Pardon me….

August 13, 2018

From a recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog comes today’s little gem – “It is in pardoning that we are pardoned.”  (Francis of Assisi)

One could substitute the words forgiving and forgiven in that little phrase and it would mean the same. It might also ring a bell in your head about where you’ve heard that thought expressed before. In variations of the Lord’s Prayer the words sins or trespasses are used.

Pre-judging people based upon their appearance or judging them because of their sorry 3actions are trespasses that many of us commit every day, without giving it any thought until later (if at all). Sometimes, it is yourself that you have to pardon, maybe for your thoughts or actions. Getting down on yourself really doesn’t help, but that pardon should also come with a resolution not to make that same mistake again, whether it was an act of prejudice or just one of insensitivity or neglect. Pardoning yourself is the first step to bettering yourself.

In our day-to-day lives there are many opportunities to pardon others for their actions or inaction; for their remarks that were probably not meant to hurt, but which did none the less; for their slights whether real or perceived. There is no positive value to be gained by carrying those things around in your head.. Do not carry their handshakebaggage. Do not let their actions change the course of your life. Pardon their trespasses and get on with life. They probably don’t even realize their trespass and they certainly don’t understand that you’ve forgiven them; but you do and that sets you free from those trespasses.

Maybe this is God’s way of paying it forward. Forgive the person in the line behind you. Resolve this Monday morning to set out this week in the frame of mind that you will pardon those who trespass against you and let the Lord take care of pardoning your trespasses.

Have a great week ahead…

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God’s role – is it preventing or coping…

August 12, 2018

A recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog used this quote – “God is never late, but He sure misses a lot of opportunities to be early.”  (From Mike Watson)

That quote begs the question of what is God’s role in our lives? Do we expect Him to get there early and prevent bad things from happening to us or do we turn to Him after those things have happened as the source of our strength to get through them and go on with life. For most of us the answer is probably yes to both. We may pray for God’s help when facing life’s problems and we most certainly do when handed one of life’s setback.

I’ve shared my use of the little quote from the Bible, “Not my will, but Thy will be done” (Luke 22:42). I find it to be a help both going into situations and for dealing with things that have occurred. One of the main things that it does is relieve the need to feel like I’m in control of everything. In reality, we are in control of very little but our own reactionsbored2 to things and events.  Trying to maintain the delusion that we are in control just causes frustration, anger and self-destructive depression.

In praying to God that His will be done in our lives ahead of some upcoming event or confrontation of a problem, we might best ask Him to help us do the right thing, make the right decisions and handle things the right way. The term “right” will be determined by God as the events unfold, but a good guideline would be to keep that old question, “What would Jesus do?” in mind. Keep in mind, also, that things may not go as we had hoped or wished that they would, but they jesus-as-lightalways go the way that God intended. Sometimes we have to step back from things and try to discern the lesson or good that can come from the outcome.

What is God’s role in your life? Is He the guiding light, showing your the right things to do or do you turn to him as the court of last resort when things haven’t gone according to your plans? The good news is that He is willing and able to play both roles in our lives and will always be there for us. That comes from another saying from the Bible – “I will never leave you or forsake you” – Hebrews 13:5

So, it’s really up to you to decide when you turn to God for help. Most of the time it is less woman-prayingpainful if you turn to him early. It’s not really that God misses lots of opportunities to be early, it’s usually that we don’t turn to Him until it’s almost too late. So, pray early and pray often. God is standing by to answer.


Waste not…Act now…

August 4, 2018

From a recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog comes this ancient gem – “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”  (Aesop)

Sometimes acts of kindness involve money, but most of the time they just involve doing being kind 1something for someone else that needs to be done. Opening a door or smiling and saying hello are example s of very small acts of kindness. Those aren’t just empty gestures and they are usually acknowledged by the recipient. There is no expectation of reward or even reciprocation, but even those small acts can make one feel better about themselves and about their fellow man. They are overt acts that say, “I see and acknowledge you. I see your need and I am happy to help.”

There are other instances in the animal world where individuals help each other, whether it be monkeys and apes grooming each other or herd animals coming to the aid of a member that may be under attack. Those examples could be classified as acts of survival or of shared need by those animals. Humans, however, are the only animals that demonstrate conscious acts of kindness towards each other that are extended not our of need or to survive, but as an expression of concern and love for fellow humans.

jesus-as-lightSo, take the opportunities that you are given each day to extend an act of kindness towards someone else. Your gesture of kindness are not wasted, even if they go unacknowledged at the time. Showing kindness to total strangers is a big part of what bonds us together as humans. Remember the words of Jesus as he taught his Disciples in Matthew 25:40 – “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

Waste not…Act now…be kind to one another.


