Friday, September 29, 2023

Free Advice for the Young


Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done
And on the labor in which I had toiled;
And indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind.
There was no profit under the sun.” – Ecclesiastes 2:11

Reading this today I realized I’m old enough to share some wisdom with younger people - but also realized I couldn’t spell “Ecclesiastes”!  But what advice can I give to the younger generation, those looking to build their lives and find independence and happiness?  What can I see looking back on my life that are traps and things I would change?  I’m sure all that are my age would have a list much like mine.  For the love of young people, many of which I can see their faces as I write, I’ll offer this advice.

First, be careful of the work treadmill.  Once you get on it, you are tossed into the daily grove of work, lunch, work, home, sleep, and repeat.  That makes your life boring, and your job something you dread.  Make time for yourself.  Make time to watch the trees blow in the wind and soak in the sunshine.  Indulge in nature! Read a book, create art, whatever give you joy and solitude.  Find time for yourself, or you will lose yourself to the expectations of others. Time is the gift God has given you.  Work, but don’t give all of God’s greatest gift away.

Secondly (but should be first) carve out time for God.  Never forget that He controls everything – even the breath you are breathing right now.  God is not only your maker, but the One that knows you intimately, and loves you most.  He has all the answers, all the solutions, all power, and all seeing.  He knew your future before you were born.  Talk with Him daily, ask for wisdom, discernment, and guidance.  Ask Him to correct you each time you have disappointed Him.  A strong walk with God changes everything.  You can be calm, steady, and at peace in the worst times if God is with you.

Make time for your friends – they’re likely to get on the work treadmill too!  When you lose your friends – you lose yourself.  Our relationships with our friends create who we are through what they will put up with, and what they won’t.  Find a friend that will be open and honest with you, the kind that will call you up and say ‘you suck as a friend’ when it’s true.  Find one that is ready to help even when they don’t have time.  Find authentic friends with whom you can share worries, heartbreaks, success, and excitement.

Don’t fall in love with money, or the things it buys.  The more money you get – the more things you can get.  But in the long run, those things go out of style.  They are redesigned with solar power or additional gigabytes, or some fancy automated AI technology.  But in the long run, they only work for a year or two and then they land in the trash.  Things can make us happy - but not for long.  Spend your money wisely.  Make memories and take pictures – because one day you will want to remember your youth.  Don’t look back and say it was wasted. 

Be generous to others, which will change your heart regarding money.   Give it away and you receive blessings – gifts from God (Proverbs 22:9, Acts 20:35).  Understand that what God has to give is better than anything you could buy.  Give it away to prove that you’re not “owned” by money.  If you ever get to where you grudge giving - you’ve got trouble! Go to God.

Don’t lose yourself.  Don’t try to be someone you are not.  When you do – you fade into the background of all the other who have swallowed the hook of “this is what is popular”.  You were created uniquely – keep that uniqueness which makes you special.

Fall in love!  Yes, sometimes it hurts and hurts badly!  But love – true love – is worth it.  A broken love breaks the heart indeed. But hearts mend and grow.  Ask God to place that perfect husband or wife in your path.  Get to know the ones that want to love you.  Love doesn’t always look like Barbie and Ken.  Have children – or adopt children.  The greatest love I’ve ever felt is from my kids and grandkids.  It’s a pure, genuine love.  It’s the closes love you can get on this earth other than God’s love.

I hope this will help some young people rethink what their future can be.  Success is found in your heart. 

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Lose It


"For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it." - Matthew 16:25

For most of my life I've chased "success". I've worked beginning at 14 every summer, while going to high school, and college with three jobs at once. I've never been without a job since then. I struggled with what people think of me, am I "good enough". In all honesty, I still battle with what people think...people that are nameless, but I feel I have to live up to a standard that I never meet.

Reading this verse this morning I searched for the full meaning. Basically, it's about our ego. Our Ego tells us what we desire, and how "terrible" it is without it. We are like little puppets on a string being pulled by the hand of our ego. There is no peace or love from your ego.

