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Resurrecting The Forgotten Family – Check It Out


Family ConceptNever in the recent history of the world, have we witnessed the unprecedented destruction of society, culture and security, as we do now.  Religious and Ethnic persecution, Politically-motivated violence, social media attacks, Suppression of Freedom of Speech, Corruption in our Government.  Seemingly unrelated issues, however, share a common thread of substance; the Core Family Unit.

At the dawn of civilization, the family unit was the basis for survival of self as well as the species.  It was characterized by rules, heterosexual reproduction and safety (food, shelter and clothing).  Enamored with nurturing, albeit crude, the family also served to educate the young, much like animals educate their offspring.Family_Caveman

Progressing throughout recorded history, the family unit, let’s just call it the family, has evolved in function, form and features; yet, regardless of the changes, always served as the bedrock of social and cultural life and was revered, sought and protected because people understood the critical nature of the family to survival, legacy and individual reputation.

Toward the Industrial Age, families became larger, primarily due to the functional need to support the family farm in agricultural pursuits.  Once again, survival was paramount and acknowledged by all.  Love, not a subject of casual conversation in the public at the time, remained at the core of the family as it was considered to be the “X” Factor of sorts and the “right thing to do” with respect to how adults were expected to behave and interact with each other.  What a concept, yes?

Let’s fast-forward to today.  The traditional “family” is disrespected, ridiculed, demonized and undermined at every crossroad including television, media, government and education.  Make no mistake, the destruction of the family as the core instrument of society and culture, has consequences; significant consequences.

“At the heart of the dismantling of the family, are sexual deviance/perversion, violence, and Godlessness.  Together, these behaviors have become hallmark mindsets of our generation that collectively serve to undermine the family as the core and biblical unit of our species as human beings.  They serve to impact our future in the most adverse scenario.  Continuing to follow this path, we will ultimately lose our identity as children of God and only recognize ourselves as physical and mortal organisms.”

Family_ChristianTo combat this trend and destructive energy, we must change the way we think about the family.  We must restore its reverence and meaning and we must painstakingly strive to protect and secure its future.  And the way we will accomplish this goal is to change our personal thinking and bring back God into our lives.  God and faith in Him are the antidote and foundation to the elimination of immorality and the downfall of society.  Sin is our enemy, not God!  God is the cure.

Any person with a logical mind that has studied the Scientific Method, knows about simple Cause and Effect and Root Cause Analysis, as the basis of effective problem solving.  What we face now in America can be objectively and logically identified and understood, if we are willing to acknowledge and accept the responsibility to understand that each of us are a part of the proPower_of_Prayer_1blem.  Most importantly, that each of us are equally the key to addressing and resolving the problem.  It is not the job of other people to fix it, but rather, it is everyone’s job; it is Your job and it is My job.  WE MUST OWN THAT RESPONSIBILITY AND MINDSET.

And the way we approach this problem aligns with the way we approach our lives.  Invite God into your life.  Submit to His Presence as the Divine Father.  Learn how to live in His Light, Obey His Instructions for mankind and promote that mindset to others.  Let your actions serve as testimony to the Truth.  Let the Light of God shine in your life and permeate the world.

Economic bondage, SSpiritual-Journeypiritual Decay, Health Issues and Decaying/Toxic Relationships, along with all of the afflictions of this world that have plagued our species, originate and are manifested, as sin in direct relation to our ability (or inability) to think, act, behave and consciously choose God’s way of life.  We must deliberately decide to follow God and rebuke sin.  It is clearly an All or Nothing scenario.

The tools to accomplish this transformation include prayer, role model emulation, love and compassion for others.  The visible by-products of these efforts will be enhanced self-esteem, dignity, integrity, respect and inner peace.  I call these things our Spiritual DNA.  Over time, the adoption of this new mindset will cleanse our minds, spirits and souls and will demonstrate to the world around us that we choose God as our savior and redeemer.

Only then will things begin to get better.

Only then will the quality of our lives improve.

