What can I do? What should my response be?

What do we do? How should I respond? Why can’t we or they stop this? Here’s a start. Today, find someone. Actively seek someone who needs an act of kindness AND ACT. That’s what we all can do. We can start to build or strengthen a culture where caring about vs. fighting with becomes the norm. Yes there may be a place for more legislation or more physical protection for locations. BUT DON’T WAIT OR COUNT ON THAT TO HAPPEN. Your and mine act of kindness just may be the connection a disturbed, distraught person needs. Our act of kindness may be the reason a trigger doesn’t get pulled, that a person may see some light in their present world of darkness. Strive to start with one act and build from there. And God will be with you in your attempt. Pray for Uvalde. Pray for Buffalo.

Hate is Poison! Love is the Antidote!

Heavy, trembling sigh. Look around, let your gaze wander. Places, like Ukraine, letter designations next to names like R or D, or a sequence starting with L, ethnicities, genders, rich, poor, gun rights or gun legislation, pro choice or pro life, law enforcement and law breakers and of course I could go on but you get the point. These are all points of difference, differences that can lead to divisions that lead us to what? Please, please understand, when we look to the differences and how we want to respond, feel driven to respond; HATE IS POISON! There is no righteous hate. There is no commandment, this person or that idea, thou must hate. HATE IS A POISON. Hate, like all poisons, destroys. Sometimes, hate is ingested in such levels that it destroys almost immediately. Sometimes, hate is ingested just a little at a time and its destruction takes a significant length of time to do its damage. HATE IS POISON. Hate is a poison that not only destroys the one who ingests it but also so often hugely damaging to those around that person as well. Did Jesus hate the person who betrayed Him? No He washed his feet. Jesus surely hated the Romans who killed Him. No, He healed one of their servants. Jesus must have hated those who falsely accused and had Him condemned. No, Jesus forgave them from the cross as He died. Look around, the tragedies of war and mass shootings may scream for you to be filled. You will undoubtedly hear words of hate as reaction. And if HATE IS POISON what is the antidote? LOVE. LOVE IS THE NOURISHMENT OF THE SOUL. Jesus Christ nailed it. LOVE! LOVE THE FATHER, LOVE EACH OTHER, LOVE EVEN OUR ENEMIES. Where do we get such love and the ability to share it? All we have to do is ask. Please, Please ask this very moment for the LOVE of Christ to come; to come to you and through you to the world beyond. Pray for Uvalde. Pray for Buffalo. Pray for Ukraine. Pray for Love

Perspective and Control; A Lesson From Walking the Dog

I was walking our dog yesterday. There was something she saw or smelled across the street and off she started to go. There was nothing wrong or misbehaving in her actions. The only issue was the large Jeep bearing down on where she was starting to walk. I always walk her on a leash so it was no problem to stop her. Here’s the thing, it’s not that she didn’t see the Jeep, she was just incapable of perceiving the danger. To her, her actions seemed appropriate and the goal was worth the action. It took someone else with greater capacity to see the danger and intervene. So? It got me thinking how often do I/we want something, something that seems completely appropriate, something good and off I/we go. We may act. We may pray and act. We may pray and wait, hoping to act. Then we are stopped. We’re not dogs. We’re not God’s pets. We are His thinking creation. If we’re not careful, in our arrogance we may feel we have the perfect perspective. If we are stopped in our tracks, thwarted from our goal, we may conclude God is wrong, that God doesn’t understand, that God has missed something. Instead let us understand that God’s perspective is perfect. We imperfectly know now and can’t see next. God is the God of now as well as next. God loves us and in that love will keep us from walking into the disaster of our own misperception. So should we be allowed to reach our goal, thank God for the blessing. Should we be stopped, thank God in faith for saving us from that disaster we could not perceive. You are loved by a God who always, perfectly knows best.

I! I? or Living Into the Blessed We

I! I? Oh the message of the world today. I can do anything! I can be anything! I can have it all! It would seem that “I” is the h “I” ghest concept of all. Enter Jesus Christ and the cross. Consider that the closest letter in the alphabet to the cross, in shape, is the letter “t”. Add the letter t to the phrase I can and you get I can’t. In the Gospel of John, Jesus is crystal clear when He states “apart from Me, you CAN DO NOTHING“. I can sure try but I’ll never thrive. I can sure strive but I will never be successful…..until I become a part of the blessed We. Please, please understand, Jesus Christ is not telling you that You are inconsequential. No, Jesus goes on to promise us; abide in Me and you will do things that are great, even greater things. You see we were never created to be “I” apart from or outside of Jesus Christ. It is in the blessed We, that we we are created to live abundantly. How much does it cost, what is the entrance fee to become part of the blessed We? All you have to do is accept the invitation. All you have to do is knock, seek or ask and Jesus Christ will come and join you. Oh and please understand this, there is a price required to be a part of that relationship. The truth is that Jesus Christ completely paid that price in full with His life. Thus let us leave behind the isolation of the worldly “I” existence and live into the blessed We of Jesus Christ and me.

Good Friday is Absolutely the Correct Title for Today

Good Friday is absolutely the correct title. Yes, the horrific treatment Jesus was going through was terrible and led to a barbaric death. However, at the same time and, in fact the reason for His death was He was becoming sin. He became or took upon Himself our sin. So now when Our Heavenly Father considers and sees us, He sees us as innocent because of what Jesus accomplished. So it is good, very good for us, the sacrifice Jesus made for us today. Only good and not great? The Greater thing comes three days hence with His resurrection. Let us live into that sacrifice and see the greatness of His Good act.

He is Risen! A Proclamation For All Time

So this Sunday, we’re going to gather together and shout loudly: “He is Risen!”, which is a quite proper thing to do. However, if we shout that simply as a celebration in and a pronouncement of a several thousand year old event, then we tragically miss the greater meaning. You see “He is Risen” is a proclamation of a current blessed reality. Jesus Christ is a very much risen, all powerful, living Savior this very moment! That the world refuses to acknowledge this and instead turns to worldly solutions and actions like war, greed, hate, envy and so many more useless pursuits does not diminish Christ’s power or purpose in the slightest. Christ is living at the Right Hand of God and His Love, Grace, Forgiveness and Mercy are as sustaining now as they ever have been. So while Easter Sunday is the traditional day of celebration, every day is the appropriate day of proclamation of He is Risen with the faithfully living into all the blessings and love that are connected to that truth. May you have a Blessed Easter.

Yes….But Will We Let the Clouds Obscure the Blessing

Yes…but. Will the worldly clouds obscure the silver lining of God’s blessings? Today, if you’re open to it, you will be blessed by God. I say open to it because, like any gift, if you never accept it, open it or use it, then there’s little or no value to it. The world and the prince of this world wants to distract you from seeing any blessings or at the very least minimize the blessings to the greatest extent possible. How?, with messages like yes I might have received a blessings but there is suffering over here or there, or yes but the blessing won’t last, tomorrow will be bad, or yes but the blessing could have been bigger/better. It’s not like God doesn’t want you to be empathetic or sympathetic; indeed, He wants you to experience the blessings so that you might share the blessings with others in need so they might know of God’s love. God is a God of infinite resources and power. It’s not like the fact that He blessed you today means He’s running out of blessings to be able to give tomorrow. God knows exactly the correct amount of blessing to give. As too much sugar can ruin a cake, a blessing that is the wrong size too large can bring about more damage then good. Jesus Christ is clear when He said: “In the world you will have tribulation”. Christ was also clear that we can still be of good cheer and expect blessings because Christ has overcome the world by the plan of Our Father. So don’t allow the clouds of the world to obscure the power of the blessing. Instead, do two things today. First, live into the love and blessings from God with thanksgiving. Then, share God’s blessings so that the world may feel some healing and know God’s love. Happy, blessed Monday and week.

The Power of Redemption-A Lesson From a Gift Card

So whether it’s procrastination or a factor of the age for which the gift card celebrated, I finally got around to redeeming a gift card that I had lying around for some time. And at that moment the Holy Spirit taught me something. You see that card had only potential power while it existed unredeemed. Oh sure the card had a monetary figure on it that to some in the world might have seemed big. However, until redemption, that value remained unrealized and the card’s purpose stayed unfulfilled. The Spirit showed me how that same concept applies to us. We are all created with value and purpose by our Heavenly Father. Yet until we are redeemed that value sits stagnant and that purpose unfulfilled. Plus, like a gift card can’t redeem itself, there’s no such thing as self-redemption in that we have no ability to redeem ourselves. We must understand there is only One true Redeemer and He is Jesus Christ. Here’s the major difference that we can’t miss, the gift card has no power in the process of redemption, it must sit there until someone gets around to acting on it. Jesus Christ stands by actively, eagerly waiting to redeem us instantly. It is we who must act. It is we who must not be tardy or ambivalent in asking for our freely given redemption. While our redemption is a free gift of grace from God, it most certainly had a supremely high cost. It costed Jesus Christ His life. Please don’t put off your redemption. The world may tell you, you have great worldly value in your possessions, your achievements, your wealth. The world may declare to you, you have no need of redemption. But, if you’re not redeemed by the precious Blood or our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, your true value remains untapped and your purpose is left dormant. Be redeemed simply by asking for it and if you are redeemed then live into that redemption with the purpose and value that our Heavenly Father so abundantly provides and become the gift of love to yourself and the rest of the world that God intended you to be.

