10 Things You Must Learn From This Woman

Throughout history, there have been many cultural examples of the ideal woman. Names like Cleopatra, Marilyn Monroe, Rosie the Riveter, Hillary Clinton and Madonna come to mind. Like it or not, there has always been a high-volume of propaganda stereotyping women and women’s roles. The need to be Serving, Sexy, Submissive, Slim, Subtle, and Sold out to one man is preached and proclaimed in large quantities.

Magazines like maxim, sports illustrated, and cosmopolitan disciple a generation of ladies and teach what they should wear, weigh, and eat. Music teaches women how they should behave, how to get attention, and how to please men.In a constant onslaught of lies and propaganda, there must be some solid source of truth to look to!

The bible indicates in James 1:23 that one who hears the word is like one who looks in a mirror.

This means we don’t just go to the word of God to see what God looks like, but to see ourselves rightly. We are created in the image of God. The Image of a Godly woman we see in the Bible is in Proverbs 31 and is described as “A virtuous wife.”

If the scripture declares that her wisdom is worth much more than rubies, we should all take a less from this woman – People that are virtuous and pure before the Lord and man. The greatest aspect of the proverbs 31 woman outside of her virtuosity is her significant amount of wisdom. While there is much for women to learn from this woman’s lifestyle, there are plenty ways of wisdom that both women AND men can glean from in her life.  I’ve decided to compile 10 cross-gender wise-ways of this proverbs 31 woman for us to learn from!

1. She Serves (verse 12)

  • The Proverbs 31 woman is revealed in verse 12 as a woman who serves. It states that she brings her husband good and NOT evil ALL the days of her life.
  • Often, we feel the need to place ourselves as number one on the list, forsaking our spouse, children, friends, co-workers, employees, and so forth. This leads to bitterness, resentment, pride, and arrogance, which ultimately burns us out. If we are to learn anything from this wise woman, we should learn that servant-hood is the greatest role we can play in this life.

2. She Endures (verse 12)

  • The second point of this verse is that she endures. This woman brings her family good and not harm ALL THE DAYS of her life.
  • We live in a culture and time where both women and men leave their spouses, children, jobs, and churches on a moment’s notice because they deem it inconvenient or too hard to work through. The Proverbs 31 woman is a woman who endures all things as 1st Corinthians 13 shows us: Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

3. She Seeks (verse 13)

  • Verse 13 shows us that this woman doesn’t just accept things the way they are but aims to make it better. Just as our biblical example sought wool and flax and worked with her hands in her time, people today seek education and resources for personal gain and growth. We shouldn’t just accept things the way they are, but we should SEEK out ways to grow!

4. She Works (verse 13)

  • Many people would have us believe that every woman should stay at home to be effective. While staying at home is a great option, it should always be centered around the work needed in a home atmosphere. (budgeting, cleaning, cooking, taking care of children, etc. ) Whether it’s in the marketplace, or in the home, we should ALL aim to be willing workers as this woman is.

5. She Rises (verse 14)

WOAH! Can we be honest for a second? I HATE mornings. At least, I hate getting out of bed! There’s two things that I don’t understand: 1. Why anyone get’s out of bed, 2. Once they’re out of bed, why does anyone ever leave the shower? It’s great in there! But I’m getting carried away.

  • This woman rose before the dawn! Many people in modern society have become sluggards and the scripture clearly warns against such behavior. Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise,  which, having no captain, overseer or ruler, provides her   supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest. –         Proverbs 6:6-8
  •  This woman rose early in the dawn! Let’s not be lazy and waste our opportunities.

6. She Feeds (Verse 15)

  • This verse shows that the proverbs 31 woman was concerned with the health and well-being of her family. She provided breakfast and nutrition for them, knowing that it would impact her husband’s performance at work, her children’s performance in schooling, and hers as well throughout the day. How we invest in our families both in material ways, and spiritual ways makes a HUGE difference!
  • This also speaks of our spiritual calling to make disciples, feeding our spiritual children with the word of God. Go feed somebody something today! And Something GOOD!

7. She Invests (Verse 16)

  • When our example bought and sold, she didn’t squander her resources but, instead, planted a vineyard.
  • This shows us we should invest our time, money, and resources in tomorrow, looking forward to a harvest be-it through financial investing, planting, or teaching. Let’s invest as she does!

8. She Perceives (Verse 18)

  • As we grow in wisdom, we ought to grow in perception. To perceive means to: become aware of, know, or identify; to recognize, discern, envision, or understand. Many parents and spouses have no perceiving capabilities whatsoever when it comes to dealing with family, finances, temptation, etc.
  • I pray that we would be a people who perceive what God is doing in every situation in our life, and how to respond!

9. She Gives (Verse 20)

  • When the proverbs 31 woman “reaches out her hands to the needy” she is loved by God greatly! The word says in 2 Cor. 9:7, that God LOVES a cheerful giver!
  • We should aim to operate in this very-precious wisdom called cheerful giving, knowing that if we give, it will be given back to us!

10. She Protects (Verse 22)

  • Just as she makes clothes for her household, which comforts them in winter, a proverbs 31 woman protects her family from any potential harm.
  • This looks like clothing your children, coming to their defense, placing restrictions on their internet usage, forbidding poor dating choices, teaching them the word of God, and so on and so forth. Let’s clothe our households and protect them!
  • It goes on to say in verse 27 that she WATCHES over the ways of her household. To watch and protect is a supreme act of wisdom!