Only then will eternal life and salvation be once again within our reach.

Only then will we be saved.

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The Fight For Your Soul – Has Begun


Blurred_People_WalkingIn the rush of everyday life, a person’s perceptive tendencies can be dulled by all of life’s distractions, resulting in a blurred and reduced awareness of reality, of events, of connecting the dots in everyday life to be able to recognize patterns, trends and Truth.  As a Christian, one believes in the words of the Bible, in the history of it, the matter of fact of it, the prophecies of it; the present and future reality of it.

At the same time, however, we live our everyday lives the best that we can, we parent our Biblechildren the best that we can, we do our jobs the best that we can; we live as Christians the best that we can.

“And that is precisely what brings us to The “Elephant in the Room”, and the obvious question directed at discerning whether we would actually be able to recognize, or perceive, if the prophecies in the Bible have been, and are, unfolding and occurring right in front of us, without our even being aware of it.”

Horses_ApocalypseAdmittedly, not an expert in the Bible, this author is aware of the concept of “End Times” and the associated characteristics that accompany it.  Undeniably present and real in today’s world, several, prophecized events or indicators of the End Times include:

  • A Rapid Accumulation of Knowledge (Internet)
  • Violence and Sexual Immorality (Hollywood / Gay & Lesbian Lifestyle)
  • Earthquakes (Steadily Increasing Frequency and Magnitude)
  • Christians being Killed because of their Faith (Radical Islam / ISIS)

These are the more obvious and observable indicators of the End Time Prophecy in the Bible.  Connecting the dots of these and other events or realities is a difficult task at best, however, these trends are indisputable and occurring in the world today.

The Lord's PrayerRegardless of one’s willingness to acknowledge or accept the relevance and reality of this belief, a specific approach each and all of us can take in our own lives is:

  • Regular and fervent Prayer
  • Genuine effort to become more familiar with the Bible
  • Sincerely work to live our lives to serve as examples for our children and others to witness
  • Obtain Personal Gratification from living a Righteous life
  • Strive to spend 10 minutes of Reflection on a Daily Basis
  • Leverage opportunities to help others and demonstrate good will
  • Promote Optimism and Positive Action toward others
  • Regularly practice Forgiveness
  • Consciously avoid thoughts of Revenge, Immorality and Irreverence

In short, many people have become out-of-focus and living as zombies, and have become immune to the world that surrounds (and impacts) them, focusing exclusively on the “routine” of life, striving to maximize opportunities for leisure while minimizing controversy and conflict.  What gets lost in the process, however, is our fundamental, our predestined purpose for being here; to help others, to learn about ourselves and to prepare for eternity.

Find your faith.  Be a Christian.  Don’t be a zombie.   Be well.

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The Everyday Christian


GoldenGateBridgeThere is a term in business that serves as a “how to” approach to problem solving and it focuses on the difference between a desired state and current state.  In other words, this is the vision of where we want to be versus where we are.  It is appropriately called a “Gap Analysis” and it defines and measures the gap between present reality and a desired future reality.

One might wonder, “What does a Gap Analysis have to do with being a Christian?”  At face value, perhaps not much.  If you view and contrast, however, the vision of humanity and life that Jesus aspires each of us to achieve in the Bible versus our reality as sinners struggling to behave Christ-like; amazingly, a Gap Analysis approach may be very apropos.

Part of the struggle to live as  a Christian, walking in Jesus’s path, is being able to visualize Bibleand encapsulate our thoughts, actions and behaviors in a way that emulates the “rules” of God as Jesus lived.  At the foundation of Christianity lie the “Ten Commandments”.  Let’s begin by labeling them as the desired or future state.  Aligning our lives with this desired state constitutes compliance and fulfills the requirements of Christianity, albeit a perfect existence, virtually impossible to achieve as we are imperfect by definition.

