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Recognizing The Hand Of God


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The nuances of life abound in our everyday physical world.  Nuances in thought, context, demeanor, intent, knowledge, emotion, experience, and determination.  Indeed, how we think about something profoundly impacts what we think.

Our senses, all eight of them, equip us to interact, impact and experience our physical world.  The first five, everyone has been taught to recognize (see, hear, smell, taste, and touch).  The next three, I believe complement and extend each of our ability to interpret the world, above and beyond the physical context.

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There is a sense of Space and Time, which I equate to balance and equilibrium; something I collectively categorize as the “body“.  A sense of body is the accumulation of our five core senses, empowering each of us to holistically feel the physical world along with our place in it.

Next, there is the phenomenon known as ESP (Extra Sensory Perception), similarly viewed as Intuition, a sense or feeling of future events, truths and/or knowledge.  This inexplicable sense is possessed and felt by some more than others, and I refer to it as the “mind“.  Most who have experienced it will unequivocally swear it is as real as the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the sun that warms us.

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And the culmination of these senses that takes us to that “next level”, is faith.  It is our “soul” and it literally lives forever and uniquely identifies each of us as does our physical fingerprint, personality, and spirit.  The soul is that part of us that separates from our physical bodies when we die.

Some people may react to the concept of soul and spirit with confusion, amazement and/or denial.  I choose to believe in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, so it is a very short “leap of faith” for me to acknowledge the reality and presence of my soul.

Following is a snippet from my book (in progress) that speaks to this construct:

“Accordingly, this is a story about the power of faith, salvation and literal eternal life.  A life, however, not confined to our physical senses, but rather, life thought of in terms of consciousness, energy, relationships and contentment; more like metaphysical life.  Viewed in this construct, life obliterates the earthly limitations that envelop, partner, bound and seemingly dominate our existence and thoughts.

Eternal life is an existence and state of mind that is manifested or channeled through self-awareness, courage, vision, trust and what I refer to as Incomprehensible Truth.

In a world where we have been effectively taught to let our mind and imagination ‘go wild’ in exercises that have created science fiction, entertainment and new product development, we have been equally conditioned to limit or exclude that imagination when applied to God, mortality and eternal life.

In much the same way that everyone acknowledges Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and characters including Superman and Batman, there are bridled expectations when the subjects of religion, Jesus Christ and the afterlife are broached.

One explanation that warrants further analysis of credibility, addresses the inability, or more aptly, the unwillingness of human thought to acknowledge or attempt to consider the likelihood of eternal life, the existence of a conjoined physical life and soul or spirit, and the reality of conscious continuity after physical death.”

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As evidenced above, contemplation about our presence, our being, our longevity in life; indeed, eternal life can require a lot of energy, imagination and an ability to connect the dots to construct the complete picture.

And this discussion brings us to the “Hand of God”.   The presence of our Creator can be felt, seen, heard, touched and experienced in the multitude of natural, living and sculpted features He created in our physical environment, including the inhabitants.

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God’s fingerprints are unmistakably evident on nearly everything in the world; you see, He created it all.  The breathtaking beauty of a newborn child, the glow from a golden sunset, the majesty of a flying eagle, the delicate whisper of the wind as it caresses pine trees, the sweet melody of a flute, the magnificence of the Rocky Mountains, the splendor of Niagara Falls.  The presence of God can be witnessed in all that is good, and all that can be good.

The truth of the matter is that all of creation is merely a reminder of the vast beauty, power, and grace of God, as a symbol of His Love for us and His desire for us to be happy, to love one another, and most importantly, to Love God and to spread His Love throughout humanity.

So, the next time, you encounter someone or something that abounds with beauty, radiance, and goodness, remember all of it originates with God.  Give Thanks, demonstrate Gratitude and practice Humility as you walk the path of your journey.  God Bless you.  Be well.  Look for the Good – Always.

