Listen. He’s Talking to You. Yes, You!

My first Secret to Life is simple: LISTEN. LISTEN to God because He is talking to you. Yes, to some this sounds crazy or the delusions of a religious fanatic. I can assure you I am neither. Simply, I have found that if you stop and LISTEN for/to God He is “speaking” to you. But you have to stop and really LISTEN.

Several things to understand.

First, you can’t ever possibly hear God if you don’t stop and really LISTEN for/to Him. Our lives are so busy and are a cacophony of sounds and diversions. We don’t stop for anything. We don’t have quiet time. We don’t think that God is ever talking to us. We don’t. We don’t. We simply don’t. So, how can we ever expect to hear from God?

Second, “hearing” from God is not waiting from some booming voice on high. It’s not necessarily in the ears. It’s in the heart. In the mind. In the soul. Yes, I hear God talking to me. But it’s an inner “talk.” And I only hear God when I stop and really LISTEN. Every once in a while God needs to give me a whack on the side of the head to get my attention. But I only “hear” from God when I stop and LISTEN.

Finally, If God is “talking” to me I can assure you He is talking to you. There is nothing special about me other than the fact that I am simply another child of God. We all are.

Stop your busy world. Find a quiet time and place to LISTEN for/to God. You will “hear” Him. But you have to really LISTEN. Really LISTEN.

There is a reason why LISTEN is the first Secret to Life.

LISTEN! And open up a whole new world of possibilities! You are special, unique, and have your own purpose in life.

The Mask Comes Off

Walked into church this morning and was greeted with the new CDC guidance: The mask can come off if you are vaccinated. In addition, there were no pews roped off. My little church in Northeast Pennsylvania was open for business once again. Normal business. Well, almost normal. You couldn’t sing. What’s up with that?

The mask has represented so much during the past year. Taken literally, it’s protection for you and the people around you to cut down on spreading airborne particles of the virus. To others, it represented just another move by the government to take away your independent liberties. I hated the mask but I wore it because I know that it protects me and others. What I really hated was only being able to look into other people’s eyes. I had to learn to smile with my eyes.

It was good to see faces again. To see smiles all around me. To hear people’s voices not muffled by the mask but clear voices. To take in whole faces.

As I wrote in a previous post, yes, Jesus would have worn a mask. He would have worn it because He would want to protect others, before Himself. Because the civil authorities required Him to wear a mask. But Jesus would have missed seeing whole faces. To seeing smiles. To hearing clear voices.

I hope in this crazy, upside-down world of ours we can start returning to “normal”—whatever “normal” is. But most of all, I hope we can smile. And see smiles. They have been covered for too long. It’s time for smiles to come out like flowers in spring. Let’s all try to spread some smiles.

Have a GREAT week ahead. And smile!!!

What Would Jesus Do?

I’m dating myself but I remember those WWJD wrist bands that were all the rage 20 years ago or so. I don’t think that today you will find many people—any people—wearing wrist bands touting What Would Jesus Do?. But I’ve found myself thinking about What Would Jesus Do? and trying to answer that question relative to several current events.

Would Jesus storm the U.S. Capitol or be part of a mob looting stores in U.S. cities? The answer is clear. No. Jesus would not be involved with either the “right” or the “left” destroying property or human lives. The most Jesus did in a fit of anger was to overturn the tables of the money changers outside the temple. Nothing was destroyed. Jesus simply made a statement.

Would Jesus be some pundit on TV pulling people right or left, just for the sake of making money? Again, the answer is a clear no. Although Jesus said he came to divide, that division was actually about uniting. Jesus drew people to himself so that He could be the ultimate sacrifice for our sins—past, present, and future.

Would Jesus live His life judging others? No again. Jesus clearly told us to first fix ourselves before we try to tell others what they are doing wrong. Jesus’ clear message was that we shouldn’t be judges.

I could go on and on but will stop here. It’s just so cleansing to look at your life and those around you and ask What Would Jesus Do?. I’m not talking about judging others. I’m simply asking the question of What Would Jesus Do? You don’t need a trendy wrist band that most wouldn’t be caught dead wearing today. I’m simply talking about asking what Jesus would do in all types of situations.

Have a GREAT week ahead. And ask yourself What Would Jesus Do?.

Cleaning The Closets

We moved. After 25 years in the same house and 35 years in Connecticut we have moved. Well, kind of moved. It’s complicated. We are going to end up in North Carolina but for the next nine months we are living in Pennsylvania. Why am I boring you with these details? Because moving entails cleaning a lot of “stuff” out of your closets. It makes you think about all you have and all that others don’t have. It’s humbling.

