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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Dynamic Change

The lord had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you.  I will make you into a great nation.  I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others.  I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt.  All the families on earth will be blessed through you.”  Genesis 12:1-3

The definition of dynamic is pertaining to or characterized by energy or effective action; vigorously active or forceful, energetic.  The above verse is an example of dynamic change that Abram had to deal with.  Over the last couple of weeks, I have three friends that are going through some major changes in their lives.  One friend is trying to decide the direction of a business.  A second friend is going through a divorce.  A third friend is in the process of being trained for a new job and taking it on.  For me I am in the process of starting a business.  I think all of us have heard the voice of God for this change and that change is dynamic.  One of the things I want to keep from falling into again is having a stale life.  The American dream is an awesome dream, but if part of that dream means to slog through a day that is the same every day, I don’t want any part of that type of living.  I have lived that life before and I refuse to go back to it.  I think of it as the waiting to die way of living; which is not really living.  This is an attitude and is not indicative of any particular job.  To me the abundant life is one where you get up most mornings and are expectant of a great day ahead, because you love what you do and you do it as unto God.  As a personal trainer, we have this thing called muscle confusion.  The more I confuse your muscles, the more tone you will have and the more fat will be burned.  If you do the same exercise routine, repeatedly your body will adapt to what you are doing and results will be ineffective.  The plus on this is you are not allowing your body to be stale with the exercise, and it makes it more exciting and less of a chore.  It’s the same with our lives, we have to have some adventure thrown in there to keep us from that repetitive life.  What are some ways we can keep the excitement and expectation coming in our lives?

The first thing to do is take a faith-filled step.  What does a faith-filled step look like?  You work toward whatever change you are going for.  If God’s path for you is a banker, get a job in a bank.  Part of the issue here is people don’t take any risk, they stick with what they know and may hate that thing.  They feel safe and are “comfortable.”  Comfortable does not get you a feeling of expectation every day; it gets you stale.

God meets us with a faith-filled step.  He will give either more encouragement in the direction you are going or you may get a dead end and a possible failure.  This is where patience comes in.  I think more times I can count that I have found a dead-end with the “perfect” idea I had.  That promotion I was shooting for that I was so upset I didn’t get.  Then I look a year later at the poor stressed out person that got it and I thank God that He lead me in the right direction.  That dead end is a character builder or a character destroyer.  You have a decision in your attitude whether to accept it and make another faith-filled step forward or you don’t take it well and allow bitterness to set in.

This brings me to the last thing to keep expectation in dynamic change and that is your attitude.  God has brought me to a place in my life where I can look back over the years and see His hand in all of it.  I have gone through some personal hell in my life and what has come out of it is gratitude to a God that has stood by my side and picked me up every time I’ve fallen.  Therefore, I get up every morning with hope in my heart and expectation of the coming day instead of dread.  You have a choice when you wake up whether to have a great attitude or a poor one.

Abraham heard the voice of God and his faith was strong, because he stepped out when it was very difficult leaving his family.  He knew God had his steps planned out and they were awesome steps.  Abraham had effective faith-filled steps, he tried to be patient, and he had the best faithful attitude.  Dynamic change is energetic and continued movement in the path that God has set before us.

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

Does God Have a Sense of Humor?

Peter finally came to his senses.  “It’s really true!” he said.  “The Lord has sent his angel and saved me from Herod and from what the Jewish leaders had planned to do to me!”  When he realized this, he went to the home of Mary, the mother of John Mark, where many were gathered for prayer.  He knocked at the door in the gate, and a servant girl named Rhoda came to open it.  When she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed that, instead of opening the door, she ran back inside and told everyone, “Peter is standing at the door!”  You’re out of your mind!” they said.  When she insisted, they decided, “It must be his angel.”  Meanwhile, Peter continued knocking.  When they finally opened the door and saw him, they were amazed.  Acts 12:11-15

If the above verses don’t answer the question, does God have a sense of humor, then you probably need to find one.  There are studies that show us that laughter is something that we need to have in our lives to relieve stress. Laughter and joy bring us back to the light we need to display in our lives.  Granted there are some questionable things that are considered humor that I don’t think are funny because of the subject matter.  Somehow, comedy has gone from the creative to the shocking.  Watching old shows before the 80’s that are situation comedies the humor had to be creative.  These days it has to be shocking to be funny, there is no creative thoughtfulness to have clean fun.  My focus for this blog is not to have a moral piece that aims to shame, just to talk about laughter and joy.

