Oct 27

Where do you go when all hope has been taken away? Can you still put on a smile, quote your favorite positive saying and look on the bright side of things? That’s what some say to do and if it only has to do with some negative events or a little stress or pressure in your life, then sure we can all suck it up and move on. But what about that gut punch that drops you to your knees mentally and emotionally what do you do then?

I remember what it felt like when they told me my wife had breast cancer at 32 years old and we had two small children at home under the age of four. And that was just me; what about my wife who had to hear those words? What do you do? Where do you go when all hope seems to be taken away?

It’s easy to say, “Change your thinking, be positive, tomorrow’s a new day” if you’ve never been there, but when you face that dark night of the soul that looks like a bottomless pit, then all that exhortation and happy talk is meaningless. So what do you do then? If you’ve never been there you will not know what I’m talking about, but hopefully you’ll keep reading and learn something so when that day does come you’ll be prepared. If you’ve been there like me, I’m sure you are ready to hear more.

Being a Christian doesn’t make me immune from the troubles of life. Sickness, death and grief will cross all of our paths at some point. But as a Christian I’m very interested in how God helps us in these situations. I look for real examples not pat answers and religious clichés, I don’t have time all the God-in-a box formulas everyone preaches today. I want real answers for real life, so I look to see what I can find.

In Acts 27 the Apostle Paul was being taken from Jerusalem to Rome as a prisoner which meant they had to sail the Mediterranean Sea. It’s in this record that I found what happens when all hope is taken away-you should read it some time to see the whole incident.

As they started to sail Paul warned them of trouble, but they refused to listen to him. After several hard days of sailing for lack of wind and a few stops they decided to push on because the wind seemed favorable. But as soon as they were out to sea they were caught up in a Hurricane.

At first they tried to ride it out or make their way to the edge, but had no luck. Then they started throwing everything overboard to lighten the load. They even used chains to tie the ship together from side to side so it wouldn’t break apart. But no matter what they did, they couldn’t break loose and were being carried along with the storm. Then comes that soul shaking verse…

“And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was then taken away.”

Do you see what is going on here? They had done it all, said it all, tried it all and nothing worked-it just kept getting worse. Then they reached that moment, that bottom of the pit when all hope was taken away. No affirmations are going to help here. These were Roman soldiers and seasoned sailors, they weren’t weak men and yet the verse records their state of mind-all hope that we should be saved was then taken away.

What do all the “Do-it-Yourselfers” do now?

Well, the record in Acts tells us what to do. Immediately after showing us that “all hope was taken away”, Paul steps up on the deck of the ship and tells every one to cheer up, that God has shown him that they are all going to be saved and only the ship will be lost.

Now I want you to understand two things here. First of all, when Paul said this, the clouds didn’t part, the sun didn’t come out and birds didn’t start signing. In fact they continued in this storm for a total of fourteen days, so nothing on the surface changed-except HOPE.

And that’s the second thing to see here. When all hope was lost and man could do nothing on his own, God sent hope because He is the God of Hope.

So what do you do when all hope has been taken away, you look to the God of Hope. The situation may not clear up instantly, but as long as there is hope, there is a way out.

Sep 15

With the loss of work and the market dropping so low last year that it will take years for people to recover if they ever can, with all this many people have lost their dreams. They look at the uncertainty of the future of this country and the world and think “What’s the use?”

This is understandable, but don’t accept this for YOUR life.

It’s one thing to be discouraged, disappointed, set-back or even fall flat on your face but that should never rob you of the ability to dream. Yes your dreams may need adjustments, but dreams are hopes and life without hope is a life slipping away. Never allow anyone one or anything to steal your desire to dream.

Once I dreamed of playing football on a big stage, I was fortunate enough to do that. But does that mean my dreaming about football is over? Some young men dream of playing college or professional football and they fall short, do they have to give up on any other dreams about football? NO! It’s the ability to dream that keeps life fresh, not just THE DREAM.

I shifted my dreams of football to helping other young men, including my two sons, to play at the college level. After that first year of coaching High School football, we sent someone on to the next level every year for the next fifteen years, sometimes two or three in the same year and that is from a school of only 800 total students!

