What is your Life’s song?

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The Christian music group “Casting Crowns” has a song and album entitled “Lifesong.”  As it played on my IPod recently, I found myself being challenged with the question… “what is your life’s song Joshua?”

The song talks about giving our life as a sacrifice and song to God and singing it to Him and for His praises, but warns that just singing is in vain unless our life is reflected in Him. And I asked myself what is my life’s song?  Am I giving myself to the being that created me?  Am I singing His praises or the praises of myself?

As a man I struggle with my own praise, especially when I am good at what I do and other people recognize me for it.  I think most men struggle with this, it’s in our sinful nature, and part of who we are.

I constantly have to remind myself of Proverbs 27:2 which tells us to “let another man praise you and not your own mouth a stranger and not your own lips.”

I have heard that men struggle the most with something called the 3 G’s:

Gold, Girls, and Glory.

Confession:

I aspire to be at least a millionaire, I have the hottest wife on the planet but still have struggles with lust sometimes, and man does it feel amazing to have anyone tells me that I am good at something (especially when it’s that hot little wife I just mentioned)!

So I am left asking myself, am I living for me or for God?  Do I point praise at myself or my creator?  Maybe some of you that know me can better answer that question than I can.

I am reminded that, Jesus told the Pharisees that if the people stop singing Him praise, “the rocks will cry out in praise.” Luke 19:40

Therefore, I believe people (myself included) sing praise to the Lord, because I haven’t heard any rocks singing “Our God is an Awesome God, He reigns from Heaven above, with wisdom, power and love, our God is an Awesome God!”

But singing praise to the Lord on Sundays or at the top of your lungs in the car with the radio blasting during the week isn’t what I am talking about.

Is my whole life… Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday… a reflection of my creator and does it sing a song to Him?

We know that without the Lord we are nothing.  Many people like to quote the verse “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Phil 4:13  But what about when you don’t feel like you need Christ to strengthen you?  Paul was in prison when he wrote that he could do all things through Christ, and if I were in prison I would probably be relying on my savior and creator just for the will to keep living in captivity.  But when we are living our comfortable lives without ever going hungry, without having to spend even one night in prison, or ever having a real need; it gets hard to recognize and remember that God made me everything I am and ever will be.  He has given me the amazing privilege to live in a free country, have a great job that pays very well, live in a nice house with air conditioning, have a beautiful wife who loves me and cooks really delicious food so that I never have to go without unless I chose to!

I thank Him for what I have been given, but is thanks all He wants?  Are the conversations that I have with people on a daily basis pointing them to Him?  Is my character a reflection of Him?  Do I live a life that is intent on glorifying my God or myself?

The bottom line is this: We exist to glorify the living God through everything we do and say.

So with hands held high I will give my life as a living sacrifice to reach a world in need! That is what I want my lifesong to be, I WILL NOT SING IN VAIN.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gnf1xczuOrA

Empty hands held high
Such small sacrifice
If not joined with my life
I sing in vain tonight

May the words I say
And the things I do
Make my lifesong sing
Bring a smile to You

Let my lifesong sing to You
Let my lifesong sing to You
I want to sign Your name to the end of this day
Knowing that my heart was true
Let my lifesong sing to You

Lord I give my life
A living sacrifice
To reach a world in need
To be Your hands and feet

So may the words I say
And the things I do
Make my lifesong sing
Bring a smile to You

Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Let my lifesong sing to You

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So you still don’t read your Bible everyday?

A few weeks ago my Mom sent me an article about Bible reading and how if you break it up into a smaller bite size books then people are more likely to read it.  The article was quite interesting and shared testimony to the benefits of reading God’s Word everyday so I thought I would share it here along with my thoughts and tips on reading your Bible more.

The Bible: A Break-Up Story  http://intouch.org/magazine/content?topic=the_bible_a_break_up_story#.UDlPW92PVoF

In the Article the Author learned that more than nine out of ten Christians and nearly as many American pulpit pastors have never read through the entirety of Scripture.

“Since God primarily speaks from His Word, reading a verse or two a day doesn’t give Him much to work with,” she explained. “Our job is to get as much Scripture as possible into our ‘eye gate’ so the Holy Spirit will have more to bring to remembrance according to our situations and needs (John 14:26). Then, the more you take in, the more you will see connections throughout the entire counsel of God—and the more He’ll speak directly to you.”

He also recommended dividing the text into four sections, as most people find huge books daunting.

The plan in no way replaces study and meditation, both of which are necessary for Christian growth, Reamer clarified. “But my reading time is for reading. If I come across an idea I want to study or chew on, I jot the verse down and revisit it later. My purpose in reading is to see the big picture in context.

