Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Well, here I am again.....slightly overweight and feeling the sluggishness of the extra weight that I carry.  Man, I vowed never to get back to this state of being out of shape and overweight.  First of all, it is not healthy for my to be on this constant up and down roller coaster called "WEIGHTZILLA," it is not promoting the best I can be to those who look to me for guidance.......and worst of all my wife doesn't like it.  So, here I go again with the JOYS of JOGGING.  Let me state here EMPHATICALLY!!!!! Whoever tells you that running is LYING to you!!  There is nothing fun about running...Except when you can stop!   Think about it...have you ever seen a runner who looks happy, joyful or like they are having the time of their life?  Not really.  I must confess that when I am running and people pass me or I see someone I know, I will put on that pseudo smile that says "hey there...I am having a great time!!!"  while on the inside I am not enjoying this at all.
But, there are some times when I run that I can be alone with just me and God and it is then when I can find the Joy of running at that moment.  It is also a time that I can see God in a sunset or sunrise (not that I have run during a sunrise in a while) or see him along the water or somewhere.  God can use those times to speak to me and get to my thoughts and put His Word in there.  These are the best times of running!

Yesterday I was on a run as I try to get back to a routine of running that I was at a couple of years ago, and I noticed a couple of things that made me aware of God in one way or another.  Yes there was lots of I seem to have overactive sweat glands when running....nice.....Yes there was lots of PAIN as I went up some hills and felt the EXTREME heat on my body.....Yes there was the MISERY of not being able to breath properly...or not at all sometimes!!  But hey...these are the JOYS OF RUNNING!!!  I can faintly remember being in good shape a couple of years ago...I can remember being able to run a few miles with little to no trouble at all.....I can remember my body changing weekly as my weight dropped and I became faster and more in shape...I can remember my muscles feeling tighter and toned as the routine of running kicked in...I can remember all of this.  So why would I let myself get out of shape all over again and have to go through this process all over again?  Why would I want to put myself through the sweat, pain and misery all over again?  To be honest with you.....I became lazy all over again!  Flat out LAZY!!!

Don't get me wrong here...I can make it sound pretty and make it sound like I am in shape and I can still do what I used to do and I am not really that bad......SOUND FAMILIAR?  I am out of shape, I cannot do what I used to do and I am really that bad.....who am I fooling??  I have allowed food, the couch, lack of exercise to dictate how I am at this moment...OUT OF SHAPE!  So yes I will again pay the price, again go through the SWEAT, PAIN and MISERY of getting back into shape.  I will pay the price to be where I need to be.  Yesterday was tough and today will not be much easier as the road and heat and the Joys of Running take it's toll on me to mold me back to where I need to be for many reasons.  When I am in shape I am happier, healthier, quicker, more alert, energetic, enthusiastic about life and basically a completely different person.  After all, shouldn't we want to be the best we can be in life so we can enjoy life to the fullest?  Yes!!!

So this brings us to our SPIRITUAL LIVES!!!!  The two our really quite similar and almost go hand in hand with each other.  Becoming more spiritual is a lot like getting into shape physically.  There is SWEAT as we get into God's Word and feel the heat of the Holy Spirit on us like a FIRE.  There is PAIN as we take a long hard and honest look at our lives and realize things have to change.  There is MISERY as we actually start to make those changes and cut out what no longer needs to be there.  Just like running, the more we consistent we are spiritually the better we get....the faster we are for God....the enthusiasm for the things of Christ returns....the more focused we become...the more alert we are about the evil around us.....the quicker we become to recognize sin and call it sin.....we BECOME and all together different (BETTER) person than we were before.  It is when we are in Good PHYSICAL SHAPE that we can look at the JOYS OF RUNNING, and it is also when we are in Good SPIRITUAL SHAPE that we can look at the JOYS OF LIVING FOR CHRIST!!

Today we need to look to God's Word to BECOME better followers of CHRIST.

2 Timothy 2:15

15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.

Go through the pain of studying the Word of God properly.  Get better daily as you grow spiritually.

