Friday, September 23, 2011

A Noted Revelation

The average human being lives to be 67.2 years old.

When you look into the rear view mirror of your life, at whatever age you may be, what do you see?

Do you see the successes, the failures, a combination of the two?

And then how would you rate your life, on a scale of 1-10?  Or how about if your life was a movie?  5 stars, two thumbs up?

I would have to say that if my life was a movie, it would be a box office flop!  There are too many ups and downs, and by the time the roller coaster ride of a film came to an end, viewers would be nauseated.  Looking back at my life, there are certain points that stick out at me.  I figure that it is time to share.

  • From the time I could remember, I have never had a home in which there existed a relationship between my mother and father.  Growing up was a constant push and pull.  I had the feeling of resentment towards my step mother for the longest time.  I also gradually began to gravitate towards my step father for fatherly comfort.  As time progressed, I learned more about my family (all spread wide by now).
  • When I was 13, I had a Bar Mitzvah.  My father's family is Jewish, and as tradition has it, it was my turn.  I remember the year, or so, leading up to it.  All of the preparation; learning terms, prayers, etc., in another language.  On top of all that, having to do the invitation/party coordination.  It was a fun ride though.  I seemingly enjoyed having the party and counting all my earnings at the end of the night, most of all.  
  • At the age of 16 is when I had my stab at what life can hit you with.  On April 30th of that year, my grandfather passed away.  It was my first conscious experience with death, being a person I had been close with.  It also signified the first time in my life that I sought after God, and also questioned Him.  Soon after, I became baptized at my church.  That day, I professed my faith in Jesus Christ.  Soon after, I got into my first car accident.  I totaled my old, beater car, and came face-to-face with a little reality.  
  • When I was 17 years old, I lost my virginity.  Something made to be sacred, and planned, went totally wrong.  As classic as it became, it led to an interesting following few years.
  • At 18, I went off to college.  I went away to school, far from home.  In my first year there, I made chasing tail a hobby.  I found myself so narrow-minded in my relationship focus, that it makes me cringe.  
  • Still away at school, at 19, just following my freshman year, I became carried away.  I was eventually diagnosed with genital herpes.  This led me to feel like the butt of the majority of jokes, punch lines, and stabs.  And at the time, less than a handful of people even knew about it.  I eventually let it go, and avoided the frustrations by it.  I just had to be more careful.  The year or so following that, I continued with my extra curricular activities.
  • I came home from school after my second year.  I enrolled at a local state university, and aimed to better myself.  The sexual activity decreased, and I began to attend church more regularly again. (correlation?)
  • I presently have not had sex in nearly a year, and am not planning on it anytime soon.  I am in a loving relationship, and am finally doing well in school as well.
What changed in me?

Riddle of the day:
He is all over the place, yet around you and within you, at ALL times.

Any guesses?

God is the reason I have taken off, up and down the roller coaster of life.  And even at such a young age, I am still able to recognize the gift I have been given.  My faith is something that I attempt, with everyday, not to take for granted.  I have come this far, and will continue to move forward in strengthening my faith and relationship with God. 

While I was working out today, it hit me.  Christians make up 2-3 billion of the worlds population.  That makes 1/3 of the population Christian.  Also, it is still recognized as the fastest growing religion worldwide.  

With all the Christians in the world, why do we continue to have world problems?  Because a Christian is defined as living life like Christ, correct?  Therefore, we should obey the commandments and love our neighbors, right?

Something struck a chord in me today.  Here's the way I see it:

If He gave up His life for us, then why can't we turn off the TV?
If He gave up His life for us, then why can't we turn off the pornography?
If He gave up His life for us, then why can't we mute the profanity?
If He gave up His life for us, then why can't we stop the drunkenness?
If He gave up His life for us, then why can't we stop the fighting?
If He gave up His life for us, then why can't we love each other?
If He gave up His life for us, then why can't we give more than an hour on "most" Sundays?

Jesus gave His whole life up for us.

It is time to step outside of the pews, and into the streets.  It is time to allow God to mold us, and shape us into who HE wants us to be, not who we aspire to be.  It is time to do God's work.  It's simple, all we have to do is listen.

