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…


Incomparable you…

May 29, 2018

From the Jack’s Winning Words blog come this thought for the day – “Since you are like no other human being ever created since the beginning of time, you are incomparable.”   (Brenda Ueland)

It’s amazing that so many people spend so much of their time trying to be like someone else, maybe dressing like them or trying to talk or act like them. That is especially true with youth who have yet to really discover and embrace who they arethe unique person that, in fact, fascinates others. Young people just want to “fit in”. What they Gothmay not yet fully understand is that they are fitting in by filling the unique role that they play as the individual that they are. It can be especially hard to understand if the person is what we would call “good looking’, yet insecure about themselves. Julia Roberts, of the movie Pretty Woman, related in a magazine interview how she was an awkward and insecure person as a teen.

Children can be cruel to those who are unique, often making them the targets of scorn or bullying. Sometimes those unique young people find refuge within groups of other outcasts. Sometimes their silent rage plays out in tragic acts of violence as we have seen bully.pngmuch too often lately. Then we see the back-stories of ostracism or bulling that led to the bad decision to strike back with violence. We hear from parents who didn’t see what was going on in their children’s lives. Sometimes we blame then for not stepping in and preventing the tragedy. In fact, it is a societal problem.

As a society, we have not fully embraced diversity and the acceptance of those who are not “like us”. In fact, we have been moving in the opposite direction, towards camps of like-minded people who fear or hate those who are not like them. That divide is very pronounced in our politics today, where the various beliefs predjuicesheld by group members have become “litmus tests” for those seeking their political support. It is sad that our prejudices and fears have now taken on a role of political power and divisiveness.

But, let’s get back to you, or me. We are each unique, incomparable to anyone else. If we accept that, the next step might be to ask yourself how you might share your uniqueness with the world to the betterment of all. You certainly have time and you can devote some of it to help others. You may have unique talents that can be put to work for the benefit of others. Since you are unique, you have a point of view not shared by anyone else in the world. Perhaps the world would benefit from your unique insights, so share them with others. Focus upon being this-is-methe best you that you can be, because the world doesn’t have another you. If you don’t be you, no one else can fill that role.

If you can start out each day happy with who you are and secure in the incomparable contribution that you are about to make in the lives of others, you will end each day with a sense of pride and accomplishment. You can make a difference today just because you are unique and no one else can fill you role. No one else can say, “Hi, how are you?” just like you do. No one else can offer the help that only you can give. No one else can give that great smile that you can give. Be happy. Be you. Have a great day – incomparable you.


Stop and dream again…

May 21, 2018

In today’s installment of the blog Jack’s Winning Words, Jack used this quote – “I wanted to be a bus driver when I was a kid…seeing it through the eyes of a little boy.”  (Jim Lehrer)

Jack went onto write about his dreams as a boy and related the fact that this was the 100th anniversary of the Greyhound Bus Line.

Do you recall your creams from your childhood? Do you still have dreams? All too often, when we “grown up” we put away our dreams and focus upon more practical matters. Some even lose the ability to dream about better times or exciting adventures. Like the kids in Peter Pan, we grow up and lose the ability to fly, if only in our minds. How sad is that?

We all need to have dreams, not just goals in life, not just that next promotion or that man daydreamingraise that we work towards; but, those wild and crazy and fun dreams that we had as children. We become excessively serious and boring if we restrain our imaginations and stop dreaming.

So, stop and take the time to dream. Let your mind lose to wander around in the impossible. Reach again for the things that you once dreamed about as a child. Let your imagination explore realms that can only exist in your mind. Break through the constraints of the dreamsreal world and be that person who can fly again.  Be there to make history or witness history being made. Be the bus driver, if only for a few moments.

Stop and dream again…


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.