Philippians 2:12-13

 12 So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

"WORK OUT YOUR SALVATION?"  Remember Salvation is more than a little prayer said to appease your conscience....Salvation....TRUE Salvation is a Relationship with the Christ who is wanting a daily interaction with you.  He wants all of you daily..not just when you are in trouble or need Him to bail you out of a situation...or need Him to bring you some $$$.  Just like Jogging, if you do not daily put the effort in you will become overweight and lazy and able to justify it and make it sound good!  Spiritually you become lazy, overburdened with the sin of life, apathetic to lost souls all around you, going though the motions of "CHURCH," pretending or justifying why you are all good and able to justify why everything is great!, NOT reading God's Word for you directions, NOT praying except for the occasional regurgitation of some prayer for food that you memorized and do not really mean,,,,,,,,UGHHH!!  This is no way to live!!  Just reading over that list makes me feel sick to my stomach.

Today, Today, get up and be different than you were yesterday.  Do something different and start your path to becoming a lean, mean Spiritual Follower of Christ.....BECOME dangerous for CHRIST!!  Get in the Word, Get into Prayer, Get rid of sin, Get into a body of accountability to help you keep your stride!!!  You can do this and you can be different....Go through the SWEAT, PAIN and MISERY that will lead to you having TRUE JOY in LIFE....Get going NOW!!!!


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Take a Walk on the WILD SIDE!!!

Who of us has not wanted to do something GREAT for God?  All of us have!  But there is a difference between wanting to do something GREAT for God and actually DOING what, or why, or who is stopping you?  The answer is simple.......YOU is stopping YOU!!  We are our own worst enemy when it comes to following after God.....or DOING something GREAT for GOD.  Don't get me wrong may not be called to move mountains or some humongous may be called to something "small" in your eyes, but to God it is HUGE!  Why?  Because when we are obedient to God.....THAT is what pleases Him....THAT is what moves Him.....THAT is what He has called you to......OBEDIENCE!!

So then, where does this desire to be obedient to God come from and how does it become an obsession to obsession to be obedient to God no matter what!  Big or small....whatever He wants we must be obedient.  But, where does that obsession come from?  Your FAITH!  That's it.....your FAITH!  If our FAITH is small we cannot be obedient to God in the way He desires for us to be.  If our FAITH is large....there is nothing we cannot do for HIM.  No matter what He asks of us.  The danger in our paths is that we are all on different journeys to the same goal and if we look at other peoples paths and start to question God why can't we do this or that like the other people we are looking at?  We show that we are not focused on God but on other people and are seeking glory or to be recognized by others.  God works with the humble and through those who are like clay and willing to be molded into His image and His design and not be concerned with other peoples paths.

Hebrews 11:1        1 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. 

What do you have confidence in?  What do you HOPE for?  What do you have ASSURANCE in?  If we only go by what our natural eyes can see....we will never go anywhere with God.  The first problem here is that our FAITH comes from hearing and from hearing the WORD of GOD...If you are not in God's WORD, then your FAITH will NEVER grow....God's Word will always cause spiritual growth in you and cause you to mature in your walk with Him.  You gotta be in the Word first of all.  Secondly we have a problem with looking with our physical eyes at the things of God and we cannot see God.  We have to take a step back sometimes and see God in our circumstances.  
I think of Peter in the New Testament:

Matthew 14:28-30 

28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”    29 “Come,” he said.
   Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

Here is Peter in a boat looking at the Christ walking on water?  If he was us today he would have dismissed it as a trick or some type of hallucination or a some unexplained natural whatever.....we would have explained it away.  But not Peter.  He got out of the boat and for the second time in history he Walked on Water....he took a Walk on the WILD SIDE!!  His eyes saw no waves, no storm, no nothing....he saw JESUS...His FAITH was HUGE at that moment.....HUGE!  Of course, when he opened his physical eyes and lost focus of Christ....his WILD SIDE stroll came to an abrupt halt......but what a walk he had.

Today I was in the pool with my kids and we played a little game.  I asked them if they could walk into the water without losing stride or without thinking about the hard ground not being there anymore.  They tried and tried for all they were worth but they could not keep a normal stride without making a pause or adjusting their step in some way.  So they tried closing their eyes and that way they would not see the edge of the pool....BUT they still could not do it........they kept trying.  Then they tried to run and hope that running would help...nope....still couldn't do it.  Their minds just could not let go of knowing that they were going to walk on water....or try to at least.  They knew that the ground was no longer there and they could not force their body to do what they wanted it to do.  It was FUNNY to watch.