There is another aspect of moving that makes you think. It’s actually gratifying looking at your completely empty house for the last time. We donated a lot of our clothes, furniture, and other possessions to two good charities. You feel good slimming down and making good use of things that others can better use. I found out it feels good to clean a closet and even better to clear out a house. You lighten up, you free up.

This move has made me think about cleaning out the “closets” in my life. Not physical closets but the mental ones where we tend to accumulate emotions, life scars, things we don’t want to deal with, etc. It has to be as liberating to clean out the life “closets” as the real closets in our former house. Maybe more difficult to clean but I can tell you those real closets were no picnic—they had a lot of stuff in them!

I could go on and on about moving and how it has made me reflect on life. It’s tough but refreshing. It’s closing one chapter in the book of life and opening up a new one. Lighter, stronger, and ready for new surroundings.

Have an AMAZING weekend!!! Do some cleaning.

Think There is No Devil?

One of the Secrets to Life is realizing the devil (Satan., Lucifer, etc. etc.) is real. It is hard at work looking for souls and fighting the devil is a must. This isn’t any cute Trick or Treat horned little red devil; it’s the real personification of evil. But the devil doesn’t want to be seen as real. It works best behind the scenes. And one very scary scene is this article. In fact it’s beyond amusing. It’s very scary and a sign of the times.

“Rapper Lil Nas X sparked intense debate online over Palm Sunday weekend with the release of a controversial pair of “Satan Shoes,” which feature a bronze pentagram charm, an inverted cross — and actual human blood.”

I don’t know what else to say. The devil is at work and smiling.

Fight!!!

Divided We Are Falling: From Judges to Scotland

The United States is falling, I hate to say. Falling and failing. Why? First, we are pushing God out of our lives. And pushing hard. We just don’t want to separate church (God) from state (our lives), we simply want to leave God far behind. We have other gods to worship (greed and ego). Second, we don’t see the commonality in us. We see black, yellow, red, left, right, Christian, Jew, Muslim, etc, etc, etc. God sees us as all the same, individually and equally. We see each other as different. Love should abound but hate—and I mean HATE—rules.

We should be taking lessons from the past, starting with the Bible, but we know better. I know this sounds bleak (hint: Because it is VERY bleak!!!) but the reason I’m writing and doing my part is because change can happen, but it happens one person at a time. And change needs to happen! And fast!

Just last week I wrote about the lessons from the exodus of the Israelites wandering the desert for 40 years for a journey that should have taken 12 days at the most. Wandering, leaving God in the desert dust, complaining, and worshipping false gods along the way. Bad things happened. The Israelites were lost. No one was happy. Well, fast forward to the period when the Israelites had judges—rulers who were not really kings but rulers. Read the book of Judges in the Bible to see how well that period went. Once again, the judges did some pretty bad things and the people were once again lost. Bad things happened. God didn’t forget the Israelites; they forgot Him.

Really fast forward to Scotland, which has this history of warring and divided clans. There were periods (William Wallace, etc) when Scotland kind of, sort of united but the constant friction from the clans didn’t keep Scotland united against England over time. There’s a reason the saying goes, United We Stand, Divided We Fall.” Or as Jesus said, “If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.” (Mark 3:25)

I really don’t know if we will learn. Our country is more fundamentally divided that any time in modern-day history than I can remember. But as I wrote last week, and write here again today, the future lies in God—or not. United and with God we stand. Separate from Him we are divided and will fall.

What am I doing? Keeping God in my life. Trying to be a uniter, rather than a divider. Smiling. Reaching out. Helping. Trying. Following the Secrets to Life.

Doing my part. Please do yours!

It’s All About God (Repeat: It’s All About God)

Take a look around this country and the world. Storming the U.S. Capitol. Asian hate. Rioting and looting Portland. Crazy conspiracy theories. Black Lives Matter. Blue Lives Matter. Shootings. Russian tampering in U.S. elections. Congressional partisanship like never before. North Korea. China. Myanmar. Miami beach spring break. Masks. No masks. Everything COVID-19. And on, and on, and on. Where is God in this? MIA. Why? Because we don’t want God in our lives. Pure and simple.

Regardless of COVID-19 resulting in more people turning to God, the world is absolutely moving toward secularization, which means away from God. I sound like a broken record —even to myself—but look no further than the exodus story in the Bible to see how this ends. Repeatedly, the Israelites turned away from God in their 40 years of aimlessly wandering in the desert. And bad things happened all along the way. There is a reason this story is in the Bible. Because it is now our story. The people of this world, starting with the United States, are aimlessly wandering in this desert of a world, which ironically is becoming more of a desert. And as we turn further away from God bad things happen.

