Quality or Quantity–9 Keys to Connecting With Your Teen

Excerpted from the book How to Speak Alien by Michael Ross

1. Trust earns you the right to be heard.
Isn’t “your right” already guaranteed simply because you’re a parent? It should be, but in the real world it isn’t. Your teens are focused on the here and now. They’re probably not thinking about all the sacrifices you’ve made for them through the years or even how much you love them. But they will, almost instantaneously, recall the “injustices” you’ve caused: your “countless” broken promises, the times you blamed them for things they insisted they didn’t do, days when you were “too busy.” While perfect parenthood should never be your goal, it is important to build trust by earning the right to be heard.

2. Your attention builds trust.
Teens know that love shown by parents says, “Your life is important, daughter (or son), and I’m going to give you my time.” Spend time with them, show them you will listen and talk and work things out together. Invade their world … and let them invade yours.

3. Breathing room = trust.
Invading their world should be balanced with plenty of space. Invading their world doesn’t mean you continually nose into their business. Teens need room to grow, to make their own decisions. This is crucial for their development into responsible adults.

4. Watch what you say and how you say it.
The best intentions in the world can backfire if you use the wrong words. Phrases like “You never,” “You always,” “You don’t ever” sound accusing and can cause your teen to become defensive and ultimately to shut down. When you speak, stress your particular wants and feelings by using “I.” For example, saying, “I want” or “I feel” are effective places to begin.

5. Take interest in what your teen has to say.
A few years back, a TV talk show on parent-teen relations confirmed the need for parents to take a stronger interest in their kids. Teen after teen shared stories of heartache about life at home with parents who were out of touch with their kids. As the show ended, the host asked the audience for their comments. A 14-year-old boy stood with his mother and shared these words with a national TV audience: “This is my mom. She knows me.” You can close the gap by taking a genuine interest in your teen and his or her world. Tune into feelings and try to look at events at home or at school from your teen’s point of view, as well as your own. If your teen senses that you don’t really understand or care, he or she will stop listening to you. But when you’re clearly doing your best to understand, the chances are much greater that your teen will tune in to you.

6. Learn to listen.
One of the biggest complaints I’ve heard from teenagers is that their parents just don’t listen. “My parents don’t understand me.” “We can’t seem to communicate.” “Things could be better if they’d just give me a chance – and listen!”

7. Control your anger.
Many parents fail to acknowledge the extent of their anger. What’s more, the parents expect their teenager to exhibit a maturity level that he or she has not yet attained. A father may harshly command his teen, “You will not speak to me that way. That is disrespectful, and I won’t put up with it.” The teen walks away and the father has “won” the argument. Yet the father has exhibited the very behavior that he does not allow his teen to show. Listening is the only constructive way to process anger. As you become a better listener, your teen will begin to feel understood. He or she may not agree with you but will respect you because you have treated him or her as a person. Your teen will be more inclined to follow your leadership.

8. Be flexible.
It’s easy to approach your teens with tunnel vision. You know what you want and that’s all you see. Unfortunately, tunnel vision will make you completely unaware of the needs of your teen. And that’s how many family arguments get started – with people screaming demands at each other, blind to the needs of the others involved.

9. Make “shared meaning” your goal.
If you’re tired of pointless arguments with your teenager that never seem to accomplish anything’except maybe your blood pressure rising and him or her being grounded’try a communication style called shared meaning. The goal of shared meaning is to be heard accurately. And once you’ve had a chance to state your case and listen to your teen’s perspective, the foundation is set for communication’and for a fair solution to what’s bugging you.

Also See:
Raising Great Kids

Parents Guide to Top 10 Dangers Teens Face

More Tools In The Battle: Part 3 of 4: Wash EACH OTHER's Feet?

David S. Mackey

Unless you take the position that washing some other guys’ dirty, stinky feet could be one of the biggest ‘turn-offs’ in history, what could feet possibly have to do with being strong in the battle?

In review, the premise of these articles is that part of winning the Battle is to leave the false intimacy of sexual acting out and pursue the true intimacy of loving God and others with our whole being.

Many tools/facets of True Intimacy with God and others are found in the ‘Each Other’ passages of the New Testament. ‘Each Other’ messages can help us build True Intimacy, with God and others.

