God’s Final Word Was, and Is, and Is to Come

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.  In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.  We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.~John 1:1-5,14"For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus"  1 Timothy 2:5

This passage of scripture is one of my favorite of all time, it’s almost poetic.  I love how John uses God’s Word as Jesus.  Jesus was God’s last word to man, and what a Word that was and still is.  The Word has lasted centuries and we still have the Word to look back at every day.  I want to spend some time breaking down this scripture in this post and maybe shed some new light on this passage.  When we would go out and share the gospel in my former church, we would always use this scripture.  I am so glad I have this one memorized on my heart to pull out at any time that I need it.

In the beginning was the Word.  Jesus was always around, always a part of God the Father.  He was there when the world and the universe around the world was made, He saw man and woman and all the creatures on this planet formed.  He was a part of the whole process.  I think we tend to think that Jesus’ beginning was when Mary gave birth to Him, but as John puts it, He was there in the beginning.

And the Word was with God, and the Word was God, He was with God in the beginning.  If Jesus was around in the beginning, then He was and is God.  It’s hard to fathom how the Trinity works.  There is God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  All three are one, and all three are how God chooses to reveal Himself.  The Holy Spirit was in the beginning as well.  It mentions the Holy Spirit moving over the face of the earth in Genesis 1:2..  In addition, Jesus revealed Himself on several occasions with Moses and was the fourth man in the fire with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.  We are created in God’s image as trinities as well.  We have a physical body, an emotional persona, and a spirit spot.  They all work as one to make us who we are.

Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.  Jesus was a part of the creation process.  I was just struck with a realization that God made everything physical, so that means Jesus made everything emotional.  I believe Jesus had everything to do with making man’s emotional persona.  This would put Him in the position of being the answer to man’s fall.  The first Adam caused man to fall, the last Adam, Jesus, restores man to his former glory as mentioned in I Corinthians 15:45.

In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.  Without man’s persona, we would be no better than the animals.  He gave us life, He made us who we are, this is so incredible!  Life is having a personality, a character, and if we allow Him to, He will transform our character to be more like His character, loving and faithful.  What does this life bring; it brings light to a dark world.  Adam before the fall was clothed in light as God was.  That was why Adam and Eve realized they were naked because the light left them when they sinned.  Jesus restores life and light to our lives.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.  Darkness only exists where there is no light.  When you shine a flashlight in a dark room, the darkness can never overcome it.  It goes away when the light is introduced in a dark room.  When that light is used it helps us to see clearer.  When Jesus gives us life and light, we can shine bright in a negative dark world.  We become a danger to the darkness around us.  What an incredible awesome gift Jesus gives us.  The light that shines from us is the Holy Spirit.  We have the spirit spot in our lives.  This spot is empty and we try and fill it up with other things that are dark, but as we accept Christ in our lives the spirit spot is filled with the Holy Spirit.  The heart light that removes the darkness from around us that helps us see clearer and others around us to see clearer.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.  We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.  Jesus came into the world as God/man.  He was all God and all man.  He is still all God and all man.  Jesus has the ultimate empathy to know what it’s like to be human.  Not only did He create our persona, but also He came to earth as one of us so He could redeem us and understand us.  Grace and truth would not have happened if He hadn’t come into this world.  Grace is God’s mercy and His unfathomable favor, which we do not deserve.  Truth is the fact that we need Jesus in our lives to help us be all that we can be in Jesus.  God’s glory happens when we accept Him into our lives and live the light that is within us.  We don’t allow the enemy to douse that light, we live godly and righteous lives.

God’s final Word Jesus, can save us from certain doom, can brighten and lighten our lives, can bring life into us, and help us always to overcome the darkness around us.  Shine bright all the time.  It’s the best life you can ever live.

© [David Howard], [David's Body Temple], 2011-2015.

Community Unity In the Wake of 9/11

Jesus replied, “‘You must love the lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment.  A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”~Matthew 22:37-40  

I had my stress-fractured ankle propped up on the desk in front of me on the desk I was using.  I was in that position because a few days before I stepped off too soon and skipped the bottom 3 stairs and landed hard on my left foot.  The stress from my 449-pound body was too much for my ankle to support with that much weight coming down on it and so the stress fracture happened.  This occurred at work and so it was a Workman’s Comp injury.  I was fortunate enough to get some light duty while I healed in the boot they gave me to support my ankle.  I was sitting at that desk with my leg propped up and the news came in the third hour of my workday that the North Tower of the World Trade Center had a plane crash into it.  I was shocked and mortified that something like that would even happen.  I just thought at that moment that it was a freak accident.  Then about 8:15am I hear the news that the South tower was hit by another plane, then I realized that it was not a freak accident, but a terrorist attack.  The events that transpired since that heinous event are some great stories of heroic acts of kindness that saved lives, but also sacrificed many lives to save lives.  It was inspiring to see both Republicans and Democrats come together and sing God Bless America.  To see people and first responders from all across America to come to the site of the attack and help as much as they could to find people that may be trapped under the debris of the building collapse.  It was inspiring to see New York City a city where they are not known for their friendliness come together as one community to help each other out.  What disturbs me is this did not last for long.

