Glue your life back together…

August 20, 2021

In his blog (Jack’s Winning Words) this morning, Pastor Freed used this quote – “God is the ‘Goodness Glue,’ the love that holds the dark and light of things together.” (Fr.  Richard Rohr)

We sometimes hear the term “shattered life” or maybe that someone was “broken up” by events in their life. The fact is that we all experience things that overwhelm us and seem to shatter the world that we live in and us with it. It is in those times that we really need the “Goodness Glue” to put things back together.

Pastor Freed wrote about Gorilla Glue being touted as the most powerful glue on the planet earth. It is relatively easy to use; just unscrew the cap and put some on the pieces that need to be reconnected. Fortunately, God’s Goodness Glue is also easy to use. Just start to pray and let God use his love to put your life back together.

The things that tend to disrupt and shatter our lives tend to be losses and fear. We may lose a loved one or suffer a breakup in a relationship. Maybe we lose a job or a home. Then the fear sets in. Fear for the future. The “what will I do now”, kind of fear. Some of that fear is caused by the feeling of being alone in the circumstances in which one finds themselves. However, we are never alone. God is always there with us, and we have but to call upon him to begin experiencing his Goodness Glue. Uncap God’s Goodness Glue with the simple prayer, “Not my will, but thy will be done.”

With worldly glue, like Gorilla Glue, you can feel the stickiness of the glue on your fingers (don’t feel it too long or you’ll end up in the ER with fingers stuck together). With God’s Goodness glue, what you feel is the sense of calm (God’s peace) that comes over you once you accept his help in your life. Somewhere in the back of your mind you can hear God whisper, “Don’t worry, I’ve got this.”

So, when life deals you a shattering moment, just get out the Goodness Glue from God and glue your life back together. Let the peace that comes with God’s Goodness Glue settle over you. Gorilla Glue advertises that it is for the toughest jobs on planet Earth, but when you need something tougher for problems that seem Earth shattering, call on God and his Goodness Glue.

Let God’s Goodness Glue put your life back together.


Don’t go there…

June 5, 2021

A quote I recently saw while searching for something else caught my attention, so I saved it as a possible future blog post topic.

“Conflict cannot exist without your participation.” – Wayne W. Dyer

There are many things in life that one can “get caught up in”, but conflicts are not one of them. One cannot claim to be an innocent bystander if one enters into a conflict with someone else. Judge Judy likes to use the word kerfuffle to describe a conflict that escalates beyond a difference of opinion and into actions from one or both sides. Life is full of mental conflicts, only a few of which turn into kerfuffle’s. Don’t go there.

Road rage incidents have been in the news lately when they have escalated into kerfuffle’s that involved guns. Usually yelling and a few choice gestures suffice in road rage incidents, but occasionally they go well beyond that and sometimes result in crashes or worse. Don’t go there.

Conflicts in marriages are inevitable, but usually are resolved without rage or kerfuffle. When things go beyond just disagreeing, it can result in the marriage turning into cases of domestic violence. It is a sure sign of immaturity and lack of self-control when one of the partners resorted to physical violence to deal with conflicts. I heard a shocking statistic on the news recently that more people (mostly the women) died last year due to domestic violence involving guns than died from all diseases combined, including COVID-19. Don’t go there.

Since it takes two to tango (or tangle as we are discussing here), it is easy to understand how you can avoid conflicts and kerfuffle’s – just don’t go there.  That is relatively easy to say; but for most of us, much harder to control. Much of our response to things that happen around or to us is a knee-jerk reaction. The initial reaction may be one of surprise or fear and we draw back; however, anger may quickly replace fear and then we lash out. One may have only a split-second between the initial surprise reaction and the action response of striking back. Don’t go there.

How does one prepare for the unexpected or unwanted, such that we do not allow ourselves to participate in conflicts and kerfuffle’s? I submit that it has to do with being in the right frame of mind and being at peace with yourself and the world around you. If your mindset is to forgive the person who cuts you off in traffic, rather than flip them the bird or try to speed up and get past them again, you will avoid conflict.  If you show pity for the person who is so enraged that they push their way past you at the door, rather than push them back, you will avoid conflict. If you refuse to ”rise to the bait” of an insult or a slight from someone that is obviously aimed at provoking a reaction, you will avoid conflict. Don’t go there.

