Forgive yourself…free yourself…move on…

October 8, 2022

Every so often I see a series of quotes on a topic that just seem to make sense when put together, Such was the case this morning in an email that contained a series of quotes by separate people on the topic of letting go of things.

All I had to do was to arrange them in the proper order and they made perfect sense.

You have two choices: to control your mind or to let your mind control you. – Paulo Coelho

“The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that the situation is over, you cannot move forward.” – Steve Maraboli

You can’t go back and make a new start, but you can start right now and make a brand new ending. – James R. Sherman

Every time you are tempted to react in the same old way, ask if you want to be a prisoner of the past or a pioneer of the future. The past is closed and limited; the future is open and free. – Deepak Chopra

Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step. – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Forgiveness is just another name for freedom. – Byron Katie

Forgive yourself…free yourself…move on. – Norm Werner

Have a great new beginning. Move on and enjoy the brand new outcome.


Be thankful always…

September 20, 2022

In today’s post to his blog, Jack’s Winning Words, Pastor Freed used this quote – “We have no right to ask when sorrow comes, ‘Why did this happen to me?’ unless we ask the same question for every moment of happiness that comes our way.”  (Unknown)

I find that I often stop and thank God for also saving me from harm, embarrassment or other of life’s potential calamities. Maybe that is acknowledging the question,” Why did this NOT happen to me?”

I choose to believe that God was watching over me and led me away from danger or harm. Perhaps that is a moment of happiness that the quote alluded to, but I prefer to think of it as a separate example of God’s influence on my life.

Do you have moments that you can reflect on and be thankful that something didn’t happen to you or maybe there was some calamity or embarrassment that you were saved from experiencing? Do you think that was just happenstance? If not, did you take the time to thank God?

We seem to be more focused upon thanking God for things that we may have prayed for to happen, rather than thinking about all of the times that we should be thankful that something didn’t happen. That seems to me to be an attempt at drawing a line between those things that God is and is not in control of.

If you pray, “Not my will, but thy will be done.” It is much easier it is just to acknowledge that He is in control of everything and take the time to thank Him for the good things that happen as well as asking for help getting through the bad things. So, when you have those, “Wow that was close”, encounters with things that could have gone wrong, take the time to thank God for saving your bacon again.

Be thankful always.


Who will you be tomorrow?

September 15, 2022

If you start out each day with the thought in mind from this graphic, perhaps you will be a better person both tomorrow and today.

Too often we do not put enough (if any) thought into our actions and reactions as the day progresses. Sometimes we act or react out of unfounded fears. Sometimes it is preconceived notions or prejudices that dictate our behavior. Maybe wed just go along with the crowd or “go along to get along”. If we rally stopped to think about situations as they occur, might we act differently? That is especially true when our actions or reactions are driven by prejudices.

 It is hard to constantly be aware that you are making decisions on how to act and to examine those decisions in real-time before acting or reacting. Most often you may reflect later upon a decision and realize that it was poorly made without any basis in fact. At least having that realization is a step in the right direction – the direction of trying to think and consider your action/reaction before you act in the next similar situation.

I have opined here a few times that I use a little prayer quite often, especially when I have one of those “after the fact” moments of realization that I’ve reacted poorly to something or someone – “Lord help me make good decisions today”. If nothing else, it puts me on notice to be more thoughtful before I make a decision or judgement and act. Try it.

So the real lesson out of today’s graphic is that what you will be tomorrow is in your control and is based upon the thoughtful decisions that you make today. Maybe instead of using the Nike ad advice to “Just Do It”, we would all be better served by the motto first used in 1911 by Thomas J. Watson of IBM – THINK.

Remember that what you become tomorrow begins with what you do today. Think about it before you just do it.


Don’t quit…

September 8, 2022

In today’s post to his blog, Jack’s Winning Words, Pastor Freed used this quote –

“I was going to quit, but I wasn’t done.”  (Sent by Elizabeth R) 

Freed went on to write – A cartoon shows a disheveled woman asking, “Do I work at home, or do I live at work.”  Are you one of those virtual employees?  If you have a strong work ethic, you know the feeling.  You’re given a job.  You do the job.  No excuses. 

Some may see this quote as a metaphor for life in general. Life can seem to be overwhelming sometimes and we may have the urge to just quit, to give up, to admit defeat in life; but we are not done. We cling to life and don’t quit because we have hope – hope for a better future.

Out of that hope comes faith. And, that faith assures us that we are no alone in whatever struggles we are facing, God is with us. That faith gives us courage and the resolve to persevere., even in the face of death.

So, today, no matter what challenges you are facing in life, renew your hope and tap into your faith. God is not done yet.

Don’t even consider quitting, you are not done yet.


What now?

September 7, 2022

Today’s quote is from author Ann Patchett’s self-inspired essay “What Now?” — the work in which these reaffirming words appear – Just because things hadn’t gone the way I had planned didn’t necessarily mean they had gone wrong.

