Giving Thanks (for Real!)

OK. Thanksgiving, a time with an emphasis on eating (way too much), is over, we’ve survived Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and the Christmas season is in full force. In fact, it seems it was in full force three weeks or so before Thanksgiving with all the decorations already out! We give a lot of lip service to giving thanks at this time of year and preparing the way for the Lord but the commercialism of the season often drowns out the real giving of thanks. Don’t let that happen!

If there is ever a time of year we should give thanks, reflect on everything we have in this country, and truly prepare for the birth (rebirth) of Jesus in our lives it’s this time of year. This should be a season of giving, smiling, and helping anyone in any way possible. Simply put, it’s a season to be nice.

I’m first in line for taking for granted everything I have, from the little things to the big. But I’m going to do my best this season to be thankful, to be happy, and to be helpful. There is so much (and so many) that divides us. To make us unhappy, and downright angry. I’m going to do my best to be the opposite. In my own little way to be a uniter, rather than a divider. I can’t change the world but I can sure try in my own little way. Change happens one person at a time.

Wishing you the very best of this thankful season that really should prepare for the way of the Lord in our lives!

Trust

I love this Bible verse—Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much
(Luke 16:10). Some think this just applies to what God gives us in life and using it wisely. But it applies to everything. If someone can be trusted with very little, whatever that is, they can be trusted with a lot. Can’t be trusted with a little, watch out if you trust that person with anything!

God trusts each of us with anything/everything. He gives us all individual talents, whatever they may be, and expects us—trust us—to use those talents wisely. If we can make the most of whatever we believe God has given to us, how can we ask for more? If we can’t be trusted with a little (if that’s what we think we have—a little), how can we be trusted with more. Think about it!

Think about who you trust in your life; and who you don’t trust. Then, think about if you think God trusts you. He does because that’s tied to God’s unconditional love for us. But if you were in God’s almighty shoes would you trust you? Interesting life reflection.

Have an AMAZING day! Especially since every day should be AMAZING!!!

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!!!

Football Window on Life

NFL star quarterback Andrew Luck (Indianapolis Colts) shocked the football world this weekend when he announced his retirement at age 29 from football. Two aspects of the Andrew Luck retirement are a window to what is so very wrong in this country.

First, on hearing the announcement of Luck’s retirement at the start of a preseason game, the fans actually booed Andrew Luck as he left the field before the game. A guy who threw up incredible numbers for Indianapolis was actually booed! This just shows how sports have become way, way too important to too, too many people in this country (and same can be said for the world). People live and die for sports, bet on it, and define their lives by sports. Don’t get me wrong—I’m a big sports fan. But defining who I am through sports and living/dying by it—no thanks!

Second, the Colts owner Jim Irsay said that Andrew Luck is walking away from $500 million. Here’s a guy in Luck, who LOVES football, but realizes that his health and mental status are worth more than $500 million. We define ourselves by what we are worth in dollars as opposed to what we are worth in character and soul.

I give Andrew Luck all the credit in the world for an incredibly tough and brave decision to walk away from the game he loves. He’s obviously not defined by sports or money. A LOT of people need to take a lesson here!!!

Have an AMAZING week!

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!!!

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!

God

I’m even questioning the title of this post. But it’s as simple as that. God. We can have faith in God, and throw our trust with Him, or ignore God and trust in the world. So, very, very (VERY!) simple. After all, God means life to be simple. We’re the ones who complicate it.

I’m not given to religious mumbo-jumbo. I don’t have a halo (far from it!!!). And I don’t go about my day floating on a cloud. But I know from my life that when I stray from God bad things happen. When I focus on God even the bumps in life are smaller and easier to navigate.

I just wrote about this. The Israelites took their focus off of God and paid homage to false idols. Bad things happened. They couldn’t get out of the desert. Fast forward. Humans are less focused on God. Bad things are happening. We are lost in one world of a desert.

It’s simply all about God. There is no magic. There is no special prayer. There is just God—and His one commandment to love. Focus on God. He gave us an entire handbook on life (it’s called the Bible). Don’t go around professing religion. Just focus on God, tune out the siren song of the world, and live in love. It’s that simple—if you don’t complicate it.

God. Simple.