Mind over mediocrity…

You were not made for mediocrity

Mind over mediocrity.

Have you ever heard the saying, “Mind over matter”? This cliche is more profound than some may realize…

Maybe you are thinking your are too old or too young to achieve your aspirations, dreams, and goals. Maybe you think you are too obese, too skinny, or too uncoordinated to get fit and stay fit, or to accomplish that athletic goal. Maybe you think it’s too late in life to accomplish that goal of building a business, achieving below 80 on the golf course, a black belt in karate, hike that trail, be in the gym 4 to 6 days a week, or lose those pounds of weight? Maybe you think because of an injury, illness, or financial status you can’t achieve something spectacular?

I wish to express to you from personal experience, and experience with working with and alongside others, that those ways of thinking are you nearly believing lies, and are often self defeating excuses. Time to uninstall self doubt. Please do not get me wrong, a person should always check with their medical doctor before proceeding into an exercise program, diet, or changing a eating habit. That is wise. However, a person can achieve the spectacular, at least often more than they thought they could initially achieve with the right mindset, and attitude.

The challenge with the average human psyche is that we tend to self talk ourselves out of a change, or challenge when either we think it may be too difficult or when it does become difficult.

The thing a challenge is called a challenge for a reason. It’s not meant to be easy to achieve. It is supposed to be tough. It takes hard work, discipline, and diligence over time. Look at it this way if you are over weight, did it happen over night? Did it happen in months? Most likely it was over a year or more, why would you logically think losing that eight could be done in months, or sometimes even a year? If you have not worked out in the gym in months to a year, or jogged those miles in that amount of time as well, why would you think you could build muscle, stamina and strength in such a short time? That is not reasonable, nor logical.

If it were impossible to achieve financial success, a high level of fitness at an older age, or after an injury or illness, then why are people achieving it, including myself?

May you fail? May you have a setback? Most likely, but that surely is no reason to not try, or give up. Besides, you do not truly fail unless you do not get back up, and learn something from it. Most if not all of your top producing professionals, CEOs, and famous athletes failed more than they succeeded. Look at their true biographies and authentic interviews. Granted some genetics does play a role, or coming from a family of wealth. However, that is not the majority, it is the minority. Most of these high achievers had these actions and characteristics in common;

Guts, Resilience, Initiative, Tenacity (G.R.I.T.)

They had a dream, developed goals, wrote out a plan, and worked that plan with determination, diligence and discipline. You can do this too.

However, you cannot do it if you keep making excuses, pointing fingers, or blaming others for not achieving your aspirations, and goals. The finger is on you. If you fail, so what? As shared most, if not all of your top producers, and athletes failed many times, but they learned from their failures, and mistakes. They got back up, got back at it, even if they had to revise their plans and take more time. They also did not stay stagnant once they reached their goals, or reached the top, they did and do what it takes to remain successful, or fit, or being a top athlete. They made good practices and good habits a way of life. Many also taught it to others as well.

If I were to list out all of the most famous people, higher achievers, and top athletes that persevered through adversity, against many odds, setbacks, injuries, and illnesses, this article would be nearly a long novel of pages. However, since you are reading this article this far, let me share a bit of my own personal story being a man that didn’t come from financial wealth, or superb genetics.

I have had failures, setbacks, possibly similar to many whom may be reading this article. whether from financial set back, illness, and injuries. I have had near death experiences, several injuries, and in a wheel chair for months to where doctors have told me I may never recover, and that at my age and incurred injuries my days of working out in the gym, or going back to karate training and karate teaching may be over. I have had financial set backs so severe that I wondered where I may reside, or how I may be able to not only meet my obligations, but to afford meals. My heart has been broken from divorce, plans shattered, and faith rocked to it’s core from these adversities and life events.

Have I ever wanted to give up, of course I did, and you may have too. However, I realized there is no giving up in life, and I already knew from my parents, is that no one owes me anything. A person earns hat they have and that failure and setbacks are a part of life. You must treat them as learning experiences and grow and become wiser from them. You must also realize that goals are meant to be set in small steps, not gigantic unrealistic leaps. And once you hit each step of these goals, celebrate them and strive to accomplish the next step.

In addition, after a few heart wrenching, and large setbacks I decided to do some deep self reflection, and self discover of who I am, what I am about, what I do, why, and to whom I serve. I took classes, researched, read many books, studied high producing respectful mentors, did a new Meyers Briggs Typology, discovered my Love Language, met with Life Coaches, got a certification and then set new goals. I changed my circles of influence, developed a plan and worked that plan. Most importantly I celebrated victories, developed good habits, and made much of this plan a way of life.

So what does my plan look like you may ask? well here is just a brief outline of what it is and what it looks like;

I strive to think positive every day.

Every one has bad days, bad months, and bad years for that matter. However, most often you can discover something positive and good in your days, months, and years. I count my blessings, sometimes say them out loud or write them down. Rising each morning the gift of a new day is something to be positive about at any age. I also strive to take a logical, and less emotional approach, to some things such as realizing there are things I can control, and there are things I cannot control. I cannot control what people will say, think and often do. However I can control what I think, say, do and how I influence others. I prefer to influence others positively.