Dreams are fluid and should be altered as we move on in life just like sailing–when the wind changes you shift the sail so you can reach your final destination. In fact, if you use that sailing example, some of the best destinations sailors have found were a result of being blown off course and ending up somewhere unexpectedly.

But when you have lost the heart to dream, and even worse when you feel like you no longer have the right to dream—this is a serious problem. Life thrives on dreams; it is the essence of life to have something to move toward with joy and excitement. Without it we become soul-less people, empty shells just putting in our time until it ends.

Don’t allow this to happen to you. Find out why you have lost hope and stopped dreaming. Get rid of any self-doubt and self-limiting beliefs and expand your life once again. I’ve done a short video for you at http://www.DukeClarke.com/coaching_10.html to talk to you about how to dream again so check it out.

Have hope, have dreams and live your life to the fullest.

Duke Clarke

P.S.- If you really want to learn to dream again go to http://www.DukeClarke.com/coaching_10.html

Mar 10

Today I want to talk about the Crossroads and
Transitions men face.

This is the next area of life where we have to Man-Up,
where we as men need to draw on our strength and
courage to move ahead. Too many men stand at the
crossroads thinking about what they could have done,
should have done, might have done. They stand there
at the crossroads, especially as they get older,
wondering if they can make the transition. They wonder
if they do try something new, will they have to become
someone or something new. Do they have what it takes
to make it?

Fear of failure and fear of rejection both collide here
and it can be a major train wreck if you allow it to
happen. Will you stand at the crossroads crying the
victim’s sad song or will you face whatever it is and
move on?

King David was a man’s man, but in I Samuel 30 there is
a record of David leading his men into battle and when
they returned to their home at Ziklag they found that
it had been raided and all the men’s families taken
captive. Now here is a crossroads!

Do you fall to your knees and wonder why God forsook
you, like so many over the years have done? Or do you
take the responsibility to realize there is nothing you
can do about the past and go to God to see about your
future? That’s what David did even as his own men were
ready to stone him for taking them into battle and
leaving their families behind.

David went to God and asked if he could go after the
raiders and if so, would they get their families back.
Now, stop and think about this!

First of all, it took a lot of guts for David to go
to God and ask this because what if God had said,
“Forget it, it will not work”? Would you want to be
David and come back and tell the men who were already
about to stone you that you were not even going to try
to get the families back?

But King David put himself on the line. That’s what
it means to Man-up. Are you willing to put yourself
and all you believe in on the line? Are you willing
to take the responsibility to face failure and rejection
on the chance that you might succeed?

Thankfully God told David to go after them and that
he would get everything back. But that didn’t just
happen automatically, David still had to do it, he
still had to gather the men behind him, he still had
to pursue and fight the battle to get everything
back-and he did.

When you are faced with a serious crossroad in your
life what are you going to do?

As I see it you have three choices.
1. Freeze and do nothing locked in doubt, fear
and regret about the past
2. Back away from it and admit defeat before you’ve
even begun
3. Man-up and move ahead in spite of the chance of
failure or rejection

Only number three brings victory in your life, so what
are you going to do?

Have a great day,
Duke

PS – If you want help in these areas of life I am here
to coach you NOT to tell you what to do, but to help you
take the right steps for your situation.
Go to http://www.GodWantsYoutoProsperFamily.com
and join today. You can see the resources there and
Monday through Friday I send you coahcing emails. So
check it out.

Mar 04

In our last post I asked the questions “Where is the heart and soul of a man like Joshua who had to step into the shoes of Moses-the man who had done it all?

Where is the heart of a man like Caleb who along with Joshua stood up against all of Israel and declared that with God they could face all odds and defeat anyone who came up against them?”

First let’s realize that there was only one Moses, one Joshua, one Caleb and so on. It’s not about us trying to be courageous like these men by doing what they did. But we can have that same heart and desire to rise to the occasion, but the obvious question is how?

How did Caleb reach the point where he said “I will face all odds regardless of the size of my enemy”? How did Sampson have the strength to say, “Dear God, just give me one more chance to destroy my enemy”? How did Job gather the strength to say, “No matter what has happened, I will not reject my God”?

