Too many times, we are apt to judge others by what we see. When we see worn clothes, unkempt hair, calloused hands, a hobbling gait, a forlorn expression. Those traits so often deceive us from knowing the true person within the shell; behind the mask.
Make no mistake, it is very easy to do, not knowing the past, the experiences, the values or thoughts of an individual. It takes compassion, humility and discipline to prevent a rush to judgment, along with affording others the benefit of the doubt.
“For when we take the time to listen to others without judging them, we open our hearts and minds to the whispers of their past, the truth of their lives, and the authenticity of their being. The lucid story of an individual resonates as a crystal chime when we humble ourselves by reserving judgment, as that defines respect and is noble.”
When we see worn clothes, it may be because this person sacrificed themselves to care for their family’s needs and placed them first.
When we see unkempt hair, it may be a symptom of the worry, frustration, perhaps despair this person experienced in their life.
When we see calloused hands, it may represent the effects of a life of hard work, dedication and a focus on providing a good life for others.
When we see a hobbling gait, it may be the result of a lifetime of denying one’s self, needs and the effect of physically challenging work.
When we see a forlorn expression, it may be the result of having lost one or more loved ones, a parent, a sibling, a child, a friend. It may be the aftermath of a shattered childhood, marriage or health.
These things will only be discovered if/when we honestly and openly listen, objectively assess and offer genuine compassion toward others. An unencumbered vision of the lives within the life of another person is only attainable when we put others needs before our own; when we offer help to those in need; when we pray for others and pray for God’s forgiveness of our own shortcomings. Indeed, when we Love others as we love ourselves.
It is likewise, human nature to associate the symptoms of aging with incompetence, reduced value and insignificance. In truth, this tendency should be viewed as shameful, arrogant and insensitive, as it robs the dignity, self-respect and appreciation of others for the selfish aim of building our own egos; of neglecting the needs and dignity of others.
There is never a bad time to offer support and encouragement to everyone we encounter in life. And in Truth, the individual we may be helping most, is ourselves.
Lift up your life, by lifting up others.
Having been immersed in various aspects of business my entire life, I’ve learned two truths; first is that the more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know; second is that I must never stop learning.
Indeed, we are all travelers in this life, having originated as a Child of God, having learned about the world around us, having learned (and still learning) about ourselves, and the pinnacle of life, learning where we are going.
Let us begin with who we think we are. Each of us has likes/dislikes, fears, joys, values,
opinions, experiences, knowledge, awareness, interests; and goals. Ah yes, goals, those at times, seemingly unattainable, unreachable, yet shimmering wishes of future reality.
I view goals as nothing less than my future self, with my goals being an inextricable part of living my life. As much as I am based in logic and reality, my inner spirit remains unbounded, specific to what I can achieve and most importantly, who I wish to become… Who I Will become.
“And in the business world, there exists something known as a “Gap Analysis“, an esoteric and objective view into the chasm of where we are, where we want to be or go, and the gap that awaits the two ends to become a continuous and joined path. This gap, is what precipitates clear vision, hard work, and determination to build the bridge.”
Building bridges, then, is how we transform ourselves, from who we think we are, to who we desire to become. At times, we may perceive that bridge to be miles long, while at other times, within a stones throw. It is not only an amazing objective and journey, but an amazingly beautiful accomplishment, when we make it our own reality. And the best part, is that WE determine how intricate, wide and long that bridge becomes in reality.
The best mentor, coach, counselor and role model I have found is Jesus Christ. We are all admittedly flawed, sinners and works in progress, yet, the Guiding Light of Christ is unyielding, warm, trustworthy, fulfilling and eternal. The faith each of us possesses is a Shield against evil, and by exercising our faith, that shield is made strong. Each of us determines how strong our faith can be, and accordingly, how strong our resistance is to evil. In Truth, how strong our Love for God can be. If the question is life; the Answer is God.
Lastly, to build that bridge requires tools; Tools of faith, good intent, authenticity, respect, gratitude, reverence, humility, and love. So, gather these tools and learn how they are used to construct Your bridge… Going to anywhere you wish to go.
I just want to say, I’ve had an Amazing Life. One filled with a lion’s share of excitement, fun, challenge, accomplishment, descendants, love and Hope. Yet, without fear, sadness, disappointment, despair and hopelessness, the vision of my future would have never materialized, and certainly wouldn’t have occurred.
