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The Beatitudes Principle


Luke 6:20

"And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God."

A very important principle for life is taught in the beatitudes that I fear most people miss.  The principle that is missed is that in order to enjoy something, you must partake of the opposite.  For instance, God says that you must be hungry before you can be filled.  You must weep before you can laugh.  You must have hardships before you can rejoice.  In other words, you will never enjoy anything to its fullest without experiencing the opposite as well.

It is important that you learn this principle and teach it to your children.  For instance, your children need to learn to work before they can play.  Too many parents allow their children to play all the time without working, only to find the children frustrated.  Your children will enjoy their play time more if they must work before they play.  My parents always made sure that I had my chores done before they would let me play.  They were simply teaching me that I would enjoy my play time better if I worked.

Likewise, your home and life will not enjoy laughter to its fullest if there is no time to weep.  You could plan times to weep by visiting people in the nursing homes and hospitals.  I am all for laughter, but there must be a time to weep so that laughter can be enjoyed to its fullest.

If you want your love to be greater, then you must also hate.  I know this sounds strange, but love without hatred is a shallow love.  For instance, I love my wife and daughter, and anything that would hurt them I hate.  If I don't hate what would hurt them, then I don't love them the way that I should.  Love needs hatred as must as hatred needs love. One without the other is wrong.

Likewise, young married couples need to learn that before they enjoy the luxuries of life, they need to struggle for a while.  Those who enjoy everything at the beginning will end up getting themselves into trouble.  The strongest marriages are the marriages that struggled in the early years. Those years of struggling together allowed them to enjoy the pleasures of life greater. Too many young couples immediately want the nice house filled with new furniture and two new cars sitting in the driveway.  If they want their marriage to be more fulfilling, then they would be wise to wait until they can afford these things.  Struggling together will give your marriage more fulfillment.

Christian, I am simply trying to get you to see that you will never quite enjoy life until you apply the beatitudes principle of partaking of both sides.  Grace needs truth, love needs hatred, play needs work, pleasure needs struggles, patience needs tribulation, joy needs sorrow, laughter needs crying, etc.  Be careful about only enjoying one side of life.  Realize that you must partake of both if you want your life to be truly fulfilling.

And Peter

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And Peter


Mark 16:7

"But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you."

The story from the verse above occurred after the death and resurrection of Jesus.  Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James went to the tomb with spices to anoint the body of Jesus.  When they arrived at the tomb, they noticed that the stone had been rolled away.  When they entered, they saw a young man sitting in white apparel on the right side of where the body of Jesus was laid.  The young man informed them that Jesus had risen from the grave, and they were to go and tell the disciples to meet Jesus in Galilee.

In this statement to these ladies, the young man, by the commandment of Jesus, didn't just tell them tell the disciples to meet Jesus in Galilee, but he said, "But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter..." There was a reason that he said, "...and Peter." The reason was because Peter had denied Christ and certainly felt that Jesus would no longer want to use him.  Yet, the verse above shows us that Jesus still had great things planned for Peter, even after he fell.

Unfortunately there are many people in the Christian life who feel that they are no longer useful because of some sin they committed.  They, like Peter, feel that their sin would keep Jesus from ever using them again. Yet, you must remember that only Satan would want you to think this way.  Throughout the Scriptures you will find that God used people even after they committed a horrible sin.  Sometimes God simply has to remind us that He still has something in store for us just like He did with Peter.

I was recently talking to an individual who used to be greatly involved in their church. This individual had experienced the pain of sin. They told me that they didn't know what else they could do for God.  As I heard this, I reminded them that they were not the first person who had experienced the touch of sin, and that God could still use them if they would allow Him to do so.

Maybe because of your sin you feel like Peter.  Maybe you feel that there is no way that God could use you because of your sin.  Let me remind you of two words, "...and Peter." Yes, if God could use Peter again then He can use you again.  You are not the first person who has been touched by the destructive hand of sin.  You must not allow Satan to feed you the lie that you are beyond ever being used by God again.  God can use you again!