Let’s fast forward to this morning, 7:30 am central time 9-11-2014.  The rain began around 5 am and came down in a continuous deluge.  I’m fortunate that my house sits on the crest of a hill, but my neighbors houses at the bottom of the hill are not so fortunate.  I didn’t realize how bad the flooding was on my street until my wife came back and told me that the middle of the street was flooded.  If this were 13 years ago, I would have not even considered going out in waste deep water to check up on my neighbors in the middle of the street.  My shame today is that I have lived here for 16 years and have not taken the time even to know these people, who by the way are very friendly.  A couple of these houses were filled with water; I went to four different houses to check up on my neighbors.  I gave my phone number to them all too late to even help them today, but in the future, they can move their cars to my driveway to get out of the water.  What is sad is it takes a crisis to unite us as a community.  I want to in no way compare what I went through today to what happened 13 years ago.  I just want to honor those that lived and died through that tragedy 13 years ago today.  I think one of the best things that came out of it was that sense of community and loving your neighbor that emerged from that crisis of major proportion.  Today was a personal revelation to me to be aware of whom my neighbor is and get to know them.  Of all of them, they lost four cars today and two houses were flooded.  Had I taken the time to know them, I would have had them move their cars to my driveway at least alleviate some of the stress of the damage they experienced.  If we take the time to get to know them, we can become their angel and they can become our angel in the time of need.

I would like to suggest to you today, if you don’t know your neighbor, be so bold as to find out who they are and strike up a conversation.  Don’t wait like I did when something bad happens, get to know them now.  Keep your neighbors close to you; you may never know when you will need them.  As Jesus said in the above quote, love your neighbor as yourself.  Your neighbor is not just those that live on your block or around your apartment, but those that are in your path every day.  A random smile here a happy hello there shows that you are friendly and that you are a person that cares.  If we can keep this second command as Jesus pointed out above, then we are doing a great job of keeping the first command, which is to love God.  If we love God’s creation, we show that we love Him.  Love your neighbor; don’t look at the bad stuff that they do, just love them like Jesus.  If it starts with you then maybe we can find some kind of community unity that didn’t last like it should have after the attack on September 11th, 2001.

© [David Howard], [David's Body Temple], 2011-2015.

Depression: You Just Don’t Get Over It


I have to reblog this because it’s an important post. Please read when you can.

Originally posted on David's Body Temple:

It’s not an easy journey, to get to a place where you forgive people.  But it is such a powerful place, because it frees you. –Tyler Perry

But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.  – Mark 11:25

With the tragic death of Robin Williams, a gifted comedian and actor, I have been soberly looking back at my own bit of depression that I held onto for 37 years.  As you may or may not know, my story is that I finally became 449 pounds as I tried to eat myself to death.  Robin Williams probably suffered the type of chronic depression for which remedies are rare.  It takes intensive therapy and, especially important, antidepressants.  Some people who are haters have posted “Why didn’t he just get over it?”  Some things you just cannot “get over.”  These things…

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Depression: You Just Don’t Get Over It

It’s not an easy journey, to get to a place where you forgive people.  But it is such a powerful place, because it frees you. –Tyler Perry

But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.  – Mark 11:25

With the tragic death of Robin Williams, a gifted comedian and actor, I have been soberly looking back at my own bit of depression that I held onto for 37 years.  As you may or may not know, my story is that I finally became 449 pounds as I tried to eat myself to death.  Robin Williams probably suffered the type of chronic depression for which remedies are rare.  It takes intensive therapy and, especially important, antidepressants.  Some people who are haters have posted “Why didn’t he just get over it?”  Some things you just cannot “get over.”  These things take the power of God to help you overcome them.  I am not going to sit here and even suggest I know Robin Williams spiritual demeanor, that would be playing God, and I leave that only to God.  This post is about the other half of my story, the depression that caused me to gain a lot of weight over the years. 