I am eager to learn, and really enjoy learning and then teaching it to others. It is said if you listen to something you may learn a little, if you listen and write it down you may learn more, if you listen, write it down, and teach it to others you will learn a lot. I have a saying in a reply when people ask me, “How are you doing?”, my typical reply is, “I am living, learning, and serving, because if you are not learning and serving, then you aren’t truly living.

I have tightened my circles.

I have a very small inner circle for several good reasons. First of all it is not about the quantity of good friends, it is about that quality. Remember this statistical fact that you become the average of your five closest friends. So I strive to choose wisely.

Besides times is the most priceless thing there is. You cannot get more time back, and you certainly cannot buy more time. Once it is gone, it is gone. So by investing your time wisely for what you do as a career, what you do to take care of your body, mind, and soul, and what you have for family and friends is only so much. Spreading your time in actions, activities, and behaviors that are not productive, healthy, and conducive to those above, is not only unhealthy, it is unwise. No one on their death bed will say I wish I spent more time in the shop or office; or on binge watching TV, or sitting on the couch and in the recliner. I personally strive to give me employer my best for the 8 hours a day they compensate me, my health in regular exercise and diet, my loved ones my attentive and engaging time, and my top goals the due time that is needed to accomplish them. with that, there is not a lot of time left over for too many “friends” that may not be true friends, or unhealthy, and unproductive activities.

So what does my typical day look like you may ask, and how is good physical, mental and spiritual health achieved? Here is a good brief summary of my day:

  1. I typically rise early in the morning. The first thing I try to do is thank God for the gift of a new day. I then crank up some inspirational music, eat something light and healthy such as egg whites, ezekial toast/oats, or a fruit smoothie with a good cup of fresh coffee. I then get in a brief devotional and try to get 30 to 45 minutes of exercise even if it is just a walk outdoors, on the treadmill or set-ups/push-ups/burpees/leg raises. I do all of this before my work day starts at around 8am.
  2. I give my employer my best and leverage all of my knowledge, skill sets, and experience to achieve high results. I help others at work when asked and always encourage those who work for our with me. Then once my work day is done, it is done, unless I get an urgent pressing call that requires me to address or resolve it. After my work day is done, it is family, friends, and me time.
  3. I work out 4 to 6 days a week. So before dinner I work out for at least 45 minutes, and often with my son and/or with a friend. I use a progressive over load system for strength building and cutting. I training in karate and/or the treadmill/HIITs/bicycling 2 to 3 days a week for cardio.
  4. I strive to eat what I call, “The Mediterranean way. It is basically the Mediterranean Diet to where I have made it a way of life to where it is pretty much the way I have been eating since January 2020.
  5. I strive to get .80 to 1 grams of protein per pound of weight, and take well researched, good supplements, and vitamins. I would like to get to 1.5 grams of protein to 1 pound of weight. So I often eat 4 times a day, but keep my calories in a deficit to lose weight. My maintenance calories are currently about 2800, so I am typically below 2300 to 2000 calories a day on average.
  6. I invest my free time in addition to exercise with loved ones, reading education/self-improvement books, research fitness, watch good movies, work towards another certification, or finishing, or writing another book.
  7. I strive to go to bed at a reasonable hour to get 8 hours of sleep. I have always struggled with getting enough sleep. However, I have improved and now reaching nearly 7 hours of sleep a day. Proper sleep is good for you. It is required for muscle recovery, healthy weight, and improved mental health.

So you may ask what has this daily habit achieved for me since I started this plan since January 1st, 2020? Here is a brief summary:

I have lost about 40 + pounds. Gained 10 lbs in muscle and gained 1″ to 3″ in muscle size. I lowered my resting heart rate by 20+. I am down at least 4 or waist sizes. I sleep better, and feel better. In fact, I feel similar as I did in my mid to late 20s. I gained another black belt, and should have a new book published early next year. My relationships with my inner circle, and loved ones are deeper and stronger.

So, can you do all of this? I would say first check with your medical doctor, but then I would say you may certainly be able to do this and enjoy the process to make it a way of life. I can say with confidence, “It’s better to attempt the spectacular, and possibly fail, than become an expert at the mediocre.”

Prove the doubters wrong, including any of your own negative self talk. If people doubt you, or talk about you negatively, whether to you, or behind your back, well that’s not your people. Remember, you cannot control what people will say, think or often do, but you can certainly control what you say, think and do while possibly influencing others for the good.

I will close with one of my one personal sayings, “The good life is not about how many toys you have, or money you make, it’s about how many lives you touch, and good your create.” And remember that good, is also the good you create for yourself.

Shalom.

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You are one of those weak Christians…

I remember many years ago as a new Christian and years proceeding that some people, especially those without a deep relationship with Christ thought being a Christian meant being timid, mild, weak. I remember these people saying that Christian’s were easily led, “brain washed”, or even children, as well as immature adults, use the word “sissy’.

