Watch Out for Lingering Enemies

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I rose for prayer this morning and sought God for my daughter. I prayed over her emotions, her character, her intellect, and her soul. After prayer, my heart and soul was violently provoked to battle all lingering sin that contaminates my soul with  joy-stealing, hell-scented, life draining  erosion.

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed–not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence–continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,- Philippians 2:12

What man bows the knee in comfort while a masked intruder stands at the doorway of his child’s bedroom?

Today I battle.

I find my soul entangled in a warfare that sets place in a minefield of lust, anger, selfishness, pride, envy, discontented grumbling, and procrastination.

Salvation is deliverance. To work out my deliverance from pride I must ever-so-carefully seek out, with wartime vigilance (fear and trembling), and destroy, with extreme prejudice and hatred (if your eye offends you pluck it out), my lingering adversary.

After all, the foe left to fortify itself in the bunker recess of my compromising soul will most assuredly find a foothold in my house, and in the heart of my daughter. Far be it!

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SUCCESS is failure spelled backward!

One thing being a single parent has taught me is that some things are never an option…..

Many nights sleep before midnight  IS NOT an option

Some days peace and quiet IS NOT an option

On most evenings rest IS NOT an option (these days you can’t even microwave meals quick enough)

……when you have someone depending on you FAILURE is not an option….

I stumbledupon this hope-bursting short video from Inc.com. check it out…then pass it along!

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Holiness or Hype

Nobody likes a fake.

Imposters are annoying, deceiving, and poisonous.

If your sense of holiness is solely what you do, or didn’t do, you have become an imposter.

Holiness works from the heart outward. If it’s not an appetite it’s probably not a reality.

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Dad’s Guide on How to Stop Smoking before You Start!

Are you disgusted by cigarette smoke?

Why do people smoke? It makes people smell you from 20 feet away, tarnishes your teeth, blackens your lungs, and puts you at risk for cancer. It doesn’t make sense. People shouldn’t smoke, it’s ‘stupid’….right?

Sometimes it’s easy to judge a person’s WHAT without adequately understanding their WHY.

Smoking….drinking…..drug abuse….self-righteousness anger….binge eating…….all signs and symptoms of a thirsty and burnt-out soul!

Life has a way of steering you toward the worst sources of relief when you are experiencing the worst episodes of agony. Until you have been sorely tested and tried you can never say what you won’t do.  Burnout can lead to some of the most unsavory of habits.

What is burnout?

Here is my definition: Not knowing where to start nor where to end.

My experience in burnout is like the time that you go swimming and for the first time you find yourself having floated to the deep end and feel that first wave of water go over your face, covering your nose, deafening your ears……panic….fear….helplessness….grasping for help….

It’s the stab of fear you get just at that moment when you realize: I’m in over my head…..

How does it happen?

how does a boat capsize? it takes on more water in a manner that it cannot handle.

“Burnout is nature’s way of telling you, you’ve been going through the motions your soul  has departed; you’re a zombie, a member of the walking dead, a sleepwalker.  False optimism is like administrating stimulants to an exhausted nervous  system.”- Seth Keen

The question then is not how do you stimulate a soul that is being overworked, overtaxed, and overwhelmed…

In part 2 of this post I’ll dive into some unconventional techniques that will not only invigorate your freeze-dried soul but also explode your brain cells with new creativity. Until then, take a breath, take a walk, and take a moment to thank God for the problems and the issues you have……it is for your good, REALLY!

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A Father’s Last Wish

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If I die tomorrow and leave my daughter  fatherless I pray that she understand one thing…..

…..I pray that she embeds in her soul this one powerful divine command:

WE ARE NOT YET HOME;THEREFORE, LIVE AS IF YOU ARE NOT FROM THIS WORLD!

Question:  What is your only comfort in life and in death?

Answer:  That I am not my own
but belong—
body and soul,
in life and in death—
to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ.

