It is all on where you focus…

April 5, 2021

“Focus upon an ocean of positives, not a puddle of negative” – as seen on a social media graphic post.

I get a daily graphic for social media posts to my Facebook real estate business page through my company. It’s helpful, because one cannot always think of something to post and certainly can’t always find a nice graphic to go with the thought. Today’s “quote” was on the graphic that I got this morning.

I was going to use the headline “Which you would rather dive into?” I think we’d all feel a bit safer and more comfortable taking a dive into the ocean rather than diving headfirst into a puddle. Yet, in life we may seem to be surrounded by puddles. The news media tends towards telling us all of the negative news of the day, because they think that we want to see and hear it, plus they think it “sells” and makes them more money. I wonder how a show called “The Nightly Good News” would fare?

Being surrounded by negative puddles means that we will occasionally step into one. We may not have dived in headfirst, but we still get wetted by negativity none the less. A key to not sitting in that puddle and wallowing in negativity and self pity, is to be more like a bungy jumper and bounce back before you hit bottom. The bungy cord that makes that happen and keeps you from becoming mired in negativity is your faith.

Faith takes our eyes off the negatives in life and refocuses them on the positives. We have just gone through the biggest refocus of all – Easter. Easter reassures us each year that we can take our minds off the puddle of death and focus instead on the ocean of everlasting life with Jesus. Easter shouts “He is risen!” and assures us that we will, too. Easter forces us to look away from His death on the cross and towards His resurrection and the promise of our own.

So, use the bungie cord of your faith to bounce back out of life’s puddles. Refocus your life around the positives. Easter is our ocean of positivity. Dive in! The water’s fine.


Seek and you will find…

March 28, 2021

A quote from the Jack’s Winning Words blog that has been hanging around my saved quotes list for a few days just seemed to jump out this morning – “Take heed: you do not find what you do not seek.”  (English Proverb)

The title for this post comes from Matthew 7:7 – “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”

The point of both is that you must take some action to find your faith. Just like the opposite of love is not hate, but rather indifference, the opposite of having faith is being complacent or indifferent. If one has no faith they likely also have no hope, since they have nothing to base that hope upon. Having faith and hope drives one into actions, in order to fulfill those hopes. Having neither faith or hope can immobilize one and lead to the spiral of depression.

Faith is often kindled by seeking to understand the meaning to life and to find a purpose in life. It does not take too long in the search for answers to those questions for one to arrive at the doorstep of faith. While man’s search for more and more knowledge about the world around him has created a huge pool of understanding of nature and the universe in which we exist, it always ends up with those unanswered questions. Even the worlds greatest scientists eventually arrive at the doorstep of faith and most choose to enter, as the answer to their search for understanding.

So, it is OK to ask the questions and to seek to understand the meaning of life. In fact, it is necessary because you will not find the answer unless you seek it. “It’s the questions we can’t answer that teach us the most.” ― Patrick Rothfuss

So, do not be indifferent to the question of the meaning of life, but also do not be afraid of the answer. Knock on the door of faith and it shall be opened to you, for Matthew 7:8 tells us – “For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”

You might object that faith is not the only possible answer to that question.  I would submit that man has been seeking that answer for thousands of years and no matter how far afield he ranges for answers and no matter how much knowledge he has accumulated about other things, the road always leads back to the door of faith. Without faith, there is no answer and that is a very unsatisfactory ending to the search indeed.

Knock on faith’s door today. It shall be opened to you.


Be a magician today…

March 18, 2021

From my favorite source of quotes, Jack’s Winning Words, comes today’s thought provoker – “The magic in new beginnings is truly the most powerful of them all.”  (Josiyah Martin)

So, why are new beginnings so magical? I think it is because they rekindle hope and hope is a powerful elixir indeed.

New beginning usually occur right after something has ended, perhaps something that ended badly or maybe just in disappointment. After those few moments of admission that all hope was lost for the old, new hope springs to life for the new and a new focus upon that hope energizes us to move forward again.

