Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year's Eve

I want to wish you safe celebrations tonight.  It is natural for us to look back on this year and to set resolutions for the coming year.  My prayer is that you do not dwell on the negative events of the past for they are the stepping stones on which you firmly planted your feet to get to the next level.  For those who have endured tough times, remember that for each cry of, “I don’t know how I’ll get through this”…your prayer was heard and answered.  For here you are – in this space and in this time – you are here and you are loved by a God that is greater than our biggest, creative imagination. 

As we enter the New Year may we cross the threshold knowing our living Lord just a little bit more than we did this time one year ago.  May we look forward to all that our Lord has in store for us and may we even now marvel at the miraculous escape routes He has planned for us when things get frustrating, tiring, and scary. 

May you feel in your heart and mind and, yes, even in every step of your feet, that Jesus is indeed your great advocate to the Father. When we turn our eyes from Him with our thoughts, words, or deeds, may we take comfort in knowing that Jesus is the one saying to His Father, “extend your mercy upon this dear one…I know him and he knows me and I can vouch for his heart”.

It is my joy and my pleasure and a blessing to my spirit that you and I are companions on this journey.  Let us all grab hands and step in to 2014 and always remember we are in this together.  God Bless you.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Arise and Go

The prophet Elijah was told by God to prophesy that a famine was coming on the land. That is not a ministry that will make you very popular but Elijah was obedient to the Lord. The Lord protected him and sent him to a place beside a brook called Cherith. This is a beautiful name for a brook, although we do not know if it was as beautiful as it sounds. But nevertheless, after a while the brook dried up (see 1 Kings 17:3-7). Everyone can go a considerable amount of time without eating but after a few short days without water, life cannot be sustained. So I imagine Elijah became concerned when his water supply dried up.

The word of the LORD came to him, “Arise, go to Zarephath . . . I have commanded a widow there to feed you” (verses 8-9). Elijah, who seemed to have very little provision, trusted and obeyed God but yet he was being sent to a poor widow. “So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, a widow was there gathering sticks” (verse 10).

Elijah asked her for a jar of water and a morsel of bread and she responded, “As the LORD your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug” (verse 12).

This widow was responding to him out of her hurt. She and her son were starving and Elijah had come and said, “God sent me here to have you feed me.” She is looking at her resources and thinking, “This is impossible!” And then she said to him, “Now I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it and die” (verse 12). 

Elijah’s response was rather strange: “Do not fear; go and do as you have said” (verse 13).

Why would he say that? Because he knew that God was not going to abandon this woman and her child. He knew that as she obeyed God and blessed others through the little bit that she had, she would become blessed herself. The more she gave away, the more God increased what she had (see verses 14-16).

Obey God and you will see the windows of heaven open. God will not withhold His hand from you. He longs to pour out His blessings on you, to show you His favor.

--Thanks to by Gary W. for sharing this

Sunday, December 1, 2013

When The World Says, "You Can't"

I refuse to live in a world of I cant’s.  This world is completely full of people and organizations and company’s telling us we cannot do this or that.   There are people who believe that the Bible is full of ‘shall not’ and ‘cannot do this’.  But actually the Bible is where we should be getting the courage and strength every single day to say I CAN and I WILL. Take a look at the famous John 14 chapter. 

The word ‘will’ shows up 26 times (New Revised Standard Version) and seven of those are Jesus saying, “I will”.  The very first verse in chapter 14 does, actually, give us a directive to not do something:  “Do NOT let your hearts be troubled.”  In The Message version of the Bible is simply says, “Don’t let this throw you.”
Tonight I had to stop, rather abruptly, the rapidly rising river of I cannot.  I had to say to my heart and to my spirit and, of course, my brain, “don’t let this throw you”.  All of my current troubles should only force me to do one thing: pray.

When praying through the flood of “can not’s”, we must thank God for all that He has done to lead us to this place.  All those past times when we cried out about how we cannot possibly get through this ordeal or that one; He has come through in His promise to sustain us. Then we ask God to hold us through this particular time of turmoil and to show us what He would have us to do.  We thank Him, in advance, for the miraculous ways in which he is already seeing us through this ordeal.