What an Example! We should all aim to grow into the maturity that this wonderful woman of God demonstrates. Ladies can glean from her life in many literal ways, and so can gentleman. Let’s set the bar high and ask God for the Grace to make a Huge Difference as this woman did!

wise woman

Orbit Choker. By InExtremiss. CC2.0

What Do you think? How do you feel about these points of wisdom? Anything else you can see from her life that we should take into consideration!? How do YOU do in the mornings!? Haha. Leave a comment in the section below and share this article to bless others!

9.woman! Peopltht nd man. The greatest aspect of the proverbs 31 woman outside of her virtuosity is her significant amount of wisdom. Much can be learned from this woman. Whenever we see the Proverbs 31 woman, we see wisdom!

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I’m Peter.

bibles4“Peter let me tell you something. Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that even know me.”  – Luke 22:34

When I read the account of Peter denying Jesus, I am always baffled. “How could he deny the Son of God!?” After everything he’s seen. After all the grace he’s been shown! How could he!? Then I’m grieved as the Holy Spirit reveals something to me: “You’re Peter.”

“Me?!?”

“That’s right. You.”

“Not me, Lord! I would never deny you!”

“. . . .”

That’s right. I’m Peter.

I deny Him. I betray Him. I give Him up. I leave Him. I resist Him. I run from Him – FAST! Like Super Fast!

Whenever He wants to wash my feet, to serve me, to speak to me early in the morning. Whenever He wants to convict of sin, tell me to stop something, to give something up. Whenever He wants to heal me, to bind up my wounds. When he wants to restore me, to serve me, even though I’ve rejected Him so often. I’m Peter

7 Things We Wish Jesus Had Never Said

26365 by Royal Constantine

Okay okay, I get it. Not you. You love the Bible so much and everything Christ said and it’s the infallible word of God and you’re thankful for every single syllable that was uttered from the incarnate mouth of God. Join the club. I’m so very thankful for the Bible and I’m so thankful for everything that Christ spoke as well, but if we’re honest, there are a few radical things the savior of the world spoke that just don’t sit well with our stomachs. And that’s okay! Or at least it should be.

There is a growing batch of bad yeast in the body of Christ and culture around us today that absolutely loves to omit scripture. Especially scripture that doesn’t fit their agenda or promote self. Sure we’re all capable of it and guilty of it from time to time. Generally, we will look at somebody who is “in sin,” and point our finger and say something along the lines of “Be Holy as I am Holy” (Lev. 20:26,) But then, a moment later when we blow it, we rid our consciences of any responsibility by reminding ourselves, “There is no condemnation. . . ” (Romans 8:1) There is a great temptation to pick and choose scripture moment by moment as it suits our needs!

I’m not talking about denominational differences. Sure there are groups that have to explain away why David said worship God with stringed instruments, and groups that have to explain away why Paul said don’t forbid speaking in tongues, and the religious groups sure have to explain away that whole “It is finished” thing, but there are certain things that mess with all of our consciences and I have to believe it was because Christ wanted it that way.

I recently started writing a book about the radical words of Christ, exploring WHY exactly they killed Jesus. The more I began to dig into the gospels, the more I began to see that the most gracious figure in the history of the world also made some of the boldest declarations we’ve ever heard. Jesus the Christ said such stern things and drew such bold lines in the sand that it figures so many would choose to turn away from Him. It’s really easy to love a guy who says, “Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden,” but it’s a little harder to follow the guy who is turning tables over in the temple in front of a news crew. Most would be content to simply sign up for his fan newsletter and keep up from a far. Jesus is a master of shock value, and though he made some pretty bold declarations, it’s safe to say his calling is radical and his rewards are sure and certain. Without further ado, I give you the 7 things we wish Jesus never said:

  1. “I’ve not come to bring peace, but a sword.” – Matthew 10:34

Yikes! A Sword!?!? Surely not Jesus! Think again. Christ was very clear to point out that his life, death and resurrection would forever draw a line in the sand: With me, or against me. He goes on to explain that from then on households and family members would be split down the middle, some in favor of Him and others, well . . . not so much. Many of you reading this post can’t seem to figure out why your whole household hasn’t thrown all the way in on the Jesus train. Christ actually said it would look like this. A sword isn’t a pretty image, but the grace is that when you’re fully given over to Him, you can’t lose. There is hope for your whole family, friend circle, workplace and school to be saved, but nevertheless there may be pain in the process.

  1. “In this world, you WILL have tribulation.” – John 16:33

Now this just isn’t what we bargained for, is it? Many people are told that if they will give their life to Christ they will experience His wonderful plans and purposes and never have stress or fret or experience any fear. This looks a little different than the Jesus who said, “Be faithful even unto death.” (Rev. 2:10) The problem with this pitch is that the men who followed Jesus in the Bible followed him to stoning, beheading, quartering, boiling, crucifixion, and burning. The Grace? He finishes this statement by saying… “Take heart, I have overcome the world.”

  1. “Take up your cross, deny yourself, and follow Me.” – Matthew 16:24

The path of indulgence seems to be the logical choice of the natural mind. The simpleton would not have it any other way than to wake up when he wants, eat what he wants, drink what he wants, do what he wants, whenever he wants, however he wants, with whoever he wants to get whatever he wants. Jesus said the four letter D-word we hate to hear: “Deny.” Like tell yourself no. Most of us can’t fathom a gracious God instructing us to put our desires on the backburner, but that’s exactly what Christ calls us to do.

  1. “But whoever says, “You fool!” shall be in danger of hell-fire.” – Matthew 5:22

Like FIRE. Hot, hell-fire. Christ preached so heavily that the sin comes from the heart, and that to be angry against another is to have already committed murder. When he says calling someone a fool puts one in danger of hell-fire, he is underscoring not only our heart condition but also our speech, which he later reveals comes from the heart. The Bible teaches us that we will give an account for every idle word that we speak. Just think about that. EVERY idle word. That means I will be held accountable for each word I’m typing this very instant. And you will be held accountable for every simple thought you make known. We’d probably prefer that Christ only kept a tally of our well-rehearsed encouraging speeches, but his filing cabinet is much much bigger than that.

