The Unique, Special You!

That’s right, when God created you He threw away the mold. You may even have an identical twin but you are unique, one-of-a-kind. And in God’s eyes you are special.

We all have a role to play in life. A unique, special, God-given purpose. The ultimate key to life, and the road to the after-life, is realizing and understanding that role. As Paul says, we all have special talents to use for good. It doesn’t matter who you are, or what talents you have, you have a purpose.

There is only one way to really understand that purpose. You have to LISTEN for and to God. That’s why I have come to realize that to LISTEN is the first Secret to Life.

Paul also realized that by the grace of God he was what he was. By the grace of God you are what you are. Understand your purpose and act on it and life becomes clearer. Everything comes into perspective.

Start by LISTENING for and to God. Tune the world out and tune God in. Find a quiet space and place to hear God. Open your ears, mind, and heart to “hear” Him.

This may seem like a major revelation or impossible task but it’s really simple. Just LISTEN for and to God. God means life to be so simple. Unfortunately, we are the ones who complicate it.

Have a GREAT rest of the week. And find your purpose. Yes, you are special, unique, and God-given purposeful. Yes, you!

This Devil Thing

Yes, the devil really exists. Call it Satan, Lucifer, demon, devil, evil, or anything else. But that evil presence in the world is real. It’s not some little red devil with a pitchfork but the personification of evil. The opposite of what God is: love.

I don’t know about you but I feel that evil presence all the time. It doesn’t want to be out in front, but works most effectively behind the scenes. It doesn’t shout but whispers and sets up snares. It you look around the world it’s not hard to see that evil. And it’s growing. Why? Because we are letting it grow. We are moving away from God.

Stay close to God and evil has a tough time getting to you. Move away from God and evil fills the void. As James (4:7) says, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

It’s not hard to keep the evil away if you stay close to God. Pray, Listen. Love. It’s not hard but we make it so hard. We turn from God or even push Him away. And the devil seeps right in to the void.

Not to over simplify but it is simple. Stay close to God and evil has a formidable barrier. Keep God close by your side. Reach out. He is always there.

Have an evil-free day!

The BIG Move!

After 35 years of living in the Northeast we moved to the South. BIG move in so many ways. North to South. Letting go of “stuff” to downsize. Cold to hot. Oaks to pines. And the list goes on and on. Love the move but it’s a bit of a shock. So much is different. Except God.

Thank God for God. No matter what changes in life—a move, life event, etc.— God is always there and stays the same. He is unchanging. He is a rock. He is an anchor.

Seriously, having God by my side, no matter what happens in life, is so comforting. I simply don’t know what I would do without God. He is simply always there. I may turn my back on Him and let Him down at times. But He is always there for me. Father my Creator, Jesus my Savior, and Holy Spirit my Advocate. How can I go wrong?

Thank God for God. And I do thank God every morning for everything in my life. Starting with God.

Going through any tough or challenging times? Just stop and LISTEN for and to God. He is always there, ready to hold your hand and guide you. You just have to stop and reach out. There is a reason that LISTEN is the first Secret to Life.

I’ve been away from writing for a while during the move but I’m back. Thank God for that!

Have an AWESOME week ahead!

Don’t Trip Over Your Pride

If there is one big stumbling block in my life it’s my pride. I try to keep it in the far back seat but the ego and everything that comes with pride often tries to come front and center. And then I stumble right over that pride.

There are two ways to look at life. One, is to put everything on yourself. You have gotten you where you are in life. You have the life you have because of you. Completely ego-centric. The other way is to understand that everything you have is from the grace of God. As Paul came to understand, “by the grace of God I am what I am.” (1 Corinthians 15:10)

I work really hard. I know that the hard work has paid off and gotten me to where I am today. But that hard work is all possible by the grace of God. I know that I am what I am because of His grace shining down on me. It’s me working but it’s God pointing the direction.

Yet, although I have Paul’s words etched into my memory, I trip up all the time. I get more concerned about outward appearance than inward heart. I get more concerned about what others think than what God knows. Ego trumps humility. I want to be served rather than serve.

