Prayer and Fasting

“When he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast it out? And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer and fasting” (Mark 9:28-29).

The back story of this Scripture passage describes Jesus healing a boy who his disciples had been unable to restore. After miraculously healing the lad, his disciples were dumbfounded because they thought they had what it took to pass on the healing touch of Jesus to those suffering in the world, like this boy. Jesus responds by mentoring the disciples in the power that lies in prayer and fasting.

We all battle with sin, but some things in particular plague us and its’ grip seemingly never loosens. What is that thing that enslaves you? The thing that overwhelms you…that thing that you struggle with over the past year or two or ten? The message that Jesus teaches his disciples here is precisely for that thing in your life.

His message for these situations is that it doesn’t matter what kind of will power you have, will power isn’t going to get it done. This “thing” can’t be overcome by ourselves…it’s bigger than us and we need Him to help us stamp it out. We’ve tried on our own, haven’t we? Jesus wants to pass on the answer which is prayer and fasting.

Are we spending time with him in prayer and finally surrendering these hidden parts of our character that we don’t want him to see, or are actually afraid of losing? We’ve got to admit, on our knees, that we can’t get it done on our own. We have nothing left, we’ve tried everything and this “thing”, this habit of sin, keeps pestering us and won’t leave us alone.

Secondly…are we fasting? Are we denying ourselves? A pleasure, our cravings, self-interests. If we experience the tried and true practice of Christian fasting we will encounter the great power that can be derived from denying ourselves and picking up our cross. When we make this leap, it is palpable that Christ is with us and we are uniting ourselves with his redemptive love which changes our lives and the lives of those around us.

During this Lenten season, I think Jesus wants to put the powerful weapons of prayer and fasting back in our lives, or maybe introduce them for the first time. They are weapons which are belt fed by His grace and can destroy the sin that has been enslaving us for far too long. The point of Lent is not to show how strong our will is, but to experience a transformation. This holy time is meant to be an opportunity to encounter freedom and conversion. I challenge you to find your one “thing” and allow Christ to slay it through prayer and fasting.

”Put on the Armor of God” (Eph 6:11)

The Man in the Arena

During his “Citizenship In A Republic” speech, delivered at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France on April 23, 1910, Theodore Roosevelt explained:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

This famous excerpt from a much longer speech would later be coined “The Man in the Arena.”

I think there’s much to learn from these words. In fact, I’ve spent the last 10 minutes slowly taking in each sentence again and again. I’d encourage you to do the same before asking yourself one question… are you daring greatly?

Until next time… be holy, eat clean, and do more push-ups!

Win the Next Battle

“If you don’t behave as you believe, you will end by believing as you behave” – Venerable Fulton Sheen

As we move towards a life of discipline, it can be quite discouraging when we fail to reach a daily goal that we have put in place for ourselves. We may be trying to infuse physical training or a path of clean eating into our lives and one thing or another happens and our plans run off of the tracks.

I’m sure that I’m not the only one who has experienced this. Unfortunately, my response to these missteps is, “screw it” and I toss out the remainder of the day as a lost cause. With Lent in full swing, there are things that we set aside for 40 days in order to gain self-mastery, but if you slip up it can be easy to just throw in the towel for the day and convince ourselves to start over tomorrow.

As men, we are pretty susceptible to beating ourselves up when we blow it. This isn’t all bad in the general sense because it implies that we still give a crap and want to improve and get better. However, it is imperative that we don’t listen to the script that runs through our heads which tells us “it’s no surprise,” “we don’t have what it takes,” or simply “you’ll never get it right.” Many of us have believed these lies from the “accuser” and have adopted them as our go to response to struggle. We must overcome these land mines and realize that the battle lay ahead of us at our next decision and not behind us.

We shouldn’t be surprised when we get distracted from our goals or fall to a temptation. This is the normal course of progress after all, two steps forward and one step back. Rather than being caught off guard by these slip ups and blow the rest of the day with subsequent poor decisions, we can put a plan in place for these times so that it is merely a slowing of momentum rather than a complete change in direction.

I recommend looking at each decision in our day with regards to fitness and nutrition as its own separate battle. If we lose the battle in the morning by not waking up early enough to workout, avoid lumping the rest of the day into the lost cause category. Instead, look to your next decision as an opportunity to do battle whether it is a food choice or walking up the stairs to your office instead of riding in the elevator. Even with a loss or two during any given day, we can regain momentum towards our goals by winning our next battle.