To "lose your life" as the verse states is not to die. It is to die to your ego and the worries of what other people think, will say, and so on. Then Jesus says "but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it." I love the words Jesus chose! To lose your ego and your self ambition "for My sake will find it".

We're all chasing for "success" and we've built into our hearts and minds what that should be. The world has taught us that admiration comes from "success". Yet, the greatest love we could ever find can only be found by dropping that ego hard on the pavement and watching it crack like a clay dolls head! Put your ego to death! Pride is a weakness, not an asset (Proverbs 11:2, 16:18)

Give up on your ego, your heady rules for "success". Chase LOVE! Chase God's love, God's desires for you. He never asked us to be wealthy or famous. He just asks us to love Him back. Live in the peace of knowing that the One who owns it all - who made it all - is in love with you! Find that relationship with Jesus through salvation and relish in the reality of a love like no other, a constant state of peace and calm, mercy renewed every morning!

"For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever." - 1 John 2:16-17


Tuesday, December 13, 2022



That they may know from the rising of the sun to its setting
That there is none besides Me.
I am the Lord, and there is no other;
I form the light and create darkness,
I make peace and create calamity;
I, the Lord, do all these things.
- Isaiah 45:6-7

Calamity and Peace are both in God's hands. This verse reminds me of the old song by Lynn Anderson called "I Never Promised You A Rose Garden".

While God is good, gracious, merciful, and loving, He also wants to change us. He wants to create in us a new person filled with His Spirit and the fruits of the Spirit. But to do that, there has to be extractions. He will extract your hatred, your closed mind, your assumptions, your judgmental attitude, your every fault to sanctify you and create in you a clean heart (Psalm 51:10).

This is a painful process. There are losses we don't understand until we see our wounds healed from them. There are obstacles we must overcome that feel like we're climbing a steep mountain, and constantly falling down. But it is to lead us to the pinnacle.

All of the things in life that feel like calamity are either willed or allowed by our God. And because He knows and sees them all, we never walk through them alone. He is a prayer away. He offers us far better than we can ever be on our own. He gives you strength and power (Psalm 68:5) to go through the struggle and win the prize.

Don't give up during a struggle when God is on your side. Wait till He pulls you through the darkness and shows you the outcome. You'll be happy you stayed in the calamity with Him.

Friday, October 14, 2022

Fear and Knowledge


For He taught His disciples and said to them, “The Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of men, and they will kill Him. And after He is killed, He will rise the third day.” But they did not understand this saying and were afraid to ask Him. – Mark 9:31-32

 Way back at the beginning of my IT career, I was sent to a conference in Evansville, Indiana.  I was so fresh into the IT world that I was still wet behind the ears! But I was eager to learn, and determined to take notes on everything, learn everything, and then …. “air message”.  The lecturer kept saying “air message”. 

In my mind I kept wondering what that was.  Was it a fault code from bad air in the room?  We were working with a mainframe at the time – one just a few weeks shy of using punch cards.  “Air message” he would say and regardless of what the remaining part of the sentence was – I stopped at those two words. 

Finally, we got a break, and I asked another lady who was attending what “air message” was.  She laughed hard!  Who knew that no further than from Cadiz to Evansville I’d run into a change in dialect. While I heard “air message” the speaker was saying “error message”.  I felt like a bubble headed ninny! But – because I asked – I got a lot out of the rest of the lecture.

Jesus’ disciples understood Jesus’  words.  Dialect was not their problem.  I think it was because of their pride they didn’t ask more questions about Jesus’ statement that He would die and be raised again on the third day. 

Mark wrote “they were afraid to ask Him”. Keep in mind, Jesus had  just overheard them trying to figure out who would be greatest as they walked through Galilee.  He had also just healed a boy from lifelong demon oppression – when they couldn’t.  No doubt their thoughts were the same as mine when OI didn’t want to ask, “what’s an air message?” – but should have – and would have understood more.

Sometimes we go through trials in our lives and we just don’t understand why.  Was it something we did, something we said? Are we being punished by God?  Is there something we’re supposed to learn from it? 

