No Cute Little Devil!

Don’t want to get too heavy but in case you don’t know it the “devil” is real. Very real. He/She/It/whatever is not some cute little red-horned creature that pops up on your doorstep trick-or-treating. The devil is all too real!

The doubt you hear whispering in your ear—even now about what I am writing—is the devil. It is great at simply holding you back in your life with doubt; nothing more dramatic than that. However, when the devil gets a hold in your life with anger, jealousy, and worse, it can lead you down a very bad, and even destructive, path.

The devil doesn’t want any overt recognition. It works best behind the scenes, nudging, pushing, and cajoling you down dead ends and, at worse, off cliffs in your life.

I don’t obsess about the devil in my life, and how the devil “demons” in almost every aspect of my life try to steer me down dead ends. I’m simply aware those demons exist and talk them down on at least a daily basis. Understanding that the devil exists, where the demons are in your life, is a key step in winning the battle. And it is a battle! 

Of course, the closer you are to God—Father, Son, and Spirit—the farther away the devil will be. But it always finds a way, like water seeping into the smallest basement hole, to find those “holes” in your life.

Discipline yourselves, keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8

Don’t freak out about the devil. Don’t obsess. Just be aware. And move as close as you can to God. It’s really that simple! It’s why one of my Secrets to Life is FIGHT the devil at every turn in your life.

Enjoy the rest of a beautiful weekend!

One Step Back. At Least Two Forward!

There are a lot of stories about how many failures Thomas Edison had before he perfected a working light bulb, but the number isn’t important. It’s that he learned from his mistakes. In fact, the light bulb is the product of taking one step back but making sure Edison took at least two steps forward.

A given in life is that you are going to make mistakes. I am the king of mistakes!!! But my guiding principle is to make sure I take at least two steps forward for every one back. I try—not always successfully!!!—to learn from my step backwards so that the steps forward are on more secure ground. I get mad at myself for the mistakes but try not to beat me up. Although I’m not always successful there. Tough to escape that Catholic guilt!  

My message is simple. You will make mistakes. Try to make them minor but if they are major deal with it. Think one step back, learn, and boldly take at least two forward.

I think the person who says they don’t make mistakes is either delusional or in complete denial. Or simply won’t admit to a mistake. That’s sad. We grow stronger as individuals when we understand and acknowledge our mistakes and do our best to move forward—at least two steps at a time.

And, to end, God knows every mistake you have made and will make. But He forgives you. All those mistakes are nailed to a cross. You just have to know your mistakes and vow to correct them.

Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy. Proverbs 28:13

Remember—one step back but two forward!

“You’ve Got a Friend”

It’s the song written and first sung by Carole King and also by James Taylor. King said the song practically wrote itself. No wonder. It’s uplifting and comforting, especially when you feel “down and troubled.”

You always have a friend. His name is Jesus. He’s the expression of God come to this earth to save and comfort. He will “brighten up even your darkest night.”

Just call out His name.

I can’t say it any better than the lyrics to the song. Think Jesus. He’s the best friend you’ll ever have!

When you’re down and troubled,
And you need some love and care,
And nothing, nothing is going right
Close your eyes and think of me,
And soon I will be there
To brighten up even your darkest night.

You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I’ll come running to see you again
Winter, spring, summer or fall
All you have to do is call
And I’ll be there
You’ve got a friend

If the sky above you grows dark and full of clouds
And that old north wind begins to blow
Keep your head together and call my name out loud
Soon you’ll hear me knocking at your door

You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I’ll come running, running, yeah, yeah, to see you again
Winter, spring, summer or fall
All you have to do is call
And I’ll be there
And I’ll be there, yes I will.

Now, ain’t it good to know that you’ve got a friend
When people can be so cold?
They’ll hurt you, yes, and desert you
And take your soul if you let them,
Oh, but don’t you let them

You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I’ll come running, running, yeah, yeah, yeah, to see you again.
Winter, spring, summer or fall
All you have to do is call
And I’ll be there, yes I will.
You’ve got a friend

You’ve got a friend
Ain’t it good to know, you’ve got a friend?
Ain’t it good to know?
Ain’t it good to know?
Ain’t it good to know, you’ve got a friend?