“Put on the Armor of God” (Eph 6:11)

The Wedge

I’m finishing an interesting book titled, “What Doesn’t Kill Us: How Freezing Water, Extreme Altitude, and Environmental Conditioning Will Renew Our Lost Evolutionary Strength.”

Now, if you’re looking for a spiritual book to read during Lent… this isn’t it!  In fact, there’s poor language in the book and there’s a fair share of “find your zen” type stuff sprinkled in.  But, beyond that, I really found the book interesting.

Now, as you probably guessed, the freezing water part of the title is what really drew me in since cold showers have now become a part of my normal life as a result of the Exodus 90 program.

I’ve written about the benefits of cold water before and how it’s scientifically proven to activate brown fat which then, and I’m oversimplying a bit here, sucks the nasty white fat out of our body.

In fact, I now have a hypothesis of why so many men see massive weight loss (like 45 pounds in 90 days) during Exodus 90.  Yes, cutting out the beer and junk food and adding in some exercise obviously helps… but I also believe the cold showers have a lot more to do with it than anyone realizes.

So, yeah, cold water is good!  And this “What Doesn’t Kill Us…” book goes into extreme detail on how it’s far more than a weight loss tool.

But the part of the book I’m still unpacking, and trying to wrap my mind around, is what Scott Carney, the author, refers to as “the wedge.”

Allow me to explain.  Imagine you’re about to sneeze.  You feel the sneeze coming on.  It’s going to be a big one.  Now, imagine you don’t want to sneeze since you’ve just gotten your 3-month-old baby to sleep and you’re about to place her in her crib.  So, you close your eyes and, somehow, fight the sneeze off.  Put another way, you find a way to place a “wedge” between your body’s internal programming and the external “sneeze” pressures.

Here’s another example I recently blogged about.  Cold showers.  If you learn to control your breathing, and really relax, you can place a “wedge” between the cold water and your body.  After some practice I’m now able to do this with little struggle.  I can literally stand in an ice cold shower and not feel cold.  I know it sounds a little crazy and probably a little “woo woo” but, I’m telling you, it’s possible.

And while controlling your sneezing and not feeling cold water is pretty cool… it’s not that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things.

But, what if there was a way to place a wedge between our will and the tendency to sin?  What if there’s a way to close our eyes and stop temptation, any temptation, dead in its track with our own spiritual wedge?

Perhaps this spiritual wedge could also be used the same way a wedge is driven into a tree after its been cut through part of the way in order to keep it from falling in the wrong direction.  Put another way, perhaps our spiritual wedges can also help us maintain any spiritual progress we make ensuring we don’t slide right back to our old sinful ways.

The Word of God tells us that we can do all things in Him who strengthens us.  So, I can’t help but believe the formation of a “spiritual wedge” is possible and something we should all seek to develop with the help of our Lord, His church, and our Lady.

In the meantime… I definitely suggest practicing with ice cold showers.  You can do it.  You really can.

Until next time… be holy, eat clean, and do more push-ups!

Pilgrimage

Last week I had the opportunity to go on a pilgrimage with my 11 year old son to a Benedictine Abbey. Anthony is a part of the Troops of St. George, which is a fraternal Catholic outdoor apostolate for men and their sons who are “looking for a life of adventure coupled with virtue”. One of the achievements for his age group is to make the journey of a pilgrimage with his Dad to a Holy site.

We packed up and headed north about 5 hours to Our Lady of Clear Creek Abbey in Oklahoma. As we twisted down the old dirt road to our destination my cell service lost connection and we were seemingly time warped into a different age.

The monks of Clear Creek Abbey live out a radical love of Christ by modeling the life of St. Benedict who lived in Italy in the 5th Century. The religious order that he created gave birth to the monastic life and has been the guardian of many of the Church’s sacred traditions and beauty, such as Gregorian chant. Their life is centered on prayer and contemplation as they strive to perfect the liturgy which is the most dramatic encounter with Christ in the Sacrifice of the Holy Mass.

In addition to prayer, they work the land by raising sheep and cattle and hone many of the lost trades like carpentry and metalworking. This type of life involves a choice to strip away most of the modern conveniences and pleasures like media, internet cafes and power everything for a quiet existence in the foothills of Oklahoma.

