Posts by horacedukes

The Psychology of Victory

Have you ever wondered what distinctive factors separate those who are quite successful from their counterparts?  Well, it largely has to do with the individual’s mind-set.  In other words, how we think in approaching a goal will impact our results.  There is then, a psychology to victory.   Charles Swindoll wrote: “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.”  Too often our lack of victory or success has more to do with how we respond to life’s pressures than the pressure itself.

Consider the events of Israel’s march to the promise land.  When Moses sent 12 spies to scout out the land, only Caleb and Joshua returned with a good report.  Caleb said of the land, “Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to possess it.   (Numbers 13:30)  The dissenting spies countered by saying, “We are not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we.” (Numbers 13:31)  The congregation of Israel followed the dissenting opinion because their comments engendered an overwhelming fear.  Of course, the end result was a failure of the faithless generation to enter the promise–leading to defeat.

How do we avoid such defeat?  First, always seek the Lord for an answer on what goals to pursue.  Secondly, ask God to show you how to accomplish your goals. Thirdly, avoid Israel’s mistake of giving more weight to the 10% than the 90% because ultimately, God is in the 90%.  (If God be for us, who can be against us?–Romans 8:31b)

Use Your Word-Processor

Do you remember when main-stream America transitioned from the old typewriter to the word processor? For those that used the typewriter, moving to the word processor was a dream come true. The word processor included features such as (1) Spell-check that would isolate possible errors (2) Auto-correct that would anticipate an error in advance.

Our lives, lifestyles, love of God, and love of neighbor, would be greatly enhanced if we move from the old static approach of reading God’s Word and begin to employ a Word-Processor. Unlike the old fashion way of reading God’s Word, the Word-Processor can only be used by connecting to an electrical current called the Holy Spirit. Once we are fully connected it makes us less susceptible to error and maleware. (“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” II Timothy 3:16)

The Power of Silence

We all have opinions and are more apt to voice them on subjects in which we consider ourselves well-versed.  Before giving our opinion, however, we should understand that they are largely shaped by what has already been posited in us.  The more you think you know on a given subject, the more you really need to listen.  We should constantly recalibrate our thoughts, opinions, and words, by God’s Spirit, lest we mislead those that look to us for guidance.

In his book, “Celebration of Discipline,” Richard J. Foster said, “The  major reason we miss-speak is the need to justify ourselves.”  “One of the fruits of silence (however) is the freedom to let God be our justifier.”  Foster gives the following analogy of the tongue.  The tongue is a thermometer; it gives us our spiritual temperature.  It is also a thermostat; it regulates our spiritual temperature.  Test your thermometer and set your thermostat daily.  In so doing, you will be assured that when you do speak, you will use choice words under he power of God.


Are You On The Rock?

How well we deal with adversities, trials, and tribulations is directly related to our foundation.  The word foundation should be looked upon as the teaching and structure that we receive and accept during the early stages of life.  Having a good foundation is our catalyst for getting a good education, having respect for others, and showing love for those that are less fortunate.  

 The Word of God gives explicit instructions on the need for a good foundation and often uses the Lord to illustrate a foundation on which we should build.  In the song of David (I Kings 22:2) the Lord is described as, “my rock, and my fortress and my deliverer,” after David was given rest from Saul’s pursuit.  Jesus was likened to a stone (Psalm 118:22; Matthew 21:42) that was rejected by the builder.  This analogy is on point because all of humanity was created to depend on the Lord.

 If we follow the principles that Jesus established, we will be better equipped to handle the pressures of life.  If, however, we are not established in Him, we will be unstable and unproductive and much of what we try to build will come crashing down around us.  “He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood (adversity, trials, and tribulations) arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.”. Luke 6:48)

A Matter of Life And Death

During the month of April the minds and hearts of the faith community are fastened upon the sacrifice of our savior.  We should not, however, languish in sadness, for doing so is to not fully understand the purpose of His coming.  I know this is difficult–especially after viewing depictions such as “The Passion of Christ,” but let’s view His suffering in light of its purpose.

First, it was only through the death of Christ that we have access to life–Not just our mortal existence,  but the opportunity to be forgiven of our sins.  Having been forgiven, or justified, we are at peace with God and have access by faith to grace. (Romans 5:1-2)

Secondly, salvation through Jesus’ death was given by mercy (not works).  It is by mercy that the Holy Spirit brought us regeneration and the hope of life eternal (Titus 3:5-7)

So, although the occasion may be sad, a greater good was accomplished with the finished work on the cross.  There is no greater good than for grace and mercy to have been extended to the masses by the death of one.  (……  For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many: Romans 5:15)

Folly of the “IMs”

We have grown so accustomed to instant service that our character is easily imbued with unrealistic expectations.  There are three “IMs” that describe  humanity’s quest for quick and easy results:  (1) Impatient (2) Impulsive and (3) Impetuous.  These three “IMs” describe humanity that is unprepared and ill-advised–resulting in making poor decisions and poor choices. 

