You can’t wrap your head around God…

January 24, 2020

In today’s post to his blog, Jack’s Winning Words, Jack used this quote, which appears to be his own thoughts – “They say that God is everywhere, yet we always think of him as somewhat of a recluse.”

Jack went on to relate a cute story about a child trying to understand the concept of God being everywhere.

The post and the story that he relates in it serve to illustrate one of man’s biggest challenges (and I might say failings) when it comes to God – the need to understand God within our limited abilities to define things. Our imaginations are so limited by our need to relate God to things that we can see, feel, touch or otherwise experience in the real world, that we are unable to find a place or category in which to put Him in our minds. We tend to use comparative phrases – “God is like…” – in order to try to get comfortable with the otherwise troubling concepts of God being everywhere, knowing everything, being all powerful and all of the other concepts and things that we have heard or read about Him during our lives. We are constantly trying to wrap our heads around the concept of God. But we can’t.

There is an argument t to be made that God sent His Son Jesus into our world as a physical embodiment that we might be better able to understand. We could see Jesus and touch Him and therefore we could believe in Him. Jesus made God real for us in terms that we can understand and made Jesus the route through which we could wrap our heads around God. Jesus even told us – “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

Jesus knew the limitations of men’s minds to understand  God and the concept of life after death and heaven. He used parables when he was trying to teach his Disciples as a way to relate what he was saying  to everyday things that they could understand. Even his description of Heaven is couched in terms that they could understand from their everyday lives. – “In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? “– (John 14:2).  

Faith is the only way to take the needed step beyond man’s limited ability to reason and understand. Instead of trying to wrap your head around God, by trying to understand God within your own limited intellectual context, one needs to shift from understanding to accepting, from being able to define God within the limitations of your own terms, to accepting God on His terms through faith.

We all have difficulty getting comfortable with the unknown and our imaginations can run wild trying to fill in the blanks. Sometimes fear takes hold and we imagine all sorts of terrible things. Sometimes cynicism overcomes us and we wander away from our beliefs and our faith. We can spend an inordinate amount of time wresting with potential explanations or definitions for God, but eventually it always circles back to faith – to our belief that the unknown that is God and the destination that is Heaven exist and that God will watch over us and Heaven awaits us, even if we don’t understand it.

We can’t wrap our heads around God; but, if we accept Jesus, we will start to experience, “The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7)

Stop trying to wrap your head around God and just accept Jesus as your savior and your only route to eventually knowing God.

Peace be with you.


Thinking about love…

January 16, 2020

Today’s post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog is one of those short little ditties that gets you thinking about all of the other things that you have seen about it or could say about it. The quote was  –

“The duty of love is to listen.”  (Paul Tillich)

Almost immediately, the famous movie line “Love is never having to say you’re sorry” popped into my mind. Then came a flood of thoughts that might be quotes of their own from someone..

The opportunity of love is to share.

The reward of love is reciprocation.

If the duty of love is to listen; then the requirement of love is to act.

The opposite of love is not hate; it is apathy.

Once you start thinking about love, you eventually come around to Jesus final commandment that we “Love one another as I have loved you”.

He went on to say in the next verse of John 15 – Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

What do you think about when you read today’s quote? Hopefully those thoughts lead you down a happy path.

If you start down the path that Jesus laid out in John 15 it will lead you to a warm, secure and confident place where you know that you are loved.

Think about it.


Seize the moments in your life…

November 29, 2019

A recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog featured this quote from Dr. Seuss – “Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.”  (Dr. Seuss)

When I saw that quote, another saying  that I recalled came to mind – “Don’t wait for the perfect moment, take the moment and make it perfect.”  (Zoey Sayward)

Memories are things that we recall from the past, sometimes pleasantly so and so times not. Moments are here and now and what they become is often up to us. Seize the moments in your life.

Some moments just happen and we just happen to be in them. In those cases, we may be pleasantly or unpleasantly surprised and we will later process them into happy or unhappy memories. However, much of the time the moments that we are experiencing we do have some level of control over and it the decisions that we make in the moment that dictate how they will be remembered. Seize the moments in your life.

One can take a very passive approach to life and wait for moments to unfold around you and sweep you along with them; or, you can be pro-active and seize the moment and try to make it the best that it can be.  While we can’t totally dictate the outcome of the moments of our lives, we all can influence those outcomes by how we choose to react to the unfolding events of the moment. We can choose to be victims of the moment or we can be warriors, like Sayward’s saying, and fight to make the moments perfect. Seize the moments in your life.

Seizing the moments in your life is not difficult, but it does require a conscious effort and a continuous effort. One begins to seize the moment when one takes this advice –

“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have.” ( Eckhart Tolle)

-and –

“There are no ordinary moments.”  (Dan Millman)

Moments that feel ordinary to you are just moments that you didn’t take the time to appreciate. You took them and life for granted. If you live each moment as if it were your last, you will begin to understand what Tolle and Millman were saying. Seize the moments in your life.

