Don’t Beat Yourself Up!

I screw up all the time. Trust me. No matter what I know to do right I manage to do the opposite. I identify with 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) That’s life. Let’s face it—none of us is perfect. But I’ve learned that you can’t beat yourself up. You need to pick yourself back up, get back in the game of life, and move forward.

Life is not a straight path. It’s filled with twists and turns and, sometimes, wrong ways. We backtrack at times. But when you make a mistake, you do your best to correct it, ask God for forgiveness, and move forward.

God knows every little, tiny screw-up we have made and will make. He knows all the little stuff as well as the big stuff. So, there is no hiding from God. Either what we have done or if we are truly sorry for our mistakes (sins). God is here. God is everywhere.

If we confess the screw-ups we are forgiven. That’s because Jesus came and died to wipe all sin away. Past, present, and future. But you need to understand that and ask for true forgiveness. That’s how it works.

Beating yourself up achieves nothing. In fact, it gives into Satan and the other evil spirits who feed off of our mistakes. They love it when you and I beat ourselves up. It drags us down, not up. So, the last thing you want to do is beat yourself up.

Have a BLESSED week ahead. Keep your head up, stay in the game, and move forward!

Renewing & Not Conforming

Paul said it all too well. “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2) Don’t be a conformist. Transform yourself by “renewing” your mind. This doesn’t mean to be some type of radical. It means to not just do and say what everyone else says. Renew, invigorate, challenge. That’s what this world needs. And it’s the way to better understanding God’s will and purpose for you. Renew!

The world is not in a good place right now. And that’s because the world is pushing God out of our lives. It’s fashionable to be “secular” and not “religious.” To think we are all there is and there is no need for any god. In this country, 3 out of 10 Americans describe themselves as “nones.” And more are confirming to that view. Just like the Israelites wandering in the desert for 40 years, we are increasingly worshipping “idols” and pushing God out of our lives.

Start renewing your mind. LISTEN for/to God in your life. He is there if you let Him in your life. Renew your thinking. Be transformed. It’s not hard. Just takes a little time and effort.

Have an AWESOME week ahead transforming!

Why Do I Write About the Secrets to Life?

I went back years to help me remember why I started this blog writing about the Secrets to Life. The answer is simple. Simply because they work! I have found 7 simple Secrets to Life that by following them lead to a happier, joyful life that is more peaceful and more fulfilling. We are all searching for answers in life and I have found some simple ones. That doesn’t mean that I am perfect or my life is totally blissful every second of every day. All it means is that I have found some simple ways to live that help keep me on a straight path or back on the straight path when I take a wrong turn on occasion.

I write for you as well as for me. Writing about the Real Secrets to Life helps me remember them and truly live by them. If I can help just one other person, and that person in turn helps one or two others, then that’s even better.

LISTEN, READ, LOVE, FIGHT, BELIEVE, LIVE & PRAY. They are very simple secrets to a life that should shine. As I write over and over again, God means life to be so very simple. We are the ones who complicate our lives. We gather habits and emotions like hoarders filling a house with junk. We find it hard to let go of those things we store up in our lives that clutter and can totally inundate our lives. Light can’t shine in a life filled with junk.

I try to make Jesus my role model in life. If you look at Jesus’ life he lived it according to 7 simple little words—LISTEN, READ, LOVE, FIGHT, BELIEVE, LIVE & PRAY.  He listed for/to God the Father and understood his purpose in life. He read the scriptures and actually became the living Word. He gave us a new commandment to love and, in the strongest show of love, gave up his life for us. He fought the devil constantly and understood the presence and power of evil in the world. He taught us to believe and showed us we can do anything if we have faith and don’t let doubt get in the way. He lived a life of purpose, knowing that this life on earth was only the opening act to eternity. He taught us how to pray and was constantly going away to pray.

The 7 Secrets to Life I have found are a real roadmap for life. They keep me centered and help me when I falter, which I do all the time. I think they can help you but that’s up to you to decide.

Have a WONDERFUL week!  And keep it SIMPLE!

Don’t Trip Over Your Pride

If there is one big stumbling block in my life it’s my pride. I try to keep it in the far back seat but the ego and everything that comes with pride often tries to come front and center. And then I stumble right over that pride.