Who has seen this kind of strength in the heart of man today? And more importantly, how do we get it for ourselves?

I believe that one of the first barriers that keep us from having this kind of heart is how we as men deal with wounds. We are taught that “pain don’t hurt”, which means to just suck it up and keep going.

Men cheered when the old Scottish Highlander in the movie Braveheart took a swig of whiskey and gave out a yell as his son cut an arrow out of his chest. And then we laughed when the old man punched his for cutting it out (If you are a woman reading this I know this makes no sense, but just ask a man and he’ll tell you).

Men look at this “tough-it-out” mentality as strength and courage, but what we have to realize is that most of the wounds we are carrying around trying to “tough-out” will never heal. No matter how long we stay strong these wounds never heal and that makes us weak, just like a broken leg that never heals properly. We are used to getting hurt and getting up, so that is what we do, but even though we are moving ahead we start to limp from wounds that we have never allowed to heal.

Another scene from a movie that carries this same mentality is “300” the movie about the Spartans and the battle at Thermopolis. In one scene the hero has a shield full of arrows and he simply took his spear and knocked off the shafts leaving the arrow heads buried in the shield and once again it all made sense to us men because that’s what we do.

As men we have been taught to ignore the wounds-that’s how we define strength and courage. But then what happens when that unhealed wound is poked by someone? We have the same reaction as if someone deliberately punched an injured area of our body, we get mad, frustrated, angry or just withdraw deeper into ourselves. If there was an open wound this would make sense but because it is not visible no one understands this kind of reaction.

We need to recognize a another side of strength and courage and that is to recognize the wound, admit it’s there and get it taken care of.
Another one of man’s greatest fears is not measuring up, not meeting the mark or being able to stand up to the challenge and this is compounded when those close to him don’t believe in him or doubt him.

I was an average football player from the third grade until I was a junior in High School. I had a very critical and negative relationship with my father and there was no other man in my life that encouraged or believed in me. Then just before my senior year a football coach at our school believed in me and got me to believe in myself. In that one year, my last year of playing in High School, I went from a nobody to an All-State Offensive Center and on to play in college at East Carolina University.

It has taken me years to get over the wounds I received as a kid, I first had to find that strength and courage to admit they were there and then get rid of them. But here is at least one example of someone believing in a young man and, at least for a time, he is able to rise to great heights. If this can be done while still carrying all the unhealed wounds, just think what can be done when those wounds have been healed.

Next time we will look at the crossroads and transition…

Have a great day,
Duke Clarke

Mar 02

I am going to continue today with the general theme of how a man can finally find happiness. It has to start with courage and strength, but it’s a very different view about these two elements of life than most men think.

For most men courage and strength has to do with their testosterone. It’s about how dominating you can be, how bold you can be, how long you can tough it out or get in someone’s face. All of that may work on the street or in gangs or maybe in the business world, but I’m talking about something much deeper and much more productive.

I don’t know how far we will get this morning but concerning courage and strength I’m going to talk about:

– How you handle attacks and wounds in life

– How you deal with crossroads and transitions

– How you Man-up to be yourself

– How you bear up under pressure

– How to weather the storms of hell with the heart of a new dawn

I read recently that for most men their number one fear is fear of failure. This is not something you can ignore or talk yourself out of, so I want to show you how to put on courage and strength and put off fear of failure forever.

I read an interesting record once about Elk, those elusive, majestic, massive animals of the west. The article said that at one time these beasts roamed to open plains of the west in massive herds, but because man evaded their area and hunted them down, the Elk retreated to the highlands, to the deep forest, going higher and higher to get away from the relentless pursuit of man.

Today the Elk is one of the most evasive, elusive animals of the wild. How did they go from being free to roam the plains in abundance to being withdrawn and reclusive? It was their only defense against the slings and arrows of mankind. Every attack, every wound drove them deeper and deeper into the wilderness.

How many men are exactly like the Elk? Yes a man’s body may be present but his soul has been driven deeper and deeper into a wilderness that no man, woman or friend can find. The attacks and wounds that he has exposed himself to in the name of success or even the avoidance of failure have taught him that if he wants to survive, he needs to hid. Yes he is exposed on the surface, but his soul is as elusive as the mighty Elk.

