Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Rebuilding – Time for Strength and Conditioning

Just back from my first run in over a month and this topic is fresh on my mind. How strength and conditioning apply to me personally during this rebuilding season directly parallels the sort of strength and conditioning I have in the spirit. A little backstory - The reason it’s been over a month since I’ve ran is that I’ve been strategically and purposefully both waiting and actively working to get my medial glute operating. I’ve had a nagging hip flexor weakness, and soreness, not being able to operate with full power because of weak glutes. What I realized today on the run, is: because I’ve still been active, although my training has changed and I’ve significantly backed off of endurance sessions. I’ve still got the conditioning, I’m not far off from being at full stamina when it comes to endurance. What I’m currently lacking is the strength. I still feel my glute wanting to give out, which then starts to over work the hip-flexor.

Here’s where that scenario plays out in my life spiritually, and I may be speaking to many believers’ lives when I say that I am conventionally conditioned to God’s Word. I am acclimated, no question about it. My mind and spirit are both ready and willing to receive, hear and understand God’s Word. I have a good foundation when it comes to my spiritual conditioning. My heart has been tilled, it’s good soil.  Where I am lacking is operating in strength and power. It’s not so much for a lack of applying God’s Word to my life, but I believe it may be from not giving a concentrated focus to the proper areas. I’ve not been putting a strong enough emphasis on the areas where I’m weak. However at the same time I understand development takes time. Rebuilding takes time. Holy Spirit reminded me that, “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength”. It’s true. I know that my physical strength will be renewed, and in terms of the spiritual, in order to renew something you have to have it in the first place, well, spiritually speaking my strength will be increased. But, the key in this waiting period, is actively seeking, seeking Him, seeking His presence being before the Lord actively waiting. It’s important as I get back to running again that I do as my Trainer instructs. (Holy Spirit). I must listen, there’s an obedience in waiting. I know that God could renew my strength instantly, but I also understand there is a place in the waiting that God teaches. I learn these lessons so that I can help others apply it in their lives, there’s a spiritual strengthening going on as well.


The strengthening process happens over time, and during that time it teaches you to be very diligent about where you’re placing your focus. What I’m saying in short is that many of us may be acclimated to Jesus’ teachings, but if we’re not seeing the power and authority that He talks about having given us, then we need to do some spiritual strength training and focus on activating those muscles that have been given to us when we were made new. Get in some strength sessions, on your face before God.  It’s time to start using our spiritual muscles. It’s both a rebuilding and a building season. Re-development and new development, this is how God’s Kingdom will both come and be restored.



But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40:31


As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him. 1 John 2:27


But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. Romans 8:11


- for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. Matthew 23:8


For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7


but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” Acts 1:8


And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” Luke 24:29


And Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and signs among the people. Acts 6:8


On the other hand I am filled with power—With the Spirit of the Lord— And with justice and courageTo make known to Jacob his rebellious act, Even to Israel his sin. Micah 6:8

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

A Plumb Line - Triathlon as a Guide

 I reference injury and weakness a ton in this devotional, but keep in mind it is a rebuilding season. Rebuilding I know in my particular case in the physical has been meant for me to identify weaknesses. The idea is to fortify myself in order to return to the sport stronger. I long to do the same in my work, career and relationships. That work requires strengthening the inner man, and this is where the fortifying and rebuilding concept for the physical and spiritual go hand in hand.

All of the triathlons I had already scheduled to compete in this year have been cancelled. However, I am actually very thankful for that due to the fact that prior to the season even beginning, I discovered I have some muscular issues, there’s inhibitions, weaknesses, dysfunction and lack of power. There’s no way I could have had any success with this season, never mind success, I may have either pushed myself into injury or had to have to pull myself out of the competitions myself. There are two upcoming triathlons that I would love to be able to compete in if for nothing else to use them as a goal to mark where I am in this rebuilding.


