Prayer for Peace—I Can’t Do Any Better

Here is the opening prayer at the University of Notre Dame prayer service, Prayer for Unity, Walk for Justice on June 1st. The prayer is by Jo Cecilio, Rector of Cavanaugh Hall at Notre Dame.

God of Mercy and Compassion, we come before you today in grief, in anger, in mourning over the deaths of Ahmud Aubrey, Breonna Taylor, Philando Castille, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Sean Bell, Sandra Bland, George Floyd and the litany of names of men and women who have died at the hands of those charged to protect and serve. You know each one of them by name, and we know that each were wonderfully created in your own image and likeness. Their lives matter to you and to us, and so we ask you, God, to etch their memories forever on our hearts.

LORD, we are tired of the senseless acts of violence, the injustices, the oppression, the racism, and the ignored laments of black and brown communities. Hear us, LORD. Open the hearts, minds, and ears of all your children to hear and understand the cries of pain, of sadness, of trauma, and of immense loss.

Make us your disciples who speak truth to power. May we allow the Spirit to lead us to act for justice. Lord, we invite you to use us so that we might bring about a transformation in our world; a transformation that makes the Beloved Community real here on this earth.

We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

I simply can’t do any better!!!

Peace & Love. As God wants and commands.

Stay safe!!!

Let God Back In

We’ve done a pretty good (meaning, bad) job of kicking God out of our lives. We’ve kicked Him out of our states, schools, and all other public places. I actually can’t believe we haven’t tried to recall all the bills (money) in this country to remove In God We Trust. For those who have read my posts, you know that I draw the comparisons between us today and the Israelites thousands of years ago with Moses aimlessly roaming the desert. They kicked God out of their lives endlessly on a journey that should have taken about a dozen days but took 40 years!!! Nothing good happens when God is not front and center in our lives.

If nothing else, this COVID-19 pandemic should be a whack on the side of the head that it’s time to let God back in our lives. God created each one of us. He is a part of every strand of DNA in our bodies. We were created in His image and likeness. So, we can never get away from God, no matter how hard we try.

I don’t know about you but I’m trying to let God in my life like never before. That isn’t just about praying. It’s about moving God front and center in my life, before me. I’m trying to spend more time listening for/to God—what He wants me to do, and take away from this crisis in all of our lives.

It’s not hard to let God back in our lives. We just need to put ourselves back a step and move God up a step. Change happens one person at a time. So, let’s let God back in our lives one person at a time. Starting with you and me!

Be well; stay safe!!!  

Where is God?

It’s times like these when we ask that question. “Where is God?” With death swirling around us worldwide, we at least think the question, it not say it. “Where is God?” I thought of the question this morning when I heard the gospel account of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. Martha and Mary must have been at least thinking it over and over again—“Where the heck is Jesus?” “He could have saved our brother from dying?” Yet, Jesus finally showed up and raised Lazarus from the dead.

God is where He always is—less than a heartbeat away from each one of us. A natural disaster has hit and God is not off on some vacation in heaven. He’s here. And if we LISTEN for/to Him we will weather this storm.

These are times that not just try souls (shoutout to Thomas Paine) but shake our faith to the core. Does God really care? Why can’t He stop the sickness and dying? How can God sit back and not do something? Anything?

Like the disciples in the boat terrified during the storm, we have to have faith. Faith will get us through this. The same faith that tells us that no matter what happens in this life that it is less than a heartbeat in the eternity we have been promised.

What’s very important during this crisis is how we act. Do we reach out and help others, however we can? Do we PRAY? Do we donate? Or do we simply hunker down and worry about ourselves. How we act during a crisis like this says everything about who we are as a person.

Have faith. Believe! It’s tough going right now but we will come out stronger. If that’s what we want.

I hope you are keeping safe, helping others, and BELIEVE!

Spend some more time with God this week. LISTEN for/to Him!!!

Virus in the Desert

I’ve written a lot about the Israelites roaming aimlessly in the desert for 40 years. It took them that long to travel about a dozen miles to the Promised Land. And only two of the original Israelites made it. Even their leader, Moses, died before he saw the Promised Land. During that time in the desert all types of bad things happened—plagues, snakes, etc. The Israelites constantly turned their backs on God, and only when they needed God did they run to Him. We are roaming our own desert—and pretty aimlessly, at that—and bad things happen. Today it’s the coronavirus. Tomorrow it will be something else. But we’re not running to God. It seems we’re running away from Him.

I’m not suggesting that the coronavirus is some type of plaque sent by God. It’s a virus, and viruses are a part of life. Some are worse than others. But it’s how we react to this coronavirus that is so telling. We panic. Not that we shouldn’t mobilize to contain and “defeat” this virus. But we don’t need to panic, just like the Israelites did. It’s a surprise they didn’t stone Moses or burn him at the stake.

