Be the Glue!

Let’s face it—our world is divided. Everywhere. Divided. The U.S. is a virtual armed camp of right/left, conservative/liberal, this/that. Even the Catholic Church is a dived camp with a growing chorus to declare Pope Francis an anti-Pope. We’re talking Catholic Church (I am Catholic, BTW) that tracks its roots directly to Jesus. Divided. Angry. Certainly, not Jesus.

So, each of us can be a wedge, further dividing life. Or we can be the glue, trying to bring people together. It’s not always easy but I want to be the glue in bringing people together. Doing my little bit to help heal and stop divisions.

Jesus talked division, even about families divided against themselves. But the objective was coming together in a spirit—the Spirit—of love. After all, as he faced His death, Jesus left us with one command: “Love each other.” John 15:17

I have a news flash: We’re not following that command. Even a little bit. We’re following the devil’s command to hate each other. The venom coming out of mouths of politicians and priests (supposed holy men!) is appalling. They are the wedges, not the glue.

Be the glue! Love. As Jesus commands.

And have an OUTSTANDING day!!!

God

I’m even questioning the title of this post. But it’s as simple as that. God. We can have faith in God, and throw our trust with Him, or ignore God and trust in the world. So, very, very (VERY!) simple. After all, God means life to be simple. We’re the ones who complicate it.

I’m not given to religious mumbo-jumbo. I don’t have a halo (far from it!!!). And I don’t go about my day floating on a cloud. But I know from my life that when I stray from God bad things happen. When I focus on God even the bumps in life are smaller and easier to navigate.

I just wrote about this. The Israelites took their focus off of God and paid homage to false idols. Bad things happened. They couldn’t get out of the desert. Fast forward. Humans are less focused on God. Bad things are happening. We are lost in one world of a desert.

It’s simply all about God. There is no magic. There is no special prayer. There is just God—and His one commandment to love. Focus on God. He gave us an entire handbook on life (it’s called the Bible). Don’t go around professing religion. Just focus on God, tune out the siren song of the world, and live in love. It’s that simple—if you don’t complicate it.

God. Simple.

My Ties Are Too Wide!

I realized that towards the back of my tie rack that several are too wide. I’m not talking about “clown” wide but ties today are narrower. But one day they’ll be wide again and I’ll be saying that most of my ties are too skinny. That’s fashion—it’s unexplainable whim. Most of us follow the fashion and conform to what’s “in.” I’m just glad that God is consistent, constant, and not given to whim. We can’t count on fashion, and being “in,” but we can always count on God.

The longer I live the more I understand that life changes. Things and people don’t stay the same. Life moves on. But as life moves on God stays the same. He’s an anchor in our lives that keeps us steady and secure, especially when the seas of life get rough.

And in following the whims of fashion and the changes in life, Jesus has an amazing message for us on how to live…

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2

It’s OK to follow fashion where it goes but here Jesus is talking about not conforming to the world but constantly “renewing” your thinking—in essence, detach yourself from the masses to really understand the will of God in your life. I think that’s especially important in this current, crazy world of ours.

Follow the fashion but don’t follow the crowd. Think for yourself, and think about God. What he thinks is “good and acceptable and perfect.” Spend some time thinking about this, then putting it into action.

Have an AMAZING week!

The World Will Keep Spinning (Out of Control!)

I’m an upbeat, positive person. How can you believe in God the Father, our Savior Jesus, and our Advocate the Holy Spirit and not be upbeat and positive? But this world of ours is spinning out of control. Why? Because there is waning belief in God, Jesus, and Spirit. Just like the Israelites wandering aimlessly in the desert for all those years, leaving God in the dust as they worshiped idols, we are doing the same. And the outcome won’t be pretty. Sorry!

We had a faith-based shooting this week (and not on American soil). We have rich parents cheating/paying their children’s way into college. We have politicians (on American soil and even including our President) spewing discord and close to hatred. I could go on and on. The world is spinning out of control.

The more we turn our backs on God, the worse it will get. Again, read the story of the Israelites to see how this movie ends. We roam endlessly in the desert of life.

The only thing I know to do is up my faith in God. Listen to His commend (echoed by Jesus) to love one another. I start with all the simple stuff. I smiled a lot this week (at “strangers”). I helped people put up their luggage in the plane bins on my three flights this week. I gave to the homeless. I prayed for all, especially those people who it’s really tough to like, let alone “love.” I tried to do a lot of other things but will stop here. I’m no saint but I tried this week and will try next week.