I’m sure many of you are familiar with using upcoming events as goals, the upcoming competition that keeps you moving forward, keeps you training to improve your power and endurance. I think it’s critical to have a goal post out in front of us. See what God’s word about it: Where there is no vision, the people perish: Proverbs 29:18


However, in this rebuilding season, I’ve discovered if I am to have an opportunity to compete at all my approach will have to be different. The triathlon will still serve as a goal, but should now be thought of more as a plumb line, a guide for how I’m progressing. Again I understand that is usually the case, the competition is always going to be with ourselves first. That’s what I love about the sport of triathlon, but it can be said with any sport and it really should be said of any sport the competition should be with yourself, the event should be the plumb line, the guide to how far you’ve come and give you an idea on what you need to work on. In spiritual terms what I’m getting at is making  triathlon analogous for God’s Word.


God’s Word is perfect, it’s true, it’s a plumb line for our life. It’s a plumb line for judging our weaknesses our shortcomings, it let’s us know in which areas we need improvement. It is a perfect Guide. God’s word will let us know just how far we’ve come, and just like in the sport there’s always room for improvement we can continue to focus on building strength and power and foremost character. A character formed in and founded on Christ. Do you see where it all ties together? Jesus is the Word, He’s the Way the Truth and the Life, he’s the plumb line. Here’s also what I know, while the fullness of the character of Christ is my goal, I know I won’t meet it. I also know I don’t have to. He’s done something I never could, and He did it so that I would share in His victory. I may never win first place overall in an Ironman, but I know I don’t have to the victory is understanding that I’m already a winner because I continue to push myself toward the goal. 


Here’s the full part of the scripture used earlier: Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he. Jesus is the goal. Jesus is the promised Land, Jesus fulfilled the Law. My goal is to Abide in Him, He’s my plumb line. I’ll know where my weaknesses are if I keep Him constantly at the forefront of my mind, and I’ll be able to make marked improvements as I move along in life.


For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12


All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17


For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Romans 15:4


Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6


Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. John 17:17


How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. Psalm 119:9


The spiritual man judges all things, but he himself is not subject to anyone’s judgment.

“For who has known the mind of the Lord, so as to instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:15-16

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Rebuilding - A Concentrated Effort

It’s important to note that while it’s the disease that shall not be mentioned is what has brought on this understanding that this is a rebuilding season. It doesn’t always have to be a shutdown of our sport to bring us to an understanding that there are seasons in our life, in which require a rebuilding process. A rebuilding season should be a concentrated effort of restoration. There’s a lot of darkness surrounding this time, a lot of uncertainty. I know for one it feels like the rug has been pulled out from under me. Everything that I’ve been working toward has been thrown into a state of chaos. The industry I’ve been building my career in and the sport that I love (triathlon) has been taken away. But that doesn’t mean that I have to sit idly by, I also don’t have to grope around in the dark during this period, without form, void of structure. During this rebuilding period it’s important to identify which areas in our life need development, we need to strengthen weaknesses. Identify what areas need restoration, whether it be spiritually, mentally, physically, emotionally, or relationally, or my case, all of the above. 

I’ve been reminded lately of Nehemiah and the rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem. If you read about that in scripture you’ll see that certain peoples had their own specific concentrated area of the wall to focus on. They rebuilt the wall for fortification of the city. This is the same opportunity we have currently with our lives, both spiritually and physically during this rebuilding season. We have this opportunity to strengthen our spirits and our bodies, by focusing on those areas that need restoration, that need rebuilding, strengthening fortifying whether it be to endure Ironman distances or to withstand against the wiles of the enemy, the rulers of darkness, the spiritual forces of evil. We have this opportunity to not only identify these areas in our lives, but also to help encourage strengthen and build up others. After all the fortification of the wall was for the betterment of the entire city. They also came together as a people working together in support of one another.


While some of us may not be coming together in large groups as of yet, that doesn’t mean we can fortify one another on one on one basis. This is the time to do that, the time to identify who within our circle of influence may need lifting up, supporting, and strengthening. I know at least it is for me, if I were back into my work in a full time capacity, I wouldn’t have this unique opportunity to devote myself to rebuilding in these specific areas. I think it’s vitally important that as I work along side Holy Spirit in the restoration period in my life, that I also use what I’m learning to help others. This is why it’s very important we ask and identify what are some areas in my life that need restoration. Take a good inventory. Know what areas you need to strengthen and fortify to run your best race.