Sometimes the moments are difficult, but that is OK, because you will benefit from having lived through them. As Deena Kastor said – “Sometimes the moments that challenge us the most, define us.” Any soldier, and especially any Marine, will tell you how going through boot camp helped defined them. Many were further tested and defined by moments on the battlefield. Seize the moments in your life.

Perhaps no better advice about seizing the moments in your life has ever been given than that given by Rcik Warren in this quote –

“Happy moments, PRAISE God. Difficult moments, SEEK God. Quiet moments, WORSHIP God. Painful moments, TRUST God. Every moment, THANK God. “ 

Remember that God is with you every moment and that will help you – Seize the moments in your life.


Be happy with what you have…

November 18, 2019

As we approach the Christmas season (which some stores started before Halloween), some focus upon what they don’t have and makes lists of things that they want, in hopes of getting someone to give those things to them. Many of those people  believe that they won’t  be happy until they get all of the things that they want. Back in 2015, I wrote the post below, inspired by a quote from my favorite blog. It still applies, today.

“Just remember there is someone out there that is more than happy with less than what you have.”  (Unknown) From the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

Sadly, we live in a society that conditions us to be unhappy with what we have and to always be striving for more. Whatever we have is not enough to make us happy because someone else has more or different things.  Now there is certainly nothing wrong with striving to get ahead, but one has to stop every now and then and ask, “Ahead of what?” Very few of us live in survival mode, scraping along for our next meal or a place to sleep tonight; but there are those people among us. In general we are able to provide at least food and shelter for our family and for most a good deal beyond just those necessities. But, are we happy with what we have; or, do we constantly want more, in the belief that having more will make us happier?

One of the most unhappy men in the Bible was the man who asked Jesus what he needed to do to get into heaven. When Jesus replied that he should sell everything that he had and give the money to the poor and follow him; the man wandered off unhappily muttering to himself, for we are told that he was very wealthy and obviously did not want to give up that wealth. Are we the same way today? Do we reach and reach and reach for what we don’t have, instead of being happy with what we do have and what would we do if Jesus asked us to sell everything that we have, give the money to the poor and follow him? Jesus might be a pretty lonely guy in today’s world.

The key to being happy with what you have, it seems to me, is to change your focus from things to people, from possessions to relationships, from those that you’d love to be like to those who love you as you are. Learn to express your love for them without holding out a gift of some sort or buying a new possession to share with them. If you ever get to an honest state with them, they’d probably tell you that they could care less about your car or your house or your boat or any other of your possessions. What they value is your time and attention; your love and affection; you sharing of yourself and not your possessions.

What happens when you get to that state of understanding and happiness with your loved ones is that you grant yourself permission to be happy with what you have. That doesn’t mean that you just quit your job or don’t accept the next promotion or even stop looking for a bigger house someday. Giving yourself permission to be happy with what you’ve got just means that you will no longer use the pursuit of possessions as the measure of your life and your happiness. You stop keeping score on that scorecard, because you’ve started keeping score based upon the smiles on the faces of the one that you love; and those smiles come because you were there sharing your love and not because of what you brought with you. Once you change to that focus getting the next possession will be much less important to than attending the next little league game or the father daughter dance or maybe going out to dinner with your significant other.

Dale Carnegie  put it well when he said – “Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get.”

May you find happiness in what you have. Then, it will be a merry Christmas indeed.


Decide to be happy today…

November 14, 2019

In today’s post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog, Jack used a couple of quotes that seem to fit together and which lead to my thoughts about the topic.

“The world of the happy is quite different from that of the unhappy.”  (Ludwig Witherspoon)

“We are about as happy as we make up our mind to be.”  (Abraham Lincoln)

Do you know someone who seems always to be unhappy? How about someone who seems to be happy all the time? Which would you rather be around today? Why?

The first quote that Jack used gives you the best clue about why you might choose to be around the happy person – their world is a happy, pleasant place to be. There are smiles and laughter and good feelings that are contagious; whereas the dark world of the unhappy person is foreboding and full of frowns and tears and sorrow – not a pleasant place to be. The two worlds are different and those who choose to abode in it with them are impacted by that difference.

So, the choice is to be dragged down into an unhappy world or to be lifted up in joy by a happy environment.

It is now important to understand what Lincoln said. You have the choice to make each morning about which world you will live in that day and which world you will let the public see. Your world, and your day, will be quite different, depending upon which choice you make.

You may retort, “That’s easy for you to say, you aren’t facing the problems that I have today.” Before you start sharing that pity party routine, let us establish that you are correct that no one else has exactly the same challenges facing them as you do. However, there are also people facing much worse situations and problems than you have; so, you can start by being thankful that you are not in their situations. That may lead you to realize that you should be thankful to be alive, so that you can deal with your issues. You are already one-step better off than the alternative and a step closer to a happy place.

Perhaps those two realizations will have already led you to thanking God for another day and for not being in a worse place; but, if not, take time now for that. While you are thanking God, ask for His help in facing your issues and the day. You might be surprised how fast God can put a smile on your face after you have said the little prayer, “Not my will, but thy will be done.” Your world will be different. You may not think of yourself as being happy. Perhaps you feel that you are just less unhappy. That’s OK. It will show on your face and in how you interact with others. You might be surprised how much more people want to interact with you when they see you as happy, rather than seeing a sourpuss. People would much rather interact with a Cheerful Cherise  than with a Debbie Downer.