But why should you be the one to give in and turn the other cheek? There is an obvious answer in the Bible about turning the other cheek; however, there are also these passages –

AND

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”  (Colossians 3:12-14 )

“And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.”  (2 Timothy 2:24-26)

Perhaps then, the way to get into the right frame of mind and avoid conflict and kerfuffle’s is to start each day with a prayer that asks God to stay with you during the day and to intercede in that spit second between action and reaction to keep you at peace. If you take that split-second to ask God for His advice before reacting to that incident, He will say – Don’t go there.

Have a peaceful and conflict free weekend!


Don’t give up a second of peace…

May 12, 2021

I saw that quote in a Pinterest post somewhere and it resonated. Anger is a terrible thing and a waste of time. Angry people are usually tense people and that tension is bad for the heart as well as the mind.  Anger is usually directed at someone, although it can be directed at an inanimate object, which is really dumb.

Anger and hate seem to go hand-in-hand, because hate is the most convenient outlet for anger. You often hear angry people saying, “I hate that person (or that thing)” when they are angry at someone or something. I often us the retort, “hate is such a strong emotion to waste upon an inanimate object” if the person is talking about hating a thing. My wife hates that little phrase. Perhaps I overuse it.

We may hear people saying, “I hate that about you” or maybe  “I hate you for that” when they become angry with someone about something usually some behavior. We sometimes hear the phrase about angry people, “He/she was stewing over that”, meaning that they were allowing themselves to be consumed by the anger to the exclusion of all else.  

If we really stop and think about it, there is really nothing that being angry can change about whatever happened to put you in that state of mind. Anger usually results from events that is now in the past, so they are done and there is no way to change what happened. Instead of anger, one might benefit from trying to learn from the events, especially if those event are likely to reoccur if nothing changes. A failure or a rejection that sparked your anger really needs to be analyzed for things that you could change the next time, in order to be more successful.

As the little quote says, anger take us away from being at peace. Perhaps it would help if we reinforced our peace of mind each morning with a prayer. We could ask God to be with us during the day and to help us stay at peace as we encounter things that might upset us. Thinking about God being there, so that we can reach out to Him for reassurance and to steady ourselves may help us maintain that peace during trying times during the day. It can’t hurt to try that.

So don’t waste your time being angry. It accomplished nothing and is bad for your general health. Instead, be at peace. You’ll feel better and the world around you will be a better place for it. I have taken a little liberty with this Bible quote, but we are told –

“Do not be anxious (or angry – ed.) about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” -Philippians 4:6-7

I’ve posted here before in blogs about a local Methodist Pastor, Doug McMunn, who will often greet people with the little phrase “Be at peace”. Doug is a person who always seems to be in that state of peace and being around him is a calming thing. Maybe, when you next encounter an event that is making you angry, you can whisper Doug’s advice to yourself and “Be at peace.”

Wouldn’t you really rather be in a peaceful place in your life?

Be at peace.


Make the best of what life gives you…

February 28, 2021

I was searching for inspiration this morning when I ran across this John Wooden quote – “Things Work Out Best For Those Who Make The Best Of How Things Work Out.”

I love how the words flow in that quote and the underlying psychological advice. None of us can really control the things that happen to us in life, but we can control how we react to those things. Accepting that reality is the first step to making the best of what happens to us in life.

Instead of sinking into despair at life’s setbacks, no matter how bad, one must continue to search for the best path forward from where one find’s oneself. It is the ability to accept setbacks in life as a learning experiences and to adjust your approach to resolving the problem at hand that, so that you can make progress, that separates the winners in life from those admit defeat and never achieve their goals.

Making the best of how things work out doesn’t mean accepting where you have temporarily ended up as your ”station in life”.  That is a defeatist attitude.

A setback may have involved taking the wrong path entirely towards that goal or it could have just been a poor execution of the correct approach to a solution. It is important to stop and consider that and make your adjustments based on what you can now see when wrong.  The worst thing that you can do is to continue to do the same wrong thing over and over and expect a different outcome.

Too often we focus too much attention on what happened yesterday. It is like trying to drive your car in a race by looking only in the rear view mirror. You will see the disasters that have already happened but no the one looming just ahead.

It makes little sense to pray that nothing bad ever happens to you; rather it makes good sense to pray for the patience, wisdom and perseverance to deal with whatever happens and to make good decisions.

So, perhaps you can include in your prayers the request that God help you accept what has already happened and better prepare you for what is ahead. There is a term for that in the bible  – be at peace. May you be at peace with what has already happened, so that you may be better prepared for what lies ahead.

Make the best of it. Things will work out.


It is how you make the journey, not how far you get…

September 14, 2020

In today’s post to his blog, Jack’s Winning Words, Pastor Freed used this Native American blessing –  “May every sunrise bring you hope.  May every sunset bring you peace.”