However, don’t think for a moment that a Christian is weak, mild, timid, or simpletons. Some of the smartest, wisest, and toughest people I know are on fire, blood bought, wide eyed, sanctified strong Christians. Even in the bible, Kingdom work had to be accomplished and achieved by some of the most violent men of God that would make many men tremble these days.

Some if not many people see or think of Jesus as this soft, mild young man with feathered hair blowing in the wind while petting sheep ,and telling stories to children. For those people, I am not sure if they read the same bible I do, understand the times of those days, and how Jesus truly spoke, taught, led, and loved.

Of course Jesus was humble, he loved well in not just words, but in actions and deeds. He had great empathy, and compassion. However, He was also had great passion, strength, and a carpenter’s son over 2000 years ago. Walked mostly wherever He went. Taught, led, and kept in line a bunch of men from varying backgrounds including tough, wild, and tough headed fishermen. He also spoke with great authority and called the Pharisees & Sadducee a descriptive name that fit well under that engagement he was having with them at that time, which was “Vipers”. He also threw over some tables and chased the greedy money changers with a whip. And there are not too many people, or any at all that I know that could have handled the beating, 39 lashes with a whip of sharp stone, shards, and glass, and the crucifix on the cross while telling our Heavenly Father to “forgive them for that know not what they do.”

Johnny Cash’s quote much more profound than some may realize.

“Being a Christian isn’t for sissies. It takes a real man to live for God – a lot more man than to live for the devil.”

I know this to be true. Think about it. It’s easy to slip into the ways of the world. Be tempted by sin and fall into it. It’s easy to skip church, not attend a bible study, not read your bible. Not make time for prayer or think it is trivial. Basically replace striving to seek a relationship with, or live for God, and not fulfill the Great Commission by making Disciples who make Disciples.

I have been ridiculed, called names, and at work at one point I was given the name “Preacher Boy”, and “Alter Boy”, and called “Jesus Freak.” I was not invited to events, parties, and even passed up for several promotions in my younger days. I have also been called a Hypocrite, and a Heathen not just by those who didn’t know Christ, or wasn’t churched. This would happen by “churched folks” Yes, unfortunately in all our humanity, some “Christians” and “churches” can have a tendency to “eat their own.”

Now I grew up in what people have called, “a rough part of town”, or “the other side of the tracks”. So I have been called many names, been in my fair share of self defensive fights, and developed a rather thick skin at a young age. So much of these words, or actions by others I treat as if I am a Bobble Head Duck. I simply nod, and let them roll off my back. Besides, I considered it an un-worthy honor to be even called a “Preacher Boy’, “Alter Boy”, or “Jesus Freak.”

However, if my life, livelihood, family, close friends, loved ones or humble abode is threatened, I am capable, well trained, and well equipped of unleashing some violence that has not been seen by many, maybe no one at all. I like much of what Jordan Peterson speaks upon, and this is one of my favorite quotes by him, “A harmless man is not a good man. A good man is a very dangerous man who has that under voluntary control”. Now this is biblical, and I have plenty of scripture to support if you do not believe me.

Yes, being a Christian is not for sissies as Johnny Cash spoke. It takes more of a man to take a stand for what he believes in. To take a minority position for what is moral, sound and true verses what is popular, even by the majority. To strive to walk in a relationship with Christ every day, make disciples who make disciples. To be courageous in the midst of a world that ridicules him, discounts him, and passes him up, or tosses him aside for being foolish, timid, or brain washed…

However, although it isn’t easy, or isn’t for sissies. It is good. It is joy. It’s eternal salvation. It is blessings more than our minds may be able to comprehend, and sometimes may never until we are home with the Creator, Father God Almighty. We were created for a relationship with God. It is our free will that chooses to or not.

And my answer to some whom may say it’s foolish, or fantasy. My answer is that I would rather be a fool, believing a fantasy while living a good life, with morals, integrity and living by an admirable Code, and be wrong in my beliefs when I die, than believing contrary, or otherwise, and be wrong when I die. You see if I am wrong, I lose nothing when I die. If the other is wrong, they lose everything for eternity.

Personally, I like, and will take my odds, I love my life, and I love God, love people, and live on mission.

Shalom.

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Men’s Ministry?…

“Deep in his heart, every man longs for a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue.” ― John Eldredge, Wild at Heart: Discovering the Secret of a Man’s Soul.

Through my many years in my walk in faith I have either been a part of, helped lead, or have led Men’s Ministries at & in a variety of churches. Unfortunately not many hit the mark of what I believe & think is a “real men’s ministry”. Now those whom know me, or have, or do attend church with me, don’t get all offended. We already live in a way too easily offended society. Think about it honestly. What do men need these days? What are they truly looking for? What makes them come alive, builds them up, challenges them to be better men at work, in the home & in the community? Unfortunately men & fathers seem to be made out to be weak minded buffoons on most television shows. And many churches say that men are suppose to be “good” or “nice guys”. Maybe “seen, but not heard.” “Don’t be overly masculine, someone may label you as rebellious, defiant,” or a “wild card”.” Not sure if those that think that men are to be quiet, reserved, or the sub-servant “nice guy” read the same bible that I do. Men are to be raised to be leaders, defenders, protectors, providers, and the example of Christ in the home, as well as violent men of God whom are dangerous, but have it under voluntary control. There is a difference between being a “good/nice guy” and a man of character, integrity, and valor.