Fun Fact (concept borrowed from a loved one): A human being is supposed to get 8 hours of sleep each night.  That equals 2,920 hours of sleep each year.  Going to church every Sunday, for one hour, equals 52 hours of church each year.  If being a Christian means to live our lives like Jesus Christ, then we need to give more.

Jesus lived to be [an estimated] 33 years of age.

Give more than half of your life.

Luke 9:23-26

Then he said to them all: "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.  For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.  What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?  Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and the holy angels."

Sunday, September 11, 2011

All of You, and well, none of me


"How did that happen?"  "Man, you're lucky!!"  "What a coincidence?!"

Ten years ago from today, I was sitting in my math class in middle school.  It was our third period class.  I remember hearing some chatter, from the lucky ones with cell phones at such a young age.  "We are under attack!!!"  I blew it off...until I received more information of what was actually happening.

Ten years ago from today, my father sat in an office in New York City, on a business trip.  He received an email that the breakfast meeting in the cafe, in one of the towers in the World Trade Center, was cancelled for that morning.


Within the hour, a plane struck the first tower.  We all know the rest of the story from there.  Lives lost, trauma to millions of people around the world.  

To be realistic, imagine with me, for a second.  Let's say the meeting isn't cancelled.  Instead, let's just say that the meeting is called, and they proceed as planned.  Imagine a life without a father.  The one you love. The one you have grown up with your ENTIRE life.  What then?  Why was it my father, when hundreds, if not thousands, of fathers died that day?  See, I have a split family; and have had it this way for the last 18 years.  So I would have had a fatherly figure in my life regardless.  So why take away the father of the newborn, and leave mine for me? 

My life would not have been the same.  For weeks and months after September 11, 2001, I spoke about this story as if I should be praised or treated differently.  All because my father dodged death that morning.  Why is it that I sit here, ten years later, shaken still by September 11th.  Not because of the actually events that took place that day, but for the fact that my future life plans were being taken care of.  It took me ten years to realize it.


Since that date in 2001, a lot has changed in my life.  Beyond the obvious physical changes, a lot has gone on mentally and spiritually.  In 2006, I came face-to-face with God.  Following my grandfather's death, I acknowledged God.  It was the first time in my life that I had ever questioned God.  I didn't understand, and I longed for some sort of peace of mind and heart, for what had been taken from me.  It just didn't seem right.  From then on, life began to take its shape for me.  I started to see God in nearly my every day actions.  And five years later, on this date, I am thankful for my father.  Better yet, my Father.  He has come through for me, on countless occasions in my life.  I couldn't ever do it without him...Him.

In one moment, life could change drastically...God's plan>my plans


I have been lost in wonder, lately.  I found myself in deep thought about the actions that I take, and how they reflect on who I am.  Then I began to wonder; where do I get it from?  Where do I get the idea to pursue something like I do?  Is it innate?  What does innate even mean?

innate (adj.): 1. Inborn; natural

I am a FIRM believer that God created us all.  And in doing so, He made it possible for all of us to do the things we do, and the things we will do in the future.  So, our actions deemed innate; natural, inborn...come from the maker of all things?  Is that, then, why our actions not only reflect ourselves, but [as told to us in the Bible] reflect God as well?  So, if our actions are innate, then it is something that God put on our heart?

innate (adj.): 2. Originating in the mind

Maybe it is simply that 'innate' is the wrong word.  Maybe 'innate' is something that our mind, innately created.  What am I getting at?  I am saying that I feel like people are viewing life with blinders.  I feel like we are only merely skimming the surface.

And that is bad because...?

If I am able to get deep within myself, aside from all the other stuff going on in my life (work, school, etc.), what is my life like?  God is at the center of my life.  He created me, in doing so, making it possible for all things to be done.  And yes, many people recognize that fact.  But how many of us actually reflect that in our lives?

I am guilty of it, daily.  If I had a sheet, that listed the +/- of all the actions I made, I would be so close to the all negative sign, it scares me.  I have bad thoughts, bad things said; not reflecting God.  Just to add clarification, I am not striving to be God.  I am merely attempting to do my best to show how amazing God truly is.  So, as I do to myself daily, I ask you...what is your life reflecting?  When you are able to get deep within yourself, how are you reflecting God in your lives today?