  1. “So be earnest and repent.” – Revelation 3:19

Here it is! That wretched R-Word that has become so synonymous for legalism in our culture today. Repent! Boom! There’s a thought! Turn from your sin and towards Jesus Christ, change the way you think and come back to Him! There are preachers that even preach that there is not further need to repent after giving your life to Christ but here we have the resurrected Jesus exhorting a church of believers to do that very thing. Repentance is the pathway to redemption, not only for salvation from hell, but deliverance from sin, addiction and bondage.

  1. “Go, sell everything. . . and follow me.” Matthew 19:21

Now, in context, Jesus was exposing a rich man’s heart by commanding him to do the very thing he would refuse: Giving up his stuff. When this man stacked up his list of accomplishments to impress the savior, Jesus said something like, “Great, now go give up everything and you’ll have riches in heaven, and follow me.” The Grace? The rich young ruler would have treasure in heaven. But suffice it to say that just wasn’t good enough for this man. And if we’re honest, there’s a good deal of things we’d much like to hang on to as well.

7. “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations. . .” – Matthew 28:19

This seems a little different than the other sayings we’ve explored but if you think about it makes a great deal of sense. It’s hard to find someone who embraces a mission for the mission’s sake. Most people don’t like work. They just work because it brings a paycheck each Friday. Many of us wouldn’t dream of leaving the four walls of the church building to actually speak on behalf of Christ and bring the prodigals home. Jesus Christ has not called us to merely sit and be Christians, but rather to GO. That means to get up, go out, and do something! What is that? Make disciples. Going and making means taking initiative. This is generally where someone will point you to John 15 and give a nice theological exposition of “abiding” and resting and being rather than doing. Oh the fruit of enjoying an ongoing relationship with God, but let’s not forget the harvest fields are ripe. Let’s not let them go to waste while we enjoy the shade of the barn. Let’s not neglect the great commission of our master: Go! And make disciples.

What do you think? Do you believe these statements are still valid for today? Are there any other scriptures you would add to this list? Let me know in the comments section and feel free to share this article with your friends.

15 Things Every Man Should Do Before Getting Married

Chloe + Caleb by Hawkins Creative


Men are not growing up. 

Modern culture devalues marriage in the highest degree, and young men aren’t growing up until they’re thirty. The average age of marriage in the US is 27 for females and 29 for males. (My grandparents got married at 15 and 17.) There’s a host of reasons for this trend, but I believe immaturity, laziness and promiscuity are the biggest causes. We’ve created a culture of men who just do nothing except whatever they want whenever the want and thus never grow into who they are meant to be and never become the servants that our generation needs!

I recently read an article entitled 21 Experiences Every Man Should Have Before Marriage. On the list? Date around, Have sex. Date online, Spend all your money, etc. etc. etc.

It’s this very mindset (have sex, date around, cuss your brains out, spend all your cash and drink the night away because one day you’ll have to grow up) that prevents men from doing that very thing: GROWING UP!

I want to bring some truth to the table regarding young men and what they should REALLY give their time to in their unmarried life. Young men, it’s time to GROW UP!

Here are 15 things I believe every man should do before getting married.(I’ll give you a hint, It’s not being a party-frat boy)

  1. Meet Jesus.

Don’t just meet him, be saved by him. Trust me, you’re not that great and she doesn’t want to be married to you. You suck. You would live in a pig-stye and watch marvel movies all-day long if she let you. She needs a man that loves her unconditionally and serves her even when she fights him. She wants to be married to Christ even if she doesn’t know it! Not to mention you just need his saving grace FOR YOURSELF!

  1. Work!

We are encountering the most entitlement-minded generation this country   has ever seen. When you marry one day, it will be your job to provide for your bride. If you haven’t got a J-O-B, you aren’t even in the game yet.

  1. Finish Something.

Something! JUST SOMETHING! College, vocational training, rehab, an   internship, a bible school, a webinar, you name it! Start something, stick with it, learn something, and finish it! Sowing the seed of doing something and finishing well may be much more valuable in the long-run than what it is your doing to begin with!

  1. Wait

Don’t “date around” for the sake of dating around. Sure, when you’re out of high school and looking at getting married and you spot a pretty young lady, take her out for coffee and don’t be a passive weirdo, but don’t waste    your teenage years telling a bunch of girls how much you love them when you’ve got nothing more than your mom’s minivan and 10 borrowed bucks to        pay for one movie ticket. You’ll do much better to spend time with friends and grow into a man they want to marry when it’s time!

  1. Learn Something

You need to learn something. Something that sets you apart and separates    you from the pack. A trade, a skill, a degree, a mindset. Read a book, take a  course, get a mentor, but learn something and don’t just stop there. Learn lots of things! Learn how to learn early, so that you’ll always be growing!

  1. Save

Be a penny-hoarder. When you get a paycheck from your job, throw a few     bucks in the bank account. Pass up a hangout now and then. Start a 401k or lock up your money in a low interest cd just to get some return, but save some money. Saving is a habit and it’s not formed when your paycheck increases. Start young so you will save for life!

  1. Get a Vision

Your life is like a boat and your wife will have to jump on board. Saving money and learning something is like hoisting masts and plugging holes, but   if you have absolutely no idea where you’re going, there’s going to be a lot of frustration. Before you get married, shoot before you even start college, ask yourself this question: Where do I want to go? This solves a lot of problems   on the offset. Oh and just for free, ladies love a man who has a plan! She’s looking for an adventure, not just an existence.

