Biblical Worldview Resources

At Liberty, we are in a series called Brainwashed that is a critical conversation about our culture. In the first message, I mentioned some important resources on Biblical worldview. Here is the list:

Websites:

Books:

Overcoming Critical Voices – Voice #2, Humiliation

This week I am sharing some excerpts from my new book, Pulse. These excerpts are taken from chapter 2, Courage in which David is making his way to fighting Goliath. Before Goliath draws a sword, David is assaulted with words. Personally, I know no one who has ever been attacked by a sword, but all of us are well acquainted with the cutting sting of words. How do we overcome those inevitable, critical voices? In the next few posts, I want to share with you how to overcome three critical voices that will try to crush your vision, Insinuation, Humiliation, and Intimidation. 

Critic #2: Saul, the Voice of Humiliation

Upon learning that David was ready to fight Goliath, King Saul immediately called David’s lack of size and experience into question.

1 Samuel 17:33 And Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him, for you are but a youth, and he has been a man of war from his youth.”

How humiliating was that? Basically, the king told David that he was too small and too young and that Goliath was an experienced champion of war who’d been fighting longer than David had been alive. Goliath was too big for a kid like David.

When people humiliate us, it’s often tempting to belittle them and magnify ourselves. But David did neither. Instead, he magnified his God. His response is instructive for us when we hear the voice of humiliation.

1 Samuel 17:34-37 But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep sheep for his father. And when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb from the flock, I went after him and struck him and delivered it out of his mouth. And if he arose against me, I caught him by his beard and struck him and killed him. Your servant has struck down both lions and bears, and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God.” And David said, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.”

When we are humiliated by others, it provokes our pride. When belittled, our natural reaction is to take it personally. But David’s heart was in a different place. He was concerned primarily about the honor and glory of God. Saul’s words were directed at him, but he knew well that this situation was not ultimately about him. The battle with Goliath belonged to the Lord. David’s size was not his problem or Saul’s problem. David’s size was God’s problem, and David trusted that God could overcome it.

In fact, David rightly discerned that Saul’s statement revealed more about what Saul thought about the Lord than what Saul thought about him; it revealed a lack of faith in Saul’s heart more than a concern about the relative sizes of David and Goliath.

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But David had not been the king in waiting; he had been the king out working. Out in the fields protecting the sheep, David had already encountered many life-threatening beasts, namely, lions and bears. Goliath wasn’t the first giant he’d faced; he was merely the next one. David had already seen what God could do in bringing brutal foes to nothing. As a result of seeing God’s power, he knew God’s power. He wasn’t concerned with being short when his God was the mightiest of all warriors.

Too many people wait to be named the starter before they decide to get started. Too many people stall and hold out until what they think should happen actually happens. But waiting leads to watching—watching your best opportunities pass by. You can’t wait to be named the starter before you start getting better!

No matter what anyone may say, champions aren’t lucky; they’re good. If you can tangle with bears and grab lions by the beard, then nine-foot giants are much less intimidating. David became “big” because of his experiences, not because of his entitlements. He knew from experience that if God wanted him in the fight, he couldn’t lose. He knew he had a purpose and a calling, so he fearlessly trusted God whether he was fighting a bear, a lion, or a giant.

Don’t wait around for someone to give you some entitlement you might feel you deserve. That’s a waste of time. Instead, step out and experience the power of God in your life. Get started now.

But keep in mind, when you get started, you will likely face the critic of humiliation. Some may humiliate you as a way of making sure you always seem smaller than them. Saul surely wanted to keep David in his place by calling his size into question. But isn’t it ironic that even though Saul was the tallest man in Israel (1 Samuel 9:2), when he was confronted by Goliath, he was too small to fight?

The best way to deal with critics who humiliate you is to keep moving on. Recognize that they are most likely humiliating you because of some issue with their own heart and let it go. You’ve got more important issues to deal with.

