Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:25
Christine Caine in Run to Win talks about how winners keep their focus. They keep their focus on the finish line. This weekend I had the pleasure of cheering on my race team that did a relay in the Memphis in May Triathlon. We had the best time. In a relay triathlon, you have someone do the swimming, which then passes the chip to the biker, who then does a bike, and passes the chip to the runner. In this case, I am thinking about the sprint triathlon that my friend Lisa, who was the biker for a mixed gender team, was a part of. To her credit, she was sick during this event, but rose to the occasion and overcame her sickness. In a relay triathlon, many focuses have to happen. The first and the most important is the transition. The transition takes place when you pass the timing chip to the next person. If that focus is lost, you lose valuable seconds that can mean the race. Another focus is the race focus. You have to fight sometimes for your space when you are racing in a triathlon swim. If you are not looking and focusing on the buoy ahead, you can get off track. The biking focus is the same as the swim and the run, you have to keep your eyes on the road ahead to make sure you don’t get off track or lose you footing or even collide with another biker. A final focus is the gratification focus. You are enjoying the moment of the race and it’s part of the fun, it’s not a chore, but a pleasure to be active and enjoy the race.
In our believers marathon the above verse is a great example of godly focus we need in our lives. The first part of the verse talks about transition focus. We have to present ourselves as one approved. Lisa presented herself as she waited for her swimmer to put the race chip on her ankle. She watched and waited and when he finally came around the corner, she was ready for him. The whole thing lasted probably 3 seconds and she was off running her bike through the bike rack area and took off like a rocket as she mounted her bike. When we present ourselves to God as one approved that means our focus is on God and we are ready for any change that He may have for our lives. Transition focus brings about a dynamic godly way of living. It means we are ready for change and are even looking for it as Lisa was looking for her swimmer and as Lisa’s runner Billy was looking for Lisa.
Race focus comes into play while we are running our race. We are looking at other runners or bikers, and the track ahead. As Lisa raced, she kept her focus on two things, the other bikers, and the road ahead. It’s the same in our believers marathon, our focus is on people around us because people are an important part of our race. The above verse speaks of not being ashamed. We cannot be ashamed or our race because when we are to this point we know who we are in Christ. We can have a profound effect on people when we know whom we are and what we are to do. God wants us to be leaders in this life, not shrinking back in shame. Focus on the path ahead so that you know where you are going and don’t be ashamed of who you are.
The final focus is the gratification focus or enjoying the moment. Journaling your daily God sightings can be a way to focus on the enjoyment. I cannot speak for Lisa, but I would bet that she enjoyed the whole moment while she was on the bike and racing 13 miles to her runner Billy. While she was going around other bikers, hoping for a good finish to the race and enjoying being outdoors and in the sun. We have to have fun on our journey with God. Encouraging people along the race is very effective in changing lives. When I was on my bike a couple of years ago during my first and only relay triathlon, I would pass people on their bikes and tell them they were doing awesome. That made the race enjoyable and the moment priceless to me. In our believers marathon if we are rightly dividing the word of truth we are living it and sharing it. When you have a passion for something, you love it and enjoy it. Having a God sighting journal shows us how awesome God is in our lives.
Three focuses we need in our believer’s marathon are transition focus, race focus, and gratification focus. When we have this focus on God in our lives we can see the finish line, and we can encourage and enjoy the journey as is it should be enjoyed. Gratitude comes in the end when our passion gives us that gratitude and joy in seeing lives change. When that happens we can give all the glory to God because after all, is that not what our purpose is on this planet?
© [David Howard], [David's Body Temple], 2011-2015.
The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.~Ernest Hemingway
The great Author Ernest Hemingway lived a very active life for an author. He moved around quite a bit and was involved in World War I and World War II. He had to use an element of trust because he was also a soldier. As a soldier, you put your trust in the man beside you that if you are in a battle that man will come to your aid if at all possible. If you think about it, a team is a group of two or more individuals who trust each other to complete a task. Each member of the team has a task to perform and they are entrusted to complete it. Trust goes a long way in a team and any kind of relationship you have. There are different levels of trust that we go through with people. One of the life-giver rules is to trust people. We can only trust people if we trust God fully. He directs our path, so that when we decide to trust someone, it will be someone worthy of our trust as well as worthy of God’s trust.