Wives and girlfriends reach out to him, but they can’t find the real man. They get mad at him for being elusive, they get tired of him being withdrawn, they give up on him for not opening up to them. But what they don’t see is that this is how he has learned to survive. He has learned that to expose himself is to die, maybe not at the moment but little by little more of his soul is taken and he dies. So when those close to him call him out, he does the only thing he knows to do for safety—run to higher ground.

Where is the courage and strength of the Christian man today? He goes to church, sits in the same seat, at the same church, on the same hour each week. He picks up his heart at the door as he enters and leaves it with the ushers as he leaves.

Where is the heart and soul of a man like Noah who alone stood against the world while he was mocked, ridiculed and rejected but still trusted God and when the rains came he lived?

Where is the heart and soul of a man like Joshua who had to step into the shoes of Moses, the man who had done it all?

Where is the heart of a man like Caleb who along with Joshua stood up against all of Israel and declared that with God they could face all odds and defeat anyone who came up against them?

How did these men have the courage and strength to do what they did? Tomorrow we will find out more…

Have a great day,

Duke Clarke

Feb 28

Yesterday we ended with the question “Why won’t men admit they are not happy and do something about it?”

Again this may sound like a strange question, but it is true for men and women. First you need to understand the difference between pleasure and happiness. A lot of men and women seek pleasure from many different areas, but they still are not happy. Pleasure is temporary; happiness is at a deeper level.

They are not happy no matter how much pleasure they seek, but they will not take the responsibility to ask why they are not happy or take the time do something about it. They would rather put the happiness of others before their own, or they try to soothe their unhappiness with distractions or substances or in the worst case scenario they try to get rid of their pain of being unhappy by taking it out on others.

For the most part men don’t stop and ask about happiness because they are not supposed to show their feelings—men are hard. Now please understand that I’m not talking about whining here, complaining or self-pity. I’m talking about burying disappointment, mistakes, failures. I’m talking about those who don’t give themselves permission to think they could or should be happy because they have spent their entire lives living up to the expectations of others and they don’t see any way out.

I’ve even heard preachers preach that you don’t need happiness because you’ve got joy—happiness is temporal, but joy is eternal. That never made any sense to me. It’s like the old concept of the Southern Spiritual Hymns where they sang about how this life sucks but in heaven they would be happy. Most people don’t realize these were songs written and born out of Southern slavery where they had no option but to look to the after-life since there was no hope here on earth.

Yet God uses the word “blessed” in the scriptures which means “very happy”. But here is the key, don’t wait for someone or something to make you happy, man-up and take responsibility for your own happiness.

Don’t wait for your wife to make you happy.

Don’t wait for your job or career to make you happy.

Don’t even wait for God to make you happy. Yes you heard me right. It’s not God’s job to cheer us up or give us a sweet life so we are happy.

God has already given us all we need to be happy but WE must understand first that we have the right to be happy, secondly understand what God has given us and lastly take the responsibility to steward what we have both physically and spiritually so we can be happy.

As men we have a phenomenal responsibility to uphold. We have people directly or indirectly depending on us all the time to lead them, provide and protect them (I’m not overlooking single moms who are under just as much pressure but this article is about men). So most men don’t think they have the time or luxury of thinking about whether they are happy or not. And yet how can I fully help others if I am not whole myself?

In the New Testament and the Old Testament God tells us to take head unto ourselves so we can then help others. During this series I’m going to be talking about how we take those steps which make us whole so we can bring happiness to ourselves and to others.

Have a great day,

Duke Clarke

Feb 26

This series is something I’d like to dedicate to men BUT I would also really encourage the women readers to check it out as well because you will learn a lot about us as men.

If you have read my emails for any length of time you will know that I blend spiritual concepts with real life issues because I believe that we are all one being and it makes no sense to me to separate the two.

This first lesson is about “Responsibility” but it’s not the same old “suck it up and take it like a man” advise so give me a few minutes to tell you what I mean.