Yet, I try to come back to and stay grounded in Paul’s words. God’s grace. That is what has gotten me here. And when I forget that it never fails that I stumble. Or on occasion take a hard fall.

Open up your eyes to what you do and what God gives. You may well be doing the work but it’s God who points the way, keeps us on course, and makes sure we are nourished.

Have a FANTASTIC week ahead and stay the course. The humble course where pride finds no foothold!

It’s Not About Me. It’s About You!

There are two ways to look at life. The simply way is to look inward and make life all about you. Me, me, me, me, and more me. The other people out there don’t count. Or at least count only when you want them to count.

The other way to live is to make it all about other people. Your feelings and wants are on the back burner to others’. It’s all about them. Not you.

Forget for a minute that God commanded us to love others. And that before He died for us, Jesus left us with the same command to sacrifice for others. To love them. Forget those commandments and just think how life would be if we just spent more time thinking about others than we do ourselves. The world would be a far, far different place. A much, much better place!

It’s not easy putting ourselves behind others. The “animal” side of us is wired for us. But the “human” side of us is wired for others. Why? Because God wired that human side. He wired us for love and love is about taking a backseat to others. It’s that simple. Hard to do, but simple.

I try to think every morning about how I could have put others in front of me the day before. And what I need to do differently today. It’s not easy. Trust me—I screw up all the time. But I try not to give up. I want my life to depend on it.

Think others! And have a FABULOUS day doing so!

There Are No Doors for Jesus!

I’m thinking about Jesus’ disciples in the locked room hiding in fear of the Jewish authorities. In walks Jesus who had no problem with any of the locked doors. We lock the doors in our life to keep people out, and even God. But God knows no locked doors. He’s always less than a heartbeat away in our lives. There is no door that can keep God out.

We turn our backs on God. We try to lock Him out of our lives. Or we simply don’t give Him the least bit of thought. That’s why the world is so very screwed up. We have done our best to shut God out of our lives. Just look around the world. It’s a mess because we have turned to ourselves rather than God. It’s called secularization.

The older I grown the more I realize that God is in control. I do my best to keep Him in my life front and center, and providing the direction in my life. And every time I manage to turn my back on God I find myself lost. Maybe the world wants to shut God out but my doors are unlocked and open to God. Not that He can’t walk through any locked doors.

If you’re having trouble making sense of this life, or your life in particular, open the door to God. Let Him in. He can walk through any door but you need to turn to Him. Listen for and to God because He is calling you in your life.

Enjoy the day and the rest of the week ahead!

America’s Pampered Actors Versus The Actor Hero in Ukraine

There’s a reason why I don’t watch Hollywood award shows and don’t place over-paid, pampered actors up on a mantel. It’s just amazing to me that the morning news is dominated by one of those over-paid, pampered actors slapping another over-paid, pampered actor in the face. Meanwhile, the former actor who is now the President of Ukraine is watching his people dying and displaced. Our over-paid, pampered actors versus an actor who is a true hero.

What is wrong with us? I’ve written about this more times than I can count but we are a people lost in this country. Like the Israelites wandering the desert for 40 years for a journey that should have taken 11 days, we are lost. We have turned our backs on God, just like the Israelites. We worship false gods, just like the Israelites. We have no purpose, no future. The news is filled with war, killings, shootings, and just mean spiritedness. And actors acting like spoiled children.

There is only one path out of the desert we are wandering, and that path is God. He is there but we are not. We need to turn to Him, not away from Him. Life is really that simple.

There is evil in the world today that is more alive and at work than ever. Just look at Putin and Ukraine. Light blots out darkness. But we are letting the darkness blot out the light. Simply because we have turned our backs on God.

Change happens one person at a time. One person at a time turning to God, not away from Him. There is a Promised Land out there but we are nowhere close to it.

I’m doing my best to change and keep God in front of me. I hope you will join me.

Have an AWESOME week ahead in the light!