That's when I thought on Peter and his Faith and what that must have looked like.  INCREDIBLE..that is all I can say.....He did it.....He took that first step into the blackness of the sea KNOWING he couldn't walk on water....BUT also KNOWING WHO called him to take that step.....Jesus is the key!  If we take our eyes off Jesus we will fall.  With our eyes on Him we can like Peter Take a Walk on the WILD SIDE!!!!

My girls could not get their minds off of the they the pool it is funny to watch...but in real life if satan can make you flinch and lose site of JESUS......if that happens...Down we go...just like Peter.  Keep your eyes on Jesus and stay on top of the water and Take a Walk on the WILD SIDE!!!!!




Sunday, September 4, 2011

Thankfulness is an ATTITUDE!!

Well....when was the last time that you took a step back from the busyness of your day and looked at everything that surrounds you and had a Spirit of Thankfulness?  For instance, Today, when you woke up and took a shower.....well let's hope that you took a shower!!!  But, Seriously, you turned a tap and water came hit a light switch and electricity happened and a light came had clothes to put had a church to go to (hopefully) probably rode in a vehicle of some most likely had probably had at least two meals today....AND you probably were able to use indoor plumbing on different levels throughout the day.....and you are reading this on a computer over the Internet. 

Take a look at that list above.  I realize that there are many things that could have gone on here, but you get the point.  We have SOOOOOO much to be THANKFUL for.  We have so much to give God praise for.  We have so much to appreciate the life that God has given you.  You have family, friends, running water, electricity, transportation, clothes, food and the list can go on and on.  Compared to app. 75-80% of the world we are truly blessed beyond what we actually realize. 

I really think that when we look at our lives through the right vision we will realize that we are most of the time far from THANKFUL.  This happens more and more because we are so distracted by our busy lives, our schedules, our activities and most likely we just don't think about some of these things at all.  We just know that when we turn the tap the water will come on...when we hit that switch the lights will come on....push the remote and the t.v with cable will turn on.  We really don't think about the reality that we are blessed!  And, because we are blessed we should be THANKFUL....ALWAYS!

Sunday we came home from church and walked into the house to eat an amazing lunch and relax.  Went to turn on the t.v. and then there it was.....the cable was off!!!!  Yikes!  So, to the computer to check the WWW.....and then Whamo!!! it was off as well!!!! double Yikes!  Now what do we do??  You see this is when it hit me....we expect the "luxuries" of life just to be there and when they are not.....YIKES!  What would we do with the time during the be honest I sat there looking at the blue screen thinking....any minute now...any minute now.  No luck!  It was literally about 6 hours until life returned to "normal" or life as we knew it before.  During that period of "Now what do we do" we watched a movie together as a family...we played cards together and just interacted more than usual.  To be honest here (after all that is the point of this whole thing) I did try to escape to the bedroom for a quick nap.....Andrea found me and I was caught in the I sluggishly joined the reindeer games again......Glad I did...Mia and me had a chance to play Phase 10 together and shared a few laughs...I did cheat (after all I cannot allow a 7 year old to beat me) But she did catch me....we laughed a lot at my attempts to not get caught.  Good times!

I find our ATTITUDES in how we approach the everyday encounters will determine who we will be.  If our ATTITUDE is wrong then nothing we encounter will mean anything to us. 

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

 16 Be joyful always; 17 pray continually; 18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

If you ask me to sum it up here is what I come up with.....
1.  Thankfulness is and ATTITUDE
2.  Thankfulness is a HABIT
3.  Thankfulness is JESUS CHRIST

When we look at all the details of our days and truly understand that we are sooooo blessed then our ATTITUDES of THANKFULNESS will become a HABIT and it is all because of JESUS CHRIST!

I learned that I need to be more THANKFUL for everything that Jesus has given me....and to be honest again I sometimes find myself going through the motions of life and have to catch myself and remember that Thankfulness is an ATTITUDE.....and sometimes the little things like the cable and Internet going off bring you back into reality that the things that matter most are always right there in front of you...but most of the time we look past them and remain busy.