Christ Knows it’s Hard…….For Us

Jesus Christ knows it’s not easy…..for us. Especially during this season of Lent, let us stop and truly contemplate that Jesus Christ left perfection and came down to us, for us. Christ came to be salvation because every last one of us needs a Savior. Christ not only died for us but He also taught us what it means to truly live. Now sometimes His teaching could be a bit nuanced but at other times it was completely crystal clear. Sooo? We are seeing our fallen nature on full display at this time. There is a war on. One country has invaded another with no justifiable reason and is reeking havoc and destruction on the innocent. Jesus would agree that praying for the Ukrainians is a right and powerful thing to do. However, if we stop there, if the prayer ended with the Ukrainians, Jesus could and probably would warn us, we weren’t listening. For Jesus knew we would have enemies. Understand, Jesus did not preach that we SHOULD have enemies, He didn’t supply us with a righteous enemies list. No, He knew in our fallen state, that enemies would come. And Jesus taught about what we should do when our enemies attack, how we should treat them (Oh this is so hard). Christ was clear; we should love our enemies, we should do good to those who hate us. Christ not only taught it, He lived it. Remember as He hung dying on the cross; Jesus did not just declare His forgiveness to those who were crucifying Him, He prayed to God: “Father forgive them for they know not what they do!”. Pray for the Russians? Watching their barbarism, find some sort of love for the Russians? Jesus you ask too much! Maybe I can mumble some meaningless stuff with a Russia thrown in, but can I mean it? Christ knows it’s hard. In fact He knows, on our own, it’s probably impossible. He doesn’t want us to try. Jesus implores us to abide in Him. It is by being in Him and calling upon His name that His strength will allow us to overcome our desire for revenge and hatred. To find the love of Christ we must first look to Christ. With Christ within us we can find the place where we can add the Russians to our prayers of hope, reconciliation, peace and yes even love. In the Blessed Name of Jesus Christ pray for Ukraine and yes, in the Blessed Name of Jesus Christ, pray for Russia.

Lord, What Will It Take To Save Us From Ourselves?

So there might be many that are saying to God, asking God, pleading with God, demanding of God, even blaming God: “God, why don’t you stop this war!?” “Why aren’t you saving us?” It is an understandable request. But to all I would suggest that we take a step back, take a deep breath, look in the mirror and contemplate this. We are asking God to SAVE US FROM OURSELVES! We are quite accurately describing just who we are. We need to acknowledge that. What’s happening in Ukraine is not some asteroid crashing out of the sky or volcano belching destruction from the depths below. No, through hatred, anger, fear, covetousness, self-glory seeking, despotic tendencies and the list goes on, this is man-made as all wars are. “Oh that’s not me” you respond, that’s only him or her. Jesus Christ would ask us; have we never felt hatred in our hearts towards another? We may not have great armies at our disposal but have not ever lashed out in anger? Have we never blindly and unfairly judged another or sought out our own glory at the expense of another? The worldly motivations are the same. Here’s the thing, God listens and He will save. But we can’t miss this, our salvation starts with a humble request from our brokenness and not our demanding from some false sense of righteousness. It starts with confession, not command. In our humble confession and plea, Jesus Christ will come. And as Jesus lifted Peter up from the storm tossed sea when he was sinking, Jesus will lift us as well. We are sinking in the world tossed storm of lusts, envy, fear anger and hatred. Jesus will lift us, through His power, to a place where His grace reigns and our worldly tendencies are replaced by His overpowering love as long as we reach out to and focus on Him. The end of man’s inhumanity to man will not come from the works of man. The end of that begins with the humble, confessional ask to God.

It is Hard But Don’t Despair, Victory is Coming

It is hard. It is hard to watch and exponentially harder to experience the evil that is happening today. Evil exists. Evil hates. Evil destroys. In former, calmer days we might have come to doubt evil’s very existence and destructive power until it comes raging in. BUT evil never wins no matter how hard it tries. There is a Higher power who will always triumph. Today a man believes he is the highest power; bombing where he wants, destroying the innocent. We watch with frustration and may feel a sense of despair. Just like those who were at the site of the cross, despairing as they watched the evil Pharisees gloat about their evil actions against Jesus. As Jesus died, the Pharisees thought their power was supreme, they were sure they’d won. Three days later they found out just how wrong, how weak they really were. Today’s evil will be defeated too. Also, let’s not overlook the tremendous love that is bringing different peoples together; striving to serve with love, mercy and grace, the hurting and downtrodden. Again, this evil will lose. Yet going forward, in the calmer times ahead, let us not be lulled into some false sense of security that evil has disappeared or been banished by some human effort. Instead, let us cling to the Higher power, Jesus Christ, who will come again and bring a final end to evil for all time. Pray for the Ukrainians.

Which?

Which?

This food is enough

These clothes are enough

This place is enough

This relationship is enough

These things are enough

This God is enough

This day is enough

or

I want more. I need more. I want what you have. I need what you have. I will take some or all of what you have. And God quite literally knows: I don’t care.

Love, generosity, contentment, peace, life

or

Anger, hatred, frustration, violence, war, death

Which today?

The choice is yours and mine and no one else’s

Our Heavenly Father – The Ultimate Power

I know that it can be easy to look at these dark images of the day and fret and be fearful. It is understandable and accurate to be saddened at how often we humans resort to violence and wholesale destruction especially targeting the weaker and more vulnerable among us. It is at times like these that God’s Word can be both instructing and reassuring. You see Moses and God’s people faced an enemy. In the minds of the people, that enemy was much more powerful; maybe the ultimate power, even greater than God’s power. They feared, lost their faith and failed to follow God. Because of that, they saw no victory. But, please, please don’t miss this, the victory came. A remnant of the people believed God, followed Him and God’s might won the victory for them. Today we truly have terrible weapons of destruction. Some are using them and threatening they will use ultimate weapons of mass destruction to achieve their world glory way. We can have peace knowing that no human power has ever been, is now or will ever be the ultimate power. God is the ultimate power. Let us then turn to Him in humble prayer for His power to reign and with it peace. Let us pray that His Spirit can bring about reconciliation when the hearts of men seek only divisive destruction. Please don’t lose faith in the One True Almighty Power and He, our Heavenly Father will bring us through this.

The Power of Christ’s Love; Lessons From a Snow Covered Limb

We don’t often get snow in Virginia Beach but recently we’ve had two storms which put a lot of snow on our Cedar tree out back. The limbs were bowed low under the weight of snow and ice. Here’s the interesting part that I observed, the temperatures remained below freezing throughout several days but the sun came out very brilliant and even with the sub freezing temperatures, the snow and ice melted. The sun was more powerful than the air. You might be finding yourself bowed low by the cold and ice of this world; maybe it’s a physical issue or perhaps spiritual/mental or even a foreboding about the current times. It may be that wherever you look or turn to in the world, you find more darkness, more frigidity bowing your branches lower and lower. Take heart, there is a source of relief, a source of blessed melting and restoration. Please turn to the SON; Jesus Christ. The power and light of Christ’s love will pierce the deepest darkness. There is no temperature low enough, no circumstances so frigid that Christ’s warming presence and grace will not overcome. And all He asks of you to receive His mercy and power is to simply ask of Him for it. Oh and one more vital thing. Our sun sets every day leaving us in a period of darkness. The Son of God, Jesus Christ will never set on you, never abandon you to face the worldly freeze alone. So ask Him this moment and feel the healing warmth which will not only restore you but lift you to a greater strength that you ever thought possible.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! There will be new things this, year; both blessings and challenges. Yet one thing, one fundamentally sustaining thing, is as old as the Garden of Eden and in fact, even older. You see, when our actions forced us out of the garden, it didn’t force, diminish or change God’s love for us. The same all-powerful, unconditional love with which He showed at creation, comes to us through Jesus Christ, with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, this very day and every day. What can be new or newer in 2022 is how we accept, respond to and share His love with all, God in His infinite wisdom, deems appropriate to be in our lives this year. A renewed, reinvigorated drive, fueled by His love can see us reach new heights of generosity, forgiveness and faithfulness. If there is an “out with old” let it be out with the old fears and worries, anger and hatred, selfishness and greed. The love of God is as old as creation and as new as each day. Don’t get tired of it. Embrace it totally and marvel at the 2022 it can create for you and those around you. In the Name of Jesus Christ, Happy New Year!

The Who’s Down in Whoville Have it Right

Ok so Christmas is just a over a week away. In that week there can be a lot of distractions/worries; will my packages arrive on time, will the airlines have enough planes to get me where I’m going, what will COVID do to my plans, is this crazy weather going to impact me and I could go on. Perhaps with each item I list or each item you add, the sighs get longer, the groans deeper and louder. But please, please remember this; the Who’s down in Whoville had it exactly right. Only one thing really really matters which they put in their song: “Christmas Day is in our grasp as long as we have hands to clasp”. So please, start today and find a hand(s) to clasp. Clasp a hand of a family member, a hand of a friend. Clasp the hand of a stranger in need. Maybe even be willing to extent a hand clasp to someone you don’t get along with. Clasp their hand, look them in the eye. To help you do that understand that today and everyday there is a Hand extended out to you, a perfect Hand of perfect love. That Hand is the same hand which we are celebrating that came in the form of a baby’s hand on that first Christmas Day long ago. That Hand extended to you is the Hand of Jesus Christ and He longs for you to clasp it, no matter your current circumstances, no matter your past. If you’ve not watched it yet, have never watched it or maybe just need to watch it again, watch: How the Grinch Stole Christmas. And know I’m extending my hand to you in prayers for the Merriest, Blessed Christmas season.

How Often Do We Worship What We Know?

Electricity, oxygen, orbital mechanics, photosynthesis amongst many other things are all pretty important to our existence. We need oxygen to live but, as important as it is, do we worship it? Where am I going with this? We are a curious creation. We strive to know, seek to understand and there’s nothing wrong with that. Our peril comes when, in our zeal to understand and our arrogance in believing we can understand all things, we minimize and erroneously represent that which we we think we completely grasp but in truth, don’t understand or at least not completely. Now don’t get me wrong, reading God’s word is a needful and great thing to do. It’s when, upon that reading, that we start to categorize this act as; oh, this is this type of grace or that sort of love or maybe the Virgin birth actually happened this was and now I get it, that we’re treading down a dangerous path. God, His methods, His power, His very existence is so different from, so much greater than ours that we can never fathom it. It’s about accepting rather than analyzing, believing versus explaining, having faith in the face of a world who calls us stupid and naïve for doing so is the more effective and accurate way forward. In the Bible it states “peace”, but in truth God’s grace, forgiveness, mercy and above all love all surpass our understanding. My prayer for you this day is that you simply receive in thanksgiving these and all blessings from God accepting Him as God and our place as His beloved creation.

