Not Alone in the Fire

There are a lot of fires burning in this world today. Pandemic, regional wars, social unrest, etc, etc. The list goes on. And in our own personal lives fires may be raging as well. Furloughed, COVID-19, uncertain school year, no daycare, etc, etc. What you need to know is that no matter how many fires are blazing around you, and no matter how intense the heat, you’re not alone. Just ask Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. What???

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were thrown in an intense fire by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, when they refused to bow down to the king’s image (chapter 3 of the book of Daniel). The fire was so intense—heated seven times normal—that all around were burned. Except Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. There were unhurt by the fire, walking with a fourth person, someone “like a son of God” in the midst of the fire.

I know this is a Bible story that you may think is a little out there. Well, whether you believe it or not the bottom line is that you are never alone in any fire in your life. There is always an angel, and there is always the Son of God, Jesus.

I know this sounds fanciful and more religious mumbo-jumbo. But it’s life. If you want to be alone in the fire, fine. Be alone and burn. But if you reach out (pray) for protection you will be saved from the fire. One way or another. It’s simply a matter of faith. Of believing.  Of opening up your mind and heart to God.

Simple, yes. Then again, God means life to be so, so very simple. We are the ones who complicate it. And light the fires.

Think Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. You are never alone if you don’t want to be alone. Just reach out for help.

Have an AMAZING day!!! 

Cancer

I live in the world of cancer, almost every day. I run a national organization of cancer clinics, spend way too much time on Capitol Hill lobbying on cancer issues, and, as if that isn’t enough, my wife is an oncology nurse. Cancer the disease is all around us, unfortunately. But there are other cancers that spread just like the disease.

Hate is a cancer. It may not start out as hate but it can grow from a little spot of dislike to a full-blown cancer of hate. We see way too much of that “cancer” in the world today.

Depression is a cancer. It may start with a loss of hope but pretty soon it can bloom into depression. Like cancer the disease, depression can literally shut down your body. And lead to death.

Cancer the disease is bad enough. I have a prayer line every day for people I know battling cancer. But I also have a prayer line for those battling the “cancers” of loss, hopelessness, addiction, etc. For the disease and all those other “cancers” prayer is powerful medicine. Handing yourself over to God can stop the progression and start letting light into your life. As I like to say, “Let go, let God.”

Pray, pray, pray! It’s not like rubbing a magic lamp to get three wishes granted. It’s open, honest conversation with God. Talking and listening. Praying for whatever cancer you face, or a love one or friend is facing, may be stopped and healed. I know this sounds simple and “cookbookish” but it works.

PRAY! It’s a Secret to Life.

Have a FANTASTIC weekend and week ahead!

Guns and Hate

I’m tired of guns and mass killings! I don’t like guns but I don’t want to take away anyone’s guns except for military assault weapons, which have no place in a civilized society. Bad enough we need them in the military.

I’m even more tired of hate. We’re letting hate consume us. And I don’t want to hear any excuses that it’s President Trump, members of Congress, or anyone else spewing hatred. It’s up to each one of us to “love” each other, as God commands us to do. And that‘s the God of all of us. God is about love; hate is anti-god (call it Satan, devil, demon, or whatever you want to).

If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. 1 John 4:20-21

Each one of us needs to drop the hate in our lives. Smile more. Help someone in need. Pay it forward. Don’t hold a grudge. Move towards love and move as far away as you can from hate.

No, none of this will stop the mass killings. We need to do something about gun violence and mental health. That’s a big societal issue that we all need the politicians to stop jabbing at each other and do something constructive. Now!!!

But in the meantime we can all do our part by starting with a smile and a good word. Forget how someone makes you feel. Only you can make you feel. Feel good! Make others feel good today! It’s a start.

And have a FANTASTIC day!!!

Prayer and the Magic Lamp

Some people think that prayer is a type of magic lamp, with God as a genie. Praying and asking God for something is like rubbing a magic lamp. Unfortunately, that’s not the real world. Prayer is not a magic lamp that you can rub to make your wish come true. Prayer is simply conversation with God. Note the word “conversation.” You talk; God listens. God talks; you listen.

Sure, you can ask God for anything. And God will respond but not always in the way you want. God responds for what is best for you. Not what you always think is best for you.

Let me restate what I just wrote: prayer is conversation. And any real conversation is two-way. It involves both talking and listening. God hears you and you can hear God if you try and take the time.

I know, I know. This sounds all too simple. Just having a conversation with God. But that’s how God means life to be: simple! We are the ones who complicate life so much. God is the One who tries to help us uncomplicate life. That’s what prayer is all about. Not memorized “prayers” but simple conversation with God. Try it.

