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How We Die – More Important Than Living


Destiny_QuoteWe’ve all heard about and perhaps have even read books about the grand nature of life, e.g., “The Purpose Driven Life“, by Rick Warren; “Chicken Soup for the Soul“, by  Jack Canfield; “Heaven is for Real“, by Todd Burpo and Lynn Vincent, and “The Last Lecture“, by Randy Pausch.

Books like these, present us with an opportunity to change or better comprehend our perspectives about the significance of (our) life, perhaps a deeper meaning or connection with our spirit and overwhelmingly, insight into our human nature.  They are, without question, all great reads.

What if I told you, however, that how we die is more important than how we live?  Would veterans_funeral_flagyou immediately disagree?  How could this be true?  Isn’t death an ending?  Why focus on the negative?

Certainly, these are all relevant and valid questions or thoughts about something we know precious little about, yes?  Yet, if one views life as an accumulation of knowledge, experience, wisdom and dare I say, faith; well, now you know the purpose of this discussion.

“Have you ever uttered that age-old phrase, “If I had known then what I know now…”? Trust me , you’re not alone.  The essence of that quip, is that living life yields much insight into ourselves, our situation, our environment, and the world, as it relates to people and relationships.”

Easter_CrucifixMany factors intertwine to make us who we are today.  Among them, our childhood, the location(s) we’ve resided, family, friends, education, information about the world, events, and especially our faith.

I’ve assembled a punch list of 10 factors that influence just how prepared we will be when we die.  Prepared, you might ask?  For what?  Well, prepared for what follows our death, of course. The following net outcomes at the time of our death largely determine our path forward:

  1. Have we truly accepted Christ as King?
  2. Have we “Chosen Wisely” using our Free Will?
  3. How did we utilize our Time on earth?
  4. Were we motivated in moving toward life or Running Away?
  5. Did we present ourselves to others in an Authentic fashion?
  6. Have we developed a sense of Inner Peace?
  7. How effective were we at dealing with Change?
  8. Were we in a faithful Mental State?
  9. Did we consider the Bigger Picture as we made decisions?
  10. How effectively did we demonstrate Compassion and Love for others?

Judgment_Day_GateAs evidenced above, when we die is truly irrelevant in the Grand Scheme of our Eternal Existence.  The things we accumulated during our lives are likewise meaningless as they remain behind in their entirety.

What matters, when our physical life is distilled, is how prepared were we to die all along the way.  Collectively, our priorities, values, mindset and intent represent the bellwether of how we are to be judged, held accountable and projected forward into eternity.

 

The Dormant Christian – Play The Tune!


DNA strand with codeAlthough each of us is born of DNA, snippets of our parent’s tendencies and that red liquid coursing through our veins, we also create our environment with our thoughts, ideas and reactions that collectively comprise our experiences, personality and the essence of our individuality and being.  Hidden in the depths of our sub-conscious, lie our fears, joys, loves and regrets, along with the complete set of our core values and beliefs.

Many of these “tucked away” emotions and navigational guideposts steer us on a day to day basis, yet we remain somewhat unaware of their subconscious influence upon our lives.  And so it is with food, dress, relationships; and faith.  And although the strongest of these morally magnetic influences is faith, as humans, we overwhelmingly have the shield-of-faithmost difficult time expressing, even sharing our museum of faith that is ordered and stored in our minds much like books in a library.

Yes, the magic of life itself remains hidden within our minds, along with everything that defines who we are, what we believe and why we behave, think and make decisions the way we do.  Many times it is safety and security that convinces us to refrain from sharing our selves with others, while at other times it can be ego, pride and self-expression that pushes us to let others know equally defining aspects of ourselves.

“As music is encrypted upon a CD or stored on the hard drive within our computer, it is conspicuously silent and unknown unless played and shared with others.  In essence, it does not exist unless it is shared.  And in a parallel fashion, our faith, beliefs and Christianity remain largely unknown and non-existent, unless we make a concerted and deliberate effort to communicate and share them with others; through our words, through our Actions, and as witnessed by our lives”.

