What will you write on your page?

November 2, 2021

Sometimes it makes sense to put seemingly separate and random quotes together to make a complete thought. Today is one of those times. A quote from Jack Kerouac that I got today in my daily email from Pastor Freed just seems to go with a quote that I saw from an article on Superhero quotes, this one from The Flash.

“I saw that my life was a vast glowing empty page, and I could do anything I wanted.” (Jack Kerouac)

“Life doesn’t give us purpose. We give life purpose.” — The Flash – From Superhero Quotes

Many people come to some level of understanding of what Kerouac was trying to say – that what becomes of one’s life is up to them; however, many continue to search, or wait, for meaning or purpose in their life instead of taking the hint from the Flash that we give the purpose to our lives ourselves.

Looking in the Bible for quotes on the purpose of life, one comes across this –

“Now, everything has been heard, so I give my final advice:

Honor God and obey his commands because this is all people must do.

God will judge everything, even what is done in secret, the good and the evil.”

Ecclesiastes 12:13–14 — New Century Version (NCV)

I chose the NCV version because it is one of the only translations that does not use the phrase “Fear God” in the passage. I am much more in tune with honoring God than fearing him. To my way of thinking, the “Fear God” message is the Old Testament view of our relationship with God. A key message that I take from the New Testament is to love (and honor) the God who gave his son to save us, but we should not fear Him.

A second thing that one can take from the New Testament is to focus upon the Great Commandments. Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” – Matthew 22:36-40

One can find a lot of purpose in life by trying every day to fulfill God’s commandment to love your neighbor. Just focusing upon that will cause one to do a lot of good things and to not do a lot of other things that wouldn’t be so good. Doing those two things every day will be giving your life purpose and make great entries to that blank page that is your life.

What will you write on your life’s page today?

Do the math – share the love…

July 20, 2020

In one of his posts, Pastor Freed used this quote in his Jack’s Winning Words blog –

“Love multiplies and adds as we divide it with others.”  (Arthur C. Nelson) 

Love is one of those wonderful things that has no downside – no minus (I couldn’t resist the play on the quote).

There is a quote from Martin Luther King on one of the signs that our church had made to share with others – “Love is the only force strong enough to turn and enemy into a friend.”

We most often think of the word love within the context of family or romance, or maybe friendship. Take a moment to think of it within the context of your religious beliefs. God loved us so much that he gave his only son to come to earth, live among us and die for us and to forgive our sins. That is a love well beyond what we normally think of when we hear the word. It is also a different kind of love that asks nothing of us and requires nothing from us. It is a love that, once you internalize it, can be shared with others through your life.

It is often said of dogs that they share an unconditional love with their owners. Marriages that last are often based upon a love, which while maybe not quite unconditional, is forgiving, understanding and supportive. That kind of love puts the wellbeing and the happiness of the partner above the needs or desires of self and it definitely adds to the marriage.

The kind of love that the quote talks about is what He was alluding to when Jesus told us to love our neighbors as ourselves. As we love our neighbors, that love multiples and adds quality to our lives. It makes them and us feel better. It promotes peace and happiness in our lives.

So, do the math and share the love.

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.

Love thy neighbor, be kind today…

June 22, 2016

“Kindness is in our power, even when fondness is not.”  (Samuel Johnson); as seen on the Jack’s Winning Words blog today.

One could say that cordialness is in our power, even if friendship is not. The point is that we make the choice of how to react and interact with others, even those with whom we disagreement2disagree or who don’t make liking them easy. In this season of heightened political passions it is particularly hard sometimes to be kind or cordial with someone who may be proclaiming the political opposite of what you believe.

Unfortunately in life and is politics we have become a more polarized society, with little opportunity for intelligent conversation about the middle ground or compromise. Discussing topics like gun control, birth control and the GLBT lifestyle have devolved from conversations into rants and arguments. We are forced into taking side in discussions where the only alternatives are “you’re either with us or against us.” We are not allowed to have a middle-ground point of view or to espouse a solution that involves compromise by both sides. Even the word compromise is now used as a litmus test against others in some political circles and has become associated with weakness or betrayal of strongly held beliefs.

Jack went on to write – Some people are really hard to get along with.  To “love” does not necessarily mean to be “fond.”  Kindness is what Jesus had in mind when he talked about love…trying to see with a different set of eyes.  Are you able to do it?

Kindness is not pity. Kindness is not false. Kindness is the conscious attempt to understand the other person’s point of view without prejudging it. Much of what others
may proclaim with loud bluster is actually masking deep fears and insecurities. Many predjuicesprejudices are rooted in the same insecurities and fears. We tend to fear what we do not understand, rather than make the effort to see things from that different point of view.

We need not try to force ourselves to like the choices or lifestyles that people we meet may have embraced; but, we need not fear them either. We also don’t have to embrace their point of view; just be kind and accept them for who they are. Once you can do that, you may even find them to be someone who you could be fond of. At the least you will no longer have to be afraid of them or prejudiced against them.

I have found that refusing to rise to the bait of a pushy or bully type person or stopping myself from jumping immediately to a conclusion about a person, based solely upon the judge thingsinitial visual impression that they make, helps me. It is that initial pause from making some immediate judgement that allows that ability to be kind to kick in. It’s not always easy; because I carry around the weight of a lifetime of fears and prejudices, as we all do. It takes a conscience effort and I am not always successful; but I have found that the rewards from making that effort far outweigh the alternatives, which almost always lead to regrets later. Making a new friend is much better than adding a new fear or enemy in life.

Try to be kind today and see if it makes a difference in your life. Maybe you’ll end the day with a new friend, too.