  1. Serve in a Church

Don’t just “join a church.” Get off the bench and get in the game! Listening to  a man talk every week is great but Jesus said “Whoever wants to become first among you must be your slave.” – Matthew 20:27. Be a greeter, hold an offering bucket, start a small group, pick up trash. However you do it, serve     someone and not just in the church but also in the workplace and in your day-to-day life. Serving promotes, and you’ll want a promotion.

  1. Have FUN

This seems counter intuitive to what I’ve been laying out but surely you’ve   got to have some fun right? Look for a solid group of friends and paint the  town red. Once you get some kids you’ll need to be in by 10.

  1. Swap Friends for Family

Don’t just have some friends but find some brothers. I’m talking about a  group of men that have got your back for the long-haul. Not the ‘’ride-or-die” type pansies that the hip-hop culture promotes. They’ll sell you out quicker than you can say “sell.” No, Find a group of men that you can confide in and    receive from. You’ll need it on your journey.

  1. Find a Mentor

Let’s settle it right now. YOU DON’T KNOW EVERYTHING. And you won’t either. The old adage is true: “At 16 you know everything and at 26 you know nothing.” Get an older Godly man that will speak into you, encourage you, and rebuke you so that you can become refined into the man you want to be! Refusing a mentor is like refusing a life-vest.

  1. Live Pure

I don’t care what anyone says. Having sex before marriage is a BAD IDEA. It was not designed to be enjoyed outside of covenant. When you sow the seed of pre-marital sex and porn you’re just asking for trust issues, adultery, shame, and the very thing you hoped to avoid in the first place: NO sex. One day your wifey will want to know that you keep your pants up. If you     chase those petty pornified fantasies as a young man, you’ll only lust for   more after the wedding day. Lust is lust, and it’s never satisfied. Trust me  and trust God. It’s worth the wait.

  1. Make a Plan.

Don’t just have a vision, figure out how you’re going there! You’ll be tweaking this along the way but making plans is a process and a greatly needed one at that. Be the master planner of your home in finance, fun, career, family and so on.

  1. Love your Momma

She’s your lady right now. Forget what culture says. How you treat that woman is how you’ll treat your bride. Go all out! By her lunch, give her a great mother’s day present and don’t be too arrogant to lean you 6 foot head down and give her a kiss on the forehead. LOVE your momma.

  1. Know the Bible.

You are not wise on your own. If you don’t seek the word of God you will fail and it will hurt. You’ll be throwing down on video games, eating Cheetos in your momma’s basement at age 30 without a penny to spare. Joshua 1:8 says that if you will meditate in the word day and night and do all that is written in it you will make your way prosperous and find good success. You wouldn’t fix a broken appliance without consulting the manual! (Well maybe you would. In that case you should read an article on fixing things.) Why would   you bank your life on experience? Take it from me: Don’t be the young man that sleeps and sloths his way around until at age 60 he comes to himself and    thinks, man, maybe I should do something with my life! I’ve met this guy, and he’s not happy. Get the word deep deep deep down in your soul, know it, fight for it, and live from it all the days of your life and this list won’t even be necessary.

So there you have it. 15 of possibly 1500 life lessons all young men need. I’m urging you, go against the grain. Don’t squander your future so you can indulge today. Don’t be the lazy, pot-smoking, video-game addicted, arrogant, drinking, teenage love-bug that loses in the long-haul. Build something. Dream! Fight for your future! Be the man that God has destined for you to be!

Thanks for the read! For more resources, check out my brand new blogsite, jarredmoss.com ! And follow my blog for my latest writings and devotionals! You won’t regret it! 

Life In Focus: Six Thoughts From My Week as a Father

lifeinfocus

I’m tired. To say anything else would be a lie. But I’ve never experienced the love I’m experiencing at this very moment. Last Monday, March 9th at 11:23, my beautiful firstborn baby daughter Addison Drew was born into this world and needless to say, momma and I were ecstatic! After nearly 10 months (cause let’s face it, its TEN not nine) of anxiously awaiting her arrival, we were finally getting the chance to meet this beautiful baby girl that we had prayed for and prepared for!

But it didn’t go as planned.

Addi came at 11:23pm and by 11:24 pm she was in the resuscitation room receiving breathing treatments. After a few minutes I was invited back to look at my beautiful baby girl, fresh in the world, pale as all get-out and very still. While something in me was worried, there was a greater sense that all was right and would be so.

“You can touch her, dad. She’s yours.”

“Are you sure about that?” Babies seem very fragile when you’ve never had one, afterall. But touch her I did, and I took pictures of her, and smiled over her. My first moment of joy as a father was crowded out by two specific thoughts however:

  1. I got to see her before Evelyn. (This made me sad.)
  2. Why is she back here?

After the Doctor explained to me that her lungs weren’t functioning properly and that she’d have to be taken to the NICU to be treated for premature complications, I was a little bummed but hopeful. I walked back to the Post-Op room and waited on Evelyn to come back and after an hour and a half or so, learned she was losing blood, significantly. It wasn’t until the next morning that I learned she had lost half her blood. The doctors and staff rushed to her side and spent an hour working on her as I watched her complexion turn cold white and prayed earnestly that God would intervene and I wouldn’t lose her. After they wheeled Addi back to the NICU I proceeded to stay by Evelyn’s side and just rub my forehead and try not to worry.

By the grace of God, after an hour of procedure, a very nice doctor came to visit with myself and my mother-in-law and informed us that Evelyn was stable and should be okay.