Churches have it wrong if their ideal of a real “Men’s Ministry” is to sit around every time they meet to sip coffee and read a few bible verses, without a take away or challenge, then call it a men’s gathering until next week, or worse, next month. Men need challenges, because without challenges there is no growth. Young men need to learn from wise strong men. Men come alive when they are put out of their comfort zone, when they achieve and excel. Sitting around a fire, watching wood burn at every meeting, doesn’t do it either unless there are a bit of a nudge, or challenge, to ask and answer tough questions in an effort to grow, while leveraging the Word of God as the compass.

In my life time, a few, very few churches, got it right, or at least somewhat right. Some that come to mind are those whom utilized outlines from authors, pastors & speakers like John Eldredge.

Personally I am looking for a Men’s Ministry that does similar. That talks real talk, and walks that talk. Leaders that do not operate out of the fear of offending a person or two. (Trust me, Christ & all the Disciples offended many.) Those that challenge men to learn, apply, amplify, and exemplify G.R.I.T. with Grace. Whether it be a rugged Men’s Outdoor Group where we camp for days & nights in tents, Men’s Motorcycle Group where we take long rides, attend bike shows, bike nights, & camp near the side of roads, or Men’s Fitness & Sports Enthusiast Group where we push ourselves mentally, physically & spiritually, etc…

Men need to learn to be men from the bible, from the example of Christ, His Disciples, and other Men of God in the bible. And trust me, none of these men should be determined as weak, simple minded, or “Simps” …. Don’t believe me, truly read the bible, and about all the men in it, for yourself, and while you are at it, grab a copy of “Beautiful Outlaw”, and “Wild at Heart” by John Edredge.

We need men whom love God, fear God; that gave Guts, Resilience, Initiative, and Tenacity. G.R.I.T.

Shalom.

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The New Year, 2022

Tomorrow we will be on the eve of another year. Last week I turned a year older. In my decades of life I have experienced a lot. My father has told me on more than one occasion that I have lived 6 lives in one. Sure, I have gained knowledge, material wealth; however I have made mistakes, and lost material wealth too. I took good risks and I took bad risks. Of all my decades of life, sometimes living on the edge, as well as in fear of the edge; I have discovered who I am, what I am about, what I do, how I do it, and my why. I know my Purpose and my Mission. I even have it written out. I also know, as I gather most of you do too, that life is not fair, and no one really owes you anything. However, life is a gift, and you owe it to yourself to live it full and well.

So I am going to ask you, do you know who you are, what you are about, to Whom you serve, what you do, and your why? Do you know what gives you joy, provides fulfillment, makes you come alive, and rise in the morning to seize the gift of a brand new day? The Japanese call this “Ikigai”. The author & speaker Simon Sinek calls it your “Why”.

As the New Year of 2022 arrives, what aspirations, goals and dreams have you put in the back burner? What kind of life do you want to live? What is it that makes you come alive? Do you know your Purpose, and Mission? What is your vision for your future and those that you love?

Maybe you are living your best life now. That is wonderful! Is there room for improvement? Is there others that you want to share your joy with, and inspire? We weren’t designed to keep it to ourselves, and live it alone. We were created and designed to live it with others.

I am not as naive that I would say that material wealth doesn’t make many things easier. I have had it, and not had it. It is nice to have it. However, material wealth can be lost as easily as one life event. Your health, time, and your close relationships are priceless. Invest in those two, and the returns will be substantial in fulfillment, contentment, and joy. The good life isn’t about how many toys you have or money you make, it is about how many lives you touch and good you create.

If you have not done so, or doing so, maybe truly seek to discover who you are, what you are about, to Whom you serve, what you do, and why. Write down those goals, make a written and measurable plan to achieve them, and as the new year arrives, take action, and launch each day with Purpose, navigate with Principles, and explore with Passion!

May your new year be healthy, happy, and filled with much joy.

~ DW

Hebrews 12:1-3

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Top 10 Characteristics of True Leaders

In my career and personal life I have had the privilege to have led many teams. Sales professional from a team of six up to nearly one hundred. In sports, I have coached youth sports, and taught children and adults karate. In the community, from serving on the Board of Directors for charities or not-for-profit organizations, or developing and managing charitable organizations. Conversely I have also been led by some amazing leaders that pour wisdom and optimism into their people. These leaders have a vision of success, not just for themselves, or the company, but their people.

Being on this earth for a few decades, both leading others, and being led by others, I would like to share some of the wisdom I gained. Some is from trial, error, and experience, while others was from formal education to countless books or certified seminars I have attended.

