Do It Right The First Time

salute

I want to share a little story with you.

My scoutmaster (we’ll call him Scott) once gave a Scoutmaster Minute that has stayed with me for almost 10 years.

The incident took place during his time in the Army. Scott was an officer, and had just gotten off a brutal shift that had lasted nearly 24 hours with no rest. He joked that at the time he thinks he was taking coffee intravenously just to stay awake. Anyway, as he walked to his barracks, a very nervous looking soldier wearing civilian slacks and a white t-shirt approached him. He said, “Sir, can I have a word with you?”

Scott was about to say yes, when it registered with him that the soldier who was addressing him was not in uniform. Sternly, he rebuked the soldier and said, “If you’re going to address a superior officer, you need to be in uniform. Go change and then come back and talk to me.” The soldier protested at first, but Scott was firm. The soldier left and returned in his uniform, but it was disheveled and unkept. Scott again rebuked the soldier for his unprofessional appearance, and sent him back a second time. This time, the soldier took care that his appearance was professional and worthy of standing before the superior officer.

This time, Scott was satisfied. He said, “Now that you’re dressed appropriately, let’s take a walk. What did you want to talk to me about?”

Nervously, the soldier said, “Sir, I’ve been very depressed for a long time. Tonight, I told myself I was going to go out, ask to talk to the first person I saw, and then kill myself in front of them.”

Scott was shocked! The soldier continued, “But after you sent me back to put on my uniform, it gave me time to think, and now I’m not sure what I want.”

Scott spent the rest of the evening counseling the soldier, who ultimately decided not to take his own life. The moral of the story? Standing on ceremony may be a hassle sometimes, but there are good reasons for it.

Never underestimate the impact of insisting that things be done the right way, the first time. Because Scott insisted that the soldier follow the proper protocols of respect, the man’s life was saved.

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5 Bible Verses That Will Send Chills Down Your Spine

The Bible has a lot of amazing things hidden deep within its pages. If you look hard enough, you can find giants, epic battles, talking animals, dead people walking, fire raining from the sky, and plagues of epic proportions. As I was reading my Bible last week, I came across a verse that stopped me dead in my tracks. It was the kind of verse that gives you chills just from the sheer power and authority emanating from the words. Given that, I decided to look at some other verses that I’ve always found fascinating. The criteria for choosing these was simply to find the verses that really seemed to ooze with unbridled power and authority; the kind of verses that make you stop and marvel at our God of power, and for guys, the ones that you want to quote before rushing into battle! Without further ado, here we have 5 Bible Verse That Will Send Chills Down Your Spine.

#5. When His Wrath Is Great

Psalm 18: 6-11

In my distress I called upon the LordAnd cried out to my God; He heard my voice from His temple, And my cry came before Him, even to His ears.Then the earth shook and trembled; The foundations of the hills also quaked and were shaken, Because He was angry. Smoke went up from His nostrils, And devouring fire from His mouth; Coals were kindled by it. He bowed the heavens also, and came down With darkness under His feet. And He rode upon a cherub, and flew; He flew upon the wings of the wind.  He made darkness His secret place; His canopy around Him was dark waters And thick clouds of the skies.

This passage is absolutely mind blowing. Here we see the Psalmist crying out to God in his distress, and the reaction is like a mama bear reacting to her cub crying out in pain: pure rage directed at some unfortunate someone (except with God, it’s a righteous rage). God is a powerful Father and this passage really speaks to His love for us. It is so relate-able because we’ve all been in situations where someone we love is in danger and we rush to their side, ready to tear apart anyone who comes close. This is like that; except when God talks about it, it sounds a whole lot more impressive. It’s like a mouse crying out for fear of the cat, and Optimus Prime shows up to help.

Optimus

Step away from the mouse.

That’s what it’s like. We are so weak and He is so powerful. Seriously, just read that. He puts darkness under his feet. Take heart, Christian. The earth will tremble and darkness will be crushed under His feet when you call on the Lord. So call on him!

