“What Is Seen Is Temporary, But What Is Unseen Is Eternal”

Joseph's Way Book

A little over a week ago I began reading a book that has been sitting on my bookshelf for several months and I wish I would’ve opened it up and began reading it earlier. It’s called “Joseph’s Way – A Call To Fatherly Greatness.” In addition to discovering how to become a better father and husband I have been learning a lot about the Scriptures. Here is an example of what I learned in today’s reading:

Today’s reading is about the “Listening Heart of Abraham.” In learning how to listen in silence during prayer with the Lord, I have also learned how the Patriarchs did the same. In Genesis 15 Abraham fears that he will die childless and that the servant of his house, Eliezer of Damascus, will be his heir.

2 But Abram said, “Lord GOD, what can you give me, if I die childless and have only a servant of my household, Eliezer of Damascus?” 3 Abram continued, “Look, you have given me no offspring, so a servant of my household will be my heir.”

God responds by telling him that Eliezer will not be his heir, but Abraham’s own offspring will be his heir. Then God tests Abraham’s faith. He takes him outside and has him “Look up at the sky and count the stars” if he can and tells him “Just so, He added, will your descendants be.”

At this point I, and I’m sure the majority of other Scripture readers imagine Abraham walking outside at night looking up and seeing the stars, BUT that’s not what happened.

As today’s reading explains, “Later in the same account, the Scripture discloses that the Lord had actually commanded Abraham to count the stars while it was daylight, which rendered the stars imperceptible. Though Abram could see, he was blind to what existed in the heavens, and yet he gave his assent of faith, believing not in what was seen but what was unseen.”

I had never realized this before so I quickly flipped to Genesis 15 to see where it said Abraham looked up at the stars in the daylight and there it was plain as day. Genesis 15:12 reads “As the sun was about to set,” making it clear that it was daylight when God told Abraham to count the stars. God is asking Abraham to have faith in not what is seen, but what is unseen.

The reading goes on to say “seeing with his own eyes that he had no offspring, Abram relied upon his eyes of faith, believing in the promise of what was unseen instead of what was seen, and because of this God reckoned it to him as righteousness, for ‘what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.'” (2 Corinthians 4:18) “Because of his faith Abraham became the father of many nations, for in view of the promise of God, he did not waver through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, being fully aware that whatever God has promised He is able to perform.”

I look forward to reading each day’s reading. It’s such an incredible book and I recommend it to every father and husband out there.

Dear Camille… This Thanksgiving Will Be Different

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Dear Camille,

It’s been a very long time since I have written you and before I tell you why this will be a better Thanksgiving, I have to update you on all your milestones. I have been keeping myself busy so that you can have an even better Thanksgiving this year than you did last year. The last time I wrote you was just after your first Christmas and A LOT has changed since then. Sorry it has been so long. You’ve been RUNNING everywhere and have picked up a ton of words such as shoes (“ishes” as you like to call them), Jesus, Momma, Papa, Nana, bar, ball, bottle, cookie, cheese, chicken, brother (“bruba”), no, woof, puppy, and many more. You also know where your hair, eyes, nose, toes, ears, mouth, belly button, and hands are! You are so smart!!!

You’ve been climbing on EVERYTHING and love being around your brother. In fact, you can’t even walk by him without hugging him and kissing him on the head. It’s one of the sweetest things we’ve ever seen. He smiles more for you than he does for anyone and yesterday he just made his first real laugh. He’s super happy in general, but by far the happiest when he’s around you.

So let me tell you why this Thanksgiving will be different. A few years ago, before you were even born, I knew that I wanted to give your mom the opportunity to be home with you all the time. I knew that before I even knew your mom. So I removed all excuses and went to work so that when I met your mom she could have that opportunity. I was able to make that happen in a short amount of time and I thought that if I could accomplish that goal then all would be good; however, after you were born something changed. I still wanted your mom home with you, but that wasn’t going to be good enough for my little girl. You deserved much more than to just have your mom home with you.

Every day as I would leave to go to my job I would kiss you goodbye probably 50 times and you would smile. Then when you could stand up you would stand in the window of the door crying and screaming “Daddy!” every day as I left. It broke my heart to leave you every day. There were many mornings when I had to fight back tears backing out of the driveway and some mornings when I lost that fight. Then throughout the day I would watch you grow up through pictures or videos that your mom would send me while I was at work and it would tear me up even more. I would have the hour after I got home from work to spend with you and the majority of that was feeding you, bathing you, and then putting you to bed. It wasn’t enough for you and it wasn’t enough for me.

