Sep 09 2013

Beauty is NOT Skin Deep

We are all bombarded with images of what the world would have us believe is 'beautiful' - it is a trap that we can all too often find ourselves caught in. If you struggle with what you look like, you're caught. If you are constantly concerned about how others see you, you're caught. If you have issues with what others look like, you're caught. My intention in writing this is not to make you feel guilty, but to help set you free, to help see how beauty is defined in God's eyes.

It's funny how much emphasis we put on the things in life that are temporal, things that fade away so quickly. The pressure and anxiety you feel to 'live up' to these standards is exhausting, like a hamster wheel, it leads nowhere. Trying to 'live up' to these standards never leaves you feeling satisfied. 

So give yourself a break, and take just a moment to reflect on how God defines 'beauty.' What matters the most is what's on the "inside." In 1 Samuel 16:7, the Bible says, "People look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." A life focused on "who you are," rather than "what you look like" is  what 'matters most' to the 'one that matters most.'

Sep 06 2013

Syria: A Lesson in Empathy

The situation in Syria is a lesson for all of us in empathy, a lesson on putting ourselves in someone else's shoes. I think we often times dismiss other people and what they are facing because we regret to stop; and just for a minute put ourselves in their shoes. In "To Kill a Mockingbird," Harper Lee wrote, “You never really know a man until you understand things from his point of view, until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” Truer words have never been said. In fact, what makes Jesus so amazing is He did just that, fully God and fully man, tempted in every way that we are, and still without sin, He came and experienced both life and death as a human being. What an amazing picture of empathy, which is described as, the ability to comprehend another person's actions and emotions, the awareness of another's problems.

Walking in someone else's shoes helps you gain perspective, it helps you empathize with life from their point of view. As Christians, considering what Christ did for us, we should be most willing to empathize with others. Yet oftentimes, I think we have a tendency to put on self-rightousness and pass judgement, simply ignoring others when we should be running to their rescue. The Bible several times addresses our attitude regarding this, in Ephesians 4:2 it says, "Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love."

Tomorrow there is a worldwide call to pray for Syria, and before we excuse it as a situation half a world away, let's just for a minute, "put ourselves in their shoes." Since the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government against their own people, that left 1,300 people dead, there has been mass chaos, as you might imagine; people have been fleeing the country, fearing for their lives. Imagine what it must be like, imagine yourself in the shoes of those who fear for their lives, those who have left what little they had just to survive, those who have lost loved ones, or have been separated from their families; they are starving, hopeless and scared. 

If I were in their shoes, I certainly hope someone would lift a prayer for me.

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Sep 05 2013

Mandisa Shines the Spotlight on "Overcomers"

I am so proud of our friend Mandisa, the former American Idol contestant, and three time Grammy nominee debuted her brand new video for her latest K-LOVE hit 'Overcomer' on ABC's Good Morning America this morning.  In the video Mandisa features overcomes like Good Morning America host Robin Roberts, former Olympic skater Scott Hamilton and former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and her husband former astronaut Mark Kelly.

Mandisa says, "When I thought of who has been an example of an overcomer in a very public battle, it is hard to imagine anyone more appropriate than the amazing people in my video."

Gabby Giffords said, "I was really inspired by Mandisa's song 'Overcomer' because it's message is one of hope, perseverance and faith.  We can't always control what happens to us in life, but we can control how we respond.  Like the song says if we keep positive and stay in the fight till the final round; We can overcome more than we ever dreamed possible."