How We Get Stronger


I am a personal fitness trainer and strength coach.  Clients come to my gym to lose weight and get stronger.  Some may think it will happen just by coming in.  Some may think they will get results by doing just enough.  Some may think there is some magic trick that only the trainers know.  These people often don’t last long.  They don’t understand that in order to get stronger you have to lift things that you haven’t lifted before.  In order to get results you have to be challenged.  Many trainers have used this great saying “if it doesn’t challenge you it doesn’t change you.”  So in order to get stronger you need to lift heavier weights. I look at faith in a similar way.  If there are not challenges in your life how can your faith grow? How can your faith increase?  If things continue on in a nice status quo manner is anything making you stronger spiritually?

So we pray for our faith to be increased.  This is one of the best things to pray for.  Just be ready and understand what that may mean.  Understand that in order to increase your faith, it may be challenged.  This should not discourage you from praying that prayer. In fact, let it encourage you knowing that Jesus will be with you every step of the way.

“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

I wrote a post a few months ago about faith being a gift from God.  For Him to increase our faith is a huge gift. It comes with many blessings.  But like I stated, it may come with trials.  Persevering through those trials is what we need to do .

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. James 1:2-3

The enemy will try to attack. He will come at you and tell you to give up.  He will come and tell you to run away from your faith and not to trust anyone.  He will show you the dangers that having faith will bring.  But much like lifting a heavy weight and being under the barbell when you are on the bench, you know when you lift that weight you will become stronger. You know that you have a spotter, a coach, a Lord and Savior named Jesus Christ, who will be with you as you press that bar of trial off of your chest and high to the sky.  Then you pray for more faith and put some more weight on that bar.

Remember this too, Jesus won’t give you what you can already handle.  No! He is looking to get you stronger. Prepare for more than you think you will get.  Why? Because He is there with you.

Let’s take a look at Peter. Here is a man who was out fishing.  Jesus said to him “follow me” and He did.  Throughout each Gospel story Peter is asking many questions.  Even after just following Him without asking why at that moment.  Even after walking on water.  When Jesus asked the Apostles who they thought He was, Peter gave an answer.

He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.  Matthew 16:15-18 peter

This answer that Peter gave was of faith.  Jesus even told Him this faith was given to him by God and not man.  He then called him a rock and said on this confession of Him as the Christ the church will be built.

Something I find interesting about Peter was even after these miraculous things, his faith was tested even more.  Tested to the point of him denying to know Jesus even after he told Jesus he would not.  Even after this Jesus still loved him.   He was not done with him.

But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you. Mark 16:7

Peter went on to do many great things in the face of persecution.  He preached, healed, raised to life, all by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Everyday his faith must have been challenged and everyday his faith must have grown.  In fact he wrote:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,  who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.  In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.  1 Peter  1:3-9

I can pick several people in scripture who faced trials and tribulation, all the while their faith increased.  God could have just left them alone.  He could have turned His face from them.  He can turn His face from us.  But He loved them and loves us.  He blessed them and he blesses us.  He sent His Son to die on the cross just so we can be with Him.  We are sinners who deserve death but we get life, freedom, grace, mercy, love, and faith.

There are many promises in the bible.  One way I know it is true is because we are promised tribulation.  We see that everyday.  But we also see hope.  We believe in hope because after three days in the grave our Savior rose from the dead. He is alive and in every believer.  He can raise our broken spirits back from the dead.  He can raise our broken relationships back from the dead.  He will leave the 99 sheep to get the one. He will welcome you home meeting you on the road as He sees you in the distance.


Your faith may be under the bar right now.  The weight may be more than you can handle.  Stop trying to lift that bar alone.  Those hand that are helping you lift it have wrists that have been pierced so you can know you are not alone under that bar.  I might have a day where I miss the spot and the bar crushes you.  Man will fail.  God will not.  Sometimes He will just spot you with 2 fingers instead of pulling the bar off quick.


I pray that if you are reading this and don’t know the Savior I speak of, that you desire to know Him.  I pray He is at work in your heart right now.  I pray that you get on your knees and talk to God.  Ask Him to show Himself to you.  Tell Him what you are feeling.  Tell Him what you want.  Ask Him to give you faith, and if you have it, ask Him to increase it.  If you are under the heavy barbell press hard.  Jesus is with you. A funny thing about faith, it really doesn’t take much for miracles to happen.

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and be planted in the sea’; and it would obey you.  Luke 17:5-6

increase faith

Limits on the Limitless

I often make this mistake. I put limits on the limitless. I think it can never happen because I can’t make it happen or someone else can’t make it happen. The truth is nothing is impossible. It can happen. What I need can be provided.