#4. When He Commands You Not to Be Afraid

Josh 1:9

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

The context here is God speaking to Joshua when he took over for Moses. God instructed him to enter the promised land and to take it for an inheritance of Israel. As Joshua apparently realized, there were still people living in the promised land and God was essentially telling him to march into battle. This takes guts, and in verse 8, God tells Joshua to meditate on His word day and night, and immediately follows it up with the epic proclamation in verse 9. These words completely silence any doubt one could have about how to feel about this expedition. God preempts any doubts by asking, “Have I not commanded you?” If Joshua thought about asking questions, those thoughts were gone, as God commands Joshua to have courage; for God is with him. I imagine a general saying this to his army, someone like Maximus from Gladiator:

Have I not commanded you?!?

Have I not commanded you?!?

I imagine this is something that is said by a general of an army, specifically, Maximus from Gladiator. Just imagine him yelling that line in his powerfully masculine voice, like he did when he asked, “Are you not entertained?!?” God is with you, Christian. Have courage.

#3. When He Knows What Is in The Darkness

Daniel 2:22

He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, And light dwells with Him.

This is the verse I read the other day that sent chills down my spine. As children, we’ve all feared what is in the dark, and sometimes, the darkness can still be a scary place.

Scary creatures lurk in the darkness

Scary creatures lurk in the darkness

And when it’s a spiritual darkness, the fear is a whole lot more intense! But we do not need to fear, because God knows what is in the darkness. We fear what we can’t see because we don’t know what is there, but God crushes that notion because He does know what is there. And the next line delivers the final blow: He is light. He has the only weapon that can destroy the darkness and it doesn’t stand a chance against him. And He is on our side. Incredible. Don’t be afraid of the dark; it’s power has been dissolved. This verse has a companion verse in Job 12:22, “He uncovers deep things out of darkness, And brings the shadow of death to light.”

#2. When He Tells You to Be Immoveable

1st Corinthians 15:58

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

This was my anthem verse when I was a senior in high school. It just felt like such a good capstone to my education. After all God had taught me, now was the time to get down to work and put your nose to the grindstone. It’s one of those, “Man up, man” verses that always gets to me. In Christ, we are complete. In Christ, we have everything we need. And in Christ, nothing can move us. In Christ, we are like this to the enemy:

Your move, Satan.

Your move, Satan.

We are to be immovable, unshakable, completely solid in our faith. Jesus never wavered, and neither should we. Go Hulk on Satan and be immovable. Because who is on your side? The One who commands you not to be afraid, and who knows what is in the darkness, and the who crushes His enemies. Be immovable.

#1. When He Kills Death

1st Corinthians 15:55-57

“O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?”  The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Also in 1 Corinthians 15, this is perhaps the most powerful verse in Scripture. The cross is in vain without the resurrection, and here, Paul mocks death because it has been vanquished. This is the greatest hope we have. Jesus freed us from the fear of death; and because of this we can do anything.

Like vanquish hell.

Hades, where is your victory?

We have victory over death; how much more spine-chilling does it get? It’s too big for us to comprehend that as Christians, we will never truly die. Because death has already been defeated and its sting is no more. Take heart, Christian. Christ has won the day, a devouring fire pours forth from His mouth, He has commanded you not to be afraid, He knows what is in the darkness and light dwells with him, He tells you to be immovable, and He has defeated death. What greater King could we serve? ——————————-   I hope you enjoyed that! It certainly gave me the chills a few times! If you liked it, please like our Facebook page at Two Snows and A Blog for more stuff like this, as well as content from my wife’s blog.

What Can This Antarctic Shipwreck Teach You About Resilience?

Click for some cool color pictures of The Endurance

Click for some cool color pictures of The Endurance

The world is full of courageous men who risked their lives for a cause. Whether it’s an expedition into the remotest parts of the world, or fighting off the enemy in the most epic war in history, some men have a way of distinguishing themselves. Indeed, we tend to admire those who have stared death right in the face and gritted their teeth, never to back down. We long to be like them in some small measure and we read their stories, hoping to glean some insight into how they did what they did. One such man is Ernest Shackleton. What did he do?

