Samuel

Steve Arterburn

Samuel was one of the great men of faith and one of the great leaders in Israel’s history.  He served as priest, prophet, and Israel’s last judge.  Look at what the Bible says about him. ‘As Samuel grew up, the Lord was with him, and everything Samuel said was wise and helpful.  All the people of Israel from one end of the land to the other knew that Samuel was confirmed as a prophet of the Lord’ (1 Samuel 3:19-20).  

But Samuel was human, and he had blind spots.  Samuel appointed his sons as judges in his place.  The problem was that his sons were not the men of character that he was.  Instead, Scripture tells us they ‘were greedy for money.  They accepted bribes and perverted justice.’  The people tried to tell Samuel, but for whatever reason he had a blind spot when it came to his family.  

We often develop blind spots with regard to someone we love and want to protect.  If Samuel had heard the people’s complaints with openness, he may have seen the truth before it was too late.  Then he could have corrected the problem and held his sons accountable for their actions before it was too late.  If others around you are telling you things you don’t want to hear, maybe you should stop and evaluate carefully what’s being said.  

Do you need to be honest about someone in your life’a friend, child, a family member?  Take your blinders off.

Denial

Steve Arterburn

Men, you all know someone close to you’someone you’d trust with your life’but someone who struggles to tell you the truth. That ‘someone’ is you! And this self-directed deception is called denial. The Complete Life Encyclopedia defines denial as ‘an inability to see the truth about oneself’. Here’s what denial is: it’s a lie you tell yourself, and after you tell it, you cling to it and believe it.

We all struggle with denial. And it blurs your vision of many things’troubled or destructive relationships, sins you’re unwilling to acknowledge, overly optimistic goals, financial irresponsibility, physical illness, unresolved character issues, self-righteousness, and any number of situations you’d rather not see clearly.

But guys, if you seriously desire spiritual renewal, you must bring the all of your life under the umbrella of God’s grace. Even those areas you’ve closed off, and especially the lies you’ve tried to convince yourself are true.

One of the reasons denial is so dangerous is not only does it blind you to the problems you’re trying to avoid, but it also blinds you to the consequences that avoidance creates. The moment you open your eyes and see things clearly, accurately, and truthfully, you’ll also see the troubling results of your denial.

Yeah, you’re likely to fight with discouragement, and the urge to seek diversions and other ways to feel good. But these are cop-outs: denial in disguise. My challenge to you is that you allow your recognition of the truth to spur you to repentance, and then, to a joyful, grateful response to Him of service.

Friendship After Forty?

Steve Arterburn

A motivational speaker noted in his talk that after age forty, men typically possess no close friends. What’s a man to do? We can learn from him. When he and his fianc’e were planning their wedding, he realized he didn’t have a single male friend whom he considered close enough to be his best man.

 

This shocking realization brought impetus for change. He identified two men he knew that shared his faith and values. Then he prayerfully approached them regarding the possibility of exploring and developing long-term friendships. They both responded positively, and they’ve continued a deep, trusting relationship for several decades. From those relationships came the insights for a book, The Company You Keep: The Transforming Power of Male Friendship, written by David Bentall It’s a great resource for men on the subject of friendship.

Every man without at least one close friend is missing three important things: (1) someone to walk with despite failures, (2) someone to explore a vision for life with, and (3) someone to face the darkness of our world with.

If you’re looking for reasons to seek and build friendships with other men, these are as good as any.