What are you a bridge to?

July 23, 2018

In today’s post to his blog, Jack’s Winning Words, Jack Freed uses this quote from Michael Jordan – “I want to be a bridge to the next generation.” 

Jack went on the write about the characteristics of the generations that are alive today and had a link to this explanation of the various tags that we associate with those generations – http://fourhooks.com/marketing/the-generation-guide-millennials-gen-x-y-z-and-baby-boomers-art5910718593/

The post made me think about the fact that we all act in the role of bridges to the future for someone, just because of how we interact with them and what they take away fromfamily grroup that experience. The obvious bridge role is with our own children who watch us as they are growing up for cues and clues as to how to act and how to react to things as they happen. Others whom we might not even be aware of also look at our actions for some guidance – for either what to do or what not to do. So, for them, we are a bridge to their own future.

That realization begs the question of self-examination – “What type of bridge am I?” Am I showing the world a bridge that is open, accepting and friendly or one that appears to be arrogantclosed-minded, prejudiced and angry? Do I appear to be a person that others would like to get to know or someone to avoid? Do I take the time to listen and understand the other person or do I jump to a conclusion based upon some preconceived notions or prejudices? Am I willing to consider a different point of view or am I hunkered down in a fixed position and unwilling to even consider something different? Am I displaying the behavior and attitude that Jesus would have displayed in this situation?

The first few questions above are ones that too many people are unable to objectively answer, because they are so consumed by and fixed upon their positions of fear and hate. It’s that last question that shines the spotlight squarely into the hole that they have dug for themselves and exposes the Devil that is driving their behavior. Jesus neverjesus-as-lighttaught hate, prejudice, or exclusion. He always taught love, acceptance, and forgiveness. The bridge that Jesus represents has its foundation in His commandment to “love your neighbor as yourself”.  He didn’t stutter. He didn’t go on to say, “unless they are…” He didn’t make exceptions based upon fear or hate. His is the bridge that we should all emulate as we demonstrate to others through our lives a bridge to the next generation.

Think about what you are a bridge to and what your actions and reactions show others about you and what direction they point to for the future. Join with Jesus in showing the bridgiing gapsworld and the generations that follow you a bridge to understanding, acceptance and love for your fellow man.

Cross that bridge…build that bridge…be that bridge.


He doesn’t blink…

July 6, 2018

Recently, Jack Freed made this post to his Jack’s Winning Words blog – “Be thankful for today, because in one moment your entire life could change.”  (Unknown)

Jack went on to write –  “In the blink of an eye.”  An eye blink is about 4/10s of a second.  If a batter blinks, the fastball will pass him before he opens his eyes again.  That’s how fast life can change for us…in the blink of an eye.  Perhaps you know of someone who’s experienced that.  Regina Brett wrote: “God never blinks!”  What comfort to know that God’s unblinking eye is on YOU!

Most of us have probably experienced one or more of those life changing moments that seem to happen “in the blink of an eye”. Perhaps it was the death of a loved one and maybe your reaction was something like this, “I was just talking with him yesterday.” Maybe it was a relationship that abruptly ended and you can’t figure out why. Maybe it was a job that went away without warning. Maybe it was that accident that left you disabled in some way or that deployment into a war zone that has impacted you in ways that you didn’t imagine. Whatever the life change that happened to you “in the blink of an eye”, we all do well to remember the words of Regina Brett – “God never blinks”. Your belief in God provides the unchanging touchstone in your life. Your faith gives you the rock-solid starting point from which to go forward from any setback.

What do I do now? How can I go one? How do I get through this? There are all typical questions that you may be asking yourself.  The key to coping is to stop turning yourwoman-praying questions inward and start directing your search for help in the only direction that always offers comfort and help – towards God. In times of crisis, it’s time to pray to God for help. While you could ask God to fix this for you; but, what you really need to do is trust God and ask Him instead for His help to get through whatever it is that He has put on your plate. I like a quote from Mother Teresa on this –

“I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle.  I just wish that He didn’t trust me so much.”  — Blessed Teresa of Calcutta

So no matter how your life changes in an instant, remember that there is nothing that God cannot help you handle, because He doesn”t blink.


