And for all the times in between?

September 13, 2019

In today’s post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog, Jack got philosophical with this quote from Wolfgang Goethe – “Enjoy when you can, and endure when you must.” 

However, what about all of the times between the joys and the not so enjoyable things, which must be endured, i.e. your normal day-to-day life? The philosophy embodied by the British saying, “Keep Calm and Carry On” seems most applicable to those times and actually serves the highs and lows of life very well, too. For a Christian that British saying might be translated into Pray and Persist.

We often pray when we are under the duress of a problem or loss and we pray to thank God on the occasions when we have something to celebrate. But what of the time in between? We find guidance in the Bible –  Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. (Romans 12:12)  

Prayer has a calming side effect, because it serves to offload from the practitioner the sole responsibility for resolving the issues that you are facing, whether they be things that must be endured or just common, everyday occurrences. Once you bring God into the picture through prayer, you no longer bear the weight of resolving those things by yourself.  Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

Since, before starting out on each day, one cannot predict the occurrences or tribulations that might happen; perhaps a short prayer for God to give you the calm and wisdom to make good decisions is a good way to begin each day. At least it puts you in the right frame of mind to face the day, with God on your side.

So, thank God for the things that you enjoy, ask for God’s help with the things that you must endure and pray for Him to guide you and be with you in all of the time in between. Pray without ceasing and have a great day!

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What will you see when you look at the mirror?

July 8, 2019

“God is like a mirror.  The mirror never changes, but everybody who looks at it sees something different.”  (Harold Kushner)  From a post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

Rabbi Kushner’s quote immediately brings to mind the question that is today’s headline. If looking to God shows a reflection of who you are, perhaps that is why so many turn away from Him. They just don’t like what they see in the mirror. Perhaps they see thearrogant things that they could have done differently; or, things that maybe should have done but did not. Maybe they see the ugliness of their prejudices or the hurt that their hate for others causes. Maybe the distorted face of cynicism stares back at them and they don’t like it. For many it may just be the look of guilt for having been away from God for so long.

Perhaps the mirror analogy is telling us that we see our own ego in the mirror and that mirror imagewe need to look beyond that reflection to find God in the mirror. Whatever one initially sees in God’s mirror; if you look beyond the ego that is reflected there and find God, the shame and guilt and remorse will all melt away as God forgives your sins and welcomes you back into the fold. Continue to look and ask for forgiveness and you will be rewarded with God’s peace.

Many are so wrapped up in themselves, in their own wants and needs that they do not take the time to look beyond the surface reflection in God’s mirror. They see only the things that they want to see and ignore all else. They may glance at God from time to time and see the things that they need for God to forgive; but, their reaction is one of “I’ll get back to you on that.” Many never do get back to God until it is too late.

So, take some time in prayer to look into God’s mirror and see what He sees. Ask for His man prayingforgiveness for the things you have done wrong or the things left undone that you should have done. Don’t start the day and the week with leftover baggage from the past. Unburden yourself and start anew by taking your problems to God. Look in the mirror and smile. You’ve seen the face of God there and he was smiling back at you.

What will you see when you look in the mirror – look deeply and find God there.


Living in the Discovery Channel…

April 17, 2019

A recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog had this quote – “Life is based on growth and finding new challenges to face and overcome, new contributions to make to society, and constantly coming to a better understanding of yourself and the universe in which you live.” –  Denis Waitley

Life is like binge watching the Discovery Channel, only better, because you get to be in the show. Life is the ultimate reality show. Waitley sums up a lot of things in that quote, most of which boil down to the constant discovery and learning that living a full life entails.

It is probable that none of us ends each day by reflecting on the challenges that we facedinsight and overcame or the things that we discovered about ourselves or about life in general. Yet it is that collection of insights that comprises what wisdom that we have accumulated in our lives. It is our ability to tap into that pool of wisdom that helps us get through life and face new challenges.

One way to turn life’s events into wisdom is to pause at the end of each day to reflect in prayer on how things turned out. Events may still be unfolding or perhaps you just didn’t have time to internalize what occurred during the day. We use phrases like “it didn’t hit me until later” or “I didn’t have time to think.” Pausing to pray can give you that time, as well as time to either thank God for helping you get through woman-prayingthe events or asking His help tomorrow when you must face them again. That pause also allows you evaluate how you are spending your life and may force you to re-evaluate your priorities in life.