When my oldest son turned 18 I wrote out Rudyard Kipling’s poem “If” and read it to him as our family gathered around to celebrate. In case you’ve never heard it, let me share it here:

“If you can keep your head when all about you

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

Or, being lied about, but not deal in lies,

Or, being hated and not give way to hating,

And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;

If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;

If you can meet with triumph and disaster

And treat those two imposters just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken

Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,

And stoop and build ‘em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings

And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

And lose, and start again at your beginnings

And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

To serve your turn long after they are gone,

And so hold on when there is nothing in you

Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,

Or walk with kings – and not lose the common touch;

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;

If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run –

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,

And – which is more – you’ll be a Man my son!”

A man, a real man has to take responsibility for how he acts and reacts to the world around him and it starts with taking responsibility for himself and not blaming others or anything else.

Now this really isn’t new, we are taught this almost from birth, but I want to talk about taking responsibility for one of the biggest silent killers of too many men. Something that a lot of really good men don’t take responsibility for and it eats away at them silently killing them day by day.

Now when I tell you about it you may think I’m nuts, but I’m serious.

It’s taking responsibility for your own happiness.

Now there may be women reading this that say “That’s ridiculous! All men do is think about their own happiness”. And that is true for some, but that’s not who I’m talking to. I’m talking to the men who have been taught from birth that being unhappy was a sign of weakness; that happiness was for women and children and men are just supposed to suck it up and move on; rub some dirt in on it and keep playing (if you women don’t get that last reference ask a man, he’ll tell you—it’s a sport analogy).

So what do men do? They put on a face, shove the hurt or pain down and keep moving. They deceive themselves into thinking that the next job, the next salary, the next raise, the next relationship, the next vacation, the next…will make up for it all. But the next…never comes as long as they wait for someone or something else to bring it.

Man is a solution, problem solving creature and because he is not happy or content with himself he looks for other ways to measure happiness and relieve the emptiness.

His happy list contains: athletic accomplishments, sexual conquests, financial success, social recognition, new relationships, new careers, new toys. Or he may take the more damaging path of alcohol, drugs, controlling others, fighting with others and doing other destructive activities to make others feel his emptiness and pain.

Why won’t men admit they are not happy and do something about it?

Well, let’s take some time to look at that one tomorrow…

Duke Clarke

Jan 30

Recently I read in “Psychology Today” that in the year 2000 there were 50 books written about happiness. Now during the year of 2008, Barnes and Noble reported that 4000 books have been published on happiness. So what is going on? The years from 2000 to early 2008 were the boom years, the “Roaring 2000’s” as they say, so why is everyone writing about happiness? Doesn’t prosperity and abundance make you happy?

 

I can’t explain what is going on with everyone, but it certainly proves that it’s not just prosperity that makes someone happy. So let me take you to another level that is even more important on this issue and I am going to use an incident with my daughter and my wife to explain.

 

This past year was a difficult one for our family because our two dogs, who have been with us for over 10 years, both had to be put down. Our first one was a beautiful female Bernese Mountain dog named Kita. Our second dog was a 180 lbs male Newfoundland named Mac, a knucklehead in every sense of the word but dearly beloved by us all especially my daughter.

 

Newfoundlands are big dogs and loved to be hugged, kissed and even at 180 pounds will try to sit in your lap if you let them. At his age he was suffering and we were advised to let him go, so we did.

 

Recently my daughter was asked if she wanted a friend to come over with their dog. We are a dog family and love dogs so I was surprised when she said she just couldn’t do it. Then it came out that she still so grieved over Mac that right now she didn’t even want to think about dogs.

 

Some might say, “The best way to get over it is just go find another dog, just forget it and be happy”. And that is what a lot of people have tried to do with many areas of life today whether it was about a dog or not. But there is another element to this that many don’t understand. You see I really don’t have the right to tell my daughter how to feel, or to “just be happy”.

 

I first learned this from my wife many years ago after she had breast cancer and I just wanted her to heal up and be happy again. Losing a breast didn’t make her any less beautiful or wonderful in my eyes, I just wanted her happy. She told me that while she was thankful for my love there was still some pain in her heart that she needed to deal with on her terms, just like my daughter and her beloved Mac.