And that, my friends, is the swan song of Grace. To say I feel a bit unworthy of the numerous blessings I’ve experienced in my life, would be a gross understatement. When one witnesses the gamut of tragedies, losses, injustice, sorrow and hurt in the world, you can’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of guilt; guilt that you have been abundantly blessed and largely spared from bad, from heartache; indeed, from evil, while others have seemingly been overlooked or passed by.
“Truthfully, no one ever really looks forward to growing older, yet, without the benefit of having lived and truly experienced all that life offers, both good and bad, you simply can’t appreciate God’s Grace in its most genuine and simplest form. For Grace is the unmerited favor of God, and is manifested as the salvation of sinners and bestowal of blessings.”
As much as I respect, appreciate and value the dedication and commitment that any Serviceman or Servicewoman has given to their (our) country, I have always wondered what it would be like to truly know what military veterans have gone through in duty to their country. And I’m not entirely certain, if given that opportunity, I would be even able to survive, physically and perhaps mentally, the challenges of that responsibility.
I thank God every day for being able to live in a free country, to enjoy the simple things in life that so many of us take for granted. I weep in gratitude for the life I have been given, and only pray I have done enough with this life to warrant inclusion in God’s exclusive paradise in heaven; when it is my time to answer His call.
This time of year is very special to me, for it includes the Autumn Season, one I have loved in an incomparable fashion, ever since I was a child. The smells, the beauty, the colors, the peace, the robustness, the trumpeting introduction of the Winter Season, and collectively, the larger role it plays in the renewal and cyclical nature of God’s creation here on earth. I feel connected to the world when I immerse myself in this environment.
In a similar manner, reminiscing about my childhood days, remembering spending time with my family, having fun with my friends, enjoying the outdoors, the camaraderie of those I spent time with in youth organizations, school, neighborhood and community activities. It’s as if I am watching myself in a Snow Globe of my past, enjoying the memories, yet feeling anxious about my journey of preparation for how I will answer to God, specifically, how I utilized the talents I was given by Him, along with the choices I made and the lives I have impacted along my journey.
I ask you, perhaps, challenge you, to make time to do a life review of sorts, relive the happy moments that made your heart race, and yes, even other moments that contributed to the building of your character. And then, consume yourself and fill your heart with a genuine and deep sense of gratitude to every person that has impacted your life, improved it, helped develop it, perhaps even saved it.
And so, this Veteran’s Day, remember every person you know, whether it be family, friend, spouse, child, sibling, neighbor or simple acquaintance, that has served their country, perhaps, offered their own life in the process, in the duty of ensuring your right to live in a free country, make your own choices and decisions, raise a family, direct your career, benefit from the fruits of your labor and enjoy the opportunity to grow old.
For growing old is a distinct privilege and honor, to be able to fondly look back on your life and realize how great it truly has been and is, how unbelievably blessed we are, and how thankful we must be to have received the Saving Grace of God.
Never forget… WHY you are free.
If you’ve ever cracked a Bible, then you are aware of its first; and last books, yes? Precisely, Genesis and Revelation, Alpha and Omega, Beginning and End.
What a fitting chronology of mankind, yes? What a story! And like any great movie, regardless of how impressive the beginning might be, it is the ending that leaves you wanting more, riveted in your seat, or perhaps, breathless and gasping for air!
Indeed, such is the chronicle that is the Bible, and there is a good reason it is often referred to as “The Greatest Story Ever Told”. Quite simply, because it is! No other historical account has as much credibility, surprise, emotion, impact, prophecy or real life consequence. In short, the Bible is the story of life itself.
As the Bible’s domain spans creation to destruction and everything between “The Dash“,
likewise, so does its genesis of emotions. The Bible evokes nearly every emotion known to man; wonder, joy, fear, love, understanding, contentment, uncertainty, anger, despair, humility, courage, shame, among others.
Epic events are captured in the Bible, from the creation of the universe, to the parting of the Red Sea, to Noah and the Ark, to the Burning Bush and Moses, to the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ, and ultimately, to the foreboding preface of Christ’s return, as the world prepares for the Final Battle as documented in the Book of Revelation.
“Fast forward to today. The reality of today is that many equate our present time to be in alignment with the End Times as described in Revelation. The world has moved away from God, is blind to His Word, lives in Sin and has a hardened heart. Unable to experience Light as a result of the Darkness of Sin, it is this Sin that serves as a once heavenly body that now eclipses the presence of God (The Truth, The Way and the Light) from this world.”