First of all, there is a difference between what is a manager and a leader. True leaders lead from the core of their values, principles with a passion that is contagious. Managers manage things, processes, and paperwork. If you are in the role of management, I hope you take a leadership perspective that I unfold in the following top 10 I have assembled here:

  1. Leaders are like great coaches. They inspire their people to improve. They motivate and communicate well. They will outline what you need to get things done, explain the process, and celebrate your successes.
  2. Leaders get to know their people, the members on their team. They learn what truly motivates each person whether that is in engaging conversion and 1 to 1s, to personality typology tests. Leaders listen attentively to their people and demonstrate a high emotional IQ also known as EQ.
  3. Leaders realize they are not perfect and they have a level of humility. They continually grow, and refine their skills, and grow in their ability while understanding that they too make mistakes. However, they learn from their mistakes and rise to the occasion to improve.
  4. Leaders believe in the products, services, or elements they represent. They adopt their company or organization’s mission and objectives and are able to communicate it well to their team with optimism and passion.
  5. Leaders have a solid core of values and principles to navigate their professional and personal life. They lead within their family, and their community the same way they do within the team or teams they are over. They are authentic, and genuine and the same guiding principles are apparent whether they are at work, at home, or in the community.
  6. Leaders realize they are after the same objectives, the same goals as that their team should be. They help remove obstacles and assist in providing the information and the tools for their team members to succeed.
  7. Leaders are good and experienced decision makers. They make informed decisions decisively and take responsibility for their decisions. They make no excuses, they are focused on winning with a well laid out plan. They are winners, not whiners. When others see a sand or water trap on the course, they see the beach and the ocean. They are natural optimists.
  8. Leaders value priceless time and invest it wisely and productively. Whether it is investing it in their team to accomplish goals, or in themselves to improve. They begin with the end in mind, seek first to understand their objectives, their team members, and then seek to be well understood. They do not waste time in processes, or unnecessary elements that are not productive, and proactive to achieving the goal and objectives at hand. They address things, or obstacles, initiate a plan to overcome and resolve it, then move on.
  9. Leaders lift their team members up. They look for qualities in their team members and capitalize on those strengths to help their team members grow, thrive and hit their goals and objective. They coach them to improve upon their team members weaknesses with encouragement, empathy, and optimistic direction. They realize if they can bring out the best in others, and pour into others the skills and knowledge they have gained, realized or learned, then positive outcomes are a natural result.
  10. Leaders identify, mold and bring up future leaders. True leaders are always on the look out for new and future leaders. They look for someone that could replace them in the near future and encourage these individuals. They coach them in a way that brings out the best in them, so that they may bring out the best in others.
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Stop the Stinking Thinking…

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” .-Romans 12:2

In this popular bible verse above, some may skim over an important part of this verse. I know I have. Some may focus on the “do not be conformed to this world”, and say, “Oh yes, to focus more on being a ‘good Christian’ “, “strive to obey the 10 commandments,”, “go to church”, “read your bible”,etc… However, the second part of this sentence clearly states, “but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.”You see, if the enemy can work on the way you think, by what you see, hear, experience or endure, he gets a leg up. If you as a mere mortal start focusing on your mishaps, set backs, and failures, the enemy gets a leg up. If all you begin to focus on is the negative,the enemy gets a leg up.

You must take captive your thoughts as this bible verse says,

We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,” – 2 Corinthians 10:5

In my mental health classes that I formerly taught to people living with or suffering from a mental illness I would present an example of a grassy field that would develop into a path, then to a trench, then to a deep gully that you cannot escape with every ruminating negative and self-defeating thought to where eventually a person will need professional help, medication, or even hospitalization to escape.Maybe you are on that path, or been on that path? Please stop! Take captive your thoughts, be transformed by the renewal of your mind.

Granted there are mental illness that are no fault of the person incurring this illness. It could have been caused by a brain injury, trauma, chemical imbalance, or genetics. However, mental illness, just like any illness, is treatable, and recovery is not only possible, it occurs. We also must understand that God is also the Great Healer, & Comforter. In addition, most of us have the power to change the way we think, take captive our thoughts, and are in charge of the attitude we have and the perspective we take.

Take a look at this bible verse:

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” – 1 Corinthians 10:13

Some may think this temptation that is not uncommon to all humanity that you have the ability to escape that He provides a way of escape, referred to above, is just about physical sin. However, being to critical of yourself, thinking negatively, focusing on your anguish, is also a sin as you are a fearfully and wonderfully creation of God and He loves you. He certainly doesn’t want you to beat yourself up mentally and lead yourself to emotional and mental destruction.

Life can be hard. God did not say it would not be hard whether you are a Christian or not. In fact Christ said you will endure tribulations.

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

Stop the stinking thinking, choose to count your blessings no matter how small. Take captive the way you think, what you allow your mind to hear, and see. You are not alone. You are important, you matter, and you are loved. Start with loving yourself.

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Are you Battle Tested? There is a War going on every day!

I was not in the military, and I have not fought a physical war for a country. However, I have the uttermost respect for those who have, and all those who are currently serving.

However, did you know there is a war going on every day, 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year? Have you been Battle Tested? Do you have a Battle Buddy? Do you know what a Battle Buddy is?