Ernest Shackleton Saved All His Men From A Frozen Death

If you haven’t heard the story of The Endurance, you need to know about it. It was the year 1914, and the popular notion of conquering the Antarctic continent was alive and well. Ernest Shackleton had put together an expedition. He placed an ad in the paper promising death, darkness, poor wages, constant danger and honor as a reward if successful.

shackadvert2

Text of the ad Shackleton put out

Twenty-eight men answered the call, and the good ship Endurance set sail in December of 1914. The mission: to cross the Antarctic continent and gain the glory and honor accompanying such a feat. But it was not to be…
Historians tell us that The Endurance was built for loose ice floes, and was extremely strong. However, it was not a bowl-bottomed boat (which would be squeezed up out of ice packs that closed in). This proved to be a mistake, as the ship became caught in impenetrable ice in early 1915. Shackleton decided to try and wait it out, but by November of that year, it was clear that the ship was lost. The crew was forced to abandon the vessel and face the harsh prospects of survival on the ice floes.

endurance splintered

What was left of the Endurance after the ice was finished with it.

Imagine that you have to leave your ship and live on a block of ice, with nothing but seal meat for food…for two years.

That’s right, the crew of Endurance was stranded for more than 24 months. Furthermore, in almost every shipwreck story in history, casualties are high, morale is low, and the outcome is usually disastrous. It’s the norm for shipwrecks to boast a tremendous loss of life. But not Shackleton. He managed to lead his men through two years of life on the ice against incredible odds, until eventual rescue. And not a single soul was lost.

Resilience Is Learned

There are lots of lessons to be learned about leadership and endurance from this story. Ernest Shackleton is one of the few men in history to have faced death like he did, and he had a courage that is incomprehensible. It also tells us a lot about resilience, and facing reality head on. These men had to fight to survive the elements, low morale, mental fatigue, and a fiercely unforgiving ocean. But they came through it all. They had to come up with some creative ways to keep from going crazy, including writing in their journals about their experiences and singing songs to keep their spirits up. They had to fight to see their situation in a positive perspective, and while I don’t know about Shackleton himself, I’m sure that there were a lot of times on that voyage that those men cried out to God. They had to have resilience, and understand that getting out of that situation was going to be very, very difficult. But they did it.

One of Most Incredible Seafaring Voyage in History

Oh by the way, how exactly did that rescue go down? Well,  after months on the ice, the crew eventually got to Elephant Island (which is basically a couple giant rocks sticking out of the ocean near Antarctica. Very little native vegetation or wildlife to speak of.) They survived by hunting seals and penguins, and soon, after realizing that they would not last long, Shackleton made the courageous decision to seek rescue. The nearest inhabited land was over 800 miles away, and the only way to get there was in a tiny little boat, with no modern navigation equipment, across treacherous oceans and perilous seas. And he did it. It’s still considered among the most incredible nautical feats in the history of the world.

Elephant island

See? Not even Google can do it. But Shackleton did.

Eventually, he got to South Georgia island, where there was a small whaling station. Oh, and did I mention the only inhabitants were on the opposite side of the island? Across a mountain range? In the middle of winter? So not only did he have to sail 800 miles to a little rock with a whaling station, he then had to cross the mountains with the handful of crew mates he brought along, and do it quickly before they ran out of food or froze to death. But he succeeded.

He got help, and sailed back to Elephant Island to the men he had left there. He found them in 1916, and they had survived. Of the original crew of 28, a crew of 28 awaited him. Not one casualty throughout the whole ordeal. And it was all because of Shackleton’s unparalleled leadership in making the right choices at the right time (and God’s grace, of course). So what can we learn from this about resilience? Don’t give up. There were so many times that those men wanted to give up but they didn’t and it paid off. Keep going.

This story truly is incredible. I highly recommend reading the book. 

Do You Practice These 9 Essential Habits?

oldman

This post is reblogged and summarized from the Art of Manliness article The Child Is the Father to the Man: 9 Foundational Habits Young Men Should Start Now to Raise Themselves Right

Good habits are hard to make and hard to break. Everyone needs a routine that they can settle into; something that adds purpose to their life and gives it structure. Brett McKay over at Art of Manliness is a big proponent of intentionalism (the art of acting with intentionality, foresight, and planning in order to accomplish your desired goals; as oppose to just flying blind). Recently, he posted about 9 habits men need to start in order to make themselves the men they want to be in the future. I think it applies to women to, so without further ado, here they are.