Maestro Giancarlo Guerrero conducts the Nashville Symphony during a performance at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center.

Maestro Giancarlo Guerrero conducts the Nashville Symphony during a performance at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center.

It is human nature to judge others by their looks, words, body language and behaviors, along with how they interact and relate to others.  This tendency to judge is a largely, mutually occurring phenomenon, i.e., it is happening all the time and all around, and to us.  It is as breathing; an involuntary response to ensure our survival.

And so it seems, in this day and age of global strife, we are being coerced into “survival mode” by external forces.  Accordingly, we are being awakened to a degree by that little voice inside us that is screaming to protect ourselves, to protect others and to raise the veil of our faith, exposing it for the world to see, by our actions.

And make no mistake, “In the middle of difficulty, lies opportunity” (Albert Einstein).  Indeed, it is incumbent upon each of us to not only acknowledge our values, beliefs and faith, but moreover, to have the courage and character to defend them when under scrutiny or worse, attack.  Take the risk, remain focused and Play the Tune, people, albeit at times a bittersweet symphony, lest we wither away into non-existence.

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When Life Hangs In The Balance – I’ll Follow The Son


Golden_WaveI’ve wondered many times when I was a child, what life would be like when I was an adult; a husband; a father.  My imagination would conjure up visions of a burly man, physically fit, yet understanding, compassionate and loving.  I would shudder at the thought of the tremendous responsibility of marriage, and even more, of fatherhood.  The mere thought of this “serious” future that awaited me would quickly bring me back to reality; the reality of an eight-year-old boy at the precipice of manhood, or so I thought.

My journey was far from over, yet I have always been able to visualize it, almost touch it.  Growing up in a small town Salvation_Crossafforded much of the quality of life that people today cherish and search for when raising a family.  Surely, it lacked in cultural variety and experience, yet it grounded me in a forged way that would serve me well in my life ahead.

“Like most other boys growing up in the 60’s, there was beer, a bit of cursing, plenty of outdoor sports, bikes to ride, movies to see and girls to gawk.  And these things were indeed memorable, yet in my family, one thing trumped them all and that was Church on Sunday.”

At the time, even being an altar boy, I missed much of the essence of what having faith is all about.  Perhaps it was mired in the overtures of the Catholic Church financial bulletins, where your family name was used as a club by disclosing your contributions.  Perhaps it was overshadowed by the procedure, rigidity and absence of emotion by the clergy.  Perhaps it was a victim of an emphasis on Catholicism and not of Jesus Christ and the Bible.  But it was there to be discovered, experienced and revered, nonetheless.

I’ve always been one to pray, heavily in times of “need”, but also in times of blessing, bounty and benefit.  And even though every child, adult and Catholic saw the same crucifix and Jesus, my Jesus was special because He spoke and listened to me.

Fishing_SunsetIn all my years, I’ve yet to be disappointed, angered or spiteful by my Jesus Christ.  For even though my prayers weren’t always answered in MY timeframe, I accepted whatever response I received from my Jesus Christ, because I knew he was Almighty, Omnipotent and Kind.  That faith, attitude or core value system has saved my life many times; from preventing me from making mistakes, to my physical safety to being the recipient of good things happening to me as a result of my “choices”.

You see, each of us must find our own path, one bridled in our own sense of morality, and bounded by God’s grace.  A path only limited by our imagination.   I simply can’t imagine living a worthwhile life without the guidance, feedback and love of God.  I know not everyone shares that same belief, and that is ok, for the essence of our being is that of choice.  To a degree, we create our own future by the choices we make.  And for me, what better resource could one have, than Jesus Christ as your mentor, friend, Master and Creator?

As it was for me and as it will continue, when in doubt, I’ll follow the Son.  It’s a highly personal matter and it will remain that way.  Be well and choose wisely.   God Bless you.

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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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Parallel Paths – The Intersection of Life and Death


Ying_Yang_2From childhood and on throughout our lives, we develop and maintain the mindset that life and death are mutually exclusive states.  I’m here to tell you that they not only coexist, yet further, simultaneously exist in each of us.

