Some Days Fighting Orcs Would Be Easier

Life can be challenging most days, at least for me it can be. There are times when I feel it would be easier to face down a horde of angry Orcs rather than enter into what the day holds for me. If you know me, then you know that I love fantasy and science fiction. Really what I love is a good story, I always have. I’m a very visual person too, that’s actually how I learn . When I can see something in a story that I can apply to my life, then it helps me to learn and grow.

There is a scene in the Lord of the Rings which takes place as Frodo decides he must leave the fellowship and take the ring into Mordor by himself. As Frodo is talking to Aragorn and asking him to watch over his friends, a number of Orcs arrive on the scene. 

Telling Frodo to run, Aragorn turns to face what for most men would be certain death, yet there is a smile which creeps onto his face as he draws his sword gripping it ever so tightly, then charging straight towards them. And there is a part of me that thinks that would actually be easier to deal with too.

I think the reason I feel this way, is that at least if you are fighting 100 Orcs, you know what you are up against, there is a tangibility by which I can judge where I am. Yet the day to day life for me can at times become so mundane. It’s hard to know what God is up to in my life some days because of the normal daily grind; I’m up early, drink my coffee, do my Bible reading, go to work then come home and clean up, rest for a few hours then go to bed so that I can get up and repeat the cycle the next day. It’s like rinse, lather, rinse, and repeat.

The thing is that I know God is working in my life even when I can’t see it, it’s just that at times I sure wish I could see what was going on behind the scenes. Have you ever felt like that? Some days a little bit of clarity would be nice, although I have never found where God promised that we would have clarity, instead He says that we just need to trust Him. Take a look at Proverbs 3:5 – 6:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight.”

So while I may never face down a horde of angry Orcs, and my days may at times all look the same day after day, I will continue to trust the Lord with all of my heart, knowing that He is at work in the background making my paths straight. And that my friends does my heart a world of good for sure. Strength and honor for the Kingdom and the King!

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It Takes Ordinary Men To Make Heroes

“When you talk about combat leadership under fire on the beach at Normandy, I don’t see how the credit can go to anyone other than the company-grade officers and senior NCOs who led the way.  It is good to be reminded that there are such men, that there always have been, and always will be.  We sometimes forget, I think, that you can manufacture weapons, and you can purchase ammunition, but you can’t buy valor and you can’t pull heroes off an assembly line.”

Sgt. John Ellery, 16th Infantry Regiment, U.S. 1st Division

Valor.  Heroes.  Men.  Three words which described perfectly those who took the battle directly to Adolf Hitler and his troops on June 6, 1944.  These men from my grandfather’s generation are some of my greatest heroes; because when they were called upon, they laid everything aside to defend our nation and its allies from the tyranny and oppression which was trying to take over the world.

Most of these men however did not consider themselves heroes but just ordinary men doing what men do; protecting their loved ones at whatever the cost.  Many gave their lives in order to win this war and we are forever in their debt because of the sacrifices they made.

It has been seventy some years since the end of World War II and a lot of these men have now gone on to their graves.  We are three generations away from this conflict which involved the entire world and look at the men of today.  Now I know a lot of younger men may call me an old coot (I am 52 now) but what passes for men these days doesn’t even compare to men of my grandfather’s generation.

And before you vilify me or say I’m out of touch; I was considered a rebel at one time with my long hair, thoughts and ideas.  My grandfather and I butted heads on more than one occasion about my ideas and hairstyle.  But I’m not really talking about those things even though I think skinny jeans and man buns are ridiculous.  What concerns me the most is what men used to be has slowly drifted away to be replaced with selfishness and men more concerned with getting their own needs satisfied.

I read somewhere that during World War II, many of the soldiers facing death were barely  old enough to buy beer. Yet they joined the military because it was the right thing to do.  Today’s males of the same age cry to social media when their feelings get hurt, and run looking for a safe place to hide.  What has happened to men today?

Okay I realize I just made a general statement about the men of today, I do know some young men who are what men should be.  Yet, if you were to take a casual glance at what passes for men these days, you would agree there are many more guys concerned with their social status, looks and getting what they want out of life than there are men willing to lay down their lives for their families and society at large.

My definition of a real man is one who is willing to lay down his life and who will put other’s needs before his own. It’s not glamorous and most of the time you won’t be in the spotlight but it’s what we as men were created to do. If we will rise to the occasion and put other’s needs before our own, we can make the world a better place, just like the men who fought in WWII did. We still need ordinary men taking their place and making a difference in lives, these are the guys who are the real heroes.

