Real or Fake Christian?

It’s pretty easy to spot a real Christian. He or she simply follows what Jesus Christ taught us. Love (John 15:12), give the shirt off your back (Luke 7:29), and don’t judge (Luke 7:37) are several of the notable commands Jesus gave us. You can’t follow Jesus—translation, be a Christian—if you don’t do what He says. It’s that simple.

Listen, I call myself a Christian but make no mistake I screw up all the time. And I mean all the time. I do anything but love on occasion, I judge, and I turn my back on others. I’m far, far from perfect. But being Christian is not about being perfect. It’s about doing your best to do what Jesus asks of us. We fall off the horse at times. We simple need to get back up.

Jesus lived and died to rid us of our sins—our un-Christian behaviors. He doesn’t expect perfection but a realization of when we screw up. A “real” Christian not only knows what to do—what Jesus expects—but knows when he or she doesn’t do it. And tries harder the next time. Again and again.

I don’t want to judge but it seems there are a lot of “fake” christians out there. Then again, I don’t want to judge. I just want to focus on me and what is expected of me. In that way, rather than judging I can let my christianity flow to others. And let their christianity flow to me.

Being Christian is simply following Jesus (the Christ).

I hope you have an AMAZING day and rest of this beautiful week!!! 

What Am I Missing???

I just don’t get it. Someone needs to help me out and explain something. God gave us very explicit instructions to love. That’s not about loving those you are close to you, it’s about loving everyone, especially “strangers.” Strangers, as in we don’t know them. And Jesus gave us a very simple command to love—to LOVE— before He sacrificed Himself for us. For us! So, what’s going on in this crazy world of ours? Why aren’t we loving?

So now, O Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you? Only to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul… You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. ‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭10:12,19

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

Of course, I know the answer. Because we trust in ourselves. Not God. We know better. We know how to hate and abuse each other, regardless of race, gender, political leanings, country, etc. We have become experts at dividing us. God is shaking His head in disbelief. Satan is laughing all the way to hell. He’s winning (or at least he thinks so).

This isn’t about religion sports fans. This is about life. We either love or hate. There is not much of a middle road. And to put a dash of “religion” into it, one way leads to eternal bliss and the other to eternal anguish. You pick.

Change happens one person at a time. It’s time to change this world of ours spinning out of control. It’s time for you and me to start that change. With a smile, with a helping hand, with a donation, with love.

Spread a little love around this week. Make it a good one!

All Lives Matter

It’s time for this country, this world to face a wake-up call. Racism of any type, kind needs to stop. Yes, black lives matter. There is no doubt of that! But brown lives matter. Red lives matter. Yellow lives matter. White lives matter. For God, all lives matter. God is color blind because He is all colors. And it’s high time we became color blind.

I love when God sent Samuel to find His king. Think very carefully what the Lord said to Samuel:

“Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

The Lord does not see as we (mortals) see. We see outward appearance. God looks inward on the heart. We see color. God sees the true us.

I have BIG NEWS for you — There is no color in heaven!!! No racism. All lives matter. So, if you have any designs on reaching heaven, now is the time to become color blind. Stop looking at outward appearance. Look inward. You’ll never see heaven if you don’t stop looking at the color of a person’s skin.

Sorry for the Monday lecture but we need to change. And change now! I’m not counting on anyone else but you and me. Change happens one person at a time. It’s time for you and me to start that change.

We are all God’s children. He has no favorites. He loves us all equally and unconditionally. Color does not play into it at all. God sent Jesus His only Son to die for ALL OF US. Not just some of us based on color. But ALL OF US!

Let’s live in a world where all lives matter and matter equally. It’s time for a major change. And don’t think God isn’t giving us a wake-up call on this right now.

Have a GREAT week by making it a meaningful week!!!

Prayer for Peace—I Can’t Do Any Better

Here is the opening prayer at the University of Notre Dame prayer service, Prayer for Unity, Walk for Justice on June 1st. The prayer is by Jo Cecilio, Rector of Cavanaugh Hall at Notre Dame.

