Don’t give up a second of peace…

May 12, 2021

I saw that quote in a Pinterest post somewhere and it resonated. Anger is a terrible thing and a waste of time. Angry people are usually tense people and that tension is bad for the heart as well as the mind.  Anger is usually directed at someone, although it can be directed at an inanimate object, which is really dumb.

Anger and hate seem to go hand-in-hand, because hate is the most convenient outlet for anger. You often hear angry people saying, “I hate that person (or that thing)” when they are angry at someone or something. I often us the retort, “hate is such a strong emotion to waste upon an inanimate object” if the person is talking about hating a thing. My wife hates that little phrase. Perhaps I overuse it.

We may hear people saying, “I hate that about you” or maybe  “I hate you for that” when they become angry with someone about something usually some behavior. We sometimes hear the phrase about angry people, “He/she was stewing over that”, meaning that they were allowing themselves to be consumed by the anger to the exclusion of all else.  

If we really stop and think about it, there is really nothing that being angry can change about whatever happened to put you in that state of mind. Anger usually results from events that is now in the past, so they are done and there is no way to change what happened. Instead of anger, one might benefit from trying to learn from the events, especially if those event are likely to reoccur if nothing changes. A failure or a rejection that sparked your anger really needs to be analyzed for things that you could change the next time, in order to be more successful.

As the little quote says, anger take us away from being at peace. Perhaps it would help if we reinforced our peace of mind each morning with a prayer. We could ask God to be with us during the day and to help us stay at peace as we encounter things that might upset us. Thinking about God being there, so that we can reach out to Him for reassurance and to steady ourselves may help us maintain that peace during trying times during the day. It can’t hurt to try that.

So don’t waste your time being angry. It accomplished nothing and is bad for your general health. Instead, be at peace. You’ll feel better and the world around you will be a better place for it. I have taken a little liberty with this Bible quote, but we are told –

“Do not be anxious (or angry – ed.) about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” -Philippians 4:6-7

I’ve posted here before in blogs about a local Methodist Pastor, Doug McMunn, who will often greet people with the little phrase “Be at peace”. Doug is a person who always seems to be in that state of peace and being around him is a calming thing. Maybe, when you next encounter an event that is making you angry, you can whisper Doug’s advice to yourself and “Be at peace.”

Wouldn’t you really rather be in a peaceful place in your life?

Be at peace.


God’s Twilight Zone…

May 11, 2021

In his blog post today, Pastor Freed used this quote, which was from the opening of a popular TV show of the late fifties and early sixties – “You’re traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound, but of the mind…your next stop, the Twilight Zone.”  (Rod Serling)

I remember watching the Twilight Zone. Each week it would be something new, different, and often bizarre. Serling took us out of the dimension of the physical that we all lived in and into the dimension of the mind where anything was possible. This was TV before all of today’s special effects were invented, so it looks quite tame by modern standards.

The idea that there exists dimensions beyond those in the physical world that we live in has been intriguing mankind, or at least fiction writers, for ages. We live and think about things in the physical world of three dimensions, plus time, that we are used to, with one large exception – God. The God that exists in our minds cannot be defined or even conceived of within the limitations of those dimensions. We are talking about a God that always was and always will be, so time is of little value as a frame of reference. We have a God who has no physical presence yet is nowhere and everywhere all at once.

The only people who have “seen” God in the flesh were those who saw Jesus while he was God on earth thousands of years ago. Recently archeologists have recreated what Jesus might have physically looked like, based upon what they know about the appearance of average man within the area that Jesus lived. Quite different than the images later conjured up by European artists that have become “standards” in most Bibles and churches.

So, today God exists in that Twilight Zone of our minds where all things ae possible, yet impossible to explain. Our minds are wonderful things. They allow us to interpret what the physical parts of us experience as sights and sound, smells and tastes, touch and more. But our minds also let us experience things that are not in the physical dimension, like emotions, love and sorrow, anxiety and elation and many other “feelings”. It is in that dimension of the mind where we get in touch with and experience God. Our minds invented the concept of prayer as a way of talking to a God who does not exist within the dimension of our physical world. Prayer allows us to give voice to our needs and desires; to talk to God about what is troubling us and the things with which we need His help within this physical world.

