‘Stupid is as Stupid Does, Sir’

Stupid-defiance
Don’t be stupid … er, defiant, when it comes to obeying God. (Getty Images)

You may find that provocative word in Proverbs 12:1, but in reality, it takes on a whole other meaning than what you might think.

By Shawn A. Akers

One of the most famous lines from the movie Forrest Gump is Forrest’s proclamation, “stupid is as stupid does.” Forrest says “Just like Lt. Dan doesn’t want to be called crippled, I don’t want to be called stupid.”

My wife, Patty, and I used to chastise our children for calling other children stupid. We told them to never use that word again, and we tried to do the same to set the example.

Nobody wants to be called stupid, especially by the Bible, the Word of God. Yet in Proverbs 12:1 says, “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid” (NIV). Other versions, like the Modern English Version, translates the last line to say, “but he who hates reproof is brutish.”

The word brutish has several meanings: cruel, gross, coarse, carnal, sensual, uncivilized and even bestial, like an animal. I kid you not. Look it up here on dictionary.com.

Now we all know that God is not calling people out by using those names. He is not a God that will ridicule people or bring cruel and unjust punishment on them, as many believe by holding true to the Old Testament. We know that Jesus brought grace, mercy and redemption to mankind by dying on the cross.

But, and there is simply no way around this. Some people just aren’t going to get it. They simply choose to be obedient and not heed to instruction—whether they be believers or non-believers. As non-believers, this might be excused because these people don’t know the truth of God’s Word. Believers, on the other hand …

The love of instruction implies humility. It argues a sense of ignorance and need of information.

Instead of stupid or foolish, I choose to use the word defiant here. Let’s take a look at the first part of Proverbs 12:1—“Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge.” Obviously, if you don’t want knowledge—the knowledge of what will improve your relationship with Christ by leaps and bounds—then you will hate discipline. You don’t believe you need discipline in your life and that you’re doing OK living the way you are.

Some may call that stupid or foolish. I call it defiant. And I should know. I defied God for many, many years before I decided I needed His discipline.

Studyight.org tell us that “It is by instruction that knowledge comes. He who fancies he has all in himself will never learn. … The love of instruction implies humility. It argues a sense of ignorance and need of information. It is a common thing for men to allow pride to cheat them of much valuable knowledge.”

I don’t know about you, but when it comes to the knowledge of God, I don’t want to be cheated out of anything. I want everything I can get to live an obedient and righteous life.

But that means only one thing—submission to God. And I know a lot of people who either simply do not want to submit to God because of their own selfish desires or others who do want to but simply won’t do it. I put myself in the latter category in my younger years.

Many children learn to disobey their parents while growing up, and that pattern of sin simply never leaves them. You disobey your parents, and then society and then the Word of God.

A man may get by on wickedness for a while and think he’s living a wonderful life. But, in general, the triumph of wicked is short. God will see to that, sooner or later. I don’t want to have that to look forward to.

My advice? Don’t be stupid, er, I mean, defiant. And I don’t mean that in a demeaning way. It’s my experience that when you’re obedient to God instead of disobedient, then He is more apt to be benevolent to you. Not that He loves you any more or any less because He always stays the same. “Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart” (Psa. 37:4).

Do something today to step out of the boat and become a kingdom champion.

Step Out of the Boat is a ministry created by Charisma Media Content Development Editor Shawn A. Akers and dedicated to help Christ followers to become spiritual champions and come to a more intimate relationship with Jesus. With its articles, podcasts and other forms of media, Step Out of the Boat encourages Christ followers to daily reach to a higher level in their calling. Shawn is a 35-year veteran sportswriter, a published poet and he published a story about Dale Earnhardt in NASCAR Chicken Soup for the Soul. You can read his blog here. You can also listen to his podcasts, the Javelin Sports Show, on the Charisma Podcast Network.

The Opportunity Believers MUST Take Advantage Of

dog-obedience
Dogs learn obedience to their masters. We must learn obedience to our Master. (Crystal Rolfe via Flickr)

Very few of us do, however, and that’s why we stay stuck in spiritual mediocrity.