Take a step back and make a little list of ALL the things that you have and remember to give Thanks for everything.

Be Joyful, pray always and give thanks wherever it is that God has placed you. 



Thursday, September 1, 2011

Dropping Your Guard!!! anyone who knows me at all, knows that I am a HUGE Rocky fan.  Always have been since I can remember first seeing Rocky at a friends house when I was a boy.  It motivated me then and it still can motivate me today; if I can ever find the time to sit and watch the best movie of ALL times...Rocky!

I grew up a boxing fan and loved watching Sugar Ray Leonard (The greatest boxer in my opinion of all time)...Greatest fight ever was Sugar Ray Vs. Marvelous Marvin Hagler!  Sugar Ray took it to the heavily favored beast Hagler.  Sugar was sweet to watch that night as he looked untouchable and made Hagler look old, slow, outclassed, outboxed and just outsmarted.  One of Sugar Rays trademark moves is when he DROPS his guard, shuffles his feet, swings one arm in circles and then out of nowhere.....BAM he hits his opponent with a fast and furious jab. Complete SWEETNESS and I am sure a complete psych job on the poor opponent who just got owned and made to look like an amateur.

Sugar Ray was sweet and fast enough to drop his guard in the ring and get away with it and make the other guy look bad to all who watched.  But....But....You and those of us who face a much more deadly, vicious, bad intentioned, looking to destroy everything about you enemy;  cannot afford to drop your guard and hope it all works out in the end.  Satan is your enemy and has bad intentions for you at every turn.  He is looking to knock you out and ruin who you are as a follower of Christ.  We as Christians have got to wake up and get in the fight and be smart about Who we are, What we represent, Who our enemy is, What his strategy is, How he attacks, When he attacks and Who he attacks.

Iron Mike Tyson was also a great boxer before his complete debacle and utter self destruction as a boxer.  He was fierce, smart, dangerous and very good.  His power was feared among opponents and his skills in the beginning were amazing to watch.  He is mostly remembered for his amazing punches that could knock a guy out, a guy who was a professional boxer, with one punch.  Tyson would look to knock his opponent out every time his fist left his guard.  Bad Intentions was his goal, bad intentions being unconsciousness for the unlucky recipient of his punch!  He was feared.  Your enemy, satan, has Bad Intentions for you....every time....he wants to take you out.....he want to hurt you and leave you spiritually unconscious.  

1 Peter 5:8

New International Version (NIV)
 8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

Sounds like somebody who has bad intentions for you....right?

Proverbs 4:23

New International Version (NIV)

23 Above all else, guard your heart,
   for everything you do flows from it.

Keep your GUARD are not Sugar are not Mike Tyson.....spiritually speaking of course!  The World, the Flesh and the Devil will always try to get you to take your eyes off of God and get your attention, your focus, your affection on the wrong things.  All this is, is a jab by satan to get you to drop your guard so he can go for the knockout.  Your affection is meant for God, your passion is meant for Christ and anything else is a design to make you drop your guard.  Be proactive on your daily walk to protect your heart from the things that are a trap for you.  Be smart and keep your focus on Christ and be ready for an attack from satan.  Unlike Mike Tyson and Sugar Ray....we do not have to fear satan....he is a defeated foe!  Our fear is for God alone and not for a fake substitute.  Satan only has power over you when you give it to him, when you give him opportunity to rule your life with affections that oppose Christ.  When we are walking in Truth and living for Christ...we have no reason to fear satan....he is POWERLESS against Christ.  Let your life represent Christ and let Christ RULE your life and I guarantee you satan will flee from you as you submit to God daily!

James 4:7

New International Version (NIV)
 7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
 1. Submit to God (everything)
 2. Resist the devil (guard your heart)
 3. He will flee (look for somebody else to attack)

You can be VICTORIOUS, You can be the one in your family, church, school, youth group, neighbourhood, to be different and be an example for others to see.  Keep up your guard and keep your heart on God and loving Him and His Son above all else.  Don't drop your GUARD!