Life has it’s serious moments that we should never take lightly, but we cannot let those serious moments build up in our inner being.  Our spirit man was designed to thrive in joy.  Laughter happens spontaneously when we are presented with what we perceive as humor.  Joy, on the other hand, is an intentional action and not a spontaneous happening.  There are some ways to plan our joy and keep the light in our lives.

I think one of the things we as Christians suffer from is the idea of being serious and deep all the time.  When we are in church, we have to be pious and above all human frailty.  The bottom line is we all sin every day and don’t deserve to be joyful about anything.  The source of our joy begins with the salvation that is not deserved, the favor we should never receive, the grace given when we fail.  That alone should be a source of great joy that we are no longer held accountable to our sins and failures, we have grace.  God’s grace above all else is so awesome if you think about it.  We no longer have to worry about God’s wrath in our lives.  Wrath turns to unconditional love, a love that sees no wrong and is always giving, never receiving.  How can we give back to God for what Jesus did for us?  Wow, what love.

Because the source of joy is our salvation, and there is no way we can ever repay what He has done, we should find joy in serving Jesus.  We are His hands and feet.  What does that mean?  When we are His hands that means we are giving.  We are giving of our time and resources.  We love to spend time in changing someone’s dreadful circumstances and setting them up for success in life.  We can do that with money, time, and our unconditional love from God.  His feet means we are walking in His glory and sharing the light we have in our lives with unconditional love.

That brings me to the last point of what can bring joy in our lives and that is unconditional love.  When you begin living like Jesus and become more like Him as your life flourishes, you will find yourself loving more like Him.  You will serve Him better as you become this overflowing light in people’s lives.  God made us to be able to love intentionally.  It’s not some tingling sensation or a pain in our stomach when we look at someone we love, it’s an intentional action.  Marriages in this world don’t last long because we are really infatuated with our spouse, not really in love.  The love part comes in when we are faced with issues and disagreements.  That is the determining factor if your marriage is going to last.  A self-sacrificing attitude is unconditional love concisely.

Does God have a sense of humor?  He most certainly does, He created you and I.

Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful.  I Corinthians 1:27

God takes the ordinary and makes them extraordinary.  You are God’s practical joke to confound the supposed “wise” and to weaken the supposed “powerful.”  The idea is to stay joyful and don’t take yourself so seriously.  You can stay joyful by having a grateful attitude in knowing Jesus died for you.  You can stay joyful by serving Him who served you in the greatest capacity.  Finally, you can stay joyful by intentionally using unconditional love and changing people’s lives for the better.

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

The Drive to Survive to a Life Well Lived

Job Praying

When Job prayed for his friends, the lord restored his fortunes.  In fact, the lord gave him twice as much as before!  Then all his brothers, sisters, and former friends came and feasted with him in his home. And they consoled him and comforted him because of all the trials the lord had brought against him.  And each of them brought him a gift of money and a gold ring.  So the lord blessed Job in the second half of his life even more than in the beginning.  For now he had 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 teams of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys. Job 42:10-12