Serling used many different openings for the show during its run. One was this one – There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone. Maybe Serling was describing the dimension that one enters when praying.

When we pray, God does not answer with a big booming voice or from a burning bush (He did that a few times in stories in the Bible). Sometimes we don’t hear anything back from our prayers, but the “answer” washes over us as a peace that we don’t understand (that’s referenced in the Bible, too) and we know that things will be OK. In those times we have entered the Twilight Zone of being in the presence of God, another dimension of the mind.

So, as you pray today, let your mind wander into a dimension not of sight and sound, but of acceptance and belief. Once you are there, God’s peace, which is beyond understanding, will wash over you. Welcome to God’s Twilight Zone.

God’s Peace be with you.


Choose love instead…

May 10, 2021

In his blog, Jack’s Winning Words, today, Pastor Freed used this quote – “Love is the big booming beat which covers up the noise of hate.”  (Margaret Cho)  Cho is an Asian-American comedian, who may joke about the current anti-Asian hate campaign, but who knows that it is no laughing matter.

Posted on my side lawn is a sign with a quote from Martin Luther King Jr. – “I chose love because hate is too big a burden to bear.”

Jesus said that we should love one another as he loved us and he didn’t specify race, ethnicity or any other criteria for sharing that love.

Ignorance and gullibility provide the fertile ground in which hate grows. No intelligent person could listen to the messages of hate and accept them as reasonable.

There was a show on TV recently that delved into the rise of Hitler in Germany. One of the points made during the telecast was that in any other setting Hitler would have been recognized as the crazy maniac that he was and would have been put into an asylum. Instead, the show pointed out, the German people of that day were hungry for any message of hope, even one based upon hate and discrimination against the Jews; so, instead, they allowed Hitler to turn Germany into an asylum that he ruled.

One might question if America is today allowing social media to influence our decisions and actions in divisive and hateful ways. That is a question that was explored on the TV show 60-Minutes on Sunday. The show set up two of its producers with fake Facebook accounts, one with an obvious liberal bent and one characterized as having an obviously conservative tone. The two were allowed to start following 1-2 other conservative Facebook influencers as a “seed” to see what might happen. Within days the posts in both Facebook accounts had diverged to the right and left extremes and hate was being spewed forth from posts made by both sides. The point that they were trying to prove (and did) was the overbearing influence that social media can have on us all through the biases and hate that it promotes.

 You don’t have to be on Facebook or Twitter for very long to see the hate coming from both sides of the political spectrum. You might even be intelligent enough to recognize it for what it is and unfriend or stop following those who promote hate and conspiracy theories. However, many are not able to discern what they see and read as false and hateful, so they repost or reinforce those posts out of ignorance and their own hate.

What are we to do? We are to love one another as Jesus loved us. One of the things I have learned in life is not to rise to the bait of hate. Hate needs others to hate along with it. Hate encourages others to follow and reinforce it; otherwise, it dies the ignominious death that it deserves. Nothing turns hate away faster that to return love instead of more hate. Countering hate with love allows an opening for reason to creep back into the conversation and nothing dissolves hate faster than reason.

So, take Martin Luther King Jr’s advice and chose love instead of hate. A position taken on matters out of love is a much easier place from which to defend one’s words and actions – it is the high ground. It’s not so much that love covers up hate. It is much more like love is the Tums or Zantac of life that neutralizes hate. Do let hate become the cause of heartburn in your life. Chose love instead and be heartburn free.

Have a great, loving week ahead.


Slay your dragons…

May 8, 2021

“Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”― Neil Gaiman

Fairy tales exist alongside hopes and dreams in our minds. Like parables in the Bible, many fairy tales are stories that make a point, sometimes about good defeating evil, but also about innocence and honesty winning out over guile and cheating.

