Lost (Hopelessly?) in the Desert

I have written about this before but we (the world) are lost in the desert. We’re moving away from God and, as we do, the acrimony and downright hatred in the world increases. And we have no direction, no goals, and we’re just wandering. If you want a picture of this, and how it plays out, read the Old Testament. Seriously!

I hate to be gloomy because I’m an upbeat person, always trying to see the good. But it’s tough when you see the spitefulness and incessant arguing by the politicians, who we pay (with our increasing taxes!) to fix things—not break them. Riots, wars, and threats of nuclear bombs seem like a day-to-day constant. But most troubling is the fact that we are moving away from God.

It’s startling to think that 26% of the United States population now describes themselves as religiously unaffiliated; meaning, their religious identity is atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular” and now stands at 26%. That’s up from 17% in 2009. So, translation, a quarter of the population basically doesn’t believe in God, or at the very least, doesn’t involve Him in their lives. If anything, He is just “he” (lower case intentional). Although an increasing number of people believes that He doesn’t exist.

The Israelites aimlessly wandered the desert for 40 years, taking that time to go about 11-12 miles. They turned their backs on God and bad things happened. All this is playing out now. We are the Israelites and we are wandering, turning our backs on God. And bad things are happening. None of this should be a surprise.

I’m not wandering. The world around me may but I’m keeping my eyes fixed on God—Father who sets my purpose, Jesus who has laid out the footsteps for me, and the Spirit who empowers me. Sorry if this sounds like religious mumbo-jumbo but it’s the only way for me to not get down and look straight ahead.

… this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead. Philippians 3:13

Don’t wander. Look straight ahead with a plan. And keep your eyes fixed on God.

Have an AMAZING week ahead!

Screw Up

I screw up all the time. I identify with St. Paul who wrote, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” (Romans 7:15) I know exactly what I should do because I know what God expects me to do. But I screw up. Why? I just don’t know.

The good thing about screwing up—if there is any good in screwing up—is that God forgives me. As long as I know I screw up, ask forgiveness, and really try to not screw up, God is there with open arms. God loves and loves unconditionally.

There was a reason God sent His only Son Jesus to deal with our sins. They were nailed to the Cross with Jesus. Our job is to pull those nails out and atone for those sins.

If you know what God expects, especially in how you should live your life, it’s even worse when you screw up. I’m dealing with that right now. But for every step back in life you may take, you have to commit to taking at least two steps ahead. That’s how you move forward in life. I can’t undo my screw ups but I can move ahead and do better.

Have an OUTSTANDING week ahead!!!

Cancer

I live in the world of cancer, almost every day. I run a national organization of cancer clinics, spend way too much time on Capitol Hill lobbying on cancer issues, and, as if that isn’t enough, my wife is an oncology nurse. Cancer the disease is all around us, unfortunately. But there are other cancers that spread just like the disease.

Hate is a cancer. It may not start out as hate but it can grow from a little spot of dislike to a full-blown cancer of hate. We see way too much of that “cancer” in the world today.

Depression is a cancer. It may start with a loss of hope but pretty soon it can bloom into depression. Like cancer the disease, depression can literally shut down your body. And lead to death.

Cancer the disease is bad enough. I have a prayer line every day for people I know battling cancer. But I also have a prayer line for those battling the “cancers” of loss, hopelessness, addiction, etc. For the disease and all those other “cancers” prayer is powerful medicine. Handing yourself over to God can stop the progression and start letting light into your life. As I like to say, “Let go, let God.”

Pray, pray, pray! It’s not like rubbing a magic lamp to get three wishes granted. It’s open, honest conversation with God. Talking and listening. Praying for whatever cancer you face, or a love one or friend is facing, may be stopped and healed. I know this sounds simple and “cookbookish” but it works.

PRAY! It’s a Secret to Life.

Have a FANTASTIC weekend and week ahead!

Faith, Hope & Love?

What’s the greatest? Most people would say “faith.” Everything flows from faith. Of course. But if you know 1 Corinthians 13:13 you know the answer. The greatest of faith, hope, and love is LOVE.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13

How can love be greater than faith? Simply because if you don’t have love you can’t have faith. God is love. Faith is belief in God. So, it all starts with love. If you don’t have love you’re a “resounding gong or a clanging cymbal” (1 Corinthians 13:1). Translation: if you don’t love, everything else, including your faith, is blah, blah, blah. Nothing.