I first noticed that these were not just a bunch of old crotchety men who just wanted to escape life and earn their way into heaven through some idealized masochism. This order is thriving. It is filled with young men who are strong, virile, athletic, handsome, chaste and disciplined. Far from church mice, these men embody the characteristic Jesus described himself as possessing: meekness. The classical Greek understanding of the word meek was used to describe a horse that was tamed. To harness the imposing energy, strength and wildness of a beast and command it. Simply put it is great power under control.

As we were able to catch a glimpse of the extraordinary life that they lead, I was struck by some of the similarities to my vocation of marriage and how the two complement each other. When our culture wants to throw out the old fashioned ways of celibacy for the Kingdom because it seems incongruent with our modern sensibilities, I was reminded that the two vocations mirror each other in many ways and can draw the best out of one another if only we have the eyes to see it.

Sacramentals

When we stepped into the Abbey to take in one of the Hours of prayer or the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, we were struck by all of the attention to detail and the use of sacramentals. What I mean by sacramentals are the visible signs that signify a spiritual reality. These can be objects or actions that we do with our bodies that signify something greater like tracing the sign of the cross with our hand. This is different from capital S Sacraments which are also signs but actually bestow grace on us as God’s action in us. From deep bows before the Alter and sacred images, to incense and candles, the monks lift the senses to something greater that is occurring.

In the married life we use sacramentals like rings, or gestures like holding hands and bestow gifts for our beloved in order to bring about the reality of the covenant relationship that we have chosen. Just as the monks continually use these actions daily in their prayer life to accentuate its beauty, so we should look for ways in our marriage to use signs that demonstrate sacrificial love for our bride.

Faithfulness

We saw the monks start their day together in prayer at 5am and like clock-work, showed up without fail to pray the Liturgy of the Hours together throughout the day. When they prayed, they didn’t just mumble through the rote prayers that had been memorized, but rather they chanted in a most extraordinary way using the ancient language of praise: Latin. With great care and discipline they prayed the Psalms and lifted everyone’s mind to God who could hear.

Our marriages need faithfulness. Just showing up means something in a life that is filled with challenges and turmoil. By faithfully showing up and giving all we have for the other, we can produce a synchronized harmony for our kids to witness. This melody of faithfulness will impress who God is upon their hearts.

Vocations to the religious and married life are meant to call to mind to the world that we are a part of a covenant with God and they signify the self-sacrificing love that Christ has for each of us.  The complementarity of the two vocations have purpose and can help the other realize the radical call that we all have to be Disciples of Christ.

“Put on the Armor of God” (Eph 6:11)

What Does a Healthy Life Look Like?

I recently listened to a really good podcast where former CrossFit games athlete turned medical student, Julie Foucher, shared several responses to the question she asks at the end of her interviews… namely “what does a healthy life look like to you?”

And, believe it or not, several of the folks she talked to stressed how important spiritual health is.  In fact, Rich Froning (4 time winner of the CrossFit games) talked about how important it was “to be in the Word” every day.  Very cool stuff.

As I listened to the episode I wondered how I’d answer the same question.  So, today, I’m going to take a shot at sharing some thoughts on what I believe a healthy life looks like.  Of course I don’t pretend to be all knowing or to have all the answers… so if you have additional thoughts I’d love to hear them in the comments section below.

Spiritual Health

First, I believe the most important “health” we can maintain is our spiritual health.  It really doesn’t matter how fast your Fran time is or how chiseled your abs are… if you’re living outside of God’s grace (i.e. in sin) you’re not living a healthy life.

So, as a Catholic, my number one goal is to be in a constant state of grace.  And, obviously, if I do fall into mortal sin my most pressing goal is to be reconciled as fast as possible through the Sacrament of Confession.

Having Priorities Straight

Secondly, I believe having your priorities straight is extremely important to a healthy life.  Now this can go in many directions.  Does your family life suffer as a result of your work?  If so, this is unhealthy.  Does anything interfere with your attendance of Sunday Mass?  If so, not only is this unhealthy… it’s downright deadly to your soul!  Do you spend more time looking at Facebook each day than you do your Bible?  Ouch.  I know.  That one often hurts me too.