Jesus’ primary message was to ‘Love Each Other’ or ‘Love One Another’, in a kingdom way right now. Loving others will be a powerful, maybe THE powerful tool, towards fighting this Battle by building True Intimacy. The ‘Each Other’ passages are actions which are to be actions of love, and actions of love build true intimacy. When True intimacy destroys false intimacy the Battles are WON!!!

SERVING and FEET WASHING

Some church communities actually have foot washing ceremonies as part of their worship activities. Most of the church has taken the more symbolic meaning in John 13 and understood Jesus’ intent as being to serve others. In fact Jesus says that this is why the Son of Man came’ to serve.

In Galatians 5:13 the ”each other’ phrase ‘serve each other’ is found. Peter also tells us to serve in 1 Peter 4:10 and throughout the New Testament the message continues. We are called to serve each other.

Back to John 13 and Jesus example of serving by washing his disciples’ feet we find some significant meaning. History tells us that it was the custom, in the times of Jesus’ walk on earth, for people to have their feet washed when they entered a home. Actually, it would be the house servants who would do the washing. More specifically, among the servants, it would be the servants of the lowest status who would do the washing.

So Jesus was not just saying be just any servant but he even modeled taking the position of the lowest servant when you serve. If you think about it, there was good reason for this task to be delegated to the lowest position. People in that day wore open sandals and walked in pretty dirty conditions. The dust and sand would be bad enough but consider all the animals and their deposits made also in the walking area. So people who come walking in off the street would have REALLY dirty feet.

The message of Jesus and the New Testament is to serve each other even to those with the lowliest possible need.

Could this possibly have anything to do with fighting the Battle? I say absolutely.

As has already been said in this series, taking the focus off ourselves and on to others will give us strength in the Battle. A focus on others needs and moving to serve those needs is an even greater distraction to the temptation all around us and it is a distraction from the temptation within us.

Remember the acronym HALT BS? Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired, Bored or Stressed. While serving others it will be hard to be focused on Anger or Loneliness or being Bored which are 3 common triggers toward acting out.

What about how we feel about ourselves? Hasn’t it been the case that in our acting out we feel pretty lousy about ourselves. Our goal in serving others should not be to make ourselves feel good but the truth is that serving others will make us feel better about ourselves. In Christ, we are ‘new creatures’ we should think and feel good about who we are in Christ. Serving will reinforce that truth. Serving will build us up, it will encourage us. Serving will put us in touch with love’ loving another and being loved. Serving is the ultimate esteem builder.

The kind of service we are called to is part of intimacy. Washing another’s feet seems like a pretty intimate activity. As with Encouragement, it does involve looking more deeply into people and seeing their struggles and needs. Serving puts our focus more often on others, take the focus so perpetually on ourselves and builds up who we are in Christ.

Can you see this as yet another tool in the Battle? What difference would your Battle be if you were focusing on the needs of others? How would you feel about yourself if your focus were on others’ needs and not your own desires.

The Battle needs to be fought on many fronts, using many internal and external tools. Serving others though an external tool will internally change and strengthen your heart giving you strength in the Battle.

Serve Each Other!

For more insight or help on this subject see Every Man\’s Battle.

Think Responsibly!

There once was a TV commercial for a liqueur where the guy is trying to put ice in a glass. He picks one out of the bucket only to have it fall on the floor, a second, a third and finally he just pours the drink into the ice bucket and sticks a straw in it! The best part is the announcer’s voice saying ‘Drink Responsibly.’ Is it just me that sees the irony in that statement? I mean the whole idea of a commercial is to sell the product, right? It’s kind of like the nutritional guidelines being posted at the local fast food joint. Do I really want to know what’s in my cheeseburger? Well yes, as a matter of fact I do, that is if I want to think responsibly.

What am I putting into my body? (A scarier thought: who has prepared it? Eek!) What am I bringing into my house that will be a temptation for me? (Chocolate, soda, etc.) You get the idea.

Exercise is a big area in which we like to be irresponsible. I mean who hasn’t come up with the excuse ‘I don’t have any time to exercise’? There are so many excuses for not being intentional about exercise. Exercise is taking responsibility for your physical health, as far as it depends on you. We can’t always prevent certain diseases and disorders because we live in ‘jars of clay.’ However, we can do the best with what we have and experience the rewards!

