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!

The Unique, Special You!

That’s right, when God created you He threw away the mold. You may even have an identical twin but you are unique, one-of-a-kind. And in God’s eyes you are special.

We all have a role to play in life. A unique, special, God-given purpose. The ultimate key to life, and the road to the after-life, is realizing and understanding that role. As Paul says, we all have special talents to use for good. It doesn’t matter who you are, or what talents you have, you have a purpose.

There is only one way to really understand that purpose. You have to LISTEN for and to God. That’s why I have come to realize that to LISTEN is the first Secret to Life.

Paul also realized that by the grace of God he was what he was. By the grace of God you are what you are. Understand your purpose and act on it and life becomes clearer. Everything comes into perspective.

Start by LISTENING for and to God. Tune the world out and tune God in. Find a quiet space and place to hear God. Open your ears, mind, and heart to “hear” Him.

This may seem like a major revelation or impossible task but it’s really simple. Just LISTEN for and to God. God means life to be so simple. Unfortunately, we are the ones who complicate it.

Have a GREAT rest of the week. And find your purpose. Yes, you are special, unique, and God-given purposeful. Yes, you!

Stuck in the Desert?

The Israelites were beyond stuck in the desert. Their 11-mile journey to the Promised Land took 40 years. Yes, 40 years. Maybe God was exaggerating a bit here in the Bible but His point is well taken—the Israelites aimlessly wandered the desert for a long time. They had no direction. Worse, they had no purpose. They were a people lost.

That’s how I feel about al of us today, and at times myself included. We have lost a focus on God. He’s not an important part of our lives. We complain. We are lost. We have little to no purpose. Where are we even headed? Wars, mass shootings, pandemics, and the list goes on.

I’m not trying to be Debbie Downer here. I’m just saying that like the Israelites we are lost, wandering the deserts in our lives. God gave us the Bible and the accounting of the Israelites lost in the desert for 40 years for a reason. For now.

God gave each one of us a unique, special purpose in life. Do you know yours? I think I have a fix on mine but it gets cloudy at times. Like today. But that’s when I get in touch with God and get my bearings. If each one of us finds our way then all of us start moving to the Promised Land.

Too much “religious” mumbo-jumbo? Here’s what I’m saying. Find your direction in life. How? Ask God. It’s that simple. Ask and listen. You won’t hear if you don’t take the time to listen. That’s why I say that LISTEN is the first Secret to Life. God will tell you if you just ask and LISTEN. If more of us find our way we can start leading others. But it all starts with God. If I have learned one thing in life it’s that I can’t do it without God. He’s sets the course. I walk but God leads.

So, take some time to ask and LISTEN. Really LISTEN. Then you can move on to the other Secrets to Life.

Sound too easy? That’s because it is!

Get out of the desert today! The Promised Land in your life awaits.

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!

Where is the World Headed?

I don’t know. But as I have written time and time again, I feel like we are the wandering tribe of Israelites in the desert looking for the Promised Land. We bicker and complain, with no vision or direction of where we are going. With the world on the verge of WWIII, we seem lost. We are lost.

To me, for me, God is light. When I walk away from Him, or even turn my back on Him, my world is a dark place. When I get back on course, I see the light.

I think God is my Promised Land. When he’s in my life, everything is light and clear. When not, dark and uncertain. This is all easier said than done because it’s easy to lose God, even though He is always less than a heart beat away. It’s easy to question God, even question His existence, when people are being brutalized, as they are in Ukraine. That’s why we are all struggling because we put God aside, or even push Him aside. You see death and destruction and it’s tough to think there is a God. How could He let this happen?

The evil forces in this world—call them devils, demons, whatever—want each of us to turn our backs on God. To question Him, to question if He is even real. That’s how they win when we get lost in the darkness in life. Just like the Israelites wandering years and years ago.

I’m doing my best to keep my eyes fixed on God. His way is the light, away from the darkness. I’m going to do my best to help shed some of that light on a world that is increasingly dark. A smile, a helping hand, a good act, a donation, whatever. It starts small but it grows.

Change happens one person at a time. Change with me. Listen for and to God. It’s one of the fundamental Secrets to Life. He will lead the way. Just let Him!

Have an EXCEPTIONAL day!!!

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!

Be the Vehicle!

For light. For love. For joy.

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” 2 Corinthians 4:7

Each of us is like a jar of clay. To be modeled by God for the special, unique purpose in life that He has for us. We are the vehicles to let God’s light shine through us and out to others. We are the conduits for God’s love—and God is love—to flow through us to others. We are the vessels for His joy, a joy we should be having and sharing with others.

I know this sounds like more religious mumbo-jumbo but it’s life. If we live at all with God in our life, we are the vehicles for light, love, and joy. And this world of ours can use a lot more light, love, and joy!

I want to underscore again that you and I, and everyone in between, were put on this earth for a special, unique purpose. I think life becomes fulfilling when we come to understand that purpose and live to fulfill it. And in the process share that light, love, and joy that is baked into each of us. We just need to discover it and let it flow.

Have a SPECTACULAR week and let it flow!

Ask, Search & Knock

Matthew 7:7 really says it much better than I can:

Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you.

It’s that simple. Great life advice. If you ask it will be given; search and you will find; just knock on the door and it will be opened. Now, this isn’t about some genie in a magic lamp. There is no rubbing the lamp and three wishes. But God will give you what you need (not necessarily what you want, but what you need), will help you find, and will open doors for you. One door might close in your life but another will certainly open.

I’m going to focus in the next few blogs on Bible verses that are really great verses to live life by. But none of those will work, like Ask, Search & Knock, if you don’t LISTEN for/to God. He’s always there. Less than a heartbeat away. You just have to get in the game and engage.

Ask, Search & Knock. Try it!