God’s Twilight Zone…

May 11, 2021

In his blog post today, Pastor Freed used this quote, which was from the opening of a popular TV show of the late fifties and early sixties – “You’re traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound, but of the mind…your next stop, the Twilight Zone.”  (Rod Serling)

I remember watching the Twilight Zone. Each week it would be something new, different, and often bizarre. Serling took us out of the dimension of the physical that we all lived in and into the dimension of the mind where anything was possible. This was TV before all of today’s special effects were invented, so it looks quite tame by modern standards.

The idea that there exists dimensions beyond those in the physical world that we live in has been intriguing mankind, or at least fiction writers, for ages. We live and think about things in the physical world of three dimensions, plus time, that we are used to, with one large exception – God. The God that exists in our minds cannot be defined or even conceived of within the limitations of those dimensions. We are talking about a God that always was and always will be, so time is of little value as a frame of reference. We have a God who has no physical presence yet is nowhere and everywhere all at once.

The only people who have “seen” God in the flesh were those who saw Jesus while he was God on earth thousands of years ago. Recently archeologists have recreated what Jesus might have physically looked like, based upon what they know about the appearance of average man within the area that Jesus lived. Quite different than the images later conjured up by European artists that have become “standards” in most Bibles and churches.

So, today God exists in that Twilight Zone of our minds where all things ae possible, yet impossible to explain. Our minds are wonderful things. They allow us to interpret what the physical parts of us experience as sights and sound, smells and tastes, touch and more. But our minds also let us experience things that are not in the physical dimension, like emotions, love and sorrow, anxiety and elation and many other “feelings”. It is in that dimension of the mind where we get in touch with and experience God. Our minds invented the concept of prayer as a way of talking to a God who does not exist within the dimension of our physical world. Prayer allows us to give voice to our needs and desires; to talk to God about what is troubling us and the things with which we need His help within this physical world.

Serling used many different openings for the show during its run. One was this one – There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone. Maybe Serling was describing the dimension that one enters when praying.

When we pray, God does not answer with a big booming voice or from a burning bush (He did that a few times in stories in the Bible). Sometimes we don’t hear anything back from our prayers, but the “answer” washes over us as a peace that we don’t understand (that’s referenced in the Bible, too) and we know that things will be OK. In those times we have entered the Twilight Zone of being in the presence of God, another dimension of the mind.

So, as you pray today, let your mind wander into a dimension not of sight and sound, but of acceptance and belief. Once you are there, God’s peace, which is beyond understanding, will wash over you. Welcome to God’s Twilight Zone.

God’s Peace be with you.


Ask and you shall receive…

May 7, 2021

Paster Freed used this quote from an Indian philosopher today in his blog, Jack’s Winning Words“Reach high, for stars lie hidden from you.  Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal.”   (Rabindranath Tagore) 

Tagore might have added, “Pray fervently, for through prayer the hidden path to your dream is revealed.”

Prayer makes you stop and think, it also makes you formulate what it is that you want God to help you with. You don’t just ask God to make your dream come true. That’s not how it works.

Perhaps the path to your dream requires only the courage to try. You can find that courage through prayer.

Maybe the path is long and arduous. God will give you the patience, perseverance, and endurance to stay the course, if you but ask.

It could be that your dream is not realistically achievable. It that case, asking God for help letting go of that dream and finding another, more realistic, dream to pursue may be the best course of action. So, maybe God’s role is similar to that of Dr Phil on TV and he’s telling you to get real. Pray about it.

Ask God for the right help and then listen in your heart for His answers. Whatever you approach it is that last part that matters the most – listen to his answer in your heart and do the right thing. Sometimes you are not going to like the answer, but you must accept it and move on. Ask for God’s help in dealing with the disappointment. You might be surprised how fast a new dream, one that you can accomplish, pops into your life.

Indeed,  “God moves in a mysterious way, his wonders to  perform” (from a poem by William Cowper)

So pray for God’s guidance and help with your dreams and the path will not be hidden from you.


Battling COVID fatigue…

April 17, 2021

We hear a lot these days about the so-called COVID fatigue – the failure of people to do what is right (and they know it) because they just give up trying. They are exhausted or tired of taking the health precautions that are required during a pandemic. They have Coved fatigue. They lack the willpower to carry on.

