Archive for January, 2013

Image

I read a story once about a journalist who happened upon a small house way out in the deep woods of West Virginia. This particular journalist was in a difficult state trying to track down a lead on Moonshiners deep in the forest but instead, found himself lost and unable to find his way back to his car. As he desperately searched to find his way, he came upon a small house with a little porch completely hidden amongst the thick trees. As he carefully approached the house, he saw an older couple sitting on rocking chairs while holding hands. He greeted them cautiously and as he tells the story, found them both very gracious and frankly, extremely friendly. While he rested before he set off again with directions, he had the opportunity to speak with the old man whereas he quickly determined that this old guy was someone very special. First he determined that the old man was very rich and very successful in his life. As they talked further, he uncovered the man was a doctor and also an inventor and responsible for many medical breakthroughs during his lifetime. As the old man continued to speak, the journalist realized he was speaking with someone who was not like any he had ever met before but yet something bothered him greatly. Here was a man who had everything he could ever want and yet here he was, living in a tiny house out in the forest with no one around but his wife. So as he sat there listening the journalist inside him kicked in and he had to ask the question…”Sir, why do you live out here in the woods and not in a palace in the big city?”

With an easy, peaceful smile on his face, he said softly…”I’m content here.”

And for the first time in his career, the journalist was stunned and frankly, did not know what to say but suddenly a light went on and he understood completely what the old man meant. You cannot buy what the old man had discovered, so rather than exist in bountiful luxury and be unhappy, he had chosen obscurity and gained contentment…

So how much does contentment cost and where do I find it?

If I were to ask all of you as to whether or not you were content, what would your answer be? Have you ever thought about it before? Unfortunately, most guys (and I know I am generalizing here) don’t necessarily plug into the idea of contentment. They understand when they are happy and sad but for the most part, we are usually focused on work or play. But I would like to give you something else to consider.

To the world, contentment means accepting what one has without seeking more but actually, contentment goes beyond what we see around us. It is actually a condition of your heart. Contentment is God giving you exactly what you need, each moment of each day. Not only is He walking with you by your side, but He also goes before you and me preparing a way for us…preparing a future for us.

Image

I mean ask yourself, why aren’t you content? Is it because of “things” you don’t have or a job that you want but haven’t been able to make it happen? What I am saying is the quest for more here on earth will NOT bring you contentment…this is exactly what the world wants you to think. However, if you plug into a daily relationship with Christ, seeking Him for peace…He will bring you contentment like you have never known before.

Let me leave you with a verse in Hebrews 13:5-6…

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

 

So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”

I will end with something you have heard me say before…but if you can keep your eyes focused on Him exclusively and weather the daily storm you can see in the above verse that you are NOT ALONE. God will NOT leave us NOR forget us…which means he walks with you and provides you exactly what you need…that perfect dose…again, each and everyday. I encourage you to “tap into” what God has for you.

And where will that lead you…? Well, it is my personal goal and I hopefully I’ve convinced you to make it yours as well…

Yep…Contentment…

Until next time guys…

imgresOur God is still on the throne (Psalms 47:8) – The God of the Bible…well…He hasn’t gone anywhere. He is still alive and at work in our world. I know it is very easy to look at what happens in this world and say God is dead or may he is just sleeping…(I have heard that before) But I assure you…He is alive and very well.

With man, things are impossible…but with God, ALL things are possible (Matthew 19:21). It is so very easy to just give up and give in to all of the adversity that is constantly thrown in our direction because we simply forget Gods promises. Bottom line, God has NO limitations. His ways are NOT our ways and therefore he will not react or think as we do…our response needs to be to ask and to trust.