Joshua’s Thoughts:

According to studies conducted by the Barna research group only about 40% of Americans read their Bible regularly.  As mentioned in the article only about 10% of Christians have read through the whole Bible.  This is a travesty!  The God who created the Universe wrote a book of infinite wisdom for you to read, and He commanded that you read and meditate on it Day and Night. Deuteronomy 17:18-20 Joshua 1:8 Psalms 1:2 I actually preached my very first sermon on the importance of Bible reading last December, if you are interested you can watch it in 3 parts here.

As a whole Christians today do not know what the Bible says because they don’t read it regularly.  How can you call yourself something that you don’t know much about?!?!?!  If you work at Burger King you ought to know what kinds of foods are on the menu, if you are a financial consultant you should know a thing or two about money and if you are a Doctor you sure as heck better know a lot about modern medicine and be reading the latest research and studies related to your field.  Therefore, if you are a Christian you ought to know what you believe and why (whats on the menu), you should know a thing or two about Christianity and you should be staying current on your reading.

The first time I read through the entire Bible I was a Sophomore in High school, I read through the whole thing in two semesters because my first subject of the day was Bible reading.  I have since read through it a couple more times and I am currently reading it in chronological order (The Bible isn’t organized in order of events in case you didn’t know).  One thing that helps me stay on track with reading, is having a reading partner who is reading the same thing I am and we check up on each other to make sure the other is not falling behind.  My Girlfriend and I have been doing this throughout this year and it really helps us stay focused because neither one of us wants to fall behind the other.  Reading together, though separated by 7,000 miles, helps us encourage one another and ensures that we talk about important topics of substance as we come across every topic known to man in God’s amazing book.

The Bible tells us that God’s Word will not return void Isaiah 55:8 so if the charge to read His word everyday isn’t enough, the promise that His Word would not come back void ought to be enough.  Think about that for a minute… the God of the universe promises you that if you read and meditate on His words it will not be for in vain.  No other book that you can read promises not to waste your time.  I can think of plenty of books that I have read that I wish I hadn’t spent even 10 minutes reading, but the Bible is a book that I have never wished I spent less time reading.  Sure some of the genealogy’s are boring and there are sections of Leviticus that are dry but any book of Law is going to be dry, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn something from them.  Genealogy’s in Genesis give us clues for length of time between events, and the Genealogy in Matthew tells us about the ancestors of Christ.  The Laws given to the Jews teach us how to live healthy lives, the laws for circumcision of male children on the 8th day, what types of foods were allowed, and sexual purity laws are all examples of laws that if followed; help us live healthy lives.  The 8th day after circumcision is the day a little boy has an extremely high concentration of vitamin K, which allows him to heal super fast, not to mention the health benefits of a male being circumcised.  The foods set forth for the Israelites to eat are all very healthy and are proven in Daniel 1 Daniel and his buddies adhered to a diet set forth in Leviticus while the other young men ate whatever they wanted and status of their health was considerably different.  Lastly, we know that the only prevention for STD’s is abstinence until marriage and then only having sex with your spouse, that is what God set forth in various places in Leviticus.

Some of the best places to find wisdom for life is in Proverbs, and of course the New Testament is full of the teachings of Christ.  The rest of the New Testament writings are by men who were with Jesus and their instructions to the new Christian church are still applicable today.

Finally, many atheist have changed their minds and followed Christianity by simply reading the Bible in an attempt to prove it wrong.  The most famous of these atheist is C.S. Lewis.  If atheist’s read the Word of God and it changes their life, don’t you think that reading it will change yours for the better too?  I challenge you to the goal of read the Bible through in its entirety within a year, and see how the Lord speaks to you and changes your life.

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What is the measure of your Resolve? Will you pledge your life, your fortune, and your sacred honor for a cause?

Original link here:

http://www.jaredstory.com/limbaugh.html

On this 4th of July, I was looking up information on the signers of the Declaration of Independence when I came across this article.  I have always been in awe of the men who founded our country but I have even more respect for them “pledging their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor” when I realized that these men had the most to lose, and many of them did.

“Of those 56 who signed the Declaration of Independence, nine died of wounds or hardships during the war. Five were captured and imprisoned, in each case with brutal treatment. Several lost wives, sons or entire families. One lost his 13 children. Two wives were brutally treated. All were at one time or another the victims of manhunts and driven from their homes.

Twelve signers had their homes completely burned.

