Category Archives: General

Just What is Christianity?


Sailing_SunsetSearching 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 yourprayer 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.

Compassion_2Christianity 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!

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The Inversion Of The World – When Evil Dictates


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Credit: FireflySixtySeven

When you consider Civilization and all its impacts (society, culture, interdependence, communication, growth, maturity, sophistication, survival, etc.), what are the “rules” that any civilization lives by?  More importantly, what are the rules based upon?  I believe that rules or the laws of civilization are based upon (initially) survival, and re-population.   In essence, the needs of the individual take precedence.

Then, once a civilization matures and basic needs are provided, it moves up the hierarchy of needs, much like Abraham Maslow created in 1943, when he published “A Theory of Human Motivation“.  And as any civilization climbs the ladder of development, focus shifts from the individual to one or more larger groups, i.e., neighborhood, community, state, country.

BibleOne thing is certain, and especially for groups, is the need for law and order, protection, authority, penal systems, etc.  And again I ask, what are the rules of any civilization based upon?

The word that hopefully pops into your mind is morality.  And without question, morality that rules an entire civilization, cannot come from man himself, because morality implies a perfect standard to achieve and there are no perfect people in this world.  Thus, morality must come from an external source, a perfect source, and that source is God.

Salvation_Cross“One would surmise that Laws based upon morality from God could produce no evil in the world, yet, today, we have drifted so far away from God as a civilization, that we can no longer hear His Word, guidance, much less, direction.  Bad has become Good, Wrong has become Right, Evil has become Worthy. 

Collectively, the singular solution to our problems within ourselves, relationships, family, neighborhood, community, state, nation and society…  is God.”

All Laws of behavior are based upon Morality, and all Morality originates with God.  Therefore, all Laws originate with God.  Be well.

(So, you think you know who Charles Darwin is?)

(Below: Pay Special Attention to Profound Words at the 7:35 mark.)

 

Faith – Hooked On A Feeling


shield-of-faithAs human beings, we are obsessed and preoccupied with materialistic things; it’s just unavoidable as it reflects the essence of who we are, sensory beings.  It is said that to a boy with a hammer, everything he encounters needs fixing.  And so it is with you and me; we exist by digesting the world through our senses, yet once ingested, that input is manipulated, analyzed, processed and output as thoughts, emotions, attitudes, behaviors, and values.

Helen_Keller_SunriseAnd the irony of it all is that the physical presence each of  us creates in the world, is a product or collective result of all that intangible, untouchable, immaterial, yet very real sensory input that our minds (and hearts) filter and shape into what makes each of us so unique in this world; our Spirit.

“Many individuals fail to connect the dots, in that they believe who they are is determined by what they do, rather than the values they hold, the beliefs they form and the future they create.  It’s like swimming in a pool and never knowing what you are, much less, what direction you are pointed and where you are going.”

Indeed, Choice breeds Optimism, Confidence, Productivity, Morale, and reduces Anxiety. Choice, or shall I say, Free Will, is a fundamental construct created by God to empower us to rationally decide whether we wish to follow Him.

Easter_CrucifixIt’s about the connection, the relationship, the desire, the attitude, the commitment and the future.  Faith breeds momentum, in that it reinforces a consistent approach and response to the world around us.

Free Will is as much associated with Decision making as our Creation is to Intelligent Design, or what I like to call, Deliberate Design.  Life with a Purpose; a purpose We Choose.  What a concept!

Transitioning Into Eternity


Hourglass_TimeThere are numerous examples of Racing and each has its own domain and range.  NASCAR, Marathon Running, World Cup Sailing, Tour De France Bicycle, Olympic Swimming, and more.  None, however, are more striking nor more important, than the Race against Time.

In any race, one must consider the length, the duration, obstacles, requirements (rules), anticipated problem

s, physical requirements and environment, goal…  And then, as a “Racer”, you must perform, survive obstacles…  and lastly, Finish the Race.

“Throughout the Race (aka Your Life), you will need to manage change(s), some planned, others unplanned, some positive, others not so much.  The extent to which you are effective and successful in dealing with change and in adapting to loss, to a large degree, will determine how rich and abundant your life becomes.”

And, with any race, who you have in your “pit crew” largely impacts the outcome of the Checkered_Flagsrace.  Let it be known we are in this race together, to be interdependent, to love, sacrifice, suffer, support, and Help each other.