A side benefit of deciding to be happy, rather than down, is that more people will also be willing to help you with your problems. The reason is that many people tend to avoid an unhappy person, so they never get to know you well enough to offer help. Whereas, people who have encountered a happy person and gotten to know them want to help you stay happy, so they offer help.

So, take Lincoln’s advice and make up your mind to be happy today. Take the time to thank God for all that He has already done for your and ask Him for His help with the issues that you are currently facing. Then put on a smile and head out into a happy world. It’s a better and more helpful place to spend the day in.

Decide to be happy today!


Are you in good hands?

September 9, 2019

Today’s headline is the tag line from the Allstate Insurance commercial. If nothing else, it begs the questions of who or what controls your fate. Some people profess a belief in Karma –

kar·ma

noun

(in Hinduism and Buddhism) the sum of a person’s actions in this and previous states of existence, viewed as deciding their fate in future existences.

Others see their future actions as being somehow predetermined by destiny or fate. Some have the hubris to believe that they, alone, will determine their own future.

A Christian knows that his/her future is in good hands, because they have entrusted it to God. Whether they use these exact words or not when they pause to pray before the start of the day, they are secure in the thought – “Not my will, but thy will be done.” They can focus not upon railing against the event of the day; but, rather, figuring out how to act or react to what God has put on their plate.  They are also comforted by the thought that God has promised not to give them things that they cannot handle and to always be there with them.

As you start a new week, how will you answer the question, “Are you in good hands?” IF you already know the answer, then you are in the best hands.


Don’t hurt, get help.

August 30, 2019

The Jack’s Winning Words blog recently used this quote – “Hurt people hurt people!”  (Aubrey Fontenot)

Jack went on to write about people who were bullied themselves sometimes turning into bullies and shared a “feels-good” story about a bully who was befriended by the person that he was trying to bully.

In the broader sense, people who are hurt quite often take their hurt out on others by abusived wifetrying to hurt them – they share their pain. Hurts can come in many forms – a social snub, a painful breakup of a relationship, bullying by others, the sudden loss of a loved one and many other personal tragedies that hurt. Many of those forms of hurt can be passed on to others by the one is is initially hurt. Don’t hurt, get help.

The most common reactions to a threat or hurt are fight or flight. The ones who hurt timidothers because of their hurt are exercising a form of fight – they are lashing back at the world and those around them. The alternative is often flight, which can lead to withdrawal and depression in some people.  Don’t hurt, get help.

So, what is a third alternate? Maybe the best thing is to get help. That help can come in the form of professional help – a counselor or therapist – or it may just come from a trusted friend with whom you can share the pain or from your pastor. Inbeing kind 1 any case, having someone to talk with about the hurt can immediately help. It takes away the loneliness aspect of the pain. Don’t hurt, get help.

If the hurt is bullying, most schools and businesses now have programs to report such behavior and get help resolving the problem. There is no shame in reporting a bully. You are helping both yourself and that person when you do so. Don’t hurt, get help.

If the problem goes beyond bullying, or maybe involves inappropriate sexual behavior and work, school, in athletics or at church; there is now heightened awareness of those issues and certainly no longer any social stigma involved with being brave enough to angry womanreport it to authorities. There is no need to remain quiet or to be embarrassed about reporting someone for inappropriate behavior. The #MeToo era has removed the stigma and ushered in an era of empowerment for victims.  Don’t hurt, get help.

The loss of a loved one can often result in the person who is left behind becoming withdrawn and maybe even depressed about life without the departed. The pain of the loss is real and It needs to be acknowledged. A period of grief is natural; however, life goes on and it is important to put the memory of the person in its proper place in your mind and move on. Often people find the help that they need after churchsuffering the loss of a loved one in their faith. Your pastor may be the best person to turn to for that help.  Don’t hurt, get help.

What all of these examples have in common is that they do not involve you turning your hurt into pain for others. They don’t involve lashing out or bullying others. They don’t involve sharing your pain or loss by hurting others; and they are not about withdrawing into a dark place. They do all involve getting help with the pain. Don’t hurt, get help.

A first step to getting help is often admitting to yourself that you need help. A few quietwoman-praying moments spent in prayer is often the best time to make that admission to God and to yourself. Perhaps something as simple as, “God, I cannot deal with this alone. Give me the courage and strength to seek the help that I need to deal with this hurt.” With God at your side it is much easier to seek the help that you need. Don’t hurt, get help.

A surprising outcome for those who get the help that they need to deal with a hurt is that many end up helping others.  They find satisfaction and fulfillment working with people who are going through what they went through and passing on the message. You often see news stories about parents who lost a child to some accident or disease or other helpercause creating foundations to work to prevent or cure those causes of loss and pain. They have progressed beyond getting help to giving help. They are living the message – Don’t hurt, get help. 

For them the message has become Helped people, help people.