Did God Send the Coronavirus?

No. I know there are people out there who believe the coronavirus is a sign of the coming of the end. A type of plague God sent on a disobedient humankind. However, the reality is that viruses are a part of this world—a world that God created—and will always be a part of this world. It’s not the virus that’s the focus here, it’s how we respond to the virus that’s important.

Do you think that God wants us selfishly hoarding toilet paper? Or fighting in the supermarket aisles over the last package of chicken breasts? Or partying like it’s no tomorrow on a Florida beach? I can tell you the answer is a clear NO! How we respond in any time of crisis tells us everything about ourselves and where we place our priorities. Is my focus on me or you? That’s the question God wants us to answer.

God commands us to do one thing—LOVE Him by loving one another. He sent His only Son as a sacrifice for our sins. And before He was hung from that cross, Jesus made it all too clear that His one commandment to us is to LOVE!

This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. John 15:12  

Loving one another isn’t hoarding, partying like no tomorrow, or not staying smart and safe. It’s doing the right thing by others, helping those in need, and, in general, looking outward, not inward. In short, it’s loving.

I hope you are safe and doing your part to help others in this crisis. It’s not the end of the world. It’s a time to define ourselves and our place in this world.

Stay safe!!!

 

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!

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!!!

Faith or Love?

What’s more important in your life: faith or love? If you picked “faith” you just heard the wrong answer buzzer going off. If you picked “love,” congratulations. Certainly, faith is critical—a faith in an ever unceasingly loving God who demonstrated that love by sending His only Son as a living sacrifice for us. But, reread what I just wrote. A “loving” God. Because that’s what God is: LOVE!

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

Paul said it all—the most important out of faith, hope, and love is LOVE. You can think you have all the faith in the world but if you don’t have love you’re a “resounding gong or a clanging cymbal” (1 Corinthians 13:1). Translation: without love you can’t have faith. Your faith is empty.

I see a lot of professed faith out there in my travels but very little love. So, do a “love” checkup today. Do you really love? Everyone? Remember: it’s easy to love those who love you. God loves all of us unconditionally, regardless of whether we love Him.

Have a great day walking in love. The faith will follow!

All God’s Children

I travel a lot—I mean a LOT!!! And especially as schools let out and the airports are a mass of humanity traveling on vacation, patience wears thin. That’s when I have to look at the guy emptying Fort Knox out of his pockets at TSA or the woman walking down the plane aisle knocking into everyone with the bag on her shoulder and remind myself that they are children of God. No matter who I look at in the airport, it’s just another child of God. As am I. As are you.

The thing about God as a parent is He knows no favorites. Not even a little. God looks at each one of us as created in His own image and likeness but totally 100% unique and special. God loves us unconditionally and totally. That’s because God is love. He knows no holding back or partiality.

The next time you are in an airport, driving in bumper-to-bumper traffic, or in a crowded store waiting on line, remember that everyone you see, especially those annoying you, are all children of God. Like you, they are a product of God who’s love knows no bounds. Don’t worry about judging them, worry about yourself. God will take care of the judging.

All children of God. No matter who you see, what they are wearing, what they are driving, who they are, etc. they are—we are—all children of God. Treat your brothers and sisters the way you want God to treat you. No matter how annoying they may be to you.

Have an AWESOME day!!!

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!!!

Be the Glue!

Let’s face it—our world is divided. Everywhere. Divided. The U.S. is a virtual armed camp of right/left, conservative/liberal, this/that. Even the Catholic Church is a dived camp with a growing chorus to declare Pope Francis an anti-Pope. We’re talking Catholic Church (I am Catholic, BTW) that tracks its roots directly to Jesus. Divided. Angry. Certainly, not Jesus.

So, each of us can be a wedge, further dividing life. Or we can be the glue, trying to bring people together. It’s not always easy but I want to be the glue in bringing people together. Doing my little bit to help heal and stop divisions.