Change happens one person at a time. I’m doing my best to change this world—from my world. I’m trying. And above all, I’m trying to keep God front and center in my life!

Have a FANTASTIC day and even better weekend!!!

You Are An Artist!!!

Trust me—I have little to no artistic talent. I can’t really draw. In college, I took an art class and fashioned myself as a modernist (translation: throw paint on a canvas and call if art). But I am an artist, and so are you! We make “art” every day if we just think about it. I came upon this observation, which says it all too well:

Most of us feel uncomfortable thinking of ourselves as artists, but we are. With every choice, every day, you are creating a unique work of art. Something that only you can do. Something beautiful and ephemeral. The reason you were born was to leave your own indelible mark on your personal world. Sarah Ban Breathnach, Simple Abundance

I always say that each one of us can change the world every day if we just believe and put our fingers in our ears of doubt. The world is our canvas if we just try and use some creativity. We can inspire with our “art.”

Make some “art” today. Be creative. Think outside of your box. Stop listening to the devil’s doubt holding you back. Be an artist!

Have a CREATIVE weekend!

Gloria (Polyester, Not Cotton; Part 2)

In a previous post, I related the lesson I learned about surviving on the streets of Washington, D.C. at night sleeping on the Metro grates: You’ll freeze to death if you wear cotton (it absorbs the hot, moist air rising from the Metro and then freezes). You have to wear polyester. A whack to the side of the head as I am all bundled up in wool, sipping my hot chocolate, and well rested from sleeping in a comfortable bed. Lesson enough until I met Gloria.

Gloria is an older woman, obviously homeless, who I have seen on occasion on the streets of D.C., ofter in the same locations. She doesn’t overtly ask for anything but, yes, I have stopped and given her some money. After one or two times of this, she asked me my name. I told her it was Ted. She gave me a big hug and said, “Ted, Jesus loves you!” I asked her name and she said Gloria. Another whack to the side of the head! Gloria is my mom’s name. She passed away 6 years ago.

All day I was putting my mom in the place of Gloria trying to simply survive on the streets of D.C., day in and day out. It’s inconceivable. Yet, here is this always cheery homeless woman giving praise to Jesus. Now the other Gloria in my life.

It’s tough to say anything else. I’m humbled and feeling like I have way too much. I need to do more to help others. Day in and day out. We all need to do more.

Polyester, not cotton. Gloria.

Enjoy the weekend!!!

Polyester, Not Cotton!

Boy, life has a way of smacking you in the face. I was walloped the other day as I set out on my way to work. I have an office in Washington D.C. and when I’m there, if the weather cooperates, I walk the 1.2 miles to work. I set out the other morning on a cold but beautiful day, invigorated and bundled in my long wool coat, scarf my wife gave me for Christmas, and my favorite Ugg gloves. Then, I learned that you have to wear polyester because if you wear cotton you’ll freeze to death sleeping on the Metro grate. Whack to the side of the head! 

As I came out of the coffee shop with my hot chocolate and croissant, there was a man sitting on a stoop with a cup asking for money. I stopped, dug into my pocket, and pulled out some bills. As I handed the money to him, he pointed to another man asleep on top of the grate to the Metro (the D.C. subway system), where warm air rises, and told me the guy was lucky he didn’t freeze to death last night. He schooled me on the fact that if you’re wearing cotton close to your body it will absorb the warm but damp air and will freeze. You can literally die, especially when the temperature falls to single digits, as it did that night. You have to wear polyester.

I walked away all bundled up headed to my warm office with my hot chocolate and croissant with my head spinning after that wack to the side of my head. Yes, I had given the man money.  I stopped and talked to him. I said, “God loves you!” But why didn’t I give him my hot chocolate and croissant? Why didn’t I give him my gloves and scarf—even my coat? After all, Jesus said, “Give to everyone who begs from you…” (Luke 6:30). That includes the shirt off your back!!!

I don’t want for anything. But others do. It was sobering to learn my polyester lesson. That was further brought home by Gloria. But I’ll save that for the next post.

Don’t turn your back on anyone in need. There are so many who need so much. I realize I have to do more. A lot more!!! Polyester, not cotton!

Enjoy the day and have a WONDERFUL week ahead!