Archive for the ‘Husband’ Category

1 Take a Stand

I originally wrote this post 2 years ago in June of 2013 and yet it still has huge relevancy as America continues to change before our eyes. I am calling out the men again to take a stand in their own homes and be strong and be who you have been called to be for your family. I ask that you read this post with the same urgency it was written 2 years ago and now…

The Ironman Strength blog has always been about MEN being strong in God and taking on the challenges that this life sends our way and this post is no different. Guys, I sense some indecisiveness out there. Maybe you have some doubt in your lives that if left alone, could cause some very serious problems for you and your family down the road. Please read this post with the same urgency that I write it and please take it to heart because our America is changing. I begin with a verse for warriors that I hope you will apply today…

But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15 NIV)

This is a great verse because it is clear and to the point. When Joshua wrote this verse, he knew he was going to die. He had fought the good fight for God and now he was old but before God took him into heaven, Joshua spoke to the children of Israel and gave them two options about their spiritual future; either serve God…or don’t serve Him. They had already experienced the power of God throughout their daily journey as they moved through the promised land and continually overcame obstacles that were more than they could have ever withstood on their own…And now, here they stood on the precipice of the most important decision any of them would ever make for their future…and with Joshua gone…would they give in and serve the gods of the existing tribes around them…or…would they take a stand and serve the God who had brought them to where they were now?

What is critical to note here though is Joshua’s final opinion on the two options he gave Israel. He said, “as for me and my household, we will serve The Lord”. As was typical of the rock who Joshua was, he did not waver or falter…he spoke from his heart and it was solid.

Joshua was one of the most powerful warriors in Biblical history who served God with all he had and when the end of his life was near, he took his final stand in front of his nation and announced who he and his household would serve…

My question to you is…which option have you chosen for you and your house?

Have you taken the stand for yourself and firmly planted your feet on the solid ground before God?

I believe that now is time to “man up” in your relationship with God…You need to make a decision and then stick with it…It is your responsibility to shield both you and your family from the harm that Satan seeks to wreak upon the people you care about. Now is NOT a time for doubt, it is a time for clarity. Otherwise you will be like this;

But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. (James 1:6 NIV)

Everyone has seen seaweed being tossed back and forth inside waves with no stability whatsoever. That seaweed could end up anywhere because it has broken away from its stronghold under the sea. Guys, if you doubt, that will be you being thrown around in this world like broken seaweed in the waves…with nothing to hold onto…being tossed around with no idea where you will end up…

Trust me here…that is NOT God’s plan for you OR your family.

Guys, I challenge you right now to be the warrior God intended you to be by taking a stand inside your house by protecting your wife and kids from what Satan seeks to do them. It starts by clinging onto our God who is a rock and a fortress and will always be there for us…

I challenge you to be like Joshua and declare to the world…

As for me and my house, we will serve The Lord…

Who will you choose to serve?

Until next time guys…

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guardrail2

Have you ever listened to a podcast? I discovered podcasts a few months ago when I needed something different to listen to when I was working out. In the process of trying to find a podcast that actually might challenge me, I ran across Andy Stanley from North Point Community Church in Atlanta. After listening to him for a few days, he quickly has become one of my favorite pastors and one of the main reasons are the topics he chooses. For example, recently I stumbled upon one of his series called “Guardrails in your Life” that frankly has changed me and how I think about how close I want to live to the edge in this world.

Andy quickly established what guardrails are…Barriers that protect us from straying off into a danger zone. We see them all the time on the highway. They are strategically placed in center medians to keep us from crossing over into oncoming traffic. They are located on bridges where roads curve to keep us from losing control and falling over the edge. One critical point Andy makes is that guardrails are always located within the safe zone of the road only just a few feet from real danger. Have you ever seen a car that has hit a guardrail? The car is damaged; in some cases, severely, but the occupant is usually ok. The outside of the car takes the brunt of the collision; and there usually is always damage, but survival is the objective. Scrapes and bruises are ok if we live.