#1. Save 20% of your money

It’s important to start good habits early. McKay recommends that you start saving 20% of your paycheck as soon as you are earning one. It doesn’t make sense to wait until “after high school” or “after college” because that turns out to be a big regret for many people. Start saving now, and that will help you prepare for the unknown.

#2. Exercise daily

I can’t agree with this one enough. It’s so important to establish an exercise routine so that you can avoid numerous health problems down the road. Along with conquering excessive weight gain and weight related diseases, exercising daily helps you feel better about yourself mentally and emotionally. Get up earlier in the morning to get your workout in, and the rest of the day your body will feel the strenuous effects from your workout. It’s a highly satisfying feeling.

#3. Eat healthy

This may be the hardest of the 9 habits McKay lists. The reason for this is that planning your diet takes a significant chunk of time out of your schedule, and then you have to stick to it. Once you get the planning done, the implementation isn’t so hard, but it does present it’s unique challenges. Of course, the benefits outweigh the disadvantages, and this habit is really necessary to living a long and happy life. Better to implement it now than after a serious illness that prompts it.

#4. Plan weekly and daily

I admit to not having implemented this one yet, but I’m getting closer. McKay is a huge fan of this as it’s the core of intentionalism. Basically, the principle is that you sit down and plan out your week and then each day you plan out what you need to get done. McKay has used this extensively, planning his week down to the minute in order to get everything done. I have no doubt that this habit yields great benefits, but I have yet to implement it. Check back with me on that…

#5. Read for pleasure

This one is so key in a digital world, where everything is about speed. I love reading articles, but books have so many benefits that it’s hard to discount this advice. Although he doesn’t say this explicitly, it’s implied that this means physical books. I like that idea, but if you can’t get to a physical book, read a book on your smartphone or tablet device. I just finished “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” and have just started another Holmes adventure. Another method I would recommend is listening to audiobooks while driving. I have a lengthy morning and evening drive, so I am currently listening to “Kidnapped” by Robert Louis Stevenson. Another good habit along those lines would be to incorporate listening to sermons into your drives. That’s a great benefit for your spiritual life.

#6. Brush and floss

This one seems obvious, but don’t let it slip away from you. Keeping up on your oral hygiene can save you a lot of pain and expense later on in life. If you need convincing, let Owl City instruct you. 

#7. Meditate

McKay is talking about a more abstract kind of meditation that’s focused on relaxing and disciplining your mind. That’s really great, but meditating is actually a very Scriptural practice. Pick a Bible verse and just set aside a few minutes to just think about it. The challenge is actually focusing on what you’re trying to think about, as many distractions are waiting to lure you away.

#8. Journal

Keeping a journal is actually quite fun because you get to look back at what you wrote  years before and laugh at yourself. But in all seriousness, it’s a great practice but hard to make time for. It’s a lot easier to blog nowadays, but there’s something about actually having a book that makes it more worthwhile. This is definitely a habit to seriously consider adopting.

#9. Serve

This is a really great addition to the list. As Christians, we are already called to serve our fellow man, but it is a good reminder that service requires intentionality As Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” We should take that to heart and adopt a servant attitude towards our God and fellow human beings.

The only habit that I would add is getting up early to do your devotions. It’s so necessary to read the word of God everyday. Jesus is the living water. If we don’t drink, we will die. So read your Bible everyday and be intentional about what you’re reading!

 

That’s all folks. Be sure to check out the original article over at Art of Manliness!

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3 Ways Men Have Failed Women

3 Ways Men Have Failed Women

(c) vino on flickr

(c) vino on flickr

Our generation has lost what it means to be a man. This problem is well-noted by many in society, from churches to social commentators to websites like Art of Manliness that focus on teaching modern day men to recover what has been lost. Men have become accustomed to being takers and not givers, which has helped contribute to the breakdown in the family. Many of society’s ills can be traced back to this breakdown, especially considering that the greatest indicator for poverty is marital status. Men have abdicated their responsibility, so I thought it would be beneficial to look at  three important ways that men have failed women, especially in this generation.

