Monday, May 27, 2013

Pride: The Two Types

Pride. It's the bane of our existence. No, I'm not talking about patriotic or paternal pride. I'm talking about the silent and deadly type. The kind that causes so much trouble.

"Trouble?" you may ask, "What trouble?" Let's think for a moment. What was the first sin? No, not the first sin that man committed, but the other one. The Bible says:
"How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! You said in your heart, 'I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.' -Isaiah 14:12-14
I would argue that the first sin was committed by Satan. He thought he could be god better than God. What do we call that? Pride. Now, I would also argue that there are two main types of pride. Type one is the I'm better than you and you should know it pride. Type two is the woe is me and I'm so mistreated type. Both kinds have one main goal: to get attention. The first makes people admire us, the second makes them pity us. But either way, the end result is the same: attention.

Ok, so can I back this up with specific verses that say both are forms of pride? No. Only the first one and everyone knows verses for that one. And yet, what is the root of pride? Selfishness. To me even the woe is me people are more often than not behaving the way they are out of selfishness. They want people to look at them and stroke their battered egos.

Before we go any further, I want to clarify: I am by no means belittling anyone who has experienced loss and hardship. I understand that you have gone through something terrible. I just want you to know that I am speaking to the people who are playing the victim card to get sympathy or get their own way. Those people are often too stuck on what they perceive as being unfair and cannot move on with their lives. All too often I have heard people say, "Well, if this job had hired me, I wouldn't be in this predicament," or "If that college had let me in I would have a better job and not have to work so hard," etc.

Both type one and type two pride people tend to forget that "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble." (1 Peter 5:5) As long as they are stuck in their pride, God probably isn't going to use them as much as He could. They're probably going to miss out on some pretty awesome stuff that God would have done with them. Instead, their going to experience "resistance". I don't know about you, but just the sound of that brings me chills.

Something that God has convicted me on recently is that I am a type two pride person. That's not to say that I don't occasionally experience the other type, but my primary problem is the second. I tend to get so wrapped up in me and protecting/promoting myself with "woe is me"'s that I forget to humble myself to God's direction. So I get stuck spinning my wheels and desiring comfort and without realizing it am refusing to open myself up to God's plan for me. I know He could force me into that plan, but I think He would rather wait for me to submit and be willing to do it. Honestly, sometimes I wonder if that is why I haven't really done anything with my life- I'm too proud and stubborn.

Finally, I would like to leave you with this verse:
"For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned." -Romans 12:3
Do you think with "sober judgment"? Do you see yourself clearly (how God sees you) or are you letting pride get in the way? Are you too proud of either your accomplishments or the lack thereof for God to use you?

Think about it.

Friday, May 24, 2013

DVR Use and TV Revenue

Written by Rebecca L.

Will increased DVR use cut into TV advertising revenue?

The more people use their DVR the greater the negative affect is on the TV advertising revenue. With each new generation comes a lack of patience, especially when it comes to their entertainment. People used to enjoy watching commercials as well as shows because it opened their eyes to the many new products that had just entered the market. Now that we have the internet with search engines and store fliers with lists of products people feel that commercials are unnecessary and only cut into their entertainment time. This impatience with TV advertisements causes people to DVR their shows so that they can watch them unhindered by constant 15 min. breaks. Even if this seems like a plus to most of us we rarely realize just how big of an affect we have on the businesses who advertise and on the TV channels that broadcast the commercials.

Businesses pay a lot of money in order to advertise their products in hopes that people will see these commercials and decide to buy the advertised product. The TV channels receive a large amount of their income from businesses that pay them to play their commercials, allowing them to continue playing all of our favorite shows. If we continue to increase the amount that we DVR then fewer and fewer people will watch commercials and will be less inclined to buy the advertised product cutting in to the producers income. This decrease in income will cause businesses to advertise less or may even cause them to stop advertising all together. Not long after businesses stop making commercials we will notice that the TV channels that used to play our favorite shows have lost so much of their income that they have had to shut down or at very least have had to cancel certain shows. This is the great negative affect that many people are having on the TV business through the constant use of their DVR. You can help prevent the large cuts into the TV advertising revenue and keep many TV channels in business for years to come, by choosing to watch commercials.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

True Princess: Sleeping Beauty or Snow White?

In my previous post Prince Charming: Real or Pretender, we discussed what a princess looks for in a prince. We made the point that sometimes it's hard to tell the real thing from a royal pretender. Well, today we are going to turn the tables. We're going to take a good look at ourselves and determine if we are a Sleeping Beauty or Snow White.

You all remember the stories, right? In Sleeping Beauty the princess is fated to prick her finger on a spindle and die on her eighteenth birthday. But one of her fairy godmothers changes the curse so that she actually falls asleep for a hundred years before her prince comes to wake her up. The second story, Snow White, is about a beautiful girl who incurs the wrath of her stepmother and has to flee for her life. She runs as far as she can until she discovers a little hut where seven dwarfs live and she offers to clean and cook for them. After spending many days there, she is tricked and killed by her stepmother. However, a prince comes along and brings her back with true love's kiss.