Guardrails in your life would function in the same way but the question is, do you have guard rails set up for your self to avoid you swerving over into your personal danger zone? In my own experiences with friends, I have watched them live right on the edge of the sin barrier of immorality. They literally balanced themselves with one foot on the line and the other moving back and forth from faith to folly. I believe all of us know guys who have fallen onto the wrong side when perched on this edge and as a result, lost their spouse and family.

Why is the danger zone so attractive? I will address that in another blog post but for right now lets talk about setting up a literal barrier for yourself so that when you run into it, sirens, alarms and red flags start going off inside you so you know you are close to going over…or at least in a place you shouldn’t be.

Let me give you some armor to put on to help you when you feel yourself swerving off into danger areas. Paul addresses this very issue in his letter to the church of Corinth.

Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. 1 Corinthians 6:18-20

Guys, I believe this is very simple to understand all you need to do is to claim it.

Paul was very clear when he said FLEE, RUN, GET OUT OF THERE…but there is more.

When Jesus Christ died on the cross, YOU were purchased from sin…which means SIN no longer has a claim over you.

You have power to resist the dangers in your life.

With this power…

YOU DO NOT HAVE TO DO WHAT YOUR DESIRES TELL YOU TO DO.

YOU DO NOT HAVE TO DO WHAT YOUR APPETITE TELLS YOU TO DO.

As a Christian, you are the master of your body because your body is under the authority of a greater master.

I challenge you to honor God with your bodies as Paul says, by establishing your own guard rails to help you know when you are in the danger zone

You were bought with a price which gives you power and that power is what will help you overcome the wrong desires we all feel in our lives.

Claim this for you and your family today.

Who knew that guardrails were so important?

Until next time guys…

theBible_poster_joshua

The Ironman Strength blog has always been about being strong in God and taking on the challenges that this life sends our way and this post is no different. Guys, I sense some wavering out there…some doubt in your lives that if left alone, could cause some very serious problems for you and your family down the road. Please read this post with the same urgency that I write it and please take it to heart. I begin with a verse for warriors that I hope you will apply today…

But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15 NIV)

This is a great verse because it is clear and to the point. When Joshua wrote this verse, he knew he was going to die. He had fought the good fight for God and now he was old but before God took him into heaven, Joshua spoke to the children of Israel and gave them two options about their spiritual future; either serve God…or don’t serve Him. They had already experienced the power of God throughout their daily journey as they moved through the promised land and continually overcame obstacles that were more than they could have ever withstood on their own…And now, here they stood on the precipice of the most important decision any of them would ever make for their future…and with Joshua gone…would they give in and serve the gods of the existing tribes around them…or…would they take a stand and serve the God who had brought them to where they were now?

What is critical to note here though is Joshua’s final opinion on the two options he gave Israel. He said, “as for me and my household, we will serve The Lord”. As was typical of the rock who Joshua was…He did not waver or falter…he spoke from his heart and it was solid.

Joshua was one of the most powerful warriors in Biblical history who served God with all he had and when the end of his life was near, he took his final stand in front of his nation and announced who he and his house would serve…

My question to you is…which option have you chosen for you and your house?

Have you taken the stand for yourself and firmly planted your feet on the solid ground before God?

I believe that now is time to“man up” in your relationship with God…It is your responsibility to shield both you and your family from the harm that Satan seeks to wreak upon the people you care about. Now is NOT a time for doubt, it is a time for clarity. Otherwise you will be like this;

But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. (James 1:6 NIV)

Everyone has seen seaweed being tossed back and forth inside waves with no stability whatsoever. That seaweed could end up anywhere because it has broken away from its stronghold under the sea. Guys, if you doubt, that will be you being thrown around in this world like the seaweed in the waves…with nothing to hold onto…being tossed around with no idea where you will end up…

Trust me here…that is NOT God’s plan for you or your family.