God welcomes all questions, and in His time reveals all answers.  Friends, it’s not like He doesn’t know our every thought!  Never be afraid to just ask. I’ve heard people say, “knowledge is power”, but honestly, knowledge is peace. It will uncloud your heart and head so you can move forward.

Friday, October 7, 2022

Yes or No is Enough


“Because John had said to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.”

Therefore, Herodias held it against him and wanted to kill him, but she could not; for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just and holy man, and he protected him. And when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly.

Then an opportune day came when Herod on his birthday gave a feast for his nobles, the high officers, and the chief men of Galilee. And when Herodias’ daughter herself came in and danced, and pleased Herod and those who sat with him, the king said to the girl, “Ask me whatever you want, and I will give it to you.” He also swore to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, up to half my kingdom.”

So she went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask?”

And she said, “The head of John the Baptist!”

Immediately she came in with haste to the king and asked, saying, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.”

And the king was exceedingly sorry; yet, because of the oaths and because of those who sat with him, he did not want to refuse her. – Mark 6:18-26

I was raised to believe that I should not dance because dancing is why John the Baptist was beheaded.  But if we read this – and read it to understand – we see that it was the oath Herod gave that made him “exceedingly sorry” and caused him to behead John the Baptist. Dancing had nothing to do with it.  Instead, here we find why God says not to swear or make an oath to anyone. 

In Matthew 5:31-37 Jesus says:

“But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Nor shall you swear by your head,  because you cannot make one hair white or black. But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.

I know there’s times when people will not believe we are going to do what we say.  But that’s their problem – not ours.  The way to prove your honesty is just that – prove it by being honest.  Come through on your promises, and treat the promise made in simple words will build your character.

But creating an oath, promising more than you can deliver, or swearing on anything is just a good way for to allow satan to steal your honesty and give you grief.  It’s a trap when people need more than your Yes or No.  Don’t fall into it.


Thursday, August 18, 2022



Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”? – James 4:1-5

I have to read this passage multiple times to take it all in.  James is saying so many things here.  But the basis of it all comes to one thing.  We are called “Adulterers and adulteresses”.  The words here are not regarding a man or woman cheating on their spouse.  It’s regarding God’s jealousy for us, and our desire to be part of the world, ignoring and even rejecting His love for our own passions and pleasures. 

We struggle in so many ways to meet up to the world’s expectations!  We try to look the part of a successful person, act the part of a perfect mother and wife, and be the best employee anyone could have so that we earn their favor.  We go into debt to appear to be successful.  We teach our children the dos and don’ts of the world, but far too often – we fail to teach them even the 10 commandments. 

By putting all our energy into living up to the world’s expectations, we encircle ourselves with wars and fights in our soul.  We’re depressed, tired, broken, defeated, and disengaged from God.  We know from Ephesians 2:14 that Jesus is our peace – yet we leave Him out of our lives.  We discredit the relationship with have or don’t have with Him for the relationships we have in this temporary life. 

James 4:4 says to be friends with the world is to be an enemy of God.  One may ask, why would it make us an enemy because after all God made the world?  The simple answer to that is yes, He did make the world, but we have corrupted it with our own desires.  When we try to meet up to the expectations of the world, we begin to worship the world.  We want the world’s money, the worlds fame, the worlds approval, and all it has to offer!  The word worship means simply to give reverence and adoration.  Is that not what we’re doing?

Is your life a trainwreck? Are you miserable, unfulfilled, anxious, depressed, and feeling like there’s nothing good in this life?  God is a prayer away.  For those that have received His salvation, He tells us He will never leave us or forsake us because His Spirit resides with us. 

But God is a jealous God.  He loves us with a love that is stronger than any other.  And believe me, He will not put up with our adultery with the world.  You’ll come to ruins if you put your faith, love, and hope in the world.   Keep in mind this world is not eternal (Matthew 24:35).  Would you put your money into a stock you knew was going bankrupt? Of course not.  Don’t put your stock in this world, put it – your love, time, and devotion – into the eternal God.  You’ll find something much greater than this world can offer you – peace.

