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.

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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.


Hope may be the best medicine of all…

June 6, 2018

In today’s installment of the Jack’s Winning Words blog, Jack used this quote – “He (she) is the best physician who is the most ingenious inspirer of hope. (Samuel Taylor Coleridge)

Modern Medicine is at best an art, which tries to cloak itself in science to add credibility. Certainly, there is some science involved, but mostly it’s a practice of techniques that pillswere developed through a process of trial and error, whether it be in diagnosing aliments or performing surgery. Even the development of our modern wonder drugs is mostly a matter of trial and error; although the newest gene therapies are based more in a scientific understanding of how our genes work and what they do in the body. Of course the current opioid epidemic shows how out-of-hand modern medicine can get with it’s prescription drug approach.

And then there are all of the alternative or holistic medical practices, many of which focus primarily on allowing the body to heal itself. Some are accompanied by lengthy discussions of “energy flows” within the body or other scientifically questionable explanations of why they supposedly work. Most of them have been developed over centuries of trail and error, too. In the old days Snake Oil salesmen also had explanations about why their elixirs would cure all ills. Many of the alternative approaches might sound like that; however, some work as well, if not better,  than modern medicine at relieving pain and allowing a person to heal.

It would seem that Jack’s quote is the most reasonable explanation of why many of these approaches to healing actually work. The most successful practitioners inspire the hope of the patient and out of that hope comes the time and attitude to promote healing. The fact that many also relieve pain reinforces that hope.

woman-prayingI’m certainly not advocating for the position of refusing modern medical help and putting all of our hope in either alternative approaches or even in faith. Misguided people who try to use faith as a reason and defense for not vaccinating their children or giving them the benefit of modern treatments and drugs, where needed, are just wrong and a danger to themselves and society. It is unfortunate that too many get away with that approach until it is too late.

I do think it is important to add faith to the strength of the hope that one has in whatever medical approach is being employed. There have been a few studies that were at least as scientific as many drug tests that showed the positive impact of faith in the healing process. Combining hope that one will get better; with faith that God will help make it happen is strong medicine indeed.

So, keep the faith and keep hope in your medicine cabinet. Have a healthy rest of the week, no matter what approach you take to healing your body.


Believe and the door will open for you…

June 4, 2018

I get an email every weekday from Jack Freed with the latest entry to the Jack’s Winning Words blog. Many times they serve as the inspiration for what I post here. Jack finds little quotes from various sources and adds a short comment to each to provoke thought and reflection. I’m sure that he intends that each day’s post stand alone; however I found that two recent posts just seem to go together.

Today’s post was – “Shame on the body for breaking down while the spirit perseveres.”  (John Dryden)

As Jack (and me, too) gets older he is more cognizant of the ravages and toll of age on the body, while the mind can still race around and jump as if it were still young. I certainly notice it more as I try to keep up the gardens around my historic home.

Last Friday’s post was – “Every wall has a door.”  (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Jack used that quote to offer life advice about overcoming difficulties in life. I’ve often written about that topic here.

facing the wall 2It hit me, when I saw those two quotes in juxtaposition in my mail in-box that they really go together as a way to look at the end time of life. After all, death seems to be the final wall that we all face.

Certainly the human body does begin to break down and eventually gives up altogether; however, God has clearly given us a door in that wall, a way to overcome the death of the human body – eternal life through his Son Jesus Christ.

Just as believing that you can overcome obstacles in life is critical to success in problem solving; believing in the eternal life promised by Jesus is critical to opening the door to the wall that death seems to represent.gods-hands-2

Like many other things in life, we all tend to overthink this topic. We focus in our minds too much on the scientific facts that we understand about death and not enough on the promise that our faith demands that we believe. There was another quote, this one from Bob Dylan that Jack used sometime ago that also fits here –

“You either believe or you don’t believe, there ain’t no in between.”

Death is just another wall in our lives and Jesus is the door in that wall. Thus, the title for today’s post – Believe and the door will open for you.

Have a great week ahead…


Looking for a superhero? Find Jesus instead.

May 14, 2018

In a recent post to his blog – Jack’s Winning Words – Jack referenced the time when Mohammed Ali (then called Cassius Clay) made the proclamation “I am the greatest”. I remember that evening and listening to the boxing match between Clay and the Cassius Clayformidable Sonny Liston. Nobody gave the young, brash Clay a chance against the bigger Liston, who had destroyed the former champion Floyd Patterson. When Clay made good on his boast that he would “float like a butterfly and sting like a bee” and knocked out Liston, he proclaimed to the world, in the post-fight interview with Howard Cosell that he was ”the greatest of all time”.

These days we are preoccupied with the super heroes that we see on the screen – Ironman, Thor, Wonder Woman, Superman and the Black Panther. We seem to need, and to revel in, the larger than life exploits of these heroes, many of whom have egos to match their super hero status.

In Jesus’ day the people were searching for (waiting for) a super hero (the Messiah) to come and lead them in triumph over their oppressors. Many believed that the Messiah would be a great warrior, possessing supernatural strength and powers. When that Messiah came in the form of a normal and humble man – Jesus – most could not believe that this was the “savior” that had been foretold. They did not see a might warrior riding into battle on a great horse, but a humble and modest man riding into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey. Many had heard of the miracles that he had performed, but they were acts of kindness and concern and not the winning of great battles or the vanquishing of foes.

The people then, as many do now, were looking for a superhero and what they got instead was Jesus, a man who could not even save himself and who died on a cross. When confronted by Pilot with the question “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus did not say, “I am the greatest of all time”; but rather answered humbly, “You say so.”  What most in his day did not see or hear about until later was that he rose again after three days and ascended into heaven. What they did not understand was that the foes that he fought on our behalf were sin and death.