So, who do want in your crew and how do you select them?  Skill, Experience, Familiarity, Knowledge…  Shared Values?  Secondly, what kind of dynamic(s) do you want to create within your team?  Conformity, Creativity, Commitment, Compassion, Character, Charisma?  Rest assured, designing, recruiting, creating and then, managing your team is no task to be taken lightly.

Managing TransitionsTo be sure, books have been written on each of these important questions and issues; Change, Values, Teams, Racing, Group Dynamics, Values….  Without question, Life is complicated, yes?  So, be very focused and dedicated to living your life with the intent to “go the distance”, to be “true to your heart”, to leverage the gifts God has given you, and ultimately, to reach your destination… On your terms, following your heart, listening to your conscience, living your dream.

 

Thinking Vertically In A Horizontal World


Louvre

Photo Credit Adrian Milne

The favorite class of my entire high school experience was Geometry.  I still love the shapes, the symmetry, the balance, the beauty, the complexity and the real world applications; indeed, the real world implications.

 

Geometry, as a subset of Math, is predictable, in that there exists a defined and disciplined cause/effect relationship inherent in its manifestation within our world.  In contrast, Faith and/or belief in God, may at times, appear unpredictable, from our myopic and grossly limited view as human beings.  Therein lies the paradox.

As much as I admit I am unaware about God’s thoughts, other than I believe He is indeed

God Quotes_Einstein

Photo Credit: GadgTecs

Real and has dominion over all dimensions of being, I firmly believe that there is as much predictability about God as there is with Geometry.  It is very important to note that acknowledging the predictability of God does not require complete or intimate understanding of Him or comprehension of His nature.

 

In terms of this world, you and I exist and function in a primarily horizontal plane, specific to relationships, communication, interactions and knowledge.  From a spiritual perspective, however, any/all interactions, communication, etc., with God or involving our faith, predictably exist largely in a vertical plane, i.e., “God on Most High”.

“The ability to think vertically in a horiontal world is what sets individuals apart from others, from the aspect of being able to get a sense of the “Bigger Picture” and better understanding cause and effect events in our lives and of those around us.  It’s almost like observing the world through perfect vision, seeing the lines that connect the dots of seemingly disparate events, when everyone else is viewing it using fuzzy, out of focus sight.”

Without question, faith and an unwavering belief in, and reverence for, God, is the catalyst enabling that ability.  And like any skill, with continued practice or use, it is refined.

Balance_Harmony

Photo Credit: CrossfitOdyssey

So how, then, does faith work to sharpen or transform our senses?  I believe that faith, in practice, minimizes distractions in the world, sets and clarifies life priorities, focuses our efforts toward clear goals, fertilizes our relationships and interactions with others, and attunes our minds to be in better harmony with God’s Will.

 

As imperfect beings, and as sinners, each of us were born at a great distance from God’s Will.  As Christians, we are taught, and slowly learn, to shape our lives in such a way that we become more like God as we grow.  As we succeed; as we stumble; as we repent and as we pray, our spiritual maturity develops within us as our physical bodies develop externally; bringing us closer to God.

And the critical points to remain focused on are that we must:

  • Never waver in our beliefs
  • Constantly remind ourselves of our goals
  • Regularly evaluate our lives
  • Identify areas to improve
  • Followup with appropriate actions, and
  • Remain humble in our approach

These guidelines have and will define you and I as Christians and as worthy of God’s Mercy and Grace.

“To thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.” – Shakespeare

 

Faith Is The Light – You Are The Switch


LightningElectricity has always fascinated me as a concept.  In truth, it has empowered me directly while teaching me respect for it, along with a good dose of humility.  My perception of electricity is that of a formidable force of unbridled power and a silent master.

And as human civilization has harnessed electricity to create unfathomable applications and outcomes, you and I can equally harness our faith to create unimaginable yet incredible futures.  Indeed, from a bolt of lightning in the sky, we have managed to transform it into light, heat, coolness, stored energy, movement, communication and intelligence.

Similarly, we have the ability, dare I say, power, to transform our faith into actionable living, yielding real life outcomes and consequences.  Yes, we are the switch!

BelieveOne might ask, “What are the possible outcomes of faith?” and “How do I go about pursuing them?”  The answer to both questions begins and ends with one question; “Do You Believe?”

