Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Language of Respect

Respect is an understanding, an agreement, a behavior, an attitude and more.

Understanding respect is essential. It is necessary in the workplace, in marriages, and in everyday communication with people. When people are placed in charge of us, we must respect them. We must learn what respect means to them and apply those concepts daily. We must apply them in an effort to form a habit out of the process. It will be the best thing to do for yourself, for your career and for your boss. When you say ‘I do’ to your spouse, you are signing up to learn respect. We must learn what respect means to each other and, even more, learn how to apply those particular principles. Since we know ourselves better than anyone, we must be able to openly communicate what our language of respect is to our spouse. This will assist greatly in truly learning to understand each other. Once these points are found, the habit of applying them can begin.

 Since the wife is designed to understand love better, we, as men, must have patience with our wife. It would be a great idea to make an agreement with your wife in regards to learning more about respect. In other words, you both agree to stop conversations when needed, in order to learn each others language of respect. For example, when your wife does something that is disrespectful to you. This can be the time that you stop and default back to the agreement. You can simply say ‘Let’s go back to the agreement. The situation or words spoken came across disrespectful to me.’ This type of agreement allows the situation to not get out of control, because the both of you are going back to the original conversation/ agreement. Any misunderstanding of the situation can be worked out at this point in a calm and understanding way. This same idea can be applied when the husband says something unloving or disrespectful to his wife.

When I referred to the word ‘calm’, I am referring to our behavior. Our behavior or attitude is also large part of respect. Keeping the situations at a calm level allow for better understanding, clearer judgment and true listening. When a situation arises that would call for the ‘agreement’, it is most likely not going to be an easy moment. Something happened that caused some tension or friction. We, as spouses or coworkers, have to be careful not to assume the worst about each other. Assuming the worst will bring about an immediate negative attitude. If we can assume the best, our behavior will stay positive and calmer. The conversation during the discussion will go smoother and the resolution will come quicker. If needed, paraphrase each others comments back to each other to allow for full understanding.

In ending, we all need to understand how to respect each other better. This can be accomplished by being aware of this and agreeing to tell each other when situations come up. And to keep a positive, calm attitude during the process. The benefits of learning each others language of respect can be life changing.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Fury of Life & Nature

The week of August 22-28, was a crazy week of experiencing the fury of nature. Here in Virginia we have experienced some wild events.

 Earlier in the week we experienced a 5.8 earthquake. This was the first earthquake I have ever experienced, or at least actually felt. There were a few aftershocks that followed, but nothing too major. A couple days later we had violent thunderstorm that felt more like Tropical Storm conditions. All of these things occurred while we were listening to the forecast of the giant Hurricane Irene on it's way. Hurricane Irene is now going through Virginia and we are feeling some of her power. On top of that we have heard of tornadoes touching down due to the force of Irene in different parts of the country. I’m waiting to hear of a sudden snow storm….

With all these crazy weather patterns happening lately, I can’t help but relate them to our lives. There are many storms that we go through in life. Some examples are broken relationships, family issues, work problems and identity failures. We are never sure of what kind of storm we will face next, but we will face them eventually. This week in weather, is like having a really hard week in our lives. Sometimes we get hit with storm after storm and we start to lose hope, we start to give up. We figure the storms are too large and are out of our control. Instead of going to others for help, we close up shop or we check out. Where do we go and what do we do…

The answer to all of these storms is God. We know that we have no control over the weather and we know that we are never really ready for the storms of life. If we have a rock, a solid foundation to stand on, we can be sure that we will be safe. Instead of isolation and worry, we can put our trust in Him that everything will work out for good. If we can recognize that we don’t have control of the storms, we can give Him control. We can allow him to handle the storms for us. He will guard us.

Stay safe everyone! And Pray for all those in need!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Power of Nature

In light of all the preparations for 9/11 and of course the giant Hurricane Irene coming up the east coast.
Who would have thought an earthquake was on the horizon? The answer: No one on Earth.

Right before the earthquake hit, I was walking my job site. I was reviewing the building, and seeing what preparations need to be made for the hurricane. Material needs to be covered and tools need to be stored or strapped down. As much as we think we can prepare for the hurricane, we have no idea how much of a punch it has in store for us. About 10 minutes later, the earthquake hit. A rare east coast quake that gave millions of people an unexpected jolt. In perspective, the jolt that hit Japan was about 60,000 times stronger. We should all consider ourselves blessed. Things like these hurricanes and earthquakes makes us wonder how much control we really have...

Conclusion? We have no control. As much as we try to control our lives and dictate what happens. We never, really, know what is around the corner. From the simple everyday things, to the power of nature below and around us. Hurricanes can be forecasted, but we have no control over the power or direction. The wrath that it holds is in question until it gets to its destination. An earthquake gives us no warning at all. We are at the mercy of the earth and its raw power. All of these events should be a reminder to us all to wake up. If these events are even a glimpse of the power that God holds. We are all in for something beyond imagination and certainly beyond our control. These are but the birth pains.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Marriage Conference Day #2

This morning was the second day of Dr. Gary Chapman's marriage conference at the West End Assembly of God, in Richmond, Va. Yesterday he talked about 'The Five Love Languages' and the 'Five Languages of Apology'.

