Where you focus will determine how you face your future. Will you crumble in fear or flourish by faith in Christ?
Here at Predatory Lies, we talk a lot about female body image, eating disorders, body dismorphia, cultural lies and pressure from the media. But I’ve never taken a close look at how this social frenzy for physical perfection affects men. Personally, I don’t feel equipped to address that. However, this article is exquisite and in many ways could have been written about women as well. This is just the teaser. I highly recommend you click through and read the whole article.
The Epidemic of Male Body Hatred
by: Paul Maxwell for Desiring God
“If I could look like that guy who played Thor, I would be happy.”
It’s a common belief among men of our age. Put more honestly, “If I can’t appear confident, sexy, intimidating, competent, and super-human, I’m worthless.”
We compare ourselves to others in the gym. We come away from movies wanting to exercise for eight hours. We would rather jump in front of a truck than take our shirts off at the pool. We feel pathetic and small. We look at ourselves in almost every mirror we pass. When alone, we flex — not because we like what we see, but because we don’t. We have spent hundreds of dollars on pre-workout, weight loss, and weight gain supplements. We research the best way to bulk, shred, diet, and binge.
If Ebola hadn’t singed the edge of my own world, I doubt it would have dramatically altered my prayer life.
Sure, there have been global crises, that for a window of time, like a blip on a radar, interrupted the usual, “Father, please take care of my family. You’re so good and loving and gracious. Thank you for Jesus, Amen.” I don’t mean to intimate that my prayer life has been inconsequential or entirely trivial, but I do write this article from a humbled heart.
Late September, I got a call from my husband while I was visiting my sisters several states away. Out of the wild blue, he told me that his unit, the 101st Airborne, had received orders to deploy to Liberia, Africa, with very short notice. For the first time, my interest (read: fear) was piqued enough to read past the blaring, redundant headlines and ask, with empathy, “What is going on?”
The Ebola virus is named for a river in the region of Central Africa where it was first discovered. It is classified as a hemorrhagic fever, meaning that victims exhibit flu like symptoms along with bleeding and bruising from places like the eyes and the gastrointestinal tract. Approximately half of those who contract Ebola die. Due to the gory symptoms and the startling fatality rate, Ebola has sparked pandemic fear. Or has it? What is your response? How do your neighbors and your church congregation feel?
Reactions run the gamut. In August, Ann Coulter called a courageous, Christian doctor living out his faith through mercy and caring for the poor in Africa, “idiotic”. Others clamor for a travel ban on people wishing to enter the U.S. from infected countries. Casual conversations now veer from the economy to ISIS and on to Ebola. We’re concerned most definitely. But is the collective body of Christ alert, compassionate and Christ-like enough to really do something?
To be honest, I’ve lost some sleep over the idea that my own husband will be breathing African air. And yet, at the same time, I haven’t changed my habits. Yes, my prayers now include a new variable when petitioning God for my husband’s safety and wellbeing. Most often, I tack on a few lines asking for God’s mercy on the ailing continent and protection for North America.
“All we can do now is pray.” We’ve all said that with the best intentions, but what do we mean? Do we mean that prayer is our final resort, as if God is the last ditch, cross our fingers, cosmic good-luck charm?
In this situation, quite literally for most of us, prayer is our only option. In truth, it is always our only real hope, but it should also be our first resort. And while we’re always praying and not losing heart (Luke 18:1), we should employ our compassion, our abilities as the hands and feet of Jesus in the ripe fields of wounded souls and broken bodies all around us.
Recently, Dr. Hinthorn, Professor of Medicine at the University of Kansas School of Medicine, wrote an article for the Focus on the Family blog, called “How Should We Respond to the Ebola Outbreak?”. He offered an interesting and relevant perspective:
“There are currently fewer than 8,000 cases of Ebola, with just over 3,400 deaths worldwide. Those numbers are tragic, but it might be instructive to compare them to the effects of influenza in the U.S. The CDC estimates that between 5 percent and 20 percent of the population gets the seasonal flu each year, resulting in well over a hundred thousand hospitalizations. Thousands of flu-related deaths occur annually, with more than 48,000 in the 2006-2007 flu season alone.” (October 8, 2014 Focus on the Family blog)
2 Timothy 1:7 gives specific instructions to Christians as to how we personally should respond to Ebola, “…for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”
The Greek word for strength is dynamis, meaning: “inherent power, power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature, or which a person or thing exerts and puts forth”. The only one with such inherent power is the God who has placed His Spirit in those who believe in Jesus Christ. We are uniquely equipped to respond to Ebola effectively.