 

 

 

 

 

Things Which Just Should Not Be

“The world has changed. I see it in the water. I feel it in the Earth. I smell it in the air. Much that once was is lost, for none now live who remember it.” ~ JRR Tolkien

I am an avid reader and follower of the writings of Mr. Tolkien and have been for most of my adult life. I heartily agree with this passage from The Lord of the Rings because it bears truth even so many years after it was first written. Things have changed in the world of men…drastically.  I dare say men of even one generation ago would not recognize what passes for men in today’s society.

There are so many things men do these days which make me wonder if I’m looking at a man or a woman. In the movie Dumb & Dumber, Harry and Lloyd are walking down the street in Aspen and pass an attractive woman and man walking in the opposite direction, when Harry turns and says, “Ooh, look at the buns on that one.” Lloyd replies, “Yeah, he must work out.” This is what we’re dealing with in America right now; you can’t tell the men from the women.

I went to buy a pair of jeans the other day and what I found in the men’s department made me think I was in the ladies section. It seemed to be almost every pair of jeans had some type of bling on the back pockets. I had to do a double take to see if I was in the right place. 

What’s with decorating the back side of men’s jeans anyway? I know when I’ve seen women wear these types of pants it draws my eye towards their derrière. Is this the point? To cause us to look at the buns on that one?

Of course I realize there are ladies out there who may like it when their man wears these type of leg coverings, but do men really like this? 

Maybe I’m just an old redneck who finds it silly, I don’t know. My kids are always trying to get me to stop buying jeans from Walmart, but sorry it won’t happen; mainly because I appreciate spending less then $20 instead of over $100.

Whatever the case, I think some things just shouldn’t be and jeans with butt decorations are one of them, but another close second and third would be man buns and deep v neck t-shirts. 

I’ve written about my disdain for man buns in a previous post; you can read it here. And while I’ll  admit a plunging neck line in women’s clothing is nice (don’t hate me I’m a man) I don’t know anyone who wants to look at this portion of a man’s body. 

Let’s just admit the truth here and be done with it; the female form is an exquisite work of art, but the male is utilitarian, the way it was intended to be. Can we just go back to men being men and women being women please?

 

Wandering Alone

The ground is moist and has started seeping into my boots as I make my way through the dense under brush looking for some semblance of a path.  I’m hot and sweating profusely as I duck under another low hanging oak tree branch which has probably been here since long before my great-grandfather was born.

There is an eerie stillness in the air, and my thoughts turn to a favorite book of mine, “The Hobbit”, specifically the part where Bilbo Baggins and thirteen dwarves are trapped in Mirkwood Forest.  “I hope I don’t run into any giant spiders,” I think to myself, pushing aside yet another branch hindering my progress.

I’m not sure what possessed me to go into the woods around my home and take this day hike, but now I’m beginning to regret my decision.  The hours pass by and I become painfully aware of my lack of provisions.  A penknife, small bottle of water in my back pocket and a cell phone getting no signal is all I carry with me.  I realize if I don’t find my way soon, I’ll end up like the guys on those survivor television shows, the only difference being they’re equipped with the skills needed to survive in the wild, and I’m not.

Since I was in my teens, I’ve often wondered if I have what it takes to be a “real” man.  I’m fifty-two now and the crazy thing is this thought still hounds me like a jackal chasing its prey.  Put me in a social setting where I’m expected to have conversations with other men, and I feel as lost as I do now in these woods.

Why do I have this feeling of inadequacy in the presence of other men?  Why is it I feel I don’t have what it takes to be a real man?  Where does this come from?  The answer is simple enough; I was never invited or initiated into manhood as a boy.

I read an interesting article a few years ago about a tribe in Africa.  At around the age of twelve, the men of the village come to the boy’s home and in an elaborate ceremony, literally pul him from the arms of his mother; taking him out into the wild.  There they instruct the boy about what it means to be a man and leave him to prove himself.  The boy must build a house, plant a garden and become a productive member of the tribe before he can ever return home to visit his mother.

This was not my experience.  I was pretty much left to myself to figure out what it meant to be a man.  And since most of my instruction came from the world of movies and television, the knowledge I gained is, shall we say in short supply.  It wasn’t until I realized I was going to have to teach my own boys what it meant to be men and show my daughter how her future husband should act that I really began to search for answers.