My difficulty was used as an illustration in one of my pastor’s sermons without mentioning my name.  He said he prayed that one day I would be willing to share this story with others, so others could gain power from it.  I don’t share this to get sympathy, pity, or sadness for what I had to endure.  I want to point out that if I had not gone through this, God could not have twisted this evil that was done to me into something good.  That something good is to share that you are not alone, and I pray that many who read this will realize that they have nothing to be ashamed of since they were not in control of the situation.  Of all the transformations that have happened in my life, this was the biggest.  It began with a suggestion from a very good friend who was instrumental in helping me lose my weight.  She said that I ought to check out the book The Shack, authored by William P. Young.  The book is a one of the best books I have read, and it was life changing for me.  In it, the main character has to deal with the heinous killing of his young daughter.  At the end of the book, God is telling him that he has to forgive the man that killed his daughter.  That touched me to the point of tears, and at the time, I had no idea why I was touched so deeply.  I said a prayer, “God if I have ever not forgiven someone, please show me.”  God answers these types of prayers.  He let it stew in me for two weeks and then gave me an answer.  He said to me through the Holy Spirit, “Remember when you were 10 years old and you were molested?”  Then I remembered.  It had been the same year I started gaining weight and the same year I gave my life to Christ.  Thankfully, being saved — saved me from lifestyles that are far more destructive.  Eating oneself to death is still destructive.  The weight gain gave me severe asthma, sleep apnea, and heart failure.  Bitterness and an unforgiving spirit ate away at my soul, and the only way I could find comfort was eating the comfort food that eventually made me so uncomfortable.  What still amazes me is that I had no idea how beaten down I was.  My recovery built my character by giving me a desire never to give up on life or trying to overcome.  Let’s now talk about steps that can move us from a depressed state.

If you have some kind of continuing destructive behavior in your life, you may need to consult a counselor or a Christian psychologist.  This may mean you are depressed, and I really believe one of the root causes of depression is bitterness.  The point here is that you need to reach out and get some kind of help, whether it is a friend or professional, if it leads to that.  What worked for me was sharing it with friends and family and getting the empathy I so needed to overcome my depression.  This may happen differently for you, we all are different people; what worked for me may not work for you.  The first step is examining your life and determining if you are continuing a destructive behavior.  If you are, seek some kind of help.  No man is an island, and we always need to reach out to people. 

The next, hardest, but most important step is to forgive the person who wronged you.  For me it was, “God, I don’t know where this person is, whether he is alive or dead, but I forgive him and pray that his life has changed around so that he will no longer hurt anyone in this way ever again.”  I continue to pray that to this day.  When I first prayed it, I felt absolutely nothing.  I did hear the enemy tell me that was not a sincere forgiveness prayer.  You may feel that way too, but ignore that thought.  God will honor that prayer because He knows your heart better than anyone, even the enemy.  The best ally you have is not only God, but also time.  With the right attitude and forgiveness, time can help heal all wounds, even those deep inside of us.  God uses time to soften the hurt that we have experienced and slowly will turn it around for the good.  He always is faithful in doing this.  It took a couple of years for me to finally feel completely free from bitterness, but the gratitude and love of life I experience every day is to me an indicator of my true freedom.

The last step is to help others who have experienced this pain.  Sharing your painful story with others helps to empower them and to empower yourself.  God doesn’t want us to be blessed and then leave it at that.  He wants us to be instrumental in freeing someone else from his or her own prison.  I allowed myself to get into a self-built prison and gave the enemy a stronghold in my life in which to destroy me.  When we selflessly share our pain, we bring forgiveness to ourselves for something for which we should not have to be forgiven because we were not willing participants.  Tyler Perry is one of my favorite people because he went through way more than what I had to endure, and what a thriving life he has.  He found the key was forgiving the person or persons that did this to him, but also forgiving himself.  He knows that forgiveness frees him, and he freely shared his story with the nation a few years ago along with over 200 men that were molested along with him.  Completed forgiveness brings the freedom to share with others and the freedom to change other people’s lives and help set them free. 

I found freedom from depression when I realized I had a problem, an issue, a pain in my life that needed to be dealt with.  I shared it with close friends, found freedom through forgiveness, and shared it with others in order to forgive myself.  It took me two weeks finally to finish this post.  As I have said, it has taken a great deal of courage to share this in this medium.  Sharing it with small groups is great, but this is even farther reaching, and I hope and pray many can gain some form of empowerment from this.  Freedom from an unforgiving spirit gives you stronger faith, hope, peace, joy, and, most importantly, a love of others and a love of life.