Todays critical marriage information was based out of his book 'The Marriage You've Always Wanted'. The main topic of the book is focused toward communication in our marriage. Communication is a necessity for a great marriage! Since we know ourself better than anyone else, we have to communicate what we like and don't like to our spouse.

Communication has to be a two way street in a marriage. This means a few things. We must be able to talk comfortably with each other. We must be able to clearly express what we are trying to say. And we must listen when the other person is talking. Are you listening yet? :) Sometimes its even a great idea to express your thoughts and have the other person paraphrase those thoughts back to you. This way you know your getting the right message across. Assuming is never a good idea.

We also discussed the topic of sex. Sex was created by God, and He even said it was very good. Notice that all the other days were good, but the day that male and female were created were really good. The culture has really taken its toll on this topic, but the Bible is very clear on the specifics of sex. Overall marriages need to keep a positive attitude on sex and keep the lines of communication open in this area. This should be an incentive to read the paragraph on communication again. Still listening?

Finally, we need to realize that marriage is a ministry. As Christ came to serve, so we need to serve. And we need to serve our spouse. The conference and the book go into a lot more detail on these subjects and many more. The experience was great and I would recommend this conference or any other marriage conference to married couples. Love accepts many imperfections. Thoughts?

Check out more information on Dr. Gary Chapman and his ministries.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Marriage Conference Day #1

Tonight was the first part of the marriage conference. The speaker was Dr. Gary Chapman, and the topics were the books 'The Five Love Languages' and 'The Five Languages of Apology'.

I know what your thinking, what is wrong with our marriage that we would need to go to a marriage conference. Well believe it or not, our marriage is stronger than it ever has been and continues to get stronger. But we can all learn new things about ourselves, our spouse, our marriage and God. So, as a couple, we take full advantage of marriage conferences and/or marriage classes.

The first topic of the night was based on 'The Five Love Languages'. The idea with the languages is that we all love in different ways. We mostly learn how to love from our parents. We would watch how they would talk to each other, do things for each other and just spend time together. When we finally find the love of our life, we have to learn the love language of our partner. Now, the first couple years may go great because of our young love. But after that time passes, we need to start to really learn about each other. We need to learn our spouses love language. The languages are these: Words of Affirmation, Gifts, Quality Time, Acts of Service and Physical Touch. Discover which of these languages speaks most to your spouse and watch the transformation take place. Gary Chapman did a great job explaining these categories at the conference tonight, and goes into even more detail in the love languages book.

The other topic was 'The Five Languages of Apology'. Just as we grew up into a type of love language, we also grew up learning how to apologize. Apologizing is not the easiest thing to do, but is essential for our marriage to grow. Men must understand this even more as we tend to see apologizing as a sign of weakness. Most men grew up this way watching their Father, or have adjusted to the culture or male stereotype. What we don't realize is that apology is powerful and affective. As a couple we both have say sorry or admit we were wrong sometimes. None of us are perfect and we need to get this apology subject figured out for when we screw up. Notice I did not say 'if' you screw up, but 'when'. Gary Chapman has a book dedicated to learning these apology languages. I enjoyed hearing him speak about them and look forward to reading the book.

Tomorrow is day two of the conference. Check out these books when you get a chance. If you have read one or both of them, leave a comment and your thoughts. Thanks!

More information!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Beyond Me

I know what your thinking, this term is used mostly when not understanding something or used instead of confusion. But the saying came to me the other day and it had another meaning. It was not related to confusion at all, but more about clarity. When someone says 'beyond me', they are referring to something that is beyond their knowledge or above their understanding. In a sense they are confused in the situation they are in or are currently watching.

This time was different though, it was related to complete understanding. I have begun to realize that in order to not be confused, I have to see beyond myself. In other words, I have to see 'beyond me'. I have to understand that I don't have control over anything and that I can do nothing by myself. Who gave me life, who gave me insight, who showed me love? It wasn't me. I did not reveal these things to myself, but rather they were revealed to me. Before I even saw beyond myself, I was being shown what to do.

Beyond me can be more easily stated as 'selflessness'. The removing of ourselves, our control, our own desires from the equation. We start to give ourselves over to other people or places that are in true need. These people are still using the term 'beyond me', in the way the world has made it popular.
But we must get past the world and go to God. We must go beyond ourselves and discover the path that God would have us take.

We must. We must.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Chaos of our Desires

You may have heard an orchestra tuning up before a concert. It sounds like total chaos-oboes, cello, french horns, dozens of instruments all sounding off, everyone doing his own thing. Trills, groans, whistles, thumps-an absolute cacophany. This is how our desires seem most of the time. But when the first violin plays a long high C, and slowly, all of the instruments begin to join in. They become focused, centered, ready to perform. 