Guys, I challenge you right now to be the warrior God intended you to be by taking a stand inside your house by protecting your wife and kids from what Satan seeks to do them. It starts by clinging onto our God who is a rock and a fortress and will always be there for us…

I challenge you to be like Joshua and declare to the world…

As for me and my house, we will serve The Lord…

 

Until next time guys…

 

 

it_happens_in_a_blink__by_jsf22x35-d3c4oejYesterday, I attended a memorial service for the wife of a former business owner/ friend of mine who recently passed on and has gone to Heaven. The service was great. I say “great” because it was NOT one of those very dull, dreary experiences where the person who passed had no hope and we will never see them again. Everyone in that service knew where this woman was…Heaven…no doubt about it. But yet at the same time, the service was incredibly sad because my friend’s wife was gone. Physically, she is no longer here anymore to participate in her life doing the she things she loved like running, riding bikes or spending time with her husband and her kids…instead, she went to Heaven and it happened in a blink.

 

This coming June 21st, my own daughter Kylie, will have been in heaven for 9 years but yet it only seems just like yesterday to me when she passed. She was a very happy 12-year-old girl who truly loved her family and her life but yet one day, God decided to take her up to Heaven and live with Him…and that too happened in a blink.

 

Now, I will be honest with you here..I am not one of those guys who believes that Kylie is up there watching over our family.  That has never been one of those things told to me that ever gave me comfort. I will also tell you that this post isn’t about wrestling with God or bitterness or anything like that….It’s about recognizing what is right in front of you and possibly losing your pride and being the man and asking for forgiveness…The people we know and care for can be gone in a blink and then what? Well, the hard truth is you must live without them for the rest of your lives…and for some of you, that may mean living with a mountain of regret. The “I should have talked to him/her sooner” conversation that should have happened…never happened…only now it is too late.

 

I can’t tell you how many times I have spoken to friends who were angry at their kids or their wives or their parents and that anger or pride caused them a broken relationship and then as I have experienced first hand, that special someone is gone in a blink and now they live with this bitter pill regret at never reaching out to them and mending that relationship…

 

Remember: Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18

 

Guys, if you haven’t picked up on the theme of this post…It happens in a blink…It’s because it does. The unexpected can happen before you blink and I assure you there isn’t anything you can do. One minute, all is well in your world and the next, someone YOU LOVE is gone. No matter how hard we try to hold on to someone, we can’t.

 

What I am saying is simple…don’t wait to save your relationships. Please consider taking the high road and do it now…because truly…life can change in a blink. I encourage you to please don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today…

 

Until next time guys…

 

images-1

As I may have mentioned before, I have a second son who is 10 years old and like many of us, is learning that sometimes life isn’t easy. He is currently learning this valuable lesson through the great sport of Baseball. You see, he was drafted onto his very first Little League majors team and although he started the season with a bang, he has since fallen into one of those slumps we see major leaguers fall into now and then. This slump however, is causing him great distress. The more he tries to shake it off, the worse it gets and this past weekend…well, he just kinda hit the wall…(Anyone ever hit the wall before?…) His “hitting the wall” experience afforded me the opportunity as his father to have one of those conversations about life that I think all young men need to hear sometime as they grow up.

Now I will be honest with you…I have heard and read many of these self-help pontificator’s who put forth things like empowering yourself and “everything you need to be great exists inside you already all you need to do is find it” kind of stuff…and although there may be place for that somewhere…when you are staring into the tearing eyes of a 10-year-old boy who is trying desperately to do his best, and it’s not working…all of those empowerment ideals goes out the window.

Here is the bottom line…and it is NOT Rocket Science; Sometimes…in this life…you will get knocked down…the question is “are you going to get back up, or are you going to just lay there?” As I watched my own son, it was clear to me he had no idea where to start or what to do…and I realized right then that a lot of men in life find themselves in this same situation. We get knocked down in life…maybe at work or at home and we simply lose our direction and we truly…have no idea where to turn next. Just like my son, we have lost our confidence in ourselves and our capabilities. We forget what our strengths are both professionally and personally and this can cause paralysis from taking another step forward. As adults this can be devastating especially to a family where the father has lost his way and mom is trying to hold things together by herself.