I have posted here in the past about saying a little prayer in the morning to ask God for His help in making the right decisions during the day by praying, “Not my will, but thy will be done.” Perhaps the little prayer at the end of the day is a check of how well you were able to implement that morning prayer during the day. If nothing else, maybe it will allow you to accept what happened during the day as God’s will and let go and move on with life.

So, as Waitley might have put it, tune in and turn on to life; experience it and learn from it; seek out new challenges and opportunities to learn; become more aware of yourself man prayingand those around you; be conscious of how you can contribute to society. However, in all of these things, be aware of your relationship to God and His role in our lives. God watches us all…we are His reality play. Don’t write yourself out of the play by forgetting to pray.


Maybe you weren’t listening in the right way

April 4, 2019

A recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog had this little quote“If only God would give me some sign, Boris says, If he would just speak to me once.  Anything.  One sentence.  Two words.  If he would just cough.”  (From the 1975 movie, Love and Death)

I suspect that another quote that’s I’ve used here from Pinterest applies in this case –“ Make time for the quiet moments, as God whispers and the world is loud.”

Many of us (maybe most of us) tend to call on God during loud times, times of trouble or desperate need, times when the world is especially loud. Maybe you weren’t listening in the right way.

It is especially true during those times that we need take the time to make a quiet woman-prayingmoment for God. Just having the self-discipline to quiet yourself in moments of crisis, while all of those around you panic, will allow you to think clearly and to listen for the whisper of the voice of God in your life. Some may attribute it to their “conscience” speaking to them. Others may describe a calming feeling that came over them. No matter how one “hears” God’s whisper when we stop and ask for His help, it is there. Maybe you weren’t listening in the right way.

Every now and then, we face situations in life where the choice between doing what it right or wrong is presented to us or forced upon us. It is in that instant, when you realizeright-and-wrong in the back of your mind that you have that choice to make,  that may be thought of as God coughing to remind us that He is still there and to help us make the right decision. Don’t hear it?  Maybe you weren’t listening in the right way.

man prayingSo, take the time in your life to make those quiet moments when you can speak to God and then listen for the whisper of His reply. Some find those moments in meditation, some take the time to quietly pray. Whatever you think will work for you, just do it. If you haven’t heard God’s whisper in your life until now, don’t give up…maybe you weren’t listening in the right way.


Make today the better day…

March 11, 2019

“Something to keep in mind… When one thing comes to an end, another thing begins.”  (From the movie, Love Happens) – as reported in the Jack’s Winning Words blog today. Jack went on to write a few upbeat and encouraging words, as he always does. He concluded his remarks with, “A new and better day is ahead!”

bored2Maybe you had a tough week last week or the weekend didn’t turn out as you had hoped. Whatever the disappointment or set-back from the past, today is a new day and you still have the opportunity to make it a better day, a great day. Even if the problems that you were facing yesterday, or last week, are still there and still must be faced; you can make it a better day by approaching them with a new attitude and a new resolve to get through them and make it a better day.

Perhaps it was the loss of a loved one or the failure of a relationship or marriage. Maybe it was getting a layoff notice at work or word that the company was going under. Maybe it was something less dramatic, but none the less serious to you, such as your furnace going out on a cold weekend. Whatever the cause of yesterday’s bad day and no matter how it affected you then, you start today with a clean slate in terms of how you will react to the situation.

In most situations, you can’t really control the things that are happening or which haveangry woman happened. The only thing that you control is how you react to those happenings. You can give up and let them drag you down into the pit of despair and depression or you can take a deep breath and begin to work things out. There may not be a “solution” to what happened, but there is a way to accept it and move on with life.

Perhaps one of the best ways to find your way out of the mess that your mind may have put you in is to stop and have a moment of prayer. God has said that He will always be woman-prayingthere with us and that if we trust Him everything will be all right. He didn’t say that there would be no pain, no hardship, or no grieving. He said that if we believe in Him through those things we will be rewarded with a peace that passes all understanding. I have found that nothing helps more in life to get through life’s crises than to be at peace when all of those around you are in panic. That peace starts by going to God andgods-hands-2 saying, “Not my will, but thy will be done.”

So, if you want to make today a better day, start by getting yourself right with God and asking for His help. Then bring it on. You’re ready to make it a better day.

Peace be with you.