If your answer is “Yes”, you have already mastered the most difficult aspect of this concept.  Conversely, if your answer is “No”, I will challenge you that subconsciously, your real answer is “Not Yet”.

Like electricity, every physical aspect of our existence and being on Earth, must conform to a simple construct specific to energy, i.e., Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.  Simply stated, this means that because everything in our world is fundamentally energy, the Law of Physics states that energy is never lost, but rather, transformed into other energy, water boils and becomes vapor, food is ingested and becomes muscle and body mass, thoughts transform into action… and prayers are answered and manifested in numerous ways in our lives.

“Unlike electricity, however, faith is a conditional construct.  And that is, faith depends upon our Will to enact it.  Faith triggers real life events to occur.  People are saved from tragedy, opportunities materialize, sickness can be healed and reconciliation between people is made possible.  An essential aspect of faith that many people overlook or do not acknowledge, is that God acts within His own timeline, not ours.  He responds to us in many ways, some being unexpected or misunderstood, because we do not share His thinking, logic, or plan.”

The real Power of faith is in knowing that we have influence upon the world, other people, and events; and that God is a Loving and Caring Being, and will eternally be just, compassionate and responsive to our communication.  All we need to do is simply Believe.

As a Believer, I want; truthfully, I need, to learn more, to better understand, and to guide my actions as I implement my being as a Christian… as a Believer.  Accordingly, I read the Bible, I share my thoughts with others and I collectively worship God with other believers.   I observe my world and I sincerely offer help to others in the interest of making it a better place.  I refer to “Prayer” as the First Amendment of the Soul, and I will always choose to Believe, to be Thankful and to seek to Help others.  I invite you to come and join me.

Seriously, would you rather be an atheist and die, only to learn that God is Real; or would you rather be a Believer and die, only to learn that God did not exist?  Which path has minimal risk and maximum reward?  Which then, do you choose?

 

Moon Shadow – An Allegorical Transfiguration


moonlight_night-wallpaper-1366x768.jpgWithin the annals of history, rest countless examples of misperception, altered reality, confusion and wonderment.  Some perhaps steeped in deception, others in amazement and a sense of incomprehensibility.  Indeed, Genius, dare I say, Divinity, is the product of pragmatism clothed in unspeakable Beauty.

“And so it is with regard to many things spiritual.  The simple life yields immeasurable fulfillment, wonder and gratitude.  Darkness (Sin) gives way to Light, Mortality to Eternity and Minutia to the Grandiose.  Our world is one of contrast, oxymorons, context and perspective.”

Jesus Christ died so we may live, not only in the flesh, but most importantly, in the Spirit.  Christ-the-Redeemer-overlooking-Rio-De-JaneiroAmen!  The Bible teaches us that Sacrifice leads to Fulfillment, Suffering to Glory, and Patience to Reward.  And in many ways, along the journey of our life, we are endowed with glimpses of our Creator’s work.  If we are wise, we must first recognize His Hand, but then, firmly sieze the moment to completely and fully appreciate those experiences as they occur.

As Christ’s Resurrection perfected His sacrificial life (body), the Sun emulates His power, glory, warmth, protection and Path.  At most times too bright to extend direct sight, the sun (and the Son) offers us mortal souls the distinct privilege and opportunity to relish and cherish a Transfigured Vision of this Power; the Moon Shadow.

Amazing SunriseFor as the Moon only reflects the Sun’s Light; the Son only reflects the Light of the Father.  And accordingly, each of us likewise has the potential to reflect the Goodness and Greatness of God.   Yet, as difficult as it can many times be, that potential is only realized as a by-product of a humble and contrite Heart Imbued with pure Intent, one that is emblazoned with Enthusiasm, Gratitude and Spirit, and lastly, guided by Wisdom, Prayer, Determination and sheer Will.

The Good News, is that it is entirely “worth the trip” and exclusively within our own willBelieve to accomplish.  Do not be deterred, timid or hesitant to claim that which is yours and guaranteed by Christ Himself.  Behold the Moon Shadow in all its Glory, for it represents the tranquil spirit within us that has the potential to unleash immeasurable power to calm the chaotic nature of life.

Light of the World, Shine on Me, Love is the Answer.  God Bless You.

