A Challenge to “Take Each Day Gladiator Style”

colosseum-rome-italy

It’s a scorching day at the Colosseum in Rome and the crowd is roaring with anticipation. Suddenly, a steel gate goes up at one end of the arena and the crowd elevates to something way beyond a roar, as a burly man enters carrying a shield by his side and a sword in the other hand. Just as he is making his way into the center of the arena, another steel door disappears into the rock wall and out appears a battle-scarred man, screaming a blood-curdling noise. He charges towards the center of the arena with a shield set tight to his chest and yielding a massive sword. As he arrives at the center and goes from a sprinting charge to a leaping flight and with his sword set to swing, he crashes into the other gladiator and THEN?????

Here we are, a new day of dawning light has come. Your eyes open to the sound of an alarm clock and so it begins. You just entered into the arena of battle for yet another day. How you enter it sets the tone for how your day will go.

So many enter each day with a victim mindset; a “WHY ME” mentality that screams defeat from the very beginning. The facial expression screams, “I give up” before the daily ever truly has the opportunity to produce! So many wake up each day, already with an attitude of total defeat leftover from the day before. As soon as our eyes open, we must engage the day like a gladiator entering the arena of battle. If we surrender, we will find defeat to what we can’t get back.

We MUST take on a warrior mentality when it comes to life. When I picture a gladiator, I picture a warrior that knows defeat is not an option. He knows this mentally and keeps that mindset for the battle he is entering into.

The battle between the two gladiators was taking place in their minds long before they entered the arena. The stage was already set for certain victory in both their minds, but the realization was that someone would not be walking out of that colosseum of alive.

I want to share 10 attributes of a warrior, which can help you be the victor and no longer the victim.

1. Ambition: You will never have what you don’t truly desire!

2. Knowing of Purpose: You must be locked in and focused on your WHY!

3. Physically able: Your family, friends, and dreams need you being the best you can be. YES, I’m talking about how you take care of you which is a reflection of how we also take care of others.

4. Honor: How we honor those in our lives speaks loudly of our character and the person we really are.

5. Compassion: I like the statement that goes something like this: One of the greatest ways for us to succeed is by helping someone else to succeed.

6. Faith: What do you believe in? I myself, have my faith as a Christian and am totally secure in it. Many don’t know what they believe and are tossed daily about by the beliefs of all those around them. YOU and you alone must be set and solid in your faith and not give up or give in, no matter what comes your way.

7. Courage: This is the ability to do something that you know is difficult and dangerous. Courage is a daily decision we will make whether we want to or not. What we don’t face, we will encounter over and over again until we do.

8. Discipline: Do you have a discipline that is self-motivated OR do you require others to guide you through life? Discipline is something we set best for ourselves; we must create a check and balance system to make sure we walk it out.

9. Freedom: You must realize that you have been freed to be all you could ever dream to be. The only thing that can truly stop you is you!

10. Endurance: You must have the ability to endure. Life might not always be the way you want it, but you have got to be willing to push on and NOT give up.

I know there are many more attributes we could list, but these speak loudly to me in my life. You could also expound on each one for your own life.

So which gladiator are you—the one that brings the battle OR the one that has the battle brought to them? We have got to recognize, correct and overcome those weak areas in our lives and move on to conquer the day and be the best we can be!

Now get busy and make this day count!

Originally posted on The Good Men Projects website on 4-2-2016. CLICK HERE TO READ

 

What Do You Say?

new year 2016

I wonder how many were counting the minutes until 2015 would end, in an almost fearful state of mind? I know there was also a group that was embracing every second that 2015 was going to give them; believing to the very last second for breakthrough, healings, restorations, transformations, etc.

Life gives us two options, to embrace and fight against whatever is coming our way OR give up and accept what is. I have found that if I decide to embrace the moment through Christ, it goes much differently than if I fight against it on my own strength and power. Embracing does not mean giving in and giving up, but instead knowing that God has your back and by faith through grace we can do ALL things through Christ.

According to Webster, one of the definitions of embrace means, “to use (an opportunity) eagerly”. In Christ, we have all kinds of opportunities, but on our own we are VERY limited! In Christ, we tap into a limitless power that says, “I CAN”. I CAN do all things through Christ. I CAN do great things. I CAN walk in divine health and wholeness. I CAN live blessed above and beyond all I could ever ask or think. I CAN! I CAN! I CAN!

So, what are you now going to say about 2016? It’s up to you!

When you feel like God’s not listening…..

God-is-waiting

“The chief cause of failure and unhappiness is trading what you
want most for what you want right now”
Zig Ziglar

Have you ever had one of those days that makes you feel like God is just not up there hearing what you have to say? (Now this is NOT the time to get a holier-than-thou attitude and say, “Oh no, not me,” but instead, just be real.) WELL, “I” have been in this place and it’s not a good place to be in!