The honor of serving others…

June 30, 2018

I recently was honored by our local Huron Valley Rotary Club by being named a Paul Harris Fellow. I am honored and humbled by the selection for that honor. The Paul paul harris pinHarris Fellow Award is the Rotary honor for service to the community is pursuit of the goal of making the world a better place for all. The Rotary has that goal and has done great things both locally and internationally.

As I was thinking about what to say in accepting the award, I drew inspiration from my most dependable source, the Jack’s Winning Words blog. I save the little quotes that Jack uses to open each blog post, because they usually come in handy as inspiration for something that I want to write about later. In this case, they seemed perfect as comments on this honor.

The first was this quote by Clarissa Pikola Estes –

“Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach.”

Small, local groups, such as local Rotary Clubs, Optimists Clubs, local Chambers of Commerce, Good Fellows groups and many others, are the backbone of local efforts to sewrving soupmake the part of the world that they can reach a better place to live for all. Often their efforts go unnoticed, because they work in the background on projects that may not garner much attention in the media; however, it is through those efforts that things get done, that needed to get done. Playgrounds are built, parks are cleaned up, homes are rehabilitated, meals are delivered to shut-ins and so much more.

Sometimes the results of a dedicated and tireless effort does have worldwide impact, such and the Rotary International effort to eradicate polio. Rotary clubs joined the fight against polio in 1979 with a campaign to provide polio vaccine around the world until polio was totally eradicated. By 2018 the campaign has achieved a 99.9% success rate against the polio virus worldwide and the fight continues to take the vaccine into the most remote regions of the world where the virus still exists.

The second quote that I used was from Helen Hayes –
“We relish our heroes, forgetting that we are extraordinary to someone.”

To those children who otherwise might go hungry this summer, the heroes are those who make sure that the school meals programs continue through the summer vacation. To those shut-in who might otherwise go hungry, the Meals on Wheels van drive is a hero. To the homeless veterans who otherwise would not have a blanket to sleep under or a new coat to wear when it get cold, the heroes were those who collected and distributed those gifts. To the child who wandered down the wrong path for a while the heroes arehomeless man those who reach out to help and counsel and not just to condemn. To the widows who lost a husband in war or in service to the community, the heroes are those who offered support and comfort and helped then find a way through their grief and the strength to go on.

There are many who toil in the background who probably never get an award or recognition of any sort from those that their efforts help or whose lives are made better because of their efforts. I was fortunate enough to be recognized for some of what I try to do in the community that I live in, but I think it is important to take a moment every now and then to give thanks for all who serve their communities and those in need there. They don’t do it to get recognition. They do it because it needs to be done and they have answered the call to do it.

Here are a couple of quotes that I found since that night that I wish I had used then, especially in this highly charged political year –

“Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy. You vote in elections once a year, but when you volunteer, you vote every day about the kind of community you want to live in.” — Unknown

I write here often about getting out and serving others by volunteering for things in your community that need to be done. I also write about self-help quite often and dealing with life. That’s one reason that I like this quote by Mahatma Gandhi –

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

So, find something that needs to be done in your community and just do it. Volunteer. Serve. Find yourself.


Don’t just talk…DO!

June 28, 2018

From a recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog comes today’s inspirational quote – “It’s a common delusion that we make things better by talking about them.”  (Dame Rose Macaulay)

It seems that we’re seeing a lot of talking about things lately, but very little doing something about them. That’s especially true in politics these days, where talking aboutdebaters things seems to be the only thing that the politicians can actually accomplish. The two sides of our political system have become so polarized that here is no room for getting together to work out a compromise, so all that is left is calling news conferences and slinging accusations and mud at the other side.

I’m not sure if it is hate or fear that is really behind the polarization that has taken place, but it sure isn’t the “Love thy neighbor” that Jesus espoused. Perhaps another saying from a recent post to Jack’s blog holds the secret to resolving the mess that we find ourselves in –

“I do not want the peace that passeth understanding, I want the understanding that bringeth peace.”  (Helen Keller)

There is currently little effort made towards understand on either side of the political divide, so very little actually is done. Understanding does take effort and a willingness to try to see a different point of view. Reaching compromises and getting things done happy greetingcannot be accomplished by hurling sound-bites at each other from behind the hardened barriers of ignorance, mistrust, hate, prejudice and bigotry. There must be a willingness on both sides to drop the shields and seek common ground by understanding the motivation for differing views. I hope that out of that understanding will come peace, compromise and actions to get things done. One can only hope.

Have a great rest of your week. Don’t just talk…DO!