 

The Dignity of Decline – A Legacy of Love


As the seasons echo changes in our physical world, so too, does age mimic the passing of time.  In an eerrily similar fashion, Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter parallel our human life’s transformation of Child, Adolescent, Adult and Elder.

Without question, both transformations represent distinct, yet related stages or phases of growth, in the physical sense, and yes, also in the metaphysical sense.  A cursory glance of each cycle could easily end purely on the visisble and tactile plane, yet, when examined at a more subterranean level, multiple layers of context bubble up to the surface.  Emotional, Psychological, Spiritual and Cognitive strata collectively define our being as individuals.

And as surely as the seasons elicit deep understanding, wonder, amazement and respect, so should life…  So MUST life.

As we (individuals) progress through life, knowledge is learned, experience is gained, Cerkas_Leonard_F_Armyvalues are formed and reinforced, behavior is exhibited, relationships are made and developed, and most importantly, wisdom is attained as a collective result.  Truly, wisdom is underrated in life.

Indeed, as your children grow as children of God, they are as sponges in the ocean to your lead and example as parents and responsible adults.  Your words and actions, your compassion, your discipline, your teaching, your Love…. blend a message your children directly and subliminally receive and absorb.

“Yet, inasmuch as this environment contributes to our development as human beings, it is unmistakably guided by each person’s free will, choices and decisions.  Our life plays out at the intersection of responsibility and accountability.  Indeed, actions have consequences”.

And then…  physical maturity catches us from behind and prevents us from returning to our youth.  Many perceive this “fact of life” to be madddening, frightening, horrifying and just downright abhorable.   Yet, the other side of the coin has a redeeming merit; for it represents the shadows, profile and characteristics of everything we desire to share with others…  and that is Wisdom.

Fishing_SunsetSo, parents and seasoned humans skilled in the profession of “life”, take stock in the beauty that is wisdom; Adolescent and Adult sons and daughters, take value in the beauty of your parents and elders, for they are a rich and robust source of wisdom.  As they age and their physical acuity begins to fade, never forget the tremendous insight they have about life.  Their life experiences may not even be known to you, yet assuredly, they suffered, they rejoiced, they learned valuable life lessons and they simply want to share this wisdom with you because they Love you.  Moreover, they possess the unique ability to package, customize and deliver that wisdom about many facets of life to you; if only you allow yourself to be open, receptive and appreciative of it.

“When I was a boy of fourteen, my old man was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have him around; but by the time I became twenty one, I was amazed at how much he had learned in seven years.”

Mark Twain

If I’ve learned one thing in my life, it’s that even though my relationship with my dad was rocky at times, I learned a tremendous amount about life and living from him in a relatively short period of time; about self-respect, compassion, focus, humility, and excellence, along with a few things not to do.  And from my mom, I learned the gentleness, tolerance, caring and duty to family that is required to achieve spiritual maturity.

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Photo Credit: A.F. Bradley in his Studio

Above all, however, I would give my right arm, yes, even more, to be able to see my parents again and be able to sit down and talk with them about many things; and to thank them for loving me in their own way, for working hard to raise me and my family, for demonstrating by their actions, the reality, truth and grace of God, and to tell them that I love them deeply…  For my soul is Saved in large part because of their love for me.

“Don’t worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.”

Robert Fulghum

 

How… Will You Remember Me?


Helen_Keller_Quote_3I find it curiously informing how we direct our attention throughout our lives.  In a telling and deliberate manner, as youth, we absorb information, accumulate knowledge and develop skills as we continuously define who we are, what we like (and dislike), what values we espouse, and most importantly, who we wish to become; perhaps who we wish to become… like.

As adults, we repeat or practice those values, continue to absorb knowledge and develop, perhaps more complex, cerebral and intricate skills, and largely, establish ourselves as social animals in our neighborhoods, communities, groups, associations, families and society.  Many times, we seek out others who share our interests, beliefs and passions.  In a managerial sense, we execute the plan.

As seniors, we guide others, offer our help and expertise, provide moral support, perhaps kscn0017learn new, yet intangible skills, witness the world growing up around us, and yes, reflect much about the past, our acccomplishments, successes and failures, relationships, and with grounded certainty; the could have’s, should have’s, and might have’s; as we look forward to an uncertain future…  OUR future.