For most people, it’s hard to find joy in waiting, as we are a society that wants everything NOW. We teach our children to have patience, but when it comes to us and God and our prayers, we think we must have an instant miracle, move, and/or manifestation, or something must be wrong. We bounce back and forth between “is it me or is it you God, who is delaying this”? We track the response time as if the answers to our prayers are on a travel schedule. I believe that one of the secret recipes to a joyful Kingdom in life is finding joy in the moment. Now I will be the first to admit that this is NOT always easy. I have learned that in those times, the best thing I can do is reassure myself of God’s promises by daily diving into His Word. Here are a few anchor scriptures that I cling to:

Deut 31:6 (NKJ) “Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.”

1 John 5:14 (AMP) “And this is the confidence (the assurance, the privilege of boldness) which we have in Him: [we are sure] that if we ask anything (make any request) according to His will (in agreement with His own plan), He listens to and hears us.”

Mark 11:24 (AMP) “For this reason I am telling you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe (trust and be confident) that it is granted to you, and you will [get it].”

You see, the truth is that God never leaves us, He always hears us, and He never withholds from His kids. Even before we gave our life to Christ, He knew us and through the power of choice we either let Him in or keep Him at bay.

So how do we overcome?
1. Don’t let the situation change who you are. (I stole that from my wife!!!) – You see, we can’t let a temporary circumstance create a change in us, but instead, we must create a change in it.
2. Don’t give up! His Words in Mark 11:24 are powerful words to hang your prayers on. Make those three words your battle cry in tough times. I have my own three-word battle cry and it is “SUCK IT UP”. (CLICK to read “SUCK IT UP” post)
3. Continually fill yourself with the Word and don’t stop when things get good, but instead, make it your lifestyle. I like how Tony Robbins says that “leaders are readers,” but I take it one step further with what you put in you is what comes out during those tough times. A good business book can give you insight into certain techniques and processes, BUT nothing that truly pertains on how to live and thrive in His Kingdom. So get a good balance on what you are filling yourself up with, but always focus on the Word.
4. Stand no matter what! 1 John5:4 (AMP) “For whatever is born of God is victorious over the world; and this is the victory that conquers the world, even our faith.”

Those are just a few thoughts that will help you in your daily life. I hope in some way you have been encouraged by this post and would ask that if you know someone else that could benefit from this, to please forward it to them.

QUESTION: How do you handle the season of WAIT?

I look forward to your response.

NEW Kingdom Thinking Podcast #23

NEW - KT iTunes logo

Kingdom Thinking Podcast #23

Creating a Life that Counts….

“Don’t count the things you do, do the things that count.”
Zig Ziglar

As all my readers know, I’m a firm believer that life is a journey that must be lived on purpose with purpose. So many sabotage their journey before they ever get started.

When I read Zig Ziglar’s quote, I saw great truth in it. We are going to make a decision to either be inwardly OR outwardly focused. A person who is inwardly focused, will always be thinking about themselves. In every decision they make, it will be about THEIR greater good above all others. Now the person who is outwardly focused, is always looking for how they can better those around them. They look for ways to bring the greater good of others up above themselves. I have met a lot of people in my life, but only a few that have truly put others before themselves. I have said it before, but if someone is always pointing to their own success and giving the glory to themselves, then RUN!!!

It boils down to this – we are ALL called to be world changers. A world changer has an outward focus and their goal is, “What can I do for others”? I was thinking about the traits of a world changer and this is what I came up with:

1. They are persistent about what they’re passionate about.
2. They have defined goals.
3. They have someone that speaks into their life like a mentor.
4. No matter what hits, they keep a positive outlook.
5. They invest in themselves and others. They see the importance of learning and imparting what they are learning.
6. They track their progress in their personal journey.
7. They surround themselves with positive, like-minded people, which will help bring them up to a new level.

People that are real and have character traits like I just mentioned above, will love you too much to allow you to stay like you are, no matter where you are in life.

“You can’t change the world until first changing yourself.”

So right now, you are standing in what could be the greatest second of your life; what are you going to do with it?

What If?

what-if

“Don’t allow the What IF’s to rule your life!”
Me

Life is too short to allow the “WHAT IF” I fail moments to rule us. I have a note on the inside of my calendar that says, “Remove the negative WHAT IF’S from my vocabulary”. In this post, we are going to talk about failure and how to make it work for us.

“We learn from failures, not from success.”
Bram Stoker

Now I can’t say that I totally agree with this statement; however, I still like it. I believe that we can learn from every event that we pass through in life. Notice I said, “Pass through”? I believe that graduating from one event to another in life, offers us lessons on what to do and what not to do; but, if we allow them to stop us or turn us back, then nothing has been learned. For many, failure becomes a stopping point, where for others, it just becomes a lesson in how not to do something.