Furthermore, if God is going to use you again, then you must go and meet with Him.  If Peter would not have gone to Galilee to meet with Jesus, then we would have never heard about him again.  Instead, throughout the New Testament you see God using Peter in a mighty way.  He was used again because he went to meet Jesus in Galilee.  

God wants to use you again, but you must get up from where sin has left you and go meet with God again.  What I mean by this is that you must take the initiative to get up and get involved again.  Yes, you will have to face those who know what you have done, but if you will get involved again in the LORD's work, then He will use you.

Maybe the greatest two words in the Scriptures for those who have committed sin are the words, "...and Peter." Always remember that God wants to use you again, but you must meet with Him if that is going to happen.  The ball is in your court, what are you going to do with it?

Are you needed?

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The LORD Hath Need of You


Matthew 21:3

"And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them."

What an astonishing statement when God says, "The Lord hath need of them..." Can you imagine the God of the Universe having a need?  Can you imagine the Creator of all things lacking something that you have?  Can you imagine that the God Who owns the cattle on the thousand hills wanting something that you have?  That is what happened in the verse above.  

Jesus was about to make His triumphal entry into Jerusalem before His crucifixion.  He sent His disciples to a man who had something that He needed.  Without this man allowing his livestock to be used by God, prophecy would have been voided.  Without this man being willing to give up what he had, Scriptures would have been deemed a lie, because it was prophesied in the Old Testament that Jesus would ride "upon an ass" into Jerusalem.  Jesus had a need that only this man could fill, and if he didn't fill that need, then a void would have been left in this world.  

Christian, let me make this clear to you, the LORD hath need of you. The very same God that needed this man's animal needs you as well.  You may wonder why God would need you, but let me remind you that you were made for a purpose that only you could fulfill.  God did not place you on this Earth for no reason at all.  God placed you on this Earth because He had a need that only you could fill.  The LORD hath need of you doing what He made you to do.  

Furthermore, when you don't fulfill the purpose of why God made you, then you leave a void on this Earth that nobody can fill.  We wonder why this world is in the shape that it's in, and the reason is because there are so many Christians who are not fulfilling the purpose of why God made them.  Though others may try to fill in where you are not doing your part, nobody can fill your position quite like you.  

I challenge you to do your part in filling the purpose of why you were made. Yes, the LORD hath need of you.  Whatever your shortcomings are in life, let me remind you that the LORD hath need of you.  However your physical frailties may limit you, let me remind you that the LORD still hath need of you.  Whatever your education level is, the LORD hath need of you.  Fill in the blank and we can still say that the LORD hath need of you.  Don't leave the LORD with a need unfulfilled.  Just think, you have something that the God of the Universe needs; that need is you.  Let God have His need filled by you surrendering to do whatever He needs you to do.  When you fill God's need, then He will fill your need.


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Who's Stealing from You?


Matthew 24:43

"But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up."

One of the most invasive things that can happen to you is to be burglarized.  To know that someone broke in and invaded your property without your knowledge is very disturbing to say the least.  Years ago when I was a teenager, I had my car stereo stolen from me.  It was a summer morning, and when I went out to my car to go to work I noticed that my window was broken and that someone had ripped my stereo out of the dash. It is amazing after you have been burglarized how you come up with all kinds off ideas on how to punish a thief if they attempt it again.  

That is exactly what Jesus was saying in the verse above.  Jesus said, "...if the goodman of the house had known what watch the thief would come, he would have watched..." The goodman is talking about the leader of the home.  It was sad that it was only after the goodman had his house burglarized that he became aware of the thief.  The goodman should have been aware that there were thieves that would steal from him before he was burglarized.  Instead, it wasn't until it his house was broken up that he became concerned about the thief.  