He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood,
and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil.
He also watches over me in such a way
that not a hair can fall from my head
without the will of my Father in heaven;
in fact, all things must work together for my salvation.

Because I belong to him,
Christ, by his Holy Spirit,
assures me of eternal life
and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready
from now on to live for him.

The Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 1.

My sweet daughter,

in this life there will be pain, disappointment, and yes, suffering. But to God that you would draw on Christ and live in hope. Say, like the Apostle with great boldness:

Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

May you never own anything in this life but rather, apprehend the love of God in Christ Jesus and be kept by Him as your true possession.

Daddy loves you!

 

CONFESSION: This post is inspired by Roy Ortlund, courtesy of The Gospel Coalition

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God is always on Time…………NOT!

 “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.”- John 11:32 

Since when have you known God to be an on time God?

If God were on time I’d still be married, many of my loved ones would still be alive, I wouldn’t be so late on some of my bills, and I would enjoy my job all the time.  The thing is….I lost my marriage, went thru depression, lost more than a few people, am not current on all my bills, and there are days where I get terribly discouraged on my job. NO! GOD DID NOT SHOW UP ON TIME!

 But some of them said, “Could not this man, who opened the eyes of the blind man, have kept this man also from dying ?”- John 11:37

While others will tell you stories of God showing up mightily and saving and delivering at just the right moment, I would challenge them on the assertion that God is on time. God is NEVER on time, rather, God is always ETERNAL!

God will seek, act on, and do what is in harmony with His ETERNAL purpose and our ETERNAL pleasure.

God will deliver you over to what will work out for your infinite , abundant, joyous delight 50,000 years from now, even if He must allow what will feel like infinite evil and pain for the next 50 years of your life on this earth.

  I have set the LORD continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. 9Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices ; My flesh also will dwell securely. 10 For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol ; Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay. 11 You will make known to me the path of life ; In Your presence is fullness of joy ; In Your right hand there are pleasures foreverPsalm 16

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Pardon my Foul Mouth

There is a word that you don’t use that I love. You’ve heard that it is bad, negative, and at times, a bad four-letter word…….

…..and yet, as I sit in my peaceful living room watching the sunrise, tranquil and serene, it’s the only thing bouncing off the walls of my zenned out brain!

HATE.

Pure and wonderful. God-given and life enriching. Wondrous, bountiful, world-changing HATE.

Why?

God knew when He created you that a good amount of hate in the soul is a blessed puppet string for the soul!

HATE focuses your mind.

HATE keeps you awake when you’re in a battle for your life.

HATE is at the essence of fearing God!

HOW you use hatred is the determinant of whether you are a crusader, tyrant, or couch-comfy creep!

What will you hate today?

I HATE that children in Africa are starving and dying because of drought.

I HATE laziness.

I HATE self-pity.

Will I writhe in hatred against any of YOUR lifestyle today? Hate whispers in your ear: “GET UP AND DO SOMETHING!”

Chose to crusade before you ease onto your pillow tonight.

DON’T MAKE ME HATE YOU!  🙂

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Why you Shouldn’t Make Goals (and Why I changed my Blog Title)

The most powerful question you can ever answer in life is WHY?

Not a sentence or a thought-just a soul probing why. Think back to your childhood, every instruction you received was always met with a defiant “why do I have to_____”

As we progress out of childhood we are trained to forget about the why and focus on the what.

  • What type of education you should get?
  • What political platforms you should support?
  • What type of lifestyle is normal?
  • What goals you should have?

Our natural childlike curiosity gets assaulted so often that we find ourselves lost in the zombie matrix of right/wrong, acceptable/unacceptable, do/don’t, sit/stand, and obey without question. 

So many of us make goals for the sake of having goals. It makes us feel safe, comfortable, and responsible. I agree that goals are good-after they’ve been stripped naked and examined. Any good action can be end up with the worst consequences. Dont be fooled, smart people make stupid mistakes all the time!

