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.


Did anybody die?

August 8, 2018

Admittedly, I’m one of those people who worry and agonize over things that I’m doing or planning to do. That’s especially true if the task that I’m worrying about is something that I signed up to do for others or for an organization. How many of you can identify with that?worried1

Sometimes it involves things like organizing an event on behalf of an organization or maybe it’s a personal commitment to someone, like taking them somewhere or watching their houseplant while they are away. Whatever it is; if you are like me, you may have a tendency to overthink it, over analyze it and over become overly critical of yourself, if things go awry.  You may also become overly critical of your performance of the task after the fact.

Earlier this year, I was one of the two people who organized and presented the annual marching troopsFourth of July parade in our little Village. There are lots of tasks and decisions needed to organize and pull off a parade and lots of places where one can look back and think that they might have done a better job. After what was by all measures a successful parade, I was following my natural tendency to be critical of myself for what we accomplished and what we could have done differently. My cohort in the effort listened to my laments for a while; but, finally, he just looked at me and asked, “Did anybody die?”

As I stopped to think about answering that question, it finally became clear to me that I was agonizing over things, most of which couldn’t be changed and which weren’t life boredthreatening or even all that important in the grand scheme of things. Just taking the time to think about that question changed how I looked at the situation and that has served to keep things in my life in better perspective. I’m reminded of a little quote in a recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog –

“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”  (Wayne Dyer)

So, if you. too, let the day-to-day things in life that you face become worries or concerns, maybe asking yourself, “Did anybody die or will anybody die?” because of this decision or your acgreat-jobtion. You may quickly find that the decisions that you’ve been agonizing over, while important to you and others at the time, are not life threatening. Your life and theirs will go on. Given that revelation, you can then focus on doing the best that you can in the situation. Instead of beating yourself up over not doing something or not making a different decision, be happy that you did your best.

No one died! Get on with your life.


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.


If only I hadn’t…

July 27, 2018

Those are some sad words to begin your thoughts about something or someone. Somesorry 3 advice from today’s post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog are well worth considering –

“Before you speak, listen.  Before you write, think.  Before you invest, investigate.  Before you criticize, wait.”  (Unknown)

judge thingsI might add, “Before you judge…” I’ll let you fill in the words that should follow that opening phrase. There’s the old Biblical saw from Matthew 7 – “Judge not, lest ye be judged.” It is the rush to judgement that provides the foundation of prejudices and fears.

In today’s social media world, one could add, “Before you post, pause” or maybe “Before facebook share buttonyou Tweet, reconsider.” The same is true of sending emails or text messages or posting to Instagram. Everything is retained somewhere these days and lots and lots of trials and media stories revolve around the content of those electronic posts that people seem to send off without regard to their future use or misuse.

So, it is good advice to take the time to think about what one is saying or writing or boredposting before opening one opens one’s mouth or before hitting the send/post button. In interpersonal settings, the advice should probably be to listen more than you talk and to carefully choose your words, if you feel the need to express an opinion or to react to something that someone else has said. I recall the quote –

“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.” Unknown

You might not be thought to be a fool, perhaps shy, quiet or somewhat withdrawn; but, jerkany of those is better than becoming well known as a prejudiced bigot. It is better to be considered to be somewhat of an enigma than to be well known as a jerk or an idiot.

I was going to write more about the topic of applying this advice to discussions about politics; but then I took the advice from above, stopped and thought. Enough said and written.

If you are reading this, I decided to hit the post button. If only I hadn’t…


Got to get to work…

July 25, 2018

OK, so I didn’t win the big ½ billion lotto drawing last night. I guess the quote that I saw in a recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog applies to this situation as well as to life in general.

“The six W’s: Work Will Win When Wishing Won’t.”  (Todd Blackledge)

Many people seem to spend their lives wishing for things, instead of working for things. They may wish that their life had turned out differently or perhaps that they had been born into different circumstances. It is easy to allow wishing to degrade into wallowing in self pity.  Wishing and blaming also seem to go hand-in-hand for those type of people.accountability They wish things were better and blame the fact that they aren’t on things that they feel like they can’t control. Yet others who had the same starting point in life take the path of hard work and a dedication to bettering themselves and their situation. They work at a job and go to school. They work at a job and raise a family. They work. And, it works for them.

There is a big difference between just wishing and pursing a dream. Having a dream of aman daydreaming better future provides the foundation for the desire to achieve that dream. As Napoleon Hill once said –

“Desire is the starting point of all achievement, not a hope, not a wish, but a keen pulsating desire which transcends everything.”

What separates the achievers from the dreamers is the will and determination to achieve that dream.

“You’ve got to get up every morning with determination if you’re to go to bed with satisfaction.”  (George Lorimer)

In between those two quotes is a good place to put today’s thought – “Work will win when wishing won’t.”goal

Well, I’ve got to go now. Got to get to work. I’m still working towards my dream. How about you?


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.