4:45 am – 85 degrees – 90% humidity. Instead of snuggling with my precious bride in the air conditioning, I am joining a dozen other crazies in a parking lot to get a good sweat on. Such is the life of a gladiator. My first step into this venture was a 5:45pm exercise session one steamy South Texas afternoon. As triple-digit temperatures crept into June, late day outdoor excursions were more than reasonable minds should contemplate (though I still question 5am-s).

Despite aching knees and an aging back, strength and stamina returned to muscle groups somewhat dormant since I wore a younger man’s clothes. Blood pressure and stress levels reduced with each hour’s worth of push-ups, sit-ups and agility cones. Healthy blood flow strengthening my heart.

Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord. Psalm 31:24 – KJV

I have no doubt that God has led me to this early morning parking lot, to strengthen my heart both physically and spiritually. As my time on the blacktop sweats toxins out of my body, fervent prayer removes poisons from my soul.

Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. Luke 22:39,44 – NIV

As our exercise regimen is completed, we are left with high-fives, sweaty clothes, and fatigue. Yet after a shower, grit and grime down the drain, I emerge refreshed, ready to take on the day. In the same way, after a session on my knees, I rise restored, cleansed, strengthened and ready for the journey ahead. The true heart and soul of a Gladiator.

I rise from my knees restored, cleansed, strengthened and ready for the journey ahead. The true heart and soul of a Gladiator.

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