Ask yourself Are you using this time wisely for improvement, stretching yourself by thinking differently, understanding your weaknesses, knowing what needs development or are you stuck in the same old patterns and habits that In the end won’t propel you forward and build you up? Routine is good, but we want to use this time to develop a routine that will bring us out the other side of this rebuilding season, stronger, more well equipped to run the race with power and endurance.


Also take a look at how your rebuilding, what are you using to rebuild with? I love the picture in Nehemiah, where it explains that they built with their swords girded. Let’s rebuild with our weapon, the word of God, with us, always ready to do battle even if it’s to dispel the taunts of the enemy.

And I went out by night by the gate of the valley, even before the dragon well, and to the dung port, and viewed the walls of Jerusalem, which were broken down, and the gates thereof were consumed with fire. Nehemiah 2:13


Then said I unto them, Ye see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lieth waste, and the gates thereof are burned with fire: come, and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we be no more a reproach. Nehemiah 2:17


But the gate of the fountain repaired Shallun the son of Col–hozeh, the ruler of part of Mizpah; he built it, and covered it, and set up the doors thereof, the locks thereof, and the bars thereof, and the wall of the pool of Siloah by the king's garden, and unto the stairs that go down from the city of David. Nehemiah 3:15


Now when Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became furious and was filled with indignation. He ridiculed the Jews before his associates and the army of Samaria, saying, “What are these feeble Jews doing? Can they restore the wall by themselves? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they complete it in a day? Can they bring these burnt stones back to life from the mounds of rubble?” Nehemiah 4:1-2


They which builded on the wall, and they that bare burdens, with those that laded, every one with one of his hands wrought in the work, and with the other hand held a weapon. For the builders, every one had his sword girded by his side, and so builded. Nehemiah 4:17-18


For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Ephesians 6:12


so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,

being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you may have full endurance and patience, and joyfully Colossians 1:10-11


I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Phillippians 4:13





Saturday, August 1, 2020

No End In Sight – Keep Moving Forward


Many people throughout this particular season have found it difficult to stay motivated, to keep pressing in, to keep moving forward in training, in life. I can honestly say I’ve found myself at particular times in a bit of a dark spot, allowing doubt and confusion to slip in. I’ve found myself not really knowing which direction I should move, where and how I need to spend my time and doubting whether the time spent has been worth it. I so desire for this time to be spent in the most effective manner.


In truth, my trials have been relatively minimal by comparison. I know there are many people going through much more difficult situations than I face. The battles that I fight are in the mind, and they are spiritual in nature. However, truth be told that is the fight for everyone, whether they know it or not. I’ve learned to appreciate the trials, I’m thankful for the tests that come into my life because they are what strengthen me, they are what incite me to dig deeper in to God’s truth and in turn I’m grateful to share what I’ve learned in order to help sharpen and encourage others.


So the question is: What do you do when there’s no end in sight? Take this triathlon season for instance, I know in my case everything I’d signed up for has been canceled, and there’s no predicted return in sight. It can be easy under these circumstances to lose sight of your goal when there is no goal. Truth be told I’d gotten in the habit of making the event\race the goal. While they are a helpful marker, triathlons aren’t the goal, podiums aren’t the goal. Development, improvement and glorifying God through it should be the goal. Endurance sport is about going the distance, you can’t always see the end in sight, but you stay the course, you keep moving forward. This life is an endurance sport.  


There may be storms all around us currently in our lives, but we shouldn’t jump ship at adversity. Stay in the boat - Stay the course, clearly define what you’re moving toward, what areas in your life, sport, training need work, this is where our focus should be during this rebuilding season. If we’ll stay true to the idea that it’s not so much about competition with others, as it is with ourselves we will continue to develop ourselves and along the way inspire and encourage others.


It can be easy to fall into the mindset of the race as being the platform in which we long for to put it all out there, show ourselves worthy. We then find ourselves seeking the platform, when in truth we should be seeking Him, our Father and His Kingdom first. I’ve fallen into that trap time and again, but it hasn’t been with triathlon.