As the Golden Gate Bridge was created (constructed) in 1937, it served one monumental and macroscopic purpose, to bridge the gap between San Francisco and Marin County in California.  Prior to its existence, traveling 4,200 ft over water to reach a destination (desired state) may have been considered impossible to achieve; much like living the perfect Christian life in accordance to the Bible.

Helen_Keller_Quote_3And much like the Golden Gate Bridge transforms a perceived impossibility into reality, Christians can benefit from this example to effectively move toward the desired state (living in accordance to the Ten Commandments as defined in the Bible).  This can be accomplished by adopting a perspective of maintaining focus on the end-goal or destination, and not becoming overwhelmed or preoccupied with other things, while progressing toward it.

We are many times distracted in life by seemingly monumental issues and goals, that when placed in proper perspective, are in reality, insignificant.  Issues like technology, social norms, leisure, peer pressure, group-think, etc. which over time, unguarded, become false gods in and of themselves.

“The bridge that can effectively transform this perceived impossibility into reality for Christians, is realistically, a collective set of practices that work together to create the necessary synergy to overcome hurdles, face failure, recognize success and realize Christian principles.  As the Golden Gate bridge is constructed of many materials, each serving a specific function, the Everyday Christian must likewise employ several approaches to yield the desired state.”

Integral to this end are Prayer, Reflection, Forgiveness, Humility, Kindness, Obedience, Respect, Discipline, Faith and above all, Love.  As the Gospel of Thomas indicates, “the Kingdom of God is inside of you, and it is outside of you.  When you come to know yourselves, then you will become known, and you will realize that it is you who are the sons of the living Father.  But if you will not know yourselves, you dwell in poverty, and it is you who are that poverty.”

A life of humble, authentic and sincere means can easily become a more significant presence and example of Christianity, than one of importance, recognition, fame and financial means.  It is always intent that is paramount as opposed to method.  What matters most is what dwells within your heart.  Indeed, these are the “Living Years”.  Be well.

Related articles

Love – Until it Moves You to Tears


DeterminationMost assuredly, there are times in your life when you and your values have been and will be challenged, questioned and perhaps even attacked.  It is precisely those moments, those fleeting instants in eternity, when clarity of purpose and commitment to life bubble up to the crown of your existence, becoming distilled, purified and emblazoned.

Energy levels go through the roof, distractions vaporize into the ether and the thirst for truth is unquenchable.  We need to pay attention to these transient moments of awareness, however few they are in our lives, as they represent our essence as human beings, spiritual children and eternal souls.

There are indeed, places and times for light-heartedness, carefree expression and basking in the atmosphere of joy.  Indeed, these purposeful times cleanse our hearts, minds and souls, rejuvenating us in repose; and are necessary and healing experiences in our lives.

Eagle_Wings_SoaringThey only serve, however, to sustain our life, not to defend, honor, proclaim; or fulfill it.  Each of us must know we are expressly here for a higher purpose, more than to frolic like sheep in a meadow or soar on the wings of eagles.  At its infinitesimal level, life beckons a more solemn tone, albeit woven in the throws of love, faith, goodwill and salvation.

We have a job to do here, and it behooves us as the tools and messengers of this job, to craft our methods, refine our approaches and perform as though our lives depend on it; because they do.

And no time does this become clearer, as a Christian, for me, than at Christmas.  My heart becomes filled with compassion, my mind with goodwill of helping whomever I can touch with my melody, my words and my love for humanity.

“I am, literally, driven to tears for I know, deep within my soul, of the stark reality of why we are here, together as a chorus of song, sharing our lives, helping each other to become more like the One we worship.”

As this magnificent celebration approaches, as we subconsciously count down the days, hours and minutes to that cherished event, let us remember, Why it exists, What it means and How it transforms us as Spiritual children.

Waterfall_SunshineIf you truly seek Peace, then live your life as testimony to that end.  If you sincerely Love others, then consciously and deliberately Do and Behave in the manner reflective of love.  If you desire Goodness in your heart, then undeniably reach out to others in good Faith.  And above all, do these things with compassion for people; without regard to how others perceive your efforts; by overcoming all obstacles and resistance and by simply letting your energy and love flow from your heart as pristine water pours down a waterfall in the forest.