When we face a trial in our life we absolutely must, without reservation and without lack of faith, get on our knees and pray to God.  Forgive us our sins, cleanse us from all wrong, help us to see the error of our ways, and bring us through this fire.  He WILL be faithful to all who call Him Lord. 

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”…John 14:27

"Whether you say you can, or you think you can't...you're right"...Henry Ford

Monday, November 11, 2013

These Things Are Fun and Fun is Good

A big part of the human experience is our ability to experience joy.  Experiencing joy has been proven to increase blood oxygen levels, ease anxiety, boost the immune system, and trigger endorphins.  In the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible, the word “joy” appears 155 times.  The word ‘joy’ and the word ‘happy’ are inter-changeable when it comes to translation of Scripture.  One of the Hebrew words that can be translated as ‘happy’ is ‘ashrie’ or ‘praiseworthy’ or ‘fortunate’.

Take a look at this photo and tell me you don’t feel some sense of joy.  In Buddhist teachings happiness forms one of the central themes and describes the ultimate freedom from suffering.

This is Pastor Trey Hall of Urban Village Church in Chicago.  He is skipping with his niece at the labyrinth at the Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago.  I don’t know the story behind it and I didn’t bother asking him because the image spoke volumes to me by itself.  I figured I didn’t need to ask the artist to define the drawing – I would simply allow the piece to speak to me, to reach out to my heart and write upon it what it may. Regardless of the actual event the photo brings a smile to my heart – it makes me feel joy.  I cannot help but to smile and not because I see a grown man skipping – that is the least most interesting thing about this photo.  What touches my heart, what speaks to my soul and what nourishes my spirit about this image is the existence of pure joy. 

Do you like to dance when no one is watching?  Do you like to sing in the shower because of the solitude it brings?  Have you ever skipped just for the fun of skipping?  I like to think that God is dancing with us.  That when we sing alone, God is quietly harmonizing alongside us.  And when we are skipping down the pathway, child-like regardless of our physical age – God is skipping with us. 

Aristotle, in the writings Nicomachean Ethics, states that the only true thing that humanity desires is happiness for its own sake.  We pursue money, fame and riches in order to acquire happiness but Aristotle says that true happiness is something we desire, we yearn for, for its stand-alone merits. 

The finding of joy-filled moments without the influence of power or wealth or status, seems to me to be a treasure worth saving.  There are many forces in this life fighting to remove joy from us and fill it with other contents such as exhaustion, depression, sadness, anger, and pity.  We spend so much of our energy, at times, trying to make joy happen.   It’s when we find a joy-moment completely void of any outside influence that we experience a taste of purity of the human spirit and therefore the God-spirit within all of us. 

I recently met with someone who told me that he believed he would not have joy until he suffered enough to appreciate it.  My heart wrinkled.  In his book, The Fault in Our Stars, writer John Green says this is “an old argument”.  He goes on to say that “…the existence of broccoli does not, in any way, affect the taste of chocolate.” Jon Krakauer states in his book, Into the Wild, that joy is everywhere and all around us, placed there by God.  “We just have to have the courage to turn against our habitual lifestyle and engage in unconventional living”. 

Experiencing joy means pushing aside all that you expect of yourself and all that you think is expected of you and to dance like no one is watching – to sing in the shower loudly – and to skip down the path if just for a few steps.

 “If you never did you should. These things are fun and fun is good.”…Dr Seuss

Monday, November 4, 2013


A young boy was walking through the park. He had just gotten out of his Sunday school class, where his teacher had told the class that you never can tell when you’ll meet Jesus.

As he was walking through the park, he noticed an old woman sitting on a bench. She looked very lonely, so he sat down next to her. He said "Hi" and then offered her a piece of his candy bar, which he had been saving.

She accepted the piece of chocolate with a smile. They talked for a while about nothing in particular and then the boy offered her another piece, which she also gladly accepted.
They talked a little while longer and then the boy got up to leave.

As he began to walk away, he turned around, ran back to the bench and gave the woman a big hug. And, she gave him her very biggest smile.