“Failure is an event and not a person.”
Zig Ziglar

One sure thing about life, is that it comes with a fair share of opportunities, both good and bad. One of the greatest failures that can happen to those that have the honor to stand in front of individuals, whether in large or small settings and impart wisdom, is that they sometimes fail to prepare themselves in how to embrace the good, the bad and the glorious. Notice I said, “Impart wisdom”? Many are just repeating knowledge they took from someone else’s writings or teachings, but nothing more. Knowledge without wisdom is just information and we need more than information to succeed in life. Pastors, mentors, life coaches, etc. have the opportunity to help others embrace life and all that comes with it and learn from it, but we have those that shade it as doom. Others may shade it as clouds and rainbows, but life is like a bipolar friend. One minute it’s up and the other it’s down, and one minute we are laughing and the next we are crying. If we can get the right perspective on life, then we can take every moment and enter into “Life University”. We can then graduate from it with a degree on how to truly live a Kingdom Life. There is nothing more humbling than failure and sometimes no better teacher. The fear of failure has stopped so many from finding their place in life, and for others, it has helped them find their voice.

I want to offer a few suggestions on what you can do to bring change into your life:

1. Inventory your life on paper. Be real and not emotional.
2. Look for areas you can change NOW!
3. Add some type of exercise.
4. Change your eating habits.
5. Change your daily routine.
6. I find that starting and ending my day talking and listening to God, is the perfect way to bring balance to a wobbly world.

Now this list is by no means a complete list, but instead, it’s a starting point for change and no race was ever won without a start.

So the best way I can think of to bring this post to a close, is by telling you this: Failure is not forever and no matter what you are going through right now, it is temporary. You might feel like your whole life has been built for failure, BUT the only person that can change this is YOU! So bring forth the change!

I hope this has in some way spoken to you and will either help you or better you to help others.

CAUTION: Speed Bumps Ahead!!!!

“Your greatest battle is in your mind; not your circumstance.”
Author Unknown

Have you ever been driving along minding your own business when BAM, out of nowhere, you are blind-sided by something you did not see coming? Most of the time, we find traffic signs that let us know what lies ahead; but unfortunately, life doesn’t offer these warning signs. So what do we do when we encounter these speed bumps? Hopefully, that question will be answered in this blog post.

Let me tell you a little story. Recently, my wife and I joined the “empty nesters club” and we decided to find some things that we could do together that are out of the box for us. We joined a local running club and if you know me, you would know that running has NEVER been my strong point. IN fact, to run a lap around the track one time without stopping, was a miracle! So, we join this club and show up for the first day and meet our fearless leader, Jim “Papa Turtle” Hardin who is 67 years young and seems to be able to run FOREVER! Did I mention FOREVER?? Anyways, I find that our morning run will be a little over 3 miles and mind you it’s 5:00 am! Did I mention its 5:00 am and January?! So we are off and Jim motivates us the entire run with encouraging words and stories that make the run go by faster. Moving forward to now, we are running 2 – 3 times a week minimum and 3.5 miles each time. Now fast forward to present, specifically to last Thursday, when we were running and right at the 1.76 mile mark, I get a horrible cramp in my left knee which is followed by a POP and then me sitting on a curb unable to walk. How many would say this is bad? It’s cold, I’m sweaty, it’s dark and I’m in pain. There were no warning signs for this event that just happened! I have found that asking “WHY” is not a motivator, but what I do or think next is what’s important.

You see, life has its way of offering what I call speed bumps as we journey forward and most of the time, there is no warning. Side thought here, I have also noticed that when we stand still and do nothing or go backwards in life, there are no speed bumps OR rewards. What happens when we get to those speed bumps, makes all the difference in life. We have got to learn to find the opportunities in the circumstances or speed bumps. We must learn that we are only down for as long as we allow the circumstance to rule the moment. I myself already have plans for three upcoming 5k runs and I told this body of mine that if I have to do them on crutches, I will. So SUCK IT UP and let’s keep moving!

I was reading in my Bible and noticed that when Jesus healed people, most of the time I found the word “immediately” within the same scripture. If you look up the definition of immediately, you will find, “at once, instantly, without any intervening time or space.” As a Christian who walks by faith and not by sight, that was what I grabbed ahold of. I’m not saying this is what you should do if you find yourself in the same place! What I do want you to take away from this, is that when you hit those speed bumps that your very next decision, thought and/or action, sets the stage for what the road ahead will be like.

If a dream fails, it’s not the end; but instead, the beginning to a new one IF you can see it that way.

If you lose or get fired from your present job, it’s not the end of the world; but instead, a promotion to something new IF you can see it that way.

If you get a negative medical report or injury, don’t let it end life; but instead, let it ignite you to pursue what you CAN do with greater passion than ever before.

We have all heard the statement, “When life gives you lemons make lemonade”, but I add to that by saying, find a way to grow bigger, think larger and live without walls during those seasons.

Life is too short to let the speed bumps hold you back. Whatever you are going through this day, find opportunity in that circumstance and make it a stepping-stone to greater things.

Today, right now, this very second, is the beginning of something new or just another second of the same old same old. You decide!