_______________

Be sure to check out tomorrow’s post, voice #2, Humiliation. For more information about Pulse or how to get your copy, click here.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Pulse, subscribe to my website and I will immediately give you access to a digital copy of Chapter 1, Commitment.


 

How do you deal with critical voices in your life?

Overcoming Critical Voices – Voice #1, Insinuation

This week I will be sharing some excerpts from my new book, Pulse. These excerpts are taken from chapter 2, Courage in which David is making his way to fighting Goliath. Before Goliath draws a sword, David is assaulted with words. Personally, I know no one who has ever been attacked by a sword, but all of us are well acquainted with the cutting sting of words. How do we overcome those inevitable, critical voices? In the next few posts I want to share with you how to overcome three critical voices that will try to crush your vision, Insinuation, Humiliation, and Intimidation. Let’s learn from David.

Critic #1: Eliab, the Voice of Insinuation

David had decided to fight Goliath, but before he did that, he had to fight discouragement from Eliab, his eldest brother. When you decide to step out, don’t be surprised if some of the people closest to you step forward to stop you. It’s often the words of those you know best that cut deepest.

Upon hearing of David’s ambition, Eliab began to interrogate his motives and make serious insinuations about them:

1 Samuel 17:28 Now Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spoke to the men. And Eliab’s anger was kindled against David, and he said, “Why have you come down? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your presumption and the evil of your heart, for you have come down to see the battle.”

When critics make insinuations about us, doubt is sewn into our minds and discouragement into our hearts. Few things are as painful as trying to do the right thing and having someone insinuate that your motive is evil.

Even though their father had sent him, Eliab insinuated that David was being disobedient: “Why have you come down?” Even though David had risen early that morning and made sure the sheep were in the care of a keeper (v. 20), Eliab insinuated that he was irresponsible and incompetent: “With whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness?” Even though the motive of David’s heart was to bring honor and glory to God, Eliab insinuated that he was there to satisfy his wickedness by watching a bloody battle: “I know your presumption and the evil of your heart, for you have come down to see the battle.”

Pulse and Devo $20 special

When your critics make insinuations about you, it frequently becomes a battle about your motives. Eliab was arguing that David’s real reasons for being on the battlefield and challenging Goliath were evil.

However, David didn’t lash out at Eliab or even try to defend himself. Instead, he responded, “What have I done now? It was only a word” (1 Samuel 17:29). Then David turned away and began to speak to some of the other people there (v.30). Rather than arguing his case or hanging around for more insinuations, David simply put Eliab’s statement into perspective and moved on.

The ear captures sound, but the heart is the amplification chamber. The voices of your critics grow louder each time they echo in your heart. It’s so tempting to allow their words to become the central issue in our thinking.

David didn’t fall for that temptation. He kept it all in perspective. He was focused on the main issue, and he wanted to keep it front and center. The issue wasn’t whether David had placed the sheep under someone’s watch, or whether he had obeyed his father, or how he ended up on the battlefield that day. He wasn’t going to waste time debating those relatively minor matters with Eliab. David knew the sheep were cared for and that he had come to the battlefield in obedience to his father. He didn’t need to shift his focus in order to defend himself. There was a much bigger issue on David’s mind, and he would not be distracted from it. There was a pagan giant who dared to defy the God of Israel. That was the main issue and focus. David kept this in perspective and turned away from his critic without a debate.

Insinuation is a big word, but when you put it into perspective, it’s not a big deal. It doesn’t matter what people think about you. What has God called you to do? That’s what matters.

In fact, when people make insinuations, they are typically expressing their own insecurities. Eliab lashed out at David and called him evil because David’s courage exposed Eliab’s cowardice. Eliab’s insinuations say much more about the frightened condition of his own heart than anything about David. He was just like every other soldier that day—afraid to fight—and people who are paralyzed by their own insecurities often attempt to substantiate their fear by getting others to join them in it.

The best way to deal with critics who make insinuations about you is not to debate, but to move on. There are much bigger issues that require your focus.

