Be that candle today…

December 10, 2020
Be the candle

“A candle of God’s goodness can serve as a beacon of hope for those navigating dark passages of their lives.”  (Hanukkah Quote)

That was today’s quote in the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

Probably the most meaningful interpretation and implementation of that quote would be for each of us to accept a personal responsibility to be that candle of goodness in someone’s life. Be that candle today.

It comes as no surprise that many people are currently navigating dark passages in their lives, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They have either experienced the disease themselves or perhaps lost a loved one to the disease. They need that candle, that beacon of hope, to help them get out of whatever dungeon of despair in which they have landed. Be that candle today.

God illuminates His goodness through the random acts of kindness that we occasionally hear about. The person paying for the meal of the person behind them in the line at McDonald’s or perhaps delivering groceries to the shut-in senior citizen. It also shows through in the many small things that we don’t often see on the news – dropping a dollar into a red kettle outside a store or holding a door open for someone whose hands are full.  Be that candle today.

Just the act of consideration for others by wearing a mask when indoors in public places is a tiny act of God’s goodness. Certainly, those who have recovered and give blood containing convalescent plasma to the cause take that a giant step further. Be that candle today.

Reaching out to those that we see, or sense, are having problems coping with the changes to their lives that the pandemic has caused is also critical. Many people have slipped into a quiet state of depression and too many have found no way out and committed suicide. People in those dark places need God’s beacon of hope that your candle can provide. Be there for them. Be that candle today.

Be the Candle

It is so simple to be God’s candle. Just pick up the phone and start making calls to relatives and friends. Maybe even to people that you don’t know all that well. Call and ask how they are doing. Talk to them about what you have been doing during all of this and let them know that somebody cares about their wellbeing. If they are OK ask them if they would help you with your calls and divide u your list. By doing so, you use your candle to light another candle. Be that candle today.

In your prayers today, include the request, “God let me be a candle for your goodness today”. If you start your day that way, you might be surprised how many opportunities you will recognize throughout the day to – Be that candle today.

The necessary evil…

December 8, 2020

In today’s post top his blog, Jack’s Winning Words, pastor Freed took on the topic of worshiping money with this quote – “Make money your god, and it will plague you like the devil.”  (Henry Fielding)

Certainly, we cannot ignore money or the need for it in order to live in the modern world; however, too many turn money from a means to an end into the end itself. The pursuit of more and more money becomes and obsession to those who worship it. I remember scenes of Scrooge McDuck frolicking in his money bins in the Donald Duck cartoons.

Men in particular seem to allow themselves to become obsessed with making more and more money. They start out telling themselves that it is for their family, but somewhere along the way it really becomes and end in itself and not a means to that end. It also becomes a big part of how they identify themselves – a scorecard for their position in life. The sad part is that it does become the thing that they worship.

I’m reminded of the Bible story of the rich man who asked Jesus what he must do to have eternal life. When told that he must sell all he possessed and give the money to the poor he wandered off, unable to give up his riches. One assumes that he died and did not go to heaven. Some may say, “I wish I was rich and had to make that decision”, but they don’t really wish that upon themselves, once they think about it.

Most of us spend time worrying about money – whether we will have enough to pay the bills or feed the family and pay the rent. Few of us really worship money or obsess about the accumulation of great wealth. Truly happy people are satisfied when they have enough money to meet their basic needs, so that they can focus upon what is important in life – the relationships that they have with loved ones and friends and their relationship with God.

So, yes, money is important as a means to the end of living a happy life, but it is not so important that one should worship (obsess over) it. Maybe instead of praying that God give you more money, one would be better served by praying that God help you find a way to be happier with the money that you have. That happiness is based not on possessions, but on the love in the relationships that you have.

Maybe the lyrics to the Bobby McFerrin song should be slightly modified to read “Don’t worry (about money), be happy.

Making your life simple…

December 7, 2020

I collect and save the quotes that Pastor Freed uses in his Blog, Jack’s Winning Words. Sometimes I have them around for quite some time before I am inspired to write something based upon them and sometimes it is only by combining a couple of them together that I find that inspiration. Such is the case today. These two quote were used weeks apart in Jack’s blog and each is a good thought in and of itself; however when put together they define a great philosophy for life.

“Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.”  (Charles Mingus)

“Simple rule in life:  If you wouldn’t like it done to you, don’t do it to others.”

Many of us tend to make life much more complicated that it need be. We see innuendo and conspiracies in the actions of others that really don’t exist and we agonize endlessly over decisions that should be simple. Human interactions do not have to be complicated. If one lives by the second quote, life can become awesomely simple.

That quote is just another way of stating what is often called the Golden Rule – “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. None of us would wish abuse to be heaped upon us by others; so why do that to others. We would not like others to judge us by how we look or dress; so why would we do that to others. We would not like people to make fun of how we talk or judge us by our vocabulary; so why do we allow ourselves to judge others by those same measures.

All of those judgements serve to create conflicts in our lives and those conflicts cause life to become complicated.  Perhaps the way to stop making those judgements is to try to live by  the words of Pope Francis – “Who am I to judge?”

The Pope was just repeating the advice that he found in the Bible –

“There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?” (James 4:12″


“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;” (Luke 6:37)

If you stop and ask yourself that question – Who am I to judge? –  maybe that pause will allow you to consider the truth of the second quote above. If you don’t want to be judged to be a bigot or a homophobe or a jerk, then don’t judge others. It is really that simple. Those who constantly label others around them invite being  labeled themselves and the outcome is seldom pleasant.