It was 27 years ago this past May that the car I was riding in slid into the opposite lane and was rammed in the side by a car going over 50 miles an hour.  It was three days after I had graduated from college and was looking forward to getting involved in some kind of job that I could use my business skills in.  I was in the passenger side of the car and I blacked out for a couple of minutes with the sound of metal and bone crunching in my ears as I passed out.  That May began my downward journey into a 21-year spiral into depression.  I spent a month in the hospital getting over a broken pelvis, compound fracture in my wrist and a broken arm and elbow.  All my ribs on my right side were broken and I had a punctured lung.  Thankfully, the car we had back then was solid steel and so if I was in one that was built today; I probably would not have survived.  It was so bad they had to use the Jaws of Life to pry me out of that car.  I had to learn how to walk again; I was a total mess.  Job lost most of his family and all of his wealth.  I can’t compare myself with the faith Job showed because I went through so many ups and downs during those 21 years of wilderness.  May has gone from being a curse to a blessing in my life.  The number 5 has a new meaning for me and that biblical meaning is grace and favor.

I cannot say it was all bad those 21 years because God was keeping me in the game.  My depression was very passive; it was not in my face day in and day out.  For me it was a let’s do the same routine over and over again.  I can’t say I didn’t feel God’s presence at this time nor serve Him, I just felt like something was missing from my life.  I had the drive to survive, but not really to live.  My eating was how I felt comfortable, but as my girth grew, I was becoming uncomfortable.  If you haven’t figured it out yet May is the fifth month and what I consider my rebirth month.  May 2008 began my upward journey into finding the spark of life I was missing.  The first thing God wanted to work on was my physical wellbeing, so I began a weight loss journey that would take off 242 pounds.  He provided me with the best support through an awesome friend that has become a significant part of my life.  So, May has become special to me because I keep seeing God’s grace and favor in that awesome month.  I had reached the end of my rope and my body was shutting down with heart failure, sleep apnea, and asthma.  The drive to survive kicked in and I was able to take off 100 pounds in 7 months.

May 2009 I began to learn how to run.  This was a goal of mine because I had learned the quickest way to lose some pounds was to do some awesome cardio.  God’s next step was to work on my spiritual.  I kept working on the physical, but the most important part was beginning; changing me on the inside.  When I was a child, I used to hate to run because I was never fast enough and I hated how it made me feel.  Trust me when I did that first minute of running I had the thought go through my head was I sure, I really wanted to do this.  I did a 30 day to 30 minutes of running program and slowly fell in love with it.  The first day I ran 30 straight minutes was the most awesome feeling in the world.  As I would add more time to my run, I would spend more time in prayer.

Fast forward, to May 2013, God blesses me with enough money to work toward a goal of helping others get to their goals and I enroll in a class that gets you certified as a personal trainer.  As God was changing my spiritual, my gratitude quotient became off the scale.  I wanted to give back, to show others how to change for the better.  So, I made it through the class and passed with flying colors.

This past May 2014, God has been working on my patience.  I had to do a 30-hour internship before I could be certified as a personal trainer.  My friend who helped with my weight loss is whom I trained with, but because they had to have a certain type of trainer, they rejected all my hard work.  I had to find a new one, and so God provided me with another and to the very last day I was able to get it done.  The last day of course was in May.

It took 50 days from Jesus’ resurrection for the Holy Spirit to be released to us.  That right there is God’s grace and favor.  Job in the above verses had lost everything, but God restored him two fold.  God restored my heath, strengthen my spirit man, taught me gratitude and patience.  I’m not going to say God made the bad stuff happen in my life, I will say He allowed it to happen, but He turned it all around for the good.  I can’t take full credit for the change in my life, yes I made some great decisions, but I have to give God all the glory.  Without the Holy Spirit in my life, the drive to survive would not have been there and I would never have learned how really to live.