_____________

Be sure to check out tomorrow’s post, voice #2, Humiliation. For more information about Pulse or how to get your copy, click here.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Pulse, subscribe to my website and I will immediately give you access to a digital copy of Chapter 1, Commitment.


 

How do you deal with critical voices in your life?

Books by Brian Branam

Unboxing Pulse, Win a Free Copy, and a Cyber Special

In case you missed it, I opened the first box of copies of my new book Pulse live on my Facebook Page! And for those of you who love a good Black Friday/Cyber Monday deal, I will be running a special from Friday through Monday. If you buy a copy of Pulse, I’ll throw in a copy of the Grace, Hope, and Love Daily Devotional for $5.

On Friday (11/23), I will also give away a copy of Pulse to one of my subscribers. If you haven’t subscribed yet, all you have to do is give me your name and email address below and I will immediately send you a copy of the first chapter of Pulse for free. Have a great Thanksgiving week/weekend and THANK YOU for being a part of BrianBranam.com.

 

 

It’s either Pulse or some sort of facial cream!

Posted by Brian Branam on Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Get the first chapter of my new book Pulse by subscribing to BrianBranam.com.

LifeFib, What to do When Life Gets Out of Rhythm

At the end of this post, I am going to give you a free copy of the first chapter of my new book, Pulse. Scroll on if you would like, but before you do, I would like to ask you a question. You’ve heard of AFib, but have you ever heard of LifeFib? Maybe you have it and don’t know it! LifeFib can be a killer. A lot of men die from LifeFib!

The human heart is a marvelous biological organ, intricately designed to work with precision. Unfortunately, the heart can get out of rhythm and compromise our health. One type of heart rhythm issue is called atrial fibrillation, or AFib.

In AFib, the upper chambers and lower chambers of the heart are out of sync. Literally, the heart quivers. Prolonged periods of AFib can result in heart damage, heart attack, or even death. Something has to bring the heart back into rhythm.

But the heart is more than a mere biological machine. The heart can fall in love and be broken. You can have a good heart or a bad heart and it has nothing to do with cholesterol. A person can be near and dear to your heart even if they live three states away. An apology can be heartfelt. A romantic movie can tug at your heartstrings. Some people have a heart of gold, while others have a heart of stone. You can “give it all your heart,” and yet still retain the muscle beating within your chest. As far as country music goes, you can have a “Cheatin’ Heart,” an “Achy Breaky Heart,” or a “Lonely Heart,” even if you’ve crossed your heart. Broken promises lead to broken hearts.

If AFib is caused by misguided misfires of the physiological heart, what do you do about those misguided misfires in life? Let’s call those LifeFib.  How do you deal with LifeFib, life out of rhythm?

There is something in this for all of us, but let me speak especially to the men.

Every man has a lot coming at him. Every man can point to trial and tragedy in his story. We all misfire, but with enough misfires, men tend to go into “LifeFib.” A prolonged period of misfires becomes a dangerous season for a man.  When those misfires begin to mount up, men tend to give up. Men are losing heart.

The heart of a man is everything. Physiologically the mouth is connected to the stomach, but Jesus understood that spiritually the mouth is connected to the heart. He said, “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks (Matthew 12:34).” Proverbs 4:23 teaches that each of us needs to be careful with our heart because out of it flow the issues of life.

How can men who end up in LifeFib bring life back into rhythm?

If there is a pacemaker for the biological heart, surely there is something for each us of, especially for men, that can help us get life back into rhythm.

My new book, Pulse, takes on that topic. In Pulse, I walk men through the story of David, whom the Bible calls a “man after God’s own heart.” David was royal but awful. He was raw but redeemed. He was a success and a failure. David’s life went in and out of rhythm. David had LifeFib issues.

David’s relationship with the Lord was His spiritual pacemaker. In Pulse, I will share with you 11 traits of a man after God’s own heart; essentially 11 points of pulse that were critical for David and will work as a pacemaker for you as well.

