Wednesday, September 15, 2021

😎🐫🎤 Christ’s peace be with you.  Driving to 8:30 AM Mass Sunday morning, there was a very noticeable quietness about the morning, very peaceful.  A few blocks further along the drive, I notice a yard sign referencing hate has no home here.  Considering the quiet, peaceful morning and the sign’s message, my mind took off in its own direction.  It struck me that while we sleep, we don’t hate.  It’s only when we are awake, that hate enters back into the world.  I then hear in the Gospel reading, Mark 8:27-35, Jesus asking the disciples who they think He is.  Peter nailed it when he said “You are the Christ.”  Jesus then tried to share with them some hard truths about events that would be happening in the not-too-distant future, concerning His death and resurrection.  Peter did not want to hear that kind of talk, so he rebuked Jesus.  I’m guessing it was a bit of confusion, disbelief, misunderstanding, and fear that caused Peter to lash out at Christ.  Christ in turn rebuked Peter saying “Get behind me, Satan.  You are thinking not as God does, but as human  beings do.”  I then thought back to the quiet, peaceful morning, the hate sign, and brought it together with the Gospel.  Confusion, disbelief, misunderstanding, and fear mixed with thinking like a human, is a perfect recipe for hate. 

To conclude Sunday’s Gospel reading, “He summoned the crowd with His disciples and said to them, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the Gospel will save it.”  The best thing we can do to help ourselves and eliminate any degree of hate in our lives is to do our best to quit relying on ourselves, our thoughts, and our ideas, to open ourselves to God’s thoughts and ideas.  The next time you’re out in the world, while most of the world is still asleep, make sure to take note of how quiet and peaceful the world actually is.  A line from a hymn we sang at Mass was “Only this I want: but to know the Lord…”  Could you imagine the peace you would have in your life, in your spirit, if that was the desire of your heart, to only know the Lord. 

If the Lord has touched you in some way with His message today, I ask that you pay it forward by sharing this message, so that you and He may also bless others.  Click subscript to receive your message every Wednesday.

#ChrisBrunelle – Only This I Want by Dan Schutte

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

😎🐫🎤 Christ’s peace be with you.  You may be familiar with the Gospel of Mark 7:31-37 in which a group of people brough a deaf man with a speech impediment to Jesus and begged Him to lay His hand on the deaf man, so that he may be cured.  What’s interesting to me in this account is not just that the man was healed, as many others had been, but how he was healed.  I imagine most of us have heard at some time or another, “God gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason.  You need to listen more and speak less.”  In this Gospel account, Jesus first cured the man’s hearing, so that his speech impediment could be cured. 

I was sitting next to my Mom and Dad at Mass Sunday when this Gospel was read.  It was a pretty special day for them, as they were celebrating their 57th wedding anniversary.  I believe this was a perfect passage to celebrate their anniversary with.  You may think that an odd statement, but relationships can’t survive if we don’t listen and more importantly hear the heart of the person speaking with us.  They’ve certainly experienced miscommunication along the way, as I would say everyone of us has in our relationships.  Just this weekend, Brian and I we trying to figure out a solution to a situation.  I presented my thought and Brian presented his.  It can be amazing and frustrating at the same time.  We were essentially presenting the same idea, but using different terminology.  It wasn’t until Brian drew it out, that we realized how similar our ideas were.  Too often we get lost in the words being used and miss the heart of what’s being said. 

The same can be true when it comes to seeking or even just trying to discern a relationship with Christ.  How many of you have been put off at some point by someone that you considered to be a “religious” person.  Maybe you felt attacked by what was said.  Maybe disappointed because you expected more from a “religious” person.  Or, maybe the thought crossed your mind that if this person you looked up to “failed” in your eyes, that there’s no way you could do good.

First of all, our God is an incredibly forgiving God, who showers us with more grace than we will ever know.  Second, He’s a Friend who so very generously doesn’t focus on the words we speak, but listens to our hearts.  As the deaf man in the Gospel, we need to allow Jesus to open our ears, so that we can clearly hear, so that we can in turn clearly, courageously, and confidently speak with the wisdom that only He can provide.  He has placed His Spirit within you, so that 1) You will never be alone and 2) you will be able to speak His words with those He has placed before you.  Sometimes you may fumble through your words and other times they flow eloquently.  Either way, if they are words God is prompting you to speak, no matter how they sound to you, the person that the message was meant for is hearing the voice and words of God.  It makes me smile and at times brings tears to my eyes when I realized someone is relaying a message to me from God.  Keep your ears open, that you may clearly hear what He desires you to know. 

Mom and Dad, thank you for being a great example of a relationship based in trust in our Lord.

Bless others and be blessed. 

If the Lord has touched you in some way with His message today, I ask that you pay it forward by sharing this message, so that you and He may also bless others.  Click subscript to receive your message every Wednesday.

