Wanting to be a missionary does not start when you go overseas. If you are a saint called by God, then you are a missionary. Often I find others, including myself, stating that they want to be “this or that”, but never following through. Taking ownership is one of the things that men are prone to lack in my generation.

Not just in my time with the Lord, but in relationships, I find myself going strong then all of a sudden I realize I’ve taken a huge landslide asking myself, “how did i get here?”. When it comes to dating someone, I find myself taking the backseat in leading. What has caused this? It is an assault on the Cultural Mandate of God (to be fruitful and multiply and subdue the earth). To my point: Men–we need to man up and be biblical men! I only date if I am working towards marriage. Really, what is the point of dating someone if you know they wont be your spouse? There is no point to it!

I often ask myself, “what is my role in my relationship with my girlfriend?”. To really give a good understanding, I want to work backwards by starting with the role of man at church level to the dating level:

Church Level

1) The Qualification of an Overseer: 1 Timothy 3:1-7:

The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task.Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.

2) In regards to being discipled in the church: Titus 2: 6-8: (as how young men should present their selves).

Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.

Dating Level

As stated before, I often ask myself the question, “What is my role in my relationship with my girlfriend?”. There are many different opinions on how someone should lead; however, my conviction is found in Ephesians 5

3) The Dating level is really preparation for marriage: Ephesians 5:25-33:

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body.31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

A common theme in my prayer is that I desire the Lord to make me into a Godly man. One fallacy in that prayer is that I am praying for something that has already happened. If Jesus saved me and brought me into the fold of God, then the declaration and anthem for my life is that I am declared forgiven and holy because of Christ! I am a sinner. I fall short all the time. But the Lord is there to forgive. He is my refuge.

SO MEN, WHAT IS OUR ROLE IN DATING? If we are dating for marriage, then we ought to be already loving our girlfriend in preparation for them being our spouse. From a woman’s viewpoint, they want a man to lead. Not only to be a great leader, but more importantly, to lead them in the Word of God. To live that example and follow through with what they say. In short, to be just like Christ. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her”, Christ sets the example!

One conviction I have is that I have failed to lead in being the leader. I took the backseat for a while with my relationship. The Circumstances? detrimental–damaging–deteriorating. But praise be to God that He has revealed this to me! Praise God that He doesn’t leave us where we are, but that the Holy Spirit continues to expose, encourage, and gives us the strength to endure!

So what does it look like to be the leader?  “…that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word.” Men, in order for us to lead in a dating relationship or even at the local level in the church, we must be men who meet with God for nourishment. How can one pour into another without himself being filled first? The only outcome in that is burnout. 

Before I am called to be a missionary. a boyfriend. a future husband. a future father. I am called to be a saint. One who meets God in the prayer closet, one who finds my soul satisfied in the King of Kings. One that is willing to surrender it all for the sake of Christ being exalted. No matter the cost. Men are we this? Am I living this? Do I believe this?

Are we pursuing God more than our girlfriend? our ministry? our spouse? our children?

I often think…If my girlfriend and I were not to work out and God closes that door, what is the one thing that I would want? It would be for her to be more holy than when I first met her. My life, my thoughts, my actions, my love for her should draw her more to the ONLY ONE who satisfies.

Our dating. Our marriage. Our lives….are not for our happiness, but for our holiness. To be more like Christ.

So I must ask: Men, are we following our heart or leading it to the throne of God? Lead the one you love to Him. That is our role in dating. That is our role in life. 

For life

Kayvan

Last Wednesday, I posted a blog from Paul David Tripp on Doubt. This week, the word is Worry… Enjoy!

 

THE TRAP OF WORRY

Last Wednesday I told you that I’ve discovered that, even though the Bible predicts it, many Christians are unprepared for When Suffering Enters Their Door. I wrote specifically on The Trap of Doubt and how we will be tempted to question the goodness of our Lord.

Today I want to write to you about The Trap of Worry. In the middle of suffering, you will worry yourself about many things: Why did this happen? Could I have prevented it? What will the outcome be? Do I have what it takes to make it through?

These questions are natural, and in many ways, they’re not wrong to ask. But it’s so easy to have your heart captivated with worry. You probably won’t find the answers right away, and you’ll panic as mountain of worry-driven questions grows higher by the day.

Here’s the problem with worry – like doubt, it’s God-forgetful. Doubt forgets God’s goodness, and worry forgets His presence.

Look at those four questions above: Why did this happen? I don’t know, but God does. Could I have prevented it? Maybe not, but God could have and chose not to. What will the outcome be? I don’t know, but God does. Do I have what it takes to make it through? No, but God is with me every step of the way.

You see, worry assumes that it’s only you vs. suffering. Worry finds a foothold in the lie that you’re alone in your suffering. Meanwhile, the Lord names Himself Immanuel – “God with us.”

You are never alone in suffering. Worry will tell you that you need to carry the burden on your shoulders; Immanuel says, “I will carry it for you.”

When you fall into the trap of worry and believe that you’ve been abandoned by God, you won’t run to Him for help. But when you believe that God was, is, and always will be there for you, you can run into His loving arms and find rest.