By Shawn A. Akers

What if you had the ability and the opportunity to step into the greatest joy and power you have ever known? Well, guess what? You do!

All it takes is a little—or maybe sometimes a lot—of self-examination. What is it that is compromising your relationship with Christ?

Is it pride? Is it arrogance? Is it selfishness? Is it sin? Is it something or some things that you have put before Jesus?

Are you disobedient to God’s Word in any way?

We all know that Jesus loves us more than we can possibly imagine, and we know that he wants us to come unto him, according to James 4:8: “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”

Revelation 3:20 says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.”

And then there is Proverbs 8:17: “I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently will find me.”

And how about Hebrews 11:6: “And without faith it is impossible to please God, for he who comes to God must believe that He exists and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Those who diligently seek Him will find Him. I don’t know about you, but I want to find Him and find Him every day. Who doesn’t want to be rewarded by God? I don’t know of any Christ follower who doesn’t want that.

I know, however, this won’t happen if I allow those things I have mentioned above to put a road block between myself and Him.

For me, it could be pride. I don’t want to bury myself in the Bible in prayer right now. I deserve to rest. I’ve feebily made that excuse before.

It could be idol worship. Alabama’s playing. As soon as the game’s over, I’ll read the Bible, and I’ll pray. Guilty (but not condemned).

I don’t want to lay down my sin. It brings me too much pleasure. Can’t deny that.

Those, my friend, are defining moments. As Kevin Costner says in the movie “Tin Cup,” either “you define the moment or the moment defines you.” How many moments in life define you?

I’ve had too many in many in my life to count. Too many regrets. But again, no condemnation because, as Romans 8:1 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”

What I want now is to define myself as an obedient child of God. When the moment defines you, it can only mean disobedience, even if it’s only delayed. Remember, delayed obedience is disobedience.

As my pastor, Ed Garvin, recently said, we need to stop going to church and start being the church. We need to start showing the world who we belong to and that we will not compromise that ideal. Are you with me?

That’s all about obedience. I pray to God, Lord, whatever you have to do in me to make that happen, please, make it happen. Help me to be obedient to you in everything I do every day. EVERYTHING, and EVERY DAY.”

I know what that means for me. What does that mean for you?

“Now therefore, if you will faithfully obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My special possession out of all the nations, for all the earth is Mine” (Exo. 19:5)

Don’t you want to be His special possession?

And remember to do something today to go to a higher level in your kingdom calling. Become a kingdom champion. Today.

Step Out of the Boat is a ministry created by Charisma Media Content Development Editor Shawn A. Akers and dedicated to help Christ followers to become spiritual champions and come to a more intimate relationship with Jesus. With its articles, podcasts and other forms of media, Step Out of the Boat encourages Christ followers to daily reach to a higher level in their calling. Shawn is a 35-year veteran sportswriter, a published poet and he published a story about Dale Earnhardt in NASCAR Chicken Soup for the Soul. You can read his blog here. You can also listen to his podcasts, the Javelin Sports Show, on the Charisma Podcast Network

 

URGENT PRAYER TODAY FOR PASTOR ANDREW BRUNSON

andrew-brunson
Please don’t ignore this. Pastor Brunson needs our prayers desperately. (ACLJ.org)

In the name of Jesus, we ask you to be in constant prayer for this man today and every day.

Pastor Andrew Brunson, who has been held in a Turkish prison for more than 20 months, was back in court Monday and denied terrorism and spying charges. None of the charges levied against Pastor Brunson are true, but he could wind up facing 35 years in prison for the false accusations.

I have asked for prayer for Pastor Brunson in this blog before, but I am asking especially that you join me in bombarding heaven RIGHT NOW for this great and courageous man of God.

If you are not familiar with it, you can read more about his plight here on charismanews.com.

Therefore I pray: “In the precious name of Jesus, we pray for favor and mercy and grace upon Pastor Andrew Brunson, who is not only enduring false imprisonment in Turkey but who is also facing false accusations of terrorism and clandestine activity. Lies by unscrupulous witnesses have helped to make this trial a farce. The Turkish government is prosecuting Pastor Brunson and using him as a political pawn.