When he arrived home, his mother saw a big smile on his face and asked, "What made you so happy today"?

The boy said, "I shared my chocolate bar with Jesus. And, guess what, Mom? She has a great smile".

Meanwhile, the old woman returned to her little apartment which she shared with her sister. The sister said "You’re all smiles today, what made you so happy"?

She said, "Well", "I was sitting in the park sharing a chocolate bar with Jesus. And, you know what? He looks a lot younger than I expected"!

Matthew 25:40 reminds us that Christ WILL separate those of us who help the afflicted and those of us who turn the other cheek.  Christ WILL separate those of us who feed the hungry, through whatever means, and those who have an ideal that everyone has the ability to feed themselves.  Christ WILL separate those of us who do whatever we can to give clothing to the one without, and those of us who believe they should just get a job and do it themselves.

If you won’t do anything, then at least be satisfied with the idea that some of your tax dollars are feeding those who are unable to acquire the resources to feed themselves and their children for today. 

Christ isn’t arguing about food stamps, welfare, and charity.  What a hot button topic today!   All I want to tell you is this:  what are WE doing to feed the hungry today? When was the last time WE gave to someone who went without?  You know that box in the hallway of the church that WE stick a few clothes in to every November?  How would WE like it if WE weren’t allowed to buy anything new except once a year?  That annual donation WE make to our local charity – how far do we think that is going and more importantly could WE survive off of that amount for a year?  What makes US so extra special and important in the kingdom of God that we now decide who gets charity and who doesn't?  Oh sure – there ARE people taking advantage of the situation but that’s not for our concern.  Our concern is to see someone who needs something and to respond in love. 

For EVERY time we do something to those who are less fortunate, the ‘least of these’ that Christ talks about; we do it as if that person were Christ.  Likewise, EVERY time we deny someone the basics of human life and dignity; food, water, clothing, shelter, health…we are denying Christ the same.

At a red light today I waited for what felt like 20 minutes go by.  During that time I watched a man on the road – holding a sign that simply said, “Hungry. Need help. God bless”.  Did I give him something to eat? Nope.  Now if I did something for everyone standing on the corner I would be empty – but isn’t that the idea?  Isn’t the idea to throw away our nets and follow Christ? 

"But where do you draw the line, pastor?"...there IS NO LINE.

"I can't help them all"....but have you even started?

"They just abuse the system"...lucky we have you to weed out the users and abusers.

"I have my family to feed"...So does Christ...through YOU.

"I give at Christmas, isn't that enough?"...Did you REALLY just ask that question?

I’m not there yet.  But I will pray for every single one I see – and I will pray that the Holy Spirit will disturb the calm waters of my heart a little bit more often and grant me the courage and strength to do something for ‘the least of these’.

Nothing brings me more happiness than trying to help the most vulnerable people in society. It is a goal and an essential part of my life - a kind of destiny. Whoever is in distress can call on me. I will come running wherever they are…Princess Diana

Monday, October 7, 2013

Mean People

I have already met some really nice people here in Florida.  It is the Southern Hospitality that I have missed so much since leaving here in 1995.  I'm so happy to be back in Florida - it feels like home again.

The move down here was not easy, logistically.  Many issues with the moving company caused me stress and anxiety.  At one point I began to loose my confidence in mankind.  But I was quickly reminder of the following quote form Mahatma Gandhi:  "You must not lose faith in humanity.  Humanity is like an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty."

I am on a quest now to renew my ability to ignore the negative, mean people in this world and focus on the tremendously large number of wonderful, caring, loving human beings.  I'm glad to be a member of humanity - are you?

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Es past nisht

There is a Jewish phrase that some parents will use with their children when they do something wrong.  It says, “Es past nisht”.  Literally translated it means ‘this does not become you’.  It tells the child that he/she isn’t bad but that they are, indeed, too good to be doing something beneath them.  By telling children that they are inherently bad, we teach them that no matter what they pursue in life, they are bad at the core.  But the opposite is true – they are GOOD at the core.  Some of the things they do are wrong and the learning happens when they realize they are better than the wrong they are doing.