God of Mercy and Compassion, we come before you today in grief, in anger, in mourning over the deaths of Ahmud Aubrey, Breonna Taylor, Philando Castille, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Sean Bell, Sandra Bland, George Floyd and the litany of names of men and women who have died at the hands of those charged to protect and serve. You know each one of them by name, and we know that each were wonderfully created in your own image and likeness. Their lives matter to you and to us, and so we ask you, God, to etch their memories forever on our hearts.

LORD, we are tired of the senseless acts of violence, the injustices, the oppression, the racism, and the ignored laments of black and brown communities. Hear us, LORD. Open the hearts, minds, and ears of all your children to hear and understand the cries of pain, of sadness, of trauma, and of immense loss.

Make us your disciples who speak truth to power. May we allow the Spirit to lead us to act for justice. Lord, we invite you to use us so that we might bring about a transformation in our world; a transformation that makes the Beloved Community real here on this earth.

We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

I simply can’t do any better!!!

Peace & Love. As God wants and commands.

Stay safe!!!

Hope

Hope may be something in short supply during these COVID-19 days. What seems like a never ending nightmare may seem like it truly will never end. Will we ever get back to normal? Will we have to wear masks everywhere—forever? Is there really going to be a second wave of COVID-19 in the fall/winter? The list of questions goes on and on and so with them hope seems to fly out the window. So, what are we to do?

Hope! That’s what we are to do. This is not the end of life as we know it. It’s the beginning of a new life, hopefully a new life that will make us look at the world and each other a little differently. As in differently better.

If anything, this COVID-19 experience should be a good time to take stock. Figure out what really matters, what’s most important in life. COVID-19 should be a lens that makes us look at our world in a new light. A light of love. A light of caring for others. A light of respect for the other person. A wave. A smile. A helping hand.

Jeremiah told the people of Israel that, “For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11) Jeremiah told the Israelites that their “normal” wouldn’t be for 70 years when they would return from captivity in Babylon. He told them to live their lives, marry, and have children. He gave them hope. The same hope that we will come out of this COVID-19 pandemic stronger and better as people. If we don’t, it’s a terrible experience lost.

Have hope! Use this time to revaluate. Look at your life in a mirror. Hit the pause button of how you lived your life in the past as COVID-19 has hit the pause button on our “normal” lives. And, most importantly of all, in the quiet that COVID-19 has brought to our lives, LISTEN for/to God. He’s there. Less than a heartbeat away. Spend some time with Him. That will give renewed hope, purpose, and outlook to your life!

Be well and be safe!!! 

Would You Recognize Jesus?

If you took a seven mile walk with Jesus and listened to Him talk with you, would you know Him? Imagine spending three years roaming the countryside with Jesus and then not recognizing Him! Imagine thinking that Jesus was some gardener? All this and more happened after Jesus died and rose again on the walk with the disciples to Emmaus, multiple times with the apostles, and with Mary at the tomb. What was it about Jesus that they did recognize Him?

There are lots of theories that our “spiritual bodies” are somehow transformed from our “earthly” bodies. They’re not exactly the same. Let’s put that all aside for a minute.

Jesus was raised body and soul from the dead, with the nail holes in his hands, side, and feet intact. So was He a “different” Jesus or were the eyes “closed” of everyone around Him, including His closest followers. Bingo!

God (including Father, Son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit) is in everyone. That means, you, me, and every other person past, present, and future. God made us, so He is very much in us. Whoever you look at, you are looking straight in the eyes of Jesus. But do you recognize Him? I can tell you that in all my failings that there are a lot of people I know who I do not see Jesus.

That’s the problem with life and our walk through it. We don’t see Jesus. Yet, we should see Jesus in the mirror as well as in every person we walk by on the street—well, use to walk by on the street BC (before coronavirus).

Here’s a challenge for the week. Whoever you see on TV or behind that mask at the supermarket you are seeing Jesus. Look real hard. It’s Jesus in the face of anyone you are looking at. And how would you treat Jesus if you were looking at Him? Something to think about this week.

These are tough times that truly test our faith. Look for Jesus in the faces of others and your faith will get a boost. And we will get through this. With Jesus!

Have an AMAZING week!!! 

Done with Negative People, Posts & Pundits!