We pray for our wonderful, gracious and merciful Almighty God to soften the hearts of those who are against him and transform their hearts to see that what they are doing is unjust.  We pray for our lawmakers and our executive branch, especially President Donald Trump, to be able to make a difference and to let the Turkish government know, firmly, that this will not be tolerated.

We pray for Pastor Brunson and his mind, that you keep it fresh and filled every day with the things of the Spirit and to help him to continue to trust You and know that You will deliver him from this unjust situation. We pray for Pastor Brunson’s family and take away any fear they might have of what might happen to Pastor Brunson. We pray that he be turned to his family as quickly as possible.

Lord, I pray that everyone who reads this will be on their knees praying for Pastor Brunson, and his family. In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

“For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and love, and self-control” (2 Tim. 1:7, MEV)

“Be strong and of a good courage. Fear not, nor be afraid of them, for the Lord your God, it is He who goes with you. He will not fail you, nor forsake you” (Deut. 31:6, MEV)

 

 

 

 

 

The Kind of Prayer We Believers Need to Learn

Prayer-Quiet-time
Pray for the protection from sin (Lightstock)

This type of prayer will lead us into right standing with God.

By Shawn A. Akers

Throughout his adventurous and very interesting life, King David endured incidents of intense persecution and danger. But what was most impressive about David is that he not only prayed for protection from his attackers during these perilous times, he also prayed about protection from sin.

“Make me to know Your ways, O Lordteach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; on You I wait all the day. … Guard my life and rescue me; let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you. May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope is in you. (Psalm 25:4-5, 20-21, MEV)

“Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips. Let not my heart be drawn to what is evil, to take part in wicked deeds with men who are evildoers; let me not eat of their delicacies” (Psalm 141:3-4)

So what are we talking about here? We’re talking about living a life of righteousness–or right standing with God. As believers, shouldn’t we hate sin more than suffering?

Our relationship with Christ not only allows it, but it also presents us with an obligation to become a person of deep moral commitment. Jesus, to whom we owe everything and to whom the believer is supposed to surrender everything, gives us guidelines by which we are to live a happy and respectable life.Our relationship with Christ not only allows it, but it also presents us with an obligation to become a person of deep moral commitment.

The first chapter of James tells us that we are to “be swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger, for the anger of man does not work the righteousness of God.” We are to lay aside all filthiness and remaining wickedness and receive with meekness the engrafted Word, which is able to save your souls.” We are to be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”

Our relationship with Christ not only allows it, but it also presents us with an obligation to become a person of deep moral commitment.

When we fall into trials and tribulations, which James assures us we will in this life, our temptation to sin can accelerate. When we face trials in our relationships, our jobs, our finances, etc., be extra careful about sin’s pull on your mind and your flesh. Satan will work overtime to get you do to something you don’t want to do and he will try to convince you that you will feel better during these tough times if you just give in. Don’t allow that lie to penetrate your heart.

Remember, “when lust has conceived, it brings forth sin; and when sin is finished, it brings forth death” (James 1:15). But also remember that, because you have been given life in Christ, you are now to live the righteous life that God desires.

Living righteously suggests a thriving, spiritual relationship with God that leads to freedom. Living righteously is always a genuine decision one makes to remain attentive to the presence and power of God. It is motivated by love and reverence for the One who created us and cares for us.

  • “Set your affection on things above, not on things on earth” (Col. 3:2)
  • “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17).
  • “Let love be without hypocrisy. Hate what is evil. Cleave to what is good” (Rom. 12:9).
  • “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2).

As always, remember to do something today to rise up higher in your kingdom calling.

Step Out of the Boat is a ministry created by Charisma Media Content Development Editor Shawn A. Akers and dedicated to help Christ followers to become spiritual champions and come to a more intimate relationship with Jesus. With its articles, podcasts and other forms of media, Step Out of the Boat encourages Christ followers to daily reach to a higher level in their calling. Shawn is a 35-year veteran sportswriter, a published poet and he published a story about Dale Earnhardt in NASCAR Chicken Soup for the Soul. You can read his blog here. You can also listen to his podcasts, the Javelin Sports Show, on the Charisma Podcast Network

 

‘For With God, All Things are Possible’

Shipwreck-TC
God can do great things with your broken pieces! (Flickr via Tee Cee)

This book is so good, and so helpful for believers, it’s worth quoting it two days in a row.