Where is your self-respect?  How do you show yourself respect and, in turn, show your children and/or those around you?  To fully understand the word translated as respect, we must consider cultural context.

In Luke 20:13 we read, “…and the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my son, whom I love; perhaps they will respect him.’

The Greek word here for respect is entrepomai which really doesn’t convey the power of the decision being made here.  What the father is counting on is the shame associated with the people to whom he is sending his son. The people ultimately kill the son but the father was hoping that the public disgrace that continued violence would bring upon them, might trump their need for violence.  It doesn’t.  They don’t care about public disgrace.  This verse is as powerful to us today as it was to the original audience.  The question concerns our shame, not our respect for God’s only Son. 

Once the decision is made for the violence to continue they not only disrespect that father, they no longer have the basic emotions that are humanity.  In fact, their own integrity is gone and in this act they reject forgiveness and confirm a loss of humanity.  They have lost all sense of shame.

The acts of violence did not become them.  As our acts of wrong-doing do not become us.  We are made to be mirror images of our Creator yet we openly reject the forgiveness of God by continuing on in our wrong-doings.  We fail to show respect to our Father or to ourselves.  We bring shame upon ourselves – our acts do not become us.

I have seen what the trappings of wrong-doings can do to a person.  It first eats away at the inner self and the person works harder and harder to make sure this rot doesn’t come to the surface.  But soon it does.  You can see it in their behavior, in the way they talk, in their appearance – in the way they lack respect for themselves, for humanity, and ultimately for the Creator. 

Is it time you hear God our Father say to you, “Es past nisht”?  Is there something you are doing or a way you are thinking that really does not become the YOU that the Creator originally designed? 

I like how Marcus Aurelius puts it, “never esteem anything as of advantage to you that will make you break your word or lose your self-respect.”

Bring honor to God and honor to your family and community by respecting yourself.  And always ask, “Does this become me?”

My father said to me many times growing up, “never do anything you wouldn’t want to be caught dead doing”.  Wow – that conjures up some powerful images, doesn’t it?  He would always follow it by saying, “remember who and who’s you are”.  

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Am I a Feminist?

I have been in ministry in one form or another since 1984.  Since that time I have found that, besides the pastor that deserves the title of being ‘my mentor’, I tended to side more with the female pastors on the team.  In fact, after a successful summer camp experience, the female pastor on our team wrote on my t-shirt, “we sit to the left”.  I didn’t fully grasp what she meant until a few years later.  And when I did grasp it, I fought it.  I thought I was conservative!  When I finally embraced my inner feminist, I tried hard to turn back to the right.  Honestly, I can’t STAND the terms left or right, liberal or conservative.  The fact is that I have some liberal viewpoints and some conservative ones.  I would probably surprise you on many topics, actually!  

Now I’m not typically one to just pull out one or two lines of scripture and base an entire writing or sermon on just that.  There are always mitigating circumstances before and after the chosen verse(s) that either shed light on one verse, or throw us deeper in to a state of confusion.  But there is something amazing about Galatians 3:28.  It seems to be the pinnacle of the theology of Paul.  Paul talks about the egalitarian nature in Christ.  This is the belief that all people are equal.  In this one verse, Paul establishes equality.  Here is what he says:

“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free nor is there male and females, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”  Everything that Paul says throughout his letters of the New Testament orbit these words.  If we are in Christ, we are all equal.  

This letter, as is the case in all his letters, was written because of a particular circumstance.  Paul addresses socio/economical and spiritual ‘current events’ of that time and attempts to pull everyone in to a right perspective, seeing the event through the love and eyes of Christ.

In this verse, Paul is explaining how one should be treated at the table of Christ.  The table where all are welcome regardless of age, birth right, or gender.  We are all treated as one and likewise we should treat one another in the same manner.  

Paul wrote this, I believe, to cause ripples in the still waters of conformity.  Be mindful that a very common Jewish prayer in the 1st century went something like this: “God, I thank you I was not born a Gentile, a slave, or a woman.”  NOW put that against what Paul is writing and you have headline news.  CNN picks this up and the late night hosts are working on their monologues.  This is scandal, pure and simple.  