Sometimes it is not that hope was lost or that defeat was admitted; but, rather, that hope was temporarily forgotten or was lost in the loud din of day-to-day life. Out faith and the hope that comes with it can be like that – drowned out and forgotten in our focus upon our daily lives. We become so focused upon monetary success that we let our faith slide into the background. We fixate upon the here and now and forget about the rest of eternity. The old saying “the Devil is in the details” is perhaps talking of us focusing too much on the mundane details of life and not enough on the bigger picture – not enough on God.

We can correct that by treating each day as a new beginning and pausing each morning to thank God for the new chance to do better each day. Certainly, we have to put in the effort to maintain our jobs and provide for our needs and that of our families; however, we can also renew the hope that our faith provides and rededicate ourselves to doing the good which that faith requires. With each new day, each new beginning, we will find renewed hope. Acting upon that hope, we will provide the magic in the lives of others and that is the most powerful thing of all.

So, take some time each morning to stoke the fires of your faith and rekindle your hope, so that you can go out and perform magic all day long. The world is full of people who have lost hope. Give them some of yours and make the world a better place for all.

Make each day a new beginning and fill it with hope.

Be a magician today!


It’s a personal thing…

March 3, 2021

Today’s post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog contained this quote –  “I can explain it to you, but I can’t comprehend it for you.”  (Edward Koch) 

There is a tendency to immediately substitute the word “understand” for the word “comprehend” in that sentence, but that isn’t really what the sentence is saying. It is different to comprehend something that just to understand it.

One way that the Webster’s Dictionary defines “comprehend” is –

1: to grasp the nature, significance, or meaning of

In fact, even most dictionaries use the word understand within the definition of comprehend. Koch’s quote actually is right on as to the personal nature of comprehension. One can understand something at an intellectual level without really comprehending it, just as one can comprehend something without having to understanding it.  

Understanding is a rather emotionless term that points at how things fit into our minds and memories – what category will this be filed under in my mind and how might this knowledge be used and applied in the future?

Comprehending, on the other hand, I think, leads to changes in how one perceives and reacts to the world around them. It is a very personal thing, involving how you grasp or perceive the things that you encounter.  One does not so much understand love as to comprehend it for themselves.  The same is true of prejudice or hate. You would be hard pressed to understand what causes them in you, but you can comprehend them as being there.

Ones faith is another thing that cannot really be understood, but which is comprehensible. How do you understand or explain your belief in a God who cannot be seen or heard, but whom you comprehend is always there with you? It’s a personal thing.

So, take a moment during the day to comprehend God. Don’t try to understand God, you really can’t; however, you can grasp the nature, significance and meaning of God in your life – you can comprehend. For me, that’s enough. I will not worry about understanding God, so long as I comprehend Him in my life.

How about you? Do you comprehend?

Sorry, I can’t help you with that. It’s a personal thing.


Know it or believe it…just do something with it.

February 27, 2021

A quote from an unknown source was used by Pastor Freed in one of his recent posts to his blog, Jack’s Winning Words“It’s not what you know, but what you do with what you know.”  (Unknown)

There’s certainly a whole riff that could be written about putting your knowledge to use, but when I saw that quote I mentally substituted the word “believe” for the word “know” and thought about what it is that I can do to turn my beliefs, my faith, into action. What “something” can I do with it.

One does not have to stand on soap box on a street corner preaching to no one in particular to demonstrate and live their faith. In fact, I think many of those who do that are still trying to convince themselves of their beliefs as much as anything. How many times have we seen stories of the famous TV evangelists being carted off to jail or disgraced in public for their actions and not their words?

The easiest way to put your faith into action and perhaps influence others to the same path is to live your life as an example of that faith. Not judging others (lest you be judged), being kind and caring and doing the right things when faced with decisions. On the surface, that may seem to be a rather off-handed way of looking at things, but it requires a conscious effort to think about your decisions in the light of your faith.

Many people used to wear those little rubber or metal bands with WWJD embossed or printed on them – What Would Jesus Do. That was a great memory device that caused one to stop and think before acting. I don’t see many of those wrist bands around anymore, but that thought and that pause to think is needed more now than ever.