So how does one get his confidence back? Here are my 5 steps to confidence:

  1. Get back up on your feet and take that first step forward. I assure you that confidence does NOT come while you are laying on the ground…
  1. Read Hebrews 4:16…Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. It ALL starts with God guys…He tells us to come to Him with CONFIDENCE in order that we can receive what He has for us…
  1. Spend some quality time with God. Doesn’t have to be hours…just get on your knees for a few minutes without distraction. You will be amazed…
  1. Call a buddy. Just because you are a man doesn’t mean you don’t need to talk and maybe get something off your chest. Grab a coffee and spend a minute with a good friend…
  1. Plug into a church. I know you have heard this before but it is true…God didn’t intend His people to walk through “life” alone…he intended them to do “life” as a community and that happens in a church.

 

It’s like I told my son, “I have seen you hit a baseball before and you hit well…you just need to remember that feeling”

Guys, you HAVE done some “thing’s” in your life well. Some things that should make you proud and happy of your accomplishments as a husband and father…do you remember them? You should…and you have no reason to hang your head… Remember this;

Hebrews 12:1-3 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfector of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Right now, you are running the race marked out for you…NEWS FLASH! You are going to fall down… It WILL imageshappen. That IS a part of your life…but as I mentioned before…when this happens what are you going to do then? Guys my challenge to you today is simply GET UP! Shake off the dirt and keep moving forward. God NEVER promised that our lives would be easy…He only said “He would never leave us or forsake us” which means during your darkest hour…you are not alone…

So GET UP and LOOK UP to Gods throne with confidence…

You can do this…

Until next time guys…

 

300px-WristStrap

I have been writing the Ironman Strength blog now for a couple of years and i have found that the blessing of this blog is the time spent preparing what to write and what to share. What I find interesting though is that all the time i work this blog, life is going on for me personally and the same issues you deal with everyday, I deal with as well. The stresses of life can and do take their toll on all of us…myself included…to the point where many times I can go back and read my own words from past blogs and the words seem foreign to me…in other words, on that day…God took me to a place in order for me to write what I wrote for that specific moment…why don’t I feel that now?

Life is just so full of ups and downs that it can wreck the best of us and especially Christians… both men and women.

So what am I saying? Well if you have read Ironman Strength in the past you know i constantly point out that life is a marathon journey we get to face and the point of this blog was our need for encouragement along the way. That reason continues to be the driving force for beginning and continuing to write this blog. However I can honestly tell you that i have been struggling to find my own way in recent days. The words and the inspiration to write, share and encourage just haven’t been there and yet I know there is a direct correlation in the time i spend with God and His subsequent blessings versus being to busy…

So for me, the writer of this blog…it is time I practiced what I always write to you and bear down and focus on the many blessings God has given me rather than dwell on negative things or just things that I think are important…Remember this:

The Lord knows the thoughts of man; He knows that they are futile…

Psalms 94:11

I only share this with you for one reason…Satan is alive and well in this earth and he will not rest until he has destroyed you and me…

But I will not end this post with a negative but rather I want to share with you an amazing set of verses that God led me to today that I believe are exactly what the spiritual doctor ordered…they come from Psalm 91…verses 14-16:

“Because he loves me,” says The Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.

He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.

With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation”.

Guys, if that scripture doesn’t give you a dose of encouragement for the day then I don’t know what will because honestly, God does not speak any clearer than that anywhere in the Bible.

But as you read, the answer starts with your love for Him…if you love Him in your deepest heart, then He promises toimages come to your aid when you need Him the most. That is truly the secret for receiving His protective care…a heart that is intimately attached to Him in both thankfulness and affection. By the way, He knows who you are, and He hears your prayers and will fill your life with His divine presence. Obviously, this means having a relationship with Him…

This is a very simple choice that you and I must make but it will make the difference in how we approach our life, how we deal with adversity and most importantly, how much joy life will bring us.