People always tell you the joy of seeing your baby for the first time. That there’s this unique ecstasy that happens when you lock eyes with your little loved one and all else in the world seems to drift away. I finally had that experience some days later, but the night of my daughter’s birth I was on an emotional roller-coaster experiencing the highs of joy, sorrow, confidence, fear, trust, and doubt. As I weeped in the room next to my beautiful bride and pleaded with God to act swiftly, I began to ponder life, and I’ve since come to a few conclusions about what Life is in a way I’ve never known.

  1. Life is Fragile

The Vast majority of us live our lives with the subtle presupposition that we are bulletproof. That is, that we cannot die, will not cease to exist, and will not experience harm. It’s a rare thing to find someone who prays every morning without fail, because it’s a rare thing to find someone truly humble before the Lord, numbering their days and focusing on the gift of life in every moment. We are fickle human beings who take for granted our wives, husbands, children, friends, family and even co-workers, understanding that they will be there tomorrow.

I know this because I’m one of these people. And in a moment of great fear, watching my wife battle for her blood and quite literally for her life, I finally settled: Life is Fragile.

  1. Life is Precious

People wander throughout life not understanding their significance. It seems that in the everyday and mundane, we lose sight of the fact that God himself chose to set his treasure in our broken bodies, our jars of clay, to reveal himself to others. Life has an intrinsic value that cannot be underestimated, nor overlooked, but we sure do a great job of it. Every twenty seconds a baby is murdered in his mother’s womb because of convenience, we’re told from day one in science classes now we originated from a bunch of apes over the process of a gazillion years, and at the end of the day we feel like it. Just a bunch of people doing random things. But it’s a lie. As I held My baby I realized, she doesn’t have to do one thing for me and I love her because of WHO SHE IS and NOT what she does. Why? Because she’s alive. Because life is precious. So as you go about your daily chores, work the same job, take care of the same kids, wear the same clothes, eat the same meals, and do the same things, remember this: Life is precious.

  1. Life is small

Though it may seem to undermine the previous point, we must understand life is small. There’s 8,000,000,000 people on the planet. And there is us. We could disappear tomorrow and the world would continue to turn. This doesn’t undo the fact that our lives are precious, but it underscores the fact that we are very small, dust in the wind, and our need for the blood of Jesus Christ is very real and very present. There is nothing special about the space of earth that we occupy and this fallen earth that we inherited from our ancestors could take it’s toll on us at any moment for the worse. Now our immediate temptation is to make what we would call “A Big Difference,” when the exact opposite is the pathway to success. If you watch the lives of the greatest celebrities deteriorate, you begin to find that those who reach the most, may be the ones that leave the least. On the other hand, if you watch a father – a real father, who recognizes his size in comparison with the earth, and embraces it, and lives small (raising children, loving his wife, serving in his church, sharing the gospel, enjoying his friends, and enjoying his grandchildren) you find that those who embrace the least, leave behind the most. It seems the only way to understanding how precious we truly are in God’s sight and the difference we can make is to understand the exact opposite is true as well: Life is Small.

  1. Life is Short

James 4:14 tell us that our lives are like a vapor; here one day and gone the next. This fact reminds us that our time here on earth is short. Very short. Like I’m a dad and just yesterday I was clinging to my mother playing drums and eating after-school snacks short. This reality forces us into one of two camps:

The first is the party camp. This is the camp that chants “Drink, be merriful, tomorrow we die! Live it up! Do whatever you want! Life is short!” (1st Cor. 15:30-34) This camp seems to have the truth but in time will look over their life and realize they left no mark and no legacy. They only existed, and very foolishly at that. Death will come to their door, and all that they will have to show is their own empires which will dissolve like snow.

The Second is the legacy camp. This is the camp that enjoys the small things and refuses to sacrifice their impact on the next generation, even at the expense of instant gratification, knowing that the ultimate gratification is looking back on life as you near the end and knowing you left a mark, you passed a torch, you brought forth life, you are leaving something behind.

Which Camp are you in? I suppose it’s a question you should ask, but as you make your choice always be swift to consider this fact: Life is short.

  1. Life is Living

This one just cannot be ignored. Life is more than breathing air and existing. Life is living. And living is totally under-appreciated! In the moment of dread that fateful night, I began to ask myself, If something were to happen to my family today, could I truthfully say I left it all on the field? Did I hug them enough? Kiss them enough? Tell them I love them? Spend time with them? Watch movies with them? Pray with them? Eat with them? Laugh with them? Love them? Serve them? Submit to them? Give to them? Fight for them?!?!? Did I?

Or did we just exist together?

You will never get a chance to hug a memory of someone. So lock arms with them today! Don’t sit on the sideline. Get up, move, and live the life God has given you to live!    Just Remember: Life is Living.

  1. Life is Eternal

The only thing that gives us hope in this world is that Jesus Christ himself rose from the dead, which means you and I get to as well. However, that resurrection depends on the Spiritual rebirth that you and I so badly need to counteract the sin virus we inherited. It’s time to come to grips with the truth because the truth shall set you free.

Truth: Heaven is real. Hell is real. Death is real. The resurrection is real. Christ is real. His judgement seat is real. His guest list is real. And so is your name.

Is it on it?

The question of Eternal life is one of eternal salvation. If life truly is short, truly is precious, truly is small, truly is fragile and truly is living, we must decide rather firmly how we are going to spend it after death. Seventy years isn’t even a speck in the sight of *Never going to die.* Let me be clear in this blog post: Don’t spend eternity in Hell. Spend it in Heaven. But don’t sign up for fire insurance. Come to Jesus. The true Jesus who gives you life and love and everlasting joy!

Because in Him, Life is Big, Life is beautiful, Life is unbreakable, Life is everlasting, Life never stops living.