Commitment. Courage. Loyalty. Toughness. Valor. Restraint. Strength. Favor. Obedience. Vision. Salvation – 11 points of Pulse.

If you subscribe to my website, BrianBranam.com, I will give you the first chapter of Pulse, Commitment, for free. All you have to do is fill out the simple form below, submit it, and download the link to the PDF of the first chapter. If you enjoy the first chapter, check out the whole book, available for purchase right here at BrianBranam.com.

And I know the harsh reality – most men can read, but don’t read! So ladies, if you have a man in your life that needs a pacemaker to help him in LifeFib, consider purchasing Pulse for him – and just tell him what it says :).

Don’t give up! LifeFib happens. There is a pacemaker for the soul to help you get life back in rhythm.  

Get the first chapter of Pulse by subscribing to BrianBranam.com.

Photo cred: https://stocksnap.io/author/11287

Burning Your Regrets – Thank you LIONS!

CHS Football Hype 2018 from 148 Films. by Skip Skipper on Vimeo.

You can’t change the past. Theoretically, you really can’t get rid of your regrets. So the question is not how to get rid of them, the question is how will you respond to them?

Tonight is going to be an incredible moment for me. For the past three seasons I have served the Christian Heritage Lions football team as chaplain. My journey with them through a 1-9 season in 2016, and the loss of my dad in 2017, serves as the personal context for my new book Pulse. Pulse began as a collection of pre-game devotionals I shared with the team. Those talks seemed to take on a life of their own and I quickly penned the book Lionheart to record those talks, document that season, and preserve them as a gift to our team and coaches during that difficult but incredible season.

One of those talks, now refined over the past two years, has made its way into Pulse, chapter 4 entitled Toughness. In that chapter I tell the story of my quitting football after my freshman season. Here’s the story as it appears in Pulse.

Adversity Leads to Your Advancement

The unwritten question in 1 Samuel 18 is this: Will David quit or will he advance to be the king? Most would gladly welcome the advancement to the throne, but very few are fit for the necessary adversity leading to such an advancement.

Earlier, I said I’d share a story of failure from my life. I made a bad decision due to my lack of toughness, and as a result, I did not advance.

When I was in eighth grade, our high school football team had a disastrous 0-10 season. In fact, throughout the 1980s, Ringgold High School was the perennial toilet bowl of Northwest Georgia football. Don Patterson had been head coach for almost 25 years at the time. I remember our school having a special ceremony celebrating Coach Patterson’s 100th win. Of course, that’s a great accomplishment and coach was a great man, but if you do the math you realize that taking 25 years to win 100 games means that he suffered through a lot of losing seasons. All that to say, our team was not very good.

So as my freshman year of high school approached, in an attempt to build a better team, the administration made a change in policy. Students no longer had to try out for the team, and there would be no cuts. Any student who came out would be on the team.

My parents had never allowed me to play “official” football before, but I was involved in the almost daily neighborhood brawls known as backyard football. I loved the game. And so, seeing that there were no tryouts or cuts, I signed up for football on the second day of school. When I informed my parents, Dad was excited. Mom, not so much.

I soon learned that the game we played in the neighborhood was not the same game they were playing in the high school stadium!

On the first day of practice, I showed up with about a hundred other guys. There were so many players that we were divided into three teams. First, the freshman team was full of awkward ninth graders. Next, the junior varsity team was composed of two very good ninth graders, all of the tenth graders, and some terrible juniors. Finally, the varsity team consisted exclusively of juniors and seniors. Unless you were a phenom, you had zero chance of playing on the varsity team until your junior year. Though I had played plenty of sports growing up, the word phenom had never been attached to my name.

Early on, I did hold my own. While not a spectacular athlete, I was well-rounded enough to pick up football fairly quickly. Soon I was the starting defensive tackle for our freshman team. By midseason, I was playing both defensive tackle and offensive guard. That all sounds great, except I had this one little problem—I hated to practice.

