Enjoy Work: Finding Contentment In Your Job

Sometimes as we go through life, we find ourselves discontented with our work. Sometimes it is due to feeling unfulfilled by our jobs. Sometimes we feel discontentment because of stress at work and sometimes feeling totally overwhelmed. The Bible tells us to enjoy work to be a shining example of children of God.

Philippians 2:14-15 (NIV)

Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky

Often, it is difficult to enjoy work because of stress. If you feel overwhelmed at your job, it can be very difficult to enjoy work. Stress is one of the biggest factors that keeps people from finding contentment in their jobs. The best way of overcoming stress is to seek God.

Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

By laying our stress and worries at his feet, we can remove those things from our lives and move forward with the things that we need to do.

Being content in your job is a gift that God wants us all to have. As much as he enjoyed His work of creating the universe, he wants us to enjoy work, whatever that work may be.

Ecclesiastes 2:24 (NLT)

So I decided there is nothing better than to enjoy food and drink and to find satisfaction in work. Then I realized that these pleasures are from the hand of God.

God wants our work to be a pleasure to us on the same level that a feast is something to be enjoyed.

Sometimes it can help to work with a song in your heart. One song that can be a helpful reminder to enjoy work is a song recorded by Jimmy Buffett called “It’s My Job,” written by Mac MacAnally.

In the middle of late last night I was sittin’ on a curb
I didn’t know what about, but I was feelin’ quite disturbed
A street sweeper came whistlin’ by, he was bouncin’ every step
It seemed strange how good he felt, so I asked him while he swept

He said, “It’s my job to be cleaning up this mess
And that’s enough reason to go for me
It’s my job to be better than the rest
And that makes a day for me.”

This song often reminds me that we need to take it all in stride when it comes to our work and leave the worry in God’s hands. We should all enjoy work and do the best job that we can with whatever our job is.

Romans Road: The Simple Path to Salvation

Everyone that has ever been born has fallen short of God’s standards and must pay the price for the sin in their lives. However, God provided a way for us to be saved from the retribution of our sins if we only accept His gift of grace. There is a road map to salvation in the verses of the Book of Romans. Often referred to as the Romans Road, these scriptures spell out how to accept God’s grace and let Him come into our lives.

Romans 3:23 (NIV)

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

The first step on the Romans Road is the realization that we are all sinners. No matter how many good deeds we do or how righteous we appear to others, none of us can live up to the standards of God. This is further elaborated in the following passage.

Romans 3:10-18 (NIV)

As it is written:

“There is no one righteous, not even one;
there is no one who understands;
there is no one who seeks God.
All have turned away,
they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good,
not even one.”
“Their throats are open graves;
their tongues practice deceit.”
“The poison of vipers is on their lips.”
“Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”
“Their feet are swift to shed blood;
ruin and misery mark their ways,
and the way of peace they do not know.”
“There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

All of mankind turned away from the ways of God to follow after the corruption in their own hearts. Everything that we do is worthless without His righteousness. The next step on the Romans Road gives us the dire consequences of our unrighteousness, but it also gives us hope of redemption.

Romans 6:23 (NIV)

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The price for our sin is death, period. God intended for mankind to live in eternal fellowship with Him, but when Adam disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden, he introduced sin into the world. Through Adam, we all inherited that fallen nature and the punishment that comes with it. However, in the next step on the Romans Road, we find that God offers us the chance to reclaim eternal life through Jesus Christ.

Romans 5:8 (NIV)

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Christ is God’s perfect Son. He had no sin of His own, yet he gave His life to pay the price for our sins. The next two steps on the Romans Road tell us what we must do to accept this gift personally.

Romans 10:9 (NIV)

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Romans 10:13 (NIV)

for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

We need to call out to God to accept His gift of eternal life. There is nothing else that He requires but to ask and believe in what He did for us, and He will freely give salvation.

The Romans Road shows us what to expect when we do commit ourselves to God and follow Jesus Christ. We are promised peace and hope.

Romans 5:1 (NIV)

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

Our faith justifies us because of the sacrifice Jesus made. God will give peace to those who follow His Son. The Romans Road also promises life through the Spirit.

Romans 8:1 (NIV)

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,

We have confirmation that once we have accepted Jesus into our lives that we will not face the eternal condemnation that we deserve for our sin. The last step in the Romans Road promises us that nothing can ever separate us from God’s eternal love.

Romans 8:38-39 (NIV)

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Jesus bridged the gap called sin that was between us and God. Because of the sacrifice of the Son, the Father is ready to embrace us with open arms. Once we accept Him into our lives, He will always be there.