This story of the goodman could be told over and over again in today's society.  What many people don't understand is that their are thieves that are breaking up their homes on a daily basis. The sad part is, it isn't until after the home is broken that people become concerned about who's stealing from their family.  You may think that your family is safe, but you better be careful about those things that could be stealing from your family.  Don't wait until your family is broken to become concerned about the thief.  

Let me caution married couples to watch out for the thieves that would break their marriages.  Some of the thieves that break up marriages are: no time for each other; lack of communication; not meeting the physical needs of your spouse; dishonesty between each other; manipulation to get your way; getting involved with other people; wrong websites, etc. Watch your marriage so that you don't allow a thief to steal the relationship that you have with your spouse.  

Likewise, there are thieves that would break your home.  The family relationship is very important, and you must not let your home be broken before you become concerned about the thieves.  Some of the thieves that break up a home are: television; wrong friends; never spending time with the family; video games; social networking; unfaithfulness to church; worldly activities, etc.  I'm trying to get you to see that you must constantly be on the alert to watch out for thieves that would break up your home.  Don't wait until your home is destroyed before you start becoming concerned with those thieves.  

There is no way in this short devotional that I can deal with marriage and home thieves in a proper way.  What I want you to do is stop, look at each area, and identify the thieves that are trying to break up your home and marriage.  Don't let the destruction of your home and marriage be the thing that it takes to get you to be aware of the thieves that would steal from you.  Secure your home and marriage from those thieves before they are broken up.


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Spiritual Earplugs


Matthew 21:33

"Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country:"

Your hearing is one of the most important senses that God gave you.  Though every sense is important, no doubt hearing is at the top.  When you can't hear, you will miss many important sounds that you need to hear.    

In the verse above, Jesus made the statement, "Hear another parable..." He made this statement as though He tried to get them to hear and understand other parables before, but for some reason they never really heard what He was trying to say.  Because they didn't hear before, Jesus had to teach "another parable" to these people.  

I find in churches today there are many people who for several reasons do not hear what the preacher is teaching and preaching.  Because they don't hear, the preacher has to preach "another parable" to try and get the same truth across because they didn't get the truth in a previous sermon.  Let me show you several reasons why people don't hear.  

First, people don't hear because they are not there.  It is hard to hear the truth God wants you to hear when you are not in church.  This is why it is important to be faithful to every service.  It might be that one service you miss causes the preacher to have to preach "another parable."  

Second, some don't hear because they don't pay attention. This type of person is there, but their mind is not there. They hear a noise, but they are not really listening to what is being said. They are thinking about what is going to happen after the services or later on that week and miss the truth God wanted them to hear. You must be sure that you pay attention to the preaching, so you don't miss the truth God wants you to hear.  

Third, some don't hear because they are not listening.  This crowd just isn't listening to the preaching. Instead, they are texting or writing notes during the preaching time. They are messing with people around them and missing a truth that could change their life.  When you are in church, you must not allow yourself to do other things while the preacher is preaching.  When he preaches, you need to listen.  

Fourth, some don't hear because of sin.  Sin will deafen your ears to the truth. You can sit there and actually pay attention, but because sin is in your life you will not get the truth God wants you to hear.  Christian, you must take care of your sin. I know I sound like a broken record, but sin will become like spiritual earplugs that will cause you not to hear the truths of God.  

Last, some don't hear because they are unteachable.  This crowd already has their mind made up and it doesn't matter how the truth is presented, they will not hear and change.  When you go to church, stay teachable.  If you think you know everything, then the preacher cannot help you. If you already have your mind made up on the subject before the preacher can present the truth, then you will not hear what God wants you to hear.  

Are you not hearing the truth the first time it is presented to you?  Is God telling your preacher to preach "another parable" because you didn't get it the first time for one of the reasons mentioned above? Take the spiritual earplugs out that are deafening your ears so you can hear the truths of God the first time they are preached.


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The Voices of Fear or Faith


Matthew 14:32

"And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased."