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Be Still

It is in my power to do you harm, but the God of your father spoke to me last night, saying, ‘Be careful that you speak to Jacob neither good nor bad.’ - Genesis 31:29

Jacob had been tricked into marrying Leah when he thought he was marrying his love, Rebecca. Laban, the girls father had tricked him. Later on when Jacobs sheep were doing better than Laban, Laban got mad at him, jealous even.

Jacob knew how Laban felt so he secretly took his sheep and goods and packed up Laban's two daughters to leave his land. Oh this made Laban angry. Angry enough to harm Jacob. But God spoke to him saying "Be careful that you speak to Jacob neither good nor bad." It was a warning from God. Not speaking good or bad pretty much rules out a conversation of any kind.

God takes care of the issues we have with others here - as long as we don't step in and try to handle it ourselves. But sometimes out of anger, instead of leaving it to God and keeping our cool, we jump into the the ring of the opponent. Friends, that's now how we should fight our battles.

Typically, I can sit back and let others fight it out.  Last week I had three persons coming at me asking questions because they were angry at someone else.  I simply added that person to the email thread and walked out of it.  I don't like drama.  Let me rephrase that.  I do not like drama.  It brings stress, hurt feelings, conflict among friends, and a world of hurt that even thought it fades into the background, it never goes away.

This week I've had two of my coworkers come at me with undeserved anger. In the company I work in and have for nearly 15 years, this just doesn't happen. The first conflict came from a woman hurling ridiculous insults at me. On this one I jumped in, demanded an apology, refused to speak to her till I got one. I have to walk back into the drama today to settle it.

The second was yesterday. After having notified them that I was at the ER with my mom I got a nastygram telling me that I was supposed to be in the meeting - even though they knew where I was and why. This one I leave in God's hands. I do believe He can fight all my battles - and I believe He wins every time.

That's the lesson from this verse: Be Still. We often feel like we have to defend ourselves, not be ran over or used as a doormat. But the only way we can turn it around is to give it to God. People are mean because of what is inside them. That's often the problem instead of the circumstances. It's either envy, jealousy, pent up anger from something else, or just a need to be a bully thinking they can gain ground and become more powerful if everyone submits to their bullishness.

We can't fix heart problems. But God can. God can not only change a heart, but give a person a new one - a new creature in Christ. All we can do is anger them more of become a doormat.

When the Israelites were crossing the Red Sea, Moses gave them a piece of advice we all should take. "The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.”"(Exodus 14:14)

Protect the peace in your life, but do it by maintaining your peace with God. Let Him fight those battles and you'll never lose.

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

The Unknown

 “Now when the seven thunders uttered their voices, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Seal up the things which the seven thunders uttered, and do not write them.” – Revelation 10:4

 Reading through Revelations again this morning, just looking for that hidden manna, I came across this verse.  Read it slowly.  Read it in context. Take it in. 

To me when reading it in context it was like an aggravating open ending of a great movie.  What?  No Part 2?

But consider this.  What if God told us everything that was going to happen from today till the end of our lives?  You’d know the day your best friend would pass away – and how.  You’d know the troubles your kids would get into.  You would know every sickness you’d ever have, and when.  And you’d know if you were to recover, or not. 

God is merciful in so many, many ways.  But perhaps the most merciful gift He has given us is to not know the future.  Friends, we couldn’t handle it!  We’re living day to day now and suffering from depression, anxiety, and all sorts of emotional issues.  We simply could not cope with knowing all the evil things and bad things that would occur in our future.

For that reason, the “little book” and the things said in the seven thunders were not given to us.  Now I can imagine what is for the rest of my life – but it’s just an imagination – nothing concrete, so it doesn’t afflict me. 

