That’s exactly what happened to Lizzie Velasquez. One of only three people in the world born with a rare genetic disorder that prevents a person from gaining weight, Velasquez has never weighed more than 62 pounds in her life and was born blind in her right eye.
To make matters worse, it already had 4 million hits.
Velasquez’s parents tried to get the video removed, but the anonymous figure who posted it declared he wouldn’t take it down.
While many would take that as a signal to retreat into misery and self-pity, Velasquez took the opposite approach. Having already addressed some high school freshmen about her condition, she decided to confront the topic of bullying head-on and create a roster of speaking engagements. That launched her onto a global media stage and led to three books, including Be Beautiful, Be You.
Raised in the Catholic parish where both her parents work, Velasquez’s decision to follow Christ came near the end of high school. She credits her faith with enabling her to endure everything from scorn to physical infirmities.
“It’s been my rock through everything, just having the time to be alone and pray and talk to God and know that He’s there for me,” she says.
The recent Texas State University graduate will spend next year on the road sharing her message that no matter how things look at the moment, brighter days are ahead.
“Even when it seems like things will never get better in the darkest times,” she says, “if you have faith and continue to push yourself, you can eventually get through anything.” —Ken Walker
The former Marine and FBI agent says the attack that left U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans dead was without a doubt a military operation, and anyone with a military background could recognize it as such.
The attackers were weaponized, trained, and methodical, Grimm told CNN. If a YouTube video had gotten ordinary citizens upset, they might have thrown Molotov cocktails or rocks, he said. Someone might have even had a firearm or an AK-47, he said, but there would not have been the same amount of weaponry as the attackers had.
The Times story also concluded that al-Qaida, the terrorist group responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States, was not involved in the Benghazi attack, which occurred on Sept. 11, 2012, the 11th anniversary.
“The New York Times is wrong,” Grimm said. “And I would not say that’s a Republican point of view. For me, this is apolitical.”
Both Republicans and Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee who have been briefed on Benghazi have “tangible evidence, empirical data” that show the attacks had al-Qaida ties, he said.
“If al-Qaida is funding an offshoot, an affiliate, to carry out a terrorist act, then they’re a terror proxy for al-Qaida” even if they call themselves by another name, Grimm said.
Al-Qaida, he said, has “morphed” since the 9/11 attacks and now funds other groups that can act in its stead. He said he has seen secret intelligence documents that tie al-Qaida to the attacks, even if somewhat tenuously, but said he cannot divulge publicly what those documents say.
Grimm said the Times report may spur further investigation, especially because the United States should get to the bottom of how security was handled in Benghazi. Unless such threats are recognized, he said, the lives of innocent Americans are placed at risk and the country appears weaker in the eyes of terrorists.
He said the United States was right to offer security help to Russia in light of two bombings linked to the coming Winter Olympics in Sochi.
But the United States could lack authority on the world stage, he said, unless it can honestly discuss its own security breaches in places such as Benghazi.
“For Russia to be able to rely on us and to work with us, there has to be an underlying understanding that we come to the table openly and honestly about security,” he said.
Still, the United States should not have second thoughts about attending the games, Grimm said.
“When we stop doing things like the Olympics, then they’ve won. We can’t allow that to happen,” Grimm told CNN. “We can’t live in a state of terror or panic. But you do have to take the appropriate precautions.”
America can thank A&E for the 2013 holiday blitz surrounding “Duck Dynasty.” Seems everyone is heard repeating, “Hands off the duck men!”
The cultural left has tried for decades to silence middle America under the guise of political correctness. Finally, they get a show and a main character they can relate to — and the cultural left attacks it unmercifully. In this case the left has turned its venom on Phil Robertson. They say, “He can’t have audience of 14 million and say these things.”
The irony is that A&E, the network that produced “Growing Up Gotti,”stepped into the great American divide. The Robertson family represents values that are mirrored by millions of Americans. Can A&E get real with America and be honest?
A&E can cry ignorance all they want but the public is seeing through the noise. The “Duck Dynasty” fan base continues to cry foul on Twittter and Facebook. The fans even got Cracker Barrel to return Duck Dynasty merchandise to the shelf. A&E’s executives and producers had to have known about the Robertson’s faith. A&E’s publicists had to have known about the GQ interview and now we know that the interview happened over three months ago.
The Robertsons pray after every meal on the show and end the prayer with, “In Jesus’ name, Amen.” A&E tried editing out “in Jesus name” but found out the audience actually loved it. Hmm? A&E even produced many of their shows at the church.