There are two ways to look at life. One, is to put everything on yourself. You have gotten you where you are in life. You have the life you have because of you. Completely ego-centric. The other way is to understand that everything you have is from the grace of God. As Paul came to understand, “by the grace of God I am what I am.” (1 Corinthians 15:10)

I work really hard. I know that the hard work has paid off and gotten me to where I am today. But that hard work is all possible by the grace of God. I know that I am what I am because of His grace shining down on me. It’s me working but it’s God pointing the direction.

Yet, although I have Paul’s words etched into my memory, I trip up all the time. I get more concerned about outward appearance than inward heart. I get more concerned about what others think than what God knows. Ego trumps humility. I want to be served rather than serve.

Yet, I try to come back to and stay grounded in Paul’s words. God’s grace. That is what has gotten me here. And when I forget that it never fails that I stumble. Or on occasion take a hard fall.

Open up your eyes to what you do and what God gives. You may well be doing the work but it’s God who points the way, keeps us on course, and makes sure we are nourished.

Have a FANTASTIC week ahead and stay the course. The humble course where pride finds no foothold!

It’s Not About Me. It’s About You!

There are two ways to look at life. The simply way is to look inward and make life all about you. Me, me, me, me, and more me. The other people out there don’t count. Or at least count only when you want them to count.

The other way to live is to make it all about other people. Your feelings and wants are on the back burner to others’. It’s all about them. Not you.

Forget for a minute that God commanded us to love others. And that before He died for us, Jesus left us with the same command to sacrifice for others. To love them. Forget those commandments and just think how life would be if we just spent more time thinking about others than we do ourselves. The world would be a far, far different place. A much, much better place!

It’s not easy putting ourselves behind others. The “animal” side of us is wired for us. But the “human” side of us is wired for others. Why? Because God wired that human side. He wired us for love and love is about taking a backseat to others. It’s that simple. Hard to do, but simple.

I try to think every morning about how I could have put others in front of me the day before. And what I need to do differently today. It’s not easy. Trust me—I screw up all the time. But I try not to give up. I want my life to depend on it.

Think others! And have a FABULOUS day doing so!

America’s Pampered Actors Versus The Actor Hero in Ukraine

There’s a reason why I don’t watch Hollywood award shows and don’t place over-paid, pampered actors up on a mantel. It’s just amazing to me that the morning news is dominated by one of those over-paid, pampered actors slapping another over-paid, pampered actor in the face. Meanwhile, the former actor who is now the President of Ukraine is watching his people dying and displaced. Our over-paid, pampered actors versus an actor who is a true hero.

What is wrong with us? I’ve written about this more times than I can count but we are a people lost in this country. Like the Israelites wandering the desert for 40 years for a journey that should have taken 11 days, we are lost. We have turned our backs on God, just like the Israelites. We worship false gods, just like the Israelites. We have no purpose, no future. The news is filled with war, killings, shootings, and just mean spiritedness. And actors acting like spoiled children.

There is only one path out of the desert we are wandering, and that path is God. He is there but we are not. We need to turn to Him, not away from Him. Life is really that simple.

There is evil in the world today that is more alive and at work than ever. Just look at Putin and Ukraine. Light blots out darkness. But we are letting the darkness blot out the light. Simply because we have turned our backs on God.

Change happens one person at a time. One person at a time turning to God, not away from Him. There is a Promised Land out there but we are nowhere close to it.

I’m doing my best to change and keep God in front of me. I hope you will join me.

Have an AWESOME week ahead in the light!

Go to Hell, Putin!

I mean that. Go to Hell, Putin. If you’re looking for the personification of evil in this world, it’s Putin. I won’t even dignify calling him anything else. Evil belongs in Hell and that’s where Putin is heading.

As I watch this humanitarian crisis unfold in Ukraine, it’s tough to control my anger. All the writing and praying I have done about not judging and loving all others has gone out the window. I’m angry. I want Putin dead. Though shall not kill is meaningless. I want Putin dead. One cheap life of a little man saves the lives of millions.

This is one of those times when I ask, “Why God?” How can you let this little dictator uproot an entire country? Where’s the sense in any of this? Don’t you feel the pain and suffering of your children? Why, God? Why? Why?

It’s time to pray. I know I need to pray myself out of this anger. I need to find where I can send money that it will be used to help the most. I need to settle down. I need to stay positive and try to help as much as I can.