It makes no difference whether anyone witnesses your actions, because it only matters that you know and that should be reason enough to pursue goodness in your life.  Remember the lesson that whatever intention is sent out by you, eventually returns back to you.  Make it be a noble intention, for your sake.  Never stop pursuing to become who you are capable of becoming.  Be well.

 

Living On A Prayer – The Ultimate Conversation


Prayer_LightAs cliche’ as it sounds, chances are that most of us, at some point in our lives, survived on little more than a prayer.  Whether it occurred shortly after college, after losing someone close or having survived some kind of accident, it doesn’t take a genius to learn that life is so very precious.  And no, you needn’t be a religious person, or even a Christian, to pray.

But pray we do, sometimes as if it were a survival instinct.  And what exactly is Prayer, anyway?  Pragmatically, prayer is a form of communication, however, everyone knows that communication, by its very nature, represents a duality; meaning, there needs to be a sender as well as a receiver of the message.  So, who or what is the receiver of a prayer?

More importantly, does the simple act of praying imply that God is real and exists?  Or prayerperhaps, we are all just very ignorant and/or naive individuals possessing little to no clue about life; its beginning, or end?

For me, prayer is simply the “connection” with the creator.  It may very well be a plea for help, or intercession, or clarity, or for forgiveness.  Regardless what “it” is, prayer purifies our being and spirit, and represents a self-medicating sort of healing process.  Not all prayer, however, is offered as a result of need; prayer can be, in its purest form, a simple “thank you” for being alive, for being able to experience life with all of our senses, for having been given the privilege of being alive.  Make no mistake, Prayer is Powerful.

Prayer is the act of acknowledging the existence of, or attempting to summon the energy and power of God toward some end.   Atheists spend their lifetime and energy arguing and attempting to prove that God does not exist.  If they truly believe there is no God, why do they feel the need to convince others to likewise believe?  Logically, by simply participating in that hypothesis, they, by default and reality, prove to the contrary that God does indeed exist.

Prayer_KeyIn fact, there have been scientific studies conducted that prove that prayer is real as a result of a measured and desired cause/effect difference in some state of human life.  For being a society that is inundated with the gamut of science “fiction” from Hollywood about Zombies, Demons and Aliens, we hypocritically and largely, contend there is no God, that science is the ultimate “source” of knowledge and that death is a finality with no exceptions.  So, we are conditioned to believe in the creations of Hollywood but not of a Divine nature.  For me, that is a truly absurd hypothesis.

“Prayer is as real as a baby’s cry, the smell of a fresh spring rain, the beauty of a golden sunset and the warmth of being embraced by a loved one.   Like life itself, prayer is what you make of it.  Believe in it and it will become reality.”

This is the Secret to life.

My suggestion to you is to not wait to pray until an obvious need is present in your life.  Rather, pray in a forward-looking fashion; pray for the well-being of those you love, for those you don’t even know, for the absence of violence and the intangible characteristic of world peace, and kindness of people toward one another.  By all means, pray with a sense of gratitude, humility and pure intent.

Prayer is indeed all about creating and raising the awareness of positive energy, the acknowledgement of a higher power and the improvement in the quality of this 24/7 blessing we call “Life”.

“Take my hand, we’ll make it I swear.”   Be well.

Living in the Shadows – No More


Midwest_AmericaGrowing up in the Midwest, like many red-blooded American adolescents, I was born and raised a Christian, more specifically, a Catholic.  In realistic terms, it meant going to church on Sunday (and Church holidays), being an Altar-Boy serving mass, attending Parochial School, receiving Sacraments (Baptism, First Communion, Confirmation, etc.).

But perhaps, the most far-reaching and impactful aspect of being a Christian was learning about, accepting and Believing in God, the Bible, the Ten Commandments, Heaven & Hell, Angels, Miracles and the like.  At times, it was downright interesting, bordering on fascinating.  Most people accepted you for who you were and subsequently, your spiritual life went largely uncontested by others.