“Now, it goes without saying that the behaviors that primarily exist and characterize each of the phases of our lives, sometimes exist in each of the other phases.  To a large degree, I believe that is a sign of a healthy, focused, authentic and self-actualizing human being.  It speaks to clarity of purpose, values, beliefs and yes,the courage to see them manifested in our lives.”

Wisdom_Mark_TwainWhat might not be quite so obvious, however, is whether our values, behaviors, and aggregate plan of our lives, were and are influenced by external forces, such as spirits, past family members, saints, angels and even God Himself!  What is equally amazing and simply incredible is the realization that the same God who spoke to and with, guided, disciplined, comforted and encouraged the Greatest human beings of all time…  is the same God who walks with us every moment of our lives; if we invite and welcome Him into it.

“True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us.” – Socrates

To be sure, each of us are indeed, worthy of God’s love, deserving of his Grace and destined to be with Him in heaven one day.  Of this I am certain.  Life is but a preparation, perhaps a dry run and most assuredly, practice, for our eternal and spiritual existence.

Of all the aspects of life that define it, I find one of the most intriguing to be, intent.  The Believedriving motivation, desire or outcome we strive to realize in life is driven, at times in an invisible fashion, by our intent.  True intent reveals our authentic soul and accordingly, is painstakingly guarded to remain unseen, lest we allow others to see us for who we truly are as individuals.  Yet, the most powerful people I know in the world, all share at least one trait, in that they deliberately allow their authentic soul to be visible and manifested in their lives by their actions, words and deeds.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

So, in revisiting my initial question posed in the headline, How, and will, you remember me?  And in a parallel manner, how do you project yourself to the world?  What is your intent?  What core values guide your thoughts, actions, words; and prayers?

Peace to you…   Joy to you…   Comfort to you…   Courage to you…   Eternity to you.

Be well and know that God loves you every moment you breathe.  It is your right to be loved, valued and included.                                    Look for the Good, Always.

The Second Amendment of the Soul


we the peopleOver the past several years, there has been an increasingly vocal “voice” across the web and in the media regarding the importance of the United States Constitution, specifically, the Second Amendment.  For those unfamiliar with the Constitution, the Second Amendment represents the Right of American citizens to “Keep and Bear Arms” and likewise, protect your physical body from injury and/or violence.

“In much the same fashion, and in light of  similar attacks upon Christianity, I offer that there is also a Second Amendment of the Soul, which acknowledges that every human being has the Right to ‘Keep and Bear Faith’ in an unencumbered fashion, and to protect their Spiritual Body against a Tyrannical Government, Society and Evil forces.”shield-of-faith

Throughout time, Christianity has been persecuted by others, out of hate, jealousy, contempt or fear.  People are largely uncomfortable addressing subjects and issues they can not touch, directly see or explain.  Faith is a very personal subject and indeed, many do not even possess a complete awareness of their own beliefs about it.

Yet, as difficult as it is to contemplate faith, eternal life, and an omnipotent God, it is likewise critically important for all of us to come to grips with it at a personal level.  Self-awareness refines and strengthens our core values and beliefs and subsequently, reflects in our thoughts, actions and behaviors with and toward others.

Some of us prefer to deal with faith in a “concealed carry” fashion, holding it ever so closely within our hearts and resisting, even avoiding discussion or dialogue about it with others.  And for many others, we willfully choose to “open carry” our faith for all to see.

Regardless, however, of the method we manage our faith, one thing is certain; each of us has the God-given right to believe and practice whatever faith we choose/commit our lives to witness, so long as doing that does not harm others or adversely impact the world around us.

BelieveProtection of our faith, at all costs, is an unalienable right, and must be treated as such.  Faith defines much more than the book we read, the worship location we attend and the behaviors we choose to exhibit.  Faith encompasses our very reason for existence, our foundational values as human beings and our being into the future; as in eternal life.

Personally, both the (physical) constitutional Second Amendment and the (spiritual) Second Amendment of the Soul represent my most empirical philosophy of life and accordingly, receive my utmost attention regarding my life and how I choose to live it in this world.

As Alexander Hamilton so succinctly stated, “If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything”.  I prefer to stand and determine my own future in this world, guided by God, while preparing for the next life, following my faith as a Christian.

Bottom line, Government and Faith are Inextricably Intertwined…  And logic dictates that the basis of Law must be Morality… and the basis of Morality is Faith in God’s Law.

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