© [David Howard], [David's Body Temple], 2011-2015.

Soul Tie Freindships Can Launch Us Into Significance

King George VI

The highest of distinctions is service to others.~King George VI

And Jonathan made a solemn pact with David, because he loved him as he loved himself. Jonathan sealed the pact by taking off his robe and giving it to David, together with his tunic, sword, bow, and belt. I Samuel 18:3-4

I love the topic of friendship because I have come to a point in my life where I cherish friends that challenge me and make me a better person. I love giving to my friends and being generous with my life. This doesn’t mean giving money, but giving of my time and energy to make them better people the way they make me better. I saw an incredible movie the other night that had me thinking about the topic of friendship; it’s called The Kings Speech. Which is a pun of it’s own because it could mean either talking about him giving a speech or his speech in general. The interesting fact is that King George the VI did have a stammering problem. He would try to make speeches and would come up short every time. When he would give one, it would hurt both him in embarrassment and the listener. Albert was his Christian name given to him by his family and only family was allowed to call him that. If you were a commoner, you would call him your royal highness. Lionel Logue was at first not a friend, but his speech coach. As time went on and with some disputes, they became very good friends. Lionel was with him during every speech he made during WWII. Albert was a humble king, during the war the queen and himself could have lived other places and be very secure, but they choose to stay in London and live through the bombing like all the other British commoners did. Buckingham Palace did get bombed at one point during the war while the king and queen were there. They also could have had all they wanted during the war, but choose to be a part of the rationing the rest of the country had to endure. Hence, the above quote by the king shows the type of life he lived. Lionel in the film said that what helps with stammering sometimes is to have a good friend to listen to you. Lionel saw greatness in Albert, worked on encouraging that out of him, and gave Albert the courage to give great speeches that the masses needed to hear during the war. I cannot say for sure that their friendship was a soul tie, but I can say that if a king can make a friend of a commoner, there was something special there.

King David and Jonathan are a biblical example of the soul tie. A soul tie is a forged godly friendship that God brings together. God selects this friend for you and you and this person are bonded together as very close friends. You feel each other’s pain and you suffer with each other through life. It’s iron sharpens iron on steroids, you are there to help each other. It’s not a marriage, which is a soul mate, this is different. Jonathan offered David 5 things from his person. Now I am no biblical scholar, but I have some ideas as to what each of these items meant. The first item Jonathan gave David was his robe. I would guess the robe that he gave him was royal and this was saying that David had authority over Jonathan’s life. A soul tie means you think of yourself less than you think of your friend. Being humble in spirit is a mutual thing that will bring you close.

The next item he gave him was his tunic. A tunic is a shirt that covers. When he gave David this, it is as if to say, I got you covered. I have you covered in prayer, covered in protection, covered in reputation, covered all around. When you cover each other, your back is to each other in the battlefield of life and you can cover your friend. The best part of a soul tie is God having both of your backs. What a powerful combination.

The next item Jonathan gave David was his sword. This is an extension of the tunic; it means I have you covered aggressively if I have to. It’s protection from whatever may come up against you my brother. It says I will defend your honor; I will protect you from your enemy’s because your enemy is my enemy. The sword of the spirit speaks life into people; it’s not an instrument of death.

The next item the bow goes along with the tunic and sword because I think of it as representing prayer. Back in ancient times, the enemy was softened by a fusillade of arrows shot at them in the hopes that not all the shields will be covering parts of the enemy soldiers. I think of prayers that we send up for our close friends as a way of softening the enemy’s attacks on them. We are after all in a major spiritual battle.

The last item he gave David was his belt. The belt holds all of the other items together to bring him balance when fighting the enemy. Without the belt, there will be no place to put the bow or the sword. The tunic may get in the way during the battle. The belt is listed last because it’s important, it holds everything together. You can really think of this as the Word of God. It holds everything together and brings balance to our lives.

The difference between a soul tie and a soul mate is the level of intimacy in the friendship. There are clear borders in a soul tie, but in a soul mate, there are no limitations. God may have blessed you in having your soul tie be your soul mate, it all depends on who you are, and how God wants to work in your life. The biggest thing we can take from this is that God wants the best for our lives and so he provides a soul tie for all of us. The question is are you willing to have a close and deep friendship or are you afraid of getting close to someone and getting hurt? I think many miss close friendships because they don’t want to be open hearted and see how God can use other people to bless them. It might mean being real and showing ourselves vulnerable. A soul tie is being humble, covering your friend, protecting your friend, praying for your friend, and keeping in the word with your friend to make you an unbeatable team in this spiritual battle called life.