Nutrition

Assuming you’re living right spiritually and your priorities are in order I believe the next area of focus, as it relates to living a healthy life, should be nutrition.  Now, we’ve written a lot about nutrition before and my views on nutrition have definitely evolved over the last year or so.

I started my “clean eating” plan on a pretty strict Paleo diet.  It worked.  Big time.  I lost weight and felt better than I had in years.  But, as my workout intensity steadily increased I learned I needed more carbs in my life so I introduced things like white rice back into my diet.

In the end, the most important advice I can offer is to cut out processed sugar (especially soda), eat real food (think meat and veggies), and drink lots of water.

Sleep

After nutrition I believe sleep comes next.  Personally speaking, I need around 8 hours of sleep each night.  Some folks may do OK on less… say 7 hours… and some may need more.  But, generally speaking, sleep deprived people are going to struggle in all areas of their life.    Of course those of us with lots of kids know sleep deprivation isn’t always by choice… but we need to ensure we’re doing the best we can.

Exercise

Now, Mike and I spend a lot of time talking about the importance of exercise so you may be surprised to find this one so far down on the list.  But, at least for me, this is where it should sit in the order of importance.

I’d even go so far as to say that I believe it’s definitely possible to live a healthy life with just a little exercise assuming you’re doing everything else noted above.  Put another way, if you simply get outside and move your body a few times each week (i.e. walking, playing soccer with your kids, dancing with your spouse) you’re likely going to be just fine.  Again, assuming you’re doing everything else right.

Balance

Finally, the last thing I’d like to touch on, as it relates to living a healthy life, is balance.  And as it turns out, I’m a decent case study for this as well.

You see, it wasn’t too long ago that I’d look my 5-year-old in the face as they attempted to hand me a small piece of their birthday cake and say, “Sorry, Daddy can’t eat that.”  I’ll be the first to admit… this was stupid.  One piece of birthday cake isn’t going to turn me into a diabetic!

And things like alcohol, use of media, and other “things of the world” can be included in this balance conversation.  Watching a TV show or football game every once in awhile with your family isn’t bad… but if you end up wasting 6 hours of your Sunday afternoon binge watching Fixer Upper (you know you love that show!) well, you may be out of balance!

What do you think?

There are likely many more things I could have added to this list… but, at least for me, these are pretty high on my list of ways to live a healthy life!

What do you think?  What did I miss?  Shoot me a reply via email (if you’re reading this via email) or leave a comment below if you’re reading this on the website.

Until next time… be holy, eat clean, and do more push-ups!

Greasing the Axle

Freedom provokes something within us which calls us to act, a propulsion, movement. Most of us however find ourselves gridlocked and going nowhere. About a week ago the season of Lent got underway and my Exodus brothers and I decided to take up all of the disciplines from the Exodus 90 program for the 40 days leading up to the Feast of Easter. As the name connotes, the point of Exodus, just like the story in the Old Testament, is meant to lead those who embark on the journey to freedom.

Part of the prescription of Exodus is that you choose to stay away from desserts, sweets and any sugary drinks. Our group went a step further and ascribed to our Intentional Encounter Wellness Plan which calls us to rid our diets of all of the hyper-palatable foods that surround us and replace them with high quality real food (if you can’t pronounce the ingredients – it’s not real food). A week into reclaiming these disciplines I quickly realized the hold that these over stimulating foods had on me.

During the past month or two of the exhausting busyness of life I allowed crappy “normal” food to become too normal for me. This didn’t happen at home, as my wife tries to prepare whole foods to feed our family, but rather in the hustle and bustle of life at work where the sensation of hunger is quickly and easily dulled by a trip through the drive thru.

Over the years I have gone “hard core” for a time and cut out everything that is not “real food” and slowly and intentionally added things back like rice or dairy because my body tends to tolerate it well. The rust begins to build however, and momentum slows when I can’t plan or rather don’t plan what I am going to eat and I end up at the nearest fast food joint or convenience store to grab something on the go. For me, if I’m not intentional, these occurrences go from the occasional hunger emergency to over indulgence in fried goodness seemingly overnight. That’s when gridlock happens. I become enslaved, numb and unable to move. Whole foods appear flavorless and uninviting when compared with the plethora of flavor options that are at my fingertips.

