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!

Faith, Hope & Love?

What’s the greatest? Most people would say “faith.” Everything flows from faith. Of course. But if you know 1 Corinthians 13:13 you know the answer. The greatest of faith, hope, and love is LOVE.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13

How can love be greater than faith? Simply because if you don’t have love you can’t have faith. God is love. Faith is belief in God. So, it all starts with love. If you don’t have love you’re a “resounding gong or a clanging cymbal” (1 Corinthians 13:1). Translation: if you don’t love, everything else, including your faith, is blah, blah, blah. Nothing.

Love is like electric current. It flows. In fact, if it doesn’t flow it is nothing. God flows His love out to us and He expects it to keep flowing from us. You have to flow God’s love out of you to others.

1 Corinthians is read at so many Christian weddings that most people think it’s about the love between a couple. But it’s not. It’s about what love is supposed to be so we understand how we need to love. God loves us unconditionally. We need to at least try to love others unconditionally. That means letting love flow to others with no expectations that love will be returned.

You will never feel God’s love for you unless you let that love flow to others. It’s the nature of love. It flows. It’s that simple. But, then again, life is simple. Or supposed to be simple.

Let some love flow this week. And have a FANTASTIC week ahead!!!

Guns and Hate

I’m tired of guns and mass killings! I don’t like guns but I don’t want to take away anyone’s guns except for military assault weapons, which have no place in a civilized society. Bad enough we need them in the military.

I’m even more tired of hate. We’re letting hate consume us. And I don’t want to hear any excuses that it’s President Trump, members of Congress, or anyone else spewing hatred. It’s up to each one of us to “love” each other, as God commands us to do. And that‘s the God of all of us. God is about love; hate is anti-god (call it Satan, devil, demon, or whatever you want to).

If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. 1 John 4:20-21

Each one of us needs to drop the hate in our lives. Smile more. Help someone in need. Pay it forward. Don’t hold a grudge. Move towards love and move as far away as you can from hate.

No, none of this will stop the mass killings. We need to do something about gun violence and mental health. That’s a big societal issue that we all need the politicians to stop jabbing at each other and do something constructive. Now!!!

But in the meantime we can all do our part by starting with a smile and a good word. Forget how someone makes you feel. Only you can make you feel. Feel good! Make others feel good today! It’s a start.

And have a FANTASTIC day!!!