Once a man got his truck stuck in the sand. Not on purpose of course, but it happened and he needed help getting unstuck. The tow truck arrived and the man warned the driver of the sand. The driver said with great pride ‘this truck won’t get stuck, it’s got (fill in the largest engine, wheel base, etc.) and there’s no way it’s gonna get stuck!’ So the driver got into the tow truck, drove about 5 yards and yes you guessed it, he got stuck! Well they took the wench 100 or so yards, hooked it to the man’s truck and pulled him out of the sand. Then the man hooked the tow truck up to his truck and pulled the tow truck out of the sand. The tow truck driver said a sheepish thanks and drove off.

Many times we put ourselves into ‘sand’ and pride ourselves on being able to not get stuck. We may even be warned by those who have been stuck.

Thinking responsibly requires wisdom and discernment. Watching where others have been, what led them into the sand trap, and how to avoid getting stuck in the first place. What have you learned about yourself? What are your sand traps? Who do you need to call if you get stuck?

Back to the commercial, nowadays the alcohol commercials also encourage having a designated driver. Again, thinking responsibly requires some planning. If we haven’t planned for exercise, it probably isn’t going to happen. If we haven’t planned to eat healthy, the junk food just jumps into the grocery cart (not really, but it seems that way!).

Begin to think responsibly about your life today! No matter what time of day it is when you are reading this! What is the next right thing for you to do? Maybe you are at work, plan to walk for your lunch hour. If it is late at night, go to bed and get a good nights rest. There are so many areas where we do not want to take responsibility for our lives! This is your life. Are you who you want to be? Think responsibly. your life depends on it!

More Tools In The Battle: Part 1 of 4: Love Each Other

David S. Mackey

In my previous articles, I have written about what I believe is ultimately the key to all healing, the key to becoming all God created us to be. Jesus said the greatest commandments are to love God and others with your whole being, with your heart, soul, mind, and strength. My premise was and is that a large part of the Battle is to leave the false intimacy of sexual acting out and pursue the true intimacy of loving God and others with our whole being.

In the pursuit of True Intimacy, there are many tools God has given us which are useful in this Battle. Most of the ‘tools’ found in Scripture are tools which can help us in all facets of our life, with many different struggles in our life.

In the New Testament, there are found a series of ‘Each Other’ messages which, when practiced move us in the direction of intimacy. These ‘Each Other’ messages can help us build True Intimacy, with God and others.

Remember, 1 John says that we cannot love God without also loving others. Naturally, it is also true, that when we love others we are also loving God. The ‘love’ we are ultimately talking about is that Agape (Greek) love, unconditional love, which includes our whole being.

In this series of four articles we will look briefly at many of these ‘Each Other’ messages. I believe if we put these into practice it will help build toward Truly Intimate relationships. They will enhance our relationship with God and others. In so doing, we will find more victory in the Battle.

In this series of 4 articles we will identify and look at several of the ‘Each Other’ passages with the goal of moving away from false intimacy and moving towards true intimacy with God and each other.

LOVE EACH OTHER

The very first ‘Each Other’ statement covers them all. ‘Love Each Other’ or in some translations, ‘Love One Another’ is found 17 times in the New Testament. Jesus stressed love in many ways throughout his teachings and, of course, even more so in His actions. Peter, John and Paul reinforced this message in their letters to the church. Loving others will be a powerful tool, maybe THE powerful tool, towards fighting this Battle by building True Intimacy.

Love is many faceted. Love is huge. Love is a noun. Love is a verb. Love is an adverb. Love is a feeling. Love is an action. Love is God. Love can’t be exhausted. If God truly is Love then it has the attributes of God. That’s big, Love is huge.

What would our lives look like if they were all about love? How much more would we win the Battle? If we could live a life characterized by love, we could remain in Victory always even in the smallest of Battles.

So loving others and loving God needs to be our goal. The goal of having our life characterized by love. A pretty big undertaking for the biggest of attributes and if it wasn’t for God in our lives it would be impossible. God, however, does desire to be in our lives and he has given us a whole list of actions and attitudes that together will characterize our life in love.

WWJD? Easy answer- ‘love’. It is pretty silly (maybe futile is a better word) to try and figure out what Jesus would do in every specific situation. Especially in this culture, in this post industrialized nation, in this information society which is so different from that of the New Testament times.

We DO know, that in whatever ‘He would do’, it would be done in love. Maybe the bracelet we should wear is not WWJD? but HWJL?. ‘How would Jesus love?’ is probably the question we should be asking. Because loving each other is what we should be about.