Many people spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about or planning things that are to come, as if they really have control over what is to happen. They don’t. At best, they have control over how they react to things that are yet to come. So, considering alternative course of action, based upon plausible scenarios is not a complete waste of time, maybe just not the best use of your time.

Some also waste time looking back on things that have just occurred and regretting decisions that have already been made and cannot be undone. Regret is a terrible waste of time. Better that one should spend time trying to learn from past mistakes, so they do not make them again.

Perhaps you can make the most of your time by starting each day with the little prayer, “Not my will but thy will be done”. That little prayer takes the burden of the events of the day off your shoulders by admitting to yourself that you are not in control of them and surrendering them to God’s will.

Next, take back ownership of the only thing that you do control by praying, “Lord, help me make good decisions today.” It is how you decide to react to the event of your day and the decisions that you make when things occur that will make the day a good thing or not.

If you start each day that way, you’ll be ready for “What Now”.  Try it.


You cannot ignore the truth…

August 24, 2022

In today’s post to his blog, Jack’s Winning Words, Pastor Freed used this very appropriate quote. With all of the political rhetoric that is swirling around about people being “woke”, this truth is sometimes overlooked –

“You can close your eyes to the things you don’t want to see, but you can’t close your heart to the things you don’t want to feel.”  (Johnny Depp)

The fact is that homophobia, bigotry, and racism exist in our society. Sexism and the glass ceiling exist in our society. Many things that we know in our hearts are wrong exist in our society and some have become systemic. You may try to close your eyes or look the other way when you see or encounter these things, but you cannot close your heart to the feeling deep down that they are wrong.

Most of those things are driven by fear. Fear of the unknown or unusual. Fear of people who don’t look or act like me. Fear of things that I don’t understand. That fear provokes our fight or flight reaction. Many politicians, who are in the news almost daily, feed on that fear to garner support for themselves.

Some people when faced with the truth become angry and fight. Many just try to run away from or ignore the things or people that they encounter or the wrongs that they witness happening. But there is always that pesky feeling in their hearts that this is wrong. It is the acknowledgement of that feeling and perhaps taking some action to deal with that acknowledgement that really constitutes being “woke”.

There are certainly those on the “woke” side of things who propose solutions that also cause fear – “defund the police” comes to mind. They took the need to resolve the systemic problems within many police departments to the extreme and proposed dissolving the police departments and starting over with law enforcement. That is not a practical solution either and just feeds the fears of the people who are still in denial.

What can you do? First, don’t just close your eyes and try to pretend that the issues don’t exist. Trust that feeling in your heart that there is a wrong going on and resolve to take action to correct it. At a personal level that means not participating in the wrong. Trying hard not to be a bigot or a racist or a homophobe. Doing what is right, yourself, instead of looking the other way.

 At a higher level one can join the various groups or movements that are working to make peaceful corrections in our society. Those are not groups out rioting in the streets or walking about brandishing firearms. They are working for changes to the laws or to policies that support discrimination within businesses or government. Find a group like that and join their efforts.

Doing those things will change the feelings that you get from your heart. Doing the right things never makes your heart feel bad. You cannot ignore the truth. Your heart knows.


Go ahead and be nice…

August 23, 2022

In today’s post to his blog, Jack’s Winning Words, Pastor Freed used this quote – “Everybody’d be nice to you if they knew you were dying.”  (Bruce – Robert DeNiro – in Bang the Drum Slowly

The ironic reality is that everyone will be dying, we just don’t know when. Maybe we should all be nice to one another, since all of us will die someday, somehow; we just don’t know when or how.

We often hear people saying, “I wish I had the chance to tell him/her that I loved him/her before they died.” The sad fact is that you did and in some cases still do have that chance to tell them, but you did not (or do not) take it. Perhaps if we start each day with a mental to-do list that includes being nice to all that we meet and telling our loved ones how much they mean to us, we will not end the day with regrets.

I often see T-shirts with the message “Be Nice” on them. I don’t recall seeing any with the message “Be Mean”. Maybe, if you can imagine that everyone that you encounter during the day is wearing a Be Nice T-shirt, that will help you be nice to them, too.

The real opposite of being nice is not really being mean, it is being indifferent. When we encounter a stranger, maybe even one who is obviously in need or distress, we all too often indifferent to them. We do not take the opportunity to inquire about them for fear that they will ask something of us. We feel that we are much too busy with issues or priorities in our own lives to take time to listen to their concerns or needs. We’re not being mean; we are just being (or trying to be) indifferent.

Every Sunday morning at church we start the service with a confession of our sins and we use the phrase, “things that we have done and things lefty undone” to define those sins. I often reflect on those opportunities that I left undone during the week out of indifference to someone else. What comes to your mind?

So, put on your mental “Be Nice” T-shit every day and guard against indifference. Have in mind that everybody that you meet that day is dying someday – maybe today.

So, go ahead and be nice to them while you can.


Try imagining success…

August 22, 2022

As this graphic points out, we are oft limited by our own imaginations.

If you imagine failure instead of success, you will probably achieve what you have imagined.