I don’t have to understand everything – I’ve come to realize that my trying to understand the why’s of this world? that is NOT my job. The more I try to understand, the more frustrated I become. My job is to completely trust in Him…even though I don’t understand why (Proverbs 3:5-6). Do you remember the story of Peter when he got out of the boat and started walking on the water to meet Jesus? (Matthew 14:29-30) He was actually walking on water until he took his eyes off of Christ and then what happened? He started sinking fast…and what was his reaction? He cried, “Lord save me!” which is exactly what we are supposed to do…

All of what you are going through right now is only temporary (2 Corinthians 4:18) – We need to remember that what we see is only temporary and what we cannot see…well that is eternal. Even though things may look very dark in the night remember that weeping may last for the night…but joy comes in the morning. (Psalms 30:5)

I know how this story ends – All of the difficulty and adversity we face every day sometimes can be overwhelming. In fact, it may seem like the bad guy is winning…But let me assure you with an overwhelming confidence…I know who wins in the end.

 

Until Next time Guys…

main%201243827407_1024x768_up-film-2009-carl-fredricksen

See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and to defile many. Hebrews 12:15

Have you ever known someone that seemed to be terminally in a “bad” mood all the time? Maybe you have someone like that in your family so that when holidays come, everyone tries to avoid that person because no matter what is said, he or she will lash out? Hollywood glamorized the grumpiness of two old guys when they made the movie “Grumpy Old Men” and we all laughed. But the reality is, grumpiness or bitterness, is an infection that can completely ruin a persons life. Moreover, as some of you may know, bitterness can destroy a community of believers faster than you can imagine. Bitterness is like a virus and left unchecked, can grow and permeate your entire body until you reek of it.

I am sharing this with you because it is very important not only for us, but the person infected to feel the touch and the presence of God before they are lost forever. Yes, I did say forever…Bitterness can and will destroy lives and the Bible is very clear about this.

Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness, no one will see the Lord.  Hebrews 12:14

I assure you guys, when you are bitter…you are NOT holy and we can see from the above scripture how important holiness is to God…and to us.

So why do I tell you this now? Sometimes I really don’t have a specific plan in mind, I just find myself reading somewhere in the Bible and then a verse or a concept strikes me. In this instance, when I read the bitterness verse I realized that I have friends just like that and they have no idea how serious their future is jeopardized by NOT taking action to try to make things better. Paul tells us in Ephesians 4:27 to

…Do not give the devil a foothold.

Guys, when you swallow the bitterness and resentment pill you give the devil a foothold in your life…and trust me, once he has a foothold, he will NOT stop there until he has destroyed everything he can. 1 Peter 5:8 says:

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

The devil wants to destroy you and there is no other way I can say that or sugar coat it so it sounds better. That, my friends, is a fact.

But remember guys, bitterness doesn’t just affect you…It affects your wife, kids, parents, your coworkers and imgresthe list goes on. As I mentioned before, bitterness is a virus and must be dealt with by getting on your knees and seeking Gods grace and forgiveness. There is NO OTHER WAY… Paul tells us again in Ephesians to:

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Ephesians 4:31

I know that getting rid of this issue is easier said, than done but really…you have to get rid of it…Shake it off as you would a bad day. I encourage you to seek God and to then seek help.

If you can read this post and recognize that the person I am referring to is you…then you need to start first on your knees before Him. The Bible says:

Humble thyself in the sight of the Lord and He will lift you up.

If you are suffering from bitterness at present, doesn’t being lifted up sound really good right now? And that is just the beginning. If you allow the Holy Spirit to envelope you, God will melt that bitterness root right out from underneath you.

I challenge you guys today to be men and take the tough first step and recognize you have the bitterness root within you and humbly ask God to take it away.