© [David Howard], [David's Body Temple], 2011-2015.

Failing Foward the Superhero Way

Early on Sunday morning, as the new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went out to visit the tomb. Suddenly there was a great earthquake! For an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, rolled aside the stone, and sat on it. His face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow. The guards shook with fear when they saw him, and they fell into a dead faint. Then the angel spoke to the women. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come; see where his body was lying. Matthew 28:1-6钢铁侠图片

I was playing this video game the other day and during a cut scene the main character landed hard on the ground and did this split thing with his legs and one fist hitting the ground. Now unless you are a Dallas Cowboy cheerleader you may be tasked at landing this way. I doubt it’s possible to land that hard without breaking or straining something. The thought crossed my mind that I had seen this landing several times before in Ironman You can see the picture above. I have seen over the years other superheroes land similarly; it’s a cool way to come back from a hard fall. I highly doubt Jesus popped out of the tomb this way, but I like to think He did so victoriously and in this manner. This type of position says several things to us. The hero has authority, balance, is recovering, and getting ready for action.

Jesus biggest failure was turned into the biggest victory. He was the unexpected superhero that kept us blind up until He gave His life for us. To the world, what He did was failure, but to us it was life-giving and very very victorious. When we look at the superhero’s hard landing stance the first thing we see when lands, is authority. He is pretty powerful and has the authority to go on whipping some butt. Jesus biggest battle was beating on old death and He won that major battle. Jesus fell hard, but He landed with authority. I tweeted the other day that when we fail we can fail two ways, we can just plain fail, or we can fail forward. Jesus as well as a superhero can fail forward. Sure, the superhero is hurt and scared from the experience, but he has the authority to continue on, to overcome his circumstances and get back in the fight. That should be our attitude when we face a failure, we need to keep failing forward and never give up. We have the authority to overcome our circumstances and battle on.

The next thing we see with this position is balance. The hero is spread out into a very powerful position, he is upright, but spread out enough that it will be hard to push him out of that powerful position of balance. A well balanced life of keeping your spirit nourished, keeping your soul cleansed, and your body taken care of, will land you perfect from failure every time. Failure is only failure when you quit. Quitting is true failure. Balance also makes us aware of the authority in our lives.

The position also shows us that hero is in a state of recovery. He is recovering from being thrown through a building or a building falling on top of him. He is quickly and carefully planning his next action. When we fall forward and land hard, we have to consider what we have learned from the negative experience and see where we go from here. When we sit back and just give up, we are not putting our creative thought processes into action. God created us like Himself and so we always have creative processes in our heart and minds.

The final thing the superhero does after he regroups is he goes into action and takes down the arch nemesis. Jesus when He walked out of the tomb, or landed in the superhero position as I would like to think, leapt back into action. He met with Mary and then the disciples; He spent some time with the people He loved before He flew away to heaven. After He soundly defeated death for us, He flew away as any superhero would after beating the bad guy. 50 days later at a place called Pentecost, He provided His Holy Spirit for us to keep us strong and lead us on the path that is abundant life. We can fail forward, leap back into action, and really make the enemy irritated. That’s what I want to be is a thorn in the side of the enemy.

We can learn a powerful lesson from a superhero that lands hard and fails forward. When we fail forward, we use our God given authority to lift ourselves back up. We find balance in our lives that we never knew we had. We recover and plan our out next move, and then we leap into action. God never said the Christian life would be comfortable, He said it would be abundant which translates to a great adventure and never a boring moment. Just as a superhero movie promises lots of action and a great ending, so will your life be like that.

© [David Howard], [David's Body Temple], 2011-2015.

What’s a Low Maintenance Friendship?


This is probably my most read blog. I guess it hits home to a lot of people.

Originally posted on David's Body Temple:

Two friends

Two friends (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An offended friend is harder to win back than a fortified city. Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with bars.  Proverbs 18:19

I was talking with one of my friends the other day on a short run and we were talking about how awesome it is to have a friendship that is a low maintenance friendship.  A low maintenance friendship is one that is bathed in comfort and knowledge of the other person and who they are and what they mean to you without having drama tossed in the middle of the friendship.  You don’t offend each other if you don’t see or talk to the other person in a certain length of time.  Or you text or email them and they don’t respond in the same day, but you know what their life is like and how hectic the schedule they have is. …

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