“The moment we are born, we begin dying and the only thing we control is to what extent we live while we are breathing.  Death has this context of inevitable finality about it, yet it is exclusively a result of not knowing anything about it; or worse, being unwilling to learn its nature and invite it into our lives, so we can better prepare for it.”

Each of us have friends, family, neighbors, classmates, coworkers, and yes, pets, that have ceased to live, yet are Destiny_1vibrantly alive in our memories.  We create this righteous attitude of sorrow for their death, yet in reality, the sorrow we create is selfishly directed at OUR loss, not theirs.

Likewise, we are very good at identifying the right things to say to our loved ones, but only AFTER they cease to live, as we know it.  The challenge, you see, is to identify these right things to say, and then say them, to these special lives, while they are still breathing!

And life goes on, with new life being created and existing life exiting this place we call our world.   Beings coming and going, sometimes intersecting with others, at other times, traveling alone; much like molecules bumping into each other in a chemistry beaker.

And as random and insignificant as life sometimes appears to us, it is truly, so very special, so magnificent and such a gift that it behooves us to celebrate it with every breath we take in, lest it be our last.

LightningThe world today contains so many distractions, from life, from our spirit and soul, from each other and from God.  Yes, at times we need that bolt of lightning to remind us of our priorities.  Consider this article that little nudge to refocus your priority list, rekindle that spark and zest for living, remember to smile and greet everyone you encounter with goodwill, and lastly, to revive your gratitude for the gift of life you are enjoying as you read this.

Yes, much like the tracks that we know with certainty are parallel, we Railroad_Tracks_Convergeequally know as life embraces death, the tracks converge and eventually intersect, transporting our spirit into eternity, anxiously reconnecting with all those vibrant memories which then become our new reality.

You see, we’ve got it all wrong.  Death is but a door, a transformation of energy and a portal to our future.  It is not to be feared, but importantly, prepared for and anticipated.  Until then, live with passion and practice compassion for others; live your conscience and Look for the Good.  I’ll be watching.

 

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I’ve Got Everything I Need – And Nothing That I Don’t


Compassion_2Indeed, it would be a cruel joke if God created us in His image, and then somehow, failed to provide us with the things we truly need to live a prosperous life as a Christian.   And the truth of the matter is that each of us has what we need (note: not want) to experience an exceedingly rich and joyful life, if we choose to follow Christ‘s teaching; to avoid sin and love others without reservation.

“Perhaps by design to illustrate and test the construct of faith, God included many resources for us to enjoy.  Yet, as our free will would have it, we at times, enjoy too much, obsess too much and exclude what matters too much; to the point we lose focus on what is good, what has been provided and what enriches our soul.”

There are numerous tasks each of us must not only perform, but rather, master, if we are to realize our potential as Christ-the-Redeemer-overlooking-Rio-De-Janeirobeautiful and uniquely special children of God.  Among the critical few are to identify and develop self-awareness, core values, faith, discipline, compassion, respect and humility.

Collectively, these tasks prepare us to love one another, which is the ultimate end-game of our existence.  And make no mistake, we have everything we need in this life to reach that goal, to fulfill our destiny.

It is our use of choice that solely determines the path we pursue, and the extent we realize our future.  And a wise choice is to use prayer to seek God’s wisdom, grace and guidance to reveal answers that will lead us into eternity. Holy_Grail_Chalice

The enlightened choice is the one we make when it aligns with God’s will, plan and future.  And we possess all the worldly resources necessary to meet His expectations. If only we choose to use what we need and avoid what we don’t. Choose wisely.

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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 Exit Interview With God


Autumn_Leaves_FallingThere are few things in life that last forever, yes?  Friends come and go, material wealth graces and eludes us, that incredible ’69 Camaro SS that made my heart “race” as a teenager…  Gone!  The perfect job we thought was immortal, well yes, that’s history too, baby.  Even that hand-painting your 3 year-old child presented you for Christmas; oh yes, do you know where it is today?  Take heed, my friend.Camaro_69_SS_Mikes

“You see, temporary is the nature of the world, with the exception of; the world.  We are but leaves falling to the ground in the context of layers of soil.  That’s not to say, however, that our lives are meaningless; to the contrary, our spirit/soul is indeed eternal, yet our physical “mechanism” that ingests and decodes the world around us, is but a layer of sorts that merely provides us some definition to others.”


