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.


Faith lies just beyond the edge of reason…

June 16, 2018

In a recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog, Jack uses this quote – “My reason nourishes my faith, and my faith my reason.”  (Norman Cousins)

Jack went on to

write about his belief that reason and faith can peacefully coexist.

I guess I take just a slightly different point of view. I think faith exists just beyond the edge of reason at that point where reason no longer serves us well and belief takes hold. There is a maxim in movie making that the great movies are ones that allow (encourage) believeus to suspend disbelief for that brief amount of time and allow ourselves to believe in the premise of the movie. The movie becomes “real” to us, if only for a few hours. Faith is somewhat the same. You must be able to suspend your disbelief (most often rooted in reason and logic) and allow yourself to believe in something that is beyond human logic and reason. In the case of faith that belief lasts and takes on a meaning and impact in our lives that changes our lives forever.

So, yes, faith and reason can, and do, coexist in peacefully in believers. It is only in the minds of those who have yet to believe that there is a conflict and that conflict is of man prayingtheir own making. Being an analytical-type person, I will continue to try to reason things out in life; but, also being a believer, I will put my trust in God when it comes to those things that defy reason, for that is where God lives – just beyond the edge of reason in a place called faith.

Have a great weekend.


A relationship based upon unconditional love…

June 11, 2018

In today’s post to his blog, Jack’s Winning Words, Jack Freed uses this quote – “Every time God forgives us, God is saying that God’s own rules do not matter as much as the relationship that God wants to create with us.”  (Richard Rohr)

Jack went on to talk about that relationship and referenced John 3:16 as the answer – “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  Which is followed in John 13 by, “Love each other as I have loved you.”

So, the relationship that God wants with us is one of unconditional love. Out of unconditional love for God will come love for one another, too. God is saying that he will love and forgive us, no matter what and what he asks in return is that we show Him the same unconditional love through our belief and trust in Him.

The unconditional love that God wants begins by lowering our shields of disbelief orjesus-as-light cynicism and accepting God into our hearts. The doorway to that belief and unconditional love He has offered to us is in the form of His Son Jesus. If we believe in Jesus as our Lord and Savior, then we believe in God and He will accept us and forgive us all of our sins.

The roadblock to using that doorway and having that relationship with God is usually our own ego. Our sense of self and independence is strong and the need to let go of that and to surrender our concept of self to an unconditional trust in and love of God is the last big step to achieving the relationship that God wants with us.

That last step is a scary step that requires faith. If you saw the Eddie Murphy film “The Golden Child”, there was a scene as he was retrieving the magic knife from an underground cavern where he was faced with stepping off into space with the belief that he would not plunge to his death, taking this last step in your relationship with God can gods-hands-2feel like that – it is a step (some might use the term leap) of faith.

When you can take that last step (leap) of faith and embrace the concept of a bi-directional and unconditional love of God, you will finally achieve the relationship with God that He wants and which you have been seeking. You have to let go of “me” and embrace the concept of “We”. God will take care of the rest.

Have a great and blessed week ahead.