Freed went on to comment upon how the Native American view of the Great Spirit in nature that was all around them in nature influenced their lives. He lamented the lack of such recognition of God in our lives in modern times.

Perhaps the bridge between the hopes that we have at the beginning of a day and the peace one seeks at the end of each day rests on how one conducts oneself during the day. Maybe a little prayer at the beginning would help – “Dear God, please be with me today as I pursue my hopes and help me conduct myself in such a way that I will be without regrets and find peace at the end of this day”.

Things that you’ve done or those things that you left undone drive regrets. Both of those are conscious choices and not just happenstance. So, at each decision point during the day, stop and ask yourself, “Will I regret doing (or not doing) this at the end of the day?” Often just taking that little pause to think will help you make better decisions and be at peace with yourself at the end of the day.

Each day is a journey. Each has its own hopes and goals. Some days you may find that you quickly achieve your hopes and goals. On other days frustrating obstacles may pop up that prevent achieving anything towards your goals and hopes. Sometimes achieving peace at the end of one of those frustrating days is very hard. That is when you must be able to let the frustrations go, put them behind yourself and renew your hopes for a better day tomorrow. Just remind yourself that it is not how far you get each day, but rather how you conducted yourself that day.

Here is another bit of Native American wisdom that I recently saw –

“When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice.” – Cherokee

Be at peace at the end of every day.


Advice from Ben Franklin…

February 18, 2020

In today’s post to his blog, Jack’s Winning Words, Pastor Freed used this quote that is attributed to Benjamin Franklin – “Those who in quarrels interpose, must often wipe a bloody nose.” 

Franklin was probably referring to those who stick their nose in where it doesn’t belong, or to those who jump into arguments seeking to be peacemakers. It often happens that the anger that was being vented between the arguing parties becomes refocused onto the peacemaker. We sometimes see on the nightly news that some would-be peacemaker in a street argument ends up being shot or injured by one of the parties to the argument.

While being a peacemaker is sometimes dangerous or difficult, it is a role to which we have been called. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” (Matthew 5:9)

Perhaps suffering the occasional bloody nose is the price that one must pay to be a peacemaker. Peacemakers are the “first responders” in life’s brouhaha’s . Defusing a disagreement that could get out of hand requires that one jump in, separate the parties and stop the progression of the situation. Once the escalation of emotions is halted; the peacemaker can determine a course of action by listening to the two sides. Often it is a misunderstanding of what has been said or the words that were used. Sometimes just helping one or both parties understand what it is that they are disagreeing upon is enough to calm things down. Sometimes not.

In some cases, the best that the peacemaker can achieve is détente, a pause that one hopes will lead to a more permanent understanding. Even that may be looked at as a win, since the situation was calmed to the point where it didn’t boil over into physical conflict. Perhaps  the bloody nose that the peacemaker might have suffered that provided the outlet for the anger that was driving the situation.

Whatever the situation, it is better to act, to interpose as Franklin put it; than to sit by and do nothing, even if there is an element of danger involved in acting. Why? Because you know, it is right to do so.

So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. (James 4:17 )

And, what if you don’t act? Maybe Franklin would have put it this way –

Those who sit by and do not act, most often regret it after the fact.

Do the right thing! Be a peacemaker. Your nose will heal and you will be better for having acted.

Peace be with you.


How will you handle the crises in your life?

December 1, 2019

In today’s post to his Jack’s Winning Words blog, Jack Freed used this quote from John F. Kennedy  – “When written in Chinese the word ‘crisis’ is composed of two characters—one represents danger and the other represents opportunity.” 

We will all face a few crises in our lives or at least situations that we feel are crises. How we react to them perhaps depends upon which of the Chinese characters we see. Do you see only the danger in a crisis or can you see the opportunity. We see and hear on the news almost daily about “heroes” who spring into action to rescue someone who is experiencing a crisis moment – perhaps involving an accident or fire or some other calamity. I’m sure that those heroes see the danger involved, but they choose to take the opportunity to help.

More important for most of us is how we, ourselves, with handle the crises that life throws our way. Those who see only the dangers involved may seek relief by hiding or withdrawing into their own protective shells. It is all too easy to let fear take hold and paralyze us from taking any actions. Maybe we don’t step in when we see bullying taking place or perhaps we cross the street to avoid the person with whom we have a disagreement. Maybe we refused to believe that a mistake that we have made has ended a relationship. In the realm of “fight or flight” reactions, those are all flight responses to crises.