It’s a given that we are less tied to God than ever. I won’t bore you with stats, but “organized” religion is on the way down. People are increasingly simply not believing in God or turning to their own “spirituality”—whatever that is. Worship of self?

If I have said it once I’ve said it over a 100 times—read the Old Testament story of the Israelites wandering aimlessly in the desert. That’s us. This world is one big desert and we are certainly wandering—and very aimlessly! I have no idea where we are heading. Do you?

Least you think this is a depressing message, it’s not! My focus is on God—Father, Son & Spirit. I know my purpose from the Father, and am trying my best to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, and pray for the Spirit to empower me. I’m upbeat. I’m resolute. I’m out to find the Promised Land in life. I’m not a saint. I stumble all the time. But I’m doing my part to lead by example. We change the world one person at a time. It’s why I write this little blog, why I post Bible verses on my Facebook page ever day, and why I try to share with others.

I hope you know your way. Let’s help get everyone out of the desert!    

Yes, There Are 7 Secrets to Life!!!

I started writing this blog almost eight years ago to share what I have found—seven Real Secrets to Life. Not some catchy, gotcha, “I have the secret to life” hype. Just what I have found that has worked in my life. They have helped me get through the chaos and clutter of life, as well as helping me simplify life. Life that we always manage to complicate, regardless of how simple God intends it to be. I don’t spend any time “promoting” this blog. I don’t make any money off this blog, which is not a bad thing, but I just keep it simple. My thoughts are as much for me as for those who read them. So, I thought it was a good time to briefly review what are the seven Real Secrets to Life that I have found.

LISTENREADLOVEFIGHTBELIEVELIVE & PRAY. There you have them. My Secrets to Life. For me they are a steading influence, helping me put life into perspective and serving as a map going forward.

LISTEN because God is calling to you—yes, you! READ the Bible because it has life answers (It’s God’s handbook on life, in case you don’t know it.). LOVE because God is love and commands us to live in love. FIGHT because the devil is all too real and whispering doubt and other temptations in your ear. BELIEVE that you can do anything—because you can! LIVE knowing this life is just the opening act to eternity. And PRAY simply because it works. God is listening (as well as calling to you, which loops you back around to the first Secret to Life).

The utter simplicity of these Secrets to Life says everything. They boil life down to its simplicity—the way God means life to be. They help me focus my life—what I did yesterday that needs correcting and the course changes I need to make today. They help me focus on what’s important and what is not. They help order the life chaos.

I hope these help you as they help me. But whatever you do, find your Real Secrets to LifeAnd have a GREAT day, and an AMAZING year, in the process!

 

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!

Prayer and the Magic Lamp

Some people think that prayer is a type of magic lamp, with God as a genie. Praying and asking God for something is like rubbing a magic lamp. Unfortunately, that’s not the real world. Prayer is not a magic lamp that you can rub to make your wish come true. Prayer is simply conversation with God. Note the word “conversation.” You talk; God listens. God talks; you listen.

Sure, you can ask God for anything. And God will respond but not always in the way you want. God responds for what is best for you. Not what you always think is best for you.

Let me restate what I just wrote: prayer is conversation. And any real conversation is two-way. It involves both talking and listening. God hears you and you can hear God if you try and take the time.

I know, I know. This sounds all too simple. Just having a conversation with God. But that’s how God means life to be: simple! We are the ones who complicate life so much. God is the One who tries to help us uncomplicate life. That’s what prayer is all about. Not memorized “prayers” but simple conversation with God. Try it.

Have an AMAZING day!!!

Magic Lamp or Prayer?

I hate to break it to you but there are no magic lamps, the kind where the genie grants you three wishes. What we have is prayer. But it’s not a magic lamp. You don’t pray for three wishes from God. You pray to converse with God. You talk, God listens. God talks, you listen. Prayer is conversation.

We often pray to God for something to be granted by God. Give us something, make something happen. There’s nothing wrong with asking God for something. The funny thing is you ask and God will answer. It may not be exactly what you asked for but it will be exactly what you need. After all, God knows.

I don’t know what I would do without prayer. Not that I’m some holy roller but I just like stopping every so often and talking (praying) to God. And listening. I don’t hear some booming voice from the heavens. I just feel God’s answer when I really commit to prayer.

Jesus not only taught us the Lord’s prayer, he taught us how to pray and how to escape the noise of this world to pray.

Prayer. It’s a gift from God. Better than any magic lamp. Try it. You’ll like it. You just have to commit to prayer, and open up your heart and mind. That will open up your “ears” to God.

Have a FANTASTIC rest of the day!!!

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!!!