Good times or bad, thy will be done…

January 26, 2019

There were repeated images on the Detroit area news shows this week of Nancy Kerrigan, after she had been attacked during practice for the 1994 Olympic Trials, crying out “Why? Why?”. That old news footage served to add meaning to something else that I saw this week.

From a recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog comes this bit of wisdom – “We have no right to ask when sorrow comes, ‘Why did this happen to me?’ unless we ask the same question for every moment of happiness that comes our way.”  (Unknown)

There is within that question the implication that one is asking this question of God – “God, how could you let this happen to me?” In his post, Jack referenced a book – When Bad Things Happen to Good People. I have not read that book, but I’m sure that it musthelping hands seek to refocus people from thinking that God made those bad things happen and being confused about why onto looking instead to God for help in dealing with the bad things and our reactions to them. I don’t ever pray to God to protect me from all bad things, but rather to help me make good decisions in life to be better able to deal with what comes my way.

The second part of that little saying above is also important. We tend to turn to God for help in bad situations, but seldom take the time when good things happen to thank Him man prayingfor those things. We see professional athletes sometimes pausing in the end zone or as they cross home plate making some sign towards heaven and thanking God for their good fortune at that moment. How many of us make that same effort when good things happen in our day-to-day lives? How many good things happen to, or for, us every day that we don’t even think about? Why did they happen and to whom do we owe thanks?

Yet there are countless times in every day when things could have gone a different way, sometimes in a very bad way. Every now and then, it will hit me, when one of those moments has just passed without something bad happening, that I was “lucky” that I had made a different decision or chosen a different path. Then I stop to consider whether that was luck, or God playing a role in my life. I ask, “Why did this just happen to me?” I chose to believe that it was God helping me through what could have been a bad time.

The take away from all of this is that we should be thankful for God’s hand in the good woman-prayingthings that happen to us and we should ask for his help to make good decisions and for the strength to deal with the bad things that might happen. We must accept the bad with the good when we pray, “Thy will be done.” However, we can go on in that prayer to recognize and thank God for the good things and to ask for His help in dealing with the bad things.

Have a great and reflective weekend. What are you thankful for and what things could you use God’s help with?

 


Are the outcomes really coincidences?

October 1, 2018

From a recent post on the Jack’s Winning Words blog – “When I pray, coincidences happen.  When I don’t, they don’t.”  (William Temple)

Temple is referring to things that “happen” which seem to be the result of, or at least associated with, a prayer. Sometimes, if the coincidence is important or significant enough, it may even be called a miracle. A logical explanation that one may pursue is thewoman-praying thought that praying for something in particular, or some outcome to an upcoming event, forces one to visualize the steps necessary to achieve that outcome. Visualization is a well-known technique for success in athletics and other pursuits in life.

Another possible explanation for the coincidences of success after prayer might be that prayer puts one in a positive frame of mind and being positive and confident going into a situation has a strong influence on the results. The feeling that you have God on your side is a huge positive motivator and comfort through any adversity. I’m sure that research could prove some proof that prayer releases some endorphins inman praying the brains of those who fervently pray and they feel better (perhaps even invincible) as they tackle the challenge that they prayed about.

Perhaps prayer forces us to take the vague and amorphous fears that we have about whatever it is that we are praying about and put them in a box that we then hold up in front of God and ourselves. We are able to acknowledge that we need help with the things in that box. The fact that we express that need for help in prayer allows us to admit to ourselves what our fears are mind at workand forces us to deal directly with them. The feeling that, through our prayers, we have God on our side in dealing with those fears provides the strength and courage to take the first steps towards overcoming them. Prayer often provides that little push that we need to get started.

Oft times, we allow things in our lives to grow in importance all out of scale to their actual meaning or impact. I posted not too long ago about a great piece of advice that I got from a friend who had noticed that I was obsessing about something that had little real significance in the grand scheme of things. He just looked at me as I was lamenting something that I hadn’t done and ask, “Did anybody die?”  As absurd as that sounded initially within the context of my diatribe, it was actually the exact thing that I need to hear and think about to put things back into perspective. I use it often now to re-position the importance and priority of things in my mind

Finally, taking things to God in prayer allows us to reset our perspective on things thathelping hands might be going on in our lives.  In my prayers, I often use the little phrase “not my will, but Thy will be done”. For me, that is the quickest and easiest way to let go of things that I have no control over anyway and put my trust back into the coincidences that God makes happen in our lives.

What works for you?