“God will use pieces of your wreckage to get you to shore. No matter what mistakes you’ve made or what detours you’e taken while straying from where God wants you to be, it’s not too late. No matter what you’ve said or haven’t said, what you’ve done or haven’t done. No matter the depth of your pain, fear or anxiety. No matter how dark your secret or how terrible your addiction. God can do great things with your broken pieces” — From Rev. Samuel Rodriguez’s book Shake Free: How to Deal with the Storms, the Shipwrecks and Snakes in Your Life”

  • “If it’s broken, God can fix it.”
  • “If it’s empty, God can fill it.”
  • “If it failed, God can restore it.”
  • “If it’s sin, God can forgive it.”
  • “If it’s dead, God can resurrect it.”

Nothing is beyond God. Preach it, Rev. Rodriguez!

“For with God all things are possible” (Mark 10:27)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quote of the Day: Rev. Samuel Rodriguez

Shake-Free
(Photo via Samuel Rodriguez FB page)

Every believer should be equipped with these pearls of wisdom. 

“Never let your problems drive your direction. Don’t let your crisis become your compass.”

  • Do not be driven by what you see; be driven by what God said.
  • Do not be driven by past mistakes; be driven by future miracles.
  • Do not be driven by feelings; be driven by faith.
  • do not be driven by being a victim; by driven by being victorious.
  • Let all you are and all you do be driven by the Spirit of God.

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, from his book, Shake Free: How to Deal with the Storms, Shipwrecks and Snakes in Your Life.

“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God” (Rom. 8:14)

 

Pray Today For: Our Nation

prostrate-prayer
Pray today for our nation and this National Day of Prayer (Getty Images)

On this national day of prayer, show God that you grieve for the condition of our country and you sincerely desire its healing.

PLEASE … join in unity with other believers today this National Day of Prayer. If believers bombard Heaven, things can change! If you know anyone specifically that needs prayer, use the comments below and we will deluge Heaven to help them. Open your hearts today and pray!

It is the National Day of Prayer, so I hope and pray that everyone has been petitioning God for their family members, friends, their church, church leaders, America’s leaders and themselves. Also do not forget to pray for our nation itself, which, if you haven’t noticed, is teetering on the brink of an “unholy” war.

Hatred and prejudice against God’s children–and the ungodly attitudes of many in the church against unbelievers–have put this nation on the edge of civil disaster. If you don’t believe that, then pick up a newspaper or watch the news on TV. Therefore we pray:

In the name of Jesus, we pray today for our nation. There is so much division; there is so much hatred and their is so much misunderstanding; and we beg God for forgiveness for our the hardness of hearts.  Help us to be tolerant, help us to be patient and help us to convey and live out Jesus’ message of redemption that He paid so dearly for on the Cross. Help us to show non-believers that we belong to Him and not to the world, for our righteous behavior to penetrate their hearts so that they can see Christ and Christ alone.

We pray today for racial division to be wiped away and that people will love others for who they are and not hate for the color of their skin or their nationality. We pray for hatred between religions–including Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, Hinduism and others–to be shattered by the love of the Cross. Satan, you are defeated.

We pray for those who are not in agreement with our views on anything from sexual orientation to abortion, immigration, etc., and for those who do not know Christ as their Savior. We pray that they come to the saving knowledge of Christ not only for their own sake but for the sake of peace and harmony for this nation.

We pray for our president, Donald Trump, that he comes to know you more and more every day and develops your heart. We pray that you guide him to do the things that you want him to accomplish and for him to deny himself and his flesh every day for your sake and the sake of Your Word and this country. We pray this for all of our leaders–national, statewide, and local.

We pray for our churches, that any darkness that has made its way into them be revealed and cast out in Jesus’ name. We pray that hypocrisy will come to light and God’s justice will be done. We pray that you will sear the hearts of all believers to completely surrender to the cross and to Your will and for us to completely deny ourselves and take up our cross and follow you daily. Help us to be salt and light to the world instead of slaves to the culture and hypocrites that can be easily called out.

