Music is one of my passions. From time to time I’ll hear a song that has a new meaning for me – it might not necessarily be the meaning the songwriter/artist had in mind when they wrote or performed it, but it speaks to me in a certain way. I heard this song a while back that has resonated with me a lot lately. Orianthi’s “According To You” talks about a girl who is trying to make a decision between two guys (possibly a current boyfriend and an ex-boyfriend). One views her as positive things, but the other views her in a negative manner.
Throughout my life I’ve struggled with self-esteem issues and as a result this song spoke to me on another level. It felt like it was an inner monologue for me – like it was Satan saying I was all these negative things, but according to God I’m the positive things. The lyrics say “According to you I’m stupid, I’m useless…I can’t do anything right.” (This is something that Satan tries to convince us of on a daily basis.) On the other side of the conversation is God’s view of us – “According to him, I’m beautiful…incredible…He can’t get me out of his head. According to him I’m funny…irresistible…everything he ever wanted.”
Toward the end of the song she turns the lyrics around to the negative guy and says “According to me, you’re stupid… you’re useless…you can’t do anything right.” She is basically saying to him “You know what…I don’t care what you think! I’m important in someone else’s eyes and that’s all that matters to me!” (If only we could have the strength to say this to Satan every time he comes at us with his lies!) This song is just a reminder to me that regardless of what Satan tries to make me believe about myself, God sees me through HIS eyes of love and grace…finding me irresistible and everything HE ever wanted.
Photo Credit: By eonlegend
2013 has come and gone and we are now 13 days (almost 2 whole weeks) into a new year! I just wanted to thank all of you for making last year so great for my blog. You viewed 2,976 pages on my blog in 2013 (with August being the highest month, 333 page views). I’m really excited about the new year and what God has in store! Below are the top 10 posts on my blog from 2013. Enjoy!
When you think of great philosophers, the star of such “great” films as Piranha 3DD, Dr. Dolittle 3, Predator 2, and D.C. Cab does not immediately come to mind. Yes, my friends…I am talking about the one and only Gary Busey. A few months ago, I was trying to find something on television and I ended up watching some show that had Gary Busey on it (I think it was Celebrity Wife Swap or something…I honestly can’t remember) because I was bored. There is no denying the guy is a nut job, but one thing that he did really caught my attention – he would take words and make acronyms out of them to make others better understand what the word meant and he called them “Buseyisms.“
I thought he might be on to something, so I came up with one of my own. The word PROCESS stands for “Practicing Repeatedly Offers Consistent Examples of Success Stories.” For me, the word ‘process’ has always had a negative connotation because I want immediate results and don’t want to have to wait. Unfortunately, it’s not realistic to say “I want to lose 40 pounds!” and then immediately lose that weight right then and there without going through a process of exercising, eating right, and taking care of your body. It just doesn’t happen that way (no matter what those infomercial people tell you)!
The process is what makes the end result worth it! You can look back and think how far you came and what you did to achieve your goal. Just like silver goes through a process to be refined, so do we as children of God (see Zechariah 13:9). Granted, it may be painful at times and you may wonder if that pain is worth the end result, but you’ll never find out unless you stick with it.
What have you learned during your most recent “process?”
Photo Credit: By mooon2
Last week I was reading an article that really got me thinking. The article was entitled “This Is the Average Man’s Body” and it talked about how the average male who lives in the United States has a higher BMI (Body Mass Index) , waist size, and as a whole is considered more obese than the average male from any other country. The part that caught my attention was the word average. What exactly is “average?” If you were to look it up in the dictionary, you might find something like “typical, common, or ordinary.”
We all knew someone in school who barely did enough to get by what was required of him or her. It really hit me hard when I thought that many times in life, that “someone” has been me. Colossians 3:23 (The Message) says “And don’t just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best.” The NIV version translates the same verse this way – “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” I always took the NIV version to literally mean work or my job. The more I reflected on the verse, the more I realized it was applicable to everything in my life. When it comes to my friendships/relationships am I just phoning it in? Am I doing the bare minimum as a leader? How about my health and taking care of myself? When I take inventory of my life, I can honestly say that I never want to find myself being average.
In what area(s) of your life have you found yourself being “average” lately?
Photo Credit: By Nate Steiner
I’ll be the first to admit that I may not be the best person to tell others what to wear or not wear (there is a picture of me as a child wearing Sesame Street corduroy overalls that will be further proof of that statement). Last night, I was having dinner with a couple of friends at a local restaurant and in walked a group of what could only be described as hipster college students. One guy stood out in particular. He was probably in his early 20′s and had a full beard, but that wasn’t what you immediately saw. This guy had a good bit of chest hair and was wearing a tank top. When I say he had a “good bit of chest hair,” I mean it looked like he could have been part ape.