One of the greatest stories that I enjoy reading in the Scriptures is about Peter walking on water to go to Jesus.  Jesus commanded the disciples to get into the boat and go to the other side.  Yes, Jesus knew that a storm would come and nearly take their lives, but He had a great miracle in store for them if they would listen to His voice.  While they were in the middle of the sea, a fierce storm came, and it was so fierce that it nearly sunk their boat.  While they were rowing as hard as they could to get to land, they saw a figure walking on the water.  Peter, being afraid, cried out only to have a voice come back.  This voice was the voice of Jesus.  Peter asked if it were Jesus to bid him to come unto Him.  To his surprise, Jesus bid him come.  Peter listened and came.  Yes, he failed while walking on the water, but he had the opportunity to walk on water because he didn't listen to the voice of fear.  

There are many Christians who miss the walking on water experience because they listen to the voice of fear.  The other eleven disciples heard the same bidding that Peter heard, but they stayed in the boat while he got out and walked on the water.  Though he heard the voice of fear, he listened to the voice of Jesus and acted on faith which allowed him this great opportunity.  You will never accomplish much in life if you always listen to the voice of fear.  

Christian, whenever faith says to come, you will always hear the voice of fear as well.  The voice of fear is trying to stop you from listening to the voice of faith, but you must listen to faith because it has something great in store for you.  You must always remember that God will never ask you to step out on faith without His presence being near you.  Moreover, when you step out by faith, God expects that you will probably fail.  Yet, that is why He is there to help you out of your failure.  

What is the voice of fear keeping you from doing for God?  What voice are you listening to in your life?  God's will is never going to be easy.  Whenever God's will calls, you can count on the voice of fear sounding off and telling you how foolish you are. If you listen to it, you will be like the eleven disciples who stayed in the boat and you will never experience the walking on water experience of your life.  When God called me to go into full-time evangelism, I heard the voice of fear, but I stepped out on the voice of faith and trusted God, and I can say that I have had the walking on water experience.  It is great, but you must listen to God's bidding and obey.

Instruction Manual

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Prayer's Instruction Manual


Matthew 6:6

"But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly."

Whenever I want to know how to do or use something, I always go to the instruction manual.  The instruction manual is usually put together by the one who made the product.  Likewise, the instruction manual is put together by the one who is in charge of showing the followers how they expect them to conduct themselves.  You will never enjoy a product to its fullest if you don't learn to follow the instruction manual.  

In the verse above, God gives us an instruction manual on prayer.  God wants His people to pray and get things from Him, but they must follow the instruction manual on prayer to get the greatest benefits from prayer. Without following the manual, you may get some prayers answered, but by following the manual you will get more prayers answered.  Let me show you several instructions on how to pray.  

First, pray at a set time.  God says in verse 5, "And when thou prayest..." You will notice that God used the word "when." That means there must have been a set time to pray.  I have found in the Christian life that you will do what God tells you to do more regularly if you have a set time.  If you want your prayer life to be successful, then you would be wise to have a set time every day to pray.  

Second, pray privately.  God says in the verse above, "But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet..." God wants you to have a private time of prayer when you take your requests to Him.  Yes, there are times when you should have public prayer, but you should daily have a private time that you spend with God in prayer.  

Third, pray like you have a relationship with God.  Notice in the verse above God says, "...pray to thy Father..." There is a personal relationship when you are making God your Father.  If you're saved, then God is your Father.  That means you should talk to God the same way you would talk to your earthly father.  Be personal, and never be afraid to tell Him your needs and requests.  

Fourth, pray with your heart.  God says in verse 7, "But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions..." God doesn't like it when we are simply repeating something every day, He wants your prayer to come from your heart. When your prayer comes from your heart, then you have a better chance of getting something from God.  

Fifth, pray precisely. Notice in verse 7, God talks about the Pharisees praying with "much speaking." God is not as interested in you giving a speech in your prayer as He is about you being precise with your request. Don't try to impress God with your prayer, but rather be as precise as you can be with God.  