When you’re a freshman on a squad of over a hundred players, that means you must spend the first 45 minutes of practice as a tackling dummy for the varsity team.

Every. Single. Day.

I would go to practice with my stomach in knots because I knew I was about to take another beating from the upperclassmen. Yeah, practice was the pits.

Even worse, the varsity team posted a fairly lousy 4-6 record that year. The coaches were always in a foul mood, and they took it out on us. I wasn’t even involved in the Friday night games (I was sitting in the bleachers). Still, I was punished severely the following Monday for what happened on the field! The word hate doesn’t even come close to describing how I felt about football practice.

The freshman team finished our season a few weeks before the varsity team. After our last game, something happened. For eight weeks, the head honcho, Coach Patterson, didn’t know we freshmen even existed. It seemed he had no idea we were on the practice field. I honestly don’t think he even knew we were in the county! His focus had been strictly on the varsity players. But for some odd reason, in week eight, he found us.

Coach Patterson lined us up and told us to take a knee. I momentarily thought that maybe he was about to ask for our forgiveness for the way he and the other coaches had treated us (FYI, football coaches don’t ask for forgiveness). But instead of leading us in a prayer of reconciliation, Coach Patterson issued an impassioned invitation to rise up. He made a deal with us. If we continued to practice the next few weeks, he would allow us to dress out with the varsity team for the final home game.

Several of the guys expressed great excitement about this deal. I was not one of them. In fact, my mama would have spanked me hard if I had verbalized some of the words that were running through my mind in that moment. Did I mention how much I hated practice? Not only that, but I also saw so many other guys ahead of me, and so much hard work. Plus, I wasn’t fond of the idea of enduring so many losing seasons swirling about in the perennial toilet bowl of Northwest Georgia football.

So I turned in my pads and quit. I thought it was too tough.

The next season, the varsity team went 5-5, which I thought validated my decision. All season, I was the guy sitting in the stands on Friday nights telling other people that I “would play” if the team were better and that I was “pretty good” but I knew it would be a waste of time. I criticized the coaches and laughed at the losses. I was “that” guy.

The next season, when I was a junior, the varsity team went 9-1. The only loss came to division rival Dalton High School. Not only did they have a fantastic season, but they also hosted the first ever playoff game in Ringgold football history. At the time, only two teams could make it to the playoffs from each region. In the history of the school, Ringgold had never won the region or even finished second.

I’ll never forget sitting in the bleachers during the last regular season win. The game was well in hand, and the 9-1 season was virtually certain. Then, suddenly, the announcer came over the PA and informed the crowd that Dalton had lost their game that night, finishing their season with an 8-2 record. That meant that Ringgold had won the region for the first time ever and would be hosting it’s first ever playoff game—without me.

When this announcement boomed into the stadium, there I was sitting in the bleachers. The celebration ensued on the field while I was stuck in the stands because two seasons prior, I’d quit. I missed out on advancement because I was not willing to suffer the adversity. That terrible decision to quit remains one of the biggest regrets of my life.

However, something good and formative resulted from the experience. I learned a tremendous lesson. From that day on, I determined that I would never again be a quitter. I’ve already achieved many of my dreams and goals, like publishing books, pastoring a growing church, and meeting some incredible people. But I still have a long way to go before I grab on to all my dreams, some of which seem to be way beyond my reach. But I promise you this, I will not quit.

I hope you join me in that commitment. Men, we’ve got to be tough. We’ve got to endure. We’ve got to face adversity head on, realizing that it’s shaping, forming, and preparing us to fulfill our callings. We must remember that God will use our adversity to advance us for his glory.

___________________________

Last Friday, in my pre-game talk, I shared that story once again and about the regret of missing that home playoff game during my junior year of high school. Had I persevered through the adversity I would have been on the field with my friends rather than sitting in the bleachers with the fans. That was 1990! That’s a long time to live with regret.

