Sincere Love

aspergers-love

This is what Paul writes in the book of Romans 12:9: “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.”

What I love about this passage is Paul doesn’t bother to explain the “why” behind the first part of this verse (i.e. why must love be sincere?) It is one of my favorite things about his writing style. There are some things that he encourages us to do and because they are so fundamental and logical no explanation is needed.  He doesn’t say “Love must be sincere because…” He simply leaves it up to us to understand the importance of being sincere.

So today men, I ask you whether or not your love is sincere? The love you have for your wife, girlfriend, friends and family, is it sincere? More importantly do they believe your love for them is sincere?

Trust me gentlemen, especially when it comes to women, they will know when your love is not sincere. They might not tell you how they feel nor will they usually let it show that they are on to you. Yet they can always tell when something is amiss.  This is especially true if you aren’t being sincere in your love and affection.

I love the movie “The Prestige” if you haven’t seen it you should.  It is well acted and the plot is creative.  One of the main characters, Alfred, is played by Christian Bale.  During the course of the movie Sarah, his girlfriend/wife, asks him “Alfred do you love me?”  With the exception of one time towards the end of the film he always says he loves Sarah.  However, her reaction is that she can always tell the days he does and the days he doesn’t.

As men, when it comes to outsmarting or lying to people we believe we are the best in the businesses, especially when it comes to fooling women. I am here to tell you that we aren’t fooling anyone other than ourselves. Women know and can tell when you aren’t being sincere.   They may go through brief periods of denial but deep down they always know.  Women generally allow us to keep digging our own holes until we are so deep we need someone to help us get out!  It can be a very painful experience for everyone.

That is why I am writing to you today. I want to encourage you to love people sincerely. Be genuine with the people you care about. Don’t let familiarity rob the power of the words “I love you.”  Simply being convincing isn’t enough, you have to mean it.

The key to loving sincerely is through our actions. It is easy to say words that we don’t mean. Anyone can say they love you to get what they want (we-men, are terribly notorious for this) but not actually care about you sincerely.

Jesus said to his boys: “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.” John 15:12-14 (NIV)

Even Jesus knew love without sincerity is mostly meaningless. Loving sincerely means you will lay down your life for those you care about. Jesus wasn’t necessarily talking literally here, although giving your life for someone is also expected, it is not limited to just that. He is simply saying that when you sincerely love someone you will serve them and lay down your own agenda and motivations in order to love them.

Our biggest problem in this area is the whole “I don’t feel like I love them.” This is probably one of the worst rationales humans have ever come up with. Christ didn’t say that you should lay down your life for someone when you feel like you love them. He said when you love someone you should lay down your life for them.

If you love someone you love them all the time. Not part time. Not 3/4 of the time. All the time. We may “fall” in love with people but it is our choice to continue to love them. Loving people isn’t always easy but as followers of God we must choose to love people even when it is difficult and inconvenient. Any one can love someone when it is easy.

Real men (and real women) love at all times and they do so sincerely. That doesn’t mean we are perfect or that we follow through all the time but we are asked to try. Therefore we must.

I leave you with a thought and also with some encouragement. First, who in your life do you claim to love but have recently been loving without the sincerity Paul and John write about in the Bible? Seek God and ask him to show you. You may be surprised at what he will tell you. God wants to see all your relationships restored to right standing, therefore there is no judgment (‘There is no condemnation in Christ Rom 8:1.)  If you are confused about how to show love sincerely ask God, He will show you. Everyone wants to be loved sincerely and if you pay attention you will see how people in your life desire to have love expressed to them.

I leave you with a scripture we all know or have heard but you cannot escape the beauty and sincerity of God’s love in it: “For God so LOVED the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

Love sincerely and I promise you, your life will change in amazing ways!  Your marriage will be stronger. You will have more joy, patience and peace and most importantly God’s light will shine through everything you do.

Until tomorrow, make it a better day!

Andrew

 

Mmmmmm….Meat! Eat More, be happier!

 

Sichuan Peppercorn Tenderloin Steak 500

 

One of the more overlooked areas in a man’s life is his diet.  You might disagree but I know as I have grown older (I am creeping up to 38 years old) I just cannot eat the same kind of things nor in the same quantities as before.  It has taken me a long time to admit I cannot eat the way I used to when I was younger.  Most of my life I had done a really good job of managing my weight and watching what I ate with a few cheat days mixed in.

There was a period about 4 years ago that I managed to get my weight down to 170 (my weight pretty much had been around 180 since freshman year of college.)  Sadly since that time my body revolted and due to several biological changes – and poor eating choices – I gained 30 pounds in three years.  This past year I topped out at 208 which was an all-time high for me.  Even worse than that I felt terrible, lethargic and had a hard time dealing with depression (not clinical but still depression.)  Most days I just felt terrible but couldn’t figure out way.  I visited doctor’s but their solutions never helped and sometimes even caused additional problems I didn’t previously have.