A Season of Peace? Yes! It Sure Can Be

A season of peace? Jesus was very clear there will be wars and rumors of wars. Yep, look no further than to the Taiwan strait or the border of Ukraine. Look at our own discourse, the volume and words we use to battle each other. So can their be any peace? Can we really feel any peace? Jesus was also very clear in what He promises us: YES! But how? What Jesus is clear about is where the peace comes from. It doesn’t come from, can’t come from the state of the world, whether there is a lack of conflict or not. Peace doesn’t come from the Child lying in a manger. No, peace, true peace comes from the One who lives at the all-powerful position of the Right Hand of God. To get to that position, Jesus had to overcome the world. Jesus proclaimed that He is at peace through overcoming the world and He will freely share His peace with us as well. He warns us not to be of the world spiritually, mentally though we may be in the world physically. By abiding in the risen, living Jesus Christ we can be in peace and even find joy regardless of the machinations of the world. Thus don’t let the rumors get you down or make you fearful. Rejoice and be at peace in this season and all seasons to come in He who has overcome the world and promises to do the same for us. Peace be with you.

The Need For and Benefits of Coming Together

It started before COVID. We’ve been battling a very dangerous trend for some time now. That trend is played out in our families and with friends, in businesses, sports teams and even churches, wherever we gather. The trend is that the person beside us is as much a threat as an asset. That interacting with that person next to us carries with it as much, if not more a risk, than any offsetting reward or benefit. To limit our engagement to the most superficial level is the way to be safe and going any deeper will make us sorry. I am a rock. I am an island, as the song goes. So it would be good to remember, Jesus had no such fear and taught and lived that way. For three of His most consequential years, He shared His most intimate space and thoughts, even washing the feet of one who would betray Him, one who would deny Him and all who would desert Him in His hour of most need. He did not see them as threats or risk. He saw them as struggling and in need of His love. For He knew their potential. He knew 11 of them would go on to spread a movement that would be the largest and most consequential movement to ever happen. Jesus also knew that to spread that movement, they would have to work, connect and be TOGETHER! This is meant to be a season to celebrate God’s act of, as well as our actually taking part in the coming together. Don’t let the worldly messages of fear and division hamper or diminish that vision or behavior. May you have a blessed Christmas Season, together.

Let’s Choose to be on the Same Page His Page!

When you awoke this morning a choice had been made for you and about you. God chose you. God chose to love you. God chose to come to you, to be with you whatever your circumstances. So here’s the thing, we also face a choice today and everyday. We can choose to accept God’s love, His presence. We can choose to walk with God wherever our steps may take us. However, we can choose to ignore God. We can choose to reject His presence and blessings and go about our day as if He doesn’t exist. We can see the world, its processes and purposes as the highest goal and resource available. It is a monumental decision with incalculable ramifications. Let’s choose to be on the same page as God. Let’s remember, especially in this season the overwhelmingly vast lengths and sacrifices He makes to save and uplift us. Here’s one other vital thing, you can change your choice at any time. Did you start this day with a worldly focus and view? Stop where you are and change that decision to align with God. And remember and be intentional, it is a decision we must make for ourselves, ever day.

So Just Who’s to Blame?

So just who’s to blame? Somebody else is responsible, right? Someone has to pay, right? The crime seemed clear. Caught in the very act. Blame and justice seemed open and shut. The adulterer needed to die and the crowd was all too ready and eager to carry out the sentence. Enter Jesus Christ. Understand this, Jesus wasn’t saying adultery wasn’t a sin/crime. Jesus wasn’t saying that the woman didn’t commit the crime. What Jesus was uncovering, shining a glaring light on, is just how bad we are at judging. First, some in the crowd might not have known but the whole trial was just a staged incident to test Jesus and the woman was a pawn, who was in the wrong, whose life was to be sacrificed in the execution of that test. Second, Jesus was uncovering the hypocrisy of how fast we jump to judging others with virtually no reflection on our transgressions and how we would hope to be treated should our transgressions come to light. Jesus warned us, whomever blames, should expect to receive blame in return. It’s a downward spiral. How does God handle it; with grace, forgiveness and sending His Son to save us by taking our deserved blame upon himself and paying our price. Can we learn something about blame and blaming from them?

Be in Love to Become a Being of Love

The focus of this current season, Jesus Christ, teaches us that love is all there is because love is all that is needed. All the other striving, fearing, succeeding, failing, judging is worldly chaff in the wind. All creation was created in love to exist in love. Finally and truly understand this, you are never unloved or unlovable. The perfect Creator, Heavenly Father, His salvation bringing Son, Jesus Christ plus the indwelling Holy Spirit, all love you this very minute and always will, with no preconditions, no demands. Their desire is that you would first receive their love which is a love for all seasons, then share that love, starting with yourself and then equally to all others.

Thriving in a “Daily Bread” Kind of Life

I pray for you this day to have a “daily bread” day. By that I mean that you take the time to in prayer to petition our Heavenly Father to give to you this day, your daily bread. Next, upon receiving that daily bread (which will come) from Him, you recognize all the blessed forms in which it comes and find yourself filled with gratitude. Finally, that you realize that the “daily bread” blessing is not a one day, hit or miss sort of blessing. That we would live into the peace and confidence that comes from God’s gracious, overwhelming power and ability to bless us each day with our “daily bread” in amounts we not only need but abundance enough to share if we will just take the time to ask Him. May we commit to live into a “daily bread” kind of life.

Three Verses Capture it All

In three verses in Luke is encapsulated the ultimate human struggle along with the power and mercy of Jesus Christ. In Luke 21:31-33 we have Peter relying on his own strength and power. After Jesus describes what is going to happen to Him in the next few hours, Peter declares he is willing to go to prison or even die with Jesus. Jesus responds that Satan is going to test/tempt Peter and Peter is going to fail and sin. In truth, Peter is going to lie and deny knowing Jesus three times. However, this is not the end. Peter is not forever condemned or banished. Peter will be forgiven when he repents and restored so that he can lead his brethren. Here’s something vital to understand in this situation. Pentecost had not happened so the Holy Spirit had not come to Peter. Also, Jesus had not yet risen in Glory. So Peter relies on himself and can’t overcome Satan. Peter then truly repents and is forgiven and restored by Jesus Christ. The question for you and I, who have the resources of the Holy Spirit and the Risen Jesus Christ is, who are we relying on? If, through the Holy Spirit, we abide in Christ, then Satan is defeated. However, we are imperfect, will sometimes rely on ourselves or some other worldly resource and Satan will use that weakness to attack us in temptation and we will fail. But through the mercy and grace of our Heavenly Father, when we sin, we can repent and return. Because of Christ’s sacrifice we are washed clean, forgiven and restored. We should be overwhelmed by the love and blessing of our Heavenly Father.

What Must I See to Believe?

What am I demanding to see/experience to believe? In scripture, when Stephen was being killed by the mob; he proclaimed that he looked up and saw Jesus standing at the right hand of God. One wonders, did anyone bother to look up to witness what Stephen was seeing or were they so hell bent on destruction that their eyes never left the ground? When John the Baptist saw the Spirit descending on Jesus like a dove and heard the voice of God, was anyone even noticing the One John the Baptist called the Lamb of God? Even Thomas, one of the original, beloved 12; he heard from Mary that Jesus had risen from the grave. Again, Thomas heard from his trusted brethren that they had seen Jesus. Yet Thomas declared unless he, personally saw and touched Jesus’s wounds, he would not believe. What about you and I; are we demanding 6 winning lottery numbers to believe? We must see ourselves or a loved one miraculously healed to believe? We will believe when an enemy is humiliated, destroyed and groveling at our feet? When these things happen then God will be fortunate enough to receive my belief. What are we demanding? Remember, Jesus did come to Thomas, not to destroy him for disbelief but to save him. If what we read in scripture is not enough, if we will just look with open eyes, we will see Christ and He will richly bless our seeing and believing.

It’s Time to Ask THE Question

So ask the question. It’s the start of a new day, a new week etc; so take a moment to ask THE question: Why? Why am I doing this, this moment, this day? Be truthful with yourself understanding the answer is driving your behavior. This isn’t just a rhetorical question where almost any answer will do. There is a correct answer where God is concerned. The answer for this moment and all eternity is: LOVE. Why do this (whatever)? Love is the answer. Does that answer work? Let’s take Jesus Christ as an example. Where is He now? He lives in the greatest place in all of existence; at our Heavenly Father’s Right Hand. Why is He there? How’d He get there? Jesus loves the Father so much that He perfectly carried out the Father’s plan. The Father’s loves Jesus so much that He supported and rewarded Him in fulfilling the plan. Oh and remember, that plan was not about enriching or empowering the Father. No, the perfect plan of love was about saving us, bringing about our salvation. That’s how much They love us. So why, if you’re teacher, preacher, ball player, lawyer, politician, insurance person and on an on to whatever you are doing, are you doing it? Find a way to make that answer, love. Not love of money, power or some other worldly gain; but a love of God, each other and self. The reward for that answer is eternal blessings.