How do you begin the strip tease of your life? Ask WHY!

Why is beautiful because it addresses your heart and your intentions. It exposes your motives and your mentality. Asking why is certain to uncover things that you don’t want to see about yourself but are guaranteed to help you improve areas of your life. 

Answer these two questions:

  • What are you going to do tomorrow afternoon?
  • Why are you going to do that tomorrow afternoon?

Your answer to the second question is likely to be lengthier and longer to compose.

Your going to work….do you still know why you work there?                                                                                                                                                       You plan on going to hit the gym to burn off that sweet potato cheese pie your having today…but why work it off if you’re just going to have more pie on Wednesday?                                                                                                                                              You’re having dinner with your  boyfriend/girlfriend…do you still want to be with them or are you just wasting time?

We spend our days thinking of the things we want to achieve and some of the goals that will get us there. Often times our goals become a way of life that never brings about an end goal but instead just becomes a new source of frustration and hopelessness.

For a long time I have kept serious and well-thought goals, it’s boring! My outlook on life has changed because instead of making goals for the sake of goals-I want to focus on the me of the future.

Instead of setting a goal for accomplishment why not begin with taking an inventory of who YOU are and who you want to become. A better alternative, and more fun. When I think of my blog I could focus on a niche, or a set schedule of posts, or generate content that is innovative or edgy but the easiest decision is to follow my heart.

Being an epic father is a better vision than being a great blogger. I am starting to see a vision the man I want to be. If I can follow this vision then I will always content to post, stories that inspire, and successful ministry in my home.

 Am I telling you to drop your goals…NO. I’m telling you that you should never start out with a goal until you allow yourself to be a child who asks WHY and develop a vision of the YOU that you were born to be.

Develope a fun and healthy obsession with your potential. Don’t take a single step until your WHY is firmly established. Don’t try to hate sweet potato cheese pie-that’s impossible!!!!!! Instead envision yourself with abs, a firm chest, or a silm waist-work on the vision until you can see it. Get excited over you! Can you see yourself with a college degree yet? Goto a graduation! Do what you have to do to get more excited about your life than anything else in life!

Here’s a great video to help you get started discovering your WHY

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Life is More Fun without Expectations

Last Friday was supposed to be our grand date night. Valentine’s day plans. I was disappointed that I didn’t get the reservations that I desired for us. There was a daddy-daughter dinner that we missed out on and I was feeling upset over it. Nevertheless, Chloe is 5. She doesn’t know much about restaurants and city attractions. I was going to make something happen. Good times were ahead.

Along the way we stopped at Target for a couple of things and pair of new slippers that I told her we would shop for. I wanted to hurry. We needed to get moving. We needed a great night, I had it planned, and time was awasting. Let’s move!

3 minutes into the door Chloe yells: “Dad I want pizza!”

“No baby, we’re going to dinner. We have to get out of here.”

That wasn’t good enough. Our discussion continued for about 5 minutes until her precious eyes looked up at me and griped me with the finger that I’m wrapped on.

It hit me!

Chloe wanted fun. I wanted quantity. Spending more, doing more, exerting more effort………that would mean I accomplished something, right? Mega-wrong!!!

Bad expectations and misinformation can lead to the worst results.

So,How did we spend the night?

We sat in the café. We ate pizza, drank juice, and talked. I sat there like a fool, trying to be a dad.

I listened to my daughter. Her play dog’s name is macho, her friend at school has transferred out 😦 , we should shop for a new cereal (pops and honey nut cherios are not her favorite anymore), and we should sing more while we drive.

Simplicity can really make you smile. It’s not about how much money you have, or don’t have. It’s good to evaluate the expectations we carry around, they’re nothing but thoughts turned chains. They hold us back from enjoying the moment. What counts is being present. Present in the NOW. Not existing, but LIVING in the moment.