Seventeen lost everything they owned. Yet NOT ONE defected or went back on his pledged word. Their honor, and the nation they sacrificed so much to create is still intact.”

 

Much To Lose

What kind of men were the 56 signers who adopted the Declaration of Independence and who, by their signing, committed an act of treason against the crown? To each of you the names Franklin, Adams, Hancock, and Jefferson are almost as familiar as household words.

Most of us, however, know nothing of the other signers.

Who were they? What happened to them?

I imagine that many of you are somewhat surprised at the names not there: George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, Patrick Henry. All were elsewhere.

Ben Franklin was the only really old man. Eighteen were under 40; three were in their 20s. Of the 56 almost half -24- were judges and lawyers. Eleven were merchants, 9 were landowners and farmers, and the remaining 12 were doctors, ministers, and politicians.

With only a few exceptions, such as Samuel Adams of Massachusetts, these were men of substantial property.

All but two had families. The vast majority were men of education and standing in their communities. They had economic security as few men had in the 18th century.

Each had more to lose from revolution than he had to gain by it. John Hancock, one of the richest men in America, already had a price of 500 pounds on his head.

He signed in enormous letters so “that his Majesty could now read his name without glasses and could now double the reward.” Ben Franklin wryly noted: “Indeed we must all hang together, otherwise we shall most assuredly hang separately.” Fat Benjamin Harrison of Virginia told tiny Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts: “With me it will all be over in a minute, but you , you will be dancing on air an hour after I am gone.

These men knew what they risked. The penalty for treason was death by hanging. And remember: a great British fleet was already at anchor in New York Harbor.

They were sober men. There were no dreamy-eyed intellectuals or draft card burners here. They were far from hot-eyed fanatics, yammering for an explosion.

They simply asked for the status quo. It was change they resisted. It was equality with the mother country they desired. It was taxation with representation they sought. They were all conservatives, yet they rebelled.

It was principle, not property, that had brought these men to Philadelphia. Two of them became presidents of the United States. Seven of them became state governors. One died in office as vice president of the United States. Several would go on to be U.S. Senators.

One, the richest man in America, in 1828 founded the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. One, a delegate from Philadelphia, was the only real poet, musician and philosopher of the signers (it was he, Francis Hopkinson – not Betsy Ross who designed the United States flag).

Richard Henry Lee, A delegate from Virginia, had introduced the resolution to adopt the Declaration of Independence in June of 1776. He was prophetic in his concluding remarks:

“Why then sir, why do we longer delay? Why still deliberate? Let this happy day give birth to an American Republic. Let her arise not to devastate and to conquer but to reestablish the reign of peace and law. The eyes of Europe are fixed upon us. She demands of us a living example of freedom that may exhibit a contrast in the felicity of the citizen to the ever increasing tyranny which desolates her polluted shores. She invites us to prepare an asylum where the unhappy may find solace, and the persecuted repost. If we are not this day wanting in our duty, the names of the American Legislatures of 1776 will be placed by posterity at the side of all of those whose memory has been and ever will be dear to virtuous men and good citizens.”
Though the resolution was formally adopted July 4, it was not until July 8 that two of the states authorized their delegates to sign, and it was not until August 2, that the signers met at Philadelphia to actually put their names to the Declaration.
William Ellery, delegate from Rhode Island, was curious to see the signers’ faces as they committed this supreme act of personal courage. He saw some men sign quickly, “but in no face was he able to discern real fear.”

Stephan Hopkins, Ellery’s colleague from Rhode Island, was a man past 60. As he signed with a shaking pen, he declared: “My hand trembles, but my heart does not.”

“Most glorious service”

Even before the list was published, the British marked down every member of Congress suspected of having put his name to treason. All of them became the objects of vicious manhunts. Some were taken. Some, like Jefferson, had narrow escapes. All who had property or families near British strongholds suffered.

– Francis Lewis, New York delegate saw his home plundered and his estates in what is now Harlem, completely destroyed by British soldiers. Mrs. Lewis was captured and treated with great brutality. Though she was later exchanged for two British prisoners though the efforts of Congress she died from the effects of her abuse.

– William Floyd, another New York delegate, was able to escape with his wife and children across Long Island Sound to Connecticut, where they lived as refugees without income for seven years. When they came home they found a devastated ruin.

– Philips Livingstone had all his great holdings in New York confiscated and his family driven out of their home. Livingstone died in 1778 still working in Congress for the cause.

– Louis Morris, the fourth New York delegate, saw all his timber, crops, and livestock taken. For seven years he was barred from his home and family.