I ask again; In your days of acting out, what would have been different if loving each other had been on your mind? What choices would be different if you had been in the habit of thinking ‘How Would Jesus Love?’

How would your relationships be different if right now, this very day you set out to love unconditionally the people God has put in your life? God has put your wife, your children, your mother, your father, your siblings, your work peers, your church friends and many more in your life. How would today be different if you set out to love them?

Imagine how much victory you would have in your battle if loving others were the main goal of your day! LOVE will bring us victory in our battle…guaranteed!

The ‘Each Other’ passages are actions and attitudes of love–and actions of love build true intimacy. When True intimacy destroys false intimacy the Battle is WON!!!

For help with the battle for sexual purity, please see Every Man\’s Battle.

The Choice to Forgive: Healing is a Choice Part 2

Steve Arterburn

Real resentment over real damage by a real person produces a justifiable resentment, and it becomes such a huge part of your life that it feels like a vulture sitting on top of you, a dark and dangerous presence that affects everything that you do.

If the resentment was not justifiable, someone could just talk you out of it. A friend could tell you things he or she has told others who had a bad attitude;

1. Stop being so negative

2. Look at the bright side of things

3. Stop seeing the glass half empty

4. Start thinking more positively

5. Look for the good in people

6. Try accepting people for who they are.

These are the things people say to someone who just needs to make a few changes to make herself more comfortable and enjoy life more.

But none of those things apply to you, because you have something to hang on to. There is a date and a person and a trauma that really happened. It is your Auschwitz, and those who know of your terrible ordeal support your feelings. That is the problem; no one questions your feelings. Everyone feels horrible for you, so it is easy for you to hang on to the resentment. Anyone would, but you can’t.

You can’t, because it is eating you alive. It is your own internal terrorist that is destroying your life, keeping you from living the best life possible. It is hurting your relationship with God and with others. You will be firmly rooted to your past and to your abuse as long as the justifiable resentment grows within you. Everything you do in life will lean up against your grudge. It will come to define who you are and limit what you can become.

Although it might be very difficult to imagine, you really can be free from that justifiable resentment. You can let it go and experience the healing power of forgiveness. You can choose to heal a very troubled area of your soul by choosing to walk through a path of forgiveness. And if you take this path, something very amazing is going to happen to you one day.

One day you are going to awaken and realize that everything in your life has changed. You will sense that you are no longer rooted in your past. You will realize that what once defined your life and your inner thoughts is no longer relevant to how you live your life. You won’t forget what happened, but you will be aware of something with the magnitude of a fly you just swoosh away. That little fly is nothing compared to the vulture that now sits atop your head, talons deeply implanted in your heart. One day you will awaken and that vulture will no longer be there, and you will be free!

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. If you’re carrying justifiable resentment, we’d like to help. Please join us at our next New Life Weekend.

How to C.A.L.M. Your Anger

Jonathan Daugherty

Anger is a huge underlying issue for men struggling with sexually addictive behaviors. But most men don’t recognize it as a problem because they have learned that anger is the “acceptable” emotion for a man to express. Therefore, even as acting out behaviors might decrease in recovery, the bedrock of anger remains.

In order to resolve anger well you must know where it originates.

For most sex addicts the anger that eventually expresses itself in adulthood is often a compilation of numerous “little” disappointments along life’s journey. Most of these disappointments occurred in childhood, and not many of us had the emotional maturity to respond well to such feelings. Therefore, adulthood expressions of anger are constructed through years of mismanaged disappointment. I don’t blame men for not handling their disappointments well in childhood. Most of us were never taught how to manage feelings of disappointment.

These disappointments range in “size” from smaller ones such as Mom forgetting to give you a promised ice cream cone, to larger ones like Dad telling you he is ashamed of you and wished you had never been born.

Whatever the disappointment, when it goes unresolved it adds a thin layer, or film, of pain over the heart. Over time, and as more and more layers of pain are added, your heart grows heavier and harder. Eventually, you end up a grown man with a heart like stone. And anyone or anything that attempts to penetrate its exterior is met with harsh, cold anger.

What is most interesting about this type of anger is that it may appear like you are strong and tough. In reality, however, you are very insecure and afraid. But you have learned to use anger to “scare off” everyone so you don’t have to peer into the cold darkness of your own heart. But if freedom, peace, and purity are to ever be enjoyed, you must break through your frozen heart.