He will NOT let you down. Of that I am concretely sure…

Until next time guys…

Over the last couple of years, I have been trying to convince a friend of my to guest post on the Ironman Strength blog…up until just recently I have been unsuccessful until now…My friend, Albert Gardner who is a Husband, a Father, and a leader of men has been moved by some athletes and coaches who have announced their retirement in recent weeks and he has decided to share his thoughts on the subject. I know you will enjoy his insight as he delves into the greater meaning of his post…

True Greatness     by Albert Gardner

baltimore-ravens-american-football-team-ray-lewis 10013981_HSGT_DLS_LOCAL_REACT_0105_

This past weekend, two football greats announced they were stepping away from the game they love, Ray Lewis and Bob Ladouceur. Though even the most casual of football fans knows of the name Ray Lewis, Super Bowl MVP, guaranteed first ballot Hall of Fame, He is not the one who defines greatness for me; Bob Ladouceur has coached De La Salle Spartan High School football team for the past 34 years by taking them from obscurity to national prominence…even dominance. Under his leadership, the Spartans have never had a losing season, in fact they’ve enjoyed 20 un-defeated seasons, established a record 151 game winning streak, and enjoyed an overall record of 399 wins, 25 losses, and 3 ties. Yet it isn’t the wins, or records, or trophies, or championships that make Bob Ladouceur great;

Coach Lad, as he is affectionately called by his players, has always loved coaching high school football. In his prior life, He had worked as a probation officer but his job brought him mostly frustration because he felt he was getting these young men too late to help them. He believed he had no affect on their lives. But high school, he said, gave him the best opportunity to do something of value, even saying once in an interview, “that he believed he had the most important job in the country, molding young men”. In the process of molding these young men Ladouceur built a dynasty but ironically he never focused on winning. He said they won because he emphasized doing things right. The Spartans “out worked” every team they played so as a result, they beat every team they played. But in Ladouceur’s own words, and the words of his players, “the Spartans didn’t win just because of their hard work, they worked hard and won because of their love for one another”.

That’s right, Love. He wrote about this in a letter titled “What is a Spartan?” A copy of this letter was given to each member of his 1998 National Championship Team and it was later published in a local newspaper in response to all the criticism of his winning program. In the letter the coach wrote:

It’s upsetting in so much that (the criticism) questions the integrity of school officials and coaches sworn to uphold the ideals of our founder St. La Salle. What’s worse, it completely nullifies the hard work, sheer grit and determination of our student athletes at De La Salle. Society has its share of pessimists and sceptics, many believe that success cannot be achieved without dishonesty. It’s hard for them to see our success and not assume that it was achieved by cheating, stealing, or just blind luck. But I don’t care what society believes. I know the truth and I sleep every night with a clear conscience.

He goes on to use words like “commitment, relationship, responsibility, accountability, and trust.” He speaks of being vulnerable and of the self-reflective process in which real growth can occur.I wish I had a coach like that. You may wonder if he personally walked the walk or just talked the talk or maybe saying one thing when the cameras were rolling, and another once they were packed up and gone? Here is your answer, current rival and former De La Salle player Patrick Walsh, recently weighed in on who Ladouceur truly was; “Coach Lad is one of the most important people who I’ve ever come across in my life,” Walsh said. “I’m thankful that my mom and dad paid the tuition and sent me to De La Salle and gave me the opportunity to meet a guy like Bob Ladouceur, who’s affected my life profoundly.” Walsh, a 1993 De La Salle graduate who ran for over 2,000 yards his senior season, gushes about Ladouceur. “Outside of my mom, my dad and my faith, just being a spiritual individual and believing in God, he’s next.” The quotes and accolades from former players to Super Bowl winning head coaches are too long to list, but his impact will not be fully measured in this life.

By now you may be asking yourself “What does all this mean to me?” I’m glad you asked. In his letter, “What is a Spartan?” Ladouceur quotes Jesus Christ and the parable of the talents, Matthew 25:14-30, he then concludes with this:

The assumption here, is that each of us has some sort of ability: talent. Now it’s our responsibility to discover what that is and what’s more, have the courage to use it.

I know most of us won’t be called to coach football, but I believe that if each of us will commit to using our talents humbly…Psalm 25:9, and courageously…1 Cor 16:13, we have no idea how far God will take us…Ephesians 3:20.

Just ask a retired Spartan, who just wanted to make a difference in the lives of a few young men….

Yep…True Greatness…

Albert Gardner, great contribution…thank you.

Until next time guys…