“Willpower is the basis of perseverance.” Napoleon Hill

We have been threatened, begged and cajoled to wear masks, social distance and wash our hands, all in the attempt to slow the spread of the virus. Yet, many have given up and given in to the virus by becomes complacent (or worse – combative) and deciding to “go on with life”, as if the virus doesn’t exist. We see some on the news telling us, “I’m young and healthy, I think I can beat the virus.” Yet these days the young and formerly healthy make up the biggest percentage of newly hospitalized COVID victims and a significant portion of those dying. 

“It’s not that some people have the willpower and some don’t. It’s that some people are ready to change and others are not.” James Gordon

Perhaps it is that resistance to change that is the culprit; yet, change is inevitable. Change just happens around us and we must make the choice to go along with that change or to fight it. The U.S. Marines have a famous motto – “Adapt, Improvise and Overcome”. That motto recognizes that change is inevitable and that we must be ready to adapt to it and improvise in order to overcome. The COVID pandemic has caused changes that no one wants and which cannot be ignored. The advice that we have been given by health experts is the improvising that s required to overcome the COVID virus.

“Willpower is the key to success. Successful people strive no matter what they feel by applying their will to overcome apathy, doubt or fear.” Dan Millman

If willpower is the key to successful fighting this pandemic, the key to willpower is that it is not inherent in us, but a skill that must be developed through conscious effort.

“People don’t just find the strength and the willpower they need, they create it.” Anonymous

Perhaps a key to developing (creating) the willpower that you need to get through this crisis is recognizing that you are not in this fight alone. No, I don’t mean that you should look around to see others in this same boat – we see that every night on the news. What I mean is that you are not facing this crisis alone and without help – God is with you. You need only reach out to God for his support and strength to preserver.

We are told in 2nd  Timothy 1:7 – “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.”

So, tap into that strength and resolve every day through prayer. Don’t pray that God make the COVID virus go away. That’s not how it works. Pray instead that God give you the strength and perseverance to do what is right to get though this test of your will.

“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” – Isaiah 40:31

Maybe you could add to the words of Isaiah that they will wear their masks, maintain social distance, wash their hands and not get sick. They will adapt and overcome.

Tap into the willpower that God gives you by renewing your resolve through prayer each day. Don’t view the things that you must do during this pandemic as “one more day of inconvenience”; but, rather, as one more way that you can demonstrate the power of God through your actions.  Let God give you the willpower to get through this.

Not your will but God’s will be done. Now that is willpower!


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.


You’ve got work to do…

February 4, 2021

In his blog, Jack’s Winning Words, today Pastor Freed used this quote –

“You can wake up every day and make today better than the last.”  (Tommy Lasorda)

He went on to write about having a positive attitude every day. One might ask how to make each day a better day and the answer may be found in another quote from Freed’s blog that I had saved –

“You can look anywhere and find inspiration.”  (Frank Gehry)

The fact is that there are always things all around us that need doing, in order to make it a better day for someone. And in recognizing those things and doing them, you will make a better day for yourself. Some of the things are very small and subtle – smiling at someone when they needed a smile today or opening a door for someone and letting them go ahead of you. Sometimes they are bigger, like stopping to help someone in distress or rushing into a burning building to recue a trapped occupant.

I think a key point is that you have to work at it. Lasorda didn’t just say everyday is going to be better than the last; he said that you can make it better. Better doesn’t just happen all be itself. You don’t just sit there all day, waiting for better to happen; you have to work at it. What Gehry was saying is that yo have to look for the opportunities to make things better and when you see them to be inspired to take action.

Perhaps you can start each day by getting help with that. Ask God in your prayers to help you see the opportunities to make things better and to not be satisfied with just seeing them, but to take action to make better happen. That can start with asking God to help you to make better decisions during the day and to help you to be more sensitive to the needs of others.

We often hear the phrase in the eulogies for those who have passed that, ”He/She made the world a better place.” Many times that is a reference to the love that was shared with family and friends, but often it is also a reflection of the actions that the departed took to make the lives of strangers better. Maybe it was the hours of toil to earn money so that a child could go to college. Perhaps it was volunteer charity work or work within the church or the community. Possibly it was some work of art or literature that they created that impacted the lives of others. The point is that they worked at it; it didn’t just happen.

So, as you start your day, look around for your inspiration. Ask yourself how can you make this a better day for yourself and others. Then get at it.

Make this a better day!

You’ve got work to do.


