His home was in the beautiful town of Damascus, set in a land so rich and green with tapering trees, vineyards, and fields of grass, and watered with such delightful streams, that the Arabs, coming on their camels from the yellow sands of the hot desert, cried out, when they saw its white walls hung with green creepers, that it shone “like a handful of pearls in a green cup.”
He ruled the tribes of Syria from that walled city, and in the spring-time of the year his chiefs gathered the young warriors to make up their minds where they should go to fight and plunder. Among the chiefs was Naaman the Syrian, a young man who led them out to battle when the king could not go, and had several times beaten their foes. Sitting among his chiefs, with his royal spear in his hand, a band of gold round his brow, and rings of gold on his arms and legs, the old king talked with them about fighting the men of Israel, and gave them their orders; and best of all his warriors the king loved Naaman the Syrian.
Now when Naaman blew the king’s horns and beat the king’s drums up and down the country, calling the young men of the tribes for a raid across the Jordan, it was either to steal cattle and corn, or to capture slaves; and boys and girls were the slaves they liked best.
One day, when he returned from one of these slave-raids, Naaman brought back with him a little Jewish maid; and she looked so pretty with her dark eyes and ruddy cheeks that he gave her as a present to his Syrian wife, to wait upon her and run her messages. When her mistress washed her hands, the little maid held the basin on bended knee. When she dressed her dark hair, she held the comb and the oil, and the little pots of yellow dye for her nails and the black paint for her eyebrows. When she went out, this little maid went also, in a little dress of scarlet, with a white kerchief on her dark head.
She learnt to love her mistress very much; and was sorry for her master, for he was troubled with the terrible sickness of leprosy, and she often wished he could be made well. One day she sighed, and said to her mistress,-
“Oh, I would to God that my master were with our prophet in Samaria! then he would get better of his leprosy.”
She believed with all her heart that Elisha the prophet, like a clever doctor, could do something for him.
Now what she had said was told to Naaman, who told it to the king; and as they had both heard about Elisha, the wild prophet of Israel, the king told his favourite chief to go and see the wonderful man. And he also wrote a letter to Joram, the King of Israel, and gave it to Naaman to deliver; and this is what he wrote:-
“When this letter comes to thee, O King Joram, it is to tell thee that I have sent Naaman, my servant, for thee to heal him of his leprosy.”
Naaman folded the letter in his tunic, and filling a few small bags with silver and gold, and rolling up some bundles of new clothing, he put them into the wide saddle-bags of his camels as presents for the King of Israel. Then stepping into his chariot, he drove down the river valley, with his men clattering after him, and up the hills to Samaria on the watch-hill, where he delivered the letter.
The King of Israel read it, and his chiefs saw that he was much troubled. Seizing his white tunic with both hands, he tore it from neck to hem-a sign of great grief-saying bitterly that he was not able to heal people of leprosy, and that the powerful King of Syria was only seeking another cause to quarrel with him. What kings say and what kings do many tongues tell, and Elisha the prophet, who had a house in white-walled Samaria, heard about the king’s grief, and sent his servant Gehazi to give him a message,-
“Why do you rend your clothes? Send the man to me!”
The king was delighted, and soon Naaman’s chariot and horses, his armed guards and his brown camels, were standing at the door of the prophet’s house. But only Gehazi appeared in answer to the captain’s call.
“Go,” he said to the proud Syrian chief-”go and wash thyself seven times in the river Jordan, and thou shalt be healed, and be clean of thy leprosy.” This was a message from his master Elisha, who was not coming out to see the great captain! The Syrian chief was filled with anger at the man who dared to send him away from the prophet’s door as if he were a beggar, and he exclaimed,-
“I thought he would surely come out to see me, and stand and call on his God, and wave his hand over the place and heal me. Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? May I not wash in them and be clean?”
Springing into his chariot, he grasped the reins, and shook them as he brought his whip fiercely down on the horses’ backs, causing them to leap forward from the door. The horses galloped swiftly through the narrow streets, and out by the gate in the city wall, and down the road to the plain, the guards and servants of the great captain following after him as quickly as they could. Naaman considered that he had been mocked by this foreign prophet, and was galloping back to Syria as quickly as he could.
But horses cannot gallop for ever, however angry their masters may be; and when at length they came to a walking pace, Naaman began to talk with his friends about the insult he had received from the rude old prophet. Why should he bathe in the Jordan River, where the water was clay-white and often muddy, when he had his own rivers of Abana the golden and Pharpar the sweet, brimming with the finest water in the world? His friends did not answer him in his wrath; but they soon reached the ford of crossing, and if he would not bathe in the Jordan, he would have to ride through it, for there was no bridge. Then one of his friends gave him this piece of very good advice.
“My father,” he said, “if the prophet had told thee to do some hard thing, thou wouldst have done it. How much more shouldst thou obey him when what he commands is such a little thing as this?”
Naaman’s rage had passed off with the lashing of his horses and his furious driving, but his terrible leprosy remained. Was he going back to his master with the disease still upon him, to tell him that he had not done what the prophet had told him because it was too easy? There was the white river rushing past at his feet. To ride so far and then refuse to wash would seem very foolish; so he changed his mind, and stopping his chariot at the water’s edge, went into the stream and bathed, and to his surprise and delight was at once healed of his leprosy, so that his skin became like that of a little child.
It was with a changed heart that he turned his horses’ heads and drove slowly back out of the valley, and up the road to the hills down which he had just come clattering in his anger. When next he stood at the door of the prophet’s little house all the pride was gone out of him.
“Now I know,” he said to the prophet, “that there is no God in all the world but in Israel. I pray thee to take a present from thy servant.”
Elisha stood before him in worn cloak and sandals, his head covered with a striped kerchief, his eyes bright and piercing. The camels were there, laden with presents in their saddle-bags.
“As God liveth, before whom I stand,” exclaimed the old man, “I will take nothing.”
Gold and silver, fine clothing, sweet spices, scented oils, had no real value for him. They were only a few of the many things he could quite well do without. This Syrian chief had obeyed what was really the command of the living God, and that was much more important. The Syrian pressed him to take something, but the poor prophet would have nothing. Naaman then asked leave to carry away two mule loads of earth from Samaria, saying that he would never again offer sacrifice to idols after the manner of his own people, but would sacrifice to God only.
Again Naaman shook the reins and cracked his whip as the horses sprang forward with the light chariot, the wooden wheels clattering on the stones. Outside the city walls his servants scraped the earth together until they had filled two mule-sacks, and then the small band of Syrians, shouldering their spears, set out on the homeward road.
Soon the eyes of the Syrian drivers saw the green palm-trees, the spires of glittering brass, and the white walls of Damascus. They were back again in their own country, bringing no camel-loads of plunder, no droves of stolen cattle, no chains of weeping slaves-only two sacks of earth from Samaria, and a chief with a healthy body and a grateful heart. If his wife was glad to see him, so also was the little Jewish maid; and we need not doubt that she would not be much longer a slave, but free-set free as a sign that Naaman the Syrian had a grateful heart for his little friend who had sent him to be healed by the prophet of Israel.