Often times I think of God in human terms. I put my limits on Him. I forget that He created the universe. I forget He parted the sea. I forget He made the walls of Jericho fall. I forget He walked on water and calmed the storm. I forget He made the blind see, healed the sick, and casted out demons. I forget He came to earth as a human, was crucified, then came back three days later from the dead. What can He not do?

These are just a few examples of what God does. He can do anything. God makes the impossible possible. He can make the impossible very possible for all who believe. Not only believe but pray to Him.

Sometimes I realize I hold back praying about the things I see as impossible because I forget who He is. I find myself thinking that He is too busy and won’t help me. I think He doesn’t have time for me but the truth is, He is above time. We think in terms of years, months, weeks, days, hours, minutes, and seconds. I believe God doesn’t have a watch. When we think He doesn’t have time for us He does.

The other mistake I make is thinking my need is too small for Him. I feel it may be something He wouldn’t waste energy on. Like, God has a small amount of energy? He is God. He has unlimited energy.

The problem often is I don’t have big enough prayers. My prayers aren’t bold enough. I have big needs but I do not ask them. I do not pray enough for the things I am limited to. If I don’t pray for them do I really believe God is unlimited? If I don’t pray big enough do I really believe He can do all things?

I do believe He can and I must remember He has. I must, and I encourage you all, to pray for big things. Pray bold prayers. Pray for cancers to be healed. Pray for finances to be secure. Pray for families to be mended. Pray for lives to change. Pray for non believers for come to Jesus. Pray for all of your needs. God will provide. Keep your eyes, ears, heart, and mind open to the ways He will deliver. Read His Word to remind yourself who God is. Read His Word to see how to pray. Read His Word because He gave it to us for prayer and much more.

God wants to hear our prayers. He wants us to cry to Him. He wants to see that when we struggle we still have faith in Him to calm the storms.

Are you praying big prayers?

Do you have faith that God will provide?

What would have happened if Daniel didn’t pray and have faith when he was with the lions? Daniel 6

What would have happened if the disciples would have let Jesus pass by on the lake? Mark 6:48

The examples go on. The point is not to forget we worship a loving and all powerful God Who created us.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:1-5 (NIV)

I’m Starting At Home And Not Ending There

I can’t begin to pretend to know how the people in Connecticut feel after the devastation from Friday December 14, 2012. I have a young child of my own and I do not even want to imagine how they feel. I do know it breaks my heart. I hope the majority of people agree. This is such a terrible event that I hope never gets duplicated or done worse.

As Newtown, CT mourns, we try to put together reasons why this happens. What causes a person to take so many innocent lives? What is in a person’s head as they make this decision?

Some want to blame the gun laws. Some will blame violent video games. Others will blame movies, television, and the internet. I hear some saying the world is messed up and blame society. Is it guns, violent games, websites, movies, and television?

These things are prevalent in the world. I am 33 and these things were a controversy when I was a kid. They still are now. Violent acts by a single person went on then too. Was it all of these things causing the violence? Is it the negative images and access to guns that cause people to commit such disgusting acts?

While I agree guns do kill people, and video games and violent programs may warp a person’s mind, the answer is not that simple.   It may not be what we have.  The answer may be where we lack. There is a great lack of positive influence in young lives. Positive behaviors to model may not 100% prevent these heinous acts, but they will go a long way to helping.

Where does it start? Where will society be rebuilt? Where do we start?

We start in the home. We start with parents that are engaged in a child’s life. “But it is hard because we need to make money to keep our house and our cars and our stuff.” Yes I agree. I am a husband and a father. I know how hard it is. But I also know that if I work all of the time, and do not give time to my daughter, the work is for nothing. I also know that if times get tough with my wife I cannot run from them. I made a covenant before God to be with my wife. I believe some people forget that covenant and give up. I know it is not easy. Some married couples should not stay together if there is abuse of any nature going on but it just seems like so many give up so easily. “For better or worse, sickness and health” actually should mean what they mean.

Divorce is very harmful to a child. A child needs both parents in their lives. Not just to go to games and events, but to be fully committed to them. Parents need to be the example.  Parents need to care.  Parents may need help!
“If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. … We need not wait to see what others do.” Ghandi

Just staying together is half the solution. As a man I know I can’t just be present, I have to be engaged. I have to be supportive. I have to provide discipline. I have to love unconditionally. I have to protect her. I have to provide for her. I have to lead by example.

Too many men are casual parents. They either work, work, work, or play, play, play. Life as a husband and parent is all about themselves and not family. They are just boys and not men. A job, a car, a house, a wife, and kids do not make you a man. Families need husbands, fathers, MEN.

I know in some families a father has left. This is may not even have been a decision made by both husband and wife. The parents may have never been married. In these situations there still needs to be a man. There still needs to be a positive role model. This is for boys and girls.