Paul was simply pointing out that social distinctions are non-existent, null-and-void, for those who are in Christ Jesus.  When Jesus came, he not only turned the tables in the market place - he turned the tables of social and economic inequality.  With this simple statement Paul says there is no room at the table for social inequality, economic ladders, gender bias’ and discrimination of any kind because we are all seated as one.

The last church I was at I held weekly meetings.  I purposely held these meetings at a round table.  Everyone had a seat at the round table but when we were all together at the table you could not easily distinguish a leader or a leadership hierarchy.  All were welcome, all had a place, and all were equal.  

Humanity’s nature is to want more, to be one step above our neighbors, and to be considered higher than others.  In the movie, The Three Musketeers, there is a quote from The Cardinal that goes something like this.  “All for one...and more for me”.  That is our mentality and until we can overcome that, Paul’s vision of equality at the table setting remains just a vision here on earth.  But remember this, my friends.  In the kingdom of Christ, all WILL be equal.  Our work on earth is to continually meet at the table of equality - to communion WITH one another IN Christ Jesus, regardless of any social or economic or gender issues.

If we read the writings of Paul with new glasses - the glasses that see nothing but equality (which I believe is Paul’s social hermeneutic), AND we keep in mind that this is contrary to the Jewish and Greco-Roman world at the time, I believe your ears will experience a new sense of openness.  

Oh yeah, and on the whole, am I a feminist or not.  Safe to say I probably am based on the fact that I believe we are ALL equal when we are in Christ Jesus.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Where Is Your Happy Place?

Many thanks to my high school classmate, Michelle, for giving me the inspiration to write today.  Michelle lives in New Hampshire and often posts photos of the many outdoor activities she enjoys with her family.  Recently she posted one of her family and admitted it was taken when they were somewhat lost, having taken a wrong turn down the river, and ending up in a bog.  What is so striking in this photo is the contentment and the smile on one of her kids while sitting in the middle of a bog not really knowing where they were.  THAT'S a happy place.  

She described it as being one of her happy places and asked her friends to share their happy place.  Where IS your happy place and who is there with you?  What is around, the sounds, the sights, and smells?  How often can you go there?

I look forward to reading the responses from people and hope there are many shared.  It got me to thinking about my happy place and, although I came up with an immediate response which I will share later in this blog, I have been thinking about my happy place – or rather, happy placES.  As my mind began to wander through the years of my life I came up with many places that bring a smile to my spirit.  Some of those places were more about the experience and the people than the actual place. 

Where is my happy place? Mine is anywhere that conjures up thoughts and memories of my mom.  I know in those times that she is still with me and that God is the bridge between her and I, with his hand in mine and the other in hers.  I love you and miss you Mom.

I pray you have many happy places in this life.  Although dark times are all a part of our human experience, those happy places in our lives are a tremendous gift from our Creator.  Know that, not only in the dark times but also the good ones, God has you securely in His hand.

Where is your happy place?  What goes on there and who is with you?  Share them with me, won’t you?

Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Perfecting of Our Faith

The past two weeks have been rather dark in my life.  For a myriad of reasons, the evil one has seen fit that clouds of sadness have lingered over my spiritual house.  It has been a trying time indeed.  I am not fully out of the darkness but today I rejoice because I feel a slight bit of warmth from the light of hope.

I found myself returning to one of my favorite Scriptures.  It can be found in the letter to the Philippians, first chapter, and verse six.  This letter is a thank you note from Paul for a gift they had sent him while Paul was imprisoned in Rome.  Paul’s purpose is not only to teach theology but to call the church in to unity on the basis of the servant-mentality and humility of Christ. 

“I am confident of this; that He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it in and carry it on to full completion until the day of Christ’s return”

In this verse, Paul recognizes the work God has done in the hearts of the Philippians and also the continued work of grace that God will do through-out their life and up to the moment of Christ’s victorious return to earth.