God bless

Paul David Tripp

REFLECTION QUESTIONS:

    1. What suffering are you experiencing? Who do you know who is suffering?
    1. What has God communicated about His presence? Search through Scripture to find verses that teach on the subject.
    1. Why is tempting to doubt the presence of God, despite what Scripture says?
    1. Where has God proven to Himself to be near to you in the past?
  1. What can you gain by running to God in moments of suffering? In the same way, what can you lose by running away from Him?

Today I would like to share a blog series by Paul David Tripp. Doubt is prevalent not only in my life, but in many others lives as well. When suffering arises, I doubt the goodness of God. Tripp fleshes out the very issue of why we suffer, and when we do, how we need to endure.

THE TRAP OF DOUBT

The Bible says that suffering should not take us by surprise – we live in a fallen world during restoration and redemption. But I’ve found in my years of counseling (and even in my own heart) that many Christians are unprepared for when suffering enters their door.

Over the next few weeks, I want to unpack three dangerous traps that believers commonly fall into during moments of suffering. I’ve adapted this material from my new curriculum, When Suffering Enters your Door.


In moments of suffering, it’s tempting to allow yourself to doubt the goodness of God. You’ll reason with yourself that somehow, someway, this moment of suffering is evidence that God is less than who He has depicted Himself to be.

Suffering will tempt you to doubt God’s goodness and kindness. Suffering will tempt you to doubt His faithfulness and love. Even though you may never speak this aloud, your theology will bring God into the court of your judgment and accuse Him of being unloving and unfaithful to His promises.

Here’s why doubt is such a deadly trap: as soon as you begin to question the character of God, you’ll quit running to Him for help because you don’t go for help to someone whom you no longer trust.

If you no longer believe that God is loving, faithful, and gracious, you won’t run to Him for hope and peace. Instead, you’ll seek out earthly saviors who will provide the supposed rest and comfort you think you need (this could be drugs, people, television, food, or a host of other numbing agents).

There are a host of Scripture verses that remind us that suffering is evidence of God’s grace. Those can provide enough of a theological framework in which you can interpret your suffering. But sometimes, you won’t find answers. In your lifetime, you may never know why God allowed it to enter your door.

Here’s what you always need to remember: you can trust the character of God because He sent Jesus to die for you, even when you were still His opponent. You don’t have to doubt the character of the Father because He gave His Son for your hardened heart.

In moments of suffering, don’t run away from God in doubt. If you do, you risk missing out on the wonderful blessings of grace that He has made available. Even if those blessings are uncomfortable or even excruciatingly painful, you can run to the Father.

He proved His eternal love for you by sending Christ to hang on that bloody Cross.

God bless

Paul David Tripp

REFLECTION QUESTIONS:What suffering are you experiencing? Who do you know who is suffering?

    1. What has God communicated about suffering? Search through Scripture to find verses that teach on the subject.
    1. Why is tempting to doubt the goodness of God in your specific suffering?
    1. How (apart from the Cross) has God proven to be faithful and loving to you in the past?
  1. What can you gain by running to God in moments of suffering? In the same way, what can you lose by running away from Him?

 

Thanksgiving–no I am not talking about the day when all of us eat to the point where our stomachs almost burst and we struggle to stay awake when the NFL game is on! I am talking about the very act of thankfulness. What are we thankful for? When I think of thankfulness I undoubtedly think of how much I can complain. (Wait!! Before you close the tab window)…this blog post is not about my complaints! Rather, it is about the faithfulness of God in my struggles.

In any circumstance in day-to-day life there is one thing that, as a believer in Christ, we can look to; The Lord’s grace and mercy. I have been challenged much in this season in my life and it has been hard, but God has proven His faithfulness. The main point of the book of Proverbs is …”the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom”. So how can I fear Him? In other words, how can I revere God has majesty, holy, and true? John 3:16 is the answer! “For God loved [me], that He sent His son (Jesus) to die for me!!” (emphasis added). My point is that Jesus gave Himself for me! This very thing should bring me to worship! It should bring me to a state of thanksgiving, in the midst of chaos.

Jesus is all we need…Do we really believe that?

When things get tough, do we lay it at His feet? A confession if you don’t know who I am: I am prone to carry my own burden. I am hard on myself. I think through things way to much. In essence, this very thing is proclamation that I don’t trust God, who gave Himself for me.

The solution: (drum roll) The Bible…yes, this Sunday School answer is true!

The Word of God is our very source of life. Yes the Holy Spirit dwells in us, but we need the revealed Word of God to continue to shape and refine us! No one talks to you more than you, so what are you feeding your mind with?

Jesus is all we need… Yes I just said that, but to be frank, we need to be reminded of it again!

Thanksgiving! What are you thankful for? Jesus gave Himself for me! So why should I worry or complain?

I am thankful for:
!) The cross–Because Jesus rescued me from sin and death and now I know Him and worship Him!
2) My circumstances–Because I need those thorns in the flesh to turn me back to the Savior!
3) My family and friends–Because they love me and I love them!
4) My church family–Because they train/equip and walk with me day-to-day, so that I will be discipled and disciple others for the mission of God!
 