Brooks and Dunn (Believe)
Old man Wrigley lived in that white house
Down the street where I grew up
Momma used to send me over with things
We struck a friendship up
I spent a few long summers out on his old porch swing
Says he was in the war when in the navy
Lost his wife, lost his baby
Broke down and asked him one time
How ya keep from going crazy
He said I’ll see my wife and son in just a little while
I asked him what he meant
He looked at me and smiled, said
I raise my hands, bow my head
I’m finding more and more truth in the words written in red
They tell me that there’s more to life than just what I can see
Oh I believe

George Strait (I Saw God Today)
I just walked down the street to the coffee shop
had to take a break
I’d been by her side for eighteen hours straight
I saw a flower growing in the middle of the sidewalk
pushing up through the concrete
like it was planted right there for me to see
the flashin’ lights, the honkin’ horns
all seemed to fade away
in the shadow of that hospital at 5:08
I saw God today
Chorus:
I’ve been to church
I’ve read the book
I know He’s here, but I don’t look
near as often as I should
Yeah, I know I should
His fingerprints are everywhere
I’d just slow down to stop and stare
opened my eyes and man I swear
I saw God today
I saw a couple walking by they were holding hands
Man, she had that glow
yeah I couldn’t help but notice she was starting to show
I stood there for a minute takin’ in the sky
lost in that sunset
a splash of amber melted in the shades of red
Chorus
I got my face pressed up against the nursery glass
She’s sleeping like a rock
My name on her wrist wearing tiny pink socks
She’s got my nose, she’s got her mama’s eyes
My brand new baby girl
She’s a miracle
I saw God today

 

In The Course Of A Lifetime…


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As a child (and sometimes even as an adult), when you’re waiting for something or someone, time seems to stand still.  Yet, concurrently, when you’re having the time of your life, time slips away like a “Thief in the Night”.

Each of these events feel as real as the light of day, yet most logical people understand that time, as we know it, trudges on in perfect cadence within the universe, unaffected by our physical presence and undeterred in its marching band procession into eternity.

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Most assuredly, time warps and truly accelerates as we mature and physically age.  Memories of our past accumulate and simply add to the weight of time on our hearts, minds and souls.  And in contrast, our souls never really age, even as they mature.  Our souls are everlasting orbs of energy that will, without question, outlive our carbon life form shells.

 

“The key to grasping in crystalline fashion, the significance of our being comes into perfect focus when we step outside of our own lives and dwell on the constructs of Love, Salvation, and Redemption.  For it is only when we acknowledge, accept and internalize these timeless and abstract emotions, that we come to understand just how special each of us genuinely are, and accordingly, how incredibly precious and delicate this life and its realities become, in contrast to the minute details of life, that in truth, consume the lion’s share percentage of it.”

There are several lessons for us to internalize:

  • Live “in the moment”
  • Don’t hold grudges; learn how to forgive
  • Recognize the Power of Family
  • Never procrastinate those difficult conversations with loved ones
  • Erase the word “Regret” from your vocabulary
  • Tell them how much you love them and how much they mean to you
  • In Testimony to God, live your life to demonstrate how Thankful you are
  • Value your Parents and appreciate who they are as children of God
    • A Parent’s job is anything But easy
  • Forget their human presence, because in Truth, they are immortal spiritual beings
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Call your Parents…

“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.  – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Forever….. means Forever.

Mother and Child Reunion (Paul Simon)
No I would not give you false hope
On this strange and mournful day
But the mother and child reunion
Is only a motion away
Oh, little darling of mine
I can’t for the life of me
Remember a sadder day
I know they say let it be
But it just don’t work out that way
And the course of a lifetime runs
Over and over again
No I would not give you false hope
On this strange and mournful day
But the mother and child reunion
Is only a motion away
Oh, little darling of mine
I just can’t believe it’s so
Though it seems strange to say
I never been laid so low
In such a mysterious way
And the course of a lifetime runs
Over and over again

Good Riddance (Time of Your Life / Green Day)
Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road
Time grabs you by the wrist, directs you where to go
So make the best of this test and don’t ask why
It’s not a question, but a lesson learned in time
It’s something unpredictable, but in the end it’s right
I hope you had the time of your life
So take the photographs and still frames in your mind
Hang it on a shelf in good health and good time
Tattoos of memories and dead skin on trial
For what it’s worth it was worth all the while
It’s something unpredictable, but in the end it’s right
I hope you had the time of your life
It’s something unpredictable, but in the end it’s right
I hope you had the time of your life
It’s something unpredictable, but in the end it’s right
I hope you had the time of your life

 

I Love This Life!


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Undeniably, Love is the single-most powerful force in the universe.  It motivates, it heals, it transforms; and it endures.  Love is the DNA of creation.  Understandably, Love is God and God is Love.

Life is God’s gift to humanity.  Indeed, the entire spectrum of emotions and experiences; love, anticipation, community, brotherhood, compassion, excitement, gratitude, humility, joy, solitude, among others.  Yet, to maintain balance, perspective and context; sadness, grief, fear, loneliness, anxiety, desperation, yes, even hatred, come along for the ride.

