Who gets the credit?

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 the triumph of great achievement, and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place will never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
– Theodore Roosevelt

So I keep replaying the end of the Super Bowl in my mind as I listen to those on both sides of the fence, those disappointed with the failure of the Seattle Seahawks, those amazed at the triumph of the New England Patriots.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles…”

Reality check: a 3-6 inch difference in either the placement of the ball or the angle of the receiver and Pete Carroll becomes an instant genius, a skilled coach and strategist. Tom Brady is trounced for his two interceptions. Seattle is the greatest team in the history of the NFL. Ok, maybe not the last one.

“The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood…”

That ‘s what I love about the quote from Teddy. We don’t deserve any credit. Our criticisms of what should or should not have been done are silenced. Our insight and blather are just that, so much Taurus faecus.

“who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming…”

In our criticisms, we take on the voice of our enemy. He is the one that condemns and ridicules our every decision. He is the one that keeps us from moving as we second guess ourselves and live in fear of failure.

“… 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 the triumph of great achievement…”

What is your dream? I think we offend God more by asking too little than from asking too much. He is our Father. He knows every hair on our head and every dream in our heart. He knows better what we can do in Him, what He can do through us. He calls us to it.

“… and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place will never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

You may fail, but what will He accomplish in your failure. You may win, it is His desire for you. People may laugh at you, question your sanity, outright fight against you.

Just get in the arena.

What kind of fight is in you?

Being an averaged height person, I always liked to quote, “it ain’t the size of the dog in the fight but the size of the fight in the dog.”

So many things come at us.  They attack and tear, condemn and hurt, messing with our faith, our hope.  And those hurts are so real, so painful, so overwhelming.

When Paul said, “We wrestle not with flesh and blood…” He wasn’t minimizing the damage we withstand.  And because the tools, the weapons wielded by our enemy, so often are flesh and blood, it becomes confusing.  We all know the broken places inside us though.  We know the reality of the emptiness we feel in betrayal, in tight fisted words.  We know the bruises of anger and hatefulness.

So what do we do?  what do we do?

I guess, right now, I’m turning that question around.  What do you want to do?  I’m asking myself, what do you want to accomplish?

Do I want the fights that I can “handle”?  Do I want the warfare that my wisdom and strength can conquer in?  I don’t think so.  Because just like those fights, temporal, worldly, so often meaningless, my victories will be the same, temporal, worldly, meaningless.

I want a God fight.  I want a war that only He can win.  I want a marriage that only He can secure.  I want a life that only He can bless.  I want to conquer enemies that dwell in the eternal, that war in the spiritual, that destroy not just the body but the heart and soul of my people.

I will be a warrior that fights by His rules, that wears His armor, that conquers in the name, the almighty name of Jesus Christ.

The size of the fight in this dog, is God sized, is Holy Spirit sized.

Come at me bro’.  Enemies of the cross – you don’t stand a chance!

Heavenly Warfare

There’s a lot that I wouldn’t want people to imitate about my life.  But one thing I do that I wish on others is my prayer in the morning.  It goes something like this.

“OK, time to gear up.  Helmet of salvation, got it.  Belt of truth, ready.  Feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, on.  Breastplate of righteousness, check.  In my left arm, shield of faith and right arm, sword of the Spirit.  Let’s go!”

I’ve never been one who wanted to use formulaic prayers or wrote memory to reach out for God.  But, in case you weren’t aware, we are at war.  Every day lives are lost, friends are wounded, children are held captive.  And we often walk into it with no word of God on our heart, His Spirit quenched within us, no praises on our lips and no thought of standing in this fight.

We go into it with nothing on.

That’s just stupid.

God is good and He has promised great things for us.  We can live in victory, setting captives free, fighting and winning.  But we better gear up for it.  Arm yourself and raise the war-cry of Jesus.

Don’t worry about being smart or strong.  Don’t give a thought to your abilities or power.  He’s enough.

HE IS ENOUGH!!