God gives us all gifts.  It is as simple as it sounds.  But allow me to elaborate.

The gifts we receive are not material things.  How often do we step out of our front door, to a pile of money?  And let me guess, you looked up and saw a brand spanking new (fill in the blank with a super nice dream car) sitting in your driveway?  And when you went over to the car, you noticed that there was the hottest person sitting in the passenger seat telling you to take them anywhere, and that they were at your whim?

As great as that whole thing sounds, to the majority of people who have ever allowed their mind to drift into a fantasy world (where there are hearts, stars, horse shoes, clovers, and blue moons), life is not like that.  

But this is what life is like:
You wake up daily.  Go through the mundane routine of school, work, family, friends, clubs, sports, and other entertainment.  Go to sleep.  Then do it all over again.  Why is our world so fast paced?  We literally live in a high speed time machine that is traveling down the road at a million miles an hour, to a land far, far away, in a vast space of nothing.  Why don't we ever take the second to see what we have?  Take that minute to breathe, and acknowledge what our life is, and has become.  

Upon doing this, I see something amazing.  All of the things that I find myself, or have found myself complaining about at some point in life, are not worth all that time.  Instead, I have found, that the act of complaining only makes things worse.  Due to this recent discovery of the obvious, I have made it one of my personal goals to stop worrying, stop complaining, and just live life.  And in doing so, I hope to use what I have to make the best out of life.

God gives us all gifts.  It's just a matter of how we use them.

"That may not be the talent you have, but you are very talented at other things."
-Dr. D. Brouwer


I am blessed.  Allow me to explain.  I could quote the Bible.  I could give some theories that some theologians have.  Instead, how about this?  ...I have something incredible.

I have never had a good history.  Yeah sure, I have been able to be involved, but it hasn't been anything that I could declare as deep.  Relationships for me, on the surface, have been a breeze.  Seeming to come easily for me to seek out one person.  In reality, it has been a struggle.  Although the signs may not all be there, I have not been satisfied in relationships for my entire life.  Every time it was ever brought up, everything was 'good', 'alright', 'copacetic'.  Nobody has been able to rouse the word 'excellent' or 'perfect' out of me.  

About a year ago from now, I met someone at church.  I butted in on conversations to make myself seem funny.  At the time that seemed right, but looking back, man, I must have looked like a loser.  Eventually, I got a name out of her, as she did from me.  We casually chatted, and I tried to gradually move into a flirty nature with her (with the greatest attempt at witty banter that I could possible conjure).  Then, one day, it was all gone.  We barely texted, rarely chatted in person, and most certainly thought it was all over.  
Something was different.  It was seemingly more difficult to pursue her; making it difficult for me to believe that I was even attractive in her eyes.
Just about seven and a half months ago, she and I began to converse again.  It was kind of random, but natural and fitting.  We started to hang out, one on one, and began to show our attraction towards each other.  Soon enough, we were officially dating, title and all.

A little over six months later, and I have to say that this has been the most interesting, and pleasing six months I have ever had in my life.  No, we are not perfect, and sure as heck have had some stupid runs about horribly redundant topics.  But there is one thing that keeps coming back to me.  Nothing in my life has ever been like this.  And it is exciting.  I have never gone to so many places that I have never heard of.  I have never done all the things that I have done, if it wasn't for her.  From the places we have visited, to the talks we have had [about the most random things, at times], I can say that I wouldn't want it any other way.

Love, I thought, was a farce.
Marriage, I thought, was pointless.
Children, I thought, were a waste of time and money.

Now it is clear to me that all three of these things are already a part of my life, or will be a part of my life soon.  Patience leads to kindness; kindness leads to compassion; compassion leads to love.  And love is what I have for her.  A love that God has put on my heart.  An unfailing, never wavering, love.

It was all His idea.  My pursuit, that seemed pointless a year ago, has blossomed into something beautiful.  The greatest part about it is this: I know He has more in store for us.

His plan>my plans