If you’re that hairy, why would you even consider wearing a tank top out to eat? When I saw him (okay, the chest hair)…it made me think of a quote from the movie DodgeBall. Chest hair that is long enough to braid should be the first sign that maybe a tank top just isn’t for you! Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against chest hair (I have a lot of it myself) but you should really think about how you look when you go out in public. I kept thinking “What if some of his chest hair ends up in his food?!?!” GROSS!
Maybe they should offer a college class for us guys – “What You Should/Should Not Wear 101!” I know I could have benefited from it earlier in life (and probably even at times now…female friends have been a blessing for this straight guy when it comes to my clothes). If your chest hair resembles that of Tom Selleck or Steve Guttenburg, maybe you should think twice before you consider going out in public wearing a tank top. You’ll be doing us all a favor (plus you won’t get chest hair in your food!).
Recently I have had the misfortune of dealing with migraines. The positive thing is that I found out what was causing said migraines (a tooth issue) and have had it fixed, which has resulted in relief. In dealing with the migraines, God has used them to reveal to me how much they are like sin in our lives. It may sound silly at first, but please hear me out as it will make sense when I am finished.
When you have a migraine, you don’t want to be exposed to light. When we deal with sin in our lives we honestly don’t want to be exposed to light either. We take the “what people don’t know won’t hurt them” approach and try to keep our sin hidden from others, but no matter how hard we try that sin will eventually be brought into the light for all to see in some form or fashion.
You don’t like being told what to do when you have a migraine. The last thing you want is someone trying to tell you how to “fix” your migraine issue. Sin is the same in that we don’t want people telling us what we should be doing to “fix” our sin problem. We would rather just attempt to do things on our own, but we all know how that ends. Migraines cause us to become isolated from others – you just want to be alone and not be bothered. Sin isolates us from the people who love us the most…our friends and family. We seclude ourselves from others because we don’t want to be judged or just don’t want to face others due to the shame we feel as a result of our sin.
Both migraines and sin involve pain of some kind – with migraines the pain is almost always immediate and lingers, but with sin pain doesn’t always happen instantaneously…it can take some time before you feel the painful consequences of sin. There are also after effects with both – a migraine may make you may feel weak, fatigued, sick, or exhausted afterwards and sin may do the very same thing. Both migraines and sin can feel paralyzing, in that once you’re dealing with them you feel constricted and can’t move.
I’ve often found myself bargaining with God when dealing with either a migraine or sin. “God, if you make this migraine go away, then I’ll <fill in the blank>!” These negotiations are based on things which we never plan on following through – “God, if you get me out of this situation I will go to church every Sunday for the rest of my life, I’ll tithe, and I’ll never do this again!” God can easily see through our child-like pleas and knows what it will take to bring us back around to Him and sometimes it takes us suffering the consequences of our actions.
Migraines can happen to anyone…no one is immune. The same is true of sin – the only one who was sinless was Jesus Christ. Romans 8:23 states it clearly – “For ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” The thing is, just because we are prone to sin doesn’t mean we have an excuse to sin. What we do with this sin us completely up to us. Will you let it consume you and rule your life? Will you ask for God’s forgiveness, turn from it, and use it as a learning experience?
What is another illustration you’ve heard comparing sin to something else?
Photo Credit: By Ben Photog
Something has been on my mind lately. Women (specifically single women) I am posing these thoughts to you. I’ve always been taught that you don’t treat women as objects…they are people with feelings and of great value. Women comment about how men can be jerks because of the way they look at and treat women. My issue is these same women will turn around and treat men the same way they don’t want to be treated. Granted, this is not ALL women.
What gets me is these women (Christian women mind you) will go see movies like Magic Mike and describe in great detail their attraction to these Hollywood men who look like a Greek god. Then they complain about not being able to find a Godly man when they have set these unrealistic expectations that no man can ever meet. Society has jumped on this notion and uses it to promote everything from salad dressing to diet sodas.
We often hear about women dealing with self-image issues due to things men have said or done, but women don’t realize that men deal with these same type of issues as well. Did you know that 10-15% of those who suffer from anorexia or bulimia are male? Also men are less likely to seek treatment for anorexia or bulimia due to the perception that they are “woman’s diseases.” It may be hard to believe, but at times men struggle with self-image more than women. As men, it’s not really about how we see ourselves, but how we perceive others may see us.