This is why I have found that discipline is the essential grease that keeps our axles moving. By reclaiming good nutritional habits I can see things begin to move again in all parts of my life. Through this simple decision about what to put on our plate we can begin to taste freedom…and freedom moves us. Decisions become decisions again, not just automated reactions to an outside stimulus. We can begin to see more clearly and find opportunities to be our brother’s keeper, hold our tongue when what we have to say isn’t necessary or good for the other or make time to waste with God.

The time of Lent can be mistakenly seen as merely an obligation to instill discipline for discipline’s sake or to somehow earn favor with God. However, I challenge you to view discipline as the grease for your axle which leads to freedom. If we have freedom, we can finally move and act and love.

“Put on the Armor of God” (Eph 6:11)

Through all of it

This morning, while sitting at a stop sign near my house my dear friend (and Mike’s wife), Chasity, drove by.  As Mike has shared before God has blessed their family with a special gift… his name is Dominic.

Anyhow, Chasity and I smiled and waved at each other.  A few seconds later my attention was drawn to the song playing on the radio… I heard the following lyrics:

I have won
and I have lost
I got it right sometimes
But sometimes I did not
Life’s been a journey
I’ve seen joy, I’ve seen regret
Oh and You have been my God
Through all of it

I’m not normally a sappy sort of guy but I could feel the Holy Spirit covering me and tears started to form in my eyes as I thought of how wonderful the Short family is.

I thank God they are in my family’s life and I continue to pray for them and, most especially, for Dominic.  I just love that little boy and look forward to the next time I can read “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” to him!  Pro Tip: this is the best children’s book ever written!

When I got to my office I decided to look that song up and send it to Chasity.  And just so my Exodus brothers don’t worry… I didn’t watch any other videos!

Here’s the video (lyrics below).

Through all it
By Colton Dixon

There are days I’ve taken more than I can give
And there are choices that I made
That I wouldn’t make again
I’ve had my share of laughter
Of tears and troubled times
This is has been the story of my life

I have won
and I have lost
I got it right sometimes
But sometimes I did not
Life’s been a journey
I’ve seen joy, I’ve seen regret
Oh and You have been my God
Through all of it

You were there when it all came down on me
When I was blinded by my fear
And I struggled to believe
But in those unclear moments
You were the one keeping me strong
This is how my story’s always gone

I have won
and I have lost
I got it right sometimes
But sometimes I did not
Life’s been a journey
I’ve seen joy, I’ve seen regret
Oh and You have been my God
Through all of it
Through all of it

And this is who You are
More constant than the stars up in the sky
All these years of our lives, I
I look back and I see You
Right now I still do
And I’m always going to

I have won
and I have lost
I got it right sometimes
But sometimes I did not
Life’s been a journey
I’ve seen joy
I’ve seen regret
Oh and You have been my God
Through all of it
Oh and You have been my God
Through all of it
Oh and You have been my God
Through all of it

Until next time… be holy, eat clean, and do more push-ups!

My Dirty Little Secret

I ignore the things I’m not good at and work hard at the things I’m decent or good at.  There I said it.

Case in point… I’ve long struggled with jumping rope.  I know, it’s pretty ridiculous.  But I’ve always struggled.  I can string “singles” together OK but when I even think about “double unders” I freeze up and fail.  Every time.  So now I simply ignore my jump rope and focus on other things.

Same with kipping pull-ups (i.e. fake pull-ups for all the CrossFit haters out there).  My strict pull-up strength has really improved but whenever I try to “kip” I start to flop and flail about on the bar like some wounded animal.

So I pretty much ignore the kip and only do strict pull-ups.  Heck, I’m even preparing to do strict pull-ups during the famous “Murph” workout this Memorial Day since I fear I won’t be able to kip them.  Yes, I know, strict pull-ups are better for me long term… but, dang it, I need to learn how to kip!

There are a few other things I need to work on (overhead squats anyone?) but, at least for now, jumping rope and kipping are the two things kicking my butt.  And, you know what?  I’m tired of it.

So today I’m publicly committing to you all that I, Ron Pereira, promise to work on these two movements until I’m competent at them.  Mike’s worked with me multiple times and I’ve watched around 1,300 YouTube videos on both topics so coaching isn’t the problem.  I just need to stop being a baby and put the work in.

I’m going to start by jumping rope during my warm-up for every single workout while also programming them into workouts more than I do now which won’t be hard since I don’t program them today!  And I’m asking my 14-year-old daughter/workout partner to hold me accountable to this!