As I have done before…and will continue to do…I encourage you to take my words to heart by asking God for forgiveness and then asking Him for His help and guidance…He will not fail you…but once you speak to Him…then you need to listen…

Stay grounded in Him…

Until next time guys…

mind_gears-300x300To whom it may concern…this blog post is not one for the faint of heart. I plan to be very honest and truthful about what the Bible says about a very important topic that we all need to remember as we journey through this life. The truth may hit you painfully…but that is kind of the point isn’t it? Please consider my words as they will apply to both mine and yours eternal futures…

Is it possible for the “New” to wear off as a Christian? Can you let the things of this earth overwhelm your thoughts and dreams to take you further and further away from the presence of the Lord?

One easy answer…Absolutely…

As a new Christian, you must consider the fact that Satan will begin to attack you with even more ferocity than before to try to shake you from your new commitment to Christ. As a young Christian, you are an infant needing spiritual sustenance from both the church and your own personal commitment to growing yourself more in His word and ways. If that growth does not happen consistently, then yes it would be easy to fall back into ones old ways before your salvation…

But let us consider a person who has had a longer relationship with God. Someone who has served Christ faithfully for many years or even participated in outreach for the church like missions. Someone that you could count on to be there if you needed help. Someone that you consider a rock…Would it be possible for this type of person to fall victim to the calling sounds of sin?

For those of you who have never heard this term, I want to introduce you to something called Personal Apostasy which when translated from the original Greek, means to turn away or to fall away from what one has formally turned to.

See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. Hebrews 3:12

What I am speaking about here is an actual severing of one’s relationship with God whereby one literally withdraws from the personal union as well as no longer having faith in Him. Now please understand what I am saying here; you can only experience personal apostasy if you have previously received salvation or the regeneration of the Holy Spirit…a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 1 Timothy 4:1

For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 2 Timothy 4:3

The Bible is very clear and issues warnings about apostasy designed to both alert us to the deadly danger of walking away from Christ as well as to motivate us to persevere in our faith and obedience to Him. These warnings are the reality of our life and must be heeded as Christians in order to attain our heavenly goals. In other words, do not ignore them…take heed and listen and most importantly…apply them in your own life so that you or your family will not be swayed by the enemy, Satan.

We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. For since the message spoken through angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. Hebrews 2:1-3

Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the antichrist—denying the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also. As for you, see that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. And this is what he promised us—eternal life. 1 John 2: 22-25

These are just a couple of the many verses that are explicit in their description of the fatal dangers of personal apostasy. It is also important to note that this is a process. In other words, this is not an example of simply touching a switch and a person has changed. No, this is not the case at all, it takes time for the deadly sin virus to take hold in a person’s life. It reminds me of the song by Casting Crowns called Slow Fade which describes in detail the “slow fade as you give yourself away”:

Be careful little eyes what you see
It’s the second glance that ties your hands as darkness pulls the strings
Be careful little feet where you go
For it’s the little feet behind you that are sure to follow

The ramifications of this are truly deadly and the Bible is very clear about this as well. More importantly, this process or slow fade as mentioned above, is a personal choice this person makes over time. They choose to walk down the road and leave their family and salvation behind. Yes, I did say, leave your salvation behind. If this apostasy continues unchecked in one’s life it is entirely possible whereby a person reaches a point where a second beginning is impossible. In other words, if there is a deliberate hardening of ones heart to the voice of the Holy Spirit but worse yet, a refusal to repent, there is an actual point of no return according to God’s Word.

It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. Hebrews 6:4-6

You cannot call yourself a Christian and be indifferent to the word of God. The demands and the warnings of the Holy Spirit tell a different story. Remember the possibility of self-deception is always there and for those who claim to be Christians, Paul reminds us all to “examine ourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves” 2 Corinthians 13:5.

If you ignore the obvious and continue down the same path, as mentioned before, the decision you make will be eternally fatal. I assure you, that is one you will regret.