Rise Above!

In this world of name calling, blame-the-other-person, and “you’re the one in the wrong,” rise above. Be the “better” person. Take it on yourself rather than putting it on someone else. If you need a model of how to do that, look no further than Jesus.

Jesus came to serve, not to be served. The “king” of the world came to be a servant. In fact, He gave His life in service. Jesus took all of our sins (past, present, and future) and hung them on a cross with Him for us. He rose above in rising from the dead.

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. Mark 10:45

It’s all too easy in this bitter age to blame the other person. To think you’re better than others. But rise above. Not in terms of superiority but in terms of service. Be the better person by being the bigger person. Think Jesus.

This is a pretty simple message that would radically change the world if we all lived by it. Think about that. Rise above!

Have an AMAZING week! And, yes—rise above!!!

Football Window on Life

NFL star quarterback Andrew Luck (Indianapolis Colts) shocked the football world this weekend when he announced his retirement at age 29 from football. Two aspects of the Andrew Luck retirement are a window to what is so very wrong in this country.

First, on hearing the announcement of Luck’s retirement at the start of a preseason game, the fans actually booed Andrew Luck as he left the field before the game. A guy who threw up incredible numbers for Indianapolis was actually booed! This just shows how sports have become way, way too important to too, too many people in this country (and same can be said for the world). People live and die for sports, bet on it, and define their lives by sports. Don’t get me wrong—I’m a big sports fan. But defining who I am through sports and living/dying by it—no thanks!

Second, the Colts owner Jim Irsay said that Andrew Luck is walking away from $500 million. Here’s a guy in Luck, who LOVES football, but realizes that his health and mental status are worth more than $500 million. We define ourselves by what we are worth in dollars as opposed to what we are worth in character and soul.

I give Andrew Luck all the credit in the world for an incredibly tough and brave decision to walk away from the game he loves. He’s obviously not defined by sports or money. A LOT of people need to take a lesson here!!!

Have an AMAZING week!

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!!! 

Guns and Hate

I’m tired of guns and mass killings! I don’t like guns but I don’t want to take away anyone’s guns except for military assault weapons, which have no place in a civilized society. Bad enough we need them in the military.

I’m even more tired of hate. We’re letting hate consume us. And I don’t want to hear any excuses that it’s President Trump, members of Congress, or anyone else spewing hatred. It’s up to each one of us to “love” each other, as God commands us to do. And that‘s the God of all of us. God is about love; hate is anti-god (call it Satan, devil, demon, or whatever you want to).

If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. 1 John 4:20-21

Each one of us needs to drop the hate in our lives. Smile more. Help someone in need. Pay it forward. Don’t hold a grudge. Move towards love and move as far away as you can from hate.

No, none of this will stop the mass killings. We need to do something about gun violence and mental health. That’s a big societal issue that we all need the politicians to stop jabbing at each other and do something constructive. Now!!!

But in the meantime we can all do our part by starting with a smile and a good word. Forget how someone makes you feel. Only you can make you feel. Feel good! Make others feel good today! It’s a start.

And have a FANTASTIC day!!!

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!!!

Faith or Love?

What’s more important in your life: faith or love? If you picked “faith” you just heard the wrong answer buzzer going off. If you picked “love,” congratulations. Certainly, faith is critical—a faith in an ever unceasingly loving God who demonstrated that love by sending His only Son as a living sacrifice for us. But, reread what I just wrote. A “loving” God. Because that’s what God is: LOVE!

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

Paul said it all—the most important out of faith, hope, and love is LOVE. You can think you have all the faith in the world but if you don’t have love you’re a “resounding gong or a clanging cymbal” (1 Corinthians 13:1). Translation: without love you can’t have faith. Your faith is empty.

I see a lot of professed faith out there in my travels but very little love. So, do a “love” checkup today. Do you really love? Everyone? Remember: it’s easy to love those who love you. God loves all of us unconditionally, regardless of whether we love Him.

Have a great day walking in love. The faith will follow!