Everything should point me back to my Faithful Lover, the One who died for my soul!
 
Grace and Peace
Kayvan

Earlier today the Baptist Press posted an article titled Christians Beheaded by Extremists in Somalia. Here is the article: http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?id=42180&ref=BPNews-RSSFeed0314

“We know these two people are Christians who recently came back from Kenya. We want to wipe out any underground Christian living inside of mujahidin [jihadists'] area.”

Fear…fear grips me as i read story after story of believers being killed for leaving Islam. Jesus said that the world will hate [us] because it hated Him first (John 15:18). As a believer in the states, I don’t see that hatred as much. We can agree that the idea of a Christian in the public square being mocked is the highest threat that we will receive (at least for now). But in the States there really is not a sense of persecution.

The reason? Our culture is not closed-minded. (i.e. freedom of religion). With post-modernism in play, anyone can be what they want and not have another dictate their ways. This is not so in the Muslim world. If you leave Islam, you are dead…period!

So why does fear grip me? It’s a scary thing to face persecution…and I believe i may face it one day. This article reminds me of one thing, “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church” ~Tertullian. What grips more than a fear of death is the fear of God. I am scared, but not of persecution. I am scared that I will fail in leading well or being effective for the gospel. However, as I fear God and find myself in awe of His majesty, I remember Acts 1:8, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you…” and Romans 1:16, “…For it is the power of God unto salvation…” It is God’s power! It is His gospel! I will fail doing it in my strength but if i surrender all for His glory, He will do great things through me (even if it only means reaching one person for the gospel)!

Followers of the Way, do not be discouraged when our brothers and sisters are dying for the King. It is an awful thing, but we can rejoice because we praise God that they were faithful to the end.

Be encouraged! As we read about the persecuted, let us pray for them, with the idea that maybe one day we will be in their shoes knowing that the brethren are holding the ropes here.

Pray: for the persecuted church. For the extremists to come to know the Lord. That the gospel will advance. That the church will be encouraged. That we will go!

 

Grace and Peace

If I am honest with you, the word surrender makes me cringe. You see, we are by nature creatures that want complete control. I would like to think I have control. This morning I woke up, took a shower, ate breakfast, did my quiet time, and now I am sitting in a small coffee shop called Java Station & Coffee writing this blog. So what makes me think I have complete control? My flesh (sin) wants me to think I have it all; in fact, wasn’t it I who told myself in my unconsciousness to wake up from this estate we call sleep? (I’m in control right?!)  

It is in the moments where I think I have control then I read Psalm 139 and other verses that display that God has control! To quote him from a previous blog, Tim Chester states that “God is great–So we don’t have to be in control“. How freeing is that? It is stressful to be in control. My point is that we are messy people, and when we take control we make a bigger mess. Just face the facts: we must surrender even our control to the only God that created everything. He is the One who wakes us up, and holds our fickle hearts to keep pushing blood and oxygen throughout our body. He sustains us so that we will worship Him. I can completely agree with John Piper when he states that “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.” So will we surrender?

This morning’s quiet time included Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest. I came across a question that has greatly challenged me:

Am I willing to relinquish my hold on all I possess my hold on my affections, and on everything, and to be identified with the death of Jesus Christ?

Like I told you before, I cringe when I think of the word surrender, I don’t want to. Jesus must be my everything. One of my great fears is going on the mission field alone. However, if i truly surrender, God will truly be glorified! We are not promised an easy life, but a life of joy in the midst of sufferings and trials!

It is incredible to know that the Lord is in control! Will you surrender?

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” ~Galatians 2:20

Blessings!
Kayvan

“Prone to wander, Lord I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love”. If I could have a theme song for my life, it would be this song. So often in my life I want to please others. This people-pleaser mentality sneaks up on me and before I know it I find my affections in creation rather than the Creator. It is in those moments where I fall back to what I forgot…The truth of God’s redemptive plan revealed in the Bible! The scriptures teach that we are liberated/redeemed/set free–We are rescued from sin, because of Christ’s saving work on the cross. It is freeing to know that truth, but so often we forget who we are and to Whom we belong to. Tim Chester, in his book You Can Change, gives us 4G truths that sets us free:

  1. God is great–so we don’t have to be in control
  2. God is glorious–so we don’t have to fear others
  3. God is good–so we don’t have to look elsewhere
  4. God is gracious–so we don’t have to prove ourselves

We often believe that the gospel is only for unbelievers but we need the gospel daily preached to us. These 4 truths set us free. It gives me rest in my soul to know that I don’t have to put my trust in someone or even myself. Our trust is found only in the saving grace of Jesus; there we will find rest!

So ask yourselves these questions:

“Am I trying to be in control”

“Do I fear others or God?”

“Do I truly believe God is good?

“Who am I serving? God or man?”

Look to the cross! There is where we find our faith. There is where find our hope. There is where we find our love–His name is Jesus!

Blessings
Kayvan