Jesus talked division, even about families divided against themselves. But the objective was coming together in a spirit—the Spirit—of love. After all, as he faced His death, Jesus left us with one command: “Love each other.” John 15:17

I have a news flash: We’re not following that command. Even a little bit. We’re following the devil’s command to hate each other. The venom coming out of mouths of politicians and priests (supposed holy men!) is appalling. They are the wedges, not the glue.

Be the glue! Love. As Jesus commands.

And have an OUTSTANDING day!!!

Jesus Shaking His Head Again: Feel the Hate!

God gave us one very simple, clear command: love. He sent His Son to deliver that command and show us how to love. In the end, Jesus gave up His earthly life for us—out of love. Love, love, love.

The problem is all you hear and feel is hate, hate, hate. It doesn’t matter the topic: religion, politics, environment, whatever. It’s all hate, hate, hate. Jesus has to be shaking His head in disbelief.

Today, we look for what separates us; not what binds us. We use words like left and right and every other tag to separate one person from another. What we don’t do is look hard at what binds us. We are all human beings created in the image and likeness of God. We are all His children saved from our sins by Jesus Christ. But, no, we can only focus on what separates us, and hate each other as a result. That’s really sad!

I’m making a renewed commitment to do my best to look at people around me as God does—all outward variations on the same theme of being made in His image and likeness. All children of God commanded to do one thing: love.

Join me in looking past the outer and feeling the inner in people. That God inner. And walking, and talking, in love.

Have a LOVE-FILLED day!!!

When Love Is The Way

I have to admit I’m just not a Royal Family fanatic. So, while my wife was all into the wedding last week, I could care less. However, as luck would have it (maybe with a touch of divine intervention!), I was on the treadmill at the gym when basically all that was on was the wedding. They were even spotting the wedding on ESPN! So, it was tough to ignore it. But what I did catch—THANKFULLY!!!—was Bishop Michael Curry’s amazing, unbelievable homily on the power of love. Just think about what he said…

When love is the way — unselfish, sacrificial, redemptive, when love is the way. Then no child would go to bed hungry in this world ever again. When love is the way we will let justice roll down like a mighty stream and righteousness like an ever flowing brook. When love is the way poverty will become history. When love is the way the earth will become a sanctuary. When love is the way we will lay down our swords and shields down by the riverside to study war no more. When love is the way there’s plenty good room, plenty good room for all of God’s children.

Turn off the junk TV and watch his homily on YouTube or read it here. Simply amazing!!!

As I always say, just imagine if we all walked in love, just like God commands. Just imagine what a different place this world would be!

There is nothing else I can say to touch Bishop Curry’s homily. Do yourself a favor and watch it or read it, even if you heard it already.

“There is power in love!”

Have a FANTASTIC day walking in love!!!

Talk is Cheap!

I think this should be the motto for many (most?) Christians (including myself!). You hear so much talk coming from Christians (including myself!) but so little action. What do I mean?

The very definition of being a “Christian” is following the “Christ”—Jesus Christ. And if there is one word that sums up Jesus, His very being, and what His entire life was about, it is (drum roll, please)—love. That simple little word that means so much but is so little put into practice. And why do I say that?

One out of every three people on this earth is a Christian. Very simply, if all those people (we; you, me, and every other Christian) followed Jesus’ command to us—This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. John 15:12—the world would be a far different place. But it’s a world filled with strife, anger, and downright hatred. And I’m not talking about the world “out there,” I’m talking about the world right here. Your world. My world.

The apostle John said it best:

Let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. 1 John 3:18 

Translation: talk is cheap. You’re not a real Christian if you walk around in faith. You’re only a real Christian if you walk the talk—and the walk is LOVE.

There’s a reason I believe that LOVE is one of the Secrets to Life. At least life as a Christian.

Have a sensational week and try, just try, to walk more in love. And, PS, I’m telling myself that as much, or more, than I’m telling you!