In short, the world devolves and moves away from the Word of God and must now, as was written, experience the uncovering of hidden Truths in preparation for the 2nd Coming of Christ. This is the Revelation.
“And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.”
Revelation depicts preparations on earth that must occur prior to the return of Jesus Christ. It is an amazing, yet confusing documentary of things to come. Not one person knows of the timing, or timeline of this preparation.
Seven Churches, Seven Seals, Seven Trumpets. Battles, Good and Evil, Suffering, Death, Destruction, Resurrection, Triumph. Revelation is anything, but dull and uneventful.
Importantly, let us be mindful of the inevitable nature of Revelation, and even though we are helpless and powerless of its coming, you and I have control over our own lives and can direct them in a Godly manner, living the Word of God as best we can, in preparation for that Final Judgment by God Himself. Be Fearful. Be Humble. Be Repenting. Be Ready. God Bless us all.
In the Christian world, God, Faith and the Bible are undeniably binary concepts; you either believe in them, or you don’t. Specifically, the Bible, represents the “Word of God“, via its sixty six books; each book an account of God’s Word via a source.
My point is that when you believe in God, have faith and accept the Bible as God’s Word, i.e., Truth, it’s an all or nothing scenario. Everything within the Bible; God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, Satan, Demons, Miracles, Saints, Sin, Heaven, Hell, Salvation, Eternal Life, and Angels, come along for the ride. And, oh, what a ride it is!
Indeed, I have a special reverence and interest in Angels.
Throughout my life, like many other people, I have had my brushes with danger, personal injury, even death. Yet, looking back, I have always felt an extraordinary sense of reassurance, when in dangerous situations, that God was with me, either directly, or via an Angel.
Having always been a steadfast believer that there are no coincidences in life, it is very logical to me that the explanation for these moments of danger and protection, is the existence and presence of Angels in our lives.
There has been many times, I’ve had the feeling that someone or something was near me, protecting me, guiding me, accompanying me. Some might refer to it as ESP (Extra Sensory Perception), or Clairvoyance; perhaps even luck.
“Well, in my world, luck only exists as a theory. Every moment, every interaction, every scenario, outcome, experience and reaction; is driven by my belief in God, my faith, my values and my kismet. Without question, we all have choices as a result of God’s gift of free will, yet Jesus Christ clearly stated he already knew us even before we were born.”
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
Angels, creatures of Heaven, assume specific roles in each of our lives on earth. They provide Comfort, Protection, Patience, Salvation, and Unconditional Love. Created by God, Angels are messengers that serve mankind, each with a specific mission.
Like so many things in this world, if you believe in something with all your heart, that belief becomes your Truth. Positive energy flows in an unstoppable fashion, so it goes without saying that maintaining a positive outlook and disposition in life is paramount to creating positive outcomes, for each of us.
“Angels are intelligent reflections of light, that original light which has no beginning. They can illuminate. They do not need tongues or ears, for they can communicate without speech, in thought.”
– John of Damascus
Rest assured, you have already been visited by, perhaps, even entertained in human form, an Angel in your life. Everyone needs and deserves, an Angel in their corner.
In my youth, I was a Boy Scout. It provided me an outlet for my energy, a direction to follow and an opportunity to develop as a young man. I had fun, yet I lived and was proud of the Boy Scout Creed:
On my honor, I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.
To many, these are merely words, however, to a scout they represent a standard for behavior, an expectation of the Scout Troop Leader, and a requirement for membership. Laced with values, the Creed is centered on God and holistic in context. My experience as a member of the Boy Scouts of America was character building, team oriented and purpose driven. It made me a better person.
In the big picture, I served an ideology that was larger than myself. I became a member of an exclusive community, and remember my Scouting days very fondly. To a large degree, it sculpted my life and gave me a vision of my future. My physical life aligned well with my spiritual being. Unknown to me at the time, I was being groomed to be a leader.
Indeed, the Call to Serve manifests itself in numerous ways, whether it be in community, military, medicine, faith/ministry, politics, personal care or customers. A critically essential perspective of leadership is in fact, serving others. For it is a leader’s innate ability to influence, persuade, guide, mentor, support and understand others before it is a leader’s ability to direct, instruct and manage.
There exists a comprehensive body of study that examines this powerful concept and it is known as Servant Leadership. At first glance it may appear to be contrary to a traditional definition of leadership, however, in a more refined analysis, the most effective method for a leader to accomplish objectives is to serve his/her followers.