#3. We Stopped Working

The Problem: We treat our lives outside of a “job” as a recreational opportunity, devoid of responsibility.

The Analysis: Brett McKay of Art of Manliness has written how modern man’s dilemma is that he no longer strives to take responsibility for everything in his life. We may work in the sense that we have the 9-5 job that brings home the bacon, but the temptation is so strong to just “tune out” and ignore our families and communities. Sometimes, the tuning out is just a way of life, to the point where we become so completely adverse to responsibility that we become completely unproductive human beings. It gets so bad that we outsource our usefulness to women, which is ultimately a disservice to them, because now they have to be twice as productive to compensate for deadbeat men. We abdicated our responsibility to women, who now feel that they have to be the responsible adults in relationships (whether romantic or otherwise). On every level, it is pathetic for a man to implicitly force a woman to carry the weight that should rest on his shoulders. In a very real sense, it’s sexism because it forces a woman to balance to roles, even if the woman feels empowered for having more power in the relationship.

The Cure: Own up to our sin of laziness and apathy and learn the lessons of Proverbs 6:6.

#2. We Fueled the Internet Pornography Empire

The Problem: When we decided that a woman was not a worthy thing to fight for, we began using them.

The Analysis: Porn is a big problem. Like, a really, really, really HUGE problem. The average age of exposure for porn is 11 years old. For every 10 men in church, 5 are struggling with pornography. And to give you an idea of the prevalence of this problem, 70% of 18-to-24-year-old men visit pornographic sites in a typical month. 66% of men in their 20s and 30s also report being regular users of pornography (Source). The fact is that this generation of men has grown up with instantaneous access to every kind of hardcore pornography in existence. It’s not just on our computers anymore. It’s on our mobile devices and every other kind of Internet connected gadget. Porn teaches us that women are objects to be used for our own conquests. It kills our instinct to protect those who are weak and vulnerable and instead exploits people for profit (it’s no coincidence that modern sex trafficking has kept pace with the porn industry). Not to mention it does tremendous damage to personal relationships by eroding trust and intimacy. There is a lot out there on why porn is insanely destructive, and it’s not the purpose here to delve into all of the reasons why it’s destructive. But the fact is that we have once again abandoned our responsibility to guard our hearts and our eyes and protect our sisters. We have absolutely failed women in this regard because we have done the worst possible thing: we have turned women into commodities.

The Cure: Get on your face before Jesus and learn the lessons of Psalm 118:5 and numerous other verses that feature crying out to God. Cry out to God and he will hear you. And if you’re in real trouble, visit Setting Captives Free.

#1. We Stopped Caring About Kids

The Problem: Along with using porn as a cheap substitute for love and intimacy, men decided that kids were a burden that needed to be abandoned.

The Analysis: Fatherlessness is another huge problem. There are studies upon studies that document the damage done when a father walks out on their kids. Numerous Hollywood blockbusters feature main characters that have “Daddy issues”. The truth is that there is no greater responsibility than caring for a child. Since men in this generation are experts in avoiding responsibility, ditching children is a no-brainer for the footloose and fancy free man. And what’s the easiest way to ditch your kids? For many, the answer is abortion. (The recent campaign known as #brochoice is a perfect summary of men who want to shirk responsibility and use women purely as sexual objects). Boyfriends pressuring their girlfriends to get an abortion is a fairly frequent phenomena. They want to avoid the responsibility, and if they don’t succeed in convincing their girlfriends to get abortions, they leave, and even when they do get it, they still leave. Some sources say that up to 70% of romantic relationships end after an abortion (Source). Fatherlessness is a growing epidemic, with as many as 1/4 of all children living without a father, and in many minority communities, the number is much higher (Source). The result: men have failed women by creating legions of single mothers, who are the most likely in society to live in poverty.

The Cure: Own up to our responsibility to be husbands and fathers. Learn the lessons of Psalm 127: 3-5.