If you can relate to a life of mismanaged disappointment that has turned into anger that puzzles you, there is hope to be free. It isn’t an easy path to peace and security, but a life of joy and contentment is possible. The following are four steps that will help you overcome your anger and become a CALM man of peace, joy, and contentment.

C.A.L.M.

1. Confirm the true object of your anger.

Most of the stuff that gets us mad isn’t what we are really mad about. Those are just the ‘triggers’ that set in motion the wheels of angry behavior. We might falsely accuse our wives or some out-of-control motorist for our anger when, in fact, it often goes much deeper than those external circumstances. This is why it is important to identify what has truly ignited this flame of anger. Until you get to the root you can’t kill the tree.

For example, let’s say your wife comes to you and says, ‘Honey, I’ve noticed you have been distant from me and the kids this week. Is everything ok with purity?’ Such a question might stir some feelings of anger and you might fire back in a defensive manner. You may falsely assume that your wife is the object of your anger. Nope. You are. She simply pressed a button that hit a nerve and you launched the retaliation missile.

Most of the time (if you are honest with yourself) you will find that the true object of your anger is yourself or some origin of disappointment in your past. The bad news about such self-directed anger is that it can create numerous unhealthy thoughts of shame that eat you up from the inside out. The good news about this, however, is that if you are the object of most of your anger, you can do something about the object!

2. Address the “nerve” of disappointment this trigger presses on.

Once you confirm the object of your anger (usually yourself or a wound from your past) it then becomes important to address whatever ‘nerve’ of disappointment the triggers are pressing on. For instance, in the example above your wife’s comment might have pressed on long held feelings of inadequacy that began in childhood from never being able to measure up to Dad’s impossible standards. Or maybe the trigger pressed on the nerve of an overbearing mother who never let you take risks and was always in your face about something.

The real healing from anger begins when we get to the emotional ‘nerves’ in our heart. These are the points at which most of our anger was born. As you learn what these nerves are you are better prepared for addressing them with the healing power of the truth.

3. Look to God’s promises for the specific need you have for security.

God’s Word is truth (John 17:17). And it is the truth that ultimately sets us free (John 8:32). To address the nerves of disappointment that trigger our anger we must bring the Word of God to bear upon them. We touch the layers of pain encasing our hearts with the truth and, over time, we are healed from years of anger and bitterness.

Here is how this works. You get to the nerve of disappointment. Let’s say it is never measuring up to Dad’s strict standards. Then you search God’s Word for the truth about your security in Him. And you find amazing passages like John 10:28-29 and Hebrews 6:16-20. As you implant these truths in your mind they begin to melt your heart of stone and replace it with a heart of flesh, soft and pliable in the hands of God.

4. Meet with others to grow in connectedness.

Anger ultimately isolates us from relationships. We grow distant and cold toward those who love us. When we combat the pattern of anger with the truth we must complete the transformation by connecting with others. To truly break the bonds of anger requires relationship. And in relationship we have the ideal ‘practice field’ for engaging in new responses based on truth rather than the old method of lashing out in anger.

To continue in anger causes us to live lonely, isolated lives filled with pain and dissatisfaction. To address our anger and move toward honesty and relationship creates a new foundation for long-term peace, purity, and deep satisfaction.

So, be CALM!

See also:  Every Man\’s Battle.

What Are You Afraid Of?

Things that go bump in the night, an overbearing boss, or anxiety filled days–all of these and more affect the way we think and act. Sometimes we are frozen in our fears and don’t realize it. Fear is something we live with unknowingly, yet it can be a motivator in our relationships, work, and our life with Christ.

Fear and anxiety can lock us into beliefs that support our fears and anxiety. Codependent relationships, dead end jobs, and destructive habits all participate in the cycle of fear and anxiety. Are you recognizing fear and anxiety that is present in your life? What can you do?

Here are 7 ways to begin addressing the fear and anxiety in your life:

1. Eat well balanced, nutritious meals. Eliminate harmful substances.

2. Learn mind body techniques to help relax and reduce stress response.

3. Get enough sleep, rest, and relaxation.

4. Develop a relationship with God. Practice prayer and Christian meditation.

5. Exercise regularly. At least 30-45 minutes of exercise a day.

6. Counteract negative self talk and mistaken beliefs with positive reality and God’s Word.

7. Connect with other people in meaningful relationships, sharing life, love, laughter and serving one another.

Begin addressing your fear today by asking God to help you! Surrender your fear and anxiety to him, begin one of the steps above, and do not let fear or anxiety take one more day of your life!