I still want Putin in Hell. Sooner than later. Evil belongs in Hell and Putin is our generation of pure evil. Yes, it’s in Syria and elsewhere. I’ll stop here.

Pray! Pray! Pray! Stay positive, I tell myself. God’s way is not our way.

To all the people of Ukraine I offer up my prayers.

Thanks for listening to my rant!

Anti-Semitism is Anti-Christian

I have news for you. Jesus is a Jew. He has always been a Jew and always will be Jewish. Jesus is as “Jewish” as anyone you know; even more so. He was born a Jew and lived a Jewish life. If you call yourself a “Christian” you are simply a follower of Jesus the Christ. You are following someone who is and always will be Jewish. So, anyone who is anti-Semitic simply can’t be a follower of Jesus and, therefore, a Christian. In fact, if you’re anti-Semitic you are anti-Christian. You’re anti-Jesus.

As Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” (Matthew 5:17) Jesus came not to overthrow his Jewish heritage and beliefs but to “fulfill” them.

As a Christian, I believe in Jesus and what He teaches, which is based on His Jewish beliefs. I believe He is the Messiah, who has come and will come again at the end of time. My beliefs are not fundamentally different than my Jewish friends. They just believe that the Messiah has not yet come. I believe He has come and will come again.

I can never be culturally Jewish because I was not born culturally Jewish, as was Jesus. But I try to live and breathe what has become known as the Judeo-Christian faith.

I heard a story on the news this morning about the rise of anti-Semitism in this country. I don’t know who those anti-Semites are but I know they are not followers of Jesus Christ. They are not Christians. You can’t be an anti-Semite and follow Jesus the Jew who is the Christ. It’s that simple.

Enjoy your week ahead following Jesus!

My Gifts

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. Why? Call it a lack of inspiration, COVID malaise, or simply good old procrastination. Whatever, it is what it is. But as the New Year hit, and I started reflecting, coupled with hearing a sermon on gifts, I knew it was time to start writing/posting again. Why? Because I have a gift. No, not the “ego” gift of me but the gifts I have been given in my life. Starting with the gift of getting up this morning.

We all have gifts. As I said, getting up in the morning is a gift. Having my puppy who is all over me with love in the morning is a gift. The morning kiss from my wife is a gift. Smelling the air is a gift, as is the amazingly starry night in Northeast Pennsylvania. We all have gifts that we don’t look on as gifts. Especially in many cases the gift God gives to all of us equally—the gift of His only Son. And what a gift that is!

It’s really easy in these COVID days of variant after variant to overlook the simple gifts we have in life. It’s always easier to focus on what’s wrong versus what’s right in our lives. But the gift of Jesus is something we should never forget because it’s the gift that keeps on giving. It we let it.

You want a New Year’s resolution? Mine is to look at all the gifts I have been given. Not the gifts under the tree at one time of year, but the gifts I have, no matter how small, day in and day out. And the gift of Jesus is at the top of the list. It’s a gift that I have day in day out, regardless of how the day is going, my situation in life, or anything else. And it’s no small gift at that!

Happy New Year! I wish you a healthy, safe, and blessed year ahead. Keep those gifts close and treasure them!

I Saw Jesus!

Yes, for real. I saw Jesus. Several times. I was walking down I Street (NW) in Washington, DC and that’s where I saw Jesus. After a homeless man asked me for some help (yes, I gave him money), I realized it was Jesus. Jesus was in him just like he is in al of us. I passed a young woman rushing to work. I saw Jesus in her. And on and on I went as I walked down the block. Jesus after Jesus. I saw Jesus!

We are made in God’s image and likeness. He, His Son, and Their Spirit are woven into the fabric of our DNA. We just suppress God. We don’t realize He is here—less than a heartbeat away.

I don’t mean this to be some tricked up blog post. If you look hard enough you will see Jesus in everyone. Brown, black, white, yellow or any other variation of human. God is here. Inside of us. And how we treat one another is how we treat God.

A lot of people think with COVID-19, fires, wars, etc. that this is the “end of times.” I don’t know about that. What I do know is I’m not waiting for Jesus to come again. He’s here. We just have to open up our eyes. And when we depart this earth Jesus will be in front of us knowing whether we saw Him as we walked this earth or not.

Open up your eyes!

Have an EYEOPENING Week ahead!!!