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!!!

Faith or Fear? Pick One.

The more you live in faith the less fear you have in life. It’s that simple. If you’re living in constant fear—fear of anything—then it says something about your faith. Or lack thereof. Faith and fear—they’re pretty much opposites. More faith, less fear. More fear, less faith.

Like everything in life, this is so very simple. There is no rocket science behind it. Faith has a way of blocking out fear. Why? Because faith is about trust in God. The more you trust it’s obvious that the less you fear. If you live in fear about anything in your life, then you are simply low on faith.

It’s amazing how much we complicate life—life that God means to be so simple. Listen—I’m not saying life isn’t complicated. The older I live the more complicated life seems to become. What I’m saying is that life should be simpler—in fact, downright simple. But we are the ones who complicate it and, in the process, leave more openings to fear more things.

Think about a closet that you keep throwing things into until it needs a good cleaning. Our life is a big closet that we keep throwing “things” into until it’s bursting at the seems. The more junk in our lives—emotions, events, etc.—the more our lives become cluttered beyond recognition. And the opportunities for fear to raise its ugly head multiply with the clutter.

Faith is a great closet cleaner. The junk dissolves with faith. And so do our fears in life. How do you increase your faith? You pray, you meditate, you simply let go and let God.

Have faith! And an amazing day!!!

The Most Powerful Word in the World!

Jesus. There you have it. Not the “Jesus” that people utter as a modified curse word. Jesus. The heartful, soulful word you should invoke whenever you need help, want some peace in a situation, and, most importantly, just say “thanks” and keeping Jesus close.

Saying “Jesus” is not like rubbing a magic lamp. It’s not about asking Him to grant 3 wishes. It’s about having such a close relationship with Jesus that you only need to speak (or think) His name with an open heart and mind. He will do the rest.

This may sound like more religious mumbo-jumbo but its not. It’s simply about life. To me, this is not about Sundays at church, but living life day in and day out. With Jesus.

If you have never done it, try simply saying “Jesus” while your heart and mind are both open. Open heart and mind are a must. Then simply let go and say it—JESUS.

Jesus. The most powerful word in the world. It’s a shame people don’t know it and invoke it—not as a curse, but as a heartful, soulful pouring out of life. Trust me—it works.

Have a wonderful day!!!

 

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!