The Romans Road is a simple selection of scriptures that pack a powerful message. The plan of salvation is the key to Christianity. Without salvation, there is nothing. If you are not saved, this is all that you need to know to allow Christ into your life. If you are saved, these scriptures are a great tool for sharing the message of Christ with nonbelievers.

Marvel: Avengers Alliance for Facebook

Marvel: Avengers Alliance puts you in the role of a S.H.E.I.L.D agent trying to stop the villains of the Marvel Universe from taking over the world. But you are not alone in your battle. You get to team up with a wide assortment of heroes from the Marvel Universe to take on their arch-nemeses.

In Marvel: Avengers Alliance, you create your own avatar to fight in battles against various bad guys that are terrorizing New York. Along the way, Iron Man, Black Widow, and Hawkeye join your team to help defend the city. Marvel: Avengers Alliance is a turn-based RPG. In each battle, your avatar and up to two Marvel super-hero allies face a variety of villans. Each character has their own strengths, weaknesses, and special powers. Many of them also have alternate costumes that alter their abilities.

Their are 6 different character classes in Marvel: Avengers Alliance. These classes are:

  • Tactician
  • Blaster
  • Bruiser
  • Infiltrator
  • Scrapper
  • Generalist

With the exception of the Generalist class, each class has one other class that it is weak against and another it is strong against. Basically, this means that when a character of one class attacks a character of a class that is vulnerable to the attacker’s class, the attacking character gets a bonus. Whatever that bonus is depends on the attacker’s specific class. Inversely, if a character attacks another character that has a class that is resistant to the attacker’s class, the attack will be less effective, and some classes also get a defensive bonus. This provides for a good bit of strategy when choosing a team to fight a team of villains.

The game is broken down into various chapters, with each chapter containing 5 standard missions and 1 premium mission. Each standard mission can only be unlocked when all of the goals of the previous mission are achieved. Premium missions can only be unlocked by purchasing a particular hero that is required for that mission. Periodically, there are also Spec Ops levels. These missions are only available for a limited time, and completing certain goals will unlock special items and heroes.

Marvel: Avengers Alliance also has a PvP mode. Although not a true PvP as your opponents’ team will always be AI controlled, you can collect various in-game rewards depending upon your ranking at the end of a PvP season. These rewards include silver, gold, special items, and new playable characters.

Currently, there are 45 heroes available in Marvel: Avengers Alliance. Some of these are only available by completing a special task in the game, such as through Spec Ops or PvP. The other heroes can be purchased with Command points. Some heroes also have alternate costumes that can be purchased. Some of these give a hero new or enhanced abilities, and some of them can even alter the hero’s class.

As you battle through the missions and PvP matches in Marvel: Avengers Alliance, your character and the active heroes on your team earn experience points. When your character reaches enough experience points, he/she will level-up. This results in gaining 1 gold, as well as unlocking abilities such as researching new skills and utilizing new attacks. To level-up the heroes on your team, you must pay S.H.E.I.L.D. points to train them once they max out on experience points. Heroes gain new attacks when they advance to levels 2, 6, and 9. When advancing to one of the levels between those, they will gain a power-up socket that allows you to equip them with various power-ups to increase specific skills.

With all of the different features in Marvel: Avengers Alliance, there are several different forms of currency in the game. S.H.I.E.L.D. points are used to train your heroes, purchase some equipment, and research new technologies that unlock better equipment and power-ups. Command points are used only for recruiting new heroes for your team. Silver is often needed for both research and and equipment purchases. Energy is needed to complete missions. Challenge points are used to initiate fights in PvP mode. Gold is the only resource that can be used for just about any purpose because gold is tradeable for any of these other types of points. There are also some items in-game that can only be purchased with gold. Gold is also the resource that converts real world money into in-game money, as gold can be outright purchased.

Marvel: Avengers Alliance is a fairly complex game for a Facebook game, but it can be very enjoyable and just as addictive as games such as Farmville and the many games that Zynga created for MySpace and Facebook that many people are familiar with. If you enjoy turn based RPGs or if you are a fan of the heroes of the Marvel Universe, you should give Marvel: Avengers Alliance a try.

Salvation: Predestined or Free Will?

Throughout the course of history, debate has been constantly waged over the issue of attempting to reconcile fate and free will. The biggest battle in Christianity between these two seemingly opposed ideas is over their role in our salvation. I want to start off today with looking at a couple of different translations of one of the most well known scriptures in the Bible, starting with the New International Version, as it is one of the most used translations that is also easy to understand in modern English.

John 3:16 (NIV)

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

However, most people are more familiar with the King James Version.

John 3:16 (KJV)

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

I also want to turn to The Message, a paraphrase that has become popular, especially with young people, as it focuses more on translating the meaning of the Bible into contemporary language rather than literally translating it. I want to share this version to emphasize why God gave His Son.