Continued motivation to train hasn’t been so much an issue for me because I realized early on I had an opportunity to work on and strengthen weaknesses brought on by nagging injuries. I’m motivated to get back right in order to run at full strength again. Where I’ve experienced ups and downs this season has been in the case that the industry I’m a part of has been affected. In many ways it’s been a wonderful opportunity for me to have the time to create. I’m a writer, you probably can’t tell from these devotionals. I didn’t say that I was a good writer. I write screenplays. As an artist, a writer you want your work to be seen. I’ve fallen into the trap of seeking the platform, wondering if I’ll find a home for what I’ve been working on, wondering if any of it’s worth it, forgetting why I began in the first place. Sound familiar? The same can happen when there’s no outlet for all the work we’ve been putting into training, if it’s the platform that we’re seeking it can be frustrating.


I encourage you during this season, use the opportunity to seek God first. Find your fulfillment in Him, not the sport, get close to Jesus and let Him show you a way in which you can continue to build. This time can be used as a wonderful opportunity to be rebuilt right. Use it as an opportunity to tune in, to focus on areas of weaknesses, or as I like to call them areas of opportunity. Listen and let it be revealed to you those areas where you can get stronger, know what will make you run better, know where you need to develop, mind, body and foremost in spirit.



Stay in the Boat


Fearing that we would be dashed against the rocks, they dropped four anchors from the stern and prayed for daylight. In an attempt to escape from the ship, the sailors let the lifeboat down into the sea, pretending they were going to lower some anchors from the bow. Then Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, “Unless these men stay with the ship, you cannot be saved.” Acts 27:29-31


For in this hope we were saved; but hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he can already see? Romans 8:24


Now faith is the assurance of what we hope for and the certainty of what we do not see. Hebrews 4:11


So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:18


But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Matthew 6:33


For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. Romans 14:17


For ye are not as yet come to the rest and to the inheritance, which the LORD your God giveth you. Deuteronomy 12:9









Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Rebuild Me Right - Right Heart, Right Mind

Everyone loves a good comeback story, with the exception perhaps of some of those who are making the comeback.  At least that can be the attitude that I can tend to slip into from time to time during this rebuilding season of my life. I talk about injury a lot, that’s because I’ve experienced a fair share of them, and as an endurance athlete there’s a lot of training through pain. I believe it’s healthy, both in a spiritual sense and physical, when we can open up, share information about injuries or past wounds. It’s healthy for us, to heal, and it may help others to process injuries of their own. It’s how we do life together, learning from one another sharpening one another, bearing one another’s burdens, mutually benefitting and growing together.


So, where was I? Yes, I’m in a rebuilding season, lots of work to be done. I’m coming off of injuries, correcting weakness, going through PT, you name it, it can be frustrating. What really makes it frustrating is when I look back and see how much I’ve lost. I’ve lost strength and speed, I’ve lost endurance. I mean basically everything critical to the sport. The problem is, I’m in the process of rebuilding, I have to learn to appreciate the process. I cannot go through this season frustrated, angry and upset about where I’m not, about what I once had. If I stay there, I’m going to miss the lessons that are being taught in the rebuilding. If I miss those fundamental principles, I won’t be allowing myself to be rebuilt right, and if I’m not aware of what got me in need of repair, I run the risk of going there again. ‘Rebuild me right’ is actually a phrase that I picked up a couple of years ago, after a nagging burning QL injury knocked me off course. It was obviously not only a prayer for my physical well-being, in fact it was primarily a prayer for my spiritual life. It seems there’s always a spiritual take away from ailments in the physical, that is if we’re seeing through spiritual eyes. I went through that process knowing that there were adjustments that needed to be made in my life, more than adjustments a whole redevelopment of mind, will and emotions.


I’m currently in that place again, where my prayer is “rebuild me right”. The interesting thing about it, the extents of the work is even deeper, just like the physical work that needs to be done, I’ve made the analogy before, but I’ll say it again I believe God like a master potter, will spend hours at the wheel shaping us, forming us, and then starting again from scratch with the same lump of clay, working us to perfection. Not that He can’t get it right the first time, but we the clay, can often be too thick, stubborn clay. I really think that life is like that though, a series of Temple remodeling jobs, each time, He rebuilds us better than the time before, but the work is never finished. God doesn’t do sloppy work, when we let the world begin to rot us away; He tears things down and starts again.


