Cipriano Martinez | @ciprianom79
Moving into cooler weather and trees changing colors, fall seems to be receiving a warm welcome from many. And as the month of November comes round we begin to hear words such as thanks, gratitude, giving, holidays and such. Yesterday we celebrated the official day of Thanksgiving for the 152nd time since President Lincoln named it “a day to give thanks.” Our first president George Washington in 1789 had in fact called for an official celebratory “day of public thanksgiving and prayer,” but at that time, it did not become an annual event.
Okay that’s enough history for now.
I’m sure many of you have heard sermons preached this month on “being thankful”. But as you were gathered together yesterday with your many loved ones, were you truly indeed thankful or were your minds focused on all the ”stuff” you could get on sale in the upcoming hours.
Matt Coker | @BackRowOnline
Have you ever sat around the table on Thanksgiving, where everybody is going around giving a small list of things they are thankful for, and then it gets to your turn and you rattle off some generic stuff -- friends, family, pumpkin pie -- and then allow the next person to speak, all the while thinking to yourself that you really don't feel thankful? You don't feel happy? You aren't satisfied with the way life is? And as you listen to everyone else gush about the things that they are thankful for, do you start to feel like you're the only one who is unsatisfied?
Every day, a countless number of people on this earth make a decision based on the fact that they are unsatisfied. Some might seem productive.
"I'm going to start going to the gym because I'm sick of being fat."
"I'm going to go back to college and finish my degree, so I can get a better job."
"I'm going to make myself go to this singles event, because I need to meet someone! I'm tired of being alone."
I'm going to let you in on a secret:
NOBODY IS SATISFIED.
Not really. And it's only a secret because everyone wants to hide it.
Brian McKay | @RealBrianMcKay
I recently chose to skip church one Sunday.
I didn't have a valid reason. I mean, I was feeling confused about life, and in a way, maybe a bit discouraged. But that wasn't the main cause. I just didn't feel like going.
So, I stayed home. It was actually really nice. Usually, when I stay home from church (unfortunately, it happens more often than it should), I just play video games or something. I waste the time.
This time, though, I started listening to music, and I actually focused on the words. I listened to two songs, and in that time, I experienced one of the most worshipful moments I've had in quite some time.
I sometimes deal with doubts in my faith. I decided to listen to "Jesus, Use Me, I'm Yours." Those who know me know that I loooove Jason Gray. His lyrics hit me in a way that no one else's do. I listened to this song because I needed to speak its prayer: "I'm not much to look at, but whatever I am, I'm yours."
James Daman | @JDaman04
I read a Malcom Gladwell book recently that said it takes roughly 10,000 hours of practice to master a field, that's about 10 years for most people. Next year my wife and I will be celebrating our 10 year wedding anniversary.
So, I had a question for my wife. Here's the very real text conversation between her and I:
Me: Malcom Gladwell says in his recent book that it takes 10,000 hours to master something, that's roughly 10 years, since we've almost been married 10 years, does that mean that I'm close to mastering women?
My wife: Bahahahaha (w/ lots of emoticons)
My wife's answer was my first clue that I may not have mastered women. Also, my wife delivers babies for a living so asking her a question like this while she is at work was another clue that I haven't mastered women yet.
My final clue came when I was thinking about the questions my wife asks me. She often asks me "What's the weather going to be like today?", "What time does the bank close?", and the dreaded question -- "Does this dress make me look fat?"
In the past I used to tell her to ask Siri for the weather or Google the bank hours. Then, I realized something when I asked Siri this question: "Siri, does this dress make me look fat?"
Aaron Jeffries | @arjeffries1
In my "Intro to Corrections" class, we talk about prisoners being institutionalized (person, especially a long-term patient or prisoner made apathetic and dependent after a long period in an institution.) They have a dress code, they have a schedule they must follow or face consequences, and too often when a prisoner is released they cannot transition back into society because they have been institutionalized. However there are exceptions to this, some prisoners do great at rejoining the world; some simply trade one institution for another. For example, a prisoner took classes in prison as a rehabilitative process offered (often required) so when he was released he continued higher education and eventually received his master’s and became a professor.
Now let’s talk about church, when a sinner comes to Christ, often they join a fellowship that simply changes their behavior -- instead of actually dealing with the problem. That problem is SIN. Coming to Christ is not a behavior modification process where you change your clothes, go to meetings three times a week, and call it Christianity.
Amy Ickes | @AymieJoi
I did everything right. I know I did…
I did everything I knew to do, and then asked if there was anything else. And as I did these things, I saw God act. I saw signs that I was headed in the right direction. I saw confirmation of what He was asking me to do, and I said, “yes, Lord, whatever You want”, and I meant it.
It looks so superficial in a list like this, but please don’t miss my point: In searching out God’s will for my life, I did everything we’re taught to do in Scripture, and not just because I wanted an answer to my prayer. I did it because, as time went on, I realized that I genuinely wanted God Himself.
And when it looked like everything was in place, when it looked like He was finally going to answer after months and months of “no’s”…
The door slammed shut.
Jeff Weddle | @Anti_Itcher
I am a father of three children. Over the years of their lives I have witnessed many of their sins. Some were pretty bad. Others were, don’t tell them, pretty funny. One of their major sins has been, and is, their constant annoyance of each other.
It gets a little ridiculous. “Stop it!” must be said in my house 1,364 times a day. Eventually, their mother and I get worn down. We don’t want to hear “stop it!” any more. The kid who says “stop it!” the 1, 365th time will get in trouble.
“Stop it!” My wife will yell in all serious irony. “Stop bugging each other.”
After, days, nay, weeks, nay, months of kids yelling “stop it!” all the time, I got discouraged. I must be a bad father. So, any time I feel like my parenting is failing, I sit my kids down for a lecture.