 

God explains this very clearly in Proverbs 14:10a “The heart knoweth his own bitterness;…”  You see only the heart of a person can really know how they feel and what they need to do about it. So it’s not my place to say, “just be happy”. There is a way to get over that bitterness, to let it go, to release it for good and move on and God has given us the ability to do so once we learn how, but only that person can do it and only when they are ready.

 

So even though I want my family to always be happy, I should never make light of their pain or grief, but just let them know that I love them and that when they are ready to let it go, I’ll be there to help them.

Have a great day,
Duke 

 

 

Jan 23

The Final Chapter

Maybe some of you are happy to read those words “Final Chapter” and others are thinking they want more…I don’t know which it might be for you, but for me it’s an interesting place to be, because now I have to come up with some kind of brilliant closing statement. I will apologize up front for this being a little longer, but I wanted to get it finished today, so bear with me.

Well, I don’t know that it will be a brilliant close or life-changing conclusion for you, but it has brought to light something interesting for me personally.

So what I’m going to do, as I write this in the early dawn of the Arizona morning before the sun has even hinted of rising over the Catalina Mountains, is explain two things: My personal thoughts, beliefs and actions on this topic and what I believe is sound doctrine and truth on the subject.

Let’s start with me and get that out of the way. My first statement may shock you—are you ready? I hate religion!

Everyone wants to blame God, for what “Religion” has produced over the ages. As I wrote earlier, I studied the writing of the founding Fathers of America while living in Williamsburg, VA. Today everyone screams “separation of Church and State” but when they say “Church” they are thinking “God”. The founding Father never wanted God out of the picture; they want a country set up where no “Church” or “Religion” ran the government like it did in Europe.

Each religion paints a different picture of God. Even within the Protestants each sub-group paints a different picture of God—how can that be?!?

Religion in the Gospels became so important that when Christ healed someone, rather than rejoice they wanted to cover it up. When Lazarus was raised from the dead rather than rejoice, they wanted to kill Christ. When the religion becomes more important than God, it’s time to get rid of the Religion.

Once again, here is where MY confession comes in, all I can do is be honest with you and you will have to sort out how you feel about it. You see, yesterday a very good friend of ours talked to my wife on the phone and said, “There are people who want to support what you and Duke are doing, but it feels like he is not allowing it.”

She was right. Since 1970 I have only wanted to do one thing, to integrate the scriptures into my life and share the benefit of it with others. A few years later I had a full-time position doing just that and I followed that path for 16 years, until “Religion” shut down the road I was on.

As I have shared with you before, I never turned away from who I was. I took who I was and what in knew into coaching football for 16 years. I took who I was and what I knew into business consulting and counseling. From 1987 until 2005 my wife and I held “services” in our home which was interesting since it sometimes reached 30 to 40 people with cars parked up and down our neighborhood.

In 1989 after my “release” from organized religion I started a non-profit group for that small home church partly because I thought that’s what you did. It meant people could get Tax credit for giving, but it is kind of funny that God instituted the tithe long be tax credits were available. During this time, I refused to put obligations to support what we were doing on anyone who came and I refused to cater to or treat any differently those who were big contributors. The result at times meant that very large contributors moved on.

It was hard at times but I always taught two things–first that God’s promise of the tithe was true and did work and the second point was that giving was an act between you and God so where you gave should also be between you and God as well. Therefore if someone choose to give to some other work rather than what I was doing, I had no right to question that. Nor did I have any right to try to direct their giving to me. If a work is doing what it should and it’s going to succeed then God will see to it, so why should I get in the middle? If what a program is doing helps and enriches someone’s life they will want to support it without me having to beg or coerce anyone. So there you have one of the biggest differences between me and Prosperity Preachers—I never begged.

When I left Williamsburg 4 years ago, I didn’t take that non-profit with me. I built it up for those in that city, so I left it to them and walked away and that was the right thing to do.

