Renewing & Not Conforming

Paul said it all too well. “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2) Don’t be a conformist. Transform yourself by “renewing” your mind. This doesn’t mean to be some type of radical. It means to not just do and say what everyone else says. Renew, invigorate, challenge. That’s what this world needs. And it’s the way to better understanding God’s will and purpose for you. Renew!

The world is not in a good place right now. And that’s because the world is pushing God out of our lives. It’s fashionable to be “secular” and not “religious.” To think we are all there is and there is no need for any god. In this country, 3 out of 10 Americans describe themselves as “nones.” And more are confirming to that view. Just like the Israelites wandering in the desert for 40 years, we are increasingly worshipping “idols” and pushing God out of our lives.

Start renewing your mind. LISTEN for/to God in your life. He is there if you let Him in your life. Renew your thinking. Be transformed. It’s not hard. Just takes a little time and effort.

Have an AWESOME week ahead transforming!

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!

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!

Go to Hell, Putin!

I mean that. Go to Hell, Putin. If you’re looking for the personification of evil in this world, it’s Putin. I won’t even dignify calling him anything else. Evil belongs in Hell and that’s where Putin is heading.

As I watch this humanitarian crisis unfold in Ukraine, it’s tough to control my anger. All the writing and praying I have done about not judging and loving all others has gone out the window. I’m angry. I want Putin dead. Though shall not kill is meaningless. I want Putin dead. One cheap life of a little man saves the lives of millions.

This is one of those times when I ask, “Why God?” How can you let this little dictator uproot an entire country? Where’s the sense in any of this? Don’t you feel the pain and suffering of your children? Why, God? Why? Why?

It’s time to pray. I know I need to pray myself out of this anger. I need to find where I can send money that it will be used to help the most. I need to settle down. I need to stay positive and try to help as much as I can.

I still want Putin in Hell. Sooner than later. Evil belongs in Hell and Putin is our generation of pure evil. Yes, it’s in Syria and elsewhere. I’ll stop here.

Pray! Pray! Pray! Stay positive, I tell myself. God’s way is not our way.

To all the people of Ukraine I offer up my prayers.

Thanks for listening to my rant!

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!

Be the Vehicle!

For light. For love. For joy.

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” 2 Corinthians 4:7

Each of us is like a jar of clay. To be modeled by God for the special, unique purpose in life that He has for us. We are the vehicles to let God’s light shine through us and out to others. We are the conduits for God’s love—and God is love—to flow through us to others. We are the vessels for His joy, a joy we should be having and sharing with others.

I know this sounds like more religious mumbo-jumbo but it’s life. If we live at all with God in our life, we are the vehicles for light, love, and joy. And this world of ours can use a lot more light, love, and joy!

I want to underscore again that you and I, and everyone in between, were put on this earth for a special, unique purpose. I think life becomes fulfilling when we come to understand that purpose and live to fulfill it. And in the process share that light, love, and joy that is baked into each of us. We just need to discover it and let it flow.

Have a SPECTACULAR week and let it flow!

Yes, There Are 7 Secrets to Life!!!

I started writing this blog almost eight years ago to share what I have found—seven Real Secrets to Life. Not some catchy, gotcha, “I have the secret to life” hype. Just what I have found that has worked in my life. They have helped me get through the chaos and clutter of life, as well as helping me simplify life. Life that we always manage to complicate, regardless of how simple God intends it to be. I don’t spend any time “promoting” this blog. I don’t make any money off this blog, which is not a bad thing, but I just keep it simple. My thoughts are as much for me as for those who read them. So, I thought it was a good time to briefly review what are the seven Real Secrets to Life that I have found.

LISTENREADLOVEFIGHTBELIEVELIVE & PRAY. There you have them. My Secrets to Life. For me they are a steading influence, helping me put life into perspective and serving as a map going forward.

LISTEN because God is calling to you—yes, you! READ the Bible because it has life answers (It’s God’s handbook on life, in case you don’t know it.). LOVE because God is love and commands us to live in love. FIGHT because the devil is all too real and whispering doubt and other temptations in your ear. BELIEVE that you can do anything—because you can! LIVE knowing this life is just the opening act to eternity. And PRAY simply because it works. God is listening (as well as calling to you, which loops you back around to the first Secret to Life).

The utter simplicity of these Secrets to Life says everything. They boil life down to its simplicity—the way God means life to be. They help me focus my life—what I did yesterday that needs correcting and the course changes I need to make today. They help me focus on what’s important and what is not. They help order the life chaos.

I hope these help you as they help me. But whatever you do, find your Real Secrets to LifeAnd have a GREAT day, and an AMAZING year, in the process!

 

What Are the Secrets to Life?

I have found 7 Secrets to Life, which is why I started this blog. I simply wanted to share what has helped me. The Secrets to Life are simple. LISTEN, READ, LOVE, FIGHT, BELIEVE, LIVE & PRAY. Simple. Then again, God means life to be simple. And they’re “secrets” because if everyone knew them they wouldn’t be secrets. That’s the utter simplicity of all of this—of life!

LISTEN because God is calling to and for you. Yes, you. God is calling to each one of us. We simply don’t choose to listen.

READ the Bible because it is simply (that “simple” word again!) the handbook on life. God’s handbook for all of us.

LOVE simply because God commands it. The one (simple) command we have from God.

FIGHT the devil because it is real and is truly prowling the earth whispering doubt and temptation in all our ears. I know—the thought of a real devil creeps people out. But it is real—trust me.

BELIEVE in God because God is in you. He hardwired you. You can do anything if you simply BELIEVE.

LIVE your life walking the straight path to God. What’s that path? LISTEN.

And PRAY because prayer is simply communication with God. Communication as in 2-way—you listen, then talk.

These 7 simple Secrets to Life have helped me. I hope they help you. If I can help one person that’s a start.

Have a GREAT evening and a SUPER tomorrow!

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!!!