There is a wonderful promise in this verse.  First, God started the work within our hearts and second, He WILL be faithful to complete it.  In other words, God is preparing our hearts and souls for the exact moment of the return of His Son.  God is faithful to us – yes – even when OUR faithfulness wanes.  The work is God’s.  He began it the moment we accepted the consecration of our hearts in to the servant ministry of Christ.  What exactly is this work though?

This work is the perfecting of our fellowship with one another in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

But I believe there to be one more important lesson to learn here.  You see, God didn't start a work in us to bring us to the moment of our own death.  He isn't working on us to bring us to the final seconds of this life so that we are ready to enter the life eternal.  No – that works is OURS to do.  But God is working WITH us to prepare us for the return of Christ.  Not the ‘end of all things’ but for the beginning of all things.

God begins many things in us throughout our life.  He plants seeds of hope and of dreams and ambitions.  And He continues to work those out in us as part of the process of a life designed for the Kingdom of God.  Not the kingdom of man.  Our knowledge that God is continually working in us, through us, and around us AND, many times, in spite of us, should serve us well in lifting us out of those dark times in our lives when we cannot see the direction we are going. 

The past two weeks I have not been able to see any further than the moment in which I was living.  This did not bring me joy because I had no light to see.  The moment is great WHEN you can see it.  But when you are suddenly thrust in to darkness it can be very disturbing.  You know that feeling when you go outside in the bright summer light and then walk back inside your home?  You can’t see anything, really.  You stretch your eyes wide open as if that’s going to increase your ability to see but your eyes are still adjusting from the massive amount of intense light that was just thrown at them.  You can’t see – so you wait for the darkness to subside and you are able to see well. 

Today God began to lift that darkness and my eyes are just now adjusting properly to the light.  He gave me hopes, He gave me ambitions, He gave me dreams to dream AND to build – and He has been faithful in carrying out His work.  Shall I be passive in my work or shall I also participate in the work that will bring me to the moment of Christ’s amazing return?  I rejoice because by God’s Grace, and only by His Grace, I am able to see through the darkness of the evil one, and once again take another step in my journey that God has prepared for me.

May God’s Grace grant you safe passage through every darkness that will come in to your life.  May you hold fast to the promise that the One who began an amazing work in you, will continue working it out until the moment of Christ’s return.  Work not for your own death but work for the return of the resurrected Christ.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Sow It - Reap It

I am a true believer in the Scripture that says you reap what you sow.  Those two words, reap and sow, are not commonplace in today’s vernacular. There are far fewer people today who grew up in a farming community who immediately place a clear, concise mental image in their head when they hear or read those words.  Reaping is the act of gathering, or cutting down and then gathering, of the harvest.  Sowing is the act of throwing down the seed, or in modern times, having a machine seed the soil for you.  If you plant corn, you will get corn.  If you plant asparagus, you will get asparagus. You will harvest the product contained in the seeds you tossed out earlier. 

The author of Galatians noted this act in Chapter 6, verse 7 when he immediately saw the parallel between these two acts of farming and the walk of common man. 

"Don't be misled; remember that you can't ignore God and get away with it: a man will always reap just the kind of crop he sows!"

If you want to judge a man, an American humorist once said, you should not look at him in the face but get behind him and see what he is looking at, what he is sowing.  Then you will see the true nature and life-purpose of this man.

Remember that if you plant garbage seeds, you will get garbage.  If you sow deceit, anger, jealousy, rage – that is what you will gather at harvest time.  Remember also, as the humorist said, that some people may be really good at throwing down the seed they want everyone to see, but their eyes and hearts are elsewhere.  So step behind someone and take a look at what they are looking at. What drives them?  What motivates them to act day to day?  Are they focused more upon themselves than on others? 

I heard this advice once and now give it to husbands and wives to be.  Ladies – watch how his father treats his wife.  That is your future.  Men – watch how her mother treats her husband. That is your future. 

Get behind once in a while; watch, learn and discover 1) the type of seed being tossed, 2) where it is planted (is it purposeful or thrown in a half-hazard manner) and 3) watch where their eyes are watching while they are sowing.   

