Real or Fake Christian?

It’s pretty easy to spot a real Christian. He or she simply follows what Jesus Christ taught us. Love (John 15:12), give the shirt off your back (Luke 7:29), and don’t judge (Luke 7:37) are several of the notable commands Jesus gave us. You can’t follow Jesus—translation, be a Christian—if you don’t do what He says. It’s that simple.

Listen, I call myself a Christian but make no mistake I screw up all the time. And I mean all the time. I do anything but love on occasion, I judge, and I turn my back on others. I’m far, far from perfect. But being Christian is not about being perfect. It’s about doing your best to do what Jesus asks of us. We fall off the horse at times. We simple need to get back up.

Jesus lived and died to rid us of our sins—our un-Christian behaviors. He doesn’t expect perfection but a realization of when we screw up. A “real” Christian not only knows what to do—what Jesus expects—but knows when he or she doesn’t do it. And tries harder the next time. Again and again.

I don’t want to judge but it seems there are a lot of “fake” christians out there. Then again, I don’t want to judge. I just want to focus on me and what is expected of me. In that way, rather than judging I can let my christianity flow to others. And let their christianity flow to me.

Being Christian is simply following Jesus (the Christ).

I hope you have an AMAZING day and rest of this beautiful week!!! 

Jesus Needed Help Carrying His Cross? Really???

Of course Jesus didn’t need help carrying His Cross! He could have thrown it up the hill. Or a legion of angels could have flown it up. But His Cross is not His Cross—it’s our Cross. So, it’s only fitting that we should be helping Jesus carry our Cross. I know. Sounds like more religious mumbo-jumbo from me. But listen and I’ll explain. It’s not about “religion.” It’s about life.

Jesus came to save us. To nail to the Cross every sin we have committed or will commit. That’s the whole point of His time on earth. To banish our sins. But hold on. It takes two to tango. We need to do our part in carrying that Cross. We need to accept responsibility for our sins. We need to repent. Jesus is with us every step of the way. We just need to be with Him. We need to take part of the burden.

We live in times where everyone wants to point the finger at the other person’s faults but ignore their own. From news pundits to politicians to lawyers our “role models” are paragons of virtues—or so they think. So, we emulate this behavior. I’m always right and perfect. You’re the one wrong and flawed. Or so I think.

None of us are perfect and we each have a cross to bear in life. Some larger than others but we all have our crosses. Jesus is there to help carry the Cross but we need to be side-by-side with Him. Forget that carrying the Cross happened over 2,000 years ago. It happens every day in living this life.

What does this all mean in a very practical sense? Take responsibility for your actions. Fix your flaws before you’re so quick to jump on others’ flaws. Reflect on what you did right and wrong each day. Correct your mistakes. Fix the wrongs. Accentuate the rights. Live the life to the fullest that Jesus gave you by his death on the Cross. Be thankful. Be joyful!

And have an AMAZING day!

Why Can’t We All Get Along?

We simply can’t. We spend more time tearing each down and apart than helping build each other up. We need to take a page out of Paul’s letter to the new Christian community in the Macedonian city of Thessalonica, “Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11) We need to stop listening to the media—both left and right—and the pundits who make their million dollar livings tearing down, rather than building up. We need to listen to God!!!

God gave us one basic command that involves us loving Him through loving our neighbors. He put a punctuation on that command by sending His One Son to live and die that love. Jesus reiterated that command of love when He said, “This is my command, that you love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:12)

Anyone who professes to be a Christian does so because they follow Jesus Christ. Anyone who says they are a Christian because the follow Jesus Christ, simply can’t be a Christian if they don’t love. You can’t ignore Jesus’ one command to love. It’s that simple.

I don’t mean this to be a negative message. To the contrary. This is about being positive, not negative. About loving, not hating. About smiling, not scowling. About encouraging, not discouraging. About building up, not tearing down.

It’s time to change the world. That starts with one person at a time. Let’s not let the novel coronavirus be the only thing spreading across the globe. Let’s starting spreading love and encouragement!