I have written many times about how professional athletes, especially golfer, use a technique called visualization to rehearse and “see” a successful shot before they actually executing it. I suspect than none who use this technique imagine themselves dubbing the shot or hitting a “duck hook” instead of the perfect drive. Many amateurs, on the other hand approach their shots with disaster in mind and  achieve that imagined result more often than not.

Limits are barriers to further progress or success. Sometimes there are very real limits, governed by things that cannot be changed, no matter how hard or long one may try. Much of time, however, the limits that you “see” are self-imposed figments of your own imagination.

Resolve to imagine success instead of failure and most “barriers” become just challenges for which you can imagine a solution. See yourself overcoming those challenges instead of being stopped by them.

There was a story on the national news recently about a man who was born with no arms and only stubby little legs. The story was not about the powered wheelchair that he uses to move around the house, but about him driving a car for the last 15 years. Think for a moment about how many obstacles he had to overcome to achieve that. Put some of your own challenges up against that and you might see how small they really are. With the help of some very inventive people who specialize in modifying cars for the disabled, he was able to realize his vision of driving himself around.

For most of us, who are not so severely handicapped, we can find help in overcoming life’s challenges by enlisting the help of a very imaginative God who will find ways for us to persevere and overcome life’s challenges. Sometimes God changes the destination and outcome rather than helping us achieve some imagined goal, but He always helps us see how to be happy with where we end up.

So, starting out this week, don’t waste time imagining limits for yourself. Rather, visualize the success that you hope to achieve and set out to realize that vision. Reinforce that vision of success by soliciting God’s help. If you believe in God there are no limits. Believe that instead of imagining limits.


What sustains you?

August 19, 2022

I like this quote because it harkens back to hope – “There are times when dreams sustain us more than facts.”  (Helen Fagin)

The facts and reality of day-to-day life can often get tough or boring, but if one has hope and dreams based upon that hope it is more bearable.

You may have been inclined to answer the question in today’s title with the word “faith”. I would submit that faith is based upon hope and the dream of a better afterlife to come.

One may have somewhat passive hope and dreams or one may use that hope and  those dreams to motivate them into action. President Barack Obama put it this way in his Iowa caucus victory speech in 2008–

“Hope is the belief that destiny will not be written for us, but by us, by the men and women who are not content to settle for the world as it is, who have the courage to remake the world as it should be.”

There are many times in life when the “facts” of what is happening around us or to us may not be very encouraging. It is during those times that our faith and the hope that it is based upon sustain us. We get through those times because we know and trust that we can get through them, because we are not alone. We have not only hope but faith in that hope.

There was a quote in the Jack’s Winning Words blog recently that also seems appropriate to use here.

“I trust the next chapter, because I know the author.”  (Unknown) 

If you have faith in God, you know the author of your life and you can have hope and faith in whatever He has laid out for you in the next chapter of your life. What is even more comforting is that the same hope and faith will carry you on into the chapter after this life. You can be sustained when facing death not in fear, but in hope and anticipation, because you know the author for that, too.

We all have hopes and dreams, based upon those hopes. As for me, I trust the next chapter in my life, because I know the author.

What sustains you?


Hope overcomes all…

August 12, 2022

“The audacity of hope: In the end, that is God’s greatest gift to us.” (Barack Obama, Democratic National Convention, 2004)

I thought of that quote that I had saved in my collection of quotes earlier this week when I watched one of the little teaser video segments on Facebook from the new NETFLIX show The Sandman.

The fantasy drama show is loosely based upon a DC Comics series by the same name. The Sandman premise is that there is a being, the Sandman, aka. Dream, played by Tom Sturridge, who is responsible for dreams and the dream world, where pretty much anything is possible. We are told that Dream was imprisoned by a mortal wizard for centuries but escaped and now is trying to reclaim his possessions and his power. The show is far-fetched but can be interesting and entertaining to watch, at least in the short segments that I’ve seen.

The segment that I watched that brought this quote to mind is one in which the Sandman battles with woman character named Lucifer Morningstar, the ruler of Hell. Both are powerful characters, and the battle is waged by each creating imaginary personas for themselves to attack the other. They each state “I am…” and then whatever it is they have imagined attacking the other – a man-killing tiger, a tiger-killing serpent, a large serpent-eating bird and on and on.   They go through a variety of increasingly powerful and scary evil incarnations of animals, imaginary beasts and then a series increasingly larger objects – planets, solar systems, galaxies and the universe, until Lucifer conjures up a seemingly final adversary, I am the “the death of all things”.

Dream is apparently beaten by the devil and seemed to be dying himself when Lucifer Morningstar asks him the question, “What can you be that can withstand the death of all things?” Barely able to raise his head Dream utters the word – “Hope” and Lucifer realizes that she is beaten.

Hope is the only answer for the death of all things and is the basis upon which faith is built. Hope is the greatest gift that God has given mankind. You need not be an imaginary character on TV, just be yourself and keep your faith strong through hope and prayer. Keep hope and your faith alive and death will have no power over you.