Oh yeah, now
Oh, you’ve got a friend
Yeah, baby
You’ve got a friend
Oh yeah…
You’ve got a friend

Carole King, January 1971

Less Than a Heartbeat Away

That’s where God is in your life. And don’t ever forget it! You may feel like God is so distant from you or, at worst, is not in your life at all. But God is always there—less than a heartbeat away. The problem is that you are not always there.

I had to remind myself this weekend. I did something wrong and was beating myself up about it. I was feeling like God was nowhere to be found. He was lost. Unfortunately, I was lost. God was less than a heartbeat away. I was the one miles away mentally.

Once again, this is not some “religious” mumbo-gumbo. It’s life. God created you and me, equally and with unconditional love. No matter what we do wrong, or how we try our best to hurt God, He is always there in our lives. He is part of our very DNA. He is less than a heartbeat away.

When God seems so distant the problem is not God. It’s us. We don’t try or spend any time LISTENing for/to God. We get too caught up in the world—our very busy world—to give God a thought. Much less LISTEN to/for Him.

So, remember. God is ALWAYS here, regardless of your perspective. God is always less than a heartbeat away.

Have a better than a FANTASTIC day! 

Jesus is Shaking His Head in Disbelief and Sadness!

Another mass shooting. The worst since the killing of innocent little children in my neighboring town of Newtown, CT. Tragic. Shocking. Senseless. Horrific. Keep going. No words can adequately describe Newton or Parkland.

All Jesus can think is disbelief and sadness.

When faced with his own capture and death, Jesus told Peter, “Put your sword back in its place, for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.” (Matthew 26:52) We keep drawing our swords and dying by them. We learn nothing. Disbelief and sadness.

I’m not a hunter or a shooting range marksman. I don’t want to force taking away anyone’s guns, although there is no place for automatic (semi or otherwise) rifles meant to do one thing and one thing only: kill people.

I just don’t understand why we can’t put our guns down. Jesus, and our Father, give us one command: love. How can we do that with a gun?

I’m sad, shocked, numb, and in disbelief. I can’t imagine how Jesus—who lived and died for us—is feeling right now.

Join me in praying, and hurting, for all those who lost a life or lost a child or brother or sister yesterday. And for all those who’s lives will never be the same.

Who’s in Control?

God. There’s only one answer. And if you got this question wrong, or even had to think about it for a second, think again. God’s not driving your life. You can’t sit in the passenger seat and just relax, snoozing on occasion. You’re driving but God is giving the directions. So, you have to LISTEN.

Why are so many people directionless in life? In fact, why does it seem like the entire planet of people we call humans is directionless? Simply, because they don’t LISTEN to God.

I can’t write enough about this but God has a special, unique purpose for your life. Yes, you! And, yes, both special and unique! Unique because whoever you are—even if you have an identical twin that reads your mind—you are uniquely individual. And your purpose in life is uniquely yours.

The secret to life is finding and understanding that purpose. And one of my first Secrets to Life is to LISTEN for and to God. He’s sitting there in the passenger seat beside you, ready with destination and how to get there.

But you won’t know your destination unless you simply LISTEN.

Try letting go and letting God. It’s simple. And it works!

Happy driving!!!

Do You Look Outward or Inward?

There is no better question on how you live your life to ask yourself! I mean, seriously. Of course, 99.9999…% of us look outward. We look at the sex of a person, skin color, our version of “attractiveness,” etc, etc. All outside. But God told Samuel how we should be “looking:”

The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7

Of course, this makes sense if you stop and think about it for a minute. God created us “in His image” (Genesis 1:27). The “image” of God is not outward—He can’t look anymore like me than He does you or anyone else. God doesn’t have any kind of doppelgänger. God’s “image” is His heart and total, absolute, and unblemished unconditional love.

OK, I’ll stop the gobbledygook and abstractions and bring this down to earth and practical living.

You need to look past the outside of a person, no matter how hard that may be. You have to look “inside” a person, at their “heart.” We can only move closer to God when we start loving like God loves. And the only way to really LOVE a person is how God loves you, me, and every other person past, present, and future. Inside.

Look at the world today. Hatred, violence, abuse, etc. It’s not God(ly) because it’s all about what’s outside people, not what’s inside. The world would be a far, far different place if each one of us even made the attempt to look inside people.

Want to change the world? Start looking “inside” people. Look past the flesh. Like all of life, it’s that very simple. Remember—we complicate life. God intends it to be simple. Change starts one person at a time. Change. Look inside.

Have a GREAT rest of this weekend, wherever you are!!!