Have an AMAZING day and week ahead! 

Happy Father’s Day!!!

One of the greatest gifts in life I have is being a father to my daughter Katie (who now goes by Katherine, use to go by Kate, and started out as Katie). She is smart, gifted, and truly the apple of her dad’s eye. People say she looks like me. I know she absolutely thinks like me. Mom says she feels like the odd person out!

Although my biological dad is long dead, my Father in heaven is very much alive in my life. That’s also one of the greatest gifts in my life. To have a Father who loves me unconditionally—expecting nothing in return for His forgiveness and uncompromising love. Day in day out He simply loves me. He who made me.

Take a moment today to thank your Father. In case you don’t know it, He loves you more than you (or I) can ever comprehend. He made you. He loves you. It is that simple.

Nothing more needs to be said about something so simple. Regardless of whether your father is alive or has passed away, your Father is very much alive in your life. He’s always less than a heartbeat away.

Have an AMAZING week! 

What Am I Missing???

I just don’t get it. Someone needs to help me out and explain something. God gave us very explicit instructions to love. That’s not about loving those you are close to you, it’s about loving everyone, especially “strangers.” Strangers, as in we don’t know them. And Jesus gave us a very simple command to love—to LOVE— before He sacrificed Himself for us. For us! So, what’s going on in this crazy world of ours? Why aren’t we loving?

So now, O Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you? Only to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul… You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. ‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭10:12,19

This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. John 15:12

Of course, I know the answer. Because we trust in ourselves. Not God. We know better. We know how to hate and abuse each other, regardless of race, gender, political leanings, country, etc. We have become experts at dividing us. God is shaking His head in disbelief. Satan is laughing all the way to hell. He’s winning (or at least he thinks so).

This isn’t about religion sports fans. This is about life. We either love or hate. There is not much of a middle road. And to put a dash of “religion” into it, one way leads to eternal bliss and the other to eternal anguish. You pick.

Change happens one person at a time. It’s time to change this world of ours spinning out of control. It’s time for you and me to start that change. With a smile, with a helping hand, with a donation, with love.

Spread a little love around this week. Make it a good one!

There’s Only One You!

I am dating myself, but there’s a one-hit-wonder from the early nineties The One and Only performed by Chesney Hawkes that hit #1 in the UK and even #10 in the US. The chorus goes…

I am the one and only
Nobody I’d rather be
I am the one and only
You can’t take that away from me

For all the cheesiness of the lyrics, the song does have a point: You are the one and only. Just like I am the one and only. Each one of us on this planet is “the one and only.” “You can’t take that away from me” or you. And there is “nobody I’d rather be.” I hope you feel the same way about you.

When God made you He threw away the formula. The same with me. We are both totally unique, even if we had an identical twin. We are unique, one-of-a-kind, special, and novel, especially in the eyes of God.

As I have written more times than I can count, God has a special, unique plan and purpose for each one of us. That individualized plan goes along with our one-of-a-kind uniqueness as a person. Simply put, we are special with a special plan. One of the keys to life is understanding that plan and following it. That’s when we become whole and truly comfortable in our own skin. That’s when we live by “nobody I’d rather be.”

I have The One and Only in my running song collection not only because it’s a catchy tune to run by but also because it reminds me every day I hear it that “I am the one and only.” And that “nobody I’d rather be” and you can’t ever “take that away from me.”

When I’ve blasted the song in the house my wife thinks it’s all about ego. But I look at it in a very different light. It’s about being me. And you being you. Both unique and loved unconditionally by our Creator. And comfortable in our own skins knowing our places in this crazy world.

If you struggle finding out who you are, and what your plan is, spend some time with God. LISTEN for/to Him. Find some quiet time. Quality time. It’s not one-hit-wonder time. It takes some time investment. But God is there for you as much as He is for me and every other person. Just LISTEN. Yes, it’s that simple.

