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!

 

Only Looking Ahead

That’s the only way to live life. Looking ahead; never back. Would-of, could-of, should-of, etc. are about the past. And getting bogged down in the past holds you back from getting ahead. Enjoy today—every second of it—but keep your sights going forward, not backwards.

Thinking about what you did yesterday is helpful in deciding what you need to do differently today and tomorrow. The past is important for correcting mistakes and moving forward as a better person. But getting bogged down in the past constantly wishing that you had lived your life differently is like quicksand. You will keep sinking stuck in the past.

For better or worse your past has shaped who you are today. And today is a new day rich in endless possibilities if you just keep your sights ahead. And in case you don’t know this, no matter what you did in the past that was wrong, God has already forgiven you. Totally and unconditionally. Every wrong was nailed on that cross with Jesus. Acknowledge what you did wrong and the forgiveness will be clear.

I know people who live today wanting to somehow change the past. You can’t. It’s impossible. What you can do is move forward using the past as instruction for moving ahead.

Only looking ahead—the ONLY way to live life.

Have a GREAT day today and tomorrow moving straight ahead in your life! 

Forgiven. Forgive.

You are forgiven every sin you have committed and will commit. Same with me (and that’s a whole lot of sins for me!!!). Same with everyone past, present, and to come. Jesus took all those sins and nailed them to His cross. So, you are forgiven. There’s just one catch…

But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Matthew 6:15

Forgive and you are forgiven. It’s that simple. Your sins were nailed to the cross. But they are not forgiven unless you forgive. Fair play.

I know—trust me!—it’s often hard to forgive. We like to carry around stuff people do to us and let it fester and even grow like a cancer. The longer the festering the harder it is to forgive. But we have to forgive. It’s part of the deal with Jesus.

The easiest way to forgive is to simply pray for the person we need to forgive. Pray, pray & pray some more. It’s a sure way to forgiveness. Simple but hard to do.

I really don’t know what else to say because this is so simple. Forgive and you are forgiven.

Have a WONDERFUL day starting to forgive today!!! 

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!!!

Never Alone—You Always Have a Friend!

We’re kidding ourselves if we deny ever feeling lonely. No matter how many family and friends you have around you, loneliness can always creep into your life. And sometimes it can become a cancer, growing into despair and even depression. And it can get worse from there.

No one in this world is ever alone. Jesus is a friend to one and all—equally! He has no favorites. Each one of us is His best friend. Really. Really!!!

This isn’t more religious mumbo-gumbo. It’s life. It’s living. And it’s real. You have a friend in Jesus, no matter where you are in life, no matter what you have done in life. Now or in the past. A best friend.

Friends converse. They listen and they talk. It’s conversation, which is 2-way. In fact, a best friend is always ready to listen and understand before talking.

So, if you’re not listening to and talking to Jesus you don’t know He’s your best friend. You have to spend time with Him, listening and talking. Not just for a few minutes in prayer in the morning or night, but during the day. Just like you would do with a best friend. And Jesus doesn’t have a cell phone; you can’t text Him. You simply have to use good old human 101 communication.

Trust me, trust me, trust me!!! You have a friend in Jesus. A best friend. I’m fortunate to have a lot of friends, starting with my two best friends—my wife and daughter. But my first best friend is Jesus. He makes all of my friendships so much better.

I have certainly been alone during my life, regardless of the people around me. It’s taken more years than I can count, but I have come to understand that Jesus is always there. Always!!!

Enjoy the weekend and spend some time with your best friend (and mine)!

Inward or Outward? Life’s Fork in the Road.

It’s all about me. That’s inward. It’s all about others. That’s outward. The major fork in the road on how you live your life. We all want to feel good and happy. The question is do we find meaning in life by always making it about ourselves or about others.

Jesus is our role model. With Him it was all outward. He lived and died to erase the sins of everyone past, present, and future. He hung every one of those sins on the cross He was nailed to. His life was 100% totally about others.

This is a very simple concept. You either live your life looking outward to others or inward to yourself. Everyone wants to be happy, fulfilled, and at peace. The choice in life is if you find that somewhere inside yourself or outward in others.

I don’t know about you but the people I know who try to live life just for themselves are the unhappiest. Those who are constantly looking outward and reaching out to help others seem to be the happiest, fulfilled, and at peace.

It’s a fork in the road we all face. And the choice is pretty important. Inward or outward? All about me or all about others? If you follow Jesus—meaning, call yourself a Christian—the choice is clear.

Have a GREAT outward facing day!!!

 

Desperately Seeking God

That’s what each one of us on this planet is doing. The problem is that most don’t realize it. We are like the Israelites in the desert, aimlessly wandering around. When we are right with God and following Him, everything is fine. When we are not right with God, complain, and follow false “idols” the world is all wrong.

God created us. He is in the very fabric of our DNA.  If you don’t believe that I hate to say you are hopelessly lost. If you believe that, you have to understand that our path forward in life is always towards God. We just have to understand that.

Why is the world so screwed up today? Why is there so much strife, animosity, addiction to more things than you can imagine (drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling, etc, etc), and just general hopelessness? Because we have lost our way with God.

A recent study of Americans found that “Even in an era where more of the nation doesn’t ascribe to a higher power at all (10%) or believes in some sort of higher power or spiritual force (33%), a slim majority of Americans (56%) still believe in God “as described in the Bible,” according to the Pew report.” And it’s not much different around the world. Another study found that “The prevailing belief in Western Europe is in a higher power or spiritual force that is not the God of the Bible; in 11 of the 15 countries surveyed, pluralities of respondents choose this option.”

I have a NEWS FLASH for you: This is right out of the Bible!!! It’s like someone had surveyed the Israelites wandering aimlessly in the desert. Traveling barely a dozen miles for forty years. Griping and complaining all the way till all of the original wanders died but two. Those two reached the Promised Land.

I’m not trying to be a downer today but we have to wake up! God is the answer and will always be the answer. Until we realize that, and live our lives like that, we (collectively and individually) will be wandering, complaining, and lost. When times get a little tough, and the seas of life are rough, we have no anchor or safe shore.

What to do about it? Seek God in your life. It’s that simple. God means life to be sooooooo very simple. We are the ones who complicate it. Why? Because we don’t seek and follow God. It is that simple!

Get out of the desert today! Seek God!!! And have a FANTASTIC day doing that!