One very important lesson I learned to understand as a leader is that most people will invariably follow to the extent they are led. Everyone desires a leader to be concerned, focused, driven and compassionate toward their followers. Servant Leadership cultivates a secure, healthy and emotionally tight group/team of individuals. It likewise creates a sustainable sense of community, and energizes participants to perform at a high level toward a common vision/goal.
“It is no coincidence that at the heart of the word compassion, lies compass. And what is a compass?; if not a guiding light and beacon that directs us to, and identifies “the way” of goodness, kindness, civility and moral abundance.”
Today’s world is in dire need of true and authentic servant leaders. Collectively, our societal values, behaviors and goals have become increasingly ungodly, absent compassion for others, void of spiritual substance; unsure which direction to follow.
My life has been a chalkboard of learning, from my dad, mom, friends, teachers, neighbors, children and most markedly, from God. I thirst for learning as it refreshes my spirit and reminds me there is so much more to learn, know and understand. Along the way, I have developed some profound concepts, insights and maxims:
“As assuredly as a cup has a purpose to be filled with nourishment, our lives likewise serve a purpose to be filled with the spirit of our uniqueness and journey, the nourishment of our destiny.”
“Life is about each of our journeys… yet, the best way I know to learn about your own journey is to focus your attention, efforts and time on other people.” Pay attention, people!
“Light the Way for everyone around you and you will become the Light.”
Have you been “Called to Serve”? More importantly, Who are you serving? And who is the ultimate Servant Leader? Without question, Jesus Christ.
Amidst the increasing turmoil in the world, politically, spiritually, culturally and scientifically; one stands out from the others in an amazing way. Our spiritual well-being (read: faith) is the singular aspect of our life that we completely and unequivocally determine, ourselves.
Faith, you see, is created and lives inside each of us, if we allow it there. Free Will, the gift God gave us, empowers us to choose for ourselves, what we believe, how we think, how we act, and ultimately, how we live… Forever.
Growing up as a Catholic, I was taught that “Church” was a holy place and a place of
worship. That is still true today, however, my view of Church has matured to realize that in the entirety of religion and faith, Church is funadamentally, a place. In my truth of the world, Prayer is very important, however, I believe one can pray anywhere.
We are doing ourselves a great disservice by creating an imaginary boundary by thinking we are only allowed to pray, to exercise our faith, to grow as Spiritual Beings of God, in a particular place.
“The reality is that prayer can be exercised ANYWHERE, and all that is required is that your mind is properly prepared, that your mindset is pure, humble and in reverence to the Holiness of God. And when you begin to pray, place is inconsequential, immaterial and irrelevant. What IS essential, is the the intent in your heart, the authenticity of your thoughts, and the determination to follow-through on your conversation with God.”
To a large degree, all organized religions have their own self-induced boundaries, limitations, rules and expectations for followers to behaviorally exhibit as requirements to “belong”. While reverence and tradition are certainly important, they are, specific to each religion, intended to control your thoughts and behavior, and fundamentally, keep you coming back, in a survival type of mentality.
With no disrespect intended, I find that demoralizing, overbearing and unnecessary. To clarify, I proclaim myself a Christian, rather than a Catholic. As evidenced in the world today, Satan has wormed his way into Catholicism, the Papal Office and yes, even the Church, i.e., the Holy Place of Worship.
As a Christian, I am a Christ-follower. I rely on the Free Will, the intent of my Heart and the Goodness in my Soul, to direct my faith, including when and where I pray. My foundation is the Bible, not a physical place, but rather, a Supernatural Space.
Indeed, time will tell for each of us… God Bless and Be Well. Pray, because your eternal life depends upon it.
Certainly worth the wait….
Of all the emotions we experience as human beings, none impacts me like the Good I feel when my actions align with my core values. That alignment creates balance in my life, optimism in my heart, and peace in my soul. It enables and empowers me to radiate my authenticity to those around me; it clearly reveals my true self in crystal clear vision, and more importantly, provides me a flawless lens as I interpret, learn, and react to the world and people around me.
Most importantly, when your life is in alignment, only then, can you achieve fulfillment in the sense of self-actualizing or maximizing your potential as a human being and Child of God.
“The “riches” of leading an authentic life are many, i.e., Inner Power, Self-confidence and Esteem, Peace of mind, Gratitude, Commitment, Anticipation, Love of life, Acceptance of other people, and a static-free, powerful and open channel to God via prayer.”