I found them in another one of my favorite books, “Wild at Heart” written by John Eldredge.  In it I found the knowledge I needed and like a compass it put me on the correct heading, bringing me to a point in my life where I could actually believe I do have what it takes to be a real and authentic man.

As dusk gathered around me, I pushed aside the last limb and stepped out of the woods.  There in the distance I could see my truck.  Relieved, I promised myself I would never again wander in the woods without a little more preparation.  Yet in my heart something stirred; it was faint, almost non-existent, but I knew it for what it was, the knowledge I do have what it takes and I am a man after all.

Now you know what I think, what do you think?

 

 

 

 

 

The Beast Known as Lust

Opening a web browser on his phone and selecting a search engine, Sean typed in the words “”naked girl”, and waited for the images to appear on his handheld device.  Rising up from the cubicle, he looked around the office once more to make sure no one was headed in his direction; satisfied, he sat back down selecting  a picture and looked at the nude image of a voluptuous red headed woman.

After a few moments, he pressed the next button and a flaxen haired beauty appeared spread eagle on a bed revealing all God had given her.  The next twenty minutes was pretty much the same, every few seconds Sean clicking to view another picture or video.  And as he continued viewing the images his desire for these girls grew and his need for sexual release became stronger.

Finally unable to take it any more, he got up from his cubicle and made his way to the men’s room.  Entering one of the stalls and locking it behind him, he took out his phone with one hand, dropped his trousers  with the other and masturbated while looking at more pictures on his phone.

Men since the dawn of time have been captivated by the sight of a naked woman’s body.  There is just something about it which drives us men crazy.  I heard a comedian say once, “If you’ve seen one boob, you want to see the rest of them.”  Go ahead and laugh, it’s funny because you know it’s true.

When I was a boy, you could look at porn if you could find someone’s stash of magazines.  But in today’s technological world all you have to have is a smart phone and you’ve got access to more images than have ever been produced in all the skin magazines made since their beginning back in 1953.

And with the advent of cell phones with internet capability, more men have lust issues than ever before.  Lust is not a new thing either; it has been around since the dawn of time.  And it’s not just bad people who are affected by it either, lust affects us all.

This desire to see a naked woman’s body is not inherently a bad thing, but if it’s not controlled it can be.  The problem is every time you look at pictures of naked women, it decreases the desire for your own wife, or it causes you to place unrealistic expectations on her.  You begin thinking to yourself about how she doesn’t do what the women you see on your phone do.  Or worse, you begin to see her only as a release for your sexual desires instead of your partner in life.

This is not to say if you’re not married you get a pass. If you indulge in porn, you will bring those unrealistic expectations with you into your marriage, and it will not enhance it, it will make it worse.

To be totally honest and transparent with you, wanting to look at porn on my phone is an issue I deal with.  The thing which has helped me steer clear of this however is I figured out what triggers me to want to go there.  And figuring out this trigger has made it easier for me to stay away.

My trigger is whenever my relationship with my bride is not in a good place, or when I’m bored.  Whenever Cheryl and I are not communicating well, or perhaps we’ve had a disagreement about something, this desire to go to porn instead of talking to her emerges.  Or if I’m sitting around not doing anything, it is easy to start randomly surfing the internet with no actual purpose.

Lust can destroy us, if we allow it.  What we have to do is take control of our lives; making the choice to steer clear of lust and all the things which take us there.  Lust in the sexual sense takes away the relationship you have with your wife, it does not increase it.  Put lust in its place, and don’t let it rule over you, and your life will be better for it.

Now you know what I think, what do you think?
 

 

 

 

Feminizing Men

What’s with the man bun?  I was in a restaurant a while back and as our waiter introduced himself I noticed this stringy looking blob of hair on the crown of his head.  As he turned to leave and go fill our drink order, I saw it was actually hair pulled back into a bun like my mom used to wear.

It seems to have become a real thing, and many young men have started to sport this new hair style; which is really not new at all, it’s something women have been doing with their hair forever and now some men have adopted it as their own.  As strange as it is for men to want to take on women’s fashion, there is nothing new about this.

powdered wig

In the 18th century about the only way to tell men and women apart was the ladies wore dresses and the men pants.  Their hair styles were very similar and both wore make up.  Of course only the very rich did this, but that didn’t make it right.