Make your decision, but always remember: Life is Eternal.

For me, Life has changed for the best. And I aim to enjoy it. I pray that God would grant me grace to always view life in focus.

Broken and Poured Out

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“The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, o God.”        – Psalm 51:17

All throughout the earth, God is looking for broken and contrite men and women who are absolutely undone by who HE is. In Luke chapter 7, an adulterous woman brings her alabaster jar of very expensive perfume before Jesus and proceeds to break it open and pour it out on him while others made fun and scoffed, saying “doesn’t he know, what kind of woman she is? A sinner!” The men who made great sacrifices with arrogant hearts were the ones unjust, while a woman who was broken walked away JUST before the Lord.

Question: What would it look like if we took our prized possessions (time, money, attention, affection) and broke them open in a devoted effort to lavish our love upon the Lord. Why we’d be like this woman whom Christ held in such high esteem. But furthermore, what would it be like if our lives     looked much like that alabaster jar, full of potential and a sweet life created and bottled up in our flesh by God himself, BROKEN and POURED OUT upon Jesus Christ and The Father in unrelenting love and adoration?

THIS is precious in the eyes of the Lord. THIS is just.

Father, let us resolve to be broken and repentant people before you! Let us live solely devoted to you and you alone. You are our joy!

Psalm 51, Luke 7

Five Love-Lies We Learned from Nicholas Sparks

Last weekend was Valentine’s day: a day many enjoy and a day which many more gag thinking about. It seems that to a single person, valentine’s day is either a day to seek out a casual date, or a day to avoid as the plague. Whatever v-day may be to you, it is a day that makes us think of romance, whether for better or for worse, and a day which causes us to consider that deep, deep longing within the human heart to love and to be loved. Love is a longing that spans a greater gap of demographics than race, religion, agenda, or gender. Everyone loves to love and be loved.

Since I’ve been a married man the last couple years I find myself enjoying valentine’s day much more. It’s a day that I can dream up creative ways to spoil my lovely wife rotten and enjoy time together which ultimately reminds us why and how we fell in love. I personally enjoy being overly-romantic in all the ways you can think: dressing up in a suit, buying way too many roses, surprising Evelyn at work, sending chocolates and flowers, surprise dinners, etc. This valentine’s day, however, I decided to do something a little more casual that was right up her alley: chick-flick-athon.

I had our day all planned out: free coffee at chick-fil-a. And yes, by the way, that’s a thing. A date to a local bookstore to pick out our soon-to-be-born baby girl’s first story book, and then a bundle of rental movies in hand to take home and binge on. Anyone who knows my wife knows this is a total win. She LOVES movies! If I were to be completely honest, I thoroughly enjoy ‘chick-flicks’ as well. But that’s between you, me, and the wall.

We set down to gorge ourselves on video entertainment and microwavable popcorn and popped in the first movie of the afternoon. The one. The only. The classic: The Notebook. I first saw ‘The Notebook’ when I was 13 years old, and subsequently read the novel written by none other than Nicholas Sparks, and went on to read other books and watch other films by him. While carrying a soft bound stack of 300 pages snug under a picture of a rain-soaked Ryan Gosling about to kiss Rachel Mcadams led other guys my age to question my sexuality, I reveled in learning the art to a woman’s heart. It seemed like a good idea at the time: chicks dig Nicholas Sparks, so I read Nicholas Sparks. I can’t say it didn’t help at all 😉

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Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams. By friskytuna. cc2.0

Interestingly enough, however, it was reported just earlier this year in January that Mr. Sparks and his wife of twenty-five years had separated. Fans everywhere were awestruck when they heard the news. How could the heartthrob writer himself have a dysfunctional marriage? ‘Wouldn’t any woman kill to be in his wife’s shoes!?’ – an important question to ask nonetheless, but meanwhile, let’s get back to our story.

I hadn’t seen this film in years but, as always we jumped straight into the story line and watched all the way until the end and both cried as the older gentleman Duke finally won his wife Honey back to remembrance and enjoyed an embrace with her right before her dementia rebooted and she couldn’t remember him. Boy that’s a cinematic masterpiece. After turning our second movie off rather quickly due to its superb lack of quality, we landed on number three: “The Best of Me.”

I had no idea what the film was about, but what interested me is that after only ten minutes or so of watching, I began to be able to predict the rest of the plot in stunning fashion. While watching the re-kindling flame between grown-up Dawson and now-married Amanda, we were given flashbacks of their upbringing and coming together: Dawson was from the rough side of the tracks, while Amanda was from money. Dawson had a desire to rise above his circumstances, and Amanda’s dad wished he would go away. I began to scratch my head and think to myself, ‘didn’t I just see this?’

As Noah had been a simple lumber-worker and Allie from a rich estate in The Notebook, so had Dawson and Amanda’s circumstances played out. As Allie had enjoyed spending time with Noah and his father on their front porch, so had Amanda enjoyed the same scenario many times with Dawson and his father-figure. But it didn’t stop there. Some years later both are re-united through varying circumstances. Only this time, in The Notebook, Allie is engaged, and in The Best of Me, Amanda IS married. To a real jerk, yes, but indeed married.

The coinciding of literary details in both plots was almost laughable, and I could give many, many more examples but I don’t wish to spoil either movie for you, though that’s what I’m going to do right this very moment.

In both movies, both couples end up in an interesting predicament where they are reminded of the burning flame they shared in high school for one another and, be it by fate in their eyes, are given a chance to chase the dream they desired from years ago. So they do what apparently any couple in a Nicholas Sparks book would do: fornicate. That’s right: fornicate. But not the bad kind of fornication. I mean after all, this is a romance movie, correct? No, they fornicate in the good intentions, ‘led by their hearts’ kind of way. Bleh.