The entry level of trust is the most courageous. The above quote by Hemingway speaks of this first level we will call bold trust. What is the difference between blind trust and bold trust? Blind trust advocates that there is a component of naivety in the trust. An example would be how a child trusts any adult. Bold trust on the other hand is being deliberate with our trust to see if we can trust that person. In other words, we are in control when we bold trust and out of control when we blind trust. Bold trust brings hope to a relationship. We are hoping the person we confide in is trustworthy. The best way to make a step in bold trust is to trust the one who is trustworthy beyond all; and that is God. If God is directing our paths, He will direct us to trustworthy individuals that will be a benefit to our lives. A good example would be my dog Buddy. I took a bold trust step in getting this big dog. I didn’t know if he would work with our family or not. I knew that he got along with our other dog Zoe, but I wasn’t sure how he would be with the rest of the family including myself. I was willing to try and see what would happen and was not disappointed. He is the most affectionate dog I have ever seen and very smart. He is also very protective of his family. The reason the bold trust step in getting him was I had a big dog not too long ago and he lost his head for some reason and became vicious and attacked me. So, getting another big dog was a big concern.
The next level of trust is proven trust. When the person passes the bold trust stage, they enter into the proven trust level. They showed themselves to be trustworthy and so we can share more of our lives with them if we so choose. This is the way God operates as well; He gives us a small task to see how we do and then gives us more if we do well. God is not limited by our human judgment when it comes to trust. He already knows whether we can be trustworthy or not. The proven trust level happened with Buddy running unleashed. It took me a month to finally unleash him for a full run with me. He even was around other people and dogs and kept his focus. He stayed with me and kept track of me as we ran. It’s mutual as well, he trusts me as well. Over time, proven trust builds to the next level.
The next and final level is faithful trust. Faithful trust is constant as in a deep friendship or a great marriage. Faithful trust means you could be completely open with a friend or a spouse. You know judgment will not occur because it’s a shame free environment. Being a faithful friend means you are there no matter what and you will always be there. Our level of trust for God is to understand that it should be off the chain. God is faithful and so very trustworthy. What is parallel in these levels of trust is love. Without the element of love, there can be no trust. Love is what makes us take a step of bold trust.
The final thing I want to talk about is broken trust. Trust can be broken at every one of these levels. Broken trust can be one of the most hurtful things you can experience from a friend or a spouse. The strength of your love toward that person can determine if the relationship can withstand the broken trust. It also depends on how deep that broken trust is. Forgiveness should always happen because God has forgiven us for so much; therefore, we have an obligation to forgive as well. It frees us from the bondage of bitterness. Whether your relationship continues is up to you, but forgiveness should always be the main thing you seek.
Bold trust, proven trust, and faithful trust have at the root of them love. Love forgives and covers a multitude of sins as the bible says. When trust is broken, it takes time to repair. Trust is earned, but it has to be given to be earned. Trusts as well as love are risky to our emotions. When you can trust and love someone and know you can rely on that person, and that goes a long way. That is something priceless. I have no doubt my dog Buddy would attack someone if that person were to inflict harm on me. Trust is always a two way street. Always take the risk and trust and love, there is nothing stronger to bind us together.
[David Howard], [David's Body Temple], 2011-2015.
Moses called all the people of Israel together and said, “Listen carefully, Israel. Hear the decrees and regulations I am giving you today, so you may learn them and obey them! “The Lord our God made a covenant with us at Mount Sinai. The Lord did not make this covenant with our ancestors, but with all of us who are alive today.” Deuteronomy 5:1-3
The last section of the book Run to Win by Christine Caine is all about the elements of finishing strong. God wants us to not only finish strong, but also win the race. She talks about how certain Olympians have been disqualified for breaking the rules of the race or event they were involved in. In our believers marathon we all have the capacity to be disqualified. We start with the first element of finishing strong and that is winners obey God’s rules.
The above verses that are found in Deuteronomy, show how important the Ten Commandments are. I think many Christians think that because Jesus fulfilled the law that they have freedom to break them if they want to. This is far from the truth, we are still held responsible for the Commandments of God. He did not give them to us to limit what we do, He gave them to us to live a much richer fuller life; and that is true freedom. There are three elements of freedom that I want to discuss about in today’s blog.