John 3:16 (The Message)

This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life.

Lastly, just to cover the spectrum from a modern interpretation of the scripture to an accurate literal translation, here is the same familiar verse in Young’s Literal Translation.

John 3:16 (YLT)

for God did so love the world, that His Son — the only begotten — He gave, that every one who is believing in him may not perish, but may have life age-during.

I wanted to share several renderings of this verse because it is basically the verse that the salvation of mankind hinges on. It is also from this verse that we can ascertain God’s intent for our lives, and we can see that although God knows all who will choose life over death, it is still a choice that man makes and is not determined by God.

As important as this verse is to our faith, I want to break it down clause by clause. First, and quite obviously from all translations, God loved the world. He created it and everything in it. When God created man, He made the decision to make us in His image. In doing so, he gave us the free will to determine our own fate. He knew what the outcome of doing so would be because He knows everything that was, is, and will ever be.

What did God do because of His love of the world that He created? He gave His only Son. this is one place where various translations word the phrase very differently. In situations like this, I like to take a look at the text in the original language to try to get a clearer meaning. The Greek word from the original text is monogenes, which, according to A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, has two meanings:

  1. Pertaining to being the only one of its kind within a specific relationship.
  2. Pertaining to being the only one of its kind or class, unique in kind.

The first meaning is what is considered the “begotten” meaning of the word monogenes. However, this meaning would indicate that Jesus was a created being, which would contradict scripture earlier in the same book:

John 1:1-3 (NIV)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

John 1:14 (NIV)

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Taking this into account, the second meaning of the word monogenes is implied in John chapter 3. John wanted to highlight Jesus as the Christ, one in being and purpose with the Father, and uniquely the one true God that has existed since before time began.

The next part is crucial. It is the outcome of God giving His Son for the world. It was so that anyone that believes in Him would have salvation and that no one would have to face destruction. This is where I have to disagree with groups like the Calvinists, who believe that only the so-called “elect” will have salvation. Anyone that makes the choice to follow Jesus will be saved from destruction. He did not say a select few or only this group would be saved. Salvation is available to everyone. The only thing that you have to do to attain it is to make the choice to follow Jesus. Anyone that doesn’t make that choice faces destruction.

Ultimately, each person’s salvation is up to that individual. Being a part of a certain group cannot bring you salvation, and no one else can choose salvation for you. Although God already knows ultimately who will choose to follow Him, He didn’t select a group of people from the beginning of the world to be the only ones to receive the gift of salvation. He does not want any of us to perish, but God gave us the ability to choose our own destiny. God made our salvation so simple that anyone can have it, if they would only reach out and take the gift that God has offered to us.

Quality or Quantity: Maintain Sanity and Relevance

What is this? A Random Thoughts column on a Sunday? You may be thinking I’ve stepped into the Twilight Zone. Or, since it has been more than 24 hours since my last post that I may have fallen off the face of the Earth. It is neither of these. I have run into a bit of a wall as of late though, and I now find myself weighing which is more beneficial to my readers, quality or quantity.

During the last couple of months, I was churning out an article per day. In addition to authoring, I was also editing, proofreading, and attempting to maintain SEO standards for my content as well. As a result, I noticed a few things. If I can’t devote what is essentially a full time work schedule to my blog, the content suffers. And as long as I still have to have my day job that pays the bills, I’m not going to be able to keep up 80 hour weeks where I only get paid for 40 hours of work. In the end either quality or quantity will suffer.

Over the last week, I have found that the quality of my work here has suffered from burn out. Granted, it took nearly 50 articles before I hit that wall, but by my own admission, the quality of my two previous articles are not up to my usual standards. I am facing the fact now that I was trying to stir way too many pots at once. It wasn’t even a matter of not being able to change gears from one article to another. It was more of a matter of simply running out of easily prepared content.

My Culinary Corner articles are probably the best example of that, as they are by far the most labor intensive. These not only required me to play the role of author, but also the roles of chef and photographer. When you combine those three roles on certain recipes that are admittedly weaknesses in my cooking arsenal, you end up with a post like my cheese biscuits article, which currently has no picture because my last attempt at this recipe totally flopped. If I were to keep publishing articles like that one, eventually, I wouldn’t have any quality or quantity content on my site.

So, how am I going to tackle this conundrum of quality or quantity? The only thing I can do is formulate a new game plan. First, I realize that with my current life, I won’t be able to keep up a schedule as rigorous as publishing a polished article everyday. So from here on out, I’m going to pull back from getting so much content out there and focus on making sure the content I do put out in the world is high quality content. Does that mean that I may go full weeks at a time without publishing anything? Possibly, though highly unlikely. If nothing else, I still want to try to publish at least two or three articles per week. But if they are not any better than the last two I have published, they are either getting rewritten until I am happy with them, or they will get thrown into the trash.