Have an AMAZING day!!!

Nails In; Nails Out

Someone drove those nails into Jesus pinning Him to the cross. And I have news for you—it wasn’t some Roman foot soldier. What??? Sure, physically it was a soldier but in reality we all had our hands on the hammer. Jesus died to erase our sins. And it is those sins that pushed those nails into the bloody cross. It’s time to take the nails out!

I know this sounds like some religious mumbo-jumbo. It isn’t. Jesus died for our sins and our sins put Him on the cross. So, reversing those sins by realizing what we have done (or are doing!) wrong in life, and sinning no more, removes the nails and brings Jesus down from the cross. It’s that very simple.

The next time you do something wrong (sin) picture your hand on the hammer striking that nail through Jesus and pinning Him to the cross. Screams, blood, and agony! That’s the visual. Then, think about how you are going to remove the nails. Not easy, but needs to be done. Only when the nails come out can Jesus come down from the cross and rise in glory—in our lives. For real!!!

Pull the nails out today. And have a FANTASTIC day doing it!!!

God, Hope & Notre Dame

Yesterday, firefighters briefed France President Macron that they did not believe they could extinguish the fires at the Notre Dame Cathedral. Today, Notre Dame, although badly scared, stands. Most if not all of the relics and art were saved, including the magnificent windows. And business have already come out pledging millions to rebuild one of the most iconic sites in the world. Hope. God. It and He spring eternal!

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There is no doubt that God was standing behind those brave firefighters helping them extinguish the flames. It’s a miracle that few may admit. But it is a miracle.

God is always there to smooth out the rough seas, to put out the flames, and to simply provide hope in your life. That’s the message of this Holy Week. Out of the bad, tragedy, and even death springs Resurrection and life. God. Jesus. Sprit.

My downbeat mood of yesterday has given way today to the glory of God.

Have a glorious day!!!

My Heart is Breaking as Notre Dame Burns

I have been thinking all day about a post for this afternoon. Normally, something pops into my head and it just flows. Today was different. Then, the news of Notre Dame burning down hit my computer. My heart just sank. I feel like someone died. Someone, something did die. Two hundred years in the making. An iconic site in Paris. A house of God. And the fire can’t be stopped. Notre Dame will burn down to the ground.

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I’m so lucky to have visited Notre Dame and actually to have gone to Mass there. It was such an amazing experience. And now it’s burning down to the ground.

There are just no words to express the loss!

As a Catholic, this Holy Week is a conflicting time of death and Resurrection. Jesus died an ugly death that left all His followers hopeless, alone, and devastated. But out of that death rose a Savior that changed the world forever. He brought life, hope, and a future.

I am hoping that out of this Notre Dame tragedy comes life, hope, and a future. Maybe the loss of Notre Dame will rally people to rebuild it. Maybe an increasing secular France will rally around a church—the house of God. Let’s hope. Let’s pray.

I’m not much into symbols but the burning of Notre Dame may be saying something. God is less a part of our lives than ever. That’s a major part of our problem. As I wrote recently, we’re like the Israelites roaming the desert for 40 years, constantly turning our back on God. The result wasn’t pretty then. All but two of the original group of Israelites made it out of the desert. The result isn’t pretty now.

Sorry for a downbeat post but this is a downbeat day. A symbol of so much is lost. Let’s hope out of death there is a Resurrection!

Magic Lamp or Prayer?

I hate to break it to you but there are no magic lamps, the kind where the genie grants you three wishes. What we have is prayer. But it’s not a magic lamp. You don’t pray for three wishes from God. You pray to converse with God. You talk, God listens. God talks, you listen. Prayer is conversation.

We often pray to God for something to be granted by God. Give us something, make something happen. There’s nothing wrong with asking God for something. The funny thing is you ask and God will answer. It may not be exactly what you asked for but it will be exactly what you need. After all, God knows.

I don’t know what I would do without prayer. Not that I’m some holy roller but I just like stopping every so often and talking (praying) to God. And listening. I don’t hear some booming voice from the heavens. I just feel God’s answer when I really commit to prayer.

Jesus not only taught us the Lord’s prayer, he taught us how to pray and how to escape the noise of this world to pray.

Prayer. It’s a gift from God. Better than any magic lamp. Try it. You’ll like it. You just have to commit to prayer, and open up your heart and mind. That will open up your “ears” to God.

Have a FANTASTIC rest of the day!!!

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!!!