The art of listening and hearing are so important to having freedom in our lives. When we listen to people, we hear what they are saying and we show that we care about them. We give people importance when we listen to what they are saying. When we listen to God’s commandments, we give God importance in our lives. We focus on God and not ourselves. It’s the same in a race event, we have to read and take in the importance of the rules of the race. God’s commandments more than anything talk about how we should treat Him and how we should treat others.
The next element of freedom is leaning. When we listen, we learn. As you listen to someone, you learn what he or she is all about. As we listen and hear God’s laws, we learn what God is all about and what He cares about. If we learn and understand that being envious is a wasteful pursuit, we are better people.
The last part is the most important part and that is obedience. We listen, we learn, we obey. In relationships it’s the same way, we listen to our friend, we learn what they are saying and we do an act of kindness when we learn about that person. This is a big thing in marriage, learning your spouse. The hard part is as time goes on you take them for granted and get used to them. Keeping the friendship or marriage fresh is a relationship builder. Our relationship builder for God is to obey His laws all the time as much as we can. If you read the Ten Commandments, they are all laws that are not impossible to do if you are a child of Christ. They are essential in learning how to love unconditionally and how to live a free from the drama type life.
When you listen, you learn, when you learn you obey. God’s laws are not suggestions; they are commandments that we are still held accountable for today. They are essential to living a godly life and a life that is peaceful and filled with joy. When we abide by them, we love God, others, and ourselves in an unconditional way.
© [David Howard], [David's Body Temple], 2011-2015.
Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore, the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. Exodus 20:8-11
Christine Caine in her book Run To Win brings up the very important point about running and that is runners need to have rest time. Her husband Nick and herself lead a very busy life, but take time out to have family vacations and at least one day of rest during the week. If rest is as important to God for Him to take a day off, we really need to be aware of our limitations. This month and year marks my fifth anniversary of my journey through weight loss. I have gone non-stop as far as my own running has gone and am paying a price for my lack of rest. As a runner sometimes, it’s good to just take a week off and not run, let your body heal. One of the common injuries a runner faces is the piriformis injury. It’s a small muscle of the hip that holds the upper leg onto the hip. It helps with the outward rotation of the leg. Literally when you have this injury, your butt hurts. I started developing this pain a year ago and it doesn’t go away. It has slowed me down considerably in my run and my fitness goals. The point here is had I taken time to rest my body and stretch that area in my leg I would not be here explaining it to you, so thank God for the injury and a good example.
For our believer’s marathon rest is a time that we can reflect and think about where our race is headed. The God of the universe took time out to rest and look at what He created. Maybe in His reflection He realized a need for a savior to cover all the sins we will be doing to keep Him from wiping us all out. God is no doubt a just God and can at one word destroy us, but the biggest thing to remember is before He is a just God He loves us so much that He doesn’t want to do that. We have to accept His offering of redemption before we can understand the full measure of His love for us. As we take time to rest and reflect, we can see weakness in our run and put forth strategies to get us on the path for a stronger finish. Sometimes rest can show us a pain that we did not realize was there until we take time to sit down.
Part of the rest for a runner is to stretch. Static stretching is so important after a run. It should happen 30 minutes after a run, right in the middle of the rest period. Stretching helps with flexibility and flexibility helps with keeping the range of motion in the proper form. My range of motion is limited because every time I lift my leg I feel the pain in my piriformis. In our marathon for life, we need to take time to stretch ourselves and be flexible in order to continue on God’s path that He has set before us. Being flexible can show us new avenues that God may have for us. If we don’t take the time to stretch we will never know how flexible we will become. God wants us to be flexible for Him because we can adapt to different situations in a calm matter without panic. Just as runners deal with the stress of running, we can deal with stress in general if we are willing to be flexible and be stretched. Being healthy in our stretching will not hamper our range of motion for what God has planned for us.
Reflection can be a powerful part of rest for a runner. We can look back at our training and our event and think of ways we could improve and do better the next time. Then adapt that into our training. The same is in our race for life, we need to reflect on what has happened the last 6 days and see what we could do better and what we can improve in our life. Reflection can show us how our run can be better and there is always room for improvement as we are still in the flesh.