Acknowledgement and Accountability

We’re out and about doing things today. And those things we are doing are going to have consequences and impacts. Naturally as human beings, we’d like to be acknowledged and/or appreciated for our efforts. Yet we live in a world that more actively responds with judgement and desire for punitive accountability. So I want you to consider an affirmative acknowledgement you receive today and in fact, everyday. The One, All Powerful, Creator God acknowledges you personally as His creation and will never disown you. Here’s how God acknowledges you and your efforts. If you do something in and through Him which is based on His leadings, He will declare: “Well done my good and faithful servant”. If however, you fall to temptation and commit sin against Him and/or another, His accountability is NOT to declare you are damned for all time. Additionally, God does not sweep the sin under the rug as if it never happened. NO, instead God says My plan is for My Son, Jesus Christ to take your sin, your accountability upon Himself and to die for it in your place. God declares you are forgiven. So if that is how we’re acknowledged and held accountable by God, how then should we be treating each other? Do we look for ways to acknowledge and appreciate those around us and their efforts? Do we primarily look at others and their actions through critical, judgmental, worldly eyes seeking retribution versus giving forgiveness if something goes awry? One final thing; God has no need, His stature, nor His power is not increased one iota by our acknowledging Him. We however, gain everything we need when we acknowledge Him. I acknowledge these posts can be long and I greatly appreciate you taking the time to make it to the end.

What Does the World Truly Need More of?

What am I striving for today? What does the world need more of? Maybe the world needs another rich entrepreneur in space. Or maybe it needs a dynamic CEO leading their company to record profits. Maybe a scientist with an amazing breakthrough. A record breaking athlete, chart topping singer or box office smashing actor; surely the world needs more of those. Yet as I look around I see people seeking revenge with hatred in their being at the smallest real or perceived slight or insult. I see “accountability” wielded like a sledgehammer to destroy some act of imperfection. Perhaps the world needs forgivers. Perhaps it needs more of those who humbly acknowledge their own imperfections and forgive others their imperfections. I look and I see those terribly damaged and distraught for lack of love. I see those so lost who believe that they will never meet anyone’s conditions for love that they decide to leave this loveless existence altogether. Maybe the world needs those who can love unconditionally. Maybe more of those who love, not seeing the damaged soul of today but the possibility of the restored, love-healed, glorious soul that can become. I look around and see such rampant divisive conflict. In organizations as small as two friends or a family up through nations, the sense that success is about beating any other competing idea, thought or action. Maybe the world could use some peacemakers. Maybe the person whose voice doesn’t raise, whose words are not harsh and accusatory, is what the world could use. Maybe a sense that for one side to win, the other side doesn’t have to lose or be completely destroyed. Lord, as we go through this and each day, give us the strength to focus on seeing through Your eyes the needs of those around us and the desire, energy and talent to do that which helps. That is what the world needs more of.

Enough is Enough?

Enough is Enough? Or, man, If I just had a little more ____________ then I’d be set! One thing seems clear as we look around, if we measure our security, our happiness, and/or our success on the basis of some worldly attainment, enough will never be enough. Now understand I’m not just referring to money, it can be any worldly measurement. Do I have enough of this or that possession, do I have enough education, do I weigh the perfect amount, do I have enough of the right style and on and on is how we can measure our “enoughs”. Even if we think we’ve attained enough, the world will convince us our enough is at risk so I need more incase I lose some enough. Jesus Christ is quite clear; true peace, joy, lasting satisfaction and love will not nor even cannot come from earthly “enoughs”. Why not? Simply because it was not the world who created us. With God as our Creator, who is over all things and with a perfect plan; He will abundantly bring our enough as we need it. God wants us to realize and live into; He is always enough, even more than enough. So let us ask ourselves; where are we looking for our enough today?

What I Do For a Living and How I Do It Can Really Matter

The other day I posted about the concept of “making of living” and the aspect that God is in primary control of how our living is made. Today, I want to approach the idea of the answer to the question: “What do we do FOR A LIVING?” I know the question is about our vocation and I don’t want to be glib. While understanding the context of the question which I often answer instructor, facilitator, sometimes author or narrator, what I wish I always thought of, tried to practice and sometimes answered is “I love”. It would be nice to say I love for a living. That is to say, what I do or at least try to do in all circumstances, what life is truly about is to do, to give love. That’s what Jesus did; even when correcting people, even while suffering, He loved. That’s where His strength came from, His peace, His joy. Through living in Him, we can do and have the same. What do you do for a living today? Do love.

Who Is Actually Making the Living?

MAKING a living? Today many will be extremely focused on “making” ‘a’ living” If we’re brutally honest, the phrase is less than accurate. For it is not some random living or someone else’s living we’re concerned with; I’m focused on making “my” or “our” living. Consequently because making my living is such a primary focus of my time, thought and effort, then I am completely justified in living into the LIFE I’VE MADE, whatever or however I judge that to be. Makes perfect sense. Except in all this living making and made living, where is God? Well because I’m making this life, I decide how much and where to include God. Hmmmm We can easily forget or overlook that God is the Creator of all. Guess what, that includes our vocation. God wants us to focus on Him and what He has created for us, especially including work. Soooo the most accurate focus is living into the life He has created for us and made in love and perfection. That is a living made and to be lived in success through a peaceful, blessed, relationship in Him.

Please Please Don’t Let This Be The End There is Hope You are Loved

Please, Please don’t make this the end. There was a man who was terribly broken. He was shunned and an outcast, hated and feared by his family, friends and entire community. He lived in the most deplorable conditions and things were so bad at times the man did things to hurt himself. Jesus Christ came to that man. Jesus Christ loved that man. Jesus Christ healed and restored that man to a greater life than the man had ever known before. There was a woman, broken by years of a debilitating illness. Not only had the world not cured her but had also taken all her money and told her there was no hope at getting better. Yet she did hope. And with the briefest touch from Jesus Christ she was cured, made completely whole; mind, body and spirit. Jesus Christ stopped and wanted her to know He loved her. If you are desperate today, feel broken, know there is hope. Know you are loved. Jesus Christ will come. Jesus Christ will restore and heal you. Don’t make it the end. Reach out. Reach out to 1 800 273 8255 National Suicide Prevention Hotline. Veterans, additionally there is also an 1 877 VET2VET (877 838 2838). There’s a crisis text number, text hello to 741741. THERE IS HOPE. YOU ARE LOVED. JESUS CHRIST, GOD HIMSELF LOVES YOU AND WILL COME! Please, Please reach out!

Wasn’t In Eden Is Not in Heaven

It wasn’t in Eden and it’s not in Heaven. It seems there is not a tremendous amount of detailed description of the garden of Eden or of Heaven in scripture. However, in what is described it seems to me that there is a thing that is not there…….money. Think of it for a moment, no money in the two places we equate with a perfect existence. That would seem to indicate that as a concept and a physical entity it only exists in this world realm. So why has it attained such an overarching focus for us? The most talented actors, athletes, the most successful business people are measured by the amount of their income. Political campaigns are often deemed viable and/or winning prior to voting primarily on the basis of the contributions received. Sadly even our churches can fall into the trap of measuring faith based on the fullness of collection plates. Christ knew about money. Christ used money to teach us. Christ was not about the destruction of money but rather relegating it to its proper minor relevance in the process of living. Think about the wondrous sunset, the loving smile or hug from a loved one or friend, the salvation from Christ, all freely given. If indeed God placed no money in Eden and finds no use for it in Heaven, what importance are we going to place on it and what is the cost of that importance in the here and now?

Power and Blessings That Come From Embracing It

Joseph and Jonah and the concept of embracing it. Our Heavenly Father gives us things to do. He is very intentional in His plans. So what are we to do with the tasks He gives us? We can be like Jonah. We can try to say no, try to run from it. We can be fearful of it. We can be bitter about it and its outcome. We can be pretty miserable about it. Orrrr we can be life Joseph. We might not understand it, but in faith we can embrace it. We can be patient with it as it unfolds. We can look to God for strength when it gets tough (family hatred, jailed for false accusation, even threats to your life). We can humbly give God the praise when we are blessed by it and its success. Like Joseph and Jonah, God may have already given us, we may be currently working through receiving or will receive someday soon something, an “it” to be accomplished. We need to embrace it in faith knowing God would not give it to us without blessing us with its execution and result.

Considering the Father/Child Relationship

Our HEAVENLY Father In thinking about the concept, perhaps there is value in contemplating the Heaven aspect of God the Father. You see we live in a “we can be anything, do anything” kind of messaging world. If we’re not careful, we can inflate the nature of our relationship with God. We can see it comparable with an earthly father relationship where the father may love and care, have the best of intentions but can be in error about situations and whose advice need not always be followed. As an earthly father I can sure attest to being wrong. But using that comparison to our Heavenly Father is completely erroneous. This is the Creator of all things, Knower of all things, omnipotent, omniscient. God decides what type of relationship to have with His creation and in Grace and Mercy, He has decided to have a loving paternal relationship. He feels so strongly about the value of that relationship that He sent His only begotten Son to save us and that relationship. We will never attain a level where we will rightly judge whether His guidance is correct or not, or worthy to be followed. Let us be humbly grateful as children of our Heavenly Father, for the relationship He wants and the love and blessings that come with it.

To Plan is Not a Sin

To plan is not a sin. Yes Jesus extolled us to focus on this day and not worry about tomorrow. Yet He did and taught things that He planned for the disciples to use in their future. Though as we plan, there is one question plus one realization we need foremost in out thoughts. The question is: Where is Jesus in my plan? I need to see Jesus and include Him and His influence; whether it be a job promotion, a family vacation or even this weekend’s golf round, if I want there to be a chance of true success. The realization I need to have is God’s plans are always perfect and my plans never are. Thus if the outcome of my plan is close to what I desired, praise God. If the outcome of my plan is wildly different than I envisioned, praise God. For His plan is perfect and mine wasn’t. So if taking some time to plan today, three things. First, don’t be so focused on the future that you miss God’s blessings for today. Second include Jesus Christ; His teachings and perspective in your plan. Finally, whatever the eventual out come, execute your plan in faith and thanksgiving, realizing that God who loves you perfectly also has His perfect plan for you as well.