James 5:16 says, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”
So, whether we are physically equipped, as my husband, to offer hope in Africa through healing hands, or whether we have the distinct honor and responsibility to pray like never before, or whether we have family and friends, neighbors and colleagues to whom we can simply bring a cup of soup, let us not be afraid or discouraged (Joshua 10:25), grow weary in doing good (Galatians 6:9) or lose heart in our prayers.
Trying to Outrun the Love of God
Book Tour October-November 2014
Publisher: CSN Books
Author: Karen Adams
Karen Adams survived childhood molestation, 7 years of crack addiction, 4 nervous breakdown, two admissions to mental wards of hospitals against her will. She is now an Evangelist who teaches and preaches on the transforming love of God. She has a burden for emotional wounded and hurting people. She attended college at all of the Alameda County Jr. Colleges. In her free time she enjoys, traveling, movies, reading and spending time with her cat Noches and her Cockatiel birdy.
About the Book:
How can God reach someone who appears unreachable? Will the love of God be enough to break every chain and loose the trap of the enemy? In her debut book, Author Karen Adams struggles to understand how a loving God would allow life to be so unbearable. Facing childhood molestation, years of crack addiction, nervous breakdowns, and admissions to mental wards, she learned that no matter how difficult life was, God continued to extend His love. Trying to Outrun the Love of God, is a deeply moving story of one woman’s journey filled with suffering and pain, but one that ultimately finds wholeness and deliverance in the arms of a loving Savior. A must read for all those who think they are alone.
Tour hosted by WNL Book Tours
Does God want you to exercise? Is all exercise a vain and idolatrous pursuit? Let’s talk about that today.
Here’s the link to Desiring God that I mentioned in the video:
Because He Lives!
Are you tired of Cinderella stories? You know, the ones with their saintly fair maidens and angelic buxom brunettes. The characters are flawless from the start in every way, from their moral fortitude to their physical attributes. The Preacher’s Bride, by Judy Hedlund, is a refreshing exception. Perhaps that is what makes the book so cogent—the invitation to identify with the heroine, finding grace in her imperfections and confidence in her strengths. Surely this comes from the fact that the story is only partly fiction.
From the first pages of The Preacher’s Bride, the protagonist, Elizabeth Whitbread, treads common ground with us lowly, average, homely, self-conscious, dutiful women. Through the course of the book, Hedlund expertly uses Elizabeth to empathize with each varied and mystifying roll a woman may play in her life: from a young, single woman to a new bride, an unloved wife to an independent woman, and finally to a wise, seasoned, valued and respected mother and wife.
Hedlund is skilled at sharing the perspectives of each the primary characters, but Elizabeth drives the story. This is particularly fascinating, as The Preacher’s Bride is ultimately based on the story of John Bunyan, the tinker turned preacher in England during the 1600’s.
The book is well-researched, and accurately portrays the cultural and political climate of the times; the tension between the Puritans and the Royalists. Then, adding a good dose of creative license, Hedlund explores the emotions, trials and victories of Bunyan’s second wife, Elizabeth.
Elizabeth’s defining characteristic is her strength. In spite of persecution, poverty, overwhelming responsibility, loneliness and pain, she emerges victorious. I liken Elizabeth’s story to a item submitted to a tinker such as John Bunyan.
Tinkering, according to Wikipedia, is essentially “the process of adapting, meddling or adjusting something in the course of making repairs or improvements,”. It must be painful. There is twisting and bending, heating and filing. But the end result is always finer than at the start.
The Preacher’s Bride shows how God uses many challenges to “tinker” with each of us. But like Elizabeth, there is a reward when we remain faithful. I found myself with Elizabeth, experiencing each of her trials, and somehow, I believe, emerging with her refined, purified and improved.