  • That means letting go of worry….and embracing a little uncertainty as excitement.
  • Listening rather than assuming
  • Most of all…loving! Love never allows you to waste. Love. I say again…LOVE!

The moment you are in NOW is both a present from God and a stewardship that you will never get back. Take a moment to take in everything around you and….listen! You’ll be surprised what happens.

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10 Things You can do Right Now to Guard Your Bright Perspective from Joykillers

The most exotic food I have ever eaten is grilled chicken hearts. They are small, triangular muscles that are hard to chew but you can get it down after a while. I didn’t like it then and I hate the sight of them now! How is it that the same chicken heart that I detest is someone elses favortie snack? 

In foreign lands like Brazil or Taiwan ,where chicken hearts can be a part of everyday meals, people grow up enjoying them, it’s part of their sense of normality. Some people are accustomed to loving what I detest!

I sound like a hater don’t I? 🙂

Each day we interact with people who see life and the world around them as nothing but disgusting.

The sun is too bright, the wind is too cold, and the cars are too loud. They have trained the buds of their imaginative palate to ingest everything as fantasy chicken hearts. Everything is yuck!

Be careful. People like this are toxic and it doesn’t take long before their venom transfers right into your veins. A healthy perspective has to be cultivated and it has to be guarded!

Your perspective is a survival mechanism. It can regulate your blood pressure, calm your mood in a heated situation, and overall keep you from sounding like a real jerk! On behalf of everyone who knows you and is afraid to say it: PLEASE, STOP BEING A JERK! It’s not as bad as you always say it is. Calm down and smell the roses.

Here’s a few tips to keep seeing the best in all situations, (read, do, repeat as needed):

1. Stop everything….check your pocket, purse, or couch cushion for loose change.  Do you have anything? Doesn’t mean much to you? If you have spare change you are among the top 8% of the world’s wealthy

2. Have Kids? This morning a mother somewhere is preparing to bury her child

3. Call your grandfather (or grandmother, grandfather stories are just more epic to me!) ask him about the toughest season of his life. My grandfather told me of an event that tested the fortitude of his soul. He was in the US Army-Air Force during a time when African Americans didn’t always receive the respect that the uniform commanded. He had routine encounters with men who hated him because he was Black. On one occasion, because he had spoken out of line to a white man, an Seagant struck him across the head with a large stick. He told me that all he remembered was feeling warm blood come down his face before he passed out. The man was never charged or penalized. My grandfather didn’t really expect anything to happed. He was a Black man and that’s just how life was. Wow! I’ve never had it that bad! Things have changed.

4. Go to Google Maps. Search “nowhere”…laugh and go ahhh!

5. Look at Chloe making snow angels! awww!


6. Have a girlfriend/boyfriend? At least your not alone.

7. Wish you had a girlfriend/boyfriend? At least you’re doing bad all by yourself! 🙂

8. Right now while you read this there is more activity in your brain than in your expensive pc. You didn’t have to program your breathing, cause your heart to beat, or digest your food. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. You are not mess, a mistake, or useless……..you can only choose to be!

9. Take a vacation RIGHT NOW!                                                                                                                                                                        Look at a picture like this for at least 45 seconds. Take a deep breath. Smile, repeat. Let you brain breathe!

10. Read Job 40-41                                                                                                                                                                                                   God made everything….without you!  You weren’t there. He didn’t need your help, he’s never asked for it, and He never will. Where were you when he made the seas, the mountains, and all the different species of animals? His wisdom and His methods are FAR beyond your understanding. Just be a creature for once. Understand that you are created, the weight of the world, or your life, doesn’t need to rest on your shoulders!  A good reading of Job eases the worst most battle weary perspectives.

That’s enough to get me started. Sometimes it’s a paused moment alone to pray, other times it’s a nice cup of coffee. At the end of the day it’s up to you to guard your mind and your heart.  You live this life once. The choice to make it exhilarating and meaningful is here now. How you live it all begins with how you see it! Change your perspective, change your life!

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