Last, pray believing.  Don't pray with doubt, but pray with faith that God will answer your prayer.  Too many times we pray with doubt only to get the answer for which we prayed, doubt. Realize that God can answer your prayer, and believe that He will answer it as He promised.  

The greatest weapon that the Christian has, other than the Word of God, is their prayer life.  Follow God's instructions on prayer and you will find that He will answer more of your requests.

Take Heed

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Take Heed to Your Spirit


Malachi 2:16

"For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the LORD of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously."

In Malachi 2, God warns us two times to "take heed to your spirit..." The word "heed" means, "to take notice of; to attend to; to observe; to watch for danger." In other words, God was cautioning us to watch our spirit.  Your spirit is your disposition or outlook on life.  God knew that if your spirit were destroyed then you would be destroyed as a Christian.  

God takes this truth further by cautioning to be sure that your spirit is not being dealt with treacherously. The word "treacherously" means, "violating allegiance." In other words, you must watch your spirit that its allegiance to your faith is not destroyed.  What is interesting is that God tells us that two different people can "deal treacherously" with your spirit. In verse 15 God says, "...let none dealt treacherously..." Notice this is showing us that others can destroy your spirit.  Then in the verse above God says, "...that ye deal not treacherously." The second person who can destroy your spirit is yourself.  God is simply warning you to guard your spirit from others and yourself.  Don't let others destroy your spirit, nor should you do anything that would destroy your spirit.  As I look at this warning, I see that God shows us two things that will destroy our spirit.  

First, you must stay pure in your marriage if you want to keep your spirit from being destroyed. A person may get away with being unfaithful in their marriage, but the one thing that unfaithfulness will do is it will destroy your spirit.  You can't be unfaithful in your marriage and it not affect your spirit.  You can't look at wrong pictures and it not affect your spirit.  You can't entertain wrong thoughts and it not affect your spirit.  Staying pure in your marriage will help you to keep your spirit right.  

Furthermore, those who are not married should stay pure until they are married if they don't want their spirit destroyed.  A single person who is committing fornication will destroy their spirit.  Yes, you may have your few minutes of pleasure, but you will destroy your spirit in the mean time.  Staying morally pure, whether you are married or single, will keep your spirit from being destroyed.  

Second, living a pure life will help you to keep your spirit from being destroyed.  Christian, you can't live in sin and it not affect your spirit.  One of the reasons that the spirit of churches seem so dead is because they are filled with Christians who are living in sin.  When you are living right, you will have a good spirit.  When you are doing what you know you should do, then your spirit will be free and protected.  On the other hand, when you know you are doing wrong, your spirit will be defeated.  When you know that you are living in direct contradiction to the Word of God, it will affect your spirit.  Sin always affects a person's spirit before it destroys their life.  You may think you can hide your sin, but your spirit will tell on you.  

Christian, take heed to your spirit.  Watch it and guard it with your life.  When you have a defeated spirit then you will live a defeated life in Christ.  If there is ever a reason for you to stay morally pure in your marriage and life, it is because you want to guard your spirit. Guard yourself from others destroying your spirit, but also guard your spirit from yourself.  Don't do anything that would destroy that victorious spirit that God wants you to have.

First Glory

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First Glory


Haggai 2:3

"Who is left among you that saw this house in her first glory? and how do ye see it now? is it not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing?"

The temple had been rebuilt, but the new temple was of no comparison to the old.  Sin caused Israel to see the first temple destroyed, but a new temple had been rebuilt in its place.  In the verse above, God came to those who had seen the previous temple and said to them, "Who is left among you that saw this house in her first glory? is it not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing?" Those who had seen the temple in its first glory saw this rebuilt temple as nothing.  The glory of the rebuilt temple was of no comparison to the first.  Sin caused the first glory to be destroyed, and now the glory that would come would be nothing compared to the first.  