As a man, I can say I have been Battled Tested Physically, Spiritually and Mentally. I have been in physical fights, and I have had to defend myself an others. I was a rather skinny and tall lad growing up. I may have weighted 145 lbs when I graduated high school and stood six foot . I went to what was called a Middle to Lower Class Blue Collar town. I was told later that it was a “tough neighborhood” and a “tough school”. It puzzled me at the time as I never considered myself middle class, lower middle class, or poor. At that age, I thought most people lived as we did, and several fights a week at school was normal. I had a good roof over my head, always had food on the table, and amazing friends that are still friends to this day. However, I did have to learn to take care of myself and others that I loved, quickly. I refused to be a victim, but a victor. So I trained hard and often to be able to defend myself, and those I loved. However, I also learned to use my brain and words well, proactively, and effectively. I learned to “get along”, make friends easy, communicate in a way not only most others of all classes or cliques understood, but to deflect or calm down animosity, or conflict. I became more of a peace maker in an effort for all to get along without the need of physical altercations or violence.

Learning and knowing how to defend yourself and others is also biblical.

“From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force.” Matthew 11:12

“Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle;” — Psalm 144:1

“He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.” — Luke 22:26

“When I saw their fear, I rose and spoke to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people: “Do not be afraid of them; remember the Lord who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives and your houses.” — Nehemiah 4:14

“But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” — 1 Timothy 5:8

“When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are safe” — Luke 11:21

Let’s talk about Mental War. If you have ever been around a toxic person, or let’s say a bully, unkind, harsh and malicious words are spoken. Let’s say you are in a relationship and the person you are dating or even married too is verbally abusive. Let’s say you are around so called “friends” and all they do is speak against you, or about you behind your back. They are not encouraging or inspirational, they are rather negative or harsh. Or lets say you are too hard on yourself, over taxing yourself, and taking set backs or failures too personally. Let’s say you dwell on the negative, become pessimistic, seeing every challenge as impossible, then become filled with anxiety and depression. All of this is a Mental Battle, and a Mental War.

It is biblical to identify this mental war, take captive your thoughts, and work well to change your way of thinking as well as distance yourself, or remove yourself, from toxic people:

“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” — 2 Corinthians 10:5

“Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” — 1 Corinthians 15:33

“I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.” — Romans 16:17–18

“Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare.” — Proverbs 22:24–25

“Pleasant words are a honeycomb, Sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” — Proverbs 16:24

“Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” — Colossians 3:2

“and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.” — 1 Peter 3:16

“rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer,” — Romans 12:12

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!” — Philippians 4:4

Let’s talk about Spiritual War. This is a battle that has been raging since the Fall of Man, well even since the expulsion of Satan for that matter.

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” — Ephesians 6:1

There is an enemy, the advisory, lucifer, whom seeks to devour and destroy. He is a Master Manipulator, Deceiver, and War Strategist who wants to consume the souls of humanity to get at God for God’s beloved Creation. Satan knows we have a free will, and he seeks to capitalize on that free will. Yes, if angels walked and walks among us, there will be the advisory and his demons too.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” — John 10:10

“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” — 1 Peter 5:8

This is where I intended to invest the majority of my time with this devotional on the Spiritual Battle, and ask, “Have you been Battle Tested, do you have a Battle Buddy, and how do you defend yourself against an enemy that you may not be able to physically see? Or if it is in the form of a physical presence, how do you handle that?”

First of all you were Battle Tested the first time you were tempted away from the things of God. How did you weather that battle? How did you weather the following battles? How do you weather future battles?

The bible is rather clear in this area. The Christian common sense is to be in the Word and Pray Daily. I would also add listen to inspirational music and be cautious what your eyes see, and your ears hear, and partake in Fasting. There is also something called, “The Full Armor of God”

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.” — Ephesians 6:10–20

We were created by Father God Almighty with a natural instinct to typically determine what may be harmful, or not, which also includes what is wrong, and right. It is the enemy whom seeks to convince and manipulate us otherwise just as the serpent said to Eve, “surely you will not die” Genesis 3:4

The best way is to, identify the evil and wickedness, and rebuke it in Jesus name.

“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” — James 4:7

In the military people are trained very well in hand to hand combat as well as with weapons. In fact the drill sergeants tend to teach that their rifle becomes a part of them, and they are to keep it well cleaned, in excellent operational condition, and always be with them. If we are all in a Spiritual Battle why would we not have a Spiritual Weapons and Armor with us, cleaned, polished, operable, and ready?

Would you go to war without your sword or rifle? Then why would you be without the bible in a Spiritual Battle? Especially in church or a bible study. You do not have to carry around a 6 inch thick King James Study Bible, as bibles are made in just about any size, and many translations. In fact, there are free bible apps for the smartphone which most everyone has with them most of the time.

Would you go to war, and not be trained well? Why then would you not go to church to gather with others to learn, serve, worship, repent, get equipped, and go out? Why would you not seek after someone that is more trained, well versed, wise, and learn from them?

If the enemy seems overwhelming and much stronger than you are, would you go into battle alone? Then in this ongoing Spiritual Battle, why wouldn’t you get read up, prayed up, and feed the Holy Spirit to go with you? in addition to having a Battle Buddy you know, trust, and admire for their faith, to battle with you and have your six?