I realized what we are dealing with in our culture during the big conversation that each man has in each film with his female counterpart. It’s a conversation where she is distraught, trying to decide whether she should give into a fairytale lustful moment, or hold true to her commitment to her guy back home. But after all the stress, and tears, both Noah and Dawson slam it home with one general question that goes something like this: “What do YOU want?” or “What makes YOU happy?” In fact, Noah even goes so far as to say, ‘Quit thinking about what everyone wants or says!’

            After the film’s climax and ending sequence, most viewers were probably touched by the deep, “love” relationship that we see played out on screen, but I was left with one question that I can’t help but think almost nobody else was asking:     “What about the other guy?”

What about Allie’s fiancée who had done everything right and treated her well, and asked her to marry him with an acceptance? Is it
okay that she cheated on him to fulfill a sensual desire for another man she had kindled as a teenager? And what about Amanda’s husband? Yes, Amanda’s drinking, apathetic, selfish husband. Doesn’t he get a say in whether or not she sleeps with another man?

As I contemplated the parallels in both plots, I came to a startling realization that brought me to a glimpse of Mr. Sparks’ heart-beliefs, as well as the deeply-rooted misconception that the majority of modern society holds about love. I will preface my following thoughts with the understanding that Mr. Sparks has written some things that seem very deep, genuine and true. For more on that watch A Walk to Remember. I will also state upfront that I have a deep respect for the situation that He and his wife are going through, as nobody truly knows the details of their situation, save themselves and God. That being stated, after thinking over both movies, I’ve come up with five lies we learn about love from Nicholas Sparks:

  1. Love is something you fall into.
  •  This is the belief that there is a perfect person for everyone and if you don’t wind up with that person, then life will never be what it was intended to be. The truth is there is no perfect person for you because there are no perfect people. You must seek to find someone you like and then LEARN to LOVE them, in the action sense of the word. After all, Love is a verb. It is something you do (serving, giving, submitting, forgiving, etc. ) not something you fall into. (Everything about you makes me have butterflies so let’s get married, or at least fornicate. )
  1. What makes you happy is best.
  • This is the ideology given that it does not matter what makes others happy, it is simply about what you desire that will grant you great joy and success in the long-run. We see this played out in the core of each woman’s decision-making. Whether it’s ditching your fiancée for your high school fling, or divorcing your husband because he doesn’t give you attention, it’s your life. And it is over quick. You must do what feels best. This is completely contradictory to the biblical presentation we see of love where a man laid down his life on a cross for an adulterating people that he knew would constantly turn after false-gods and false-comforts, neglecting him in return. That same man asks us to forgive as we have been forgiven.
  1. Covenant is cheap. 
  • The greatest picture we have of covenant in life is the marriage of two people. In The Best of Me, we see that if your marriage isn’t what you’d like it to be, you can cash it in, and apparently for a much higher interest rate than we see in reality when divorce happens.
  1. It all works out in the end.
  • In both movies, though one film doesn’t end as you’d think, we see the main characters come to a satisfying conclusion in life, a sense of accomplishment. This is the ideology that one can cut and paste their partner, ignore the advice of others, and sow seeds of sexual sin and reap a beautiful, lovely harvest of joy and happiness. The truth is bad seed sown is a bad harvest reaped.
  1. You’re the only one it hurts.
  •  In both movies, we have almost no record of the emotional and spiritual state of various family members and friends that are involved in the lives of both parties long-term. The one glimpse we do get is of Amanda’s son who seems to be enjoying time at college. This is the ideology that so long as you are happy, you’re actions impact you and life carries on. Which is false of course. In reality, when divorce, rebellion, deceitfulness, and adultery take place what we’re left with is distrust, frustration, heartache, and multiple thanksgiving dinners.

With all these subtle instructions being given and played out throughout the ‘greatest’ romance novels of all time, is it any wonder that the divorce rate is so high, and love is becoming an entirely dysfunction sphere of life for the majority of people.

Could it be that we got love completely wrong? Could it be that we’ve promoted lust in the name of romance rather than things that don’t sell such as sacrifice, commitment, death-to-self, and serving?

Could it be that we got love completely wrong? Could it be that we’ve promoted lust in the name of romance rather than things that don’t sell such as sacrifice, commitment, death-to-self, and serving?

I, for one, believe Hollywood’s definition of love is rather shallow and misleading. If we want the truth, we have to look for a source of truth. And unfortunately, straight from the horse’s mouth, we find that Nicholas Sparks, in a very ironic and quite unfortunate turn of events, is not that source.

What do you think? Are these five love-lies told frequently in modern society? What are the five love-truths that counteract them? What can we do and how can we teach the next generation precious truths regarding the area of romance to see marriage and family restored to its right working order? I would love to know you’re thoughts! Please consider leaving a comment, and sharing this article with others!

Why your resolution didn’t work.

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Resolution.  By Bekah. cc2.0

“Time to Shape up”

“Pray everyday”

“Spend less”

“Work harder”

“Travel more.”

“Read this.”

“Watch that.”

“Drink less coffee”

“Drink more coffee.”

Sound Familiar?

Every year millions of people across the globe resolve to change their ways by eliminating certain things from their life and adding new things. Whether it’s cutting ice cream intake down to once per week, or adding a 7 minute workout to the morning routine, we gravitate toward self-improvement and naturally so. It’s a fun dream we chase.

We get a tax refund and think of all the exciting possibilities with our fresh financial break-through.

We break out a fresh, brand new calendar, or scroll to the next year’s page on our smart phones and tablets and look at January 1 with glaring eyes of determination, promising ourselves that this year will be different.