If I want to be rebuilt right, I can’t hang onto past things, no matter how good they may have been, I’m going through this season, to see even better times. New seasons are new season, let the new thing happen, be intentional about rebuilding with God. I will be rebuilt better, stronger, faster and I’m okay if that doesn’t actually happen in the physical, I seek a higher purpose. I want to remain fruitful through the rebuilding season, in order to do that I can’t allow myself to abide in the past, but in the Spirit, where there is patience, peace, and joy.


Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away. Behold, the new has come! 2 Corinthians 5:17


And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 1 Peter 5:10


Come, let us return to the LORD. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds. Hosea 6:1


But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31


And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He *said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” Then He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. Revelation 21:5-6


Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you. 2 Corinthians 13:11





Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Rebuilding Season - Making All Things New

Rebuilding Season – Making All Things New


Due to current world circumstances, i.e. COVID-19, the majority of the sporting world for a while had come to a grinding halt. Although, sporting events are trickling back in some areas, triathlon has not been exempted from being affected. For my part in particular it’s been completely shutdown. And although this devotional references a specific time in our world, it is applicable through every time in our world.  We all go through seasons of trial and triumph, through adversity and peace, you get it and well this is a particular season for me, a season that we all at some time or another go through. Due to the cancellation of many of my scheduled competitions, I’ve come to the conclusion that this is a rebuilding season.


Many football coaches talk about a rebuilding year. They speak of it in the terms of replacing players who’ve moved on, finding new talent, developing new strategies, and sometimes a rebuilding of a whole system of program, that sort of rebuild requires a foundational overhaul. This is the rebuilding level I’m talking about. I’ve had some success in the first few years of my triathlon career. I fell in love with the sport, and grabbed hold of it and really went for it, I put in a lot of hard effort training and it showed with the race results, but little did I know, I had some foundational issues, muscular weaknesses. I’ve been hindered now for seven months by a hip flexor\psoas issue, this being due to compensating for weak core and glutes, the weakest glutes in America in fact. What I’m actually seeing though is a parallel with my spiritual life. When I truly understood born again, when I truly got a hold of my identity in Christ, I was set free and I ran ablaze, I was so transformed by the power of the Gospel I was so in Love with the truth of God’s word and really went for making Him known. Fast forward to a few years later and I’m seeing that while this tenacity was excellent, there are some weaknesses in my soul, (mind, will and emotion), the structure wasn't sound. Some demolition must take place to rebuild, yet again. Digging down again to that foundation, starting from where I started. There are some issues (haughtiness, selfishness, pride) that have reared their ugly head causing me not to run to the best of my ability. God allows us to go through circumstances so that he can show us where those weaknesses are through Holy Spirit. We are able to identify them, because we’ve built on a solid foundation.


I get this sense we’re a continual construction process. As believers, we’ve been saved, and we’re being saved, we’ve been born again and we’re developing and maturing.  We’ve been made a new creation and that creation is moving more toward the likeness of Christ. It’s clear in our physical bodies, as we pursue athletics and fitness, there is this constant state of construction, whether building our bodies, or maintaining them or enhancing there performance, there is work being done. We as believers should be growing and developing spiritual daily being transformed by the renewing our minds, coming to a fuller understanding and moving into our fullest potential sometimes that requires a rebuilding season. Thank God for this slow down, it has become evident that it is to be used as a rebuilding season. There are issues that need to be worked out both spiritually and physically, strengthening and healing. Attention must be given to where I’m lacking. I believe God, like a potter has a beautiful vessel to shape out of the clay that we are, and he doesn’t mind starting over with us from time to time, breaking us down to build us up again, until we reach that final perfected form he will continue the good work in us. He makes all things new, again, and again.


Behold, I am doing a new thing now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:18

Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.  Philippians 1:6


The LORD will fulfill His purpose in me. O LORD, Your loving devotion endures forever--do not abandon the works of Your hands. Psalms 138:8


But now, O LORD, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand. Isaiah 64:8


And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 1 Peter 5:10


Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17


Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Psalm 51:12


Rebuilding – Time for Strength and Conditioning

Just back from my first run in over a month and this topic is fresh on my mind. How strength and conditioning apply to me personally during ...