The last part of rest is one of the most important and this is not part of my illustration of the runner verses life runner. Runners as well as all people need sleep. Eight hours of sleep a night can make a big difference in your health, your emotional side, and your spiritual side. Sleep helps us in so many physical ways. The dream side is so important it helps us deal with things that our subconscious picks up as we deal with our daily life. I can attest for lack of dream sleep because I had severe sleep apnea that kept me from having a lot of dreams during the night. I would wake up with a headache and not be able to function as well as I could have during the day. If you limit your sleep, you add a lot of stress and drama to your life. Sleep is so important.
There are other aspects of rest we could talk about, but stretching ourselves, reflecting on what we can do better, and sleep are at the top of the list. If we keep going a million miles an hour, we can miss things, events, and people in our lives. We can miss something God may want us to see. Rest can give us ideas and thoughts that we should act on for God to point us in the right direction. Another thing to keep in mind is rest is part of the 10 commandments and we are still accountable to the 10 commandments on how our believers marathon should be run.
© [David Howard], [David's Body Temple], 2011-2015.
Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control. Proverbs 25:28
Self-control is not something always talked about in reference to unconditional love. When we live with self-control, we are living a Spirit filled life. The scripture in reference above is what a person’s life is like when it lacks self-control. Back when that Proverb was written a city that did not have a wall around it was open to attack by raiding enemies. If the city did not have a strong wall around it, it might find itself being taken over by an army. Even a walled city with a weak spot can be taken as well. Self-control is a battle strategy that puts a wall between you and sin. It won’t mean the tempter won’t try different tactics to test your wall. The armies of old would test the defenses to see if they could find a weakness in the wall. Our enemy will do that. Just today I was having a great day remembering that this very month I began my journey for weight loss five years ago. Many awesome things have happened in the fifth month of every year since I began to lose weight. The first year I began the wellness program my doctor was giving a trial run to see if it would yield results, it did. The second year I began learning to run in the month of May and by the end was running my base run of 30 minutes. I ran my first real 10K the third year. This year I am finally achieving my dream and goal of becoming a certified personal trainer. Then someone said something today that hurt me and it made my day rotten.
Those probing attacks can find some weaknesses and exploit them. Sometimes the unexpected can happen and the enemy can find that chink in your armor. The good thing about this is you learn something about how to plug up that hole in your wall. Let’s talk about some self-control battle strategies that we can employ and what to do if the enemy does get through.
Self-control is a fruit of the spirit because it’s intentional living. If we live a proactive life-style we keep stress at a minimum in our lives. Just as a commander in charge of protecting a city, does not have to worry too much if the wall is strong around that city. The first thing we can do to live proactively is to read the scripture every day. Really, there is no excuse not to be able to read God’s word. We have it not just in book form today, but it’s in electronic form and where it used to cost a lot of money to buy an electronic bible, you can get it free on a smart phone application. You don’t have to lug a big book around, you have your sword in your smart phone. Not just reading it, but memorizing it as well. When planning for battle a good soldier always memorizes the plan of the commander. The best way to get scripture in your heart is not to just memorize, but to meditate on it. Meditation goes a long way in memorizing scripture.
The next strategy is to keep in communication with the commander of the city. If the communication center is knocked out then the commander cannot give orders to help resolve a breach in our city wall. The same with us, if we fail to pray we fail to get our orders or direction from God. The breach in our wall may get bigger and the enemy can gain a foothold in our lives. Sometimes we can get too busy to deal with that breach and leave our back door open. If you remember the first Golf War, our general employed the strategy of knocking out the communications hub the first priority. When he did that he pretty much had compete control over our enemy. Our enemy, uses that strategy very well, he will make you so busy with spiritual things that you really don’t see what is happening behind you.
The most important strategy that we can use to keep our wall strong and effective and is the main ingredient of self-control is unconditional love. The bible says that God is love. It also says that God is a just God. Agape love or unconditional love shows us that God can judge us right now and wipe us out if He chose to, but Jesus died to keep us from that wrath. Jesus is Agape love. He became our sin, so that we can live a life that is better than how the world lives life. When we use self-control to love ourselves, others and God, we are living a powerful spirit-filled life. We grow closer to God when we make the correct godly choices for our lives. Salvation is not just coming to Jesus and accepting Him as savior; it’s a process by which we make Him Lord of our lives. When we do this self-control becomes a much stronger force in life.