How may countless hours have A&E producers spent with the Robertsons? Yet they act as if they didn’t know anything. Two of the last Christmas shows were done at the church.
The Robertsons have been upfront with their faith. Can A&E really claim ignorance when a simple Google search would have clearly explained their faith? The fact is, A&E figured out what America really wants and was afraid to say it: faith, family and yes — ducks.
Here are some reasons why Americans are in love with the Robertson family:
The Robertsons represent simple values of faith, family, and a normalcy that many Americans long for after a long period of uncertainly. In fact, millions of Evangelical Americans are a built-in audience for A&E and the Robertsons’ simple message has skyrocketed them to the No. 1 phenomena cable show with over 14 million viewers. It is as if America was just waiting for something better than all the rest being offered in the media.
Phil Robertson doesn’t preach to America — he lives it. He is comfortable in his own skin. Yes, there are some in America who aren’t comfortable with the word sin; however, it seems that many are. Finally there is someone on television who has stayed married to the woman he loves through good times and bad and is someone who just lives his life and is, “happy, happy, happy.”
Phil Robertson never says, I am better than you. He has never said that he hates this group or that group. Phil lives a humble life and knows what it means to be poor. He has openly admitted to his own issues of living through the 60s with “Sex, Drugs and Alcohol.” In this YouTube video Phil Robertson and members of his family candidly discuss their own struggles of who they are today.
Willie Robertson’s faith is a big part of his life and is seen in the show. Willie has not hidden his roots. Willie ends each show with a simple lesson of family and values just after Phil’s prayer of thanksgiving. In this YouTube video, Willie Robertson openly discusses the network and how his faith was formed speaking at Harding University.
The Robertsons’ lives show how they love their neighbors. We see them in the show living in their community. Suddenly, the charges of racism are being hurled — maybe because the earlier charge didn’t “stick.” Many don’t even know that Willie and Corrie Robertson have an adopted son, “Lil Wil” who is African-American and is sometimes seen on the show. He was seen in the picture of the family response standing next to Si and Willie.
Jody Venkatesan is an expert in information systems processes and business applications, and has led IT projects to the Army, the Treasury, and for Homeland Security among others. He was a candidate for the Maryland state Senate in 2010.
Humility, dictionary definitions say, is marked by modesty, meekness, diffidence and an unassuming attitude. Dictionaries also contrast humility with arrogance and pride.
Yet we live in a culture where pride is celebrated and arrogance is almost a prerequisite to be taken seriously in business, politics and sports. Ideas such as “Nice guys finish last” are touted as “No duh!” truth.
Well, listen up! If we think humility is only for wimps and losers, then we really don’t know what the word means. Humility can only come from those who actually have something about which to be humble. The humble are those who could crow but choose to keep their beaks shut.
Humility is also a close associate of gratitude, and it’s an attribute that simply oozes class. Here are 10 ways to teach humility to your kids and (maybe) ramp it up a bit in your own life:
1. Modeling. Never underestimate the power of teaching through example. Humility must be consistently modeled as a lifestyle, not an on-again, off-again example.
2. Build them up. This may sound counterintuitive, but it’s important to understand that humility always comes from a position of belief, strength and self-assurance.
3. Encourage and help them to be the very best they can be—no matter what they do. Humility works best when your child has actually achieved something. Help your child achieve with confidence.
4. Make sure they understand where their real value comes from. It’s easier to sidestep pride or arrogance when children understand they are valued simply because they are your child, not because they win the race, have a prettier mom (and a smarter dad!), earn a higher income or score the most points.
5. Never humiliate your kids. Humility cannot be imposed. It’s important not to confuse humiliation, bullying and beating down with an education in humility.
6. Expose your child to the great teachers and their stories.Jesus, Mother Teresa and Eric Liddell are all wonderful role models. or Jesus, there are lots of great children’s books about Him, as well as about Mother Teresa. Eric Liddell is the man who inspired the movie Chariots of Fire, a great film for your whole family.
7. Teach them to serve.
Serve the homeless.
Serve the poor.
Serve their family.
Serve one another.
8. Coach them on how to respond. Kids need to be taught to say “Please” and “Thank you” as much as they need to be taught to brush their teeth and to stay out of the street. So why expect them to know humility without guidance? Here’s an example: “Look, Jr., that’s a great job you did on your science fair project. You deserved to win the prize. Now, this is how you handle it in class tomorrow … let’s practice saying:
‘I like the way my friend, Matt, did his project, too.’
‘I don’t think I could have won without the help of my teacher.'”