Love is like electric current. It flows. In fact, if it doesn’t flow it is nothing. God flows His love out to us and He expects it to keep flowing from us. You have to flow God’s love out of you to others.

1 Corinthians is read at so many Christian weddings that most people think it’s about the love between a couple. But it’s not. It’s about what love is supposed to be so we understand how we need to love. God loves us unconditionally. We need to at least try to love others unconditionally. That means letting love flow to others with no expectations that love will be returned.

You will never feel God’s love for you unless you let that love flow to others. It’s the nature of love. It flows. It’s that simple. But, then again, life is simple. Or supposed to be simple.

Let some love flow this week. And have a FANTASTIC week ahead!!!

The Only One Holding You Back is You!

Last week I wrote that the only one who can steal your joy is you. Well, right along those lines I’m writing today to say the only one holding you back is you. You can blame other people, and life situations, but the ONLY one/thing holding you back in life is you.

God has a special, unique purpose for you in life. One of the keys to life is understanding that purpose and pursuing it. Once you understand that purpose your focus in life should be realizing it. And the only one who can hold you back is you. Undoubtably, there will be obstacles along the way that you will have to hurdle or go around. But you can do it! God is in your corner (if you let Him).

There is a reason why I believe the first Secret to Life is LISTEN. Listen for and to God. Spending time with God and opening up your mind and heart will lead you to understanding your purpose in life. Then, with faith, no one can stop you from pursuing that purpose. No one. Only you.

Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, “Go, throw yourself into the sea,” and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. Mark 11:23

Once again, I know this sounds way too simple. Life is much more complicated than this. No it isn’t—or shouldn’t be. God means life to be so simple. We are the ones who make it so difficult by complicating it.

Spend some time (REAL TIME!) with God and LISTEN for/to Him. You have a special, unique purpose in life. I don’t care who you are. We all do. You just need to understand it and then point your life in the direction of pursuing that purpose. And don’t let you get in the way. Because you are the only one who can stop you!

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Have a AWESOME day!!!

Don’t Let ANYONE Take Your Joy!!!

There is only one person in control of the joy that is hardwired into you. And, yes, you are hardwired with joy. More on that in a minute. The point I want to make is that only you can make you feel. No one else can make you feel. And only you can let anyone else steal your joy. You are in complete control of your joy.

God made you. He made you with joy. I know, I know. Things can happen that make you feel less than joyful. A death, a breakup, any kind of loss can be a joy killer. But you are in complete control. No life situation, no person can take away your joy unless you let it or them steal your joy. Yes, it is that simple. God is simple and He means life on this earth to be simple. We are the ones who complicate life. We are the ones who let our joy fade away.

Let go, let God. If you don’t feel joy in your life, let go. Let God do the driving. Give in to Him and you will find your joy. Your joy is in Him, in you. No matter how “down” you may be, let go. Joy is in you and God will help you find it.

Have a day filled with JOY!!! 

Nails In; Nails Out

Someone drove those nails into Jesus pinning Him to the cross. And I have news for you—it wasn’t some Roman foot soldier. What??? Sure, physically it was a soldier but in reality we all had our hands on the hammer. Jesus died to erase our sins. And it is those sins that pushed those nails into the bloody cross. It’s time to take the nails out!

I know this sounds like some religious mumbo-jumbo. It isn’t. Jesus died for our sins and our sins put Him on the cross. So, reversing those sins by realizing what we have done (or are doing!) wrong in life, and sinning no more, removes the nails and brings Jesus down from the cross. It’s that very simple.

The next time you do something wrong (sin) picture your hand on the hammer striking that nail through Jesus and pinning Him to the cross. Screams, blood, and agony! That’s the visual. Then, think about how you are going to remove the nails. Not easy, but needs to be done. Only when the nails come out can Jesus come down from the cross and rise in glory—in our lives. For real!!!

Pull the nails out today. And have a FANTASTIC day doing it!!!