Single guys like myself who are trying to live a Godly life get easily discouraged by all of this because we don’t look like Ryan Gosling, Ryan Reynolds, Hugh Jackman, or whatever “perfect” celebrity man women are crazy over at the moment. How can we compete with that? We can’t, so more often than not we don’t even try.
Below are two videos that I’ve seen recently that are further proof of this. The first video is for Kraft’s Zesty Italian salad dressing featuring an attractive man who ends up shirtless (I’m confused on what this has to do with salad dressing). The second video is a campaign for Men’s Wearhouse called “Give The Suit Off Your Back” which is encouraging men to bring in their slightly worn suits to donate to homeless men. The purpose is great, but the delivery is just not right — buff, shirtless men in neckties and their boxers standing on the street corner with women practically drooling over them.
How can we retrain society to prevent these issues for men in the future?
Photo Credit: By ed and eddie
Many of us at one point in time have wondered who we truly are – do we believe who the world tells we are? Do we believe who we think we are? Ultimately, do we believe who God says we are? This is the premise of the book Eyes Wide Open by Ted Dekker. Initially, the book was released as four individual episodes (Identity, Mirrors, Unseen, and Seer) within a two month time frame, but they have since been released in one book. If you choose the “individual book” route, you may be able to find book 1 for free and then books 2-4 for less than $3 each (I think Amazon.com has the entire book for $6 as of today).
The book is about Austin and Christy, two teenagers who accidentally end up in an insane asylum (you’ll have to read the books to find out how). While trapped, the doctors try to convince the two that they are not who they think they are…but really Scott and Alice (existing patients). Austin is very quick to fight off these false notions, but Christy is not as lucky. She is convinced by the doctors that she would be happier if she had plastic surgery to become who they think she really is and not what she truly thinks of herself. This sounds very confusing, but once you start reading the book it will make sense.
Just when you think it is over, Dekker sends you down another path. Identity and self image are just two of the topics that are covered in this page turner. In true Dekker fashion, this book is tied into his whole “universe” of books. Make sure you read the Paradise Trilogy (consisting of Showdown, Saint, and Sinner) first if you haven’t…then read Eyes Wide Open. It’s okay if you haven’t read the Paradise Trilogy first – things will still make sense, but they will make even more sense if you’ve read the trilogy first.
I really enjoy Eyes Wide Open and think it would even make a great movie, if done properly. It is a must read for Ted Dekker fans and a great first read for those who are not familiar with his work.
Photo Credit: By Amazon.com
Have you ever had something happen to you that you look back on in hindsight and it felt like it was something that could have been pulled straight from a movie? I had this experience last week and it seemed so surreal! I was driving home from work, like any other day. I got about half way home and noticed that there was smoke coming from underneath the hood of my SUV. I had this gut feeling (which I know beyond the shadow of a doubt was God) telling me that I needed to pull my SUV over and get it out of the road.
I was able to pull over in this gas station parking lot (far away from the gas pumps) and I decided to just sit for a few minutes and let the smoke dissipate. While waiting, I happened to look over to the left and noticed a couple of people screaming something. I couldn’t understand what they were saying so I opened my door. It turns out they were screaming at me – “Get out!! Your SUV is on fire!!” I grabbed my stuff and got as far away as I possibly could. Not five minutes later, my SUV went up in flames. At the time, I was shaking so badly when I had the realization that I could’ve been in the SUV when it caught fire. God was definitely looking out for me!
One of the merchants of a nearby store called 911 for me and the fire department was there in a few short minutes. They hosed down my SUV and it was no longer recognizable. Fortunately, neither I nor anyone else was injured as a result of the fire (I was the only one in my SUV). A tow truck came and took what remained of my SUV to their lot and I spoke with the fire chief about what I need to do in order to file a claim with my insurance company.
It was like something straight out of the movies – seeing a vehicle go up in flames in an action movie. I was not able to sleep for the first few nights as I kept having these visions of being stuck in the SUV, not being able to get out as it was engulfed in flames. Last night, I took a couple of Benadryl and went to bed around 12:00 AM and didn’t wake up until almost 2:00 PM.
My youngest brother took several pictures of the remains of my SUV (in case my insurance company needed them). Below are just a few of the pictures.
I can’t believe 2012 has already come and gone! The first 3/4th of the year was not that great for me, but the final 1/4th completely turned that around when I finally got a job after being without one for almost 16 months. I am very excited about what 2013 brings and am looking forward to the new year! As one last reminder of 2012, here are my top 10 blog posts from last year. May 2013 bring blessings beyond your wildest imagination!
10) Really Church?!
See what my top 10 posts were from 2011.