As we grow older the wonder that we found in fairy tales might be replaced by our hopes and dreams. For some, the fairy tales just dim and become memories, replaced by cynicism. That cynicism becomes their new dragon, and they might find it hard to defeat.

Perhaps that is because they are reading the wrong book now. The fairy tales that were read to us or that we read as children from books fade once those books are put away. Instead of books of fairy tales, we may watch the news or read the newspapers. Perhaps we still read books, but they are now lengthy and complex stories, either true or made up. In either case they are usually set in the real world and many times have unhappy endings.

There is a book that one can read that still carries a message of hope and a happy ending – the Bible. The Bible tells the story of the biggest defeat of a dragon of all time – the defeat of death. One can argue about the historical accuracy of events that are chronicled in the Bible, but that is not the point of it. The Bible tells us stories meant to help us understand and accept God and the gift of eternal life that He had given us.

The dragon of death will never go away, but it also will not defeat us. Death is but one dragon that we might face in our lives. There are dragons of hopelessness or maybe dependency and feeling helpless. Sometimes the dragon tries to imprison us in a dungeon of despair.  Whatever your dragon, just imagine yourself standing there in a full suit of armor ready to do battle.  Where will you get the armor? The Bible tells us  in Ephesians 6 –

“Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

Just ask God for his help and then imagine suiting up in God’s armor – nothing can touch you, not even death.

So, suit up and go out and slay your dragons. Put on God’s armor and nothing can defeat you.


Ask and you shall receive…

May 7, 2021

Paster Freed used this quote from an Indian philosopher today in his blog, Jack’s Winning Words“Reach high, for stars lie hidden from you.  Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal.”   (Rabindranath Tagore) 

Tagore might have added, “Pray fervently, for through prayer the hidden path to your dream is revealed.”

Prayer makes you stop and think, it also makes you formulate what it is that you want God to help you with. You don’t just ask God to make your dream come true. That’s not how it works.

Perhaps the path to your dream requires only the courage to try. You can find that courage through prayer.

Maybe the path is long and arduous. God will give you the patience, perseverance, and endurance to stay the course, if you but ask.

It could be that your dream is not realistically achievable. It that case, asking God for help letting go of that dream and finding another, more realistic, dream to pursue may be the best course of action. So, maybe God’s role is similar to that of Dr Phil on TV and he’s telling you to get real. Pray about it.

Ask God for the right help and then listen in your heart for His answers. Whatever you approach it is that last part that matters the most – listen to his answer in your heart and do the right thing. Sometimes you are not going to like the answer, but you must accept it and move on. Ask for God’s help in dealing with the disappointment. You might be surprised how fast a new dream, one that you can accomplish, pops into your life.

Indeed,  “God moves in a mysterious way, his wonders to  perform” (from a poem by William Cowper)

So pray for God’s guidance and help with your dreams and the path will not be hidden from you.


Who is watching you?

May 5, 2021

Two quotes that I’ve been saving to write about just seem to go together.

“You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching, love like you’ll never be hurt, sing like there’s nobody listening, and live like it’s heaven on earth.” ― William W. Purkey

“Do what you feel in your heart to be right – for you’ll be criticized anyway.”― Eleanor Roosevelt

Purkey’s quote is the better known and one that is often referenced, especially the first few words. Eleanor Roosevelt’s quote though not as well known is none the less quite true and good advice.  At the core of both is the need to just be you and live your life without letting to many concerns about what others may think of you dictate how you act. That is not to say that it is OK to do anything illegal or harmful just because you fell like doing it. There are norms within any society that dictate a few limits to our behavior.

Most of us do stop to think about what others may think before we act on an impulse to sing out loud or dance in public; but sometimes the impulse is just too strong and we do it anyway, not caring, in those cases, what anyone else may think. The hesitancy to express love for someone else out of fear of rejection is probably something that many have experienced. Maybe it was a crush on someone in school (maybe even a crush on a teacher) or perhaps some fantasy about a popular entertainment figure that played out in your mind. Most get over this unrequited love, but some went on to become stalkers and get into trouble over it.