Both stories have certain similarities: a princess, prince, little people (fairies and dwarfs), and happily ever after. But there is one major difference. Can you see it? Let me see if I can identify it for you. What is Snow White doing for much of the story? Taking care of the dwarfs. What is Sleeping Beauty doing? Well, we don't know. But it's obviously nothing noteworthy!

Throughout history which has had more movies made and books written about them? Which is more beloved? I'll give you a hint: if you chose the somniac, you're wrong!

What is your life like right here, right now? Are you actively doing something important with your time- something to better the lives of others? Are you working toward a goal? Are you learning new skills or working to improve your mind? Or are you just waiting for something- anything- to happen?

If you read your Bible (which I assume you do), you have probably noticed that the Bible is a book of action. God is always telling people to do something or telling someone to tell them to do something. Even the New Testament is full of the Apostles telling people what they need to do. There are very few places where people are specifically told to "wait". And even in those times, it is a productive waiting- not a listless, pointless wait. And since the Bible was written for God's people (that includes those of us who are believers in Christ as stated in John 1:12-13), we are called to be people of action. And, specifically, here is one of the things we are called to do:
"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." -Romans 12:2
Wow. That's a carriage load right there! We are called to leave all those earthly things that we obsess with behind: the make-up, the fashionable clothes, gossip columns, flirting, etc. and to instead work on renewing our minds. And how do we do that? By thinking like God. Well, how do we do that? By reading what He tells us to do- the Bible! Now, are fashionable clothes and make-up bad in and of themselves? No, not really. But we as women can go above and beyond the mere "enjoyment" of these things and become obsessed. Can't we, ladies?

What is the end result of thinking like God? Being able to "discern what is the will of God". How often have you wondered, "Could this be my Prince? Maybe it's that other guy. Or am I supposed to get married at all?" When our minds are transformed, we can know the answers to these questions! But it requires work.

Work? Yuck! Not fun. Well, what's the point of finding your prince? To make a home with him. Let's take a look at what the Bible says about the perfect wife:

An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands. She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar. She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens. She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong. She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night. She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle. She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy. She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet. She makes bed coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple. Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them; she delivers sashes to the merchant. Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: "Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all." Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.
(Proverbs 31:10-31)
Do you think that when you get married, the next morning- PRESTO! Instant perfect wife? No! That would be ridiculous! So I guess my question is: what are you doing right now to become the perfect queen for your future king? Are you working or are you sleeping? And which one do you think your prince will be more attracted to?

Are you Sleeping Beauty or Snow White?

Thursday, May 9, 2013

UNhappy: When You Just Don't Feel Thankful

Have you ever thought to yourself, "What on earth in my life is there to be thankful for?" Maybe it's always too hot or too cold for you. Maybe your children or siblings are fighting. Maybe you're stuck in a job you hate. On those days- how can you be thankful?

Confession time- I just finished the worst month of feeling unhappy with my siblings that I think I have ever had in my entire life. And that includes when we were little. It seemed like everything they did got on my nerves. I would feel myself getting annoyed, and in an effort to not lose it I would say something quick and sharp. As I would say it, I would chide myself, "Way to go, Nikitah. You just got an F in Siblings Harmony class." I knew what I was saying, but I couldn't bring myself to stop that little comment from slipping out. I felt unhappy and ticked off all the time. There was nothing to be thankful for.

You know how you are going through something and it seems like suddenly everyone is talking/preaching/singing about your problem? Yeah, well, in case you didn't know: that's a God thing. A couple of weeks after the bad feelings started infiltrating my life, Dad preached on Striving To Enter Into God's Rest. Ok, well, maybe that didn't fit entirely what was going on, but it poked at me. And then Chip Ingram started a broadcast series on Overcoming Emotions That Destroy. During that series, I was still in denial, but things were really starting to prick. And then the most random message of all just burst the bubble- his message Don't Ask Why, Ask What in his Rebuilding Your Broken World series. What really got me in that message was the quote by Dr. Viktor Frankl:
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing; the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
My attitude! Was there something wrong with it, honestly? Wasn't it just that people were doing things that they knew I didn't like? A little while later I read something on the True Woman's website where Erin Davis talked about how her family had a case of the grumps. She said she fixed it by praying this verse:
"You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound." -Psalm 4:7
Is it really that easy to change what you feel about your circumstances? Could just being thankful- and desiring joy- do the trick? I purposed to find out. First, I wrote down Psalm 4:7, Luke 16:10, James 1:12, 1:19, 3:6, and Ephesians 4:29. Underneath those, I wrote a little message for myself: "'Speak life' rather than 'speaking bitterness'." Next, I started forcing myself to write down every day ten things I am thankful for. And soon I was adding things I wasn't thankful for to that list. Just consciously making the effort to feel thankful for those things (or an aspect of those things) made a huge difference.

Now, am I totally out of the "doldrums" yet? Not entirely- and I suspect I will struggle with this my entire life.  Every day I have to go back to my verses and have to write a new list. Is it worth it? Yes, yes it is. I'm not snapping at the people I love.

So I encourage you- if you have something that is keeping you from feeling the joy that Christ died to give you, sit down. Write some verses that deal with your problem- because it probably won't be the same as mine. Write that list of ten things. And then keep going back to them.

I think you'll be glad you did.