In closing, we all have been Battle Tested, but how well did we do in the past battles, the present battles, and are going to do in the future battles, may be the question. Battle Tested can make you stronger and refine you like gold if you let it.

“In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith — more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire — may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” — 1 Peter 1:6–7

We all need to put on the Full Armor of God (Ephesians 6:10–20), and have a Battle Buddy whom we trust, whom is wise in the Lord.

“Two are better off than one, because together they can work more effectively. If one of them falls down, the other can help him up. But if someone is alone and falls, it’s just too bad, because there is no one to help him. If it is cold, two can sleep together and stay warm, but how can you keep warm by yourself? Two people can resist an attack that would defeat one person alone. A rope made of three cords is hard to break.” — Ecclesiastes 4:9–12

So get out there and make it a great day. Because you truly have a choice in making it a great day. You can take captive of your thoughts to overcome negativity, pessimism, fear, and doubt. You can choose the right relationships and distance yourself from the bad ones. You can win against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places by being in the Word, Praying, Fasting while putting on the Full Armor of God. Besides we know Who wins, and if you are saved, you are already on the Winning Team.

Enjoy this gift of life and launch each day with Purpose, navigate with Principles, and explore with Passion!

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Eagles don’t take flight lessons from chickens!

I am probably going to “ruffle some feathers” with this post. May I ask you a question? Where do you go for advice, recommendations, and wisdom?

Do you watch the Main Stream Media for real news and facts? Do you seek truth, or put your mind on auto-pilot while you sit in front of your TV, laptop, or smartphone?

Who is your Preacher? Is your Pastor’s messages biblically aligned, or more slanted with opinion or theatrics?

How about the people in your life? How about your closest 5 friends? Do you truly know them, who they are, what they are about and to whom they serve? Did you know experts say that you become the average of your 5 closest friends. Should you not, then, be choosing wisely?

I have been a man whom has thirsted after knowledge for as long as I can remember. I love learning, obtaining knowledge, and expanding my understanding. I even have a saying when people ask me, “How are you?” My often reply is, “Learning and serving.” Because I believe if you are not learning and serving, you are not truly living.

But where do I go for knowledge, and wisdom? Sound advice, and honest recommendations? Who is it that I serve and why? I am a seeker of truth. Fact over fiction. Things that can be verified and validated. I do not accept or take advice, recommendations from fools, fake “friends”, nor leaders, teachers or preachers that do not align with the bible.

If I want to enhance my health, and increase my physical strength, I do not go to an obese person that rarely leaves their couch.

I do not absorb Godly wisdom from a Pastor or Preacher that is contrary 6 days a week than he is on Sunday, and neither quotes scripture from the bible, or his words are not aligned with the Word of God.

My body, soul, and mind cannot follow a leader that is not courageous, and walks the walk that he talks. Eagles cannot grow, mature, and don’t take flight lessons from chickens.

What say you?

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” — Proverbs 1:7

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.” — James 3:13

Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” — Proverbs 13:20

Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding?” — Job 12:12

For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” — Proverbs 2:6

When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” — Proverbs 11:2

The one who gets wisdom loves life; the one who cherishes understanding will soon prosper.” — Proverbs 19:8

The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom, and their tongues speak what is just.” — Psalm 37:30

Be very careful, then, how you live — not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” — Ephesians 5:15–16

A wise son heeds his father’s instruction, but a mocker does not respond to rebukes.” — Proverbs 13:1

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” — James 1:5

Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end.” — Proverbs 29:11

Mockers resent correction, so they avoid the wise.” — Proverbs 15:12

Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise.” — Proverbs 19:20

Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding,” — Proverbs 3:13

Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men,be strong” — 1 Corinthians 16:13

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“Honest to a fault”?

I have been called “honest to a fault.” At first I thought how could someone be honest to a fault? I then thought maybe it has happened where people asked me the truth about something in which I knew to be truth, & they didn’t like the answer. However, isn’t that their fault? Then I think of the times I have been passed up for a promotion, not included in certain groups or organizations, not invited to outings because of my faith, or for being a conservative. I then also think of the times when I’ve made mistakes, admitted to them, asked for others forgiveness; while people asked “why” I did that, “they would have never known”. Times I have returned money when I was over paid, such as an ATM spewing out 10x what I requested and when I went inside and returned it, the bank teller thanked me and said that they would have never found the error. When I share real life examples like this, I’ve been told I am “honest to a fault”.

As I have said before, I was taught honesty and integrity at a very young age. My mama taught me, (now I here the song, “Simple Man” by Lynyrd Skynyrd playing in the background. ; ) ), that a man is only as good as his word. His word is his bond, that no one can take integrity away from you, but you, yourself. To this day, I cannot remember a time either of my parents have ever lied to me, and when I asked them tough questions at an age I could digest it, they told me the bold truth, even if that truth was tough to handle, or accept.

I confess, that I have lost friends, and other relationships by being honest, or speaking truth. Whether the truth when someone asks me directly, or striving to live out my faith. Yes, I am at fault for that. So I guess I am “honest to a fault.” However, it does sadden me that someone would unfriend me, talk badly about me behind my back, or despise me, or seek to cause me financial or physical harm for being honest and speaking the truth. I was taught honesty and integrity is a virtuous character trait. That it is noble and honorable. I was also taught by reading the bible that people will turn from the truth, and also despise such things, especially as we approach nearer to end times. Not saying these are “The End Times”. However, these have certainly been unprecedented times.

