Our Demons

Last night my brother had a memorial “Celebration of Life” service for his only child. Jacqueline was 32 years old and died from an opioid overdose. She was a good girl, close to finishing her studies to be a physician’s assistant. But she fought a demon, as we all do to varying degrees. As I said last night to all attending, now she is in a place where there are no demons. What seems like a loss—to her and everyone—is a big win.

As I spoke to a room full of people last night, my niece like all of us battled a demon. In her case it was a very powerful opioid drug. Like to admit it or not, we all battle demons. Realizing that and knowing our demon(s) is half the battle. The rest of the battle is turning to God for help. That’s what my niece did not do.

Like my niece, her generation of “millennials” have less interest in religion. Research just out from the Pew Research Center shows the the religious “nones” (atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular”) now makes up 26%—yes, 26%!!!—of the U.S. population. But I digress. My point is that my niece did not turn to God for help in her fight with her demon opioid. But God turned to her and now has Jacqueline under His watch, where there are no demons.

My message in all this? There are several. One, know your demon(s) because that’s half the battle. Two, God is always less than a heartbeat away ready to help. You just have to ask. Three, God is always there. You may lose the battle here but you win in the end because He is always there. God is the beginning and the end. That alone gives me such comfort. And it should you.

And, finally, if you know anyone dealing with a drug demon of any kind, help them get help!

God is always there! Remember that as you have an AMAZING day!!!

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!

What Are the Secrets to Life?

I have found 7 Secrets to Life, which is why I started this blog. I simply wanted to share what has helped me. The Secrets to Life are simple. LISTEN, READ, LOVE, FIGHT, BELIEVE, LIVE & PRAY. Simple. Then again, God means life to be simple. And they’re “secrets” because if everyone knew them they wouldn’t be secrets. That’s the utter simplicity of all of this—of life!

LISTEN because God is calling to and for you. Yes, you. God is calling to each one of us. We simply don’t choose to listen.

READ the Bible because it is simply (that “simple” word again!) the handbook on life. God’s handbook for all of us.

LOVE simply because God commands it. The one (simple) command we have from God.

FIGHT the devil because it is real and is truly prowling the earth whispering doubt and temptation in all our ears. I know—the thought of a real devil creeps people out. But it is real—trust me.

BELIEVE in God because God is in you. He hardwired you. You can do anything if you simply BELIEVE.

LIVE your life walking the straight path to God. What’s that path? LISTEN.

And PRAY because prayer is simply communication with God. Communication as in 2-way—you listen, then talk.

These 7 simple Secrets to Life have helped me. I hope they help you. If I can help one person that’s a start.

Have a GREAT evening and a SUPER tomorrow!

Only One Holding You Back is You!!!

I put this quote on my Facebook page this morning…

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love

We hold ourselves back; no one else. We are our biggest enemy. We let the devil’s whisper of doubt eat away at our confidence. “You can’t do that!” “You’re out of your league.” “You’re not good enough!” The dark thoughts simply cloud out the light.

I have news for you if you don’t know it: You can do anything, be anything!!! God hard-wired you for success, and along with that joy. You just have to believe in you. God does. You just need to follow His lead.

Start with Moses and Elijah and listen to them and others in the Bible arguing with God that they weren’t good enough. They were good enough. You are good enough.

Grab the reins of life today and power ahead! Let me repeat: You can do anything, be anyone!!! Stick your fingers in your ears and stop listening to the devil’s doubt. Follow the light in you that is God.

Have a FANTASTIC day and power ahead!!!

I Don’t Know What to Say

The horror of knowing that for decades Catholic priests in Pennsylvania physically and mentally abused children and young adults is too much to comprehend. I’m Catholic, and a practicing one at that. I was born in Pittsburgh, lived outside of Philadelphia for a while, and am writing this from the last day of vacation at our family vacation home in Northeast Pennsylvania. I went to Mass yesterday and the homily was a video message on this atrocity by the Bishop of Scranton, Pennsylvania. I haven’t read the 900-page report, yet, but I have read the reporting on it.

I simply don’t know what to say!  I wonder if Jesus knows what to say?

As Christians we are taught not to judge—least we be judged. But I can’t help judging and in my darkest thoughts my mind races what I would do to anyone—priest or otherwise—abusing a child in any way. Yes, I’m judging. I’m not perfect.

No, I won’t stop being a Catholic or going to Mass. That’s too easy. It’s certainly what Satan would like. I’m going to pray, and then pray some more. For the victims. For the Church. For every priest—even those abusers still alive.

I simply don’t know what else to say.

Here is what Pope Francis said in a letter to Catholics around the world—https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2018-08/pope-francis-letter-people-of-god-sexual-abuse.html

Let your light shine today. This dark world needs it!

 

The Devil

Real. It’s that simple. Some see a cute little child at Halloween dressed in red with horns and a pitch fork. Some see a hideous monster. But the devil is real, the embodiment of all that is evil. And there’s a lot of evil in this world, I am sad to say.

The devil doesn’t want to be front and center. It works best behind the scenes. I guarantee that some reading this will hear the whisper in the ear of, “Come on! There’s no such thing as the devil. It’s all make believe for the movies.”

But what the devil does best is take little weaknesses we have, work them, and make them bigger. Whether it’s fear, doubt, low self-esteem, or even ego, the devil works behind the scenes very effectively at manipulating us as far away from God as possible. The devil wanted to be God, but that didn’t work out too well. So, it wants to keep us away from God and close to it.

The problem is that the devil not only keeps us distant from God but in the process we lose sight of what life is really about. What are God-given purpose is and how we should be fulfilling that purpose. And when we lose sight of that we get lost in life. Lost in life and bad things happen.

There is only one way to fight the devil. And that’s simply stay close to God. Stay close to the Father who created you, the Son who saved you and the Spirit who empowers you. It’s that simple. Then again, God means life to be so simple. We are the ones who complicate it.

I know this sounds tough to think about. A real demon behind the scenes whispering doubt in our ear, trying to constantly steer us in the wrong director, manipulating our weaknesses, but it’s a fact of life. Not just more religious “mumbo-jumbo” but real life.

The good thing—and real uplifting message—is that God is always less than a heart beat away. You simply have to ask for help. Talk to God. LISTEN to God. Stay close to God. FIGHT. It’s why I say FIGHT is one of the 7 Secrets to Life.

Keep up the FIGHT today. and have a GREAT day doing so in the rays of God’s immense, unconditional love. Enjoy!!!