And now here I am in 2018, having constantly replayed that regret in my mind through the years (especially during football season). Now much older and wiser, hopefully a little tougher, I have given my life to serve others; especially into serving student athletes hopefully helping them avoid some regrets. I lost my chance to play in a home playoff game. There is always something lost in our mistakes, but because of my response, here I am 28 years later – tonight I will be part of a team, standing on the sidelines during a home playoff game; the first in CHS history! God is good!

Last Thursday morning our team burned their regrets. Each player had an opportunity to write down a few of their personal regrets and burn them before their teammates. I penned my regret on a small note and shared it with our guys during last week’s pre-game. The guys told me, “Coach, after the game we are going to burn your regret.” Even as we came out of the locker room at the half, down by a touchdown, our players kept telling me they were going to win the game and burn my regret. They came from behind and won the game! Over the past 3 season, our guys have learned how to be tough and face adversity.

After the game, in the locker room, those players surrounded me and we burned my regret! I’ll never forget that moment.

Thank you 2016 LIONHEARTS! Thank you LIONS! Thank you GOD!

You may not be able to rid yourself of your regrets, but the way your respond to them can make all the difference. There is a lot in life bigger than football; never forget that God has an amazing way of bringing faithfulness full circle in every venue of life. Persevere through the adversity – He will use it for your advancement.

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Men are Giving Up

According to Forbes, 10 million men between ages 25 and 64 have dropped out of the American work force. They have quit their jobs and are no longer looking. Men are giving up on work.

Numerous articles and studies show that American men are giving up on marriage. The number of men leaving their marriages in their 50’s is soaring. The number of young men who are not even considering marriage is staggering. With so many men giving up on marriage it seems that the traditional American family is about to breathe its last breath.

At an alarming rate, men are giving up on life. Since 2000 the suicide rate amongst men has been steadily climbing from 17.7 men per 100,000 to 21.4 men per 100,000. The suicide rate amongst white males aged 35 to 64 increased 40% between 1999 and 2010.

There may be numerous contributing factors to the loss of so many men; stress, fear, failure. Whatever the reason, every man has his low points. What if those low points could become turning points?

In my recently released book, Pulse, I point men to one of David’s low points. After an amazing start, David suffered a string of losses. In the eight years after David defeated Goliath, David went from being the most beloved man in Israel to being just another one of its rejects. He lost his marriage. He lost one of his best friends. He lost his mentor. He made a decision that resulted in the brutal slaying of 85 priests. David went from being destined to the throne to being a broken man, depressed in a cave.

It was a low point – but it became a turning point. David made some decisions in the cave that kept him from giving up and helped him get up. Rather than fight back, David learned how to fight forward. What were those decisions? How do low points become turning points?

For a low point to become a turning point a man must make the following decisions:

  • Will he reconcile or rip apart? Under pressure a man can do irreparable damage to already fragile relationships. At low points men can make decisions that can either push people away, or bring critical people in close.
  • Will he learn to be a leader or continue to be a loser? Men take insults personally. As much as we would like to pretend it isn’t true – words hurt. At low points a man can make a decision that turns insults into points of inspiration.
  • Which determinations will lead to the best decisions? For men, the low points of life can either becomes stopping points or launching points. The cave can either be a destination or a place of determination. Your choice.
  • Is your system the reason for your situation? At low points men tend to focus on their problems. The problem is that in most cases, the problem is not your problem! The problem is the system. What are the consistent daily decisions that have led to the low point? Most men don’t need a situation change, they need a system change.
  • Will he implode or improve? David could have given up in the cave. Instead he turned a bunch of rag tag, down-and-outers into elite warriors the Bible calls Men of Valor. Low points can become places in which men learn new skills that can greatly improve the next chapters of his life.

Low points can be turning points. Don’t give up.

If you would like to know more, check out my new book Pulse; particularly chapter 5, Valor. Pulse is available in my online bookstore or on Amazon.

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