The World Wants You to Choose

Wow there’s a whole lot going on right now, everywhere we turn. Masks, vaccines, politics, January 6th, sports; and the world is asking us to choose; to JUDGE, are you a this or a that. To pronounce a judgement; if you are or believe this then you are right, if you believe this than you’re wrong. Then from somewhere a voice echoes a commandment “Judge not lest ye be judged”. A commandment from Jesus Christ. Jesus is warning us; to go down that path of judging others with our imperfect intellect and questionalbe judgement leaves us open to the very same judgement against us that we are making against others. What to do instead? Jesus Christ is clear; LOVE! Christ tells us to leave the judging to Him and His/Our Heavenly Father who, indeed, will judge and are perfect at it. Today let us drop the stones of judgement we have in our hands before we carelessly sling them at others. Let the love of Christ guide us as we await His perfect judgement.

The One-Way Flow of Forgiveness

Something to think about. When Jesus hung on the cross, one of His last acts was to forgive and ask that His All Powerful Heavenly Father, not destroy but forgive those who were crucifying Him. Here’s what we need to understand; those Jewish leaders who had condemned Him, those Roman soldiers who were carrying out the act, in no way shape or form would have admitted that they were in any need of and/or accepted Jesus’s forgiveness. Forgiving can be hard, very hard. But we have to understand the primarily one-way nature of it. We sometimes feel we can only forgive once those who “wronged” us admit their misdeed, repent and desire our forgiveness. That’s not how Jesus Christ forgives or desires we forgive. Forgiveness is solely (and souly) in the purview and discretion of the forgiver. Forgiveness requires no prerequisite action be taken by the object of the forgiveness! Then why the heck do it!? To forgive, truly forgive is to bring peace to the soul, to shine the light of love and Christ into the darkness of divisiveness. Forgiveness allows the overcoming and removal of the destructive energies of resentment, bitterness and hatred. Finally, to forgive like Christ requires us to be in Christ. It is only through Him and His power that we can find the strength to forgive in all circumstances and bring healing to our fractured world and lives.

A Much Needed Spreader; Even Super Spreader Event

Love and faith have something greatly in common with fertilizer. Neither does any good if they just stay in their original container. But like fertilizer, if you spread faith and love around then amazing things can grow, flourish and/or be restored. One huge difference is that, unlike fertilizer, you can never spread too much love and faith around. So today, be a spreader, maybe even a super-spreader of love and faith and watch the blessed growth that comes from it.

It Doesn’t Matter. Only Love Matters!

“It” doesn’t matter. Only love matters. Note: This is a family friendly post 😀 There is a lot of “it” around these days. It may be personal; like an illness, job related, family or relationship, maybe mechanical things are breaking like a car or stuff, like I said a lot of “it”. The “it” may be societal dealing with the pandemic, race, gender, bigotry, and/or politically related. The “it” may have you stressed, angry fearful and/or depressed. Well I’m here to propose to you that: “It” doesn’t matter. Oh, you say it must be nice to be in a place where there’s no “it”. Trust me, that’s not the case. I’ve got “it” to spare. But let’s take a look at Jesus for a moment. He most certainly came in a time of and faced great “it”. He was persecuted, threatened and hated. In his times diseases like leprosy ran rampant and many more illnesses/injuries led to fatalities than today. The world He created didn’t understand or accept Him. One good friend denied even knowing Him multiple times and another betrayed Him. Did Jesus let the worldly “it” get to Him? Mind you, He didn’t wipe “it” out for Himself, “it” kept coming. But Jesus’s response was (and is) love, to be and show love. He forgave those who hated, denied and even crucified Him. On the very darkest night of His life, He protected and healed one of His attackers. He healed all who came to Him, even a hated Roman’s servant. In essence He said and lived, the world may throw “it” at you, but you don’t need to throw “it” back in return. He implored us to be like His Father who saw a world up to its mountain tops deep in “it”, not listening to or considering Him at all. Yet, instead of abandoning or destroying the world or at least the people, in love, He sent His Son to wallow in “it” along with us, to ultimately die for us, saving us so that we might be raised above and not be stuck in “it”. God comforts us by telling us that, although the world might fling much “it” at us, His love is the barrier that keeps any of “it” from sticking to us. In short, “it” happens; but, through the grace of God’s freely given love, “it” doesn’t matter. “It” will probably happen this week. Let us respond by living constantly into and by our Heavenly Father’s love, that the “it” truly will not matter. Also let’s freely share that love. Thus we will help be the proof that it is love and not “it”, that truly matters.

Is Out of My Control the Same As There Being No Control At All?

Something for us to perhaps consider. We use the phrase “it’s out of our control” and it’s accurate for us to do so. What’s not accurate is for us to conclude that because we can’t control it (whatever “it” is) then it’s uncontrollable; that there is a certain randomness to the universe. Jesus Christ is very clear we don’t serve a “let’s see what happens, whatever will be will be, roll the dice, crap shot” kind of God. God created this universe down to the molecular level. It’s not randomness at all; it’s competing wills and plans. God’s plan vs. the world’s plan. God’s plan is about justice, generosity and peace. The world’s plan is about corruption, greed and chaos. God’s plan is about truth and love. The world’s plan is about lies and hate. God’s plan is about our salvation based on the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The world’s plan is about our destruction hoping that we will reject God’s plan. Randomness? Doesn’t really happen. Things out of my control; most certainly. Yet there are greater more powerful plans and controls in play. The question for us is whose plan will we live into? Whose control do we believe has more power, has more achievability? Both plans have daily and eternal consequences; please choose carefully. Through prayer and faith, the decision is a clear one.

STBY vs SAIHFY Beware the STBY Mindset

STBY vs SAIHY Beware the STBY way of being. Jesus is quite clear. He says live for today and let the “troubles” of today be enough. He also states: “In this life you will have tribulation….” Thus unfortunate things are going to happen. Sometimes those things are through no fault of our own, sometimes we help bring those things about. The question is; when it happens to others, what’s our response? Beware the it “Stinks (or other s word) To Be You” or STBY response. That response denotes an acknowledgement of the situation only. There is nothing in the STBY response that overtly communicates a caring about or a desire to help the person recover. Conversely, it often communicates, the most you can expect from me is a tacit acknowledgment of the negative aspect of your situation. However, when unfortunate things happen to those with that mindset, they greatly desire more than just an acknowledgement; they want significant assistance, which they quite often don’t receive. STBY can be a very isolating way to be. Instead let our response be it Stinks And I’m Here For You or SAIHFY. SAIHFY starts by acknowledging the situation but then adds the support. It communicates a caring and level of relationship. It states that I’m a resource for you. A SAIHFY mindset makes reciprocal actions by others in our time of need much more likely. Today, to someone we know, there may be something unfortunate that will happen. Will our response be more STBY or SAIHFY?

The Opposite of Anger is not Passivity

Understand the opposite of anger is not passivity. We read, see and hear about a lot of anger these days; anger at the election, at the capital storming, at police shootings, at the vaccine rollout just to name a few. Indeed this has been called the “Age of Rage”. Be we need to stop and reflect; we need to look in the mirror and not act until we’ve asked AND ANSWERED these questions. When was the last time we felt really good about something we did, said, and/or thought while in a state of high anger or rage? How many times have we regretted or wished we hadn’t acted while in those states? Finally how often have our angry acts led to the outcomes we truly wished were going to happen? It would be wise to heed the warning from the Book of Proverbs: “An angry person stirs up much conflict and a hot-tempered person commits many sins”. So…..I should just sit back and take it? Heavens NO! We can be passionate without being destructive. We can be devoted to improvement without blinded by hatred. We should look to, indeed we must be willing to act to overcome these faults, injustices and problems. It is the state of our mind with which we undertake these actions which will be the primary determinant as to whether the actions will lead to a greater good for all or a downward spiraling destruction to both the target of our anger as well as ourselves.

Take a Deep Breath

Take a deep Breath. Feel Angry? Anxious? Frustrated? Despondent? Take another deep breath…..let it out slowly. Conversations are happening and will happen in the near future. Which ever “side” you may be on, what we need right now is leadership. We need you and I to be leaders. A leader stays calm instead of fomenting chaos. A leader can keep their good humor when those around are angry. A leader listens instead of demanding to be heard. A leader looks for the common good versus hoping for divisive gain. We need leaders at all levels; in families, work teams, friends groups, churches, wherever people gather. Wherever you are; be that leader. That sort of leadership will bring us to a better day.

Do We Agree To Disagree or Disagree to Disagree?

Agree to disagree? We absolutely have disagreements. Perhaps we explore them through interaction, perhaps discussion. At some point in that interaction, we may come to a realization that neither of us are going to change our position. Thus, we may decide to “agree to disagree”. But do we? Do we agree? Or, do we disagree to disagree? Agree to disagree says; on this one topic we may be at an impasse but that impasse has no effect whatsoever on any other aspect of our relationship or other interactions. Disagree to disagree says your disagreeable opinion fundamentally impacts how I see AND JUDGE you and will negatively effect some if not most future interactions; that is until you come to your senses and agree with me. Paul and Peter had a serious fundamental disagreement. Yet in Paul’s subsequent writings and discussions about giving to the believers in Jerusalem, he never disparaged Peter. Nor do we read where Peter ever demonized Paul due to their disagreement. Christ knew His disciples at times didn’t understand and even disagreed with what He was doing but Christ didn’t reject or stop loving them. It takes a certain amount of humility and unconditional, agape love that says my opinion or belief is not so self important that I can’t respect and truly love someone who thinks or believes differently. So today we’ll probably disagree with someone about something and perhaps we won’t be able to reach agreement. What we need to really ask ourselves is how do we treat that person in our next interaction? How diminished are they in our eyes because they don’t agree with me? How disagreeable do I want to be to them? Can I really afford to cast away from me all who won’t share my point of view? And OBTW should you disagree with me on this, that’s perfectly acceptable!