Those that have invested enough time to read to this point, I thank you for allowing me to open up a bit, and be vulnerable on this medium. I do wish to express that if anything I have said, or done has offended you, that I am sorry only that it is not my intent to hurt anyone. Never has, never will. However, with all my imperfections as I am still a process in work by my Creator; I do know who I am, what I am about, and to Whom I serve. I realize the truth is not always easy to swallow. Through my life much truth was hard for me too. However, it doesn’t change the fact that the truth is the truth. Just because you don’t believe it, or want to believe it, does not make it untrue. I also believe a man should take a stand for what is true, just, moral and for justice, not just for themselves, but for those who cannot stand for themselves.

In closing, I wish to share something with you from my many years on this earth, studies, education, and leading a variety of ministries, in which a good portion has been men’s ministries. I share this as I have discovered some, if not many, people question what it is to be a man in today’s society. I know that teenage boys seem to hunger for what it is to be a man, not just because I have taught boys Sunday school classes from 1st grade to high school, nor that I have been asked to be a speaker at such events, it is the fact I have both a teenage son, as well as a teenage daughter. What I wish to share with you is at the link below. I title it, “The Ten Marks of a Good Man”. These Marks are what I strive to live out each day, not just in words, but in actions and deeds. It is also the Marks I teach my teenage son. Take a continued read, share your thoughts, comments, and share it out if you like. And if you want to know the truth of anything I know as truth, simply ask me. Thank you. May God bless you, and yours. Shalom.

The Ten Marks of a Good Man

It seems many boys strive to seek their masculine identity starting around as early as the age of 10. If they do not find it at home, they will find it somewhere, in something, or someone. So as a man, a father, a soul that desires to chase the “Beautiful Outlaw in Jesus Christ think some great attributes of a good male role model? In other words, what do I ardently believe, from my years on this earth, think the Marks of a Great Man are? I agree with much of what Author John Eldredge and the leader and founder of Ransomed Heart Ministries, shares in many of his books. However, I am going to list my opinion, perspective and thoughts in a Top 10:

  1. A Good Man is a man of his word. His word is his bond. He exudes integrity in all that he says and does. “The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.” — Proverbs 11:3. “The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy.” — Proverbs 12:22.
  2. A Good Man is not a harmless man, a good man is a very dangerous man that has it all under voluntary control. “Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle;” — Psalm 144:1. “When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are safe” — Luke 11:21. “When I saw their fear, I rose and spoke to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people: “Do not be afraid of them; remember the Lord who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives and your houses.” — Nehemiah 4:14
  3. A Good Man loves his wife and children in words, actions and deed. “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” — Ephesians 5:25. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” — 1 Corinthians 13:4–8. “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.” — Romans 12:9
  4. A Good Man can admit where and when he was wrong, apologize and seek forgiveness with humility. “Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.” Proverbs 28:13. “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” — James 5:16.
  5. A Good Man strives to learn from his mistakes and improve. “For the righteous falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble in times of calamity” Proverbs 24:16. “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,” — Philippines 3:13
  6. A Good Man takes a minority position for what is honorable, true, and right even if he has to stand alone. “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” — Deuteronomy 31:6
  7. A Good Man has a vision. He regularly sets goals, strives to achieve them. “May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.”- Psalm 20:4. “Where there is no vision, the people perish” — Proverbs 29:18. “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.” — 1 Peter 2:21
  8. A Good Man is a provider and a protector. “But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” — 1 Timothy 5:8
  9. A Good Man is a team player. He realizes to be the best he looks to not only a core team, a close and wise circle of influence, but thinks more of those around him, and the team, than he does himself only, by encouraging, inspiring and helping one another with accountability. “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” — Proverbs 27:17. “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” — Proverbs 18:24
  10. A Good Man works and takes pride in what he does as it is good to work, no matter what job, career or position, he works hard as to the Lord and not unto mankind. He ardently pursues excellence in his work, at home, and whatever he lays his hands to, but not perfectionism. ““Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going” — Ecclesiastes 9:10. “Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.” — Romans 12:11
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A VEIL…

A veil…

It seems some, or many, in which I have witnessed are under this veil. They do not see clearly. It is as if they are seeing things through a filter. A filter contrary to truth & reality. You can tell these people the truth, you can show them the truth, you can even provide photos, videos, eye witness testimonials, yet they still do not either want to accept it, nor believe it. It is as if they have consumed lies for so long, it is the only reality or truth that they know, or want to believe. It is as if they are in this metaphoric slumber, unable to wake from a dream in which they have been led to believe.


In the bible it talks of such “clouded glass” and “veils” as well.


We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!” – 1 Corinthians 13:12 MSG

But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed.” – 2 Corinthians 3:16 ESV

But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” – 2 Corinthians 3:16-18 ESV

They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.” – Ephesians 4:18 ESV

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