Why do we experience pain

Seth Barnes posted this great blog today:

One of the toughest questions in life is the problem of pain. Why does my loved one struggle so? Why do we have to go through hard times?

Sometimes, I’ve had so much pain in my life, I’ve just wanted to howl at the moon. No great answers, just a kind of continual struggle. You can get depressed. People go neurotic. People get mad at God and reject him. They give up. And the philosophical answers often don’t connect with our heart.

That said, there are answers. Joy Dawson describes God’s seven purposes for allowing difficulty or pain:

1)To melt hard substances and produce brokenness.

2)To destroy anything in our lives that is useless.

3)To reshape us and make us pliable for more use.

4)To make us more like Jesus, who is our example.

5)To endow us with more power. “Fire, glory and power are always linked.”

6)To experience for ourselves the “fellowship of His sufferings.”

7)To teach us how to mentor and help others, by learning more about ourselves and our own responses to the night seasons.



our fight is not with…
liberals or conservatives
gays or lesbians
prostitutes or pimps
jews or arabs
atheist or witches

instead we fight…
darkness with light
worry with peace
lies with truth
oppression with freedom
hate with love
sadness with joy
despair with hope
hunger with food
sickness with healing
death with salvation

lay it down

i love you
three simple words
three simple words
with a not so simple

is love a flutter?
is love a feeling?
is love sex?
is love passing?

or are these things
the shadows of
the intangible
real, true, everlasting

to me
love is a choice
love is death
the death of

the death of
my ego and pride
my wants and desires
my weaknesses and strengths
my importance and control
in light of you, my love

this is love
this is the life
that we as men
are called to lead
this is our love

this is the heart of a warrior
this is the heart of a king
this is the heart of a priest
this is the heart of a prophet
this is the heart of God

Around the corner

I’m here
And around every corner
I expect you to be too

How can you not be here
With the people you loved
Worshipping the God you loved

In every handshake and smile
In every note sung and foot stomped
You are here

Your legacy is alive and well
Love is your legacy
Love for one another and love for God

And what a rich legacy it is
One that I’m proud to pass on
To the next generation

A generation you never met
But a generation your life
Will definitely touch

I missed you today
Missed your love
Missed your joy

In the midst of the pain
I know that God is planting new life
That my heart is fertile soil
And in time He and I will reap 100 fold

The Secret Lives of Men

Via The Third Option Men

I know a few smokers.  I have condemned them for this chronic sin on multiple occasions.  Once, a long-time female smoker replied, “It must be nice to be able to hide all YOUR sin.”

Initially I took this as nothing more than an addict lashing out in a vain attempt to deflect responsibility.  Later I realized it was a wise Christian woman pointing out the obvious: I’m just as flawed and sinful as everyone else.

My sins have always been of the mind.  I have never smoked a cigarette.  Not a single experimental puff.  I have never been drunk.  I have never gotten a buzz.  Not even close – unless exhaust fumes count.  I’ve never been high.  Not a drag of weed, not a small green pill, nor a single punctured vein.  My battlefield has never been the outward but the inward.  Deep within my brain, and within the dark expanses of my soul, lingers my secret life.

There I am free to harshly judge everyone I come into contact with.  There I replay illicit scenarios where I eviscerate them with my impressive vocabulary, and they wither and retreat from my overpowering awesomeness.  My lusts of the flesh are free to do as they please with whom they please, how they please.  I have lived a thousand different versions of my life.  I’ve been a powerful ruler of supplant minions.  I have traveled the cosmos in vast warships.  I have brutally murdered any who oppose my will.  I exist as a mere shadow of the Christian I am perceived to be.

As was earlier pointed out, my sins have always existed in the shadow of my mind, deep in the trenches, and rarely, if ever, surface.

The secrets will surface, though:

Read the rest at Third Option Men

Teaching us to pray

The other day we (Mommy, Dasi, and I) were at the store playing a fun game of “can you say?”. Which involves us asking Hadassah if she can say various things, and us parents getting a kick out of her echoing words back to us. After going through, dress, hair, and boogers (a daddy word for sure) we gave her “booboo” she got the first “boo” down so we tried to connect that to a word she already knew “ouchie”. H being the bright girl she is, held her leg while saying “ouch”. Mommy looked to see what was hurting her and in that Mommy brilliance takes a moment to teach our little one how to pray.

She kept it simple, “Jesus all better amen”. And in Dasi, “Jesush all done amen”.

It was so simple yet brilliant. It’s not just how babies should pray but all of us. No need for extra fluff. Just call on his name and trust that it will be done.

Father Daughter Moment

From the annuals of fatherhood comes this heart warming tale.

After a long day with the family, I carried a tired and crying princess upstairs. We sat down together her balling, me ready to do the same. As we sat there I realized that we had something to talk about.

Me: I’m sorry, I got mad at you today.
Her: (instantly stops crying)
Me: Do you forgive me?
Her: (nods)
Me: I got frustrated and didn’t handle that in the right way. I’m sorry. But you need to understand that God tells you to listen and obey your mommy and daddy. (more nodding) And God tells us that we need to teach you the right way to live. (more nodding) So together we both need to listen to God. And I’m sorry that today I didn’t set the right example for you.

After that I started to pray and she asked for her crib, going to sleep without a whimper. Just a beautiful moment. ( a spoil from the day’s battle 🙂 )

your voice

oh Lord open your lips
and let your voice go forth
i long to hear your whisper
with an intimacy only your bride knows

open my ears that i might hear
soften my heart that i might listen
let your words be the flame
and my life the fuel

your word saves dying dreams
and your word remembers forgotten hopes
your word brings life everlasting

oh Lord open your lips
and let your voice go forth
fill my ears
with your voice
fill my heart
with your words
fill my mouth
with your flame

oh Lord open your lips
and let your voice go forth
as a flame, a flame from a life consumed
by your holy fire