Need some help? Join us at our next Healing is a Choice Workshop.

Head-On Collision: 3 Myths That Will Run You Ragged

Excerpted from “Living Peacefully in a Stressful World” by Ron Hutchcraft

1. The Indispensability Myth. “They just can’t get along without me.” We become possessed by the belief that it won’t get done – or done right – if we don’t do it.
If what we do at our houses leaves no regular time to regroup, it probably doesn’t all need to be done. In fact, some family members might do some important growing if we left some of it for them to do. If our work has taken control of our life, it may be because we think we are more important than we actually are. If rest and recovery are ever going to be a quiet center, we first have to step back and see ourselves realistically. It’s better for jobs to be undone than for us to be undone.

2. The “You-Are-What-You-Do” Myth. It begins at a very tender age. Someone asks a little boy, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” We don’t look for an answer like, “I want to be sensitive and helpful and friendly.” He is supposed to say, “I want to he a doctor … a lawyer . . . a farmer.” We have misled him already. He thinks that what you do is who you are. When those little people grow up, they tend to make their work their highest priority. After all, if I am not my occupation, then who am I? The you-are-what-you-do runner will reach the end of the race alone and unfulfilled. He never had time just to be. Without any time for rest and recovery, he has lost large chunks of his humanness.

3. The Dedication Myth. This myth equates nights out with commitment. A committed Christ-follower steps up to serve in the Lord’s work; he or she is commended for fifteen nights in a row at the church and his or her overloaded schedule. If the spiritual leaders really understood dedication, they’d send this person back home a few of those nights.

People must learn to rest, not just to serve. If they can learn balance, they will be serving for many years. If they don’t take regular time-outs, they will play a glorious first quarter, collapse, and hate the game for the rest of their lives. It seems that if the devil can’t make us under-commit, he’ll make us over-commit.

God’s own people, the Jews, crashed in ancient time because they refused to rest. The Sabbath principle they ignored covered not only the landowner, but his land as well: For six years you are to sow your field and harvest the crops, but during the seventh year let the land be unplowed and unused (Exodus 23:10-11). Like many of us, those Old Testament Jews just couldn’t slow down. God looked ahead to a time when they would not protect that quiet center of rest and recovery: For 490 years, the Jews did not rest the land, for a total of seventy Sabbath years. The Babylonian Empire carried them into captivity and left the land resting for seventy years.

We are built for regular Sabbaths – times of rest and recovery. If we continue to violate our limits, God will give His Sabbath whether that rest comes through an accident, an injury, an illness, or a closed door. He would much rather we choose to rest as a deliberate choice.

Move It and Lose It!

You’ve heard the saying, ‘Move it or Lose it!’ We’d like to alter it a bit to, ‘Move it and lose it.’ That’s right. The more you move it, the more you’ll lose it- or at least keep from going in the opposite direction! Even though exercise will not turn you into Twiggy (for those of you too young remember, she was a very skinny model from the 1960′s), it is responsible for keeping most of us from gaining weight.

Members of the National Weight Control Registry report that exercise plays a role in keeping their weight off as well. Most reported exercising about an hour a day.

Okay, so an hour a day sounds like torture to some of you. Not to worry! We are convinced that there is at least one activity you can really enjoy. There isn’t a requirement to exercise for sixty minutes straight either. So take a deep breath and relax! Exercise can work for you!

To begin, let’s look at the RISE formula and apply it to exercise.

Reduce: your negativity and lackadaisical attitude toward exercise.

Increase: your physical activity, water consumption, commitment to exercise, and accountability.

Substitute: the right attitude ‘ a cheerful one ‘ if need be, and also the right workout apparel for the wrong workout clothes.
Eliminate: all excuses for not exercising!

Exercising isn’t optional in weight loss! There are so many benefits when it comes to exercise.

Here are six of the best reasons:

1. Exercise helps reduce hidden belly fat, lowering the risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and some types of cancer.