#BrandonHeath – Jesus in Disguise

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

😎🐫🎤 Christ’s peace be with you.  I’m currently reading the book 7 Keys to Spiritual Wellness by Joe Paprocki.  Within Key 2 Actively Seeking the Good of Others, Joe shares The Paradoxical Commandments by Dr. M. Keith.  I found them to be worth pondering and therefore wanted to share them with you.

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered;
forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives;
be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies;
succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow; do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
give the world the best you’ve got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and your God;
it was never between you and them anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and your God.  Doesn’t that put a lot into perspective.  Ever since I read those commandments, I have been consciencely seeing my actions and thoughts in a different light.  It has allowed me to recognize and stop my unrighteous thoughts and actions before I allowed them to escape my lips and create some degree of harm.  It can be rather humbling, but I would rather be humbled with God than create some degree of harm in someone else’s life.  I pray that you too may find peace in these commandments.  Every step you can avoid in a harmful direction is a step toward a greater relationship with your Savior, Jesus Christ. 

Bless others and be blessed. 

If the Lord has touched you in some way with His message today, I ask that you pay it forward by sharing this message, so that you and He may also bless others.  Click subscript to receive your message every Wednesday.

#JoePaprocki – 7 Keys to Spiritual Wellness

#DrMKeith – The Paradoxical Commandments

#Shane&Shane – Living Water

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

😎🐫🎤 Christ’s peace be with you.  In part of the Gospel reading yesterday morning, John 1: 45-46, we hear:

“Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote – Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”  “Nazareth!  Can anything good come from there?”  Nathanael asked.”

“Can anything good come from there?”  Perspective is our reality, isn’t it?  We put our perspective into every aspect of our lives and just like that, a new reality is created.  Obviously, Nathanael must not have had a good experience with the people from Nazareth. 

John 1: 46-48 continues:

‘“Come and see,” said Philip.  When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, He said of him, “Here truly is a Israelite in whom there is no deceit.”  “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked.  Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.”’

In that moment, a new perspective and reality were brought to life in Nathanael.  Once we are set in our ways, it’s not very often that we willingly move out of our comfort zone to seek different.  So how was it that Nathanael came to experience his change? 

  1. A friend was excited enough about what he had experienced and found, that he invited his friend to the experience.
  2. The invitation was accepted.

Seems pretty simple doesn’t it.  But our reality (perspective) is that invitations to introduce a friend to Christ is not that simple or easy.  It can be intimidating and scary, to the point that you back away from extending that invitation.  You may find yourself saying, “Can anything good come from me?”  Even as I’m writing this, I fumble over what words I want to use.  I try to make it “perfect” so that everyone that reads this will desire a relationship with Christ.  Will that happen?  No it won’t.  But I remind myself every week as I share my experiences with you, “All I’m here for is to make the invitation.  God has everything else covered.”

Who has God been asking you to invite?  Come on, you know who.  It’s okay, fumble right through your words.  When it comes right down to it, it only matters that you did what God has been asking you to do.  Then step out of the way and let Him do His thing.  Be faithful to Him as He is oh so faithful to you.

Bless others and be blessed. 

If the Lord has touched you in some way with His message today, I ask that you pay it forward by sharing this message, so that you and He may also bless others.  Click subscript to receive your message every Wednesday.

#MaverickCityMusic – Move Your Heart

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

😎🐫🎤 Christ’s peace be with you.  I would guess the majority of us have worked multiple jobs during our lives.  Let’s see, as a teenager I babysat, mowed lawns, and sold lottery tickets in a wine store.  Then as an adult I’ve been an aircraft mechanic with the Air Force, worked retail, banking, investments, insurance, owned a lawncare and landscaping company, was a Realtor, had a few different sales jobs, accounting, and human resources.  As I ponder the jobs I’ve done, the places I’ve worked, and the people I’ve worked with, there is one that stands out, that I wouldn’t trade, and would have liked to have done longer than I did.  It was 2 years 10 months and 3 days of my life.  I know, not very long at all.  It’s kind of like a blink, but it’s the one I feel most proud to have done.  Any guesses which you think it is? 

If you said Air Force aircraft mechanic, you’re close.  You see, beneath that title lies the real job and it started with an oath:

“I [state your full name], Do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”

It’s not every job, that you willingly pledge your life in exchange for the freedoms of your country and others.  I’ve come to believe that when you willfully make that pledge, you create bonds and relationships that far surpass any other work relationships.  I don’t know who first used this quote, but “serving” in the Air Force and all our other branches of the U.S. military, is very appropriate terminology.  We don’t know the names or faces of every person we serve, but we serve them nonetheless.  And we proudly serve each one. 

