STRENGTH TRAINING (Boot Camp for Creators & Dreamers #12)



During Boot Camp we can instruct you in the essential spiritual tactics needed for achieving your goals. We can drill you in several fancy maneuvers guaranteed to help you in the pursuit of your dreams. But it
avails us little unless you possess the strength and stamina to implement your basic training.
With this in mind, we suggest routine “workouts” designed to whip you into peak spiritual condition.

We dreamers and creators continually need this form of “strength training” in order to climb those mountains which lie before us. We’ll need to be tough if we want to overcome the frequent obstacles we’ll encounter while chasing our dreams. We’ll also need endurance if we want to stay the course. We’ll need to be the best we can be — so that we can lick adversity when it rears its antagonistic head. We’ll need some serious strength training!

The dictionary defines strength as (doh!) the quality of being strong, or having the power to perform demanding feats. For us, strength is the ability to accomplish our goals. It’s the energy required for creative endeavors such as writing, speaking, performing in the arts, researching, inventing, innovating — you name it. And it’s the stamina necessary to pursue our dreams … no matter how long it takes.

The good news is that spiritual strength training won’t cause you to bust a gut or even break a sweat. And, best of all, we’re not in this alone: God, the Creator of the Universe who gave us both the dreams and the gifts and talents needed to accomplish them, is right beside us on the training grounds of life — and He wants to accompany us every single step of the way. In fact, God promises “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” (Hebrews 13:5 NLT)

During strength training it’s vital to have God on hand, because ultimately, He IS the source of our strength. Without God, we’ll mostly grunt and groan and learn what cream puffs we truly are. However, with God, we can boldly proclaim: “God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear….” (Psalm 46:1-2 NLT) We can join the Biblical King David in his triumphant battle cry: “The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1 KJB)

Interestingly the Bible links strength to joy. We dreamers and creators need both! But we need to understand that “joy” is NOT the same thing as being happy. Happiness is generally the result of favorable circumstances, or the positive outcome to a situation. It’s natural to be happy when everybody loves us and things are always going our way.

Happiness is dependent on external events and circumstances. Joy, on the other hand, is not dependent on such things. Joy is internal (and based on our spiritual condition) We can experience genuine joy in spite of our less-than-favorable circumstances — and even when things don’t go our way.

The Biblical leader Nehemiah wrote, “The joy of the LORD is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10 NIV) And yet, when he penned these words, he was under tremendous stress from people who opposed his efforts to fulfill his dream of rebuilding the city walls of Jerusalem. Obviously Nehemiah did allow his circumstances to steal his joy.

Similarly, the Apostle Paul was in a horrible predicament when he wrote, “Always be joyful in the Lord! I’ll say it again: Be joyful!”

Although Paul was chained up in a cold, dark, stinking Roman prison awaiting execution, his spiritual and mental wellbeing were not dependent on his situation in life. “The reason for Paul’s joy was his relationship with Christ,” Dr. David Jeremiah states, in the introduction to his book Turning Towards Joy. “If Paul’s relationship to his master could bring him joy under those conditions, then surely we who also love the Savior can learn to rejoice in our difficult times as well.”

So, when we feel we’re running out of steam (in the pursuit of our dreams and creative endeavors), when we feel like we’re at the end of our rope (from dealing with problems and disappointments), we can still have God’s joy and, therefore, God’s strength. We can rely on His strength to see us through any situation. Indeed, knowing that God is with us, and for us, we can confidently declare with the Apostle Paul, “I have strength for anything through Him who gives me power.” (Philippians 4:13 Weymouth NT)

How strong are you? Paul wrote, “[God] told me, My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness. Once I heard that … I quit focusing on the handicap [or whatever problems we may facing] and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and
with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.”
(2 Corinthians 12:9-10 MSG)

We dreamers and creators can tap into the same strength, joy, confidence, and divine perspective Paul found in Christ. Even if we’re still struggling to reach our goals, we can enjoy perfect peace and spiritual contentment — by committing all our dreams to God in prayer, and trusting Him to bring them to pass.

You can bank on His promises, because “…The people who know their God shall prove themselves strong and shall stand firm and do exploits….” (Daniel 11:32 AMPC)

Be strong in God; be joyful in the knowledge of His grace and goodness. You start by making a choice: having joy, like keeping a good attitude, is a decision. And just like our attitude, joy is linked to our thoughts and words, which in turn affect our actions throughout the day. So when you wake up each morning, regardless of how you feel or what challenges you’ll be facing, choose JOY. Declare with us, “This is the day the Lord has made. We
will rejoice and be glad in it.”
(Psalm 118:24 TLB)

“Be strong and brave. Do the work. Don’t be afraid or discouraged. The Lord God … is with you. He will help you until all the work is finished. He will not leave you.” (1 Chronicles 28:20 ICB)

Next: Dreamers and Creators must possess two vital characteristics!


DO THE RIGHT THING! (Boot Camp for Creators & Dreamers #11.2)


Yesterday: Praising and worshipping God “clears the air” and creates an inviting spiritual atmosphere for the Creator, which brings several benefits including peace, joy and emotional comfort.  

Here are a few more reasons why praising God is the right thing to do.

  • Praise opens the door to blessings: “Blessed are those who dwell in your house, ever singing your praise!” (Psalm 84:4 ESV)
  • Praise reinforces Hope: “I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more.” (Psalm 71:14 ESV) Exactly what we need in order to stay the course!
  • It’s the right thing to do! “…Praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble.” (Daniel 4:37 NIV)

For these reasons, and others, the Apostle Paul admonishes us, “Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.” (Hebrews 13:15 NKJV) But sticking with this important spiritual practice isn’t always easy because, let’s face it, sometimes we just don’t feel like praising God! Actually, when things aren’t exactly going our way, it’s downright HARD! But read Paul’s verse again. Note that he likens the practice to offering a sacrifice.

The word sacrifice means “to surrender” something of value for the sake of “a higher or more pressing claim.” Making a personal sacrifice is never easy, but it IS a choice we must often make. Similarly, committing ourselves to continually praise God — despite our circumstances, and especially when facing problems — is something we must CHOOSE to do.

It’s a real test of our faith to give God our praises, even when we feel as though we’ve stalled in the pursuit of the vision; even when the fulfillment of our hopes and dreams seems light years away (and perhaps impossible to reach) — and even when we feel abandoned, forgotten, and alone.

Job felt this way. He suffered a tremendous loss — everything he loved in life — and yet, in the midst of his pain, grief, and despair, he cried out to his God: “Even if he slays me, I will hope in him.” (Job 13:15 NET Bible) This Biblical icon never stopped trusting and praising God.

“Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; …even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the LORD! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!” (Habakkuk 3:17-18 NLT)

Modern application? Even when we just don’t get it, we still praise Him — every single day, rain or shine. “Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever.” (Psalm 145:2 NIV) Even when things go wrong,
remember: “But as for me, I trust in You, O LORD, I say, ‘You are my God.’
My times are in Your hand”
(Psalm 31:14-15 NASB)

Start implementing the secret weapon of praise. Discipline yourself to worship God throughout the day — everyday! Our declarations of praise and worship are pleasing to God, like a sweet aroma (2 Corinthians 2:14); but we get all the spiritual benefits! To quote Houston pastor and author Joel Osteen, “You can change your world by changing your words… Remember, death and life are in the power of the tongue.