Super_heroesSo, if you are looking for amusement, go see the latest super heroes movie or dress up and go to a convention and enjoy yourself; but, if you are looking for the only true super hero of all time to save you, look to Jesus. With Him on your side; there are no foes that can defeat you, not even death. Now that’s a super hero worth following.


Let’s make US bigger…get out and vote…

May 9, 2018

In a recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog, Jack uses this quote – “All the people like us are, WE, and everyone else is, THEY.”  (Rudyard Kipling)

Recently, as a people, WE have let the differences that we use to differentiate WE from THEY dominate our conversations and our lives. We have let differences, whether real or perceived, split us into camps and set those camps at war with each other. Along the way, accountabilityWE lost the ability to find compromises; the desire through give and take to find enough common ground to allow for peaceful and mutually beneficial coexistence. Instead, we have retreated further and further away from compromise and into heavily armed and fortified positions; our fortifications made up of hate, bigotry and arrogantdistrust and our weapons those of hateful speech and actions.

WE have even let that distrust and hate creep into our religions, where Jesus’ Great Commandment to “Love one another as I have loved you” has devolved into “love only those who practice the same religious beliefs as WE do”. WE allow ourselves to distrust and hate Them – those who don’t practice our Christian faith. We become religious bigots and believe that our God is somehow different from the God that THEY pray to, just because they use a different name for Him. We allow the hand of man to get in the way of the hand of God.disagreement2

In reality thee is only US – the busy little creatures walking, riding and flying around on this little, insignificant ball of rock that is floating in the endless universe. If WE screw this up and destroy or home through pollution or wars or hate there is no THEM to blame, only US. If we are to save it for future generations, it will be US who make the changes needed and find the ways to live together in peace and harmony. That process begins when WE, in this camp, decide that WE need to find a way to reach out to THEM and seek compromise and peace. That starts by going back to the commandment predjuicesto love one another.

As with most things, the needed changes start with each of US. We must break away from the positions of hate and distrust that may have led us into one of the camps and start implementing Jesus commandment to love one another as He has lived us. Do not fear what you do not understand. Rather try to see what you can learn from that different point of view. You may never “understand”, but perhaps you can better appreciate the perspective on life from that point of view and find a way to compromise with it in peace and harmony. No good can come out of fear or hate because of the other person’s ethnicity, or color, or sexual preferences, or religion, or anything else that sets them apart. The enrichment of our lives comes from accepting and learning from those differences. We need not embrace their lifestyle to be enriched by it; but we do need tohands-across-the-gap love them and accept them as Jesus loved us. We need to include them in our US.

WE can all make US bigger this year by listening for and voting for those candidates who truly understand the concept of US rather than spouting venomous defenses of their positions against THEM. Both major parties have lots of WE vs THEM candidates. In fact, both parties have developed “litmus tests” for their potential candidates to help them “purify” and strengthen their positions of distrust and hate. Fortunately, there are still rational voices of moderation and compromise to be found. Seek them out and support them, no matter their party affiliation, for they are the only candidates who may be able to coalesce into a big enough US in the political middle to save US all. They will probably not have the strong support of their own parties, since they likely don’t cow-tow to the extreme party lines; but that is a good testament to their ability to do the right things to find compromise and achieve some level of harmony that is currently sadly lacking.

voteThis election season, let us all try to avoid the WE vs. THEM candidates and find the champions of US that are out there. Get out and vote for US.


What Maypole do you dance around?

May 1, 2018

From today’s post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog comes this delightful quote – “Life is like a Maypole.  Life is colorful  Bright  vibrant and always fun   For children and fools.”   (Mason Hartley)

Jack went on to tell about Maypole dancing in May in Scandinavia as a way to celebrate Maypole_Swedenthe end of winter and the arrival of Spring. In a larger sense, it is a metaphor for the celebration of life. As Hartley pointed out, children seem to find fun in life no matter what is going on around them. One can see that in the occasional news stories of children finding a way to play in the midst of war-torn countries. For them life is always fun, bright, colorful and full of things to discover.

Hartley seems to say that, in adulthood, only fools find the same wonder in each day. I would submit that it is not fools who can see the bright, vibrant hope in each day, but rather Christians who wake each morning and thank God for another day. God is our Maypole each day and we should celebrate each day that God has given us with joy and thanksgiving.

When we lose our childhood wonder and the ability to play and “grow up” to be a serious adult, we also lose some or all of our ability to dance around the Maypole. For many that includes losing touch with God. With the growth of the body comes the development of the mind and the rise of our ego. It is from that ego; that springs our need to feel like we are in control of things; and, in that, we lose touch with the God that we innocently accepted as children. We begin to think of each day as ours and not God’s. chasing moneyWe begin to believe that we can control things, manipulate things and decide outcomes to events and not to trust that God is in control. Many may substitute something new in place of the Maypole – success in business with promotions and more money – and dance around those goals in the belief that having more of everything will bring happiness.

It is only when we return to our belief in God that we are free to once again be happy, dance, and celebrate each day. When we finally say to ourselves and to God, “Not my will but thy will be done”, we can regain that childlike wonder at life and find a way to play again and enjoy the life that God has given us. No, we are not fools. Perhaps the fools are those around us who still think that they are in control of things and have lost contact with God.

If God is not at the center of your life, what Maypole are you dancing around? How’s thatgods-hands-2 working out for you? Don’t play the fool; return to the only true thing that you need to center your life around. Dance around God and be happy again, as if you were a child.

Have a wonderful day and find the time to dance.