And for kipping I’m going to practice the movement at least two times a week… possibly more.

I have no idea how long it will take to get good at these movements… but I do know, for sure, it’s never going to happen if I don’t put the work in!

What about you?  Do you ignore things you’re no good at?  If so, I definitely encourage you to face your fears and get to work.  Who cares how bad you are at it… just keep trying and don’t give up.  That’s what I plan to do.

Finally, this article was heavily influenced by a story I read in an email newsletter I get.  It was written by a lady who’s working to get her first pull-up.  She’s not quite there yet… but, by the sounds of it, she’s real close.  I don’t know her but, man, I’d love to be in the room when she does pull her chin over that bar for the first time!

Dear Pull-Up Bar,

I saw you today. For the first time ever we met eye to eye and for a few fleeting seconds I thought I could pull myself higher than you. But no matter how hard I tried I failed. However, I find solace in knowing that many of my friends and companions surpassed you; some with just their chin up while others with their chest held high and many for the first time today.

I know things now that I didn’t know before. You are not as elusive as you pretend to be. You are not tall as you think you are. Anyone who desires you, can have you. So know this, pull up bar, the next time we meet I will rise higher than you because your time is up. I see you and I know you. I SHALL conquer you too. — Kimberly Leja Martinez

Until next time… be holy, eat clean, and do more push-ups!

Surrender?

“Once you have surrendered yourself, you make yourself receptive. In receiving from God, you are perfected and completed.” – Venerable Fulton J. Sheen

There has been plenty of ink spilled over the topic of surrender within the life of a Christian. This word and the actions needed for it to take place have been a sticking point for me, and still I struggle mightily in allowing this concept to ruminate my soul.

As an American, the word surrender tends to rub us wrong. Our country has a proud heritage of never surrendering even when the odds are completely against us. Our military, who extend some of the best of our values, train never to surrender and will leave no man behind.

As I listen to my father-in-law tell his grandkids the grueling training he put his recruits through as a drill instructor during the Vietnam War, I can identify the rub I feel when pondering this idea of surrender. After all, the whole point of his fierce training was to ensure the soldier made it back alive, or if captured, never collapsed under the pressure of interrogation. Through the training he put them through, his soldiers personally experienced the cost of surrendering before even stepping into battle.

This idea we hold is rooted in the very deepest level of our being. From boyhood, we are told of the brave soldiers in the revolutionary war who won our freedom and gained our identity as Americans. Texans still reminisce about those who were greatly outnumbered at the Alamo but refused to surrender in one of history’s classic last stands. We’ve heard our own grandfather or father’s stories of the battlefield, the horrors of war, and the importance of endurance. And even some of us men reading this have our own war experiences, have felt the fear creep up in our chest, but still persevere to fight on and protect our brothers, our flag, and our nation.

“Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over him who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices” – Psalm 37:7-9

If this is our experience, our instinct, to never surrender, why is this an important concept in the Christian life? Jesus himself shows us the cost of the surrender he speaks of when he mounted the cross for you and me…by name.

It comes down to a matter of trust. Do you trust Jesus’ bold claim that He is God and has come on a rescue mission purely out of a radical, unquenchable love for you? In order to trust this message, we must experience a paradigm shift in which we come to know that He does not wish to snuff us out, or dull our personality to look like some church mouse. If we choose to surrender to Him, we are accepting into our lives the only One who can satisfy. Unlike the enemy who wishes our destruction, he will ensure our victory.

The truth is that we surrender to all kinds of things…all of the time.  We are a bundle of desires which long to be satisfied. The problem is that we look in places like media, sports, food, and even sin, but they never seem to reach the deep thirst of our soul which yearns to be quenched and encounter true peace.

The parable of the Prodigal Son perfectly demonstrates how the Father, that you and I share, is constantly watching for us to turn back to Him. When we realize that all we have surrendered to in the world won’t satisfy, and we choose to change our path, He is there waiting. He runs down the hill, wraps us in his arms, and walks with us back to the place He freely gives as our inheritance.

An IE man doesn’t surrender to the world, the fleeting pleasures that call our names, but rather we surrender to the One who created us, the One who gives us the strength to live our true masculinity. In giving ourselves to Jesus, we are not losing the battle at all, we are getting the ammunition we need to fight.

“Put on the Armor of God” (Eph 6:11)