The Secret Which is Not and Should Never Be A Secret

What is the secret? So often we hear the question asked: What is the secret to…..? Often the object of the question is a happy family, good marriage, perhaps a fulfilling life. Sometimes it’s about what it takes for a successful organization like a church or school. It seems to me there is one foundational, required answer; one have to have ingredient. It is well articulated in the clip below and even more so in 1 Corinthians 13:4. Love, Love lifts us up, binds us together and brings us through any and every storm. Also and finally, it should not be or kept as a secret. Jesus Christ made sure to proclaim it as His reason for being and we should as well

Serenity (10/10) Movie CLIP – Love (2006) HD – YouTube

Solo or Symphony Which Has the Greater Impact?

Consider this; when all we do is toot our own horn or just listen to the music we make, the most we’ll hear is a solo. The problem with that is solos don’t pass the test of time. What people remember longer, what makes the greater impression are the symphonies. It is the harmonious blending of many distinct, sometimes very different voices or sounds which create the greatest, lasting impact. So yes, your instrument is important, so is mine and so is there’s. Thus today, let us strive to participate in the music of life; playing our horn with unabashed joy. But let us also find the joy and love that comes from blending our sound together with others to produce a lasting symphony of peace that all can enjoy from now to the end of time.

Being Part of the Plan is a Blessing

As we contemplate and celebrate this season, it is correct for us to focus on the gift of the Person of Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father’s gift/plan of our redemption. Additionally, let us not forget how the Father decided to include His creation, that is us, in execution of His plan. There were vital human roles, Mary and Joseph, for example. There were significant roles, Elizabeth and Zachariah, the parents of John the Baptist. There were singular roles such as the owner of the stable who allowed its use for our Savior’s birth. There were even unknowing roles. When Caesar Augustus decreed a census which caused Mary and Joseph to travel to Bethlehem, he had no inkling that he was playing a necessary role in the fulfillment of Divine prophecy. God still uses us in His plans today. Are we searching and open for seeing how God wants to use us? Do we count it as a blessing that God includes us in the fulfillment of His perfect plans? Do we understand the Power of God which can even cause our enemies to take actions which ultimately bless us as God’s plans are revealed? As it was then it is now and always will be; God loves you individually. He has a perfect plan for you. God will allow nothing to thwart that plan. May we all see His plan and our part in it as a most blessed Christmas gift this season.

Remembering to Take the Time to be Thankful

Taking the time to be Thankful. In Luke we read about 10 lepers. Now those were desperate people in a desperate time. The nation of Israel was occupied, burdened by harsh edicts and high taxes from Rome. Even in better times, lepers would have been shunned due to nature of their affliction. Now their plight was even worse. The lepers saw Jesus passing and in their torment called out to Jesus to have mercy on them and heal them. Jesus heard them. For a leper to be considered healed and be able to return to society a priest had to declare them “clean”. So Jesus commands the 10 to “go and show yourselves to the priest”. Jesus knew that, as they walked to the priest, they would be miraculously healed; which they were. Seeing that he and all nine of his companions were healed, only one returned to give thanks to God for the healing, falling at Jesus’s feet with praise and thanksgiving. Jesus in turn asked: “Weren’t 10 healed? Where are the other nine?”. Today times are desperate; a pandemic rages around the globe. Many find their lives and lively hoods cast into disarray. Some are caught up in the division that has gripped the country. Whatever is plaguing you, in faith cry out to Jesus Christ for He is near. He will hear and pour out His love and grace on you. When that happens you might be tempted to go your way, thrilled with the positive outcome. But don’t forget Thanksgiving. Don’t forget by whose power you are transformed. In the faithful Thanksgiving we are showing others who we belong to, believe in, as well as preparing ourselves to go forth with renewed strength in the presence of Him who will never leave our side through all trials to come. Praying you have a happy and safe Thanksgiving.

To Everything There is a Season Thus Don’t Get Caught Up in the Cycles

In the Book of Ecclesiastes, the inspired Solomon declares: “To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under Heaven,”. (Ecclesiastes 3:1) Solomon goes on to list some examples but it is not an all encompassing list. He’s reminding us that this life is full of cycles and none of these “worldly” cycles is never ending. So if we looked at today; there is a cycle of sickness and there will be a cycle of healing. There is a cycle of one type of leadership but there will be a cycle of another type. It is the way of the world. However, later in Ecclesiastes Solomon makes the point and Jesus Christ also teaches very clearly that there are some Eternal things which are not cyclical; that do not change. There is not a cycle where God is not on His throne, where He gives His power to another. There is not a cycle where God withholds His love and caring from you. There is not a season where salvation is withheld from you. Thus, our goal is to not get caught up in living in the worldly seasons as if they are the unchanging way of forever. If you are in a time of ease and earthly prosperity that is fine, but don’t put your faith in that wealth and comfort for the world can easily take it away. Conversely, if you are in a season of turbulence and tribulation understand that is not how it will be forever; peace and calm will come. Instead, our goal should be to live in to the boundless, never changing, ever present Love of our Heavenly Father, whose mercy, power and grace will turn any season/cycle into a harvest of blessings from His love and for His Name’s sake. OBTW, if you’ve not heard it before, the Ecclesiastes passage makes a great oldies song titled Turn Turn Turn.

How Can We Love in a World So Full of Hate?

How can you and I be expected to or hope to walk around with love in our hearts when there is so much hate out there and some of it directed toward us? That hate comes from all over; entire countries, seemingly millions within our own country, our own community and even from our own family and closest friends. That is the now and eternal question. The answer lies in remembering that God loves our world so much that He sent Jesus and Jesus loves us so much He came down to save us even though practically the entire world had rejected them. Jesus’s community hated Him so much that they not only wanted Him dead but took actual actions to kill Him. Yet, on the cross Jesus loved them enough to forgive them. On the very night He was betrayed by one of His very close companions, knowing it was going to happen, Jesus loved Judas enough to wash His feet. Here’s the thing, we’re not Jesus Christ. That means on our own we can’t love like Jesus does. We have to first be in Christ to then have the love of Christ for ourselves and for others. How do you and I walk around today with love in our hearts for all? First, we walk in and with Jesus Christ and allow the love of Christ to flow in and through us to all we interact with.

In Times Like These Where Can I Turn?

There was a man who was troubled. His life was so full of anguish that he was totally shunned. His anguish caused him to hurt others as well as himself. Jesus came to him. In the presence of Jesus, this man was healed. His anguish fleeing, He became whole and even a teacher to others. (Matthew 8) This woman was hurting, physically and spiritually. Having suffered for so long, banking on the world’s remedies, her pain remained. She sought Jesus out and with the briefest of His touch, she was restored whole and praised by our Savior for her faith. (Matthew 9) Two witnesses were completing their God given task. For days the bore witness, were humble and righteous and the world hated them and wished/acted to destroy them. Yet God stood with them and gave them power and protection and the world could not harm them. (Revelation 11) These past hours and days, I have heard and read many anguished cries. I have heard and read about those who feel abandoned by friends and their country, they feel sick and weary in their very being. They even feel at risk for their very safety and life. In the world they find no relief or comfort. With words or ideas of the world I have no comfort to share. However, the world is not the only or even best place to turn. Ask and Jesus Christ will come to you. His power will protect you against any and all the world can bring against you. Christ will heal your body, mind and spirit. Also, Jesus will never abandon you or forsake you for some other way or cause. His promise is sure. His promise is eternal. Ask and Christ will come, in fact even now, He is right here waiting for you to turn to Him. Don’t delay. There is nothing He won’t do, including dying to save you, to bring you into His peace.

What Are My Post Election Plans?

So what are you and I waking up to? What are our plans if we know enough results to have plans? Are we joyous? Are we depressed? Are we planning our gloating parties? Are we planning our revenge or subversion plots? Orrrr Are we remembering that Jesus proclaimed: “Blessed are the peacemakers!”? Are we remembering, Jesus’s warning about becoming angry is a pathway to ruin? Are we remembering that no true power has changed with whatever result we’ve had? There is One True Power and that has, is now and will always in the future, rest with our Heavenly Father. Salvation will not come nor will not be thwarted by the election results. Be calm and confident today because God’s Power reigns supreme. No matter what, we are loved by the most High just as we are. Being that we are accepted, just as we are by Christ and our Heavenly Father, can we not strive to do the same with others; even those who might have voted a different way? Let us pray for peace, for calm, for love. Let us pray thanksgiving for the love that comes from our Heavenly Father, as well a pray for the power to spread that love to all regardless of the political sign in their yard.

I Predict ……..But Should I Really Be Predicting?

I predict……..nothing good seems to be the mantra of our world today. So I’m flipping around news channels, looking through online media and social media, even listening to the bloggersphere and something becomes startling clear. We predict. We predict A LOT! Additionally the vast majority of our predictions concern dire, catastrophic, disastrous outcomes, both short and long term. We will lose all our rights no matter which candidate wins according to their predictions about the other. Doesn’t matter because of the asteroid predicted to hit today (hey its 2020 after all 🙃). COVID and climate change predictions, I even heard predictions about a hurricane that is moving into Central America; however, Some, A FEW computer predictions SUGGEST it could later turn toward us. WOW! We are bombarded by this, from every corner at almost all times. Is it any wonder that we hear about, not predictions, but actual current levels of increased stress and self destructive behavior including, tragically, suicide? It’s as if we look at and live into these predictions not as some vague potential possibilities, but as definite, disastrous, certain facts. Jesus is clear. It’s not about predicting positive things and/or rosy outcomes. No, it’s about being humble enough not to predict in the first place. It’s about being humble enough to live into where we have some modicum of control, today. Also, being humble and faithful enough to realize there is One who is greater and does have control over all future days, regardless of our predictions; Our Heavenly Father. Let’s minimize the trust and faith we put in other’s, human predictions. Let’s not add to the cacophony of predictions by interjection our own. There are blessings and love coming to you today from our Heavenly Father. Yes the world will try to bring challenges and problems today as well. I believe through Christ; you, today will triumph over the world. As for tomorrow? Well I’ll leave that to Him who doesn’t need any predictions but already knows.

What Should Our Response Be to the Election Results?

