Janice Eicholtz | @janjanmom
My real job is a substitute teacher. I love it so much. There are so many diverse and wonderful teenagers at the school where I work. I'm just the right mix of thoughtful and sarcastic for this job to be a good fit. The kids often ask me questions. Today, they were talking about parenting. I said, "Don't do it, it's all a big trick. You pour your heart and soul into them and they reject everything you teach them and hate you. They never express love or gratitude and they don't even like you." Then, I said I was just kidding and they should have a whole bunch of kids in order to offset all the idiots having kids or we will only have idiot kids running the world.
Mostly, I am totally joking. But, every good joke has a kernel of truth.
Aaron Jeffries | @churchhusher
Happy New Year! First I want to thank you readers for growing with me over the last year. I’m really thankful for getting to know the handful of you that have connected with me. Thank you so much for sharing my articles as well. Lets just jump in shall we?
I’m a pretty upbeat guy. I like to roll with the punches and just be happy. But another side of me, seems to feed off negativity, I can be happy all day long but the moment someone is negative in front me; it becomes like an addiction for me and I have to get more of it.
I am reminded of the words of Paul here in Romans:
For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.
Romans 7:15-25 ESV
Joseph Brazil | @blackdog575
I was watching my nine month old daughter playing on the floor the other day when the thought hit me how perfectly content she was. She would pause now and then from gnawing on a toy and or in the middle of her jabbering to look up at me to see if I was still watching. In her world, there are no worries beyond being fed or having her diaper changed on time. She lives, for now, in what we might refer to as a relative heaven, where everything is secure.
Adversely, this idea of contentment is nothing but a weak fallacy, being a simple perception of what man believes heaven to be.
In the Bible, the disciple John describes in lucid detail what a small peek behind the curtain revealed toward the true magnificence that is Heaven. His account, the last book of the Bible titled Revelation, is full of metaphorical descriptions, which go beyond what most, including myself, can easily decipher. As a kid, I would often poke through the book, randomly hunting for the most obscure descriptions and try to build an image of what John’s vision foretold. No matter how hard I tried my human mind couldn’t come close to imagining what is in store for those who have and will receive Christ’s free offering of salvation.
In the fourth chapter of Revelation, John depicts the throne of God as enameled in jasper and carnelian, two gemstones that usually take the color of blood red, and are offset by a rainbow of emerald encircling the throne. Twenty-four elders are seated around, dressed in white with crowns of gold upon their heads. From the throne comes thunder and lightning, and there are seven lamps ablaze in front of a sea of crystalline glass.
And that’s not all. Not even close.
Matt Coker | @BackRowOnline
I have always had a problem with my weight.
Since I was a little kid, I’ve been overweight. And technically, right now, I’m obese.
I’m making some headway, losing some pounds, I’m going in the right direction, but this is going to be a long road. Even if I do this “better eating/more exercising” thing flawlessly, it’ll still be a a couple years before I get myself down from “obese” to just “overweight”, and who knows how much longer until I’m “fit” (ya know, if ever).
Can I really make it that long?
But, besides the enormity of the challenge, I also have another big problem in that my motivation is low. Why? Because nothing bad has happened yet.
I’ve been overweight all of my life, but I’ve also been in good health. My mother, who has also been overweight my whole life, has always been worried about me. She developed both cancer and diabetes, and while her cancer might not have been a direct result of being overweight, it certainly didn’t help matters (and a lot of medical studies do tend to find that those who are overweight have a higher risk). She doesn’t want me to have to go through any of that and she’s worried I’m only a couple years away.
When I was younger, she would have me tested every year or two, to make sure I was still healthy. My cholesterol, blood sugar, thyroid, kidneys, liver, etc. have always come back not only “fine”, but well below threat levels.
By 2013, I realized that the last time I had been checked out was in 2006. Since then, I had eaten my worst. I weighed my most. I thought for sure that I was in danger of something bad happening soon. I needed a wake-up call, so I went in and had some blood work done. Waiting on the results, I was sure I was going to hear some bad news.
Jeff Weddle | @anti_itcher
“Please hold for an important business call,” says the familiar recorded female voice on the telephone that recently rang in my house.
How stupid is that? Why does a place call me to put me on hold? And why do they call me every day?
I recently got a new phone number. Apparently the previous owner of this number was on a first name basis with every telemarketer in the known universe. Every day we are getting multiple calls for Mike, Tami, Max, and others. Maybe a whole universe of people previously had this number. I don’t know.
What I do know is that they keep calling me and they don’t stop. Getting telemarketing calls is annoying; repeatedly getting them for other people is nigh on infuriating.
I know you are itching to solve this problem for me. I can hear your breathing quickening, your mouth moistening, and see the smoke coming out of your churning brain-wheels. I know you want to give me advice. Advice like:
Matt Coker | @BackRowOnline
I wasn’t even there when it happened, but it’s still one of the worst things that I can remember.
The night I was arrested, my wife of 16 months was in the car with her parents when they had to pull over. In a parking lot, in the darkness, my wife was so worried, so heartbroken, and in so much pain that she violently threw up.
Over the next couple years, while waiting on a court date and then spending 6 months in prison, my wife would be the strongest person in my life. She had to be, because I was a wreck.
I’ll never know how arms as small as hers were strong enough to keep a man my size from falling to pieces.
For the first several years of our marriage, I was a mess. Everything was focused around me and my problems, and my wife bottled her issues up, to be strong for me.
But the damage being done inside of her and to our marriage because of me was growing. Time and time again I failed, slipped, relapsed, lied or got caught. Time and time again, I told her that this was “the last time.” I told her that I would be honest with her. And when things went wrong again, I told her everything was fine.
I told her she was the most important person in my life, but I was lying. If that were true, I would have put her needs above my own, but instead, I selfishly focused on myself without a second thought.
My actions forced my wife to sleep alone for 6 months. No one to hold her, to cuddle with her, to talk to her as she drifted to sleep. No, my interactions with my wife were cut down to ten minutes a day on a smelly telephone and a handful of letters.
My wife bottled up her emotions for so long that, for a while, she had a hard time feeling anything. She had to learn how to feel again, learn how to soften again, learn how to stop bottling things up.
Even to this day, our marriage feels the ripples of the stone I dropped in the water when I was 11-years-old. And while there hasn’t been a time when either of us wanted to separate, there have been times when neither of us were happy in our marriage.
We’ve been married nearly 11 years, and every one of them has been hard. There have been times when I wasn’t sure we were going to make it. And while my wife would chastise me for trying to take all the blame, I’m sure that if I had gotten my life straight before marriage, or, at the very least, had the courage to be honest with her, we would be a lot better off now.
Cipriano Martinez | @ciprianom79
For many years I was under the notion that we all have total control of our own lives. Now this might be true for many of us and many of us may feel we need control to make decisions that gear our futures. But what if I told you that being in control can cause unwanted ramifications? Don’t get me wrong -- I understand in being the spiritual leader of my home that I have to make many decisions. But are these decisions based on my own control or on a control greater than myself?
The very first principle in a Christ-centered program called Celebrate Recovery is, “Realize I am not God”. Read that slow a few times out loud. Many times we take it upon ourselves to play the role of God in our own lives. When we do this we take control. I recall asking God a few times to “take the wheel” and telling Him that I am giving Him total control of my life. Hours don’t even go by before I realize that I am a back seat driver or even driving myself again.