What do you see?

August 5, 2019

From a recent post in the Jack’s Winning Words blog comes this thought – “The traveler sees what he sees.  The tourist sees what he has come to see.”  (Gilbert Chesterton)

arrogantAs I thought about Chesterton’s quote, going to church on Sundays came to mind and the saying morphed into – “The self-righteous sees the church service. The faithful sees the face of Jesus.”

It is all too easy to become wrapped up in the beauty of the church building or the carefully choreographed rituals of the church service and be like the traveler in Chesterton’s quote. For many years the Catholic Church resisted the movement away from using Latin in the Mass because the inability of the laity to preacher-pointingunderstand what was going on was a big part of the mystery and drama that the clergy wanted to maintain. It was considered to be part of the show that the congregation has come to see. What do you see?

But, the faithful, like the tourists in Chesterton’s quote, have come to see something in particular – they have come to be with Jesus. In Matthew 18:20 we are told that Jesus said jesus-as-light– “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.” The faithful came not to be entertained, but to see Jesus. What do you see?

Look around the next time that you are in church. Which one of the others who are there with you is Jesus in your midst? Is He the well-known congregant who is always faithfully at church or that stranger that you’ve never seen there before? Is He the infant noisily crying in the back of the church or the hunched over elderly man in the pew next to you? Could He be delivering the sermon or just listening to it like you are? What do you see?

 The difference between the traveler and the tourist that Chesterton was pointing out is one of intentional focus. For the traveler, the scenery unfold around them as they proceed, but it may be barely noticed – it is simplify background noise in their lives. For the tourist, the scenery that is unfolding around them as they go IS what they came togods-hands-2 see. They not only notice, but also take it in and savor it. It is often much the same with church. One can just get through the service, mindlessly mouthing the words of the songs and blankly staring ahead during the sermon; or one can be in the moment, savoring the time that they have to be with Jesus in worship. For those who open their hearts to God, church is a time to see what you came to see – the face of Jesus in your midst. What do you see?

 So, next Sunday; be the tourist and savor the moments that you will have with Jesus in your midst. Focus upon what you came to see and find God in the crowd, in the service and in the building. Ask yourself – What do you see? Do you see what you came to see?


Will you make a difference today?

June 26, 2019

From today’s post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog comes this inspiration – “It’s easy to make a buck.  It’s a lot tougher to make a difference.”  (Tom Brokaw)

We begin each day faced with lots of choices – what to wear, what to have for breakfast, what route to take to work and many more. Add to that list the simple question, “What can I do to make a difference today?” and maybe that will put you in the right frame ofbored mind to go out and make that difference. Making the world a better place is a pretty big difference making challenge to throw at yourself the first thing in the morning; so. maybe start with the goal of just making a positive difference in someone else’s life. Something as small as a smile and a friendly “Hello” or holding a door open for someone can make his or her day better. Acts of kindness and consideration make a difference, one person at a time. Will you make a difference today?

If you have a goal to make the world a better place through some larger change, keep in mind that those changes take longer and that you may only be able to accomplish small increments on any given day. Keep at it, even though the evidence of change that day may be imperceptible. Persistence goes hand-in-hand with making a difference. Maybe sewrving soupyou are collecting signatures for some ballot initiative and today your goal is to get another 10-20 signatures. Keep at it. You are making a difference, however small today. Maybe you are saving your change each day, so that you can contribute to a worthy cause. Keep at it. Your nickels and pennies are adding up. Maybe you only have a little time after work that you can devote to helping coach a little league team or perhaps help at a local food bank or shelter. It makes a difference that you are spending that time making a difference in the lives of others. Will you make a difference today?

If you are hungry and I give you food; does that make a difference in your life? If you are cold and I give you a coat to wear; does that make a difference in your life? If you have nowhere to sleep tonight and I contribute to the local shelter; does than make a goaldifference to you? If you are seriously injured and you receive the pint of blood that I gave at the Red Cross; does that make a difference to you? If you suffered through a tornado that destroyed your home and the Red Cross uses the money that I contributed to provide you with shelter; does that make a difference to you? Making a difference comes in all sizes and forms; however, it almost always starts with a single person making the decision to make a difference by giving or their money or time. Will you make a difference today?