So, within reason, whether it’s dancing or singing or loving, it is important to do what is in your heart and not let the criticism that may follow dictate your actions. Implicit in Roosevelt’s quote and at the end of Purkey’s quote is the real key message of both – live life like it is heaven on earth. If you start each day with a positive, upbeat attitude and with a sense of gratitude to God that you have been given another day in Paradise, the whole day will go better for you.

Instead of looking ahead at the day and asking yourself, “How can I get through this day?”, ask instead, “How can I make this day even better for me and for someone else?” Why? Not because someone is watching you; but because God is watching you. God gave you another day and is watching to see what you will do with it. We are told in the Bible –

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)

You know in your heart that doing things that are harmful to others or illegal are not “good, acceptable and perfect”. God did not put those things in your mind, or your heart and you can feel that they are not right. Through prayer, search your heart for the things that God put there and do them, instead. Then you will be living like it is heaven on earth. If you do that, maybe others will sing along with you when you thought that no one was watching.

Have a great day doing the right things. God is watching you and others are waiting to sign along with you. Live like it’s heaven on earth.


See the wind…hear God

May 3, 2021

The quote that Pastor Freed used today in his blog, Jack’s Winning Words, is from poet Christina Rossetti.

“Who has seen the wind?  Neither I nor you: 

But when the leaves hang trembling,

The wind is passing through. 

Who has seen the wind?  Neither you nor I: 

But when the trees bow down their heads,

The wind is passing by.” 

I was inspired to wax poetic, too –

Who has seen God? Neither I nor you:

But when things happen in our lives,

It was God passing through.

Who has seen God? Neither you nor I:

But when we bow of heads in prayer,

We know God is nearby.

Who has seen God? Maybe none can say:

But those who believe without seeing,

Will walk with God today.

Even though we cannot “see” the wind, we can see the results of it being there. We cannot see God either, but those who believe in God will see the results of Him being there.

While one cannot see the wind, we can feel it on our faces and know that it is there. We cannot see God, but we can feel Him in our hearts and know that He is there.

When the wind blows, we hear a rustling in the trees. When God speaks to us, we hear a whisper in the back of our minds. That brings to mind another quote that I’ve used here before that reminds us to make time for prayer –

“Make time for the quiet moments, as God whispers and the world is loud.”  (Greg Olson)

Will you hear the whispers of God? Make time in your life for those quite moments of prayer when you can hear the voice of God. Maybe that rustling sound you hear in the trees as the wind passes through is the whisper of God trying to talk to you.

Shhhhhh….God is talking to you. See the wind and hear God


Getting there from here…

April 29, 2021

“All you need is the plan, the roadmap, and the courage to press on to your destination.”  (Earl Nightengale)

I’ve had that little quote hanging around for some time and thought it deserved to be commented upon.

Many people have hopes or dreams, most of which never get beyond that stage, because they remain in that vague, unorganized state in their minds. Hopes and dreams at least made it further than “passing thoughts” that pop in and out of our heads and are gone forever. Hopes and dreams that are not acted upon eventually turn into regrets and that’s not a good thing.

What keeps those hopes and dreams from becoming reality is the lack of a plan of action to make them come true. It is those plans and the road maps to success that results from them that Nightengale is referencing in his quote. Once you turn a hope or a dream into a goal, you can begin breaking down the steps that are necessary to achieving that goal (that dream) and making plans on how to approach and achieve those steps.

Hopes and dreams are a little like problems. Sometimes they can loom so big that they seem impossible to solve. But, just like big problems, one can break hopes and dreams down into smaller incremental steps. You begin to think in terms of, “I’ve got to do this, before I can do that.” Each this and that along the way to achieving your goal (your dream), becomes a stop along the roadmap. Reaching each stop on the roadmap by accomplishing that task represents a little victory. Take time to celebrate each victory to keep yourself motivated, but make sure that it is only a pause to celebrate and not a reason to stop.