I’m in no way suggesting that these problems are new (using women as objects is a problem as old as Adam). But in some ways, they seem to have particularly potent influence on this generation, and something needs to be done about it. Men need to grow up, take responsibility and turn to the only one who can really change them: Jesus Christ.

That’s it! If you liked the post, leave a comment or like it and follow! Thanks!

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The 6 Most Jawdropping Feats of Strength in the Bible

The 6 Most Jawdropping Feats of Strength in the Bible

feats of strength final

The Marvel Studio’s film, The Avengers, depicts superheroes capable of lifting tanks, destroying cities, and generally disobeying every law of physics known to man. But little does the world know that these superheroes have archetypes that have precedence in Ancient Israel, during the days of King David and the like. Think the Bible is all about love and rainbows and hugs? Think again! Get ready to discover the 6 most jaw-dropping feats of strength in the Bible!

#6. Eleazar just can’t let go of how many Philistines he killed.

And after him was Eleazar the son of Dodo the Ahohite, one of the three mighty men with David when they defied the Philistines that were there gathered together to battle, and the men of Israel were gone away: He arose, and smote the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand clave unto the sword: and the LORD wrought a great victory that day; and the people returned after him only to spoil.- 2nd Samuel 23:9-10

Eleazar was considered one of David’s top three guys when something had to be killed, annihilated or pulverized. Along with Adino and Shammah, Eleazar was a ferocious warrior who earned a reputation as a killing-machine. His claim to fame is that during a battle with the Philistines, Eleazar slew so many of the enemy that by the end of the day he couldn’t let go of his sword.

Probably this sword.

Probably this sword.

Literally. Like, he had been gripping his weapon so tightly as he rained a death storm of Biblical justice on God’s enemies that his fingers had to be pried from the handle. Apparently, he was rather terrifying in his maelstrom of destruction because the rest of the army left him there. They took one look at Eleazer in all his battle-rage and said, “Um, no,” thereby demonstrating the first labor strike in history. They only returned after the battle, presumably once Eleazar had killed pretty much everyone.

#5. Benaiah kills two lionlike men of Moab, a lion with his bare hands, and an Egyptian.

 And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man, of Kabzeel, who had done many acts, he slew two lionlike men of Moab: he went down also and slew a lion in the midst of a pit in time of snow. -2nd Samuel 23:20

Benaniah actually did several seriously manly things including killing two “lionlike men of Moab”, slaying a lion with his bare hands and killing a massive Egyptian man with his own spear. The lionlike men of Moab, we can only assume, were terrifying.

Lionlike man of Moab shortly before Benaniah happened.

Just an average Moabite. Nothing to see here.

Given the undeniable fact that these guys were 10 feet of pure feral rage, it’s only fitting that we salute Benaniah for his hands down manliness in destroying these ferocious creatures. But hey! Wrestling a lion in a snowy pit is no walk in the park either! Benaniah had some real guts to do the things he did, and considering that he’s placed along side the guy who shishkabobbed 800 guys in a day (see #3), we can infer that his feats of strength were nothing less than super-manly.

#4. David’s Three Mighty Men fight their way through an army for a drink of water.

And the three mighty men brake through the host of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem, that was by the gate, and took it, and brought it to David: nevertheless he would not drink thereof, but poured it out unto the LORD.  -2nd Samuel 23:16

Imagine you’re sitting in camp, playing poker with the boys, knocking back a cold one…suddenly, the boss comes outside and happens to mention that he’d REALLY like a fresh drink of water from the good ol’ Bethlehem Well. Hearing that, the three mighty men decided that they needed to get the boss that drink of water!

Water.

Water.

So, casual as can be, they stroll into the Philistine camp, killing every soldier that stands in the way of their mission. When they got back, David just about fell out of his chair.

“You did WHAT?”

“We got you some water…you know from the well inside the enemy camp, surrounded by a thousand heavily armed men. No big deal.”

Instead of drinking the water, David poured it out as an offering to the Lord as such an act of love and devotion could only be responded to with worship to God. Which actually is incredibly manly in of itself.