Faith is just one of the touchstones available to us for grounding our thoughts and actions. Unfortunately, there are also things like prejudice, hate and indifference available as alternative approaches to decision making. The appeal of these alternatives is most often that they are easier to implement than the love, caring and acceptance of others that faith requires. It is easier to turn one’s back on the poor, homeless beggar than to take the time to help. It is easier to dismiss the person of different color or appearance out of prejudice than to take the time to get to know them. Look at your wrist. WWJD?

So, it is not enough to just profess your faith, one must put that faith into action, to let it influence and lead your actions – to do something with it. The “something” that your faith drives you to do does not always have to involve dramatic actions, but it should always be actions that demonstrate the answer to the question that you stopped and ask yourself.  WWJD? You don’t need to wear a bracelet with that question on it; just keep that question rattling around in the back of your mind as you go through your day and let it stop you so that you can think about the answer to that question.

Perhaps one can add to their morning prayers a simple thought – “Lord let me live my life today to reflect your glory in the decisions that I make.” Then ask yourself WWJD and get on with your day.

Have a great day of demonstrating your faith through the living of your life. Keep looking at your wrist and asking the question. WWJD?


Believe…you don’t want to be wrong.

February 26, 2021

I recently stumbled across a number of quotes from noted French philosopher and novelist Albert Camus . This is one that caught my attention – “I would rather live my life as if there is a God and die to find out there isn’t, than live as if there isn’t and to die to find out that there is.”

There is a phrase about “backing into something” that seems to cover this thought. Faith based upon the thought that you really don’t want to be wrong about God’s existence is probably better than no faith at all, but it is sort of backing into belief.

We are in the Lenten season, which could be a real downer, since we know that it is leading to the suffering and crucifixion of Jesus. There are many somber ceremonies associated with the Lenten season – the imposition of ashes on Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday – yet we also know that ultimately they lead to the most joyous occasion of all Jesus’ resurrection on Easter. Even the Earth itself celebrates the resurrection with Spring and the re-birth of plants and reemergence of animals that may have been hibernating. Easter and Spring is an annual refresh of our belief in God.

Believing in God brings a certain orderliness to life that otherwise might appear to be very random and thus very confusing and unsatisfying. Faith helps us explain things – things that happen around us and things that happen to us. Faith also helps us get through things as they happen, because faith leads to hope and hope fuels perseverance.

Faith also fills what otherwise would be a huge void in our lives – the meaning of life itself – and gives us purpose.  It is through faith that we accept what we cannot understand, trusting in the God of our faith to handle those things. Faith overcomes our fear of the unknown by placing those things in the hands of God.

So, have faith and go through life confident that you are right and that, in the end, you will receive the reward of everlasting life that you have been promised. There is no alternative that makes any sense and you certainly don’t want to be wrong. Back into faith if you have to, but get into it any way that you can.

Have a wonderful and faithful day.


What do you see?

February 23, 2021

In today’s post to his blog, Jack’s Winning Words, Pastor Freed looks at the challenge of optimism vs pessimism with this quote – “Optimism shouldn’t be seen as opposed to pessimism, but in conversation with it.  Your optimism will never be as powerful as it is in that exact moment when you want to give it up.”    (Amanda Gorman)

Whether you are generally an optimistic person or a pessimist directly impacts your daily life. Someone probably already said this, but I’ll attribute t to myself here – “What you see depends upon how you look at things.”

It can be a dark and gloomy world for those trapped in an pessimistic outlook on life, just as it can be perpetually sunny and bright for the optimists of the world. I suspect that most walk right on that thin line between the two, sometimes seeing the dark side of things and sometimes the bright side. One can hope that the bright side wins out most of the time, such that you are seen by others as having a “sunny disposition”.