No, I don’t think that COVID-19 was thrust upon us by God as punishment for turning away from Him. COVID-19 is just another one of the millions of viruses on this planet, but one we let get ignited because we simply don’t have out act together. Bad things happen because we let them happen as we increasingly don’t look to God for answers.

We should be a people with a vision of where we are going; namely our own Promised Land. We should be looking to lift each other up, to not let anyone go hungry or without. We should be good stewards of this earth and looking out to the stars. We should be looking to God for direction and answers, not trying to cut Him out of our lives.

I’m not some doom and gloom guy. I’m someone who constantly looks at the good and believes in the best. But as we turn our backs on God more bad “stuff” will happen. It’s that simple. Like the Israelites in the desert we will moan and groan and be unhappy. And bad things will happen. It’s as clear as day.

I for one will do everything I can to make this world a better place. Change happens one person at a time. I’m certainly no saint. In fact, because I think I know the answers, but screw up all the time, I may be the world’s greatest sinner. But I try. And I constantly turn back to God for direction and answers, God. The only answer in life.

It’s simply all about God!!!

I hope you have an AMAZING week ahead. Look for God in your life. He will make all the difference in your life!

The Pale Blue Dot — Great Perspective on Life

HIGHLY recommend watching this three minute video to get some great perspective on life.

The Pale Blue Dot

Watching this is humbling, as it should be for all of us. But keep in mind as insignificant as this may make you feel, God loves you. You are not insignificant to HIM. You are the only thing that matters.

I’m not going to write anything itself. Simply ponder the message of the pale blue dot in the context that God loves you and you’re not insignificant to Him.

Have an AMAZING week!!!

Take Him Down!

That’s one of my mantras for 2021. Take Him (Jesus) down from the cross. What??? Jesus was taken down over 2,000 years ago. Is this more “religious” mumbo-jumbo? No, it’s about life and changing mine for the better. Here’s my thinking.

Jesus died on the cross for our sins—yours, mine, and every living being past present, and future. My sins were up there on the cross. In fact, effectively my sins hammered in those nails at the hands of the Romans. I had a hand in putting Jesus up there. It’s my responsibility to take Him down.

OK. Let’s get practical. How do I take Jesus down from the cross? Simply by doing what He showed all of us to do—love. Every day, every step, should be a walk in love. Sure, I veer off the love path all the time. I get inpatient with people. I get mad. I look down. But I try to look back on every day and be honest when and where I messed up. I then repent. And try not to mess up the next day. I envision Jesus hanging on the cross and me taking Him down. It’s really that simple. Try, review, and repent. Constantly try to do better, be better.

Yes, this all sounds simple. But then again for the 1,000th-plus time, God means life to be simple. We are the ones who complicate it so very much.

Take Him down! Easy enough to think about, harder to execute. I know. Trust me. But we all get points for doing our best. That’s what God expects. Try.

Have a TERRIFIC weekend ahead!!!

The Lure of Greed, Power & Ego

Too much of the world operates around greed, power, and ego. Unfortunately, I see this in D.C. all the time and it reverberates out through the media across the world. Sorry to say this and be a downer but it’s true now more than ever. The devil lures with greed, power, and ego and is doing a very good job in the temptation department.

I’m thinking about this because I’m already fast-forwarding to the end of Lent. Only a few days in and I’m having dreams of diving into a big bowl of chocolate anything because I gave chocolate up for Lent. Not that I think giving up something is more important that doing positive things during Lent, but if I can’t stay away from chocolate I won’t be able to resit any temptation.

So, in thinking about the end of Lent I’m picturing the devil tempting Jesus. He first offers Him all the bread he can eat—after not eating for 40 days in the desert. He then shows Jesus all the kingdoms of the world and offers it to Him. Finally, the devil takes Jesus to the pinnacle of the temple and tells Jesus to throw Himself off because His angels will swoop in to save Jesus. Greed, power, and ego. The devil tests Jesus and fails. Jesus comes out of the desert and starts His ministry.

It’s easy to give into greed, power, and ego. They play out on big and small stages all over the place. There is one thing that stands in the way of greed, power, and ego: humility. Humility that realizes that anything we have comes from God. He gives and our path in life is to use our God-given talents to the best of our abilities. And use them for good, just as Jesus did. And just as His Spirit empowers us to do on a daily basis.

My wife teases me that I think Lent is the best time of the year. In a way it is, if we take the time to reflect. That reflection should include getting grounded in humility as Jesus did in the desert for 40 days and resisting the urges of greed, power, and ego.

Have a humble week ahead! And eat some chocolate for me!