Most of uChildrens_Drawings have seen and/or heard the classic “Interview with God“.  It speaks of the conversation one creative mind cleverly coined and shared to enable us to imagine what a one-on-one with the “Big Guy” might entail.  And, without hesitation in saying, it is superb in its ability to transport each of us at the speed of light into crystal clear imagery as if we were Walter Cronkite on the set of the CBS Evening News.

And so it will likewise be for each of us upon our admittedly inevitable physical deWalter_Cronkiteath, as if leaving the “job of a lifetime“, ultimately parting ways with our Boss.  Imagine, if you will, yourself in the Hot Seat, facing God.  There is no film crew, no producer, no-one else, and certainly and ironically, no exit.

Let’s be very, very candid, here, shall we?  Much like “A Christmas Carol“, each of us knows deep within our hearts that this “Exit Interview” is by nature, completely and exclusively binary.  In other words, it will either go very well or very badly.  And it will be wholly and duly upon each of us, to a person, to determine which outcome will become our “reality check”.

I envision a dialogue that goes something like this:

God: “Well, Michael, the fact that you and I are here means your earthly life has reached its pre-destined conclusion.  Do you know who I am?”

Me: “Yes, Lord. You are God.”

God: “And Michael, because you were born, raised and lived a Catholic, do you know Why you are here?”

Me: “Yes, Lord. This is my Judgment Day, to account for my life on earth, accept your assessment of my life, and receive your judgment for the good, the bad I did in my life and to what degree I utilized the gifts you gave me at birth”.

God: “Very good, Michael.  Let’s get started, shall we?”

Me:  “Yes Lord, I am yours”.

God: “Michael, although everyone experiences their own personal and detailed assessment of their life, this review is not focused solely on you.  Do you understand?”

Me: “No, not really, Lord.  Can you explain?”

God: “You see, Michael, the totality and significance of your life, most assuredly includes every thought, action and reaction you created while on earth.  It also reflects, however, the impact, good and bad, your actions and words had on every person whose presence and light you touched during your life.”

Me: “Every person, Lord?”

God: “Indeed, every living thing that I have created on earth, whether it be animal, plant, and most certainly, people.  It is precisely and inclusively, the collective impact of these interactions, that define your existence on earth and importantly, work together to become your judgment now.  Everyone’s, precisely, your words and actions, influenced others thoughts, decisions, actions and reactions.  The earthly experience is truly a dynamic, interactive and causal environment.  Empirically, one you are responsible and accountable for at present.  May I proceed?”

Me: “Yes, Lord.  This is amazing, I had no idea how many and whose lives I have affected during my lifetime.  I only wish I would have realized this during my life on earth.”

God: “Surprisingly, many others share your wonderment, Michael, yet, will still be accountable for their lives as you are now.  Every spirit you elevated, every one you helped, ridiculed, harmed, supported, nurtured and prayed for, indeed, every emotion that resulted from your words and actions, even unknown to you then, have been recorded in reservation for this moment.  Make no mistake, Michael, yours and everyone’s lives have immense value and significance; to me and to everyone whose life you touched.”

Me (stunned): “Please continue, Lord.”

And so it continued, until every facet and impact of my life upon others was reviewed and accounted for, and my collective judgment was given by God, and acknowledged and accepted by me; for eternity.  The incredible relevance and context of this scenario is that each/every person’s life has tremendous and immeasurable value, meaning and most assuredly, consequence.  Let this awareness guide you in your journey, cause you to emphasize and demonstrate kindness, forgiveness, humility, empathy, compassion and gratitude; and let it begin this instant.  Be well, and most importantly, just Believe.

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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.

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