Optimism draws it’s strength from hope. Hope for the best outcome. Hope for friendship and love. Hope for better things ahead. In many, that hope is fueled by faith. Faith opens the door to hope by overcoming and eliminating the ultimate worst outcome in life – death. Faith allows us to accept what has happened, whatever it is, and continue to look ahead. Faith removes from us the burden of responsibility for solving all of life’s problems and puts that responsibility in the hands of God. Faith  allows us to look at things and see the good in them, by seeing the God in them.

I recently used a quote by Albert Camus and another comes to mind for this post – “In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.” –  Albert Camus

Albert Camus (1913-1960) was a French philosopher and novelist whose works examine the alienation inherent in modern life and who is best known for his philosophical concept of the absurd. He explored these ideas in his famous novels, The Stranger (1942), The Plague (1947), and The Fall (1956), as well as his philosophical essays, The Myth of Sisyphus (1942) and The Rebel (1951). He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957.

The winter that Camus mentioned might be allegorical for despair and pessimism and the invincible summer for faith and optimism. A person of faith is by definition a person of hope – an optimist. How about you? What do you see? Is there within you an invincible summer?

I believe that there is within all of us that glimmer of hope that is fueled by an ember of faith, however tiny. If one but puts the tinder of prayer on that ember and nurtures it a little bit, it will flame up in your life to provide warmth and light – your invincible summer.

Try it, you’ll like it. You will see things differently.


So, get started already!

February 22, 2021

The graphic that inspired today’s post came from a feed that I get every day of graphics to use in real estate social media posts. It illustrates the point that you won’t achieve your dream, hopes and ambitions unless you ACT today. Dreaming, hoping and even planning don’t accomplish anything unless you actually do something to make progress towards those dreams and hopes.

Many people allow themselves to be overwhelmed by the size or sheer audacity of their dream. I mean, how ridiculous it might have felt for a poor little black girl in Los Angeles to dream that she might one day be the Vice-President of the United States or for the son of dirt-poor immigrants to hope to be a billionaire some day. Yet dreams and hopes like that come true. In every case, when those people are interviewed and talk about their successes you will find a long path of hard work and perseverance. Many had to overcome the roadblocks that prejudice threw up at them. They never quit and they did not give up their dreams; they just worked harder and longer at them.

Big dreams that seemingly will require Herculean efforts to achieve need to be broken down into smaller, achievable steps. Sometimes those steps won’t seem to be leading directly towards the goal, but they are required detours to enable progress later. Getting as good education is one of those steps and a key one.

An education not only opens many doors to success, but it also teaches valuable life lessons on problems solving, patience and persistence. There are many courses that one is required (forced) to take in college that may not seem to be on the path to your goal, but which you will discover later in life provide a solid knowledge base for your success. While our current emphasis on the STEM subjects is focused upon key job enabling knowledge, the humanities subjects that we are also taught help ensure that we do not become boring and one-dimensional adults. Learning to appreciate the arts and literature is as important as learning how to solve quadratic equations.

Just as important as developing your mind through education is the need to develop your faith through worship. Your intelligence grows as you feed your mind more and more information. Your faith can grow too as you give it more and more exposure to God through prayer. It is at the confluence of intelligence and faith that wisdom is created. You empower yourself for success in life through your education and your efforts. You empower yourself for life after death through your faith. The success you achieve in life is fleeting and may be measured in terms of money or power. The success you achieve in your faith is forever and is often described as being “beyond all understanding”.

So, go for your dreams. Start today to make progress towards realizing the success that you have imagined. But, don’t ignore your faith. Be as persistent in realizing the ultimate goal there, too. Work at achieving your goals and work at increasing your faith. Do something to achieve both goals every day. It is in the doing that success in both is found.

Get started today.


Keep going to keep growing…

February 12, 2021

I often use quotes from Pastor Jack Freed’s blog, Jack’s Winning Words, as my inspiration for what I write here. Today I’m using what might be considered to be a trite little phrase that I recently saw on a little plaque in a gift store – “You Grow Through What You Go Through”.

walking man

It is easy to just toss that little phrase off or to read it and not give it much thought, but then that would make for a very short post here. When I read it in the gift shop that was my initial reaction – cute little phrase. Giving it more thought, there are so many more dimensions to it than one initially considers.