This is an apolitical or universally political post; it applies to all. If you read in some leaning toward one position/candidate; that is your perception, not my intent. I write this today so we might contemplate our reaction ahead of next week’s (or how ever long it takes) results. First, there is only One Savior and that doesn’t change next week. Jesus is clear in Mark 10:18, there is only one who is good and that is God. The winner next week never has been, isn’t nor will ever become a or your savior. DO NOT put that expectation/responsibility/faith on them. Additionally, how should we respond to the other side whether we win or not; take up arms, plan our revenge? In some other post we can consider the wisdom of, but what if you see the opposing side as your enemy. Jesus, our true Savior, our Ultimate Commander; warns us, there is only one appropriate response. LOVE! Really? Yes, Jesus teaches us; we are to love our enemies. Can we be ready to do that? Finally, your side loses. You look out and perhaps find yourself despondent, fearful and depressed. Why? Next week God will be on His throne just as He is today. Both and Old Testament are crystal clear; evil doesn’t win. Evil will never be triumphant. So if you’ve put your faith in anything/one other than God; stop and return your faith to the One and Only One who truly deserves it. Take a deep breath; pray for peace and may the Spirit of God and His peace and joy guide and sustain you through this time. Also, if you haven’t done so, vote.

Lucky or Planned? How to Feel Upon Waking Up This Morning

Am I lucky? With so many health risks happening today with dire consequences, I’ve seen a lot out there about the idea suggested in saying: “If I wake up today, I should feel lucky”. Lucky? Lucky to be alive? While being alive is a positive thing I absolutely grant, is it really based on a mere strike of good fortune or a random set of circumstances? I believe that I, and you as well, are meant to have awakened this morning. Our Heavenly Father has a grand plan which is so detailed as to encompass every individual, that’s you and I, each day. Think if it, the God of all creation wants and causes you to be alive today. Being a God of love, that means that you will be loved today, at least by Him, which is not very least. He cares enough about you to include you in His plan. How should we react to being alive in and for His plan today? We should live into His plan today. Living into God and His plan means living into unconditional love, service to others, both receiving from Him as well as being a blessing to others. Some day, according to God’s perfect plan, our sleeping and waking will cease as we transition to our eternal life with Him in His Kingdom. But today, I’m more than lucky, I’m planned to be here by God and I am thankful for that. OBTW you’re planned to be alive today by God as well and I’m thankful for that too.

WIIF? How to Consider the “M” in WIIFM

WIFF? Many of you probably recognize this as the partial acronym for What’s In It For… and I purposely replaced the last letter with a ? because I think there can be a huge concern with that letter. For as you know, that “M” stands for Me. I need to admit, as an instructor of leadership and motivational processes/concepts, I very well could be a significant part of the problem. For I’ve taught that humans need and good leaders provide a WIIFM for things that are being asked to be accomplished. The challenge is that the larger the “M” becomes for the individual, the more self centered and consumed they may become. The M can get so significant that I won’t comply with your orders Mr. Authority because there is no WIIFM. Wear a mask? Socially distance? Shut down or limit my establishment, limit in person schools? Those are all anti-WIIFMs so how dare you tell me that I have to do that! Perchance it would be good for little “m”, me to remember that there is an ultimate “M”E for all of us in Jesus Christ (I know you’re thinking there’s no spellcheck that allows “me” in Jesus Christ 😁) When Jesus tells us in John: “For apart from Me, you can do nothing”; that is the ultimate M and the ultimate WIIFM. What’s that “M” all about? It’s about selfless service, giving, forgiving, righteousness and most importantly, love. What’s in it for me(us); joy, a peace that surpasses all understanding, along with salvation and countless other personal and societal blessings. Today we may find ourselves asking WIIFM multiple times. Let’s take a moment to ask ourselves about the size of and who is represented by the “M” in our answer.

Take, Exchange or Give; What Should Our Actions Be?

Take, Exchange or Give? It would seem that there are three types, if not people then at least interactions. There are the takers, the barterers or the givers. The takers take, seeking whatever gain they can get from most interactions. Sometimes they take with the specific intention of gain and sometimes it is without any contemplation concerning their actions. The barterers will give but only with the clearly stated and agreed to understanding that there will be an equal exchange of “gifts/actions” of equal value. Then there are the givers. They see or hear about a need and freely give to meet that need; whether it is money, time and/or even love, with little to no thought of anything in return. It is easy to see the type Jesus Christ is. For He gave up, for a time, His perfect existence in heaven to come down to earth and give everything, including His Life for us and our salvation. His gift was freely given. He would like us to follow His example. Yet the world floods us with messages about go out and TAKE all you can from this life. So the question is, as we go forth, which will we be? Will we look to take and gain from every situation, everyone we meet, oblivious to their needs? Will we base our action of giving on a guaranteed or at least expected “gift” of substance and/or glory/recognition in return? Or will we go forth, at least open to if not actively seeking those in need and meet those needs without thoughts of reward or glory in return? Finally Jesus makes one more promise. Our Heavenly Father sees our giving and it is more blessed by Him to give than take.

Jesus Christ is Emphatic and Clear What Our Response to Tragic News Should be About Another Human Being Whether Friend or Foe.

What would Jesus Christ expect of us in this moment? Jesus Christ tells us exceedingly clearly what our mindset and actions should be. Whether we are an avid supporter or vehement despiser, Christ is clear; we should be praying, we should be loving! In one of His most powerful sermons/teachings, the sermon on the mount, Christ instructs us: “But I tell you love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”, Matthew 5-44. There you have it, like or dislike, prayer and love are the answer, the only answer. Christ has spoken. Thus, let us pray, thus let us love and allow the Power of Christ and our Almighty Father in Heaven to rain down and rein over us and through us to this fractured world.

Is Winner vs. Loser the Proper Perspective Concerning Our Interactions?

Question for today: If I change my mind, does that make me a loser? Or asked in another way: If I can get you to change your mind on something, did I beat you? Am I the winner? Let’s consider our interactions with others; strangers, friends, colleagues, family members, etc.; how often are they zero sum games? Those would be interactions where I must win by getting you to see my way but I can’t/won’t even entertain your point of view except to argue against it. If that is our primary approach to things; if we believe and behave in that way and believe others have the same approach, then of course our interactions are going to be contentious if not outright knock down drag out. How did we get here? I don’t worry about what’s best, most accurate as long as I’m able to say I won? Can’t we start by humbly asking ourselves is it really “my” idea? Didn’t some aspect of the idea come from someone else? If that’s the case; isn’t it possible that the addition of another perspective might make the idea even better? Or are we stuck with; I want you to openly consider my point of view but in doing so risk being seen as a loser, which is something I will not do concerning your point of view? Sounds fractured, frustrating and disastrous to me. If that’s where we are or where we’re headed, Lord please turn us around. Consider your interactions today; are you hoping to make someone a loser? Are you so sure that perspective is a sustainable winning run in the long run?

The Need for the Power of Christ – An Analogy of a Coffee Maker

If you’ll indulge me as I use a flawed analogy to make my point. There’s this dark elixir that some of us enjoy, even swear by (or swear at if it’s absent) called coffee. Now whether it’s produced at home or purchased from an establishment, it will ultimately come from some sort of a coffee maker. Now let’s say (here’s the bearing with me part) that a particular coffee maker believes it is the best, most productive coffee maker there is. Regardless of that belief the coffee maker can do nothing until it’s connected to some type of power source. Without the flow of electricity going to it, the value of the coffee maker is greatly diminished. You and I aren’t coffee makers, I know. As I type we’re out being and doing and perhaps believing we’re doing great things. So here’s the thing, Jesus Christ tells us explicitly: “Apart from Me you can do nothing”. Thus in all our doing, being, thinking and producing, if the power we’re relying on comes from somewhere else other than from Christ, if we’re not connected to Him, it is for nothing. Oh the world might rate it great, fantastic, even wondrous, but it won’t last. How do we know if we’re using power derived from Jesus Christ? The power will come and be used in service, justice, righteousness and most importantly, love. That power lasts forever. Today let’s be plugged into Christ, letting His Power flow to us and through us to bless a world so in need of it. (OBTW the analogy works for tea too).

A New School Year Prayer

It has been, is and will be that time of year for school to start in some fashion thus: Our Most Gracious Heavenly Father, You have stated and we proclaim, You are the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. Yet we also believe You are the God of all things in between. Thus we pray for You to be with us at the beginning, throughout this school year until its end, protecting body mind and spirit. Give Your Angels charge to surround all associated with the schools and accompanying homes that the scourge of COVID 19 will not stricken staff, parents/care givers nor the darling children themselves. Bless all participants whether faculty, guardians or students with a common mind and mindset toward openness to learning and cooperation regardless of the mode of instruction or place of learning. Pour out upon all Your Spirit of patience, grace, forgiveness and most importantly love, that all might see the efforts of all as a blessed offering of the gift of learning. That instead of stress and division this would be a time of togetherness and fellowship in name of educating our blessed children in Your Holy Name. In the Name of Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.

A Child of God….But for How Long? 

A child of God…but for how long? In the Gospels, Jesus is clear when He declares that whoever does not receive the Kingdom as a child, will not enter it. That is, like a child, we must be humble and acknowledge, have faith in and love our Father in Heaven. We must acknowledge that He is greater and rely on Him. Okay, you might ask, but when do we become an adult of God? For here in the world we may love and respect our parents; but there’s also a time when we “progress” and consider ourselves their equal. We may respect that they have an opinion or advice but we feel competent enough to reject their advice for our own plan. We may no longer rely on them anymore and in fact, they may come to rely on us. Jesus makes it clear, there is not a similar progression in our relationship with the Father. When Jesus laments over Jerusalem, saying how often he wanted to protect them as a mother gathers and protects her chicks, He is showing that we are always to be children of God. Should we come to a place in our faith journey where we say; “God I hear you but I’m wise and experienced enough to know a different way so that’s what I’m going to do. Or we tell God: “Thanks but no thanks, I got this and don’t need your help anymore”. We will find ourselves in a place of great peril and destruction. We may tell ourselves that we’d never say those things to God; but are we living in a way that states those very things? Rejoice, for there is never a time that we are not a child of God. Rejoice that our Heavenly Father never wants us to leave His presence and strike out on our own, relying only on ourselves. Jesus Christ proclaims that there is eternal peace, joy and blessings in becoming and staying a child of God. Let us rejoice as brothers and sisters of equality, living in the eternal Light of our Heavenly Father’s love.