The response that sees opportunity in the crisis is not necessarily a “fight “response so much as it is a “take action” response. These people see the opportunity in the situation – the opportunity to do something in response.  People who see opportunity in crises immediately go in to problem solving mode, whether it’s jumping into action and quickly figuring out a rescue plan at an accident or conflagration, or assessing what needs to be said or done to defuse and calm a personal conflict. It’s not so much that they don’t see the danger in the situation (after all the burning car right in front of them is hard to miss), it’s just that the opportunity to help, to do something , overrides their fear of personal danger. They NEED to act – to seize the opportunity.

For most of us, life is quite a bit less dramatic than encountering accidents with people trapped in burning cars or, maybe,  having to react in an active shooter incident. Our “crises” are usually the result of interpersonal conflicts or misunderstandings and certainly the “danger” involved is usually not immediately  life threatening.  For some, however, the anxiety or depression that can result from these crises is life threatening in a very real way. Setbacks or dissapointments may become crises because of their inability to deal with the events that occur in their lives. Those “crises” may represent an opportunity for you to jump in to save the life of your friend or loved one; but, that’s a topic for a future post.

What is a crisis? There is an interesting article on the Marking 91 web site that classifies 8 different types of crises –

  1. Technological
  2. Financial
  3. Natural
  4. A crisis of malice
  5. A crisis of deception
  6. A Confrontational crisis
  7. A crisis of organizational misdeeds
  8. Workplace violence

Who knew that crises could be so neatly categorized? Go read the article and see if there are any other categories that you might add.

No matter what the crisis the key thing is how you deal with it. I’ve posted here a few times on problem solving, so I won’t repeat all of the at advice. Just search problem solving to see the posts.  What this post is focused upon is the recognition that one is in a crisis situation and the considered decision to deal with it rationally. It is not unusual for crises to occur at a fast pace and perhaps in a confusing environment. That makes it all the more important to be able to step back for an instance, recognize that you are dealing with a situation that requires that you take some action and then formulate a quick action plan. Just that moment of clarity is often enough to snap you out of panic and into problem solving mode. In that moment, you have regained control, not of the situation, but of yourself.

Some people actually think ahead about what they might do in a crisis situation. Airline pilot Chesley Sullenberger said in his post crisis interviews that he had been thinking hew entire career about what to do if the plane that he was piloting suffered a catastrophic failure of both engines. He certainly didn’t think that he would ever have to put those plans into action until the day that he had to land his crippled plane in the Hudson river. I have also posted here in the past about not overthinking (called worrying) about all possible outcomes for some future event, especially those involving personal confrontations. There is a big difference between doing some planning and just plain worrying about things.

So, how will you handle future crises? It is OK to recognize the danger in the situation. That keeps one from becoming foolhardy. Rather, try to keep calm and focus upon the opportunity that is also there. There ae good, bad and ugly possible outcomes in all situations and you can find he good outcome if you just look for it. If you are a person of faith, take heart in this passage from Philippians 4:6-7 – “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Imagine how much better you could handle the crises in your life if you approached each one with the Peace of God in your heart and mind.

Be at Peace and see the opportunities.


Seek God’s help with your day…

November 25, 2019

A recent post to the Jack’s Wining Words blog contained this Native American blessing – “May every sunrise bring you hope.  May every sunset bring you peace.” 

The simple and honest faith of Native Americans in what they called The Great Spirit (God) is something to be admired and emulated. Their faith was not perverted by religious practices or church dogma. They saw the hand of The Great Spirit in nature and had a very direct, personal relationship with God.

We all start the day with hopes. A quick way to make the prospects of achieving your hopes today is to pause to ask for God’s help. Ask not that God make your hopes come true; but rather, ask for the wisdom and strength of character to make wise decisions during the day and the determination to carry out your decisions.

If you seek God’s help at the beginning of the day, it will be much easier at the end of the day to find peace. The key to that peace is to focus upon all of the things that you did get done and not on the things that remain for you to do. Thank God, for His help during the day and be satisfied that you did all that you could today to realize your hopes. If you get into a routine of asking God and thanking God each day for His help in fulfilling your hopes, you may find that your hopes each morning align better with your ability to achieve those hopes. That is part of the wisdom that you were seeking in your morning prayer.

So, be happy and thankful that you made it to another sunrise and pause to seek God’s help with your day. Then, at the end of the day, pause to thank God for His help during the day and find the peace that you need to get a good night’s sleep.

Tomorrow will be another day filled with hope.