The bible has good examples of what can happen when the “IMs” are in control.  For example, they were present when Abram and Sarai decided to turn to Hagar to fulfill what was promised by God (Genesis 16:1)  They were present when Achan decided to take  the accursed things (Joshua 7:1).  They were present when Peter cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant (John 18:10).  It is clear that what is needed when difficult decisions are to be made is spiritual wisdom. 

As children of God we have a means of avoiding the three “IMs.”  James advised us to let patience have her perfect work, that we may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing–And if we lack wisdom, ask God, that gives it liberally. James 1:4-5


Are You Adding Value?


Corporate America uses “buzz” words that are designed to motivate workers to perform.  Some of the key words that I recall were, “energy,” “knowledge.” and “passion.”  Employees were often evaluated on their ability to personify these terms in their duties.  The one buzz phrase that stuck with me was “adding value.”   This term was especially appropriate to any company that sold a relatively homogeneous product.  Homogeneous products are plentiful in supply and readily available in the market place.  For this reason, a company selling such a product must find a way to distinguish how their product is better than that of their many competitors. 

There are thousands of religious groups today and many of them do not believe in Jesus Christ.  Some that do believe in Him don’t believe in his divinity.  As Christians, we have the responsibility to distinguish how our beliefs are not just better, but accurate.  The best way to do this is to be a value-added Christian.  Ask yourself, “Am I adding value to the kingdom.”  If you are not, pray and ask the Lord what actions you should take (or refrain from taking) to be more productive in bringing others into the fold.  (Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain:……. John 15;16) 

Knock Knock, Who’s There?


Several times in any given day, people will enter your space and the ensuing conversation can be pleasant, unpleasant, or placid.  Before the conversation begins you must choose to engage the person, much like answering your door when someone is requesting entry.  How you answer the door to unpleasant encounters is your best opportunity to represent the God that is in you. 

Some would argue you should meet force with force to avoid the appearance of weakness.  The God in you, however, would have you respond in meekness.  Understand:  Meekness is not a sign of weakness. With God, it is a sign of power under restraint.   Power under restraint is demonstrated through the giant panda bear birthing a babe the size of a stick of butter.   The greatest concern at the Atlanta Zoo when the first panda gave birth was, “would she crush her small young.” To the Zoo’s delight, she handled the birth and care of her baby with incredible gentleness, and life was preserved.   In other words, she restrained her weight and bulk, knowing that doing otherwise kill her baby.

Remember when Moses was confronted by his siblings with contempt?  The bible attributes his success in the matter to meekness (Numbers 12:3).  And since Moses was meek, life was peserved and God handled the matter to let the siblings know that He was backing Moses.   So the next time contempt knocks at your door, send meekness to answer.


Timing is Key in Any Move

I remember a game that we played as children called “Red Light Green Light.”  This game had one person who stood with their back to the participants.   While their back was turned they would count.  Once the counting began the participants quickly moved forward in hopes of being the first to reach the counter.   Of course, in almost every game there are trappings that work against success.  In this game the trap was this: At any time the counter could abruptly turn toward the participants and if any were observed not being perfectly still, they would have to move back to the beginning.   One’s timing (anticipating when to move) was a key factor in the game.

Life is full of decisions that must be made and some are more difficult than others.    There are times when we must stand still while God manifests Himself (Exodus 14:13) and other times when we must move forward because our course has been completed (Deut. 2:3).  In either situation, we must rely on God for direction.  For if we move out of season, we may have to start all over again.  The closer we walk with the Lord, however, even the more difficult decisions can be made with a measure of confidence.  (“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in the time of need (Heb. 4:16).”




Purge The Line

When I was young, bold, and brash, I was my own shade-tree mechanic.  I worked on my car using a book titled, Auto Repair for Dummies.”  I must admit that I learned a lot from the book but I also made mistakes.  One in particular was my first attempt at replacing my brake pads.   When the new pads would not fit into the caliper, I disconnected the brake line and got the pads in place.  There was a big problem however–when I disconnected the caliper, air got into the line.  Despite the pads and caliper being put back in place, the car could not be operated because when air is in the line, the brake pedal will go to the floor when pressed.   Purging the line of air was the only way to make the car operable.

Many in the body of Christ are attempting to move forward but there are areas in their lives that are in need of repair.  Too often we try to make repairs on our own without realizing we need the help of an expert.  I bear witness that trying to operate when sin, guilt, mistrust, and deception are active in our lives, is an accident waiting to happen.  Such things must be purged from our lives by and expert–the Spirit of God.  If you allow God’s Spirit to purge your line of such things, you will find yourself well positioned to move forward.  (For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? Hebrews 9:13-14)