One grows intellectually by just accumulating and organizing the facts and experiences that one encounters during a normal day. Hopefully one learns from both successes and mistakes and thus grows as a rational person.

It’s hard to even imagine living a life so devoid of challenges and failures that one has no successes or mistakes to learn from. It is perhaps a little less difficult to image a person who does not learn from their mistakes and keeps repeating them. Do you know anyone like that?

What I ended up thinking about is how we grow in our faith based upon what we go through in life. Few of us probably end the day with a prayer thanking God for another wonderful, conflict and problem free day. More likely we may thank God for the strength and perseverance he gave us to get though the day and pray for His help with tomorrow.

It is the day-to-day things that we go through that helps us grow in our relationship with God. Those trials and setbacks help us see the limits of our own ability to control things in life. Eventually they bring us to the point where we are ready to surrender to God’s love and state out loud for ourselves and Him to hear – “Not my will, but thy will be done.”

Growing in your faith by coming to that conclusion in your life is one of the most liberating things that you can accomplish. It is a faith threshold that once crossed frees you to focus on the things that you can impact and give to God those things over which you really have no control. It also allows you to forgive yourself by accepting God’s forgiveness into your life – see my post Let God be Your Eraser.

Nowhere in the Bible does it say that of you have faith, nothing bad will ever happen to you. Rather the Bible tells us that if we have faith, there is nothing that we cannot face, because we have God on our side. So, one can view the trials and tribulations that are a part of normal life as providing opportunities for us to grow in our faith. Face each test with the thought, “We’ve got this” (you and God together) and use what you go through to grow your faith.

In your faith, you really do “Grow through what you go through”, so get our that and grow your faith today.


Be scared, but not fearful…

December 22, 2020

Pastor Freed used an interesting quote this morning in his blog, Jack’s Winning Words

“There were certainly things I was scared to do, but I never thought I wasn’t up to the challenge.”  (Rodney Mara)

It is interesting because it makes one think about things that they may be scared of, but do not fear actually doing. There are many things in life today that are scary to think about. These days that may include just leaving your house to go get groceries. Yes, it is scary to think that you could get COVID-19 just shopping for your groceries, but most do not let that turn into fear of leaving their house. Rather, we use that scare to goad us into doing the right things to protect ourselves – wearing a mask, maintaining a social distance and  washing or sanitizing our hands when we exit the store.

The two words scare and fear are so intertwined that they are used in the definitions of each other; however there are subtle differences and the biggest is probably that  fear contains a large amount of imagined outcome; whereas scare is more immediate and real. Something can scare us initially, but it doesn’t necessarily turn into a fear until we’ve had time to think about it and imagine all sorts of possible bad outcomes.  A scare is more of a here and now reaction to an event, while a fear is thinking about possible future events.

Pastor Freed went on to mention that he is better able to deals with his fears by relying on his belief in God, that God is there with him, during times of stress or fear. That is certainly good advice and allows us to implement the last part of Mara’s quote in our lives – never to think that we are not up to the challenges.

If we call upon God for help and believe in Him, we quickly realize that with God at our side we are up for any challenges that come our way…we need not fear them. Many things in life are scary when we encounter them; however if we approach them with the attitude of “I’ve got this”, we can persevere. In reality, we are saying to ourselves “We’ve got this”, because we know that God is with us –

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)

God did not say to never be scared. There are things that will scare us, as they should. However, we do not have to let that scare turn into fears that control our lives. Rather than being anxious and fearful when encountering something scary, heed the words of John and be at peace –

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” (John 14:27)

The next time you encounter something scary, instead of letting that initial fright turn into a fear, quickly find your inter-peace, your faith.  Rather than sinking into the paralysis of fear, you will see that your faith calms the situation and allows you to think clearly about what you should do to address the situation. Your faith allows you to maintain control of yourself in the situation, whereas fear would try to control you.

Have a great and fear-free day. God is with you. Be not afraid.