“And because of the Free Will that God granted us, we are compelled to make judgments and choices, and set priorities within our lives; and then, live with the consequences of those freedoms.  And you’ve heard it before, with authority comes responsibility; specifically, a spiritual accountability for our souls.”

220px-star_of_life2.svg_The regulators, of course, for our lives, are our attitude and personal discipline.  I prefer to be an optimist, a helper, and work to inspire those around me with positive energy.  My desire to accept the privilege to meet Jesus Christ in heaven fuels my discipline.  He likewise serves as my inspiration, as He is the nucleus within my soul.

I choose to be who I am, what I think, where I go, who I engage, and when I give thanks for the abundance of gifts I have been bestowed, knowing that life can seem an eternity yet be as short as the dash.  The beautiful natural environment is ours to enjoy, along with its abundant flora and fauna, indeed, each other.  I shudder at the magnificent beauty of our world.  It is incomprehensible for me, then, not to possess an intense and sincere gratitude for everything in my life, good and not so good.  Profoundly, gratitude FOR my life.

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Likewise, none of us are perfect, and accordingly, as difficult as it is, I strive to offer forgiveness when warranted, as well as to seek it when I hurt others and commit sins.  Prayer complements our actions in life and opens a direct communication channel with God.  The essential aspect is to never stop striving to improve as a child of God.

Most assuredly, as it was written, no person knows the day, the hour and the moment when Jesus Christ will return to fulfill bible prophecy.  It is a mystery, a secret, by design.  So, until that time arrives, I will wholeheartedly, unashamedly, and unapologetically, Love my Life… because God Knows, When Will It End?

I Love This Life (LOCASH)

The Secret – Planet Earth

 

 

On The Verge of Immortality – A Tribute To Veterans


Eagle_Wings_SoaringI just want to say, I’ve had an Amazing Life.  One filled with a lion’s share of excitement, fun, challenge, accomplishment, descendants, love and Hope.  Yet, without fear, sadness, disappointment, despair and hopelessness, the vision of my future would have never materialized, and certainly wouldn’t have occurred.

And that, my friends, is the swan song of Grace.  To say I feel a bit unworthy of the numerous blessings I’ve experienced in my life, would be a gross understatement.  When one witnesses the gamut of tragedies, losses, injustice, sorrow and hurt in the world, you can’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of guilt; guilt that you have been abundantly blessed and largely spared from bad, from heartache;  indeed, from evil, while others have seemingly been overlooked or passed by.

“Truthfully, no one ever really looks forward to growing older, yet, without the benefit of having lived and truly experienced all that life offers, both good and bad, you simply can’t appreciate God’s Grace in its most genuine and simplest form.  For Grace is the unmerited favor of God, and is manifested as the salvation of sinners and bestowal of blessings.”

cross_4_youAs much as I respect, appreciate and value the dedication and commitment that any Serviceman or Servicewoman has given to their (our) country, I have always wondered what it would be like to truly know what military veterans have gone through in duty to their country.  And I’m not entirely certain, if given that opportunity, I would be even able to survive, physically and perhaps mentally, the challenges of that responsibility.

I thank God every day for being able to live in a free country, to enjoy the simple things in life that so many of us take for granted.  I weep in gratitude for the life I have been given, and only pray I have done enough with this life to warrant inclusion in God’s exclusive paradise in heaven; when it is my time to answer His call.

clear body of water between yellow and green leaved trees

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This time of year is very special to me, for it includes the Autumn Season, one I have  loved in an incomparable fashion, ever since I was a child.  The smells, the beauty, the colors, the peace, the robustness, the trumpeting introduction of the Winter Season, and collectively, the larger role it plays in the renewal and cyclical nature of God’s creation here on earth.  I feel connected to the world when I immerse myself in this environment.

In a similar manner, reminiscing about my childhood days, remembering spending time with my family, having fun with my friends, enjoying the outdoors, the camaraderie of those I spent time with in youth organizations, school, neighborhood and community activities.  It’s as if I am watching myself in a Snow Globe of my past, enjoying the memories, yet feeling anxious about my journey of preparation for how I will answer to God, specifically, how I utilized the talents I was given by Him, along with the choices I made and the lives I have impacted along my journey.