Then about 2 1/2 months ago my wife was watching Dr. Oz (insert eye roll here) and he had a woman on the show who lost a ton of weight and corrected several biological issues through switching her diet.  She had some of the same issues I had (Thyroid) and started using the “Paleo Diet.”

Now when I say “diet” I really mean a changed lifestyle of eating that is permanent.  Normally when we think of “dieting” we think temporary but what I am referring to is actually changing how we eat for the rest of our lives.  I know it sounds dramatic but I don’t mean it to be.

Anyway back to my wife and Dr. Oz.  She proceeds to tell me that we are going to switch to this Paleo Diet and she is totally convinced it will help me lose weight and feel better.  Of course being a guy and in full “stubborn guy” mode, I didn’t believe her and simply said “Okay honey” knowing there was NO WAY this would work.

The Paleo Diet is basically a meat, veggies, fruit and nut diet and is often referred to as the caveman diet.  No sugar, no wheat flour, no bread (it is rather anti-carbs), no pasta etc.  I thought I was going to die.  There was simply NO WAY I could give up sugar.  I am a sugar fiend and at this point probably ate at least one or two major sweet things a day.  A cupcake, muffin, donuts,  candy bar, cookie, something sweet had to pass my lips every day and usually twice a day if not more.

Well much to my surprise I completely cut out sugar and carbs from day 1.  I had a pretty massive headache for the first week due to my sudden lack of sugar intake but outside of the headache I felt amazing.  I had more energy, felt better, was no longer fatigued half way into my day and most importantly I was happier.  If that wasn’t enough I even lost weight – without working out!  Over the first month and a half I lost 10 pounds.  My wife and I do work in a cheat day every once in a while but never more than once a week unless it cannot be helped.  The best part of the diet if you are a guy is that it is meat friendly and you are encouraged to eat as much steak, fish, seafood, hamburger etc that you can cram in your gullet.  The recipes are also VERY tasty and enjoyable.  I have recently hit a plateau in my weight loss – stalled at 196- but have started working out 2 -3 times a week and am hoping I can drop another 16 pounds to get back to 180.

Whenever you make a significant change to your diet you should always consult your doctor as part of the process of course.  Just bear in mind the importance of a second opinion.  Many doctors (like the one I was going to) would rather try and medicate the problems away rather than try and help you through diet or suggest that perhaps you are eating too much sugar and crap.

As men it is important we make every effort to live a long life for the sake of our families and especially our children.  My wife’s father died when she was only 9 years old and she has no memory of hearing his actual voice (he had a stroke and was confined to a wheelchair for most of those 9 years.)  Her father had more issues than just his diet but he (and my wife would agree) did not make good choices when it came to his long term health and he left this world much too early.  My wife’s life was forever changed when he passed at such a young age and there are certain struggles she has in her life now that she probably wouldn’t have if her dad lived a longer life.

We need to stop being lazy, stubborn and prideful about our health and our eating choices.  As men we must realize these choices can and do have a long and lasting impact on our families and friends.  Your presence in the life of your family is a stabilizing force and without it or with a diminished version of yourself it will hurt your son, daughter and wife in the long run.  You don’t have to switch to the Paleo Diet but please take a moment and re-evaluate your current diet and see if you should make some changes.  Being healthy is as much for your family as it is for you!

For those of you wanting more information on the Paleo Diet please visit these links (or of course you can use Google):

http://thepaleodiet.com/

http://www.paleocupboard.com/

http://www.cavemanpower.com/food/caveman_power_diet.html

Until tomorrow make it a great day!

Andrew

A Good Woman…

 

Vintage-Black-Bride

“He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord.” Proverbs 18:22

Yesterday the wife and I went to the gym after work.  I often find the gym a great place to observe exemplary male behavior (*eye roll*).  Last night was no different.  I won’t bore you with the details other than to say I had the chance to overhear two guys complaining about their wives and/or women.  I couldn’t tell if they were married (no rings) but one guy sounded like he was married while the other one was likely not just based on the conversation.

Look I know we all have bad experiences with the opposite sex (I could tell you plenty) but here is the bottom line: finding a wife is indeed a good thing.  Whether you are a believer in God and/or the Bible doesn’t matter.  Getting married to a good woman will change your life in ways you cannot even begin to imagine.  As men I think it is our attitude that needs the work, not our wives or girlfriends.

I will take just one moment to mention the importance of selecting the “right” woman.  There are plenty of wrong fish in the sea (again I can speak from experience).  We have to be careful to select a woman who is a “good faith woman.”  That is a woman who generally cares about us and people as a whole.  A woman who isn’t in a relationship for selfish gain but generally desires to be in a relationship that is positive and growing.  I have often found the problem isn’t the woman we choose to date or marry but rather our selection process (or lack of one.)  Too many of us select a woman strictly on her measurements, lack of material in her clothing choices or other similarly stupid criteria.  That doesn’t mean you can’t have all of those things in your spouse but if that is your top priority you cannot complain when her personality is a disaster of epic proportions – charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting.