Father I thank you that each and every day, every minute, every second is in your hands to lead us through the course of events you’ve planned for us.  Your care for us is greater than we can fully understand.  I thank you for the hidden victories and catastrophes, and the day to day monotony that levels it all out.  I thank you that YOU are in charge of my life.  I thank you for Your love, knowing that your plans for me are for good, and not harm.  Father let us just rest in you, trusting your will.  Amen.

Friday, June 10, 2022

To Him who Overcomes


“Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” - Romans 12:21

Six times in Revelation, John has recorded what rewards we will receive if we overcome.

The word Overcome is translated from the Greek work Nikao (G3528) which is from the root word Vikn (G3529).  It means to overcome, conquer, prevail, get the victory.  Strongs Concordance breaks it down as: to conquer, to carry off the victory, come off victorious, of Christ – victorious over all His foes, of Christains – that hold fast to their faith even unto death against the power of their foes, and temptations and persecutions. When one is arraigned or goes to law, to win the case, to maintain one’s cause.

Here's what Revelation tells us will be the reward of those who overcome:

Revelation 2:7 “Thim that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.”

Revelation 2:11 “He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.

Revelation 2:17 “To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.

Revelation 2:26-28 “And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:  And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. And I will give him the morning star.”

Revelation 3:5 “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.

Revelation 3:12 “ Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.

Revelation 3:21 “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

But Revelation isn’t the only place the word Overcome is used.  There are other passages that tell us HOW to overcome.  Here are a few of them:

Romans 12:21 “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

1 John 4:4 “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

1 John 5:4 “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.

1 John 5:5 “Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

There's an old song called "Victory in Jesus". Friends, Christ is our victory! Our faith in Him, and our Holy Spirit given from Him when we believed in Him, that is how we overcome. As long as our faith stands true, as long as we stand on that solid rock, we will be those that overcome!






Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Turn Your Eyes

"And this One shall be peace." - Micah 5:5

My 6 year old granddaughter Pearl tried her best to teach this 58 year old woman how to play Roblox. Now I'm a technical person, a software developer for over 30 years, and I just can't get it. I tried hard, and I am still trying. YouTube videos will be my next guide.

I had some early morning thoughts this morning that were of value - and that's rare. I usually lay in bed making those long lists of everything that I've not gotten done, everything I need to do, and things I forgot. But this morning I was thinking of Roblox!

In so many ways a lot of these games are much like life. You work hard to get a certain thing - a new block, a garden, a house - my house is Pink, per Pearl's guidance in Roblox. But we spend time earning all these things, and truly so many of them just clutter our lives.

I think sometimes God has to turn our eyes away from the routine life we lead, and let us see His path for us. After driving in Maryland traffic for 5 days, thinking back, everyone was either driving to get something or driving somewhere to earn money to get something, or driving somewhere to enjoy something. Drive, drive, drive, drive. Maryland traffic is much like the Indy 500, but with unexpected exits - on the left and right. It's tiring, in fact completely exhausting. If there was ever a visual of "The Rat Race" that traffic was it for me.

Thinking this morning, God softly turned me back to what is important. It's not Roblox - it's Pearl and my relationship with her. It's not coloring - but my relationship with Millie. It's not spending time with my son and daughter-in-law going to a zoo (it was supposed to rain and we missed it), but spending time just talking, enjoying each other's personalities and thoughts and dreams.

Today I go back into the rat race. A race against time, with meetings an hour or half hour all day, 124 (exactly) emails begging my attention, and continual text messages.

So how do we survive the stress and honestly, dehumanization of our daily lives which make us more like a fidgety squirrel trying to reach a nut out of our realm? We turn our eyes, hearts, and minds to Jesus. He is our peace (Micah 5;5, Ephesians 2:14). And how do we do that? We take time to escape the race. We pull over for a coffee break, we take time to look outside at His beautiful creation, and praise Him for it. We push ourselves off the hamster wheel to become human again, with kindness to each other that's not seen or felt on a Maryland highway or any other.

I recall a weekend where I heard the phrase "If you don't know who you are, the world will tell you who you are." Stop letting it boss you around. Be who God made you. God bless you all as we re-enter the rat race. Let us keep our heads up, and look up.