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

Staying Power: The Test of Salvation

There was also Benaiah son of Jehoiada, a valiant warrior from Kabzeel. He did many heroic deeds, which included killing two champions of Moab.  Another time, on a snowy day, he chased a lion down into a pit and killed it.  Once, armed only with a club, he killed an Egyptian warrior who was 71/2 feet tall and who was armed with a spear as thick as a weaver’s beam.  Benaiah wrenched the spear from the Egyptian’s hand and killed him with it.  Deeds like these made Benaiah as famous as the three mightiest warriors.  I Chronicles 11:22-24

Staying power is commitment.  Salvation is only salvation if you stick with it.  I am one of those that believe that once you commit your life to Christ, you will always be His.  There are always debates on this point, but there is a ton of scripture that teaches the once saved always saved doctrine.  This blog is not for me to prove that point.  I want to talk about how to get staying power or another word for it, endurance.  If you endure something, you are committed to it.  If you can turn your back on Christ, to me, you were not really saved to begin with.  That is the definition of apostate.  When I think of commitment, I think about the men and women who constantly are trained to give their lives to protect our American heritage.  Soldiers are a great example of committed endurance.  They have that staying power.  The Christian life is like the life of a soldier, we have to have that staying power in our lives.  I use Benaiah as the example above.  I first heard of him when I read one of my favorite books In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day by Mark Batterson.  Benaiah was one of the most powerful warriors in the bible; he was amazing.  He was fearless, he was fast, he was strong, and he was faithful.

Endurance of a soldier begins with being fearless.  General George Patton said that courage is fear holding on a minute longer.  Courage in essence is faith.  Benaiah had tremendous faith in his abilities and most importantly in God.  I have to admit for me to chase after a lion on a snowy day into his own lair, I would have to have a ton of faith in not only my abilities, but in God having my back.  He was either stupidly reckless, or excessively confident.  I would say he was the latter.  You can be excessively confident when you have God backing you up.  Besides, he was the chief bodyguard for King David and King David was not slouch when it came to being a warrior.  He led by example.

A soldier needs to be fast to endure.  When I talk about being fast, you need to have the grace to switch gears quickly so as not to miss the blessing God has for you.  Sometimes the path we are going is not leading anywhere, when that still small voice says go this way we need to be prepared to act quickly to adjust to the new path.  Benaiah when he faced the Egyptian faced a seven and a half foot tall giant.  The spear he carried was large as well.  Benaiah used his quickness to avoid the thrusts from the spear and was able to grab on to it and yank it out of the Egyptians hands.  Then he took the spear and killed him with the Egyptians own weapon.  Be fast to change your perspective when you are directed.

A warrior has to be strong.  We gain strength through the reading of God’s word and applying it to our lives.  As a Christian, we need to have strength of character, body, and spirit.  We are responsible for the first two thirds; God is responsible for the last third.  We first have to shape the first two thirds in order to have a healthy spirit.  Benaiah had to have all three when he chased after a lion and killed it.  Who does that?

The last thing we need to have to endure is faithfulness.  It’s not mentioned here in this scripture, but Benaiah was faithful to his king.  When David’s son rebelled Benaiah stayed by his side and had David’s back.  Because he did that Solomon made him the head of the army after the other head rebelled with David’s other son.  Faithfulness is an important attitude for us to have in our Christian life.  Being faithful to the church, to God, to our family are things that keep us enduring, that keep us moving on into the next chapter of an abundant life God has planned for us.  It’s one of the best character traits you can have, faithfulness.

Being fearless, fast, strong, and faithful makes you a powerful warrior like Benaiah was.  Opposition will find you, but don’t shrink back, always keep moving forward.  I think back to that Movie Lone Survivor.  It’s a true story that depicts the greatest loss of Navy Seals in our military history.  Out of four Navy Seals on a recon team that had to fight their way off a mountain, there was only one survivor.  One of the Seal’s that was killed, Axelson, whether this is true or not, I would hope it was true said this looking at all three Seals on his team he said, “I care for you, I care for you, and I care for you.”  The point of the whole story was the special bond these men had on the battlefield.  One of the other things Axelson said was” tell my wife I died with my brothers”.  How awesome is that?  That’s my goal is to stand before God and tell Him I died with my brothers and sisters on the battlefield of life holding the line for my God.  Staying power the test of salvation is a consistent test every day, but is made easier with our team of brothers and sisters God provides for us.

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