We love you, Lord. Have Your way in us. Help our lives reflect Your glory. We are confident that You will bring greater things because you are the God of the impossible! In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chron. 7:14, NIV)

 

What Would Influence LGBT People to Return to Church?

Pastor-Clay-Peck
Pastor Clay Peck (YouTube)

The answer to this poignant question may very well surprise you.

By Shawn A. Akers

So you think all members of the LGBT community are hard-hearted and closed-minded? Think again. In fact, it’s the church that needs a change of attitude says Clay Peck, lead Pastor of Grace Place.

Peck asks this question: “What would influence LGBT to return to church? The answer:

  • Feeling loved
  • Given time (patience)
  • No attempts to change their orientation
  • Authenticity
  • Support of family and friends

Note: Point No. 3 assumes that they have heard the truth of God’s Word. And if they have been church members, it is generally assumed they have.

As much as my attitude and thoughts on this subject have changed over the past couple of years, last week I lent my own thoughts to this crucial issue hoping it would help heal the divide.

Peyton Jones of Christianitytoday.com recently wrote this: “People in a life of homosexuality need love without blame, and without reservation. As we all do. The cause of our condition isn’t as important as allowing it to be used for the glory of God. … What we need is ‘discipleship in community.’ People who define their identity by their sexuality need the church community as part of their transformation process to finding their primary identity in Christ. … The community is also a tool of conversion. We need to find people already among us who have been there, who have wrestled with God on these issues and found both love and truth. … Everyone craves love. Many people have lived with years of rejection as a result of their sexuality. Unconditional love can heal the hurts they’ve experienced and point the way to following Jesus in spirit and in truth.”

In the below video highlighted on Charismanews.com, Peck, in a sermon, issued his own public apology to the LGBT community. But, he didn’t change his theology. He simply explained another way to love LGBT people and to help bring them back into the kingdom.

While Peck said things a bit more eloquently, here is a blog I wrote that basically says the same thing. Please check it out.

And remember to do something to rise to a higher level in your kingdom calling today.

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:30-31)

Step Out of the Boat is a ministry created by Charisma Media Content Development Editor Shawn A. Akers and dedicated to help Christ followers to become spiritual champions and come to a more intimate relationship with Jesus. With its articles, podcasts and other forms of media, Step Out of the Boat encourages Christ followers to daily reach to a higher level in their calling. Shawn is a 35-year veteran sportswriter, a published poet and he published a story about Dale Earnhardt in NASCAR Chicken Soup for the Soul. You can read his blog here. You can also listen to his podcasts, the Javelin Sports Show, on the Charisma Podcast Network

 

The Key to Walking in Supernatural Favor with People

Keys-to-kingdom
Do you want to walk in supernatural favor with others? (Michael Villaneuva via Flickr)

 You can begin to put this principle into practice in your life today.

Note: This is a guest post from my friend, Kyle Winkler. His ministry is incredible and can train you in much-needed spiritual warfare. Check it out at kylewinkler.org.

By Kyle Winkler

It’s well chronicled in my messages, books and articles that much of my early years were scarred by the wounds of rejection. Childhood timidity led to being painfully left out of social groups.

Then my born-again experience at 16 years old caused great tension in my devoutly-denominational family. Not to mention my first steps into full-time ministry, which grew intense criticism from both family and friends alike.

The reality is that rejection is an unfortunate fact of life. People have always passed over others for superficial and unfair reasons. People have always found reasons to disagree with the sincerest decisions or opinions. And they always will.

But the danger when you feel something so much is that you can eventually take on that feeling as a quality of who you are. And that’s so much of the story of my life. From childhood, an identity of rejection was cemented into me and then reinforced even through the adolescence of my Christianity. Because who you believe you are often determines how you behave, my actions and reactions were skewed accordingly. Allow me to elaborate.

People have always passed over others for superficial and unfair reasons. People have always found reasons to disagree with the sincerest decisions or opinions. And they always will.

Continue reading “The Key to Walking in Supernatural Favor with People”