Anti-Semitism is Anti-Christian

I have news for you. Jesus is a Jew. He has always been a Jew and always will be Jewish. Jesus is as “Jewish” as anyone you know; even more so. He was born a Jew and lived a Jewish life. If you call yourself a “Christian” you are simply a follower of Jesus the Christ. You are following someone who is and always will be Jewish. So, anyone who is anti-Semitic simply can’t be a follower of Jesus and, therefore, a Christian. In fact, if you’re anti-Semitic you are anti-Christian. You’re anti-Jesus.

As Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” (Matthew 5:17) Jesus came not to overthrow his Jewish heritage and beliefs but to “fulfill” them.

As a Christian, I believe in Jesus and what He teaches, which is based on His Jewish beliefs. I believe He is the Messiah, who has come and will come again at the end of time. My beliefs are not fundamentally different than my Jewish friends. They just believe that the Messiah has not yet come. I believe He has come and will come again.

I can never be culturally Jewish because I was not born culturally Jewish, as was Jesus. But I try to live and breathe what has become known as the Judeo-Christian faith.

I heard a story on the news this morning about the rise of anti-Semitism in this country. I don’t know who those anti-Semites are but I know they are not followers of Jesus Christ. They are not Christians. You can’t be an anti-Semite and follow Jesus the Jew who is the Christ. It’s that simple.

Enjoy your week ahead following Jesus!

Spirit Power

I know this will sound like more religious mumbo-jumbo but anything is possible if you call on the Spirit of God. When Jesus left this earth to remove our sins, He left His Spirit as an advocate for us. If you want to hurdle any obstacle in your life the Spirit is always there to empower you forward. Spirit Power!

I know. This sounds so other-worldly and abstract. But it is earthly and real. You simply need to call the Spirit into your life and feel the Spirit. With God’s Spirit within you nothing is impossible. That’s why Jesus left us His Spirit to overcome any obstacle.

There’s no parlor trick to the Spirit. You simply call the Spirit into your life and feel His presence. It’s real and it’s powerful.

Sorry, but I don’t know how to say this any differently. I know it sounds like so much religion but I’m talking about life. Real life. The Spirit is waiting for you to call out for help, guidance, answer to questions, empowerment, etc. Don’t be one of those people who close out your mind to the reality and power of the Spirit of God. Jesus’ gift to this world. To you and me.

All you have to do is focus and ask for help. It’s that simple. No religion. No prayers or hymns. Just ask for help from the Spirit. Focus. Concentrate. Be open.

Have an AMAZING week ahead! Hit an obstacle? Call out for help from the Spirit. Keep an open mind and an open heart. There’s real power when you need it.

My Gifts

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. Why? Call it a lack of inspiration, COVID malaise, or simply good old procrastination. Whatever, it is what it is. But as the New Year hit, and I started reflecting, coupled with hearing a sermon on gifts, I knew it was time to start writing/posting again. Why? Because I have a gift. No, not the “ego” gift of me but the gifts I have been given in my life. Starting with the gift of getting up this morning.

We all have gifts. As I said, getting up in the morning is a gift. Having my puppy who is all over me with love in the morning is a gift. The morning kiss from my wife is a gift. Smelling the air is a gift, as is the amazingly starry night in Northeast Pennsylvania. We all have gifts that we don’t look on as gifts. Especially in many cases the gift God gives to all of us equally—the gift of His only Son. And what a gift that is!

It’s really easy in these COVID days of variant after variant to overlook the simple gifts we have in life. It’s always easier to focus on what’s wrong versus what’s right in our lives. But the gift of Jesus is something we should never forget because it’s the gift that keeps on giving. It we let it.

You want a New Year’s resolution? Mine is to look at all the gifts I have been given. Not the gifts under the tree at one time of year, but the gifts I have, no matter how small, day in and day out. And the gift of Jesus is at the top of the list. It’s a gift that I have day in day out, regardless of how the day is going, my situation in life, or anything else. And it’s no small gift at that!

Happy New Year! I wish you a healthy, safe, and blessed year ahead. Keep those gifts close and treasure them!