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Mirror Mirror

I have been receiving blessings by reading a book entitled 'Buddhist Boot Camp', by Timber Hawkeye.  He has some amazing insights on improving self-confidence, overcoming fears, and positive reinforcement.  I enjoy reading the wisdom writings on this author.  A quote from this author:

"A flower doesn't stop being beautiful just because somebody walks by without noticing it, nor does it cease to be fragrant..."

I love that image.  We are beautiful in God's eyes.  We are beautiful in the eyes of others as well.  I Peter 3:34 says

"Your beauty...should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight".

The next time you are concerned with how others may or may not perceive you - remember that God sees you.  You are not invisible to your Creator and that is your foundation for living a life free from the burden of worrying about your image and of what others think or feel about you.

May the Love of God surround you, His Grace astound you, and may your knowledge of this, ground you in Hope.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


Do you have transition lenses on your glasses?  I had those years ago and I hear they have improved but the one thing that bothered me was they only transitioned where light was hitting them directly.  In the car sometimes only a portion of the lens would transition as the other part was in a shadow and away from direct contact with sun.  I’m not sure why I thought my glasses should simply KNOW that they should shade my entire lens…it was doing what it was ‘programmed’ to do.  It darkened when light hit it.  The glasses actually receive their ‘photochromic’ properties through the embedding of micro crystalline silver halides, typically silver chloride, in a glass substrate.  But silly me wanted the glasses to actually be smart and tell when I’m outside and thereby shade the ENTIRE lens – instantly, so I didn’t have to hold my glasses out the car window in to the direct sunlight until they changed uniformly.

Transitioning to a New Year is also awkward and seldom uniform in nature.  Only when the realization hits us that the transition has to be gradual, not sudden, can we possibly begin to understand what it means to transition to a New Year.  Hence the reasons many of those New Year’s Resolutions fail so miserably.  We somehow expected that the morning of January 1, or January 2, would somehow grant us a renewed interest in living and would empower us to change.

I remember counseling a young couple before they were to be married and they left me with the impression that something magical would happen as they walk back down the aisle after being proclaimed Mr and Mrs.  They were both disillusioned with this notion that everything will come together.  In fact, they refused to talk about certain topics because it would be “fine” once they were married.  Ah young love – ‘tis oh so blind, is it not?!

As we begin our transition to writing 2013 instead of 2012, may we also focus on HOW our own transition is going to look and feel.  Accepting today that it will not be a ‘hit you over the head’ transition will make it easier to enter in to.  There  won’t be this sudden “Trumpet Voluntary in G” moment and a ceremonial walking down of some aisle lined with loved ones and flowers that will change us forever.  Oh don’t get me wrong – I’m acutely aware that there ARE sudden moments when our lives are instantly transformed but even those moments put us in the position of having to transition to a new normal.  By entering in to the PROCESS of change, the PROCESS of transition, we can more easily see all the ways in which our actions, thoughts, minds and our spirits transform, over time, in to that which we dream.

According to Miriam-Webster Dictionary, the word ‘life’ is either a noun or an adjective.  But can we consider, for our own intrinsic interests, that ‘life’ is a verb?  It is action.  It is a ‘doing’ and not a ‘being’.  As we enter in to 2013, let us focus on our life in action – our life as something that evolves and is continually moving forward, collecting information and experiences, and processing them, thereby increasing the gift that is the “I” in all of us. It’s not going to happen overnight – this change for the better of which you seek.  Oh there will be bomb shell moments that force us over the cliff of change – usually of loss; but as I mentioned, those are the moments when we are still forced to learn how to transition.

A young man I know has just recently learned what it means to transition.  He understands, perhaps for the first time in his life, that the change he seeks is a process – it is a verb.  It is action and it does not, it will not, happen overnight.  There won’t be some magical  “you've-just-won-a-new-car” moment that will finally transport us to that perfection we seek.  It’s the “you've-won-a-new-car-and-now-you–have-to–pay-for-the taxes-license-plates-registration-and-then-learn-how-to-drive-it-and-maybe-in-six-months-you-may-figure-it-all-out-but-you'll-have-repairs-along-the-way”  moment.

As you transition in to 2013, remember that your life is a verb.  An action word.