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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Man Up!

I have been a car nut for as long as I can remember.  Even as a youngster I had an eye for sharp looking cars.  As an elementary student I remember thinking that my parent’s taste for cars was to put it mildly, rather bland!  Early on my Dad drove a 1940ish tan Chevy to work every day.  They jokingly referred to the car as “Jezebel.”  Little did I understand the Biblical relevance of that name at the time!  The family car was a 1955 brown and white 2-door, six passenger, five window Chevy station wagon.  Not the cool Nomad hard top, mind you but the boring regular old wagon with the drop and lift gate.
All that started to change in 1973 though, when I convinced my folks to talk to the father of one of Piper’s good friends who just happened to be the manager of the local Pontiac dealership.  A few days later a brand-spanking new golden yellow Luxury Lemans coupe graced their driveway!  That car held a special significance for us as they later gave it to our oldest son for his first car!  He proudly drove that car until the rear axle broke and it wouldn’t move more than just a few feet!  When the Christian band he was a part of cut their first CD, the car was the backdrop for many of the pictures on the case cover!
I sort of bucked the trend with the purchase of my first car.  When we were in high school and college, mid-sized muscle cars were the rage!  It seemed like almost every male in my age group drooled over the dream of owning a Chevelle SS, a Mopar enhanced rocket from Dodge or Plymouth or the pinnacle of performance in the form of a Pontiac GTO!   I clearly remember salivating uncontrollably as I test drove a used dark burgundy 1970 Chevelle SS 396 in early 1973!  To own that car would have been like a dream come true (and the envy of all my buddies), but alas, it was just too expensive for budget at that time!
Later that same year my head was turned to another possibility when my sister’s Air Force Captain husband decided to sell his 1966 Black MG sports car and gave me first dibs on the car!  Well, my budget allowed for it (barely!), my folks agreed and on a warm summer afternoon my favorite girl and I found ourselves driving home from Beale Air Force base near Marysville, California in my hot little roadster!   
Well, none of our friends or acquaintances owned or even desired to own a British sports car, but you know it didn’t matter to me!  I knew that I had a cool, fun car and I simply “Manned Up!” to their sarcastic comments and the smirks on their faces and enjoyed myself!  (I guess that I had the last laugh for when the gas shortages hit the next year, suddenly most everyone was looking for a small, easy on the gas car!)  Many years later I have had another opportunity to “Man Up!”
As I read from Philippians 3:12 this morning I recalled my past and present opportunities to “Man Up!”  In this portion of scripture the Apostle Paul tells his readers that “It’s not that I’ve already completed the course.  But I (“Man Up!” and) run to win that which Jesus Christ has already won for me.” (God’s Word ©)  A few verses later he goes on to say that “Whoever has a mature faith should think this way.  And if you think differently, God will show you how to think.” (Philippians 3:15 God’s Word ©)
It is like Paul is challenging mature Christian Believers (or those who feel they are such) to “Man Up!” in life and step confidently into who role of how a mature Christian should act in the midst of trying circumstances.  The Urban Dictionary defines the term “Man Up!” as “to fulfill your responsibilities as a man despite your insecurities…”  In the case of what we are talking about, I think you could simply say that it means to take your responsibilities as what the Word defines as a mature Christian, despite your insecurities!
Over the last few years I have personally witnessed individuals that I always thought to be mature Christians fail to “Man Up!” when faced with the situation concerning the attack on my wife’s health.  And on the other hand, I have seen those whom I did not necessarily see as well informed or mature Christians put aside any insecurity and boldly step forth offering whatever assistance they could to us in our greatest time of need. (says something about what I think I know doesn't it!)
On one hand, there were those who suddenly had all kinds of excuses as to why they couldn’t visit, call and never once asked if there was anything they could do to help.  Then they just kind of distanced themselves from us and personal contact became less frequent until months would pass before we might hear from them.  And you know… it’s been about three years and it still hasn’t changed!
Then there were friends and cousins, some with whom we hadn’t had regular contact with suddenly seem to come out of the wood work as phone calls, emails, Facebook conversations, texts and personal visits and/or invitations for us to visit them became more frequent!  These were the folks that despite any insecurities of dealing with the difficulty in our lives, despite their busy work and home life schedules “Manned Up!” to be a part of the solution to our needs - just I as was reeling with emotions, questions, shock and a great multitude of decisions that had to be made!
In relationship to walking in love and being in order, Paul in his first letter to the Corinthian church, emphasized the need for Christians to not become as children but to be mature… or in other words… to “Man Up!”  (I Corinthians 14:20)  Once again the ability to “Man Up!” is linked to our love walk.  Love is the overwhelming force that empowers us to step out from the clutches of our personal fears and “Man Up!” to any occasion of need that presents itself to us!  Which way will you go when the situations of life suddenly go south?  Will you allow personal insecurities to cause you to step back and away… or “Man Up!” and be used as a conduit of God’s love, peace and power in somebody else’s life?
Have a great day.  Stay in tune and actively involved in the truth of God’s Word, and keep asking yourself… “What, Where and How am I expecting to ‘Man Up!’ today?”


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