Lost (Hopelessly?) in the Desert

I have written about this before but we (the world) are lost in the desert. We’re moving away from God and, as we do, the acrimony and downright hatred in the world increases. And we have no direction, no goals, and we’re just wandering. If you want a picture of this, and how it plays out, read the Old Testament. Seriously!

I hate to be gloomy because I’m an upbeat person, always trying to see the good. But it’s tough when you see the spitefulness and incessant arguing by the politicians, who we pay (with our increasing taxes!) to fix things—not break them. Riots, wars, and threats of nuclear bombs seem like a day-to-day constant. But most troubling is the fact that we are moving away from God.

It’s startling to think that 26% of the United States population now describes themselves as religiously unaffiliated; meaning, their religious identity is atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular” and now stands at 26%. That’s up from 17% in 2009. So, translation, a quarter of the population basically doesn’t believe in God, or at the very least, doesn’t involve Him in their lives. If anything, He is just “he” (lower case intentional). Although an increasing number of people believes that He doesn’t exist.

The Israelites aimlessly wandered the desert for 40 years, taking that time to go about 11-12 miles. They turned their backs on God and bad things happened. All this is playing out now. We are the Israelites and we are wandering, turning our backs on God. And bad things are happening. None of this should be a surprise.

I’m not wandering. The world around me may but I’m keeping my eyes fixed on God—Father who sets my purpose, Jesus who has laid out the footsteps for me, and the Spirit who empowers me. Sorry if this sounds like religious mumbo-jumbo but it’s the only way for me to not get down and look straight ahead.

… this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead. Philippians 3:13

Don’t wander. Look straight ahead with a plan. And keep your eyes fixed on God.

Have an AMAZING week ahead!

Humility

If there is one word after “love” that makes the world go around it’s “humility.” Unfortunately, there is not enough love in the world and way, way too little humility. Love is what God commands us to do. In fact, it’s His only command. Humility is an outgrowth of love and the understanding that anything you have in this world is from God. Sure, I have worked hard for everything I have in this life. But everything I have, including my ability to work hard, is from God. Pure and simple!

I think Paul said it best:

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Colossians 3:12

If you watch the news—and all the news is the same, just variations on left and right—the pundits (in general) are a study in a lack of humility. And with that lack of humility comes a complete lack of compassion, kindness, gentleness, and patience. And the politicians generally follow the same theme. This is what we are exposed to day in and day out.

The devil loves this! Toss out the love and humility from this world and you get hell on earth—literally. And that’s where we are heading unless we wake up!

So, what to do? LISTEN to God’s call for you—yes, you! You have a special, unique purpose in life because you are special and totally unique in the eyes of God. He is calling you to fill that purpose as you walk in love and humility. Like God intends life to be, this is easy! Really easy!!! You just have to do it.

PS—I’m writing this (and posted Paul’s quote on my personal facebook page today) because humility has been an issue for me the past several days. It’s my own personal message to tone it down and remember who has given me everything I have—whatever that is.

Love. Humility. Note to self!

Have an OUTSTANDING day!!!

You Are An Artist!!!

Trust me—I have little to no artistic talent. I can’t really draw. In college, I took an art class and fashioned myself as a modernist (translation: throw paint on a canvas and call if art). But I am an artist, and so are you! We make “art” every day if we just think about it. I came upon this observation, which says it all too well:

Most of us feel uncomfortable thinking of ourselves as artists, but we are. With every choice, every day, you are creating a unique work of art. Something that only you can do. Something beautiful and ephemeral. The reason you were born was to leave your own indelible mark on your personal world. Sarah Ban Breathnach, Simple Abundance

I always say that each one of us can change the world every day if we just believe and put our fingers in our ears of doubt. The world is our canvas if we just try and use some creativity. We can inspire with our “art.”

Make some “art” today. Be creative. Think outside of your box. Stop listening to the devil’s doubt holding you back. Be an artist!

Have a CREATIVE weekend!

There’s Always a New You in You!

Happy New Year!  It’s that time for resolutions, diets, and promises to hit the gym every day. But whether it takes a new year to get you thinking about you, there is always a new you in you. A you that builds on whatever has happened in the past, regardless of what has happened. A better you, a stronger you, a more promising you.

A lot of people get dragged down by their past like an anchor. They focus on what they did, and shouldn’t have done, and failed to do. They don’t look ahead at all the possibilities, regardless of the past.

Whatever has happened in the past is just that. It’s the past. And you can’t change the past. But you can shape the future by finding a new you in you. You can always reinvent yourself.

Jesus held down a job in obscurity for 30 years. Then, for 3 years he did something totally different—and changed the world in the process. There was a new Him in Him.

Don’t just make resolutions. Find the new you in you. Or simply build on you. You can do anything, be anyone. God is in you. The only one holding you back is you!

I wish you the very best and blessings of peace and joy in this new year!!!

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!!!

The Quest for Perfection

God doesn’t expect us to be perfect. Only He is perfect, although I know a lot of people who think they are perfect. In fact, what God wants us to do is acknowledge our imperfections and try to correct them. We will never reach perfection in this life time. Try as you might, it simply won’t happen. But that doesn’t mean you stop striving for perfection in your life.

What we all need to do is actually focus on our imperfections. What can I do better in my life? How can I correct defects in my personality? How can I simply become a better person?

I know I don’t have a pass for my imperfections (what I do wrong). But I do know that acknowledging my imperfections—and when they manifest as sins—and really confessing them and trying to become better is part of getting a ticket upstairs to eternal life, rather than downstairs to eternal regret.

As I say, I think I have a very good idea of what God wants me to do and how He wants me to act. That knowledge puts me in the running for world’s greatest sinner because it’s so obvious when I do wrong and fall way short of perfection. This just means I need to try harder making myself a better person. That’s what God wants most of all—the sincere trying.

We live in a world that wants winning at all costs. Trying isn’t good enough. With God it’s all about the trying. Trying our hardest to strive for perfection. Striving for God!

Have a fantastic day making yourself better today and tomorrow!

Ego or God?

My wife was joking at a family wedding two weeks ago and said, “Oh, you know Ted’s ego!” I very matter-of-factly said, “That’s not ego; that’s God.” What I went on to explain is that nothing—and I mean NOTHING—I have is from me. It’s all from God. Am I very confident? Yes! But my confidence is in God, what He has given to me, and His very special purpose for me. I had some blank stares but I made my point (confidently!).

Make no mistake—I find myself on the line, and crossing it on occasion, between ego and God. Ego is the side where you start believing that you are responsible for what you have in life. The very word “ego” says “I” and “me.” It completely crowds out God, in the extreme. The other side of the line is God, where you know that what you have is by the grace of God, no matter how hard you work, or where you have come from in life.

Yes, I am confident. That’s not ego. I actually try to be as humble as I can, especially in recognizing the work of others. But I am confident that God has given me a lot and, in return, expects a lot from me. My confidence gets shaken all the time but that’s where prayer comes in. There is nothing like getting on your knees, talking to God, and putting yourself in His hands.

From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and from the one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded. Luke 12:48

I have to be confident that what is demanded of me, given what God has given me, will be delivered before I leave this earth. If I’m not confident in that, watch out below.

Have a great, confident day!!!