In trying to maintain both quality and quantity, I’ve found that I’ve lost relevance as well as a little bit of my own sanity. In the battle of quality or quantity, I feel that by maintaining quality at the cost of quantity, although it may cause short term growth of waynecochran.net to suffer, in the long term I believe it will allow me to stay relevant. And I would have have 100 relevant articles any day over 1000 articles that are such worthless drivel that no one wants to read them. On that note, I do want to leave a scripture for you to just ponder, as I think it is very relevant to this discussion.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (KJV)

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

Wiping The Red From Your Ledger: Paying Off Your Emotional Debt

Over the course of our lives, we are part of many relationships. Some of these only last for a season, and some last for a lifetime. With all of these relationships we go through, sometimes we end up hurting someone that we care about. Our hurtful actions can create a sort of emotional deficit in our lives. Many programs that are designed to help people recover from addiction require making amends to people that they have wronged in the past. I believe that we all need to do this at some point in our lives to pay off our emotional debt.

Emotional debt accumulates from our action or inaction taken toward someone else that we are in a relationship with that causes any sort of pain in their life. It could be a parent, friend, child, spouse, co-worker, or anyone else that comes into our lives. The pain can be purely emotional, but it could also be physical, mental, or even financial. For any of these infractions, the first step to wiping out that debt is also often the hardest, and that is asking for forgiveness.

Often, it may seem impossible to ask forgiveness from the people that we owe an emotional debt. The most important thing when asking for forgiveness is our sincerity. As long as an apology comes from your heart, it will help in the road to your own healing. Even if the apology is rejected, at least you have done your best to make amends to someone that you hurt. Often, just taking the step to attempt to right your wrongs can do more to make you whole than being forgiven.

Emotional debt can pile up into a mountain over time, especially if it is toward family members and other relationships that we carry for a lifetime. Even though repenting for past transgressions can start moving that mountain, we still should try to undo any harm that may have been done. Many times, an apology may be the only thing that can be done. Most of the time, restitution will be involved. It can be anything from giving of your time to someone that you have hurt to monetary restitution if the damage done is something that can be monetized. The only way to wipe it clean is to do as much as you can to undo the damage that has been done.

As difficult as it seems at times, we should always try to correct the wrongs we have committed in our lives. By taking care of our emotional debt, we not only can help to heal someone else’s wounds, but our own wounds as well.

Cheese Biscuits

This cheese biscuit recipe will allow you to make cheese biscuits like the ones from Red Lobster at home. They are the perfect complement to many different meals.

Cheese biscuits are a good starter to a meal. They can also complement a salad. Cheese biscuits are also great served as a side dish. They are very tasty when dipped in a buttery sauce, like a white wine and butter sauce from shrimp scampi. They are suitable to be served with steak, but they perfectly complement a seafood diner.

Admittedly, I am still working on getting this recipe perfected, as these cheese biscuits are not exactly like Red Lobster’s, but this is the closest that I have gotten so far. I think the addition of finely chopped parsley may be needed. My most recent attempt came out a little bit flat, so as soon as a batch turns out nice and fluffy, I’ll have a picture posted, as well as updates to the recipe as needed. This is definitely one I am still working on.

Cheese Biscuits

Meal type Appetizer, Bread, Side Dish
These cheese biscuits are a good approximation of Red Lobster's Cheddar Bay Biscuits.

Ingredients

Biscuits

  • 1 cup Self-Rising Flour
  • 4 tablespoons Butter
  • 1/2 cup Cheese (Shredded)
  • 5/8 cups Milk

Topping

  • 1 1/2 tablespoon Butter (Melted)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Italian Seasoning

Directions

Biscuits
Step 1 Preheat Oven to 450°.
Step 2 Cut butter into flour until it resembles fine particles.
Step 3 Add cheese to the mixture.
Step 4 Add milk and stir until moistened.
Step 5 Lightly grease baking sheet.
Step 6 Drop mixture by spoonfuls onto baking sheet.
Step 7 Bake for 12-15 minutes.
Topping
Step 8 Mix garlic powder into melted butter.
Step 9 After biscuits have baked, brush topping onto hot biscuits.

Serving suggestions for Cheese Biscuits:

  • Cheese biscuits can be served as an appetizer to any steak or seafood dish.
  • They can also be served alongside Caesar’s Salad.
  • They are also delicious when served with any main course that is served in a buttery sauce, like shrimp scampi.

What is on Wayne's mind… hmmm…