There are other strategies we can employ, but these three strategies are the basis by which we can start. If we read, memorize, and meditate on the word of God, praying, and loving unconditionally; will put self-control on steroids. Love is the center pillar of these three strategies and the most important. As I Corinthians 13 says, without love we have nothing of substance to our Christian life. If God is love, then we have to follow that example and love as He did and gave up His life for us. That is self-control on steroids.
[David Howard], [David's Body Temple], 2011-2015.
Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose. Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Philippians 2:1-5
Last week I spent some time with my marriage connect group, talking about honoring our spouses. It was a very lively discussion as it always is with this great group of people. My friend Judy brought up the point of what happens when we lose that shiny. Meaning when we first are married we have a sunshine and blue skies attitude that gets lost in the shuffle of life. She went on to say that when we lose our shiny we have to go back and do some polishing. I loved the analogy and thought it would make an interesting discussion for this week’s blog. Instead of marriage, I want to talk about keeping up our shiney with God.
The above verses in Philippians is chock full of wisdom on how to keep our shiny. Paul asks three questions. Do we get encouraged, comfort, fellowship, and compassion when we are in Christ. We should, shouldn’t we? How come we lose our shiny, why is our attitude bad sometimes? The first reason is we disagree with each other. There is nothing that can bring a ministry to a sudden halt, than when we have uncompromising disagreement. Pride always comes before a fall and I have seen as well have heard of churches splitting over crazy stuff like which side of the stage should the Christian flag be displayed. If we are loving each other deeply as God wants us to we will be more creative and compromising when dealing with issues and issues will happen, but how we respond to them depends on keeping a good attitude.
Selfishness is the next obstacle to keeping our shiny. When we are thinking of our agenda and not God’s agenda, we set ourselves up for burn out city. Pride once again rears it’s ugly head and we are figuring out ways to make ourselves look good, not God or others. The interesting part is we look better when we do God’s will, purpose, and give Him the glory than when we are trying to look good on our own. Jesus’ humble attitude is what made Him so attractive to so many followers. Even though He is the creator of the universe, He never once looked down at anyone.
The final obstacle is keeping to ourselves, or looking to our own interests. We should take care of ourselves and make sure we are healthy, wealthy, and wise of course. But, God made us social people and we need others to help us with this life. There is an element of risk involved in relationships with friends, but the reward is priceless when we find a great core of friends that we can be real with no matter what. Pride is saying I don’t need anyone but myself. Shame is saying I can’t share with anyone because what happens if they figure me out? Both can be reclusive attitudes that can keep us from great relationships. Stepping out in faith and trusting God, not ourselves and not fearing what people will think can find us some awesome godly friends.
When we allow bad attitudes to cloud our good attitude, we lose the shiny attitude that God wants us to have. We have a better relationship with God when we add people in the mix that we can love and rely on. Pride, selfishness and shame can keep a cloudy attitude and make our lives miserable. Love, selflessness and opening ourselves to others makes life rich, exciting and puts us on the path that God wants us to be walking and keeps our shiny shining bright.
[David Howard], [David's Body Temple], 2011-2015.
My favorite speaker Christine Caine in her book Run to Win talks about how runners have to shed all the excess weight that can hinder them. She uses Hebrews 12:1 as an example scripture here. I want to quote both verses 1 and 2 and talk about how I take this scripture.
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2
The first part of the scripture talks about a cloud of witnesses. This could be our Christian brothers and sisters, but more importantly, I think Paul is talking about the unbelievers who are watching and waiting for us to slip up. A very important point Christine makes is that you don’t see any runners out there with full ski gear, you see them with thin tight fitting clothing. While we are under the microscope of the world, God is looking at us through blood stained glasses and sees us as pure as the driven snow. What weights us down for some Christian’s is our witness. We live life as the world does and then come in on Sunday and worship as if we live like that all the time. We put on a facade and pretend we are something we are not or wish we were. For some it may not be lifestyle, but past life. The anchor to the past keeps us from moving forward into God’s plan for us.