My role in the interdependence of this world (as it was designed) becomes closer to fulfillment, when I follow my heart and live my core values, and it leads to finding my personal purpose in this life. Yes, that feeling is exhilarating, amazing, rewarding, and energizing. My Life is Vibrant and fully Alive.
Alignment begins with a lucid set of core values, an unending faith in God and the courage to base your life and choose your actions and behaviors in accordance with your core values. I say courage, because there are many forces in the world working against “Good”, promoting evil and creating distractions to prevent God’s work in you and others.
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Prayer and self-review are essential to grow as a person and spirit. Importantly, both need development, review and exercise. Protect and guard your faith with all your heart and soul as it is the singular key to eternal life. And do not be afraid or hesitate to share that “Secret” with others. Indeed, it is your and my destiny.
You and I share this planet with 7.3 Billion other human beings. And as much as we generally appear similar, we are equally unique, by DNA, by fingerprint, by voice, by life experience; and by our soul.
When we say “I am”, we are sharing our thoughts as of a particular moment. The very nature of the phrase “I am” implies a sense of purpose, of being, and of value. Yet, most of us struggle mightily when we dive deep into understanding or examining our personal journey in life.
And unsurprisingly, each of us has most likely encountered moments of extreme happiness, sadness, anger, pain, despair, love, abandonment and wonder. As human beings, you see, we are physiologically comprised of matter; matter that somehow combined to provide us sensory organs. We see, hear, touch, smell and taste. And incredibly, we Think.
At an atomic level, we are marvelously complex organisms… Yes, like viruses, only a bit more cultured. And our average lifespan varies between 75 and 100 years, impacted of course, by our environment, genetics, lifestyle and oh yes, our disposition.
One might surmise that we can largely influence our own lives as a result of our powerful senses, ability to communicate, anticipate, plan and learn. Yet, so many of us flounder in life, make mistakes, fail to learn and come to believe we have little or no value to mankind.
The truth of the matter, however, is that the chances of merely existing in this world, absent of an important purpose, are near 100% likelihood. That is, of course, unless we have discovered not only the self, but also the true source of our being, our essence and our destiny.
There is only One true source that can say “I am” with 100% certainty, and that my friends, is God. For God, is the Supreme Being, the one who created all things, is omniscient, breathes life into each of us, and without question, loves us as a parent loves each of their children.
“There is a vast portion of this world and universe that remains unknown, not only as a result of our cognitive limitations as human beings, but also, deliberately, by design. The foundation of faith is believing without seeing; translated, without knowing. We have been provided with just enough knowledge about our life, planet, environment and self to be able to recognize that there is so much more to life, yet to be known, understood, appreciated and revered.”
The stark reality of a higher power is deafening, yet many of us refuse to acknowledge it’s existence, or more aptly phrased, His existence. We spend precious little time in our conscious lives contemplating, acknowledging, developing and leveraging this power, known as God.
Like every penny minted, however, I firmly believe, “In God We Trust”. Be well.
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Searching for answers is rarely easy and the most frequent mistake people make is looking outward and focusing on the external environment. To really get to the bottom of meaningful questions and problems, the Secret is to look within yourself, your core values and your relationships.
- Forget Webster’s, for words are but vehicles
- Forget Funk and Wagnalls, for it is but an interpretation
- Forget Google, Yahoo and Bing, for they exist only on a screen
Instead, step back and away from the world, eliminate all distractions, and examine your heart. Call it intent, purpose, commitment or conscience, the answer to every question we have in our life resides in our heart.
And the reason that is true is because there is no one else like you. You were created as a result of the sheer Will of God. Many people confuse biological birth with the true meaning of life. Indeed, we focus on the mechanics of things and largely ignore the why, the role, the significance, and the vision.
Christianity is very much the same. We are inundated with rules, protocol, history and obligation, yet the essence of Christianity is being aware of, and consciously deciding, what is in our heart. Christianity is a feeling.
Indeed, Religion vs Christianity is much like the difference between the Reference Manual for an airplane as opposed to actually flying it in the air! The Word of God is a Living, Breathing, Conscious Way of Life, not a book, a building or a regularly scheduled worship. And that’s How I’ll Always Be…
“Church is a moment and expression of reflection, prayer, repentance, forgiveness; a belief in and a feeling of love in your heart…. THAT; is Church. Just as God’s existence is not bounded by space, time or matter; our ability to communicate, worship and express our love for and with Him is likewise limitless and without confine.”
This video will be the BEST two minutes of your day!