You get the idea.
9. Teach them how to apologize. The well-timed and sincere apology is a key component of humility. Sometimes they’re wrong; they need to acknowledge that. Sometimes they over-reach and it’s time to back up. Sometimes they receive unintentional consequences they need to smooth over.
10. Teach them to give thanks. A genuinely grateful heart is a key building block for humility. Gratitude, practiced and eventually owned, enhances humility at every turn. The person saying “Thank you” affects a posture that is unassuming and modest. Try this: Every time someone offers a compliment, simply say, “Thank you.” It’s the kind of response that eventually soaks in, grows roots and blooms humility.
Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE/ NEW MAN.
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On Thursday evening in Miami, Fla., the Bnai Zion Foundation presented Dr. Robert Stearns with the America-Israel Friendship Award at its annual southeast gala. As founder and executive director of Eagles’ Wings, Stearns has been a strong advocate and ally of Israel for more than two decades through initiatives such as the Israel Experience College Scholarship program and the internationally celebrated Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem (DPPJ).
With more than 175 nations participating on the first Sunday of every October, the DPPJ is one of the largest Israel-focused prayer events in history.
“I am deeply honored to be receiving the America-Israel Friendship Award,” Stearns says. “Now more than ever, it is critical for Christians to stand in support of Israel. As the only democratic nation in a sea of oppressive governments, Israel is a beacon of liberty and bastion of justice in an increasingly dark world.”
Established in 1908, the Bnai Zion Foundation is dedicated to helping those in need through humanitarian work in America and Israel. With a focus on maintaining the connection between America and Israel, the organization has launched several campaigns to improve the lives of people in Israel and worldwide. Some of their initiatives include the Bnai Zion Medical Center in Haifa, Israel, and the Ahava Village for Children and Youth, a residential facility for children from at-risk home situations.
Proceeds from this year’s gala will help fund a new, protected underground emergency department at the Bnai Zion Medical Center in Haifa. This medical center offers compassionate care to all people without regard to religion, ethnicity or economic status.
How many reasons can you come up with to love Israel? Here are 65 from lone soldier Karen Hajioff, but there are certainly a great deal more.
1. I love that there are Israeli flags absolutely everywhere—just because we can.
2. I love that time I was in a pretentious club in Tel-Aviv during Hanukkah and they stopped the crazy partying in order to light the Hanukkah candles.
3. I love that it is considered impolite to not tell someone whom you voted for.
4. I love that Dudi is a common name here.
5. I love that when I was crying once on the bus, the girl next to me put her arm around me.
6. I love that feeling when the siren goes off and everything stops. And you know that everyone is feeling the same thing.
7. I love that under a week of knowing someone, he invited me to his wedding.
8. I love that the taxi driver carried on telling me his story from the Yom Kippur War, despite having already arrived at my destination.
9. I love that time I was on a packed bus with 10 passengers standing. When a seated passenger got off the bus, all the standing passengers were arguing who should sit down. Arguing that the other should sit. After nobody budged, the seat remained empty for the rest of the hour-long journey.
10. I love that the above has happened to be more than once.
12. I love being told “Chag Sameach” by the electronic sign on the front of the bus. Seventy years ago, nobody would have been able to believe that we would have the technology or a homeland in order to do so.
13. I love how people are dressed up every day for a week to in order to celebrate the one day of Purim.
14. I love watching the video of Sam Sank’s parents surprising him at his beret ceremony (search “sam sank surprise” on YouTube, and you will understand).
15. I love that at the end of my ride in the taxi, the driver gave me a bracha to get married.
16. I love that I occasionally get phone calls in the army from my friends’ parents, just to “see how things are going.”
17. I love that last year during the memorial ceremony for the fallen soldiers of Israel, I met a Holocaust survivor who spent the evening telling me his story and held my hand during the Hatikva.
18. I love that when a glass breaks in a restaurant, everyone, without fail, screams “Mazel tov!” and starts cheering.
19. I love that walking through the streets of Israel and reading the street names is more of a history lesson than most history lessons I have had.
20. I love Mivtza Yonatan (the operation in Entebe). It’s simply the most incredible story ever.
21. I love that while in a clothes shop with my friend, a fellow customer handed us her baby (which was 2 months old) while she tried on clothes.
22. I love getting the seat on the bus next to the middle door. Because as opposed to other seats on the bus, it has its own shade for the window and there isn’t a chance for another passenger to pull the shade down and stop me from looking out of the window at our beautiful country.