Let me ask you, do you run scared of losing the first glory of God's presence in your life?  There is nothing that I am more afraid of than losing the glory of God on my life.  Yes, God can always rebuild and bring His glory back, but the first glory is without stain.  The first glory is where you will find the greatest blessings of God. The first glory is where the fresh excitement is present.  If you are not scared of losing the first glory of God's presence on your life, then you should be.

I have been around Christianity my whole life and have seen many men in their first glory. I would not give their names, but there are many people whom God used in a great way who allowed sin to mess up their first glory.  Yes, many of these people allowed God to rebuild them, but they never quite reached the pinnacle of glory that they once obtained.  

Sin is the quickest way to lose that first glory.  If anything should move you to get rid of sin in your life it is the fact that it will take the glory of God from you.  All that God has blessed you with can be taken in a moments notice because of sin.  Sin is no respecter of persons when it comes to what it will destroy.  Sin cares not how prominent you may be in your church.  Sin cares not what God has done through you.  Sin cares not how long you have been serving God. Sin will destroy all that you have built and cause you to lose your first glory. Christian, don't let sin take the first glory away from you.  Get rid of your sin before it takes your first glory away.  

Furthermore, God can rebuild your life, but the glory on your life will be no comparison to what it used to be.  One thing you do not want to live with is the memory of what it used to be.  Though God may rebuild a life destroyed by sin, they will have to live with the regrets of what could have been if they would not have allowed sin in their life.  

Moreover, if you have lost your first glory, you can thank God that He can rebuild your life and bring His glory back.  Though it will not be in comparison to what it used to be, God can still use you in a great way.  Don't wallow in your self pity and what you could have had. Instead, get up and let God rebuild your life.  Though the glory won't compare to the first glory, it is still the glory of God.  

I challenge you to be careful about allowing sin to take your first glory from you.  Get rid of sin so that you will never have to live your life comparing what you have now to what you used to have.  Keep the first glory until the day you die!


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Truth's Presentation


Habakkuk 2:2-3

"And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry."

Truth should be the primary focus of every person. A church should keep its focus on truth.  A Christian should keep their focus on truth. A preacher should keep his focus on truth.  A teacher should keep their focus on truth. Truth should be your focus, for it will be your guide to true success.  Yet, how truth is presented is very important.  If truth is presented in a wrong manner, then there will be some who will not listen or follow it. In the verses above, God shows us how to present truth.  

First, truth must be presented in a plain manner.  I fear we live in a day when those who present truth try to make it complicated to the hearer. God commanded Habakkuk to "make it plain." God felt that it was important for truth to be presented in a plain manner so that the hearer could understand the truth and have no excuse as to why they did not obey it.  

Preacher, when you present truth, present it in a plain manner.  Your purpose in presenting truth is not to impress people with your intellect.  When Jesus taught truth, He taught it in such a way that the common person could understand it.  Every teacher should present truth so that it is plain and easy to understand. Every parent should present truth to their children in a plain manner so that they will understand what is expected of them.  Be careful about making truth complicated and difficult to understand, the purpose of presenting truth is so that the hearer can understand it.  

Second, truth should be presented in such a manner that the hearer will run.  Truth presented in a plain manner will motivate the hearer to run.  Notice, God wants truth presented so the receiver of truth will run and not walk.  Don't water down truth with political correctness so as to cause the receiver of truth to only walk in their service to God.  It is not a time to walk in God's service, it is a time to run and get truth out as quickly as we can.  In other words, don't water down truth to help appease the conscience of those who serve God in a half-hearted manner.  Present it to motivate them to do more for God.  

Last, present truth with patience.  Let the hearer of truth realize that its results rarely come immediately.  Notice in the verse above, when talking about truth God said, "...though it tarry, wait for it..." People must realize that the result of following truth will take time to see.  Let the hearer of truth understand that they must be patient with truth and not give up on it.  Following truth pays off if people will be patient with it.  

As the hearer of truth, be sure that you listen intently when it is presented so that you will run and do more for God.  As you present truth, make it as plain as you can so that the common person can understand, run with it and be patient while running to see its results.