2. Exercise prevents muscle form wasting and helps to lose fat.

3. Exercise helps the brain deal with stress more effectively.

4. Moderate cardiovascular exercise such as thirty minutes of brisk walking a few times a week can improve your memory.

5. Exercise helps to manage hunger. Research shows that exercising increases control over hunger and food intake. In fact, the physically fit person is often not hungry until several hours after exercise.

6. Exercise improves your immune system.

We can’t stress this point enough: When it comes to making exercise a habit, attitude is more than half the battle! Whatever reasons you have used for avoiding exercise in the past- it’s unpleasant, too painful, inconvenient, frustrating, or too time consuming ‘ the reality is that exercise is necessary if you are serious about being healthy. Regardless of your past experiences, regular physical activity is essential for weight control and developing a healthy lifestyle.

Battle Strategies for Real Soldiers: Why Accountability Is Important

Dante Poole MA, NCC

“Without wavering, let us hold tightly to the hope we say we have, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Think of ways to encourage one another to outbursts of love and good deeds. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage and warn each other, especially now that the day of his coming back again is drawing near.” Hebrews 10:23-25 (NLT)

Accountability. It’s one of the words that bring the same reaction as cod liver oil or enema. You know it’s good for you but it doesn’t feel good. For most men isolation is comfortable and hiding is convenient. We are so use to living in isolation and so use to hiding that the thought of letting others into our sick world causes an adverse reaction. It’s as if we were allergic to being vulnerable, having real connection and living honestly.

When we are driven by fear of exposure, we continue to assume the posture and attitude of Adam that began in the Garden of Eden’hiding and ashamed. All the while God is calling for us. Adam where are you? Why are you hiding? Because God knows the true condition of our hearts He calls us back to Himself through meaningful relationships with other believers. It is through these godly relationships that we begin to experience the love of our Heavenly Father.

God understands the importance of connection. The power and source of sustained victory lies in our willingness to connect with others in the realm of truth. Without this connection our faith in achieving long lasting victory looses its grip and we are left adrift clinging to our old sinful ways of coping with ourselves. It is a dangerous and miserable state to be left to ourselves. A reprobate mind is how the bible describes this state. After many attempts to convince us to do it His way, God allows us to experience life on our own self seeking terms. What a mess we are in when we get everything we desire!

We must make a choice to live life on God’s terms as a soldier or on our own terms as a victim. Being a soldier is much more desirable than playing the victim. There is the potential for spoils, honor, and strength for soldiers. Victims always get the short end of the stick. Playing the victim also means others become our victims and eventually casualties of war.

“One who isolates himself pursues [selfish] desires; he rebels against all sound judgment.” Proverbs 18:1 (HCSB)

A rebel dressed up in victims clothing!

Whenever we choose not to connect with others we rebel against the mandate of community. Once a choice has been made to engage in the Battle for purity as a soldier certain strategies must be utilized as a necessity for survival. One such strategy is accountability. Success in the battle requires, no demands, community. We must choose to fight and fight together!

If this battle were just about managing our sexuality then we would have found a quick easy solution by now. But there is something much more. Much greater than staying away from lustful pleasures of the flesh. There is something about this battle that calls to a place deep within us. At the very core of our being there is a desperate longing to be a man. Ever noticed how men are drawn to movies and activities that involve danger, a damsel in distress and victory to the underdog!

In every man there is a desire to shed his thin skinned boyhood in exchange for thick, leathery manhood; Unashamed and unafraid. Commingled with this desire is a plea to be in the company of other men engaged in the battle. This company provides a place for three things:

A. The challenge to become extraordinary

B. The opportunity to help create change

C. The freedom to develop real connections

This is real accountability. Not some watch dog sent to protect me from myself, but a ‘band of brothers’ who offer refuge, responsibility and respect. It is within the safety of this network that divine surgery takes place transforming wounds into testimonial weaponry.

Joshua said ‘choose you this day whom you will serve’ (Joshua 24:15). I echo his challenge to you. Choose. Either become a soldier and join an army ready to fight or die as an isolated victim. Join a band of men, soldiers even, and learn the art of war. Let them hold you responsible for carrying your load. Let them help you when the load is difficult to bear. Learn to fight in unity with others to keep from dying in isolation.

Live on fellow soldiers’live on!

For help in the battle for integrity see Every Man\’s Battle.

Tour Israel with Steve Arterburn and New Life Ministries