Lost (Hopelessly?) in the Desert

I have written about this before but we (the world) are lost in the desert. We’re moving away from God and, as we do, the acrimony and downright hatred in the world increases. And we have no direction, no goals, and we’re just wandering. If you want a picture of this, and how it plays out, read the Old Testament. Seriously!

I hate to be gloomy because I’m an upbeat person, always trying to see the good. But it’s tough when you see the spitefulness and incessant arguing by the politicians, who we pay (with our increasing taxes!) to fix things—not break them. Riots, wars, and threats of nuclear bombs seem like a day-to-day constant. But most troubling is the fact that we are moving away from God.

It’s startling to think that 26% of the United States population now describes themselves as religiously unaffiliated; meaning, their religious identity is atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular” and now stands at 26%. That’s up from 17% in 2009. So, translation, a quarter of the population basically doesn’t believe in God, or at the very least, doesn’t involve Him in their lives. If anything, He is just “he” (lower case intentional). Although an increasing number of people believes that He doesn’t exist.

The Israelites aimlessly wandered the desert for 40 years, taking that time to go about 11-12 miles. They turned their backs on God and bad things happened. All this is playing out now. We are the Israelites and we are wandering, turning our backs on God. And bad things are happening. None of this should be a surprise.

I’m not wandering. The world around me may but I’m keeping my eyes fixed on God—Father who sets my purpose, Jesus who has laid out the footsteps for me, and the Spirit who empowers me. Sorry if this sounds like religious mumbo-jumbo but it’s the only way for me to not get down and look straight ahead.

… this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead. Philippians 3:13

Don’t wander. Look straight ahead with a plan. And keep your eyes fixed on God.

Have an AMAZING week ahead!

Our Demons

Last night my brother had a memorial “Celebration of Life” service for his only child. Jacqueline was 32 years old and died from an opioid overdose. She was a good girl, close to finishing her studies to be a physician’s assistant. But she fought a demon, as we all do to varying degrees. As I said last night to all attending, now she is in a place where there are no demons. What seems like a loss—to her and everyone—is a big win.

As I spoke to a room full of people last night, my niece like all of us battled a demon. In her case it was a very powerful opioid drug. Like to admit it or not, we all battle demons. Realizing that and knowing our demon(s) is half the battle. The rest of the battle is turning to God for help. That’s what my niece did not do.

Like my niece, her generation of “millennials” have less interest in religion. Research just out from the Pew Research Center shows the the religious “nones” (atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular”) now makes up 26%—yes, 26%!!!—of the U.S. population. But I digress. My point is that my niece did not turn to God for help in her fight with her demon opioid. But God turned to her and now has Jacqueline under His watch, where there are no demons.

My message in all this? There are several. One, know your demon(s) because that’s half the battle. Two, God is always less than a heartbeat away ready to help. You just have to ask. Three, God is always there. You may lose the battle here but you win in the end because He is always there. God is the beginning and the end. That alone gives me such comfort. And it should you.

And, finally, if you know anyone dealing with a drug demon of any kind, help them get help!

God is always there! Remember that as you have an AMAZING day!!!

Screw Up

I screw up all the time. I identify with St. Paul who wrote, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” (Romans 7:15) I know exactly what I should do because I know what God expects me to do. But I screw up. Why? I just don’t know.

The good thing about screwing up—if there is any good in screwing up—is that God forgives me. As long as I know I screw up, ask forgiveness, and really try to not screw up, God is there with open arms. God loves and loves unconditionally.

There was a reason God sent His only Son Jesus to deal with our sins. They were nailed to the Cross with Jesus. Our job is to pull those nails out and atone for those sins.

If you know what God expects, especially in how you should live your life, it’s even worse when you screw up. I’m dealing with that right now. But for every step back in life you may take, you have to commit to taking at least two steps ahead. That’s how you move forward in life. I can’t undo my screw ups but I can move ahead and do better.

Have an OUTSTANDING week ahead!!!

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!!!

The Only One Holding You Back is You!

Last week I wrote that the only one who can steal your joy is you. Well, right along those lines I’m writing today to say the only one holding you back is you. You can blame other people, and life situations, but the ONLY one/thing holding you back in life is you.

God has a special, unique purpose for you in life. One of the keys to life is understanding that purpose and pursuing it. Once you understand that purpose your focus in life should be realizing it. And the only one who can hold you back is you. Undoubtably, there will be obstacles along the way that you will have to hurdle or go around. But you can do it! God is in your corner (if you let Him).

There is a reason why I believe the first Secret to Life is LISTEN. Listen for and to God. Spending time with God and opening up your mind and heart will lead you to understanding your purpose in life. Then, with faith, no one can stop you from pursuing that purpose. No one. Only you.

Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, “Go, throw yourself into the sea,” and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. Mark 11:23

Once again, I know this sounds way too simple. Life is much more complicated than this. No it isn’t—or shouldn’t be. God means life to be so simple. We are the ones who make it so difficult by complicating it.

Spend some time (REAL TIME!) with God and LISTEN for/to Him. You have a special, unique purpose in life. I don’t care who you are. We all do. You just need to understand it and then point your life in the direction of pursuing that purpose. And don’t let you get in the way. Because you are the only one who can stop you!

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Have a AWESOME day!!!

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!!!

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!