ManitowocAs a child, open to learning new things, willing to accept concepts at face value, being able to decide the truth of things and contemplating a logical result, God really didn’t seem that much of a stretch.  In fact, considering the history of the world, cultures, society and the awareness of other “religions”, it appeared to me that many of the primary belief-systems had quite a bit in common with each other.  At a bare minimum, each worshiped a “Supreme Being.”

Life was good, things made sense, people appeared grounded, confident and for the most part, good-natured.  Everyone was generally concerned with each other’s welfare, safety, etc.  In essence, people were civilized.

Manitowoc_DowntownSomewhere along the line, however, beginning in the 60’s, maturing in the 70’s, running rampant in the 80’s, spiraling out of control in the 90’s and then, off the charts at the turn of the century, people began changing their focus inward, toward self-indulgence, worshiping False Gods (technology, entertainment, celebrity, drugs) and eventually, sin itself.  It’s as if people believed God had gone on vacation or had stopped “being” God.

As I’ve matured, I’ve come to realize that Life has really become, anything but simple.  People have collectively and largely, become morally weakened, stressed, frustrated and fearful that God has abandoned, or worse, “left the building”.  It’s as if the bright light at the end of the tunnel, eternally shining as a beacon of hope, direction and support, had mysteriously been vanquished, snuffed out and replaced with Darkness, uncertainty, fear and turmoil.

Our indomitable Christian Spirit had been broken and the Hope for true Life and a future in Heaven became dim and precariously vulnerable to extinction.

In hindsight, it’s no wonder atheism has grown, same-sex relationships have blossomed and genuine concern for each other as human beings and Children of God has all but become a thing of the past.  What was once considered an “R” rated movie is now an unfortunate norm on daily and weekly network and cable television series.

Broken_FaithWe have effectively been “downgraded” as a species, no less, by ourselves; and a likewise, self-inflicted and universal lack of faith.   What was once the majority in the United States, i.e., Christianity, morally grounded behavior and values; has now become viewed as “out of touch”, old-fashioned (emphasis on old), and lame.

Pretty grim story thus far, yes?  Well, I’m here to tell you it doesn’t need to be that way; unless you truly wish it to be true.  Each of us creates our own future by our free will, choices, thoughts, behaviors and actions.

Returning to that young Catholic boy who went to church, prayed every night before bed, served mass on a weekly basis and wondered in awe of the Goodness of God and the notion of a magnificent future in Heaven…  that boy has grown up and matured into an insightful, caring, confident man, rooted in faith, who REFUSES to cave in to the moral corruption and decay of society.

I have never been, am not and will not be nor view myself as a victim.  To the contrary, my future is secure, my purpose is clear and my actions demonstrate my confidence in what awaits me after my physical body expires.  Believe me, it is BEAUTIFUL!

white_lily_and_crucifix.jpgPerspective is a much maligned word, previously confined primarily to drawing, art and geometry.  For me, perspective has become a foundational brick in the wall of my Faith.  It is an essential element by which understanding of God, life, purpose and most notably, self; is very possible, realistic and visible, i.e., REAL.

I’ve lived and experienced too many “coincidences” in life, too many exceptions to the rules, too unlikely a circumstance to naively think and/or conclude there is no God, no eternal life, no miracles, no Angels…  no Accountability or Consequences to sin.

To the contrary, God (simply) is, Heaven (simply) awaits us, evil (simply) attempts to devour and consume us, and Love (simply) conquers all.

“I’d rather live my life believing in God and then die, to find out I was wrong; than to live my life in a forlorn mental capacity, believing that life is but a cosmic accident, waiting for the “end” and then die, to find out I was wrong and missed the entire lesson that God Himself intended and designed for me to experience, learn and grow in spirit.”