Your wife is there for YOUR benefit not hers.  Sure she might want to have children with you but nowadays she doesn’t even need us for that!  She has signed on with you because for better or worse she believes in the man that you are but more importantly the man you can become.  She believes you have what it takes to be a leader of her family.  Truth is we are all rough around the edges (some more than others) whenever we enter into a relationship.  However, when you marry a good woman she is going to help smooth out those rough edges and make you a better man.  At least if you allow her to.

Men, we need to understand that our wives only have our best interests in mind.  If you find a good faith woman she will do you good and not harm all the days of your life.  She will never stop looking out for you, your children or your family.  She will help reign in your stupidity when necessary and encourage you to take risks when appropriate.  She will support you and give you a source of strength you never thought imaginable.  You will grow in respect among your peers and colleagues without even having to exert any effort to do so.  Your wife will speak with wisdom and kindness and she will help to fill your home with joy, laughter and peace.  And before you dismiss the previous sentence, have you ever come home from work to find a home not filled with those things?  It is awful.

None of the above is to suggest you won’t have struggles or that you won’t have arguments.  You cannot put two people with totally different characteristics into a house or apartment and not expect there to be sparks.  Arguing is actually normal and healthy in a relationship.  It is going to happen you just have to accept it and realize it is part of your life.  As long as you don’t act like a knucklehead everything will work out.

If things are less than desirable in your marriage or relationship quit blaming her and ask yourself what is it that you are doing to add to the problem.  You might not be 100% at fault but your contributions to the problems are the only thing you can actually change to make it better.  I promise if you take responsibility for your actions your good faith woman will notice and if she needs to make similar corrections will do so.  Your job is to love her.  That is it.  You do that (and don’t speak ill of her at the gym) you will have the best life imaginable.

Until tomorrow, make it a great day!

Andrew Sloss

Don’t Fight Alone

 SteveTaylor-3

Sometimes as believers it is hard for us to completely relinquish control to God. We often think we can do things on our own and fix whatever is “wrong” in our lives. It all comes down to trusting God and trusting His nature. If God is going to battle for you, it is important that you understand and trust Him! When it comes to helping us God is a warrior!

“The Lord himself will fight for you. You won’t have to lift a finger in your defense!” Ex. 14:14 

“Each one of you will put to flight a thousand of the enemy, for the Lord your God fights for you, just as he has promised.” Josh. 23:10 

 

I know when things get difficult for me and enemies are all around, I often struggle with letting God do His thing. I get stuck thinking they are attacking me and me alone. However, if someone or something is picking a fight with you they have to come against you AND God! If you let God fight your battles for you, victory is always assured. Only God can cause confusion among your enemies and have them turn on one another.

Be encouraged today for no matter what fights you are facing you don’ have to face them alone!

brad-pitt-fight-club-workout

“The Lord stands beside me like a great warrior. Before him they will stumble. They cannot defeat me. They will be shamed and thoroughly humiliated. Their dishonor will never be forgotten. Jer. 20:11 

Until next week have an amazing weekend!

 

Andrew

Enjoy Burnt Biscuits

I didn’t write this story and whether it actually happened or not isn’t the point.  The lesson contained within the story is all that matters.  This is a great example of “doing the little” things in a marriage to make life easier on your spouse.  If men would only learn that sometimes it is just better to eat a burnt biscuit and be happy about it, they would have stronger marriages and families.

——————–

When I was a kid, my Mom liked to make breakfast food for dinner every now and then. I remember one night in particular when she had made breakfast after a long, hard day at work. On that evening so long ago, my Mom placed a plate of eggs, sausage and extremely burned biscuits in front of my dad. I remember waiting to see if anyone noticed!

All my dad did was reach for his biscuit, smile at my Mom and ask me how my day was at school. I don’t remember what I told him that night, but I do remember watching him smear butter and jelly on that ugly burned biscuit. He ate every bite of that thing… never made a face nor uttered a word about it!

When I got up from the table that evening, I remember hearing my Mom apologize to my dad for burning the biscuits. And I’ll never forget what he said, “Honey, I love burned biscuits every now and then.”

Later that night, I went to kiss Daddy good night and I asked him if he really liked his biscuits burned. He wrapped me in his arms and said, “Your Mom put in a hard day at work today and she’s real tired. And besides, a little burned biscuit never hurt anyone!”

As I’ve grown older, I’ve thought about that many times. Life is full of imperfect things and imperfect people. I’m not the best at hardly anything, and I forget birthdays and anniversaries just like everyone else. But what I’ve learned over the years is that learning to accept each other’s faults and choosing to celebrate each other’s differences is one of the most important keys to creating a healthy, growing, and lasting relationship.

We could extend this to any relationship. In fact, understanding is the base of any relationship, be it a husband-wife or parent-child or friendship!

So, please pass me a biscuit, and yes, the burned one will do just fine.

Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.

Until tomorrow!

Andrew

Because we can always be better men