Christine makes a point that runners need the right running gear. She mentions a woman who showed up to a marathon wearing bowling shoes and had to quit after 10 miles because of major blisters she had. Footwear is the most important piece of equipment the runner needs. I can attest to that. I bought the wrong kind of running shoes one time and was too stubborn to get rid of them and they ended up injuring my left side causing an imbalance in my gate. The thing that causes injury to runner is any kind of imbalance. It’s the same with our believer’s marathon. If we don’t have the right footwear on we are open to imbalance in our lives. The correct footwear is living Jesus Christ 24/7. When we run our race in Jesus’ flip-flops, where we land will be protected, but along the way, we may get the top of our feet dirty, but Jesus is there to wipe them clean as He did in the book of John when He washed the disciple’s feet.
We can run a long way in the right running shoes and in our believer’s marathon the next verse talks about Jesus being the author and finisher of our faith. Meaning keep them Jesus flip-flops on so that you can finish the race strong. Jesus is ever cleaning our feet as the verse points out that He had to endure the cross. Jesus is our endurance in this believer’s marathon. He knew the cross was going to be major pain and anguish, but He went willing because He had His eye on the great prize, joy. His suffering is our joy, because His love is so powerful we have joy. We are not joyful He suffered; we are joyful because of the reason He suffered.
The last part of the verse I want to talk about is how Jesus despised the shame. He became shame, so that we have no shame. Shame is one of the main detractors from the faith. Shame keeps us from getting help when we need it. We have a fear of being judged by people. We need people to help us through with whatever we are struggling with, whether it is burden, or a sin. God does not want us sitting in shame and worrying about a problem, He wants us working with other people to work through a problem.
Jesus flip-flops are the best running shoes we can use in our believers marathon. They make us light on our feet, we love ourselves the way we should. They give us endurance to make it through a trial. They give us joy in our race and take all the shame away. He is consistently washing our dirty feet. We can finish strong with Jesus flip-flops.
© [David Howard], [David's Body Temple], 2011-2015.
A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. Ecclesiastics 4:12
I never thought in a million years that losing massive weight would affect so many people around me. I never thought in a million years I would become an active athlete. I never thought in a million years I would be going through personal trainer school to teach others how to experience life better. I never thought in a million years that I would be sitting here writing this blog. There are so many people that God brings into our lives that can weave a tread of life-giving energy that if you are on the right path can change your life dramatically for the better. One of those threads for me is my friend Lisa. She has this unbelievable spark of energy that can light up a room. Without her I would not have lost the weight I so desired for so long to get under control. She started as my nurse and became a sister to me and a great teammate to defeat my obesity. She also is an awesome prayer partner and is an incredible prayer warrior. As the above verse talks about a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. The third part of the team is the most important and that is God. God weaves out a team for a greater purpose than the people involved have yet to understand.
The next part of this story is as I lost 242 pounds; Lisa continues as a nurse, but has made her main focus personal training. She had developed a passion for helping people overcome any health issue with exercise and proper nutrition. God weaved another person into our lives to bring about another passion, not only to help others overcome their health issues, but help them overcome financial burdens that will be a part of those health issues. Mike McCaskill needed a trainer and found Lisa through Bike World here in Memphis. Mike was 40 pounds overweight and had a desire to get himself into shape for a long distance bike ride. He had lost his son Michael T. from cancer. Michael T’s good friend Jonathan Pait whom God weaved into Mike’s life started a Ride For Mike in 2007, at the time Mike did not think much about it other than it was a nice gesture to honor Michael T. Mike would support Jonathan financially for each ride over the next couple of years and then in 2009 realize as he put it, “the magnitude” of Jonathan’s efforts when he saw a pennant with his son’s name on it from video that was shot of the ride. They then talked about the 2010 Ride For Mike and it was going to be off the chain.
The 2010 Ride For Mike was not just about riding for the cancer that killed Mike, but for what Mike’s life and passion was all about. He was a youth minister. The ride for 2010 was going to be a 700-mile bike from Memphis, TN to Greenville, SC on to Raleigh, NC. It was to be done in 7 days, unreal. Mike rode with him in a car as he did this for 50-60 miles and after he left Jonathan behind, he came back to Memphis a changed man. He was determined to get himself into shape and to join Jonathan on his next Ride For Mike. Lisa trained him well as she always does and he was able to go from a half a mile bike ride, “feeling like he was going to pass out, “to doing 50 of the 220 miles Jonathan did. She did the same for me; I went from walking 5 minutes with oxygen to running a half-marathon within a 2-year period. Mike and I made the correct choices we had to, to get ourselves back into shape. Thanks to our friend Lisa and most importantly God, we were blessed to achieve our goals. Mike went on this past year to do 100 miles for his son’s memory and to raise money for the I Do It For Foundation. This is a charity that can be used for all areas to help those in need.