I’ve had it with the negativity!!! Negative people, posts & pundits. I’m not talking about bad news as COVID-19 swirls around us. I’m talking about people, posts & pundits that just focus on the negative—not doing anything constructive, not offering positive hope, and in general not contributing anything to making us stronger as a people as we fight through this crisis.

We will come out of this stronger and better as a people but only if we stay positive, help those in need, and uplift ourselves and others in a positive spirit. No solutions ever come from negativity. Solutions spring eternal from positive thinking!

“The positive thinker sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible.” Winston Churchill

There is a fork in the road during this crisis: the negative path and the positive path. I’m down the positive path all the way to the end. It may be bumpy, with twists and turns, but it’s the path I am staying on—now, during this crisis, and after we come out the other side.

I’m not conforming; I’m transforming!

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

Have a FANTASTIC, POSITIVE day and week ahead!!!

Where is God?

It’s times like these when we ask that question. “Where is God?” With death swirling around us worldwide, we at least think the question, it not say it. “Where is God?” I thought of the question this morning when I heard the gospel account of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. Martha and Mary must have been at least thinking it over and over again—“Where the heck is Jesus?” “He could have saved our brother from dying?” Yet, Jesus finally showed up and raised Lazarus from the dead.

God is where He always is—less than a heartbeat away from each one of us. A natural disaster has hit and God is not off on some vacation in heaven. He’s here. And if we LISTEN for/to Him we will weather this storm.

These are times that not just try souls (shoutout to Thomas Paine) but shake our faith to the core. Does God really care? Why can’t He stop the sickness and dying? How can God sit back and not do something? Anything?

Like the disciples in the boat terrified during the storm, we have to have faith. Faith will get us through this. The same faith that tells us that no matter what happens in this life that it is less than a heartbeat in the eternity we have been promised.

What’s very important during this crisis is how we act. Do we reach out and help others, however we can? Do we PRAY? Do we donate? Or do we simply hunker down and worry about ourselves. How we act during a crisis like this says everything about who we are as a person.

Have faith. Believe! It’s tough going right now but we will come out stronger. If that’s what we want.

I hope you are keeping safe, helping others, and BELIEVE!

Spend some more time with God this week. LISTEN for/to Him!!!

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!!!

 

Virus in the Desert

I’ve written a lot about the Israelites roaming aimlessly in the desert for 40 years. It took them that long to travel about a dozen miles to the Promised Land. And only two of the original Israelites made it. Even their leader, Moses, died before he saw the Promised Land. During that time in the desert all types of bad things happened—plagues, snakes, etc. The Israelites constantly turned their backs on God, and only when they needed God did they run to Him. We are roaming our own desert—and pretty aimlessly, at that—and bad things happen. Today it’s the coronavirus. Tomorrow it will be something else. But we’re not running to God. It seems we’re running away from Him.

I’m not suggesting that the coronavirus is some type of plaque sent by God. It’s a virus, and viruses are a part of life. Some are worse than others. But it’s how we react to this coronavirus that is so telling. We panic. Not that we shouldn’t mobilize to contain and “defeat” this virus. But we don’t need to panic, just like the Israelites did. It’s a surprise they didn’t stone Moses or burn him at the stake.

It’s a given that we are less tied to God than ever. I won’t bore you with stats, but “organized” religion is on the way down. People are increasingly simply not believing in God or turning to their own “spirituality”—whatever that is. Worship of self?

If I have said it once I’ve said it over a 100 times—read the Old Testament story of the Israelites wandering aimlessly in the desert. That’s us. This world is one big desert and we are certainly wandering—and very aimlessly! I have no idea where we are heading. Do you?

Least you think this is a depressing message, it’s not! My focus is on God—Father, Son & Spirit. I know my purpose from the Father, and am trying my best to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, and pray for the Spirit to empower me. I’m upbeat. I’m resolute. I’m out to find the Promised Land in life. I’m not a saint. I stumble all the time. But I’m doing my part to lead by example. We change the world one person at a time. It’s why I write this little blog, why I post Bible verses on my Facebook page ever day, and why I try to share with others.

I hope you know your way. Let’s help get everyone out of the desert!