Then when your brother was born I took 12 weeks off of work and it hit me. Why not just always be home with your mom and the two of you? After talking it over with your mom we have decided that we would both be home to raise you and your brother and that is why this Thanksgiving will be better than the last. So instead of just enjoying the holiday weekend and then going back to a job on Monday only to see you cry in the doorway, I will wake up Monday to get you out of bed, hug you, kiss you, feed you breakfast, take you to the park or even chase you around the house because I can. I no longer have anyone telling me that I have to come into work from 8:00 to 5:00. I no longer have to ask off for vacation to take you to fun trips around the country. I have fired the boss and given up the 40 hour work week so that now we can always be on vacation my little love! We no longer live life on someone else’s terms. We live life on our own terms. Happy Thanksgiving Sweetheart!

I love you,

“Dada”

Snickerdoodle & Oreo Protein Cookies

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Last night I decided to make Snickerdoodle Protein Cookies with the brand new seasonal Snickerdoodle Meal Replacement Shakes using our friend Brandi’s AdvoOreo recipe! They are so quick and easy AND DELICIOUS!

First of all these are seasonal shakes as well as the Caramel Macchiato and Pumpkin Spice shakes. So if you want some of these you better get them while they last because once they are gone they are GONE!

What’s Needed:

  • 1 cup almond flour or 1 cup of raw almonds made into almond flour in a food processor
  • 2 Packets of Snickerdoodle Meal Replacement Shakes
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup (or raw honey)
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • OPTIONAL: “Enjoy Life” Chocolate Morsels

Combine dry ingredients, then add wet ingredients; mix well. Dough will be sticky but drop by spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet, then form into what looks like a cookie. They will spread just a little tiny bit while baking, but they won’t rise, so don’t make them too thin or too thick.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 mins (NOTE: Place oven racks closer to the upper middle of the oven).

If you would like to make the Snickerdoodle Oreo filling then while baking, prepare the filling in a separate bowl:

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 packet of Vanilla Meal Replacement Shake
  • 3 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • OPTIONAL: “Enjoy Life” Chocolate Morsels

Combine ingredients in a small container, refrigerate until cookies are cooled. This will thicken while you wait.

Once the cookies have baked, spread the filling on one of them then top it off with another.

Great tasting hint: If you leave them in the fridge over night they taste even better!

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FOR MORE AWESOME RECIPES:

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Monday Motivational Shorts… “Make Time”

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When I share an incredible opportunity with people the most common objection I hear is, “I don’t have time.” I said the same thing when someone introduced the same opportunity to me 3 1/2 years ago. At that point in my life I was working 18 hours a day (4:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.). I “didn’t have time” for anything else. The truth is, you’ll never “find” time to do anything, but you can always “make” time for things that matter. People make time to watch their favorite t.v. shows, they make time to go out with friends, they make time to go get a few drinks, they make time to fool around on social media for hours throughout the day, etc. There are 24 hours in the day. You’re sleeping only 6-8 of them. Make the time to do things that matter. If I didn’t make time to do things that mattered 3 1/2 years ago then our family would be burdened with daycare costs, hardly ever get to see our child, we would have an unreal amount of debt, and be living with financial stress month after month. I know that life sounds familiar to the majority of Americans and may even be considered “normal” by today’s standards. Instead, my wife has the opportunity to raise our child, we’ve eliminated over $170,000 of debt, and we don’t stress when the bills come around every month or when we have a “surprise cost” when something breaks. Our goal is to make the “normal” type of life a rarity or non-existent for as many people as possible. ‪#‎thankyouadvocare‬ ‪#‎whowantstobenormal‬ ‪#‎maketime‬

24 hours in a day make time

If Nothing Changes…

If nothing changes nothing changes

Have you ever noticed people (family, friends, co-workers) complain about their circumstances, but they keep living the same old routine day after day? They don’t change anything. They wake up, go to work, come home, eat, watch T.V., go to bed, etc. in hopes that someday and somehow their life will just get better. I have news for those people… it won’t. The hard truth is… if nothing changes then nothing changes.

