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!

Grace

The total untethered grace that God gives us is all about unconditional love, favor, mercy, and empowerment. It is that grace that has saved us, through God’s Son Jesus, and gives us the power to do anything in life with that grace. But that grace is tied to giving our own “grace” to others. Life is a two-way street. It’s not all about taking. It’s even more about giving. Want to feel God’s grace in your life? Give your own grace to others.

I know this sounds like more religious “mumbo gumbo” but it’s actually about life. Life that should be a two-way street with you taking in all that God has to offer through His grace while giving back to others through your own “grace.” This isn’t difficult. It’s pretty simple. Give and take. Don’t just take. Give.

I don’t know how to make this message simpler. Give. And I’m not just talking about money or other things. I’m talking about giving yourself. Start with a smile. Lend someone a hand. Pay forward a cup of coffee. Give to those in need. Go beyond yourself. Just give as God gives.

Simple.

Have an AMAZING week pouring out your grace!

Time for a Checkup

Need to bring my car in for its 30,000 mile checkup. Also, need to get to my internist right after the New Year for my annual checkup. Also, realized I am long overdue for a Spirit checkup. What??? That’s right—a checkup if I’m living by the Spirit.

A Spirit checkup is pretty easy because the “fruit” of the spirit has been spelled out for us:

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness.
‭‭Galatians‬ ‭5:22‬ ‭

So, if you’re living by those 7 qualities—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness—you’re living by the Spirit who is empowering you. Like all of life, it’s that simple! If you’re not living by those qualities you are sick and need a tune-up, some repairs, or time for serious medicine. Certainly, without living by those qualities the Spirit is not empowering you.

Recently, I wrote about 3 key words—purpose, footsteps, and empowerment. God establishes the purpose, Jesus sets the footsteps, and the Spirit empowers your life. You may know your purpose in life—and you do have a special, unique one!—and you may walk (or try to) in the footsteps of Jesus but it all falls apart quickly without empowerment of the Spirit. And you know the Spirit is empowering you if you live by love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, and faithfulness. Again, it’s that simple.

Don’t procrastinate (like I did writing this blog). It’s time for a checkup!!!

Have a fantastic day living in the Spirit!

Our Demons

Last night my brother had a memorial “Celebration of Life” service for his only child. Jacqueline was 32 years old and died from an opioid overdose. She was a good girl, close to finishing her studies to be a physician’s assistant. But she fought a demon, as we all do to varying degrees. As I said last night to all attending, now she is in a place where there are no demons. What seems like a loss—to her and everyone—is a big win.

As I spoke to a room full of people last night, my niece like all of us battled a demon. In her case it was a very powerful opioid drug. Like to admit it or not, we all battle demons. Realizing that and knowing our demon(s) is half the battle. The rest of the battle is turning to God for help. That’s what my niece did not do.

Like my niece, her generation of “millennials” have less interest in religion. Research just out from the Pew Research Center shows the the religious “nones” (atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular”) now makes up 26%—yes, 26%!!!—of the U.S. population. But I digress. My point is that my niece did not turn to God for help in her fight with her demon opioid. But God turned to her and now has Jacqueline under His watch, where there are no demons.

My message in all this? There are several. One, know your demon(s) because that’s half the battle. Two, God is always less than a heartbeat away ready to help. You just have to ask. Three, God is always there. You may lose the battle here but you win in the end because He is always there. God is the beginning and the end. That alone gives me such comfort. And it should you.

And, finally, if you know anyone dealing with a drug demon of any kind, help them get help!

God is always there! Remember that as you have an AMAZING day!!!

Opioid Crisis Hits Home

I have to admit being somewhat aloof and detached from the opioid crisis. Then it hit home in a big way. My niece just died from an opioid overdose. She wasn’t an addict or a “bad” girl. She was studying to become a physician’s assistant. But like many (most) of us she had her demons. And her demon was an off and on again brush with pain killers.

Yes, the opioid crisis has hit home. It’s real. It’s not about “addicts” as we may envision them. It’s about real, everyday people like my niece.

I don’t know why God called her now at the young age of 32. But He did. Yes, she’s in a better place now where there are no demons. But it hurts. She’s my brother’s only child and the pain of losing her is intense. This is a time when we question God’s plan and its logic. But it’s not our’s to question.

I don’t know what good will come out of this loss. But for me it makes the opioid crisis all too real. What I will do with that I don’t know yet. But I will do something.

Hug someone today! And don’t you, or let anyone, take opioids for granted.

So you have pain now; but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.
‭‭John‬ ‭16:22‬

Thanks!

Cancer

I live in the world of cancer, almost every day. I run a national organization of cancer clinics, spend way too much time on Capitol Hill lobbying on cancer issues, and, as if that isn’t enough, my wife is an oncology nurse. Cancer the disease is all around us, unfortunately. But there are other cancers that spread just like the disease.

Hate is a cancer. It may not start out as hate but it can grow from a little spot of dislike to a full-blown cancer of hate. We see way too much of that “cancer” in the world today.

Depression is a cancer. It may start with a loss of hope but pretty soon it can bloom into depression. Like cancer the disease, depression can literally shut down your body. And lead to death.

Cancer the disease is bad enough. I have a prayer line every day for people I know battling cancer. But I also have a prayer line for those battling the “cancers” of loss, hopelessness, addiction, etc. For the disease and all those other “cancers” prayer is powerful medicine. Handing yourself over to God can stop the progression and start letting light into your life. As I like to say, “Let go, let God.”

Pray, pray, pray! It’s not like rubbing a magic lamp to get three wishes granted. It’s open, honest conversation with God. Talking and listening. Praying for whatever cancer you face, or a love one or friend is facing, may be stopped and healed. I know this sounds simple and “cookbookish” but it works.

PRAY! It’s a Secret to Life.

Have a FANTASTIC weekend and week ahead!