– John Hart of Trenton, New Jersey, risked his life to return home to see his dying wife. Hessian soldiers rode after him, and he escaped in the woods. While his wife lay on her deathbed, the soldiers ruined his farm and wrecked his homestead. Hart, 65, slept in caves and woods as he was hunted across the countryside. When at long last, emaciated by hardship, he was able to sneak home, he found his wife had already been buried, and his 13 children taken away. He never saw them again. He died a broken man in 1779, without ever finding his family.

– Dr. John Witherspoon, signer, was president of the College of New Jersey, later called Princeton. The British occupied the town of Princeton, and billeted troops in the college. They trampled and burned the finest college library in the country.

– Judge Richard Stockton, another New Jersey delegate signer, had rushed back to his estate in an effort to evacuate his wife and children. The family found refuge with friends, but a Tory sympathizer betrayed them. Judge Stockton was pulled from bed in the night and brutally beaten by the arresting soldiers. Thrown into a common jail, he was deliberately starved. Congress finally arranged for Stockton’s parole, but his health was ruined. The judge was released as an invalid, when he could no longer harm the British cause. He returned home to find his estate looted and did not live to see the triumph of the revolution. His family was forced to live off charity.

– Robert Morris, merchant prince of Philadelphia, delegate and signer, met Washington’s appeals and pleas for money year after year. He made and raised arms and provisions which made it possible for Washington to cross the Delaware at Trenton. In the process he lost 150 ships at sea, bleeding his own fortune and credit almost dry.

– George Clymer, Pennsylvania signer, escaped with his family from their home, but their property was completely destroyed by the British in the Germantown and Brandywine campaigns.

– Dr. Benjamin Rush, also from Pennsylvania, was forced to flee to Maryland. As a heroic surgeon with the army, Rush had several narrow escapes.

– John Martin, a Tory in his views previous to the debate, lived in a strongly loyalist area of Pennsylvania. When he came out for independence, most of his neighbors and even some of his relatives ostracized him. He was a sensitive and troubled man, and many believed this action killed him. When he died in 1777, his last words to his tormentors were: “Tell them that they will live to see the hour when they shall acknowledge it [the signing] to have been the most glorious service that I have ever rendered to my country.”

– William Ellery, Rhode Island delegate, saw his property and home burned to the ground.

– Thomas Lynch, Jr., South Carolina delegate, had his health broken from privation and exposures while serving as a company commander in the military. His doctors ordered him to seek a cure in the West Indies and on the voyage he and his young bride were drowned at sea.

– Edward Rutledge, Arthur Middleton, and Thomas Heyward, Jr., the other three South Carolina signers, were taken by the British in the siege of Charleston. They were carried as prisoners of war to St. Augustine, Florida, where they were singled out for indignities. They were exchanged at the end of the war, the British in the meantime having completely devastated their large landholdings and estates.

– Thomas Nelson, signer of Virginia, was at the front in command of the Virginia military forces. With British General Charles Cornwallis in Yorktown, fire from 70 heavy American guns began to destroy Yorktown piece by piece. Lord Cornwallis and his staff moved their headquarters into Nelson’s palatial home. While American cannonballs were making a shambles of the town, the house of Governor Nelson remained untouched. Nelson turned in rage to the American gunners and asked, “Why do you spare my home?” They replied, “Sir, out of respect to you.” Nelson cried, “Give me the cannon!” and fired on his magnificent home himself, smashing it to bits. But Nelson’s sacrifice was not quite over. He had raised $2 million for the Revolutionary cause by pledging his own estates. When the loans came due, a newer peacetime Congress refused to honor them, and Nelson’s property was forfeited. He was never reimbursed. He died, impoverished, a few years later at the age of 50.

Lives, fortunes, honor

Of those 56 who signed the Declaration of Independence, nine died of wounds or hardships during the war. Five were captured and imprisoned, in each case with brutal treatment. Several lost wives, sons or entire families. One lost his 13 children. Two wives were brutally treated. All were at one time or another the victims of manhunts and driven from their homes.

Twelve signers had their homes completely burned.

Seventeen lost everything they owned. Yet not one defected or went back on his pledged word. Their honor, and the nation they sacrificed so much to create is still intact.

And, finally, there is the New Jersey Signer, Abraham Clark.

He gave two sons to the officer corps in the Revolutionary Army. They were captured and sent to that infamous British prison hulk afloat in New York Harbor known as the hell ship “Jersey,” where 11,000 American captives were to die. The younger Clarks were treated with a special brutality because of their father.

