Jesus Shaking His Head Again: Feel the Hate!

God gave us one very simple, clear command: love. He sent His Son to deliver that command and show us how to love. In the end, Jesus gave up His earthly life for us—out of love. Love, love, love.

The problem is all you hear and feel is hate, hate, hate. It doesn’t matter the topic: religion, politics, environment, whatever. It’s all hate, hate, hate. Jesus has to be shaking His head in disbelief.

Today, we look for what separates us; not what binds us. We use words like left and right and every other tag to separate one person from another. What we don’t do is look hard at what binds us. We are all human beings created in the image and likeness of God. We are all His children saved from our sins by Jesus Christ. But, no, we can only focus on what separates us, and hate each other as a result. That’s really sad!

I’m making a renewed commitment to do my best to look at people around me as God does—all outward variations on the same theme of being made in His image and likeness. All children of God commanded to do one thing: love.

Join me in looking past the outer and feeling the inner in people. That God inner. And walking, and talking, in love.

Have a LOVE-FILLED day!!!

Me, Myself & I

Exactly the wrong way to think. That’s the problem with this world—too much thinking about me and not enough (any?) thinking about you. And count me in the camp. I need to spend less time thinking about myself and more time thinking about others.

We are so self-absorbed in ourselves, what we think, what we believe (or want to), and what we are going to do next that we lose sight of others. That’s why this world is so self-absorbed—because we are so self-absorbed.

Can you imagine if Jesus acted like we do? No dedication of His life, no sacrifice, no cross, no saving us from ourselves. But Jesus took the opposite view. It was all about you and me; not Him.

As we turn away from “religion” and even thinking about what Jesus did for us this world becomes worse. Our worlds become worse. I know my life becomes worse when I take my (too) frequent “religious” vacations and just get too caught up in this world, especially my world.

It’s time for us all to reflect on how much time we spend thinking about ourselves versus others. Jesus is that perfect model of service to others and, in the process, making the world a better place. We need to follow and live that model. And, if we do, the world will become a better place.

Have a FANTASTIC day looking outward beyond yourself!!!

Take a Lesson from the Israelites: Stop Wandering Your Desert!

I wrote this post over 3 years ago. I’m rerunning it not because I’m lazy or have nothing new to say, but I keep coming back to this wandering the desert theme. It just gets more relevant as life unfolds on this planet. So, here goes…

Some think the story of the Israelites wandering the desert for 40 years is old news. Well, I have news for you: it’s very much new news. Look at us—and I mean all of us on this planet. We’re wandering our world aimlessly. We fight and kill each other, watch as so many starve and die, and seemingly can’t agree on a thing. I mean, just what is this life about and where are we going? That’s where each one of us comes into the picture.

Change can only happen one person at a time and change is what we need. We all in different ways wander our own deserts in life until we know where we are headed and start heading there. That means we need to understand our purpose in life, that God-given, unique, and special purpose in life. And the only way to do that is by spending some time—quality timeLISTENing for/to God.

It took the Israelites 40 years to cross a desert that should have taken less than 12 days. They had no direction and lost sight of God, worshiping false gods as they aimlessly wandered the desert of their lives. When they finally found some direction and crossed over into the Promised Land only 2 of the original group of thousands actually made the crossing.

Even Jesus had to go into the desert before he started on His real path in life—the path to save us all. That was His purpose in life.

If each of us understood where we are truly heading in life—our own Promised Land—we could start changing the world. Change starts with one, with that one influencing others. The onus is on each of us to make this world a better place and to leave it in better hands. That’s clearly not happening now. We have to start the change. In order to do that we need to get some direction.

You have a Promised Land in your life. Find it by getting in touch with God. The closer you get to God the clearer your direction in life will be—and we all need direction! There’s no time like today to start on that path that leads to your Promised Land.

Have a direction-filled day and weekend! 

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!

 

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)!