I am reading a book called “Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters” by Meg Meeker MD given to me by my friend Dan Huff. It has some startling facts but the biggest thing I am getting out of it is I have to be fully committed to my daughter. When you are committed, kids are less likely to try drugs, smoke, drink, engage in sexual activity, and are less rebellious among other things. Making yourself an example of how you want them to be is a must. You are a teacher. You are a trainer. You are a parent.

One other important thing that is lacking in families is God. Many families may go to church or temple, but still don’t know God. They don’t have an anchor in faith. They don’t live a life with moral values and they let society shape their thoughts and actions. Society is trying to take God out of everything. Even out of our homes. I do not think prayer needs to be in school but it needs to be done. We should not just pray when things go bad but also when they are good. Reading the word of God is a must, but following it is an absolute.

I do not know the home lives of these people who cause such destruction. I do know that these things do not happen that often, but they happen often enough. I do know that crime and drug use are still a problem. I do know that our jails a filled a lot more than our churches. I do know that there are bad people who need love. I do know that there are mentally ill children and adults that need help and love.  Is it too late? No!

I have been reading reports and in many of these terrible killing sprees, the killer has a history of mental illness.  In these cases some of the parents feel helpless before this occurs.  Many do not have the money to get proper treatment.  Some moms or dads run away from the problem or ignore them all together.  I read one article saying that an official told a parent there was nothing they can do to help unless the child commits a crime.  Is it too late by that point?  These kids and adults have committed the worst crime then kill themselves.  Too late for help.  We need to help these parents with their kids that have mental illness.  We can’t ignore them.  We have to be Jesus to the least of these.  These children may be disturbed mentally and some might say they are not under their own control.  They need Jesus.

Matthew 5:1-13 They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes. And when Jesus had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit. He lived among the tombs. And no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain, for he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but he wrenched the chains apart, and he broke the shackles in pieces. No one had the strength to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones. And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and fell down before him. And crying out with a loud voice, he said, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.” For he was saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion, for we are many.” And he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country. Now a great herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, and they begged him, saying, “Send us to the pigs; let us enter them.” So he gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out and entered the pigs; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the sea.

If you think the world is broken then lets fix it. Let’s get in the trenches and change the world. If we are to make the world better for the next generation we need to start with the next generation. I challenge parents to step up. Myself included. I challenge people who see kids heading down the wrong path to do their best to intervene. Talk to them. Hang with them. Take them to church. Take them to a youth group. Read them scripture. Most of all, show compassion.  Show compassion for the parents.  Help them if you see they have a child that is having problems.  We need communities to be a compassionate communities and not just when things go haywire.  We need it before the killing spree starts.  If you see a kid as weird and they look crazy there may be more to the situation.  We are not supposed to be mental health care providers, but we need to take care of others in need.

Start in your own house.

I vow to be an example of what I want for my daughter. I vow to be faithful to God so she may see what that looks like and what it means. I vow to do for others what they can not do for themselves. I vow to do my best to do as Jesus does for the least of these. When I see a kid that needs help I will help them. Jesus says to take care of widows and orphans. Just because there is  a mom and dad at home does not mean you are not an orphan.

If you are aware of the needs of kids in this situation and do nothing it is a shame. I encourage you to reach out to them. Make them aware of programs you know of like youth groups. Bring them to church. Get the parent help.  Do something.

If you know and do nothing it is even worse than not knowing. It is like knowing you’ve sinned and have repented and know what you are supposed to do but still continue to do the same sin.  2 Peter 2:21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.

Again my heart breaks for these children and these families.  I know Jesus welcomed them.  As it says in Mark 10:16  And He took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.

Jesus is our hope.

I encourage you to be engaged with your family.  Help those who need help.  Take responsibility for society.  Instead of complaining about it begin to change the world.  Get others to take up this cause.  There is strength in numbers.  Even Jesus sent his disciples out two at a time.  And lastly, structure your family around a solid faith in the Lord.  Live a life following Jesus and getting to know Him and not just know about Him.

God Bless

May your faith grow stronger to live a stronger life.

Lord, please be with the families and the entire community in Newtown Connecticut.
May they mourn, grieve and heal.
May we all be forever changed for the greater good to do what is right by them.
Lord give us wisdom, strength, and courage to change the world as it is a crazy place.
We are living in the world but we are not of this world. 
Lord I pray that your son Jesus welcomed these children and all of those who come to the kingdom. 
Lord please let these families know you are there as the rest of us grieve for the loss of lives.
I know your heart breaks Lord.  Again I ask for wisdom, courage, and strength to do my part in this mess.  I pray to continue to follow and know Jesus and live a life that will not accept these actions here on this earth.

Lord thank you for my life and every breath I take for your glory.  I pray that every email, blog, video created through me is for Your glory and Your works to help change this world we live in so we may all one day be with You in the Kingdom of Heaven.

In Jesus precious name I pray. Amen