We often start our day by praying for God’s help in our own lives. We pray for the strength or courage or wisdom to get through a tough problem at home or at work. Maybe we pray for success in our business life or for help in resolving a conflict in ourGods work our hands personal life. How many of us pray for the opportunity to help make a difference in someone else’s life? That opportunity is the chance today for you to meet Jesus. Jesus said in Matthew 25 – For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,  I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. When the disciples said that they had seen or done none of that, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

Will you take the opportunity to meet Jesus today? Will you make a difference today?


A star shall be your guide back home…

December 24, 2018

“In everyone’s heart stirs a great homesickness.”  (Rabbi Seymour Siegel)

I saved that quote from a post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog because I knew that I wanted to write about what it meant (at least to me).

Christmas is a time of great joy and celebration, but it is also a time of reflection and peace. It is a time when you can let your soul see the solution to the great homesicknessstar and wise men that may dwell there. For, when you imagine that star that guided the wise men to that manger in Bethlehem, you are seeing the star that will guide your soul back home, to God.

The great homesickness in Rabbi Siegel’s words is not about a physical place so much as it is about being back in the presence of God. The birth of a soul launches it on an adventure of wandering about in the physical world, some for a long time and some for a very short stay. No matter the length, during that time, that soul is away from God’s presence. The longing in our soul to get back home, to that relationship with God, grows and nags at us like a homesickness.

Some wander through life trying all sorts of different things to try to quiet that uneasy bored2feeling, that homesickness. Many believe that the accumulation of worldly power or wealth is the answer. Some turn to drugs or alcohol to try to quiet the sense of loss. Some may fall into mental illness trying to deal with this unknown and unrelenting feeling of loneliness and fear. Eventually, all souls realize that the only answer is to look to the sky, find the star that guided the wise men so long ago and follow it home…back to God.

The help that you need and desire to find your way back to God may be found as the wise men found it, in that manger in the little town of Bethlehem. Jesus was sent as our savior and guide to help us get back home to God. In John 14:6 He said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

So, the path back home to God is clear. Accept Jesus as your savior and guide and follow Him back home. Surrender yourself, pray, and look for His star this Christmas Eve. There need no longer be a great homesickness in your soul – His star shall be your guide back home.

jesus-in-manger

May your soul once again know the presence of God. Follow the star and have a great Christmas!


Get out of the shadows…

October 2, 2018

Jack Freed had a post that is so good today on his blog Jack’s Winning Words that I need to re-post the whole thing before I add any comments.

“We’d forgive most things if we knew the facts.”  (Graham Greene)  Being prejudiced means to judge before knowing all of the facts.  RLS wrote: “I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me…” and that shadow, at times, can be the tendency to form opinions based on partial knowledge.  Racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, nationalism…these are more than words.  Leaning, left or right…we daily have to examine “our little shadow” of pre-judging. – Jack

It’s interesting that this tendency to pre-judge, to be prejudiced, comes from the shadows, preacher-pointingfrom a dark place – a place in our hearts and minds where the sun doesn’t reach or perhaps where the Son doesn’t reach. Just as these preconceived notions, most born in ignorance and fear, could not stand the light of the truth, they also could not stand having the light of Christianity shined upon them. The fact that many words of hate and prejudice are hurled from the shadows by people thumping Bibles and loudly devilproclaiming to be Christians just shows the power of the Devil in their lives. They have allowed fear and hate to overcome the love and acceptance that Jesus taught.

Get out of the shadows…

What “little shadows” do you allow in your life? Is it a fear or prejudice against of people of color? Is it disgust or disdain at hearing others speak a foreign language in a store? Is it the ignorance and loathing of homophobia? Is it just the discomfort that you feel being around people who are “different”? Perhaps you sneer at eyes of revengea women wearing the Habib or those who look or dress differently. Perhaps you have allowed yourself to become a snob about some things and tend to discount the tastes of others who do not share you appreciation for that thing. Maybe your little shadow is just the indifference to your fellow man that allows you to turn away from the homeless beggar in the street, rather than reach out to try to help.

Get out of the shadows…

Whatever your personal little shadow is, you need to get out from under it. Shine the light of Jesus teachings on those fears and prejudices. Get yourself one of those little WWJDWWJD bracelets and start wearing it. When you find yourself in a situation where the shadow of pre-conceived notions is starting to darken your judgement, take the time to look at the bracelet and ask yourself that question. If you take the time to ask yourself What Would Jesus Do in those situations, you will find that the shadows go away. They cannot stand the light of the Son.

Get out of the shadows…

Have a great day walking in the light of the Son.