Have a great week ahead and  be thankful on Thanksgiving Day.


Find your way to peace in the present

September 21, 2019

In today’s post to his Jack’s Winning Words blog, Jack used this little saying that he saw on a Burger King crown –  “No one’s happy all the time…and that’s OK.” 

Jack must have seen that crown in May of this year, when Mental Health Month was celebrated in the United States. We see mental health advice or tips in many places, mostly in cheery little messages that are trying to chase the blues away. It is more realistic to say, as Burger King did, that we all have ups and downs and that it is OK to be down a little, so long as you don’t allow yourself to spiral all the way down into depression. In fact, poking a little fun at being down can often help relieve some of the tension that comes with being down.

A down feeling can result from many causes – a failure or defeat at work, the loss of a loved one, the end of a relationship and many other causes. In most cases the thing that you are down about was always out of your ability to control, but was all have a tendency to think that we could have done something different to effect the outcome and change history – we get down on ourselves.

That feeling of guilt stems from the thoughts that we could have done something different noticed something sooner or made a different choice or decision. Those thoughts can keep us awake at night going over and over the scenarios in our minds that will forever remained as options that we did not choose.

Sometimes our down mood is not about the past, but about the future – we play out option after option in our mind, fearing that the worst that we can imagine is going to happen. We spend restless nights in mental anguish fearing things that will never happen.

Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu had this bit of philosophical advice –

“If you are depressed you are living in the past.

If you are anxious you are living in the future.

If you are at peace you are living in the present.

Lao-Tzu  was a Chinese philosopher believed to have lived in the 6th Century BC and is credited with founding the philosophical system of Taoism, which stresses being in harmony with nature.

The best way that one can be at peace in the present is be at peace with God. Accept that God’s will has been done in the past and trust that it will be done in the future. Rather than lament what is past or fear what is in the future, marvel at what God is unfolding for you in the present.

Focus your attention on the wonderful people that he is causing to cross your path, so that you might experience them. Become more aware of, and thankful for, the wonders of nature that God has put all around you. Be thankful for the challenges that God is presenting to you to keep your life interesting. Make use of your time to learn and to increase your knowledge. Put 100% of your mental and physical effort into the moment at hand, rather than wasting either on things that are past or which may be in the future. 

Many find the Bible to be the best guide book for life and in the Bible we find these words –

“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

Find your way to peace in the present.


Break the grip of ego…Be at peace

February 7, 2018

The Jack’s Winning Words blog today featured this saying – “We can have peace if we let go of wanting to change the past and wanting to control the future.”  (Lester Levinson)

Out Pastor always says, “Go in peace, serve the Lord”, at the end of our church service. One of my favorite people, Pastor Doug McMunn of the Milford United Methodist Church often interjects, “Be at peace” into conversations. We also have been given a promise of be at peacea “peace that passes all understanding” when we join Jesus in Heaven.

So, what is this peace that is so important and how might we achieve it? I think today’s saying in Jack’s blog is the key – we must let go. The thing that we must let go of is our ego, the thing within us that drives us to try to understand and change the past and to control the future. Our inability to surrender to God’s will torments us and keeps us from achieving peace.

That constant need to understand and to control is our own ego inserting itself between us and God. I don’t think that there is anything particularly wrong with trying to understand and learn from something that happened in the past, but it is also necessary bored2to let it go, to put it in the past and get on with life. Instead, we beat up ourselves for what we perceive were our mistakes or we blame others for their influence on the outcome of things. There is no peace to be found in playing the “coulda, woulda, shoudla” game over and over in our minds.

Even less peaceful is worrying about the future; fretting about what might happen and how we might be able to control things. Our minds are wonderful things, but left untethered they are as likely to come up with a nightmare, as they are to conjure up a pleasant dream. There is nothing wrong with having some contingency plans in place; however, dwelling on how to control every possible thing that could go wrong is both wasteful and fruitless and certainly not peaceful.

How can one break the grip of our ego’s and be more at peace? Instead of surrendering control of your life to your ego, you can surrender it to God and trust the direction thatman praying He is taking you. I’ve shared the little prayer that I use many time, but I truly believe that it is the key to achieving peace. I just stop myself, usually in the midst of what my ego is telling me is a crisis that I must somehow try to control, and quietly say to God, “Not my will but thy will be done.” I usually experience an immediate sense of peace and the crisis fades into the background noise of life. Try it. Maybe it will help you achieve peace, too.

So, as you go through the rest of the week, put your trust in God and, as Pastor McMunn would say…Be at peace.