23. I love my adopted family. I got an adopted family when I moved to Israel, and they have just accepted me like a real daughter. Its amazing! When I lost my credit card, my adopted mum offered to give me hers. When I was crying during the hard times, my adopted dad knew exactly how to calm me down (he would sing me songs!). And it’s all because a family took me in out of the goodness of their hearts. Unbelievable.
24. I strangely love that people here complain so much about Israel. For people to complain so much about this country means that they have forgotten how great of a miracle it is that we have it. Why do I love the fact that people have forgotten how great it is that Israel is ours? Because it means we are used to it. Why are people used to it? It’s because it has been ours for 65 years. That is something that I am very happy about. So, the more people complain, the more I am reminded that Israel is ours.
25. I love that the most common form of graffiti in Israel is “Am Yisrael Chai.”
26. I love that I know an Israeli family that went to a very fancy wedding that I too attended, and after an hour of being at the wedding, I saw them leaving. When asking them why they were leaving so early, they responded, “There are no salatim, no humus, no tehina; we are hungry.” I laughed, but they were being genuinely serious; they left before the main course.
27. I love that I got more than 15 (yes, 15) invitations from people for Seder, including two taxi drivers, a stranger I met in a bar, old friends from the army I hadn’t seen in years, etc.
28. I love watching the Chabad guys chasing men to put on teffilin, then succeeding, and then hugging them. The hugging bit is the bit that I love.
29. I love Israel Defense Forces soldiers. (There was no way that this wasn’t going to one of my 65.)
30. I love that Nimrod is a common name here.
31. I love that the guy in the shwarma shop saw me bopping my head to the music, came out from behind the counter, and started doing a yeminite dance. And then gave me a free bag of chips.
32. I love that when you land in Israel, everyone on the plane cheers. And they really mean it.
33. I love that feeling when you get off the plane and you see everything is written in Hebrew and you are reminded of the fact that we have a Jewish state.
34. I love that on Friday evenings, no matter where you are in Israel—in the field, in a secular community, anywhere at all—you feel that it’s Shabbat.
35. I love that on Friday afternoons, you can already smell that it’s Shabbat.
36. I love the girls that give out Shabbat candles on the streets; it’s so nice of them!
37. I love that the other day, my bus driver pulled over in the middle of the journey and bought himself pretzels.
38. I love that a few days earlier, another bus driver announced at the beginning of his journey that he didn’t actually know where he was going and he would appreciate it if someone would come and sit next to him and direct him.
39. I love that the security guard in Azrielli Mall, after looking at my picture on my army ID, felt comfortable enough to tell me that I used to be fat.
40. I love Elal. During Pillar of Defense, they allowed people to cancel their flights for free in order to stay and help the situation in Israel, which lost them millions of dollars. How nice is that?
41. I love that while eating dinner in a restaurant with a friend, the table next to us brought us a slice of birthday cake.
42. I love that the guy from my phone company, after flirting with me over the phone, added me on Facebook after we finished talking!
43. I love that when flying back from New York to Israel, after introducing myself to the man sitting next to me and telling him I was a lone soldier, he instantly invited me for Shabbat. The plane hadn’t even taken off.
44. I love that Israeli’s say the word “achi” (brother) after approximately every seven words in a sentence—even if they are screaming at each other.
45. I love the taxi driver that felt comfortable enough to have an argument with his wife on loudspeaker.
46. I love that Israeli’s call daddy long legs “helicopters” (in a strong Israeli accent).
47. I love how people in Israel regard their ages in halves up until their mid-20s. “I’m 22 and a half,” “I’m 24 and three-eighths” (the example was made up).
48. I love how Israelis refer to Arabs as our “bnei dodim” (our cousins).
49. I love that when trying on a dress in a shop, one of the workers told me not to get it because it didn’t look good.
50. I love those occasions where I am sitting on a bus or a train and someone is walking around giving out wafers or biscuits. It’s a regular occurrence here.
51. I love that one morning, at 5:30 a.m., while walking to my base, a guy on a bike cycling past me screamed, “Don’t yawn with your mouth open!”
52. I love the time I was driving with a friend and all the cars in the lane going in the opposite direction were flashing their lights as they drove by. I asked why they were all flashing their lights and my friend said, “It’s because they saw police ahead and they are warning me.” Apparently this is a common code in Israel.
53. I love that on a plane from London to Israel, an Israeli sitting next to me was holding a baby. The baby was crying for the majority of the journey, but then it became cute for a bit. During its couple of minutes of being cute, I said to the woman next to me, “Your baby is so cute,” and she said, “Well actually, it’s not mine. I saw a woman I know who has twins, and I thought I’d help her out by holding one of them for the plane journey.”