Are you one of those people stuck in the hamster wheel of life? The never ending rut where you find yourself constantly saying “next month we’ll be doing better” and then something else comes up?

Ask yourself this question… are you okay if nothing changes?

Are you okay if nothing changes?

If you answered “yes” to that question then ask yourself the following…

If you lost your job, would you still be okay? If not, wouldn’t you think it would be wise to have a “Plan B” income even to give you peace of mind?

Is your marriage the best it can be? Are you the best spouse you can be? If not, why don’t you look into ways to improve your marriage? (Marriage conferences, read books on marriage – “The 5 Love Languages” would be a good start, or hang out with couples who’s marriage you would like to emulate)

Are you the best parent you can be for your children? Children spell “love” T-I-M-E. Do you give them enough of it or just what’s left over at the end of the day?

richard branson if someone offers you an amazing opportunityFor things to change, you must change. Nothing is going to change by you “going through the motions” day in and day out. I know because I lived that life. At 32 years of age I was working 18 hours a day trading hours for dollars because there was always too much month at the end of the money. My student loan payments were crippling. Instead of hoping that the government would come to my rescue and bail me out by forgiving my loans, I took personal responsibility for making the choice to borrow the money in the first place, which meant I had to work a second job. Then I lived that 18 hour a day life for years until my friend introduced me to AdvoCare. In the past 3 1/2 years, AdvoCare has helped us eliminate a personal loan, three student loans, and five nearly maxed out credit cards. It’s given us the option to allow my wife to stay home and raise our children. It allows us to have more money to give to causes dear to our heart. It gives us peace of mind that we never even dreamed of until we were surrounded by the culture and the people involved with AdvoCare.

If you don’t have a plan to give you more time with your family, eliminate your debt, or a Plan B income to take care of your family if you lose your job then it’s time to make some changes. If not AdvoCare then what’s your plan? If not AdvoCare then that’s okay… just do SOMETHING to better your situation.

 

 

Protein Pancakes With ONLY 3 Ingredients

AdvoCare meal replacement shake protein pancakesI’m not the cook in our family. My wife takes the cake on that one. See what I did there? 😉 I can; however, cook up a few healthy easy-to-make things in the kitchen. One in particular is protein pancakes that I’ve had multiple times in the past couple weeks. They’re simple, quick, and don’t leave much of a mess at all. Here’s the “whatcha need” and the “how to”:

INGREDIENTS:

  1. One AdvoCare Meal Replacement Shake (any flavor)
  2. An egg
  3. Two Tablespoons of Water

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a small bowl, pour in your AdvoCare meal replacement shake, your egg, and your two tablespoons of water.
  2. Mix well.
  3. Pour into your cooking pan.
  4. Cook to desired golden or browness! 🙂

That’s it! Really… it’s that easy! Here’s a video of me making them this morning:

FOR MORE AWESOME RECIPES:

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The Truth About Jonah: He Died And Why That Matters

Jonah and the whale

Constantly learning about my faith is an absolute love of mine. While many Christians may start and stop at the New Testament, I like to go back and understand the history of our faith. In particular, I like to learn how the ancient Jews understood the Old Testament (or as they call it, the “Tanakh”) and I also love learning all the Old testament and New Testament connections. Understanding how the ancient Jews and the early 1st century Jews understood the Old Testament and knowing their oral and written traditions helps me to better understand my Catholic faith and could help all Christians to know the history of Christianity and why we believe what we believe.

Last week my wife and I were listening to the “The Jennifer Fulwiller Show” podcast and she had Dr. Brant Pitre as a guest speaker. If you haven’t heard of him, look him up today. He blows my mind with the biblical knowledge he has. While on the show he revealed some amazing information that Mariah, Jennifer Fulwiller, and I never knew about Jesus and Jonah. The one about Jonah left us in shock and I immediately began researching what he stated and came to find out that he is correct.