Wizard_of_OzTo each person that calls him/herself a Christian, I challenge you to step out from the Shadows of your fears and your life; and publicly proclaim your belief in God and His way of Life, to your spouse, parents, family, friends and those close to you.  Begin living your life in a manner for which you can be proud, when the “Exit” sign is illuminated at the end of your journey/path.

All it takes is a bit of Courage, Heart and Wisdom.  Be well.

Courage:

Heart:

Wisdom:

One and Only – The Multi-Dimensional Me


Michael Cerkas High School Yearbook

When I was young, like many others, I was a dreamer.  A dreamer, not in the sense of fantasy, wild imagination or wishful thinking; a dreamer in the sense of bold empowering dreams, hallmarked with heroes, real people and jubilance.  I dreamed in terms of humanity, brotherhood, good will and magnificent outcomes… for the world and how I would be an integral part of it.  And these dreams began for me at six years old!

Now, many decades later, I still dream those dreams, concretely believing they will come to pass (in my lifetime), with the singular unknown being simply a matter of when those dreams will transform into reality and bring solace to a world so desperately in need and want of it.

Jesus Christ (Artists Rendition)

These dreams I speak of, originate deep within my mind and soul; striving to be, anxiously awaiting to morph into a living, breathing reality.  They are taking form, and truthfully, at times, scare the daylights out of me, inasmuch a biblical revelation must have equally jolted those whom lived during the Life of Jesus Christ, witnessing the miracle and salvational nature of his Life, first-hand in real time.

These dreams move me to describe myself in terms of multidimensional-being” in the hope of being better able to understand myself and likewise, better relate to other individuals.  And as much as I believe each of us are singularly unique children of God, on that same canvas being created with similar brushstrokes, we are similarly linked and defined by those dimensions.

Each of us exist in many dimensions of life and reality.  We are sons, daughters, fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, friends, Christians, soldiers, leaders and students.  The development and self-recognition of these dimensions appear to accelerate as we grow and mature, and some serve to define our existence, perhaps even destiny, where others labor to mold us into our future selves, forging personality, durability, interest and temperament.

I am a son, a father, a husband and a brother, a student (of life), Christian, writer, manager, DNA strand with codeleader, analyst, neighbor and (hopefully) friend to many.  Each of these “Michaels” intertwine like a complex DNA strand to form the person that others recognize and know.  Each of the persons that have helped me to develop as a human being see or view me through the likewise unique filters that have formed as a result of each relationship and collective “museum” of interactions.  It’s almost as if the relationship itself is its own entity of life.

And then, further forging the spirit that is joyfully “me”, are the lifetime of experiences, actions, behaviors and acquired knowledge that serve as the trim on a car; indeed, quite a visual, yes?  Foremost, I seek to find the good in everyone I encounter, in the hope of encouragement, inspiration and personal development.  I am very mechanically inclined, logically oriented, mathematically gifted, enjoy sports and even more, appreciative of fine art, music, innovation and creative endeavors.  Oh yes, and my oh my, do I enjoy to write!

Perhaps the most crucial take-away from this conversation is the realization and acknowledgement that each of us as human beings are equally diverse, complex, gifted and unique.  Every single person on this planet that confines our physical being, possesses greatness across the fabric of our spirit, being and purpose.

That greatness is to be witnessed in awe, celebrated by all and pursued individually to grow, nurture and ultimately, leverage in this world to achieve outcomes characterized by ethical, moral and spiritual energy, commonly focused on the advancement and betterment of life for everyone, and paradoxically personal development and growth in wisdom.

So, the next time you encounter the opportunity to meet and/or converse with other people, regardless if they are friends, family, neighbors, co-workers or complete strangers; do so with the mindset of foremost appreciation, understanding, support, love and above all, compassion for each as the special Child of God and important, influencing human catalyst that they truly are.

As sophisticated as this world has become, there is certainly ample opportunity for distraction, obstacle and diversion to enter each of our lives.  The challenge and opportunity is to remain focused, disciplined and civil in the course of an increasingly complicated and at times, challenging world.

Be well and God bless.

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