This is it!

New Year, New You!!!!

But it’s not a ‘new you’, it’s still… well… how do I put this? You!

The same you.

It’s the same you that really really loves ice cream and hates throwing on a pair of sweats and running for 10 minutes in the freezing cold. It’s the same you that was pounding three cups of coffee back on top of only 5 hours of sleep making your way to drop your kids off at day-care so you can work the same job and hopefully get back home in time to watch 20 minutes of the same show on Netflix while you fall asleep on the couch, except you can’t because you have to make dinner. And go to bed.

You. Yep, that’s what you’ve got. December 31st and January 1st right through December 31st again.

Now upon hearing that, you’ve probably tried to hold back a scowl or you can’t help but be overcome with some sort of grimace, because, sadly, it’s February, and you’re starting to realize that all you’ve got is you. And you’re not okay with you.

Maybe you’re reading this post and you love yourself and that’s great and dandy, but for the rest of us who struggle with our shortcomings, and want to strive to change our lives up maybe just a bit to be more productive, spend more time with family, get more organized or for goodness’ sake JUST GET THE DISHES WASHED AND THE CLOTHES PUT UP, there is hope. And that hope is well… you.

 You see, your past and your present both play into your perspective.You can’t change everything about yourself, because you are created unique. While you can change the fact that you over-indulge in espresso, you can’t change the fact that you have, in-fact, been one who over-indulges in espresso. While you can change your attitude towards your family and co-workers, you can’t change the fact that your attitude has already been poor.

But all these past circumstances and experiences lead you to your current situation and your current situation involves your greatest commodity: you. And secondarily, your time. You and your time are the greatest determining factors of who you can be tomorrow, and it all starts today, right now, this instant.

When you look at a new calendar what do you see? Probably a lot of blank space right? I personally love blank space, and not the Taylor Swift song, though the Mashup that one girl and her guy-pal did in the street was pretty nifty. To understand what I’m talking about, click here. Oh but who am I kidding everyone loves T-Swizz. But I digress.

One of my favorite things is to look at a blank calendar full of blank space because what I see when I look at the empty squares is different then what some people see. I see potential. It wasn’t always this way though. I used to dread a calendar, but in fact, now when I look at a calendar I look at each individual box and I begin to dream about how, individually, these single empty boxes can work together to form the greatest year yet.

Why? Because you and your time, is all you need. Maybe you don’t know have a ton of job skills, but at least you know how to read,(assuming you made it this far,) and a few minutes of reading and trying your hand could land you a new job opportunity.

You can’t run a half-marathon, but luckily you can take a few steps today that will turn into a jog tomorrow and a 5k by the end of the month!

You haven’t memorized every book in the bible and you can’t quote John 3:16, Jeremiah 29:11, and Philippians 4:13, but you certainly can read a verse today and write it down.

What generally happens around mid-December is we step on a scale, go to a church, browse through a book store, have a fight with our spouse, or check our bank account and realize we didn’t make it! But “it” is relevant, and if we realize that “it,” will never truly arrive, as you can always improve, then we can lower the expectation bar, and begin to live our dreams!

The problem is that we dream of becoming a different version of us and we put all our eggs into the January 1st basket and by January 7th, become discouraged. But I have good news! The story doesn’t end on January 7th! There’s today! And there is you!

Psalm 139:14 says “. . . I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” And Philippians 4:13 reminds us that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us!

If we decide that today has potential and so do we, we can make a change by embracing the simple things in life that add up to big dividends! A prayer today is a prayer life tomorrow! A pushup today is a toned physique in a month or two, and rose for your spouse can spark a new zeal in your marriage over the course of this year.

As fickle as we might be, as frustrated as we might get, consistency is key, and we are all we’ve got to make it happen! Let’s not resolve to be different, persay, but let’s resolve to enjoy our strengths, embrace our shortcomings, and somewhere in between take one step, one day at a time to see great gains in our lives for the long-haul, rather than in the immediate moment! Let’s not resolve to be different. Let’s resolve to be devoted!

So, before we throw this year to scraps and glare back at the missed bible-plan readings, trips to the buffet, and pile of dishes in the sink, what do you say we look into the eyes of a God who is able to take anything small and turn it into something big, and glance at today’s blank space and resolve that you are enough! And your time is in your hands. You matter! And your day matters!

So why did your New Year’s resolution fail? The answer is simple: You.

But what hope do you have? You!

Such a one as this

And Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find such a one as this, a man in whom is the Spirit of God?” -Genesis 41:38

Whenever Pharaoh was troubled in Spirit after his dreams about the coming famine, he called forth magicians and wise men from all over Egypt and nobody could make sense of it for him except Joseph. He exclaimed that Joseph had the very spirit of God in him and promoted him. This shows us that the world’s wisdom can’t settle the trouble in your soul, but only the Spirit of God. Joseph represents Jesus, who gives the grain of God’s word during spiritual famine to all countries who come and will come to Him. How we need His word in this spiritual famine we are experiencing in America! It takes a man of God like Paul, who was willing to die for Jesus! (Acts 21:13) Lord make us men and women of your spirit and send the grain!

Being Complete

“May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. ”

– Ephesians 3:19

Ephesians teaches us through Paul’s prayer, that our experience of God is directly connected to the completion and satisfaction of our unity with him. We receive all fullness of life AND power that comes from God, when we experience his love.

Only whenever we position ourselves to experience the love of God, can we truly experience His resurrection life and power! It’s very simple. I sit at His feet, so that I can experience his love, so that I can be made complete with all fullness of life and power that comes from God.

Sit at his feet today. Ask him how much he loves you. Be filled with life and power from Him!