Cease and desist…believe

October 1, 2020

There are many things that one can do in pursuit of happiness; however, there are also t some things that one can stop doing that will help with that pursuit. Pastor Jack Freed used some advice from the ancients in his blog, Jack’s Winning Words, today – “There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will.”  (Epictetus)

Image From WikiPedia

Epictetus was an ex-slave, a philosopher and one of the leading proponents of Stoicism in his day. There is much good information available about the rise and fall of stoicism as a philosophy of life. Stoicism fell out of favor as a philosophy, although it has enjoyed somewhat of a revival lately as people wrestle with our current political situation. It’s failure is that it stops at the edge of reason and does not make the leap to belief that faith allows.

It is relatively easy to advise that one cease worrying about things that they cannot control; however, it is much more difficult to heed that advice. The key to that difficulty can be found in the word “will” in Epictetus’s quote.  When you substitute the word “ego” for the word “will”, you begin to see the root of the problem. Our hubris gets in our way.A stoic sees and approaches all problems as things for which solution can be found, a way out, a fix; but many problems have no such solution. There is nothing that we can do about certain things, such as the current Corona Virus pandemic. No amount of personal effort or thinking will result in a solution or a way back to what we think of as normal. There are many other things in life – challenges, situations or happenstances – that present similar conundrums.   

What are we to do? Is there a better way to live than to heed the advice of Epictetus?

The answer is found in turning to our faith. Faith lies just beyond reason, just out of our control. Acknowledging our faith reaffirms our acceptance of something that we don’t understand but believe. If you can get yourself in that faith frame of mind, the next step is easy and one that I have posted about many times in this blog.  That step involves a simple prayer to God – “Not my will, but thy will be done.” How simple is that? Yet how powerful. It is at that point that you let go of the unsolvable problem and things that are beyond your control. You have put them in God’s hands and have accepted that His will be done.

The answer to the conundrum of worry about things that we cannot control, then, is not stoicism, but faith. When the problem at hand goes beyond your ability to control or resolve, you must take that step beyond reason, into the world of belief and give it to God. You are free to cease worrying about them and move on with life. You will leave that prayer session with the feeling that a great weight has been lifted from your shoulders.

Cease. Desist. Believe.


Have you made up your mind about today?

August 18, 2020

Pastor Freed had an interesting quote today in his blog , Jack’s Winning Words“I’ve made up my mind to never have another bad day in my life.  I dove into an endless sea of gratitude from which I’ve never emerged.”  (Patch Adams) 

Freed wrote that Patch is both a physician and a clown who provides care and relief to children and adults in hospitals around the world. His story was made into a movie in 1998 staring Robin William as Adams. I have this vision in my head of a clown coming into the hospital room wearing his stethoscope. Of the two services that he provides, the relief from the anxiety that his clown persona provides may be the more important to many.

The quote from Dr. Patch not only capsulizes his philosophy for life, but also poses a challenge for all of us. We must each day make up our minds what kind of day we are going to have. Perhaps the key is to be found in the “endless sea of gratitude” that Adams references.

Rather than just jumping into each day, perhaps in anticipation or dread of some event that might happen that day or with a sense of the mindless drudgery ahead, what if we took the time to express our gratitude to God that He has given us another day. What if we asked God for His help to make this a great day? What if we started out each day on that positive note? Would we ever have another bad day? If we make up our minds and start with a prayer for God’s help, I suspect that we can be like Patch and never have another bad day.

The key is having that attitude of gratitude as you face the day. That attitude leads you to other thoughts – How can I do more? How can I do better? Who can I help with their day? You will stop thinking of yourself as the “victim” when problems arise during the day and start, instead, seeing yourself as part of the solution. You can think to yourself, “Well, God knew that this was going to happen, so he must have also equipped me to deal with it.” You know that because we have been told in the Bible – God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

Have you made up your mind about today? Are you starting out today with a sense of gratitude and confidence that God will be with you throughout the day? All it takes is a moment of prayer before you head out.  Let us pray.

Now get out there and be part of the solution!


Let it go. Spit it out. Taste the joy.

August 12, 2020

I save many of the little quotes that Pastor Jack Freed uses in his blog, Jack’s Winning Words, because they provide inspiration for posts that I write. Every now and then, I notice that a couple of those saved quotes just seem to be right when one puts them together. Today is one of those days and these are the quotes that I saved over time.

“Suffering is not holding you, you are holding suffering.” – Buddha

“Life is like eating a watermelon.  Spit out the seeds of woe and taste the pulp of joy.”  (Unknown) 

Buddha was a pretty cool dude when it came to sayings that make a lot of sense and explain a lot of things. Likewise, “Unknown” (or Anon as he/she is often called) is always a good source of wisdom.