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.


Don’t give up the chase…

October 9, 2017

From a collection of inspirational sayings that I found on the internet comes this saying – “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.” —Vince Lombardi

For many years, Lexus used the tag line “The relentless pursuit of perfection” and they made excellent automobiles. They have been questioned for changing their tag line to “Engineering the impossible”, which is perhaps a little harder to relate to for the common man.

bored2In day-to-day living, many people claim to be (or at least, admit to being) perfectionists – people who constantly strive for perfection, sometimes to the consternation of those around them. Many times, if the object of their desire for perfection is a sport, you will see them practicing, doing something over and over until they master that aspect of the sport. For many, the inability to achieve perfection dominates their lives and makes them unhappy.

I think it is OK to constantly have perfection as a goal in whatever you are doing. After all, not striving for perfection as you do something is admitting, up front, that you willmediocrity quote accept mediocrity as a final outcome. One seldom hears cheers being lead that proclaim proudly, “We’re number two” or signs extolling you to “be good enough”. Rather, we see and hear, “Be the best that you can be”; strive for perfection.

Striving for perfection may seem to be a prescription for constant frustration and disappointment, but it needn’t be; rather it should be the constant goal that keeps us learning, evaluating, adjusting and improving. One should never stop asking themselves, “How can I be a better spouse, a better parent, a better sibling or just a better person?”

The dictionary defines perfection as – the condition, state, or quality of being free or as free as possible from all flaws or defects.

Perhaps the flaws or defects in our lives are our sins. Maybe if you start by striving for WWJDperfection in your religious life those other things will take care of themselves. At least we have one “perfect” example to try to emulate in our pursuit –  Jesus. Perhaps one of those little WWJD bracelets would cause us to pause and think before we act, before we say something or do something that would cause us to backslide on our pursuit of perfection.

We may not achieve perfection, but we might get closer to excellence in life if we stopped to think “What would Jesus do?” I’m pretty sure that He would not do anything that He would regret later or that would hurt someone else. Maybe that’s a good starting point for your pursuit in other aspects of life. Another thing that we will realize, once we embrace Jesus in our lives, is that he has already forgiven all of our flaws and defects. The grace of God that he died on the cross to give to us has already made us perfect, oncewoman-praying we accept Him.

So, never give up the pursuit of perfection in life; but, perhaps reevaluate your priorities and whomever you’ve been using as a role model for perfection and refocus yourself on the one role model who promises that you will achieve perfection through Him. Start with a prayer.

Have a perfect day.


Against the wind…

October 7, 2016

“When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind.”  (Henry Ford) – as seen recently on the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

Jack went on to write about the Wright brothers discovering that by facing against the wind they were able to fly, because the wind helped provide lift. He also mentioned liking the Bob Seger’s song Against the Wind.single mom

Everybody has instances in their lives when they feel like they are running against the wind; times when they are facing adversity or fears, uncertainty and doubts. Sometimes it’s hard in the midst of those times to hold on to the belief that those periods of adversity serve to lift us; that overcoming the lows in life allow us to soar to new heights.

There is the old medical saw – “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. That is true in medicine and in life. In medicine one’s body develops immunity to certain diseases by surviving them. That is the basis for developing vaccines – using inactive or dead agents of the disease – bacteria or viruses – to cause the immune system to develop defenses well before it is actually exposed to the real agents that cause the disease.

There is a traditional Gaelic blessing –

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Sometimes, in life,  just the opposite is true …

bored2The road reaches a deep chasm or faces an intimidating hill.
The wind is blowing against you.
It is a time of cold darkness and storms beat against your face.
It is in those times that you really need to find shelter and help in the palm of His hand.

In life we are all exposed to situations where the wind is blowing against us, whether it is in job situations, our home life, or in relationships. We suffer disappointments, setbacks, failures and breakups. We are running against the wind. It is in those times that our faith lifts us up and allows us to soar above the adversity.

If you feel like you are running against the wind, seek the shelter and help that is alwayshelping hands there for you and feel the power of God lifting you up. Remember God’s promise in  Isaiah 41:10 –

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”jesus-as-light

Jesus reinforced that commitment in Matthew 28:20 – “I am with you always, even untothe end of the world.”

Perhaps the better song for those times when we are running against the  wind is the Josh Groban song – “You raise me up.”

Have a great weekend and turn into the wind with confidence in your faith .