Have a FANTASTIC day and week ahead being you. You are the one and only!

And stay safe out there!!!

Hope

Hope may be something in short supply during these COVID-19 days. What seems like a never ending nightmare may seem like it truly will never end. Will we ever get back to normal? Will we have to wear masks everywhere—forever? Is there really going to be a second wave of COVID-19 in the fall/winter? The list of questions goes on and on and so with them hope seems to fly out the window. So, what are we to do?

Hope! That’s what we are to do. This is not the end of life as we know it. It’s the beginning of a new life, hopefully a new life that will make us look at the world and each other a little differently. As in differently better.

If anything, this COVID-19 experience should be a good time to take stock. Figure out what really matters, what’s most important in life. COVID-19 should be a lens that makes us look at our world in a new light. A light of love. A light of caring for others. A light of respect for the other person. A wave. A smile. A helping hand.

Jeremiah told the people of Israel that, “For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11) Jeremiah told the Israelites that their “normal” wouldn’t be for 70 years when they would return from captivity in Babylon. He told them to live their lives, marry, and have children. He gave them hope. The same hope that we will come out of this COVID-19 pandemic stronger and better as people. If we don’t, it’s a terrible experience lost.

Have hope! Use this time to revaluate. Look at your life in a mirror. Hit the pause button of how you lived your life in the past as COVID-19 has hit the pause button on our “normal” lives. And, most importantly of all, in the quiet that COVID-19 has brought to our lives, LISTEN for/to God. He’s there. Less than a heartbeat away. Spend some time with Him. That will give renewed hope, purpose, and outlook to your life!

Be well and be safe!!! 

Boy, Do We Need God!!!

If this isn’t a time when more people turn to God for help, I don’t know when it will come! God won’t wash our hands, keep us apart from others, or do all the other things we should all be doing to stop the spread of COVID-19. But God can sure help us cope and bring some type of end to this world-wide crisis. We need God more than ever!

I hate to pound my fist about this point, but (yes, here I go) we are just like the Israelites wandering aimlessly in the desert. We run around forgetting about God, worshiping false idols (money, etc.), and then something bad happens. Of course, in the Old Testament the “bad” happening was attributed as sent from God. No, unlike some, I don’t think God sent this new strain of the coronavirus as a plague on the world. It’s just what Mother Nature does and what we do ignoring it and not being prepared to deal with virus threats that have happened in the past and will happen in the future.

We live in a time when people clearly have turned from God. I hear more people talk about being “spiritual” but in some way focusing on themselves as the “spiritual” being. Frankly, I don’t know what that even means. All I know is God. And I’m praying to Him to somehow, someway help us in this time of need.

I hope that you stay safe and sane. God can help with both—if you let Him!

Glass Half Full or Half Empty?

I was going to title this post something about, “Do you see light or darkness?” It’s trying times like these when our true characters show through. And when we face the reality of where God really is in our lives. Are you are glass half full person, or one who sees it as half empty? Are you a person who always sees light, no matter how dark it is out, or do you just see the darkness—or at least the darkness overtaking the light? Good questions to ask as the coronavirus seems to be overtaking the world. Or not.

If God is a constant in your life, I don’t know how you see anything as empty—half or whole—or see anything as darkness. I love, love the beginning of John’s Gospel…

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. John 1:5

That light, sent by God the Father, is Jesus, His only Son. He’s the glass that is always full, the light that no darkness can overcome. When your life is built on the foundation of God—Father, Son & Spirit—there simply can be no emptiness or darkness. It’s that simple. And, yes, I’ll say it again—God means life to be simple. We are the ones who complicate it.

When Jesus left this earth, He left behind the Spirit to empower us. The Spirit is that spark that keeps the light in us lit, especially when it starts to dim. It’s trying times like this coronavirus crisis—which will pass, and just be a mention in the history books—when we need to look at the fullness and light of life. And we have help if we just let God be a central part—THE central part—of our lives.

Have an AMAZING week ahead. Think full, think light!

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!