Perhaps it is best not to rush to judgement of others; but, rather to focus on forgiveness – maybe forgiveness of yourself first. Make your life simple – just don’t do it if you wouldn’t want others to do it to you. That’s awesome!

Have a great and simple week ahead!

Open the door…

December 3, 2020

In today’s post to his blog, Jack’s Winning Words, Pastor Freed used this quote – “God enters, by a private door, into every individual.”  (Emerson)

The tormented minds of many who have descended into depression may have attempted to slam the door shut on God; however, God is both patient and persistent. That door is still there.  Unlock it and let God enter into your life. The key to that door is acceptance…acceptance of God’s presence and help in your life. The dungeon that is depression is a lonely place. Open that door to God and you will never be alone again.

There was a popular TV game show that presented contestants with 3 doors, behind which were hidden either great prizes or great disappointments. Contestants were asked to choose a door. Life can seem like that sometimes. Sometimes we make the wrong choices and open the door to disappointment or worse. The choices that we are faced with in life can seem both scary and mysterious. We really can’t see what’s behind the doors.

However, over in the corner, maybe just out of our vision, there is another door and that door is clearly marked – “God is here”. We know that it is there, but our own ego sometimes stubbornly prevents us from opening that door. We keep trying to do it alone, to face our challenges on our own, and to exert our free will. What we fail to realize is that same free will is what allows us to open that fourth door and seek God’s help. When God gave us that free will he also put that door there in our lives. He put it there for two reasons – 1. Just in case, we needed to open it and get his help and 2. To give us a direct way to communicate with and worship Him.

If it’s been a while since you opened that door in your life, or maybe you’ve never tried that door to see what’s there; maybe it’s time go see what’s behind door number 4. God will be there for you. He has always been there, patiently waiting for you, as we are told in the Bible –

The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)

Don’t be confused about the word repentance. The repentance that you have just reached when you opened that door is the release of your own ego and the acceptance of God in your life, That’s all He was waiting for. Now you can take step two and say, “Not my will, but thy will be done.” You have flung open the door and God will work wonders in your life.

Open that door today and receive that rewards that are behind door number 4.

What will you throw back?

December 1, 2020

Today is Giving Tuesday in America ad Pastor Freed used this appropriate quote in his blog, Jack’s Winning Words“You can’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands.  You need to be able to throw something back.”  (Maya Angelou)

Maya Angelou (April 4, 1928 to May 28, 2014) was an American poet, memoirist, and civil rights activist. She published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, several books of poetry, and is credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows spanning over 50 years. She received dozens of awards and more than 50 honorary degreesWikipedia

It is easy to visualize people standing there with catcher’s mitts on both hands. They are the “takers” of life who constantly accept things from others, but who do not give back. You may know some people like that. I prefer to think that we all are not just takers, but we give back in different ways and to different causes.

There has been much already written about the harsh impact that the COVID -19 pandemic has had on charities and non-profits. The financial impact on so many people from the actions taken to slow the spread of the disease has been the subject of almost nightly news show coverage. That impact has had the secondary effect of limiting the giving of those whose own livelihood has been disrupted. Many small local entities like churches, community arts associations and local museums have also been devastated by the cancellation of all fund raising activities or suspension of their services, due to the virus. Fortunately there is some relief available to some of the non-profit organizations through grants.

A less –well documented impact was the subject of the feature article in this morning’s New York Times daily E-Newsletter – The devastation of small local newspapers and the impact on their communities of the loss of their local news reporting services.

Many readers of this blog may already know that in addition to being a Realtor®, I also work part-time for the Spinal Column, a small weekly newspaper with editions for Milford, Highland, White Lake and Commerce Township (including Wixom and Walled Lake). The Spinal Column has been around since 1961 and its name reflects the belief of the founders (and the current owners) that small, independent newspapers are the backbone of democracy in their communities, thus the name. Indeed, our country might not have been born were it not for the local pamphlets, such as James Otis’s Rights of the British Colonies (1764), John Dickinson’s Farmer’s Letters (1768), and Thomas Paine’s Common Sense (1776). Many of those pamphlets were the equivalent of some or our modern day small local papers.

The Spinal Column Newsweeklies, like other small local papers is dependent upon the revenues from advertising to support its free distribution to homes in the communities that it serves. The current pandemic has wreaked havoc on the local businesses that normally advertise in the paper, especially local restaurants and small local stores. The revenue needed to support the staff needed to put out the local papers are drastically down. That is the reason that The Spinal Column is currently seeking donations from its readers.

There are certainly many worthy causes vying for any charity dollars that are available this year. That makes it all the more important to keep our local channels of communications viable. Yes, there will still be the internet; however, the internet does not have reporters digging into and reporting the stories of importance in your local neighborhoods. The internet does not send people to the local Village Council meetings or the Zoning Board meeting to report on issues of local importance only. The internet may report the scores of your local high school games, but it doesn’t do the post-game interviews or post the pictures of the game that your local newspaper might. There might be a post on Facebook about an imagined conspiracy behind a local school board vote, but only the local newspapers actually have people out interviewing the school board members to report the facts behind that vote.

So on this Giving Tuesday, I’m asking you to take off the catcher’s mitts and consider throwing something back to your local newspapers, especially in this area to the Spinal Column. As the New York Times reported, these are the backbones of democracy in our townships, towns and villages You can go to our web site, and use the Donate to the Spinal Colum choice in the banner  to make a safe donation to keep democracy alive in this area.

What will you throw back today?