What’s in Our Hands?

Many to most believers know the story of the judgmental crowd. How they brought a woman caught in the act of adultery and wanted to see if Jesus would condemn her to death in which case they were more than ready to cast the stones of judgement against her. Yet Jesus didn’t condemn her but called out those who brought her before Him for their faithless act. For they didn’t care about the sin as much as they hoped to trap Jesus in act which would bring about His downfall. They were willing to take a life for their petty agenda. Yet understand this; Jesus was not condoning or excusing adultery. He was clear it is a sin which should not happen. One wonders what happened to the stone throwers after this incident? Did they learn anything? Were their hearts changed or were they just as quick to grab a stone, make an erroneous judgement the next time an offense became known. Today, let us look down at our right and left hands: are they holding stones of judgement, self-righteousness, anger and intolerance? Do we hope and even pray that “those people” get punished for what they are doing and heap thoughts and words of condemnation upon them? As we kneel to pray for their destruction, do we feel the pain and realization of our own sins which we are kneeling upon and should be poking our consciousness and spirit to the Jesus Christ way of mercy and forgiveness? We have no right and it is not right to fill our hands with stones of judgement. Instead let us empty our hands so that we can reach out in love to hold and guide the hands of the hurting to the Grace and Love of Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father.

My Plan was  a Success Thank God! My Plan wasn’t a Success Thank God?

So, I plan to x next week. From what I can tell from the Bible, making plans is not a sin. In fact, there are several references in the book of Proverbs concerning the wise process for making plans. What Jesus warns us about is to what extent do we rely, worry, become frustrated or question our faith based on the timing and/or execution of our plans. When Jesus references a hair on our head or a single sparrow, He is revealing both the detail of as well as the infinite perfect wisdom contained in our Heavenly Father’s plan for each of us. So I have this plan for next week. I’ve prayed about it and want it to happen as I’ve set it out. Yet what if today, some aspect of weather, coronavirus, some key person or circumstance seems to be thwarting or at the very least jeopardizing the fulfillment of the plan; do I start to worry? Do I become frustrated and fixated on that future plan ignoring the day in front of me and the blessings it holds? Next week, the plan happens very close to how I wanted it to; thank God. Next week the plan doesn’t happen at all; thank God? YES, especially THANK GOD! It wasn’t supposed to happen, at least not then or perhaps ever. Let us be humble, realizing no human devised plan, no matter how inspired or prayed over is perfect. Let us also be awe inspired and grateful that not only is God’s plan perfect but His execution of His plan is perfect as well. So plan. Go plan and commit those plans to God. Then, be at peace knowing the outcome is in His Hands and those same Hands will never fail you or cease from holding you.

The Lesson for Today’s Time In the Story of the Prodigal

The prodigal situation. You have the younger son who rejects the life of his father and leaves home. However, he does not leave empty handed. No, the younger son believes he is entitled to a share from the father which he demands. The father grants the son’s request and off the the son goes. The older son stays. To a certain extent he stays faithful and obedient, at least on the outside, to the father. It is clear that the father loves them both. It is clear the father loves them both equally. Our human/worldly concept of fairness says the father is wrong. The father is requiring no accountability of the younger son upon the son’s return. Earthly father’s might well have required the son to be a servant to prove his worthiness to return to the status of a full fledged family member. Yes, but wasn’t the older son misused? What does the father say? The father replies to the older son’s complaint that he knows the son has stayed faithful and: EVERYTHING I HAVE IS YOURS! One wonders if the reason the older son never had the celebration with his friends he wanted was he simply never asked for it? Additionally could it be the older brother had lost love for his younger brother? Had the other brother become so judgmental toward his younger sibling that he felt no desire for mercy or compassion for his brother or even considered him a part of the family? Today we may not have a great famine but the worldwide pandemic and other strife seem comparable. First know, whatever your circumstances, our Heavenly Father still loves you. Should you find yourself in a place where you’ve turned away from the Father and gone your own way, He desperately desires for you to turn back to Him. He longs to coming running to you with immeasurable mercy, forgiveness and countless blessings. If you’re in relationship with the Father today, do you understand that He has pledged that all He has is yours, not even withholding His Son, to bless and keep you. Ensure that you are asking Him and understand the lengths He will go for you. Finally, how are you, who are in relationship with the Father, considering others who are not? Are you judging them? Are you feeling superior, more righteous, more deserving of reward than them? Or are you loving them, whether that love is returned or not? Are you praying for them, hoping they may become a part of the Family of God? In these and all time remember this; the Father’s love for all never runs out. (See Luke 15:11-32 for the parable of the prodigal son).

Love, the Need and Solution for This and All Times

So I don’t know if I need to through all of this but here goes; a worldwide pandemic that won’t stop, a global economic meltdown with no end or very far end in sight, wars putting millions at risk of starvation, discrimination tragically costing horrendous numbers of innocent lives and social unrest. Sufficiently bummed and/or stressed now? Where do we turn? Where is any light? The edge of the cliff seems already behind and above us as we plummet down to our destruction? There is an answer and it is as it has always been……love. People of all types came against Jesus Christ and His followers with the most vile language, threats and attempts at physical violence. A god of vengeance, a god of only power, a god of arrogance or human justice would have crushed those people. The God of love, loved them, forgave them and saved them, just as He has and will continue to do for us today. Love is the answer. Love always triumphs, regardless of circumstances or times. Jesus Christ tells us if we abide in Him then we will be able to triumphantly love as He does. These times will pass. Love, however, will never pass away.

 

The True Blessing of Father’s Day

A Father’s Day reflection. Oh for these many years that I’ve been a father, Father’s day has been a day of true reflection and celebration, However, it is not the celebration of me in the position of father, but the celebration is of the blessing and privilege I have to be able to have the experience of being a father. Thus a group celebration starting with she with whom it has been an honor, joy and blessing to share the title of parent; my wife. Then to the two who have provided such nonstop joy, love, fun and inspiration, my daughter and son. Of course such humble thanksgiving to our Father in Heaven by which this and all blessings come. “May you have children who act just the same way to you as you have to me”, used to be a tongue in cheek curse that a parent would speak to their child. However, for me, I can think of no greater blessing or wish for my children or any potential parent that they be blessed with children who act now and have always acted as the children I have been blessed with. Hoping however you celebrate it, you are having a blessed Father’s Day

The Lesson In a Sunset, The Ultimate Beauty in the Blended Whole

So last night I witnessed the most spectacular sunset. I wish I had a camera that could’ve adequately captured its majesty for I would have posted it. As I gazed and pondered the scene, it occurred to me that the most astonishing aspect of the vista was the mixing together of almost countless colors and shades of colors. As well, there were so many different textures of clouds at so many different altitudes. And above all was the backdrop of the sky. As I took in the spectacle, I realized what made the vision so utterly amazing was the mixing together of the contrasting hues and textures. Were you to take away one shade, one texture, delete a high or low cloud, obscure the sky in some way, would cause the scene to be incalculably diminished. Thus I wondered would it be possible for us to come to a place where our society can be so beautiful? Can we come to a place where we see the diminishment of any of us as a disastrous diminishment of all us us? Can we see that it is in the harmonious blending together that not only our individual beauty, but all beauty is elevated to its most admirable extent? Finally I would be remiss to leave out the sun. For it was the sun’s rays which provided the illumination for last night’s great event. In a similar, yet grander way, the Son, Jesus Christ is sending illuminating shafts of love to bring light to even our darkest places. May we find some way to come together in love, His love, to allow all of us to shine with God’s intended light.

Appropriate Perhaps Even Righteous Anger? What Does Jesus Christ Say

Anger, Appropriate anger, Righteous anger, Without anger nothing gets noticed or changes. Anger seems to be a hot topic these days to the point that some have called our time, the Age of Rage. There is the talk of the need for anger. There is talk that anger is good and necessary as long as it is appropriately channeled. Along with and/or perhaps in contrast to some of these thoughts, I’d point out what Jesus Christ warned about anger. For Christ warned that when we become angry we are libel for judgement. He continued along that theme that as we become more personally angry with another person, the more likely it will lead to our destruction. Wait! You respond: Did not Christ get angry? Yes, on rare occasions both Christ and our Heavenly Father are described as being angry. However, we can not lose sight of the fact that they are God and we are not. They triumphed over the enemy who is expert at using anger to achieve evil purposes. We can not triumph over that enemy without relying on God and His power. Our anger so often leads to destruction that we would have never wished or planned for had we been in any other state. Yes our anger leads to the wanton destruction and theft of property (yeah, point that out some demand somewhat smugly). Yet out anger also leads to speeding a car into a peaceful crowd representing something we don’t agree with or chasing down and ultimately killing an innocent human being, a fellow creation of God, who just happens to look different than us because we are angry because we believe they are getting away with something or resisting us! (Oh wait that would never be me…..”There but for the Grace of God, go I). Jesus wants us to know that anger is anger. When unleashed it can destroy relationships and families all the way up to costing countless millions of lives as it sparks senseless wars. Human anger is a worldly process that needs to be avoided and overcome. To truly, sustainably accomplish that, we must call upon and rely on the Prince of Peace to come and rule in us. We need to pray that WE not enter into anger as much as we pray for others to turn from their anger. Channel anger? Let’s turn instead to the channel of love which triumphs over anger and brings blessed peace to us in the first place.