I’m an old school, John Wayne loving, redneck man when it comes to fashion I guess, but it seems just a little strange to me why men would want to look like girls.  I mean aren’t there enough women in the world? And why do women want men to be more like them?

I kind of identify with the Jewish men of old who would pray and thank God He had not made them a woman. And I promise I’m not a male chauvinist pig like my mother has said for years, I appreciate the women’s movement, especially from behind. (Thanks Rush Limbaugh)  Go ahead and laugh, you know it’s funny.

I think men should be men and women should be women. I know this is an unenlightened mindset in today’s world, but I really don’t care, it’s who I am.  It was C.S. Lewis who said in “The Abolition of Man” “We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and then bid the geldings to be fruitful.”

Men and women were made the way God intended them to be; male or female. Then man gets involved in the process and changes things by saying, “Gender is decided by what is inside of the person, not by the equipment they pack.” (Dave’s translation) Whoever thought we’d be having discussions about who should be using which restroom?  It’s pretty simple, if you stand to pee, then use the men’s room, and if you sit to pee, the women’s.

Please understand me, I am not making fun, or saying anyone is less important or valuable as a person because of how they dress, or which restroom they want to use, but I am saying enough is enough.  All of this making men into women has got to stop. The world needs men to be men, and women to be women, let’s quit blurring the lines and get back to the simpler thing of men being men, and women being women.

Now you know what I think, tell me what you think.

 

 

Embarrassment; the Bane of Every Man’s Existence

The day way extremely hot and muggy, and I couldn’t have been any wetter if I’d jumped into a swimming pool fully clothed.  It was getting close to noon when word came down we were going to work through lunch.  I’m usually a pretty easy-going guy, but on this particular day it challenged me greatly to have to do this, and I didn’t handle things the way I should have.

Have you ever watched a fire grow in intensity, getting larger and hotter by the minute?  This is what I began to experience in my mind. Letting my irritation get the best of me, I let the expletives fly in front of some of the men I work with.

The day didn’t get any better, I missed out on lunch completely, stayed both hot and wet, finally ending up home and in bed by 8:30pm.  I just wanted the day to be over. Texting my bride goodnight, she came into the room to see what was wrong with me and I told her I didn’t want to talk about it.

You see, I was totally embarrassed by my outburst in front of those men, and the last thing I wanted to do was explain myself to her.  And not because I didn’t want to share my life with her; it was because I felt like a fool.

One thing I’ve learned in life is men do not like to be embarrassed or look foolish.  A guy will take a kick to the crotch over being the laughing-stock every time. It’s all about honor; without it, we’re nothing.

Men can take just about anything from another man, but to lose face in front of his wife is unbearable, at least it is for me.  There is nothing else which will make me feel more like a failure. This is why I didn’t want to talk to my bride about what had happened at work, because I already felt like a fool, failure and complete waste of space.  And having to explain what I’d done wasn’t going to help.  For me, bringing the day to a close was the thing I needed.

You might be saying, “But Dave, it’s not a big deal to lose your temper and cuss in front of the guys, everybody does that from time to time.” And while I would agree it isn’t a big deal for a lot of men, it is for me. The reason is because I’ve made a decision to live my life as a follower of Christ, and this is not the way Jesus would want me to act. I’m not a super Christian or anything; I’m flawed and realize it daily, but I do try to live my life pleasing to God. This day I didn’t do that, and it really bothered me.

I think I know how Peter felt after he denied knowing Jesus the night they arrested him. Scripture says Peter was pointed out by several people as being one of Jesus’s followers (twice by girls) and this big fisherman cussed a blue streak, saying he didn’t know the man.

Earlier that night, Jesus had told Peter he would deny knowing him three times before the rooster crowed, but Peter had declared, “Never! I will go with you all the way, even to the death!” As he heard the rooster crow and realized Jesus had been correct, Scripture says he ran into the night and wept bitterly.

Like Peter, I too felt remorse for what I had done.  The feeling of failure hung over me like a dark cloud for the entire day.  But I’m happy to announce the next day was much better.  I apologized to the men I flipped out in front of, and moved on with my life, working more diligently for this to never happen again. Will it?  Who knows?  Probably.  I am a man after all, and men make mistakes.

I do know this however, the next time someone flips out in front of me for whatever reason, I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt before making any hasty judgements about them that’s for sure.

Well, now you know what I think.  What do you think?