#3. Adino the Tachmonite vanquishes 800 men in a single day.

The Tachmonite that sat in the seat, chief among the captains; the same was Adino the Eznite: he lift up his spear against eight hundred, whom he slew at one time.- 2nd Samuel 23:8

Adino was the head honcho of David’s band of three mighty men. Clearly, he fought hard to earn that title because no less than 800 men fell by his hand. One day in battle, he decided to open a massive can of good ol’ fashioned rage and killed 800 Philistines with his spear.

Artist's depiction of Adino and his spear.

Artist’s depiction of Adino and his spear.

That would probably be the scariest thing you could witness on the battlefield. One man slaughtering your fellow soldiers by the hundreds with a stick. Scary. That isn’t a cumulative number, either. He didn’t rack up bonus death points on his MasterKill credit card. No, sir! He did all that work all at once. There’s not much that’s scarier except when you learn about how…

#2. Samson kills 1,000 Philistines with the jawbone of a donkey, after being escorted by a prison guard of 3,000 men.

And he found a fresh jawbone of a donkey, and put out his hand and took it, and with it he struck 1,000 men. -Judges 15:15

Meet Samson. What the Hulk is to the Avengers, Samson is to the Bible. He’s the subject of some of the craziest stories in the Bible.

Pictured: Samson.

Pictured: Samson

So Samson saw a pretty girl among the Philistines…and that’s how every story starts with Samson, unfortunately. Long story short, he embarrasses the Philistines, who then bug his wife to bug him and then he gets mad and leaves, and while he’s gone his father-in-law remarries Samson’s wife to his former best man. Seriously. 

Naturally, Samson’s reaction was to irritate the Philistines so he caught 300 foxes, tied their tails in pairs and then lit them on fire and set them into the fields.

Thus creating the first version of the Firefox Browser.

The original Firefox.

In response, the Philistines set fire to Samson’s former new wife and father-in-law. After that, it sounds like there was a boxing match and Samson went and hid somewhere. The Philistines started raiding the Israelites, which prompted them to go to Samson to figure out just what the heck was going on.

Apparently, everyone knew about Samson’s temper problem because they sent 3,000 men to escort Samson. Three thousand men! If each man stretched out his arms and stood next to the other, the line of men would stretch for more than 3 miles! That’s crazy! Anyway, Samson was taken to the Philistines and when he is presented to them, the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon him, literally melting the ropes that bound him. He picked up the jawbone of a donkey and all hell broke loose as Samson proceeded to kill 1,000 of the soldiers. Naturally, this didn’t make him a huge star with the donkey population.

This guy is not a fan. Not a fan at all.

This guy is not a fan. Not a fan at all.

But seriously, he killed 1,000 people with the jawbone of a donkey. Which we are told was “fresh”. So who knows if the donkey was even dead. We wouldn’t be surprised if it wasn’t. And how long did that take anyway? Even with an average kill time of 1 minute, it would still take him 16 hours to kill 1000 people. Props to him for all that endurance (which came from God, of course). We figured that was the end of Samson’s exploit until we learned that….

#1. Samson wrestles a stone temple and wins, killing 3,000 Philistines.

And Samson grasped the two middle pillars on which the house rested, and he leaned his weight against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other. And Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines.” Then he bowed with all his strength, and the house fell upon the lords and upon all the people who were in it. So the dead whom he killed at his death were more than those whom he had killed during his life. -Judges 16:29-30

So after his ridiculous encounter in Judges 15 with the killing of 1,000 Philistines, Samson judges Israel for 20 years and when we meet up with him again in Chapter 16, the ol’ Hulk hasn’t really walked with God. We find out that he visits a prostitute, causes lots of property damage and then makes the biggest mistake of his love career by falling for Delilah (another Philistine). Amazingly enough, he doesn’t see how bad of an idea this is.

This is a bad idea.

This is a bad idea.

The Philistines pressure Delilah to figuring out what the secret of Samson’s strength is (the Insanity program he recommended failed to produce results for them). So Delilah starts pestering Samson. And not just pestering, but all out super-nagging. Delilah would whine and ask Samson for the secret to his strength and he would give her some nonsense about bowstrings or using new ropes, then the Philistines would try it and Samson would kill them all. But then Delilah pulled the “You don’t love me” card.