Salute_FlagI ask you, perhaps, challenge you, to make time to do a life review of sorts, relive the happy moments that made your heart race, and yes, even other moments that contributed to the building of your character.  And then, consume yourself and fill your heart with a genuine and deep sense of gratitude to every person that has impacted your life, improved it, helped develop it, perhaps even saved it.

Cerkas_Leonard_F_ArmyAnd so, this Veteran’s Day, remember every person you know, whether it be family, friend, spouse, child, sibling, neighbor or simple acquaintance, that has served their country, perhaps, offered their own life in the process, in the duty of ensuring your right to live in a free country, make your own choices and decisions, raise a family, direct your career, benefit from the fruits of your labor and enjoy the opportunity to grow old.

For growing old is a distinct privilege and honor, to be able to fondly look back on your life and realize how great it truly has been and is, how unbelievably blessed we are, and how thankful we must be to have received the Saving Grace of God.

Never forget…  WHY you are free.

 

 

When You’re Down – Just Look Up


human-psycheThe human psyche, albeit adrift in a sea of consciousness, survives by convincing itself it has a divine purpose.  We all have a divine purpose, yes?  Agreed.

As any sea can demonstrate, however, it sometimes get a bit rough; so rough, in fact, that constructs like the psyche can bounce around as a bottle with a cork, at the mercy of the tide, winds and currents.

Indeed, quite the chaotic scenario for the psyche.  And as darkness is merely and pragmatically, the absence of light, so it is likewise with the human psyche, that is, the state of being “down and out” is merely and pragmatically, the absence of being “upbeat and positive“.

Helen_Keller_QuoteAnd as the solution to defeat and avoid darkness is the introduction of light, so it follows that the psyche’s mechanism to defeat and avoid the “blues” or “being down” is to merely and pragmatically, Look Up!

Without question, everyone has times in their lives when everything seems to be going wrong, whether it be relationships, personal health or injury, financial stress or job troubles.   Hello!  We live in an imperfect world, remember?  As with all matters of personal choice, each of us has the power to choose our reaction to life’s bumps in the road.

To the point, how we react to adversity, clarifies and largely defines our character, persistence, resilience and outlook on life.  There are people I admire whom have had plenty of adversity in their lives; and have chosen to react in a positive manner.

Michael_J_Fox_Always_Looking_UpMy best example is Michael J Fox.  Loved him as an actor in the Back to the Future movie trilogy and in his hit sitcoms, Family Ties and Spin City.  As most people are aware, Michael J Fox went public in 1998, revealing he was in early stages of Parkinson’s Disease, having been originally diagnosed in 1991.

His reaction?  Certainly not self-pity or anger, but rather, gratitude for all the blessings in his life.  That’s a tough choice to make when faced with the certainty of a debilitating and ultimately, terminal disease.  Further, he funded and created the Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research in 2010.

One of my favorite books he authored was Always Looking Up, which was published in Gratitude_John_Milton2009.  Definitely worth a read and pause for personal reflection and consideration.

“Truly, even when the world around you appears to be going south, even when you are having a terribly bad day, it may be cliche’, however, each of us can be grateful for simply being alive, for being able to experience this diverse world God has provided to and for us, for sharing our lives with those we love, and for the opportunity to make a difference in other people’s lives.”

When you’re down, look up, and pray for God’s Grace and Blessings.  It is such a natural thing to do.  And take heart, See Clearly and rest assured, the best is yet to come.  You’ve Got a Friend.  Be well.

 

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The Demons of Denial and Despair


Darkness“Hello Darkness, my old friend.  I’ve come to talk with you again.  Because a vision softly creeping, Left its seeds while I was sleeping.  And the vision, that was planted in my brain, Still remains, within the Sound of Silence.”

Arguably, Denial and Despair are the epitome of darkness.  When light evades our thoughts and appears light-years away, denial and despair swoop in to conquer our souls, control our minds and forever shroud our lives in the absence of light; for that is precisely what darkness is defined as, the absence of light.

However, as physics dictates in our physical world, for every Action there is an Equal and Opposite Reaction .  This most appropriately applies to Life & Death, Good & Evil, Denial & Acceptance, Despair & Hope.

So, as this hypothesis implies, surely, the mere presence of darkness, all but guarantees the existence of light, if only we open our hearts to its warmth, comfort and enlightenment.  Indeed, Light destroys and metaphorically obliterates Darkness.

Regardless of the circumstance, every situation has multiple outcomes as a result of the decisions we consciously and deliberately make as human beings; every second of every minute of every hour, day, week, month and year of our lives.