Breaking down your hopes and dreams into small steps and mapping out a road to success also makes getting up the courage to press on easier. After all you aren’t trying to do it all at once, just this one little thing today. Rather than asking God for the courage and strength to take on the whole dream at once, you can ask for His help on achieving the little step that is front of you. And at the end of the day, when you have achieved that little step, you can thank God for his help and line up support for the next step. You might also acknowledge the need to ask God for the patience to take on the journey in the small steps that you have mapped out. Patience is one of God’s strong suits.

So, what are your hopes and dreams? Have you really thought about them enough to start mapping out a roadmap to achieve them? If so, have you started down the path that you have defined? If not, why not? After all, you have a plan.

Perhaps it’s time for your to ask God for the courage to begin or continue that journey. Your hopes and dreams await. Just take that first step or that next step. You can do this, and God can help.

Have a great day and good luck with today’s small step in your journey. Maybe we’ll bump into each other along the way to our hopes and dreams.


The pursuit of happiness…

April 27, 2021

“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” ― Dalai Lama XIV

Happiness is not something that just happens to us. In fact, the Declaration of Independence even states – “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

So, we must pursue happiness and work for it. But, is happiness to be found in amassing money or possessions?

It is sad that even as young children we learn, or become conditioned, to want things that we don’t have, many times things that we see that other do have.

“It’s almost impossible to be satisfied in your own life if you’re constantly looking at what someone else has.” Rachael Cruze

The pursuit of things (possessions) begins to drive our pursuit of happiness, yet we see others around us who are happy with less. What is their secret?

“You are only a poor person if you are not happy with what you have.” Debasish Mridha

So, maybe, the secret is to refocus your pursuit of happiness away from things and onto something much more fulfilling. For we have been told in the Bible –

“Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.” (1 Timothy 6:6-8)

AND

“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:11-13)

We will not find happiness in the pursuit of possessions within the context of our short lives here on earth. Instead, we must believe in Jesus and accept the gift of eternal life that comes next. The happiness that comes next is a gift from God which comes from faith.  

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)

So, keep the faith and in your beliefs find contentment and joy in accomplishing the things that your heart tells you to do to help others and sharing the good news.

Perhaps the best advice for us in this life comes from this anonymous quote –

“Now and then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.”

Maybe the words of that great philosopher, Groucho Marx, will help –

“Each morning when I open my eyes, I say to myself: I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.”

If you are reading this, that means that you woke up this morning. You got one more day. Be happy in it!


What difference will you be…

April 26, 2021

I saw a little slogan line in an on-line ad recently that struck a chord – “Be the difference…”

As I thought about it I wondered how one can be the difference and I was surprised that a flood of possible examples came to mind.

Just imagine that by wearing your mask in public, maintaining social distance, getting your vaccine shot and doing the other things that are recommended by the health experts, you were the reason that someone else didn’t get the COVID virus and die. You were the difference in their life.

There are so many other examples that come to mind. Maybe you are the one who stops to render assistance to someone in need. You are the difference in their life.

Maybe you are the one who provides a shoulder to cry on and words of comfort and support to someone who is grieving or perhaps has just been harmed. You are the difference in their life.

Perhaps without even realizing it, the way that you are living your life has become the role model for someone else and is helping them do the right things in their life. You are the difference in their life.

Maybe you have taken up a good cause and volunteered at a local organization, perhaps packaging and delivering food to shut-ins. For them you may be the only person that they get to talk to all day. You are the difference in their life.

I thought how much better it is if you are aware of the difference that you make and that doing so gives you a rewarding sense of fulfilling your purpose in life.

We are told in the Bible – “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” – Colossians 3:23-24

So, as you start a new day and a new week, perhaps you can add to your prayers a request that God make known to your what you purpose is in life and then give you the strength and perseverance to carry out that purpose and be the difference in someone’s life.

Remember what Jesus said to his disciples about helping others – “‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” – Matthew 25:40

Add this single thought to your prayers –“Lord let me be the difference today”.  You might just be surprised what a big difference you can make.

Be the difference…