54. I love that there are so many people riding their bikes and singing out loud. They don’t even get any weird looks; it’s completely acceptable here.
55. I love that people start saying “Shabbat Shalom” as of Wednesday. I even once heard someone say “Shabbat Shalom” on a Sunday.
56. I love that before Pesach, there are adverts on the television and radio reminding people to make sure that everyone they know has somewhere to be for all their meals.
57. I love that on numerous occasions, people have stopped me in the street and asked me to use my phone. And sometimes if I am about to meet someone yet am running out of battery, I make sure to write down their number because I myself know I can find someone’s phone to use.
58. I love that as soon as a mother with a stroller is about to go up/downstairs, there is always more than one person who helps her. They don’t even ask; they simply help.
59. I love that night that my friends and I walked into a random apartment in Tel-Aviv because it looked as if they were throwing a party, pretended we knew people there even though we didn’t, and end up becoming friends with the majority of them.
60. I love that everyone can keep calm and keep going when missiles are being fired at Israel, but when there is snow, that is when panic begins.
61. I love seeing old Israeli men sitting at a table, laughing, playing shesh-besh, eating nuts and smoking, knowing that they have probably been friends for years and been through a lot together.
62. I love seeing a group of guys my age that are so close and are like brothers, knowing that in 40 years time, they will be what I described above.
63. I love that you can go outside in your pajamas and give reason to doing so, because “Even if I’m not inside my apartment, I’m still walking around my home.”
64. (Only those who have experienced this feeling will be able to understand it.) I love that feeling you get when you simply realize how lucky it is to be here. Be it on a memorial day or at the top of a mountain during a hike with friends or on a packed bus, there are those moments where you all of a sudden appreciate where you are. In the state of Israel, the Jewish homeland, those moments are truly great.
65. I love the fact that this list could carry on and on …
Admit it. You masturbate. Either in the past or recently—heck, maybe this morning. All men, married or single, young or old, struggle with this self-indulgence.
While it would be easy to get caught in the debate of whether or not it’s a sin (and I believe it is), let me suggest that, in my own journey as a God’s man, the reward of saving my sexual appetite for my wife is so worth waiting for.
But that’s easier said than done, especially with culture flaunting the female body and shoving sexuality in our faces. The temptation to “relieve” yourself with a helpful hand puts men smack dab in the middle of a battle for the mind.
We justify it. “Well, it’s not in the Bible.” Or “I only fantasize about my wife.” Or “God made us in His image, so He gets it.” Or “As long as I’m not having premarital sex or cheating on my wife, it’s OK.”
I know. I know. I’ve heard these and other justifications before.
But the Bible teaches us to evaluate our behaviors with the outcomes they bring. It’s the law of the harvest: “That which a man sows, he also reaps.” So, what do you reap from masturbating—even while fantasizing about your wife?
I believe you reap a substitute for God’s intended plan while training yourself to listen to your body over the Spirit and trusting your own action instead of waiting for God’s plan for a wonderful wife.
The negative outcomes of masturbation are:
1. It creates distance from God. I’ve never heard any man tell me it draws him closer to God.
2. It impacts the way you view women, or your wife, as objects of gratification versus someone with whom you’re in a relationship where sex is a result of intimacy.
4. It’s a slippery slope, meaning masturbation can lead to other behaviors that do not glorify God, namely porn, experimenting with pre-marital sex, cheating on your wife and learning how to hide something, allowing masturbation to become an idol.
5. It can produce false intimacy that the body and brain can wind up preferring over the real thing.
6. It short-circuits character and spiritual development in the areas of self-control, faith and patience.
So, if you are struggling with masturbation, ask yourself:
Does it move me closer to God?
Does it move me closer to my goals to be God’s man?
Will it improve my relationship with women and my wife?
Will it improve my ministry to other people?
Does it glorify God?
If you are striving to know God and love Him with all your heart, mind, soul and strength, then take your hand off your boy toy and allow your focus to reap a much higher reward. If you truly trust God, His plan and that sex within marriage is, can be or is going to be the absolute (mind-blowing) best ever, then stop masturbating.
Kenny Luck, founder of Every Man Ministries and the men’s pastor at Saddleback Church, provides biblically oriented teaching and leadership for men and pastors seeking relevant, timely material that battle cultural, worldly concepts threatening men and God’s men. Follow Kenny and Every Man Ministries now on Facebook, Twitter(@everyMM) and YouTube.