God came full circle on this one. Lisa would tell me different things about what was happening to the Foundation and the Ride For Mike, but I really to be honest didn’t know what to think about it. I thought it sounded awesome and I prayed because she asked me to, but I really didn’t understand what it was all about until I sat down a couple of days before the 100 miles or century as it’s called, that Mike was going to do. I came away after I read the story I just told you and seeing the passion in my friend, thinking wow, what an awesome cause; what love and what passion Mike McCaskill and Jonathan had for Michael T. It awoke in me my own passion. I wanted to be a part of this, but I really wasn’t much of a biker, I was more of a runner. Lisa pointed out to me in one conversation that I didn’t have to be a biker, but I could be a runner on this team.
John Maxwell has a great book out there called Teamwork Makes The Dream Work. I don’t share this story to tell you how awesome we are, but how it has taken other people in our lives to bring about change. This story is really about how awesome God is by bringing likeminded people together. We did make correct choices, but God was steering us on the correct path. God by weaving us together is making a dream of one man a dream for a whole team. The main motivation of that dream is love of others, not of ourselves, there is no selfish motivation. That is why this team will succeed in that dream because it’s a God driven dream. This year we are doing here in Memphis a Run, Bike, Fun event. It’s a 5K run, a 30 or 50 mile bike ride and an adventure race. We are praying for a 1000 people to be a part of this event. Our team Low Cadence’s heart and soul is that being active will make you a better person. We want to promote an active lifestyle to show that people with other people can overcome.
Mike McCaskill could have given up on life. I could have gave up the fight, but we had Lisa in the mix saying dreams come true. God’s love weaves a positive triple-braided cord into our lives that cannot be broken or stopped and success is only an encouraging word away. The fabric of our life is made stronger when God weaves these positive influences in our lives to achieve a greater purpose and that’s to glorify God in all we do. Teamwork not only makes the dream work, but if love is tossed in there, it’s unstoppable.
For team information go to: http://www.lowcadence.com
© [David Howard], [David's Body Temple], 2011-2015.
Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night, so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then, will you prosper and succeed in all you do. Joshua 1:8
Christine Caine in her awesome book Run to Win talks about the next important thing a runner needs and that is the correct fuel at the correct time. I can attest to this from running the half marathon I ran a couple of years ago. I made sure I had the right fuel amount at the right time. My water had some Hammer product called Heed in it. What it does is it provides electrolytes that are lost during the run. Meaning it keeps the runner from dehydrating. The other item of fuel I had with me is the Hammer Gel, which gives me some carbohydrates taken when the hour mark hits, because after the hour if there is no carbohydrate present you start to take from your muscle mass. The same thing happens in our spiritual life, if we don’t keep up with the fuel of God’s word, a consistent diet of encouragement, we can start going back to where we came from. The above verse needs to be broken down.
Joshua says to study the bible or book of instruction constantly. The bible is not just a book, but also a supernatural sound piece God uses to communicate His will for our lives. His word is alive and well and will address any situation we may find ourselves in. It gives us strength, purpose, comfort, and encouragement when we need it. God’s word is His love letter to us and so we need to pay attention to it more often than we do. How do we look at this awesome book constantly?
Joshua says to meditate on it, think about it all day. When we meditate that does not mean we are in an Indian sitting position saying some kind of mantra. It means we are thinking about and praying about God’s word that we had read earlier in the day. As I sit here and write this blog, I am still wondering how I went so many years without getting into God’s word like have now. I never really read it every day. I would read it on Sunday and maybe once during the week, but for the most part I really didn’t keep a practice of being consistent with it. Only when I was near death did I really grasp the important ingredient I was missing in my life. It was the inner transformation I needed to get to the outer transformation I so desired all my life.
Obedience comes when we read His word daily, constantly, all the time. The first step to obeying God is to read His word. The first step to having a relationship with Him is to know Him better and we cannot do that unless we read His word. If there is one thing I hope you understand in this blog other than how much God loves you, is how much you need to love His word. If you can love His word, wow, you are on a powerful path to strength, peace, and confidence in your life. Reading this word and obeying everything in it will change you and move you on the path that will lead to righteousness and godly living.