Such is what happens with the chaos of our desires when we turn our souls to God in worship. All of the other desires find their place as we give God his place. This is why the psalmist urges us, "Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart" (Psalm 37:4). Only as we truly delight in God is it safe to give us our desires, for then they are not likely to become idols. And by our delighting in God, he heals our false desires as our souls come true in the light of their Maker. Worship becomes the means by which we most deeply heal our desire.

Take from Chapter 10 of the Book 'Desire', by John Eldredge. 

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Talking to God

As I have continued to mature in my spiritual walk, I have grown in my style of prayer. When I use to pray, I thought it had to be formal and in solitude. I thought this was the only way to talk to God, and I thought it had to be about only important things. I would pray or think of God when tough situations happen in life.  How often do you see on Facebook or hear from friends that they need prayer for a loved one because they are sick or in the hospital. The next day they are doing or saying things that should not be said or done if someone is praying. How could we expect God to answer a prayer if we never visit him any other time? It would be like asking a “friend” for help all the time and never just hanging out to have fun. Ultimately, there is no relationship built up. Praying to God can be treated like talking to a friend. It doesn’t have to be only in the bad times or when we eat. How about those two examples of bad habits! Praying when something is wrong, or praying God will bless this food to your body. We might as well be wishing our sick ones farewell and have our food wonder why were talking about it. Its all dead space, it goes no where. Praying goes beyond those things and becomes a walking, talking relationship with God.
How do you get an idea or a need across to a friend? You communicate with them! How do we get an idea, thought or idea across to God? You communicate with Him. We have to ask God to help us, we have invite Him into our lives and our situations. God can help us in so many amazing ways, but we have to ask him. This concept is widely misunderstood, I know it was for me. God desires for us to come to Him with our needs and our thanks. And we were made to desire Him!
So Pray!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

What Would God Choose?

In order to allow God to choose, you must first ask..

Last week Chelsea , my wife, and I went on vacation for the week. It was a great and wonderful vacation! We stayed at a resort in the mountains, explored the area and had our fifth Wedding Anniversary!

There was something different about this vacation though. Instead of resting from God while we were away, we rested in God. Sometimes we can make our time with God part of our normal habits, to where it almost feels like work. So when we go on vacation, we do not visit Him because it is associated with work.
But what if you find rest in God? What if on vacation, you allow Him to choose where you go and what you do? I really didn't have this concept in mind when we went on vacation, but I knew I did not want to leave God out. So how did He choose for us? We asked or prayed each day that God would show us what He had planned for us and asked what He might have for us do.  Psalms 37:4 says 'Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your Heart.'
So we had a mock schedule for the week, but no definite plans for each day. So we asked God to help show us the path, or show us our desires. I can honestly say that each day was something new! Different adventures and opportunities to relax. Decisions were made easily and we had a great time everywhere we went.
God will truly show you the desires of your heart, if you ask with an honest heart. God provided us with amazing accommodations, quality time together and a place to find rest in Him.

My challenge would be for you to do the same. This does not have to just be on vacation either, it could be each day. But if you do find yourself on vacation, invite God into your time and see what amazing things just might be in store for you!

Friday, August 5, 2011

'The True Measure of a Man'

I recently completed reading a book titled, 'The True Measure of a Man'. The author of the book is Richard E. Simmons III. I had found out about this book when reading reviews for a book titled 'Wild at Heart.' This is in fact another great read that I will review another time. This was a great book and is a must read for every man! Many of the recent posts on the 'Manturity' Facebook Page have been quotes from the book. The book explores the many issues that men go through in today's world. Chapters talk about a man's identity, a man's courage and a man's truth. How men compare themselves to other men and are never content with what they have or with their current status. If men are never happy with their current situation, then they will never be content. The book has many other books incorporated into it and there is a list of them all at the end. The book is only 132 pages, it is not overwhelming or huge. Do yourself a favor and take some time to read this book. If you have read it, leave a comment below or on the Facebook page. Thanks!

Other Reviews:

"This book is for every man of every faith or no faith at all. He'll learn why he doesn't have to live with the guilt, insecurity, and fear that most men experience but often pretend they don't." Fred Barnes

"This book provides answers to men's deepest questions and helps them understand what they are feeling as they go through the storms of life. He points us to a life of contentment that can only be found in the Lord. I believe every man should read this book." Pat Sullivan

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Among The Living

As I sat in a graveyard the other day, I had the following thoughts....

As I sit among the dead, I can't help but think of the living. You wonder what their life was like, but you also wonder if they found the life they hoped for? What was the life they hoped for? What was the life they lived? We sit together now, but in different realms and in a different time. I know my fate is the same upon which I sit, but is that a bad thing? There's no fighting against death, but there is the life we have to fight for after death. The opportunity for who I sit among is gone, but mine is still alive and well. I live those opportunities everyday. The choices I make, the people I meet and love, the thoughts that stream through my mind. I know the end will come, but I want to be ready! I want to live, so that I may not die, but live more abundantly!