One was put in solitary and given no food. With the end almost in sight with the war almost won, no one could have blamed Abraham Clark for acceding to the British request when they offered him his sons’ lives if he would recant and come out for the King and Parliament. The utter despair in this man’s heart, the anguish in his very soul, must reach out to each and one of us down through 200 years with the answer: “No.”

The 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence proved by their every deed that they made no idle boast when they composed the most magnificent curtain line in history. “And for the support of this Declaration with a firm reliance on the protection of divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”

– Rush H. Limbaugh, Jr.

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The Cube

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Plantar Fasciitis: how do you deal with it?

Plantar Fasciitis is something that a lot of people live with but they live with it by falsely treating the symptom of the bottom of the foot.  However, when you realize that this condition is caused by tightness all up your spine (see the picture at the bottom of the page) this condition can be treated with greater effectiveness.

The best thing I can tell you to do, is put a barbell on your back and squat 10-15 reps, then drop the weights and take off in a sprint!  This loosens up all the fascia all the way up your legs and back giving immediate relief and done once a month or so, can be a long term solution for Plantar Fasciitis.

Below is a good article on this subject…

Get Rid of Your Arch Pain for Good!
The plantar fascia is an extraordinary structure that stretches along the full length of the foot and is very important in getting good propulsion in jumps and in walking. When the Plantar Fascia gets irritated or inflamed it is termed Plantar Fasciitis (Inflammation of the Plantar Fascia).

Unfortunately most people try to treat this condition with stretching and massage. This may provide some temporary relief (occasionally it makes it worse) but this very rarely fixes the problem.

The three big things that need to be addressed to really fix the issue are:

• Muscular support of the arches of the foot
• Fascial mobility throughout the body and especially the lower leg
• Gentle support to reduce load on the fascia while it heals.
1. Muscular support of the arches of the foot

As Leonardo da Vinci said “The human foot is a masterpiece of engineering and a work of art.” When working properly, it allows us to run and jump and dance in the most extraordinary ways. However when it does not work in the way it was designed, then we can experience a lot of pain.

The foot is designed in such a way that it has 3 dynamic arches. By dynamic, I mean that they are designed to move and flex as we move, rather than be held in one place all the time. These are supported by complex slings of muscles and facia that work together to power us forward. The Plantar Fascia is designed to cope with strain in an on and off kind of way, rather than be under constant load. If there is a weakness in the muscles that support the position of the foot, constant strain is placed on the plantar fascia and it will start to get sore.

Stretching and massaging the plantar fascia will actually often make it feel worse, as it is already inflamed. We need to retrain the muscles that support the arch to take the load off the fascia long term. This can be done with all of the foot intrinsic exercises inThe Perfect Pointe Book (especially the ‘Doming’ ‘Toe Swapping’ and ‘Tripod Foot’ exercises. Make sure that when you perform these, the heel stays square and the arch stable (not rocking the foot in and out). They need to be done very slowly and deliberately to get the best effect. If you would like more detail about the anatomy and training of the specific muscles, contact us for a copy of The Advanced Foot Control Manual.
2. Fascial Mobility

The Plantar Fascia of the sole of the foot has direct connections up onto the fascia that runs along the whole back part of your body. Thomas Myers describes this as the “Superficial Back Line”. Tension anywhere in the back line can cause pulling and tension down into the sole of the foot, so it is important that when dealing with any issues with the plantar fascia we also look at the mobility of the fascia throughout the back of the body.

The Front Splits Fast Flexibility Program is the perfect way to assess and treat the whole back line, and you will notice dramatic changes in your overall flexibility once you can isolate and release your own tension points.
3. Supporting the fascia

Providing some support to the fascia is essential in allowing the inflammation to settle while you build up the strength to control the foot yourself. I use a combination of a soft heat mouldable insert in school/running shoes and taping for class work. The best taping is a technique that creates a cross woven web over the sole of the foot that mimics the plantar fascia. The other technique I use actually involves taping Theraband to the sole of the foot! (Both of these techniques are in the Advanced Foot Control manual).

To get the fastest and best recovery possible, I definitely recommend combining the three approaches above with a short period of rest from allegro and pointe work. You should still be able to do a flat barre and adage to maintain your strength (especially with appropriate taping) however if it is very painful, you may have to wear supportive runners in class instead of ballet flats.

Often students find that they actually come out of an ‘injury’ like this stronger and more mobile than before if they learn how to work with their body in the correct way. Improved flexibility and foot control help all areas of dancing, and correct dynamic biomechanics of the foot will result in much improved height and ballon in Allegro work.

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