How can you resist a face like this?

How can you not love a face like this, Samson?

Samson broke down and told her that if she cut his hair, his strength would leave him. (Samson was a Nazirite, who were not supposed to cut their hair as part of their oath to God. By allowing Delilah to cut his hair, Samson was turning his back on God.) So that night, the Philistines came, cut his hair, and when he tried to fight back, his strength was gone because God had left him. His enemies gouged out his eyes, and put him in prison to work the mill as a slave.

Here’s where it gets cool: The Philistines were celebrating Samson’s capture and attributing their success to their god, Dagon. They were so pleased with themselves that they had Samson brought into the auditorium to entertain them.  Big mistake.

Samson found himself between the two central pillars that held up the house, and thinking quickly, he challenged the pillars to a wrestling match. Having never lost a wrestling match, the pillars foolishly agreed.

Bring it.

Bring it.

As Samson waged war against the pillars, they began to sway, and before you knew it, the whole roof was coming down. Inside the house were gathered 3,000 Philistines, jeering at Samson in his humiliation. The roof fell…

Presumably, it looked something like this.

Presumably, it looked something like this.

And as it did, Samson asked God that he might die there as well. The stones fell and crushed every single one of the 3,000 Philistines and Samson finally came to rest.

That’s it, folks! Which one is your favorite feat of strength in the Bible?


 

Start Being A Man, Boy Part 1

The title to this post has some pretty crucial punctuation. If you miss that all-critical comma, you’ll end up reading, “Start Being a Man Boy.” Which is definitely not what this is supposed to be about. This post is about growing up. About being a man. About owning up. (And if it wasn’t incredibly obvious yet, this post is for the guys.)

Whereas the last post was a gentle admonishment and meek request to our Christian sisters to help us out, this post is intended to be a sledge hammer of justice, smashing down on man-children everywhere and kicking them square in the rear to shape up and man up! I’m getting a rush of adrenaline just thinking about it!

So check it out: our generation has a big problem. Our men don’t want to be men. If this wasn’t obvious from the cascades of cash pouring in from inane movies like Role Models or anything by Will Ferrell (who, admittedly, is funny), then it might become apparent on another, more subtle note. I’ve heard (and seen) an interesting problem with some of my female friends of marriageable age.

There’s no men for them.

No, seriously.

There’s no men. And I don’t mean that there is a decided lack of males. There’s certainly plenty of those. But I’m saying there’s a lack of good men out there for my friends to be swept off their feet by. What defines a man? According to Captain Obvious and history, a man is a member of the male persuasion who takes responsibility for his own actions, strives to work hard for a greater end, treats women with respect and dignity, and applies himself to everything he does. A Christian man does all of that, but spend his quality time on his knees communing with his savior. And he does it all to the Glory of God.

So where are the men? As I touched on before, there’s an interesting cultural stereotype that has been introduced in the past couple decades or so. It’s commonly referred to as the ‘man-child’. Think every character that Will Ferrell plays (with the notable exception of Stranger Than Fiction…but even then), and you have successfully envisioned the archetypical man-child. A grown male who behaves like a child, throws temper tantrums when he doesn’t get his way, and in general, acts like a complete idiot for someone of his size. This persona has seeped into popular culture (which explains Will Ferrell’s success) and have affected lots and lots of guys. As they age, in many cities life becomes a game of who can act the stupidest and get laid the most. Work becomes a meaningless 8 hour prison that simply serves  as a vehicle to income which you can spend on the weekend getting wasted with your fellow man-children. Instead of seeking to become the man God wants you to be (or heck, just becoming a man!), life is about trivial pursuit, fleeting pleasures, and lots of sex.

What’s behind all this? Part of it is that men are taking longer to finish college than they were 30 years ago (and women are too) which is pushing marriage and family back farther. The median age for getting married was 28 in 2011, compared with 23 in 1970.  This is an interesting tie in to college and education, which I will discuss in a future post.

I’ll follow up on this post later.