What I did that was not right is that I turned my back on others around the country that still believed in what I was doing and wanted to help, so I have to figure that one out and I will. But the main thought I wanted to leave with you is don’t allow anyone or anything to get between you and God. Don’t allow those who misuse, pervert or abuse God’s message to taint that message in your mind. Don’t let others tell you what you “should do”—listen with an open mind, talk it over with God and make your own decisions.

I hope this series has been helpful and if you want to follow other discussions go to http://www.DukeClarke.com and check the blog.

Have a great weekend,

Duke Clarke

Jan 22

Give Up Your Dreams…

Is this what you really want? Do you feel like giving up your dreams? That’s what most people are trying to tell us these days. Day after day, they scream, “Hold on to what you can, because your job could be gone any day”, “Forget about being happy, just focus in surviving”, “We don’t know how long this is going to last, so forget about every thing just try to get through the day”.

Okay, let’s sort some of this out and look at it without fear. I received a letter from an Aunt of mine just after the New Year. She grew up in a family with 8 brothers and sisters, my mother, who has passed away two years ago next month, being one of them. She made an interesting statement about the times that we are in right now in the USA.  She said that she was a child of the depression and the New Deal policies thereafter and now at the end of her life she finds herself right back where she started.

She wasn’t being negative, in fact the comment she made to all her children, grandchildren, nephews and nieces was “My husband and I made it through those times having a wonderful life along the way and so will you…”

It’s great to have advice and encouragement from someone who has lived through something like that but let’s also realize that she only represents one generation. The scriptures cover many generations of good and bad times and God’s message throughout all those times is “You will live through these times and have a wonderful life”.

I do think it is very insensitive of many on the internet today who are not connecting with the majority of people and only want to talk about “the good times are still rolling in MY business, so come on over”. A lot of them have been and are still offering the same old “snake-oil” and “empty dreams”. But to sit in front of your mansion with a bunch of high end cars promoting yourself and the same old “get it now” schemes when people have been shaken to their core is just wrong.

If you have read any of my writings, you know I’ve been saying this was wrong for almost two years. And we are starting to see, cut-rate conference, extended deadlines and endless waste-of-time bonus to draw people in.  But now that that the illusion of fast and easy profits has hit the fan, don’t loose heart, it was the wrong message anyway.

I never like the so-called fast and easy way because you usually have to deceive, cheat or use someone to get there. NOW that doesn’t mean you can’t achieve your dreams rapidly and it certainly doesn’t mean you have to give up on your dreams. It just means we all need to ignore the “You-got-me” headline marketing copy and look at what can help you start laying a realistic solid foundation for your dreams to come to pass.

For years I have been faced with the pressure of NOT telling my story and “preaching” the message of prosperity and hope because of the distortion and corruption that others have put on the message, especially when it has any connection to God. But should I stop because others have messed up the message? Should I give up my dream of helping others prosper, helping Christians get out of feeling like second-class citizens financially, of giving people the information to overcome their poverty mind set?

You should read W. Clement Stone’s autobiography and how his Company prospered during the depression-PROSPERED! Can you think of anything harder to promote? I can hear it now, “I know you need milk, but wouldn’t you really rather have insurance?” But he didn’t give up his dream.

Don’t ever give up your dreams!!!

Alter them, re-define them, plan a new course for them-but don’t ever abandon your dreams. I’d rather die at 90 still pursuing my dreams, than live a single day longer with no hope and no vision.  Do not allow the economy, bad news, set backs or your family and friends talk you out of your hearts desire.

If you’ve read my series before this “The Last Story…” you know that my job, my career and almost all that I had physically was taken away from me. And no one was looking to hire a “fired” minister. I could have easily said, “That’s it, I quit. If God let this happen to me, I’m done!”

Yes, that road and that journey ended, but not my dreams. I simply re-defined my life, choose a new path and today my dreams are bigger than ever. So regardless of your situation don’t give up on your dreams. They may look different, the path may be different and the timing may have changed, but as my Aunt so graciously reminded our family, a wonderful life is still available.

Tomorrow I’ll try to finish this series…but once again, I’m not sure what the topic will be so stay tuned.
Have a great day,
Duke Clarke

PS – I am here to help you but you have to act first.
If you are serious about wanting some help on this now
go to http://www.DukeClarke.com/6_pillars.html