When it comes to the story of Jonah, I have found that Christians either 1. believe that Jonah lived in the whale for three days and three nights or 2. that the story is made up as some sort of long parable (this is what I have found most Christians believe). I have not met any Christians, including myself, that thought Jonah died in the whale… until now. Before you go frantically looking in your Bible, hold on just a second. I will include the applicable verses for you in their original Hebrew text and the English text within this post. 😉Jonah and the whale

Knowing that Jonah died helps you to fully understand Jesus’ own prophecy about his death and resurrection in Matthew 12:40-41, which reads as follows (unless stated otherwise, all references to Scripture are the NABRE translation):

40 Just as Jonah was in the belly of the whale three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights. 41 At the judgment, the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and there is something greater than Jonah here.

Whenever I read Matthew 12:40 I only gathered that Jesus was prophesying that he would be gone for three days and three nights and then he would be back, BUT that’s not what happened as we all know. Jesus DIED and was gone for three days and three nights and was RESURRECTED. Think about this… Why would Jesus revert back to the story of Jonah to prophesy about his own death and resurrection if Jonah didn’t die and wasn’t resurrected? That wouldn’t make much sense in the full context of those two verses.

Dr. Brant Pitre went on to explain how Jonah did not live in the whale, but DIED and God resurrected him to convert all of Nineveh much like Jesus’ death and resurrection converted so many to Christianity. So what did I do next? Probably what you are doing right now; open up my Bible and check the story of Jonah out again. When I read it myself it amazed me.

I’ll do you a favor so you don’t have to go look it up and read the entire book of Jonah.  Here is the applicable section (Jonah 2:1-4 NABRE):

1 But the LORD sent a great fish to swallow Jonah, and he remained in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. 2 Jonah prayed to the LORD, his God, from the belly of the fish: 3 Out of my distress I called to the LORD, and he answered me; From the womb of Sheol I cried for help, and you heard my voice. 4 You cast me into the deep, into the heart of the sea, and the flood enveloped me; All your breakers and your billows passed over me. (emphasis added)

HERE IS A SIDE NOTE: I asked a question on Facebook last week which translation of the Bible my friends use. The overwhelming most popular one was the NIV, followed by KJ, ESV, MSG, NLT, and a few more. When I looked at each individual version listed in the comments of my post, I noticed that only two of the versions beside the one I use (NABRE – Catholic Bible) actually use the word “Sheol,” that being the ESV and the NKJV; however, there are more translations out there that use it. I think it’s important that “Sheol” be used as it is the ORIGINAL word used in the ancient Hebrew text.

Jonah and the whale

What is Sheol anyway? Well, it’s “a place of darkness to which all the DEAD go, both the righteous and the unrighteous, regardless of the moral choices made in life, a place of stillness and darkness cut off from life and from the Hebrew God.” It is a separate place in Hell also called the “Bosom of Abraham.”

Here is a list of just some versions that use the word “Sheol” and a list of the ones that use something else in its place:

  • “Sheol” = ESV, NKJV, NASB, NABRE, NRSVCE, RSVCE, HCSB, NJB, RSV
  • “belly of hell” = KJ, 1899 Douay-Rheims American Edition, 1752 Douay-Rheims Bible
  • “realm of the dead” = NIV
  • “the place of the dead” = NLV
  • “land of the dead” = NLT
  • “watery grave” = MSG

***Now that you can see what the different translations use, you can tell that the MSG is the weakest translation of this passage, which is another reason why I encourage my Protestant friends to please discontinue using that version. There are many weak translations within the MSG that could lead to someone completely missing something or lead to a completely different interpretation of Scripture.

Here is the original Hebrew text. The word Sheol is שְׁאוֹל in Greek. Please take note of the popup from the highlighted word below. It’s from the popular BibleHub.com site.

Jonah Sheol

I also included the Sheol search page from BibleHub.com as well:

bh

Clearly you do not go to Sheol UNLESS you are DEAD and that’s exactly where Jonah went as you can see from the Bible’s original Hebrew text. I find it fascinating because at a young age I remember seeing cartoon pictures of Jonah hanging out inside of the whale ALIVE. So as I grew older I never put much deep thought into the aforementioned verses even when I read Matthew 12:40-41. Now Matthew makes much more sense knowing that Jonah died. It explains what Jesus meant when He said that his sign would be like that of Jonah’s where He would be dead for three days and three nights and not just in some other place. Knowing this also helped clear up my questions about the almost 2,000 year old belief that Jesus went to Hell (CCC 633), but that’s a discussion for another day. ;)Jes