I’m sure that most of us know someone who just can’t let go of the suffering over some  tragedy or setback in their life – the loss of a loved one or perhaps the disappointment of being passed over for a promotion at work. We often label these people as “long suffering.” They just can’t let it go. They go through life with a mouthful of seeds instead of spitting them out. They never taste the sweet pulp of the melon because they are content to suffer with the seeds of woe. The suffering is not holding them. They are holding onto the suffering, because that has become their life.

If you know someone like that, or perhaps realize that you have become someone like that, it’s time for an interdiction. Help is as close as your bible. In it you will find –

 “Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” – John 16:24

Most of the time you will find that long suffers have not stopped and asked God for help. They have not asked God to take away the pain and suffering, and let them get on with living their life. In some cases, they cannot forgive themselves for “things left undone” – missing the chance to say I love you one last time, or letting some sign of distress go unnoticed. If you can just get them to ask by earnestly praying for God’s help, you and they may be amazed at what God can do to take the seeds of woe out of their life and allow them to once again taste the pulp of joy.

Sometimes you may find that these long suffering people have just wandered away from their faith and become confused about why God would allow the tragedy to happen in their lives. There have been tons of articles and books written on the conundrum of why bad things happening to good people and God’s role in both the good and the bad in our lives. They always come back to the same conclusion – that God is not controlling everything that happens in our lives, but that faith in Him can control how we react to those things. It is faith that allows one to let go of the seeds of woe and taste the joy in life. Faith allows us to endure whatever this life throws at us, because we are confident that our next life is going to be wonderful.

These days it is easy on Social Media or maybe with a card to express condolences or offer a word of encouragement to someone who is suffering woes, but that is less helpful that taking some positive action. Perhaps your role is to help that long-suffering person fine their way back to their faith. One small way to help is to offer to pray with them. Prayer is usually a very personal thing, so opening yourself up to them n that way is a very powerful act of kindness and sharing that may allow them to break out of their shell of self-pity and seek God’s help. It also helps them to see that they are not alone, which many suffering woes feel.

If he person that needs help is the person that you see in the mirror every morning, there is nothing more powerful that coming to that conclusion and asking for God’s help. One does not have to say long, ponderous prayers in order to call for God’s help. I have posted here a few times about the short, but extremely powerful, little prayer that I use, “Not my will, but Thy will be done.”  Just saying that little prayer is earnest can help you let go and spit out the seeds of woe. You will then be free to taste the pulp of joy in your life.

Let it go. Spit it out. Taste the Joy.


Focus through prayer…

June 23, 2020

In today’s post to his blog, Jack’s Winning Words, Pastor Freed used this quote – “It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.”  (Aristotle)

I have a feeling that for many the current COVID pandemic is their darkest moment, especially for those sickened by the virus. I have posted here in the past about hope and the four candles (or points of light) in our lives – Peace, Faith, Love and Hope (see Where there is hope there can never be complete darkness).

In that post I talked about a YouTube video that showed Hope being the last candle left burning when all others have faded in us; however, it has always bothered me that it was hope and not faith that was shown as the last candle burning in that video. I my mind, faith is what supports hope. If we have faith in God, we can continue to have hope that everything will be all right or at least that what happens is God’s will.

Therefore, in order to focus upon, and see, the light of hope during dark times; we must first clear our minds and vision through faith. We attain that focus through prayer.  It is in prayer that we are able to set aside our fears and uncertainty and appeal to God for His help getting through the crisis. It is in prayer that we are reassured that God will never leave us. In prayer, we rediscover that He will give us the strength to get through whatever challenges we face. Prayer allows us to focus upon and see the light of hope in that darkest hour.

Let us all take Aritotle’s advice and focus upon the light. In this case, let’s focus upon the light of faith, from which the lights of hope, love and peace will be relit in our lives. We can achieve that focus through prayer.

In the Bible, we are told – “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God.” (Philippians 4:6,7)

-AND-

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” (1 John 5:14)

It is that second to last part of the quote from John that we often don’t get – “ according to His will”. Too often, we see things only from our own perspective. We may say, I prayed that I wouldn’t get sick, but I did anyway. Alternatively, perhaps, I prayed that my dad, spouse, child wouldn’t die, but they did anyway. Don’t let the lights of faith and hope go out in your life. What happened was God’s will.  You can’t understand it, so don’t try. Just accept it and move on with your life.

Let your faith be the light from which the other candles of hope, love and peace are kept burning in your life.

Focus through prayer to see the light of faith in your life.


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.