When you are on that path, everything along the way will prosper and you will thrive. Now I am not saying that you won’t fall or fail, but I will say God will provide you with constant turning points. Meaning He will turn the bad situation into a good situation and you will build your character. You will learn as you burn, but God will never leave you or forsake you. I would not be telling you this if it was not the truth that I have experience in my life. When I started reading His word, success followed me as I lost weight and began this amazing journey of relevant living. If you are not successful, maybe your success is found in the book that may be sitting on your shelf collecting dust. Charles Spurgeon once said, “A Bible that’s falling apart usually belongs to someone who isn’t.”
I just focused on one fuel that we need to keep going in this race we call the Christian life. Christine Caine has some other points that we should consider. Please check it out and buy the book, it’s well worth the read. Focused attention on God’s word everyday all day will provide you with the success in life you are looking to find. Purpose and direction and vision will keep you moving forward on the race path and will keep you fueled to finish strong.
What are some other fuels we can use to move us along in the Christian race?
© [David Howard], [David's Body Temple], 2011-2015.
Let all that I am wait quietly before God,
for my hope is in him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress where I will not be shaken.
My victory and honor come from God alone.
He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me.
O my people, trust in him at all times.
Pour out your heart to him,
for God is our refuge. Psalm 62:5-8
Insecurity is the fear of being who you really are. It’s also the fear of not leaving your comfort zone. Our comfort zones give us a secure feeling. One of my biggest comfort zones used to be my food intake. I would lose myself and emotionally eat. Just one more Oreo cookie and I know I will be happy. Happy only as long as my health starts to plummet due to too much weight gain. Other people find solace in drugs, sex and other vices that fill the God shaped void in our hearts. Another way to put it is you are secure in your own self-made prison that you don’t want to leave. Being afraid of who we are is saying to God that we don’t like how you made us. We have complete control over our insecurities, although the enemy likes to tell us we don’t. Attitudes shape our insecurities and can bring us up on a higher plane, or bring us down into misery, it’s all our choice. In a prior blog, I talked about agape love, self-control, and confidence. A fellow blogger friend asked me to expound on how insecurity is mixed in all of this. Today’s blog is my attempt in explaining these ideas.
The above Psalm talks about security in God. David knew how not to worry, he let God do all the worrying for him. Confidence comes when we are patient in waiting on God as David reflects in the first verse. Our confidence in God breeds patience. When we have patience and confidence in God, we also display self-control. When we wait patiently on God, we find confidence and security. David had a lot of history with God and had the confidence to wait on Him and not go ahead of Him. When he killed Goliath, he remembered how God delivered him from the lion and the bear. A practical way to keep track and remember all that God has done for you is to keep track in a prayer journal. In all honesty, the only time we should be looking back is to see the good, not the bad that keeps us insecure.
David goes on to say that victory and honor come from God. Honor is respect with love mixed in the middle of it. That type of love is the unconditional love God has for us. When we honor God we honor others and ourselves. We don’t have to be insecure, but secure because the victory is ours when we love this way. Insecurity keeps us from loving people the way God wants us to because we are too afraid to put our heart out on the line. Over the last few years I have learned to love this way by really loving and seeing myself the way God sees me. My attitude is I am going to love people even though they may be hurtful to me at some point. I am not afraid anymore, I used to, but God’s love is deep down in my heart and I can love deeply.
David concludes and says that we should trust God at all times. This takes some self-control in not allowing ourselves to be overtaken by our fears. The enemy will come at us with the negative thoughts that always work on us to keep us in our place. Insecurity says I know better than God does when it comes to my life choices. By the way, there is a difference in self-control and just being controlling. When you are controlling you allow your insecurities make your life decisions for you. Trusting God with your life and learning to wait on Him you will have self-control.
Insecurity is defeated when we use self-control, confidence, and agape love in our lives to make life choices. When we put our confidence in Him, we become confident ourselves like the little boy who is in awe of his daddy. We know we have a great big God that is before us, behind us, and beside us. Where is insecurity when we have that much power on our side?
What makes you insecure in your life and what can be done to overcome it?
[David Howard], [David's Body Temple], 2011-2015.