DespairDenial is the unwillingness to accept the Truth, whether it be our present situation, condition or foreseeable outlook in life.  Likewise, Despair, the sister of Denial, saps the heart of self-assurance, comfort and hope.  Together, they present a formidable “force”, if you will, that can be difficult to overcome, in the perfect storm.  The perfect storm, that is, the world that WE create.

Faith is the antidote for denial and despair.  Faith in the Light, a solution in a sea of transparency adrift amid seemingly hopeless odds; Faith that our lives are worth saving, or better put, that our sacrifices in this life are worthy of eternal redemption.”

As much as each of us indeed creates our own existence and future, to a degree of arguable scope, we are undeniably influenced by others close to us and those that directed our actions, perhaps thoughts, as young children.  That said, each of us are ultimately responsible (and accountable) for the lives we choose to create, lead and live.

Without question, overcoming denial and despair takes energy, strength and courage.  All three characteristics, however, represent admirable and equally achievable outcomes for everyone.  All it takes is spiritual and mental resolve, directing our free will to populate our minds and hearts with positive, healthy and self-fulfilling thoughts.

Bottom line, our lives are mere reflections of our thoughts, tendencies, hopes, fears, behaviors, habits, actions and resilience or will to actualize our spirit and nature.  The cup will forever and eternally be both, half empty and half full.  It’s simply a matter of to which we afford more energy.Wolves

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life
“A fight is going on inside me, he said to the boy. It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.  This same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.
 
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, Which wolf will win?
The old Cherokee simply replied, The one you feed.”

Brilliant_SunriseTake the time, to examine your thoughts on a regular and frequent basis.  Contemplate your values, apply them to facing dilemmas and solving problems; live a principled life.  If you do that, you will live a life of no regrets and more Ying_Yang_2importantly, better prepare your path and enhance the value of your journey toward the sun, the healing Light of the world, into your unique eternity.  Be well.

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Life – Express Yourself


Picasso_self_portrait_1907If you’ve ever taken the time to reflect upon your life and recount the memories of your lifetime, you might notice that the vast majority of those memories were created as expressions.  Expressions of emotion; love, warmth, caring, happiness, joy, gratitude, sharing.  And to be sure, expressions of anger, guilt, regret, sadness, loss, abandonment, fear.

If we are to learn anything about life, observe and remember the elementary lesson of the magnet in science class; opposites attract. 

Together, these paradoxes of emotion ironically create the balance in each of our lives; balance that is necessary to maintain our sanity, to appreciate the good because of the bad, to create more happiness because of past sadness, to foster love because of the knowledge of the voided feelings in the absence of it.

Everything we do, manifests itself via expression.  We speak, we cry, we laugh and we sing.  We share a handshake with an old acquaintance, we smile when recounting the times we experienced with people in our past.

Indeed, to express ourselves is to experience the very essence of life.

If someone would ask you, what it felt like when you became a parent, chances are good you would have immediate recall of the elation, joy, newborn-baby-with-momhope and benevolence of that moment.  And sitting at the other end of the spectrum of life, each of us can surely and vividly recount the angst and despair of losing your parents, along with the eternal nothingness of emotion as if someone had just reached inside your chest and ripped out your heart.

Moving along the timeline of your life, remember the joy of riding your bike the first time without the training wheels?  Innocent happiness created as an expression of joy.  And then there is the feelings of tremendous and overwhelming gratitude when you realize how much your parents sacrificed in their lives, so that you could go to college, have a safe, pleasant and hopeful life as you grew up into adulthood.

Continuing on, recall the immense sense of accomplishment you experienced when you stepped across the threshold of the doorway of the first home you purchased or built.  The excitement and adrenaline rush of passion resulting from that “first kiss” with your wife or first girlfriend.  The peaceful and serene moments as you Fishing_Sunsetwatched in awe of a golden sunset, sitting on the rear deck of your boat, basking in the abundance of human nature, becoming one with earth’s elements; bonding with life itself.

Truly, life is but a collection of expressions.  Paramount, however, is the knowledge that we possess the power to create every single one of those expressions as a result of choice and free will.  I would be remiss as a Spiritual being to overlook the opportunity to remind everyone how crucially important it is to acknowledge this life as a gift to be cherished, fully and deliberately lived; and most importantly, expressed.

Be well.

Amid all that is considered acceptable and that which is not, pure expressions of emotion lie at the center of all we do.  Live life, don’t just watch it go by.

 

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