As deeply as this sense of service and love of others is in me, I know it doesn’t even scratch the surface of the depth of service, love, and sacrifice Christ has for you and me.  It’s His service and sacrifice that creates that undeniable bond and friendship that our Lord has with each one of you.  And that’s why, even though we sometimes try, we can never run away from God’s love.  He cares for us too much and He made the ultimate sacrifice for YOU.  That is a bond you may not always acknowledge, but it is a bond that will never go away.  Thank you, Lord, that you are not willing to give up on me when I so willingly give up on You, myself, and others.  And thank you to every single one of you that has served to protect me and our beloved country.

Allow yourself to be loved on by the Lord and love Him back.  Acknowledge His presence, gifts, and graces in your life and pay them forward. 

Bless others and be blessed. 

If the Lord has touched you in some way with His message today, I ask that you pay it forward by sharing this message, so that you and He may also bless others.  Click subscript to receive your message every Wednesday.

#LeeGreenwood – God Bless The USA

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

😎🐫🎤 Christ’s peace be with you.  Being married 20 years has certainly given Brian and I the opportunity to grow as a couple and individuals.  It’s formed us into one, making us stronger because of our individual talents that complement each other making our unified front greater than we could ever be as individuals.  Brian and I have been kayaking in a two-person kayak before, but this past week…well…it was struggle to say the least.  We could not get that kayak to go straight.  We were like a pinball bouncing from one bank to the other.  About 45 minutes into a 2 hour journey Brian told me to stop paddling.  As someone that likes to help others and also have a sense of being in control of my situation, it was rather challenging for me to sit there knowing that Brian was doing all of the work.  I decided to talk with God a little as I floated down the river.  Before I even said a word, He knew what I was coming to Him about.  He knew about my control challenges and He knew about me not wanting Brian to have to do all the work.  Multiple times I wanted to say, “Babe, why don’t you let me paddle for a while?”  But God would stop me each time saying, “He wants to do this for you.  Allow him to do this for you.”  But He didn’t stop there.  He went on to point out that He also wants to do things for me, but I have to be willing to give up control, sit still, and allow Him to bless me as He sees fit.   

Where is He calling you to be still in your life?  Where is He desperately wanting to bless you, but you won’t even pause a moment to let Him step in.  Our God is not just God.  He is Father, Spirit, and Jesus.  They have had a union greater than marriage since before the world was formed.  They complement each other’s actions working in unison and allow each other to be the individuals we need and can turn to at different moments.  Sometimes we need the Father, other times we need the Son, and still other times, the Spirit is our best source to go to.  And yet, in speaking with One, you speak with all Three.  With all that is going on in this world right now and so many other more important challenges out there.  He took that opportunity to talk with me as I sat quietly in that kayak.  You know, that’s how highly He thinks of you, that at a moments notice, aka you calling His name, He will make that moment be about giving you His full attention.  He weeds through the words we say to listen to your heart.  He feels your desires and guides you to even better.  Give Him a call, He’s patiently waiting.

Bless others and be blessed. 

If the Lord has touched you in some way with His message today, I ask that you pay it forward by sharing this message, so that you and He may also bless others.  Click subscript to receive your message every Wednesday.

#ChrisTomlin Feat. Thomas Rhett – God Who Listens

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

😎🐫🎤 Christ’s peace be with you.  Last Thursday evening Brian and I were taking our evening walk and the sunset really caught my attention, so I stopped to take a picture.  It’s pretty cool how the sun is peeking around the cloud.  I stopped to look at the picture I had just taken and realized the meaning of this picture wasn’t in the sun and cloud.  My eyes were immediately drawn to the lake.  I showed Brian and said, “The Son divides the dark and the light.”  Without even a slight pause, Brian said “No, the Son unites the dark and the light.”  🎤 Drop

Bless others and be blessed. 

If the Lord has touched you in some way with His message today, I ask that you pay it forward by sharing this message, so that you and He may also bless others.  Click subscript to receive your message every Wednesday.

# MaverickCityMusic – Rest on Us

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

😎🐫🎤 Christ’s peace be with you.  A couple times in Luke’s 2nd chapter, he talks with us about Mother Mary and how she treasured up the moments/memories of her journey with her son, Jesus.  Luke 2:8-20 speaks of the shepherds and how the angel of the Lord appeared to them and guided them to the Holy Family at Jesus’ birth.  Could you imagine people from here, there, and everywhere, called by the Lord, just to get a glimpse of Christ.  I imagine that until the moment they saw Him, they didn’t know why they were doing what they were doing.  Concerning that moment, Luke writes in verse 19, “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” 

Then again in verse 51 Luke tells us “…But His mother treasured all these things in her heart.”  Although this time it was in reference to when Jesus was 12.  They were making their way home to Nazareth from Jerusalem after the Festival of the Passover.  They were traveling in a big family group and it took them a day to realize Jesus wasn’t actually with the group.  Verse 46 goes on to tell us “After three days they found Him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.” 

Sometimes I find myself not wanting to be in the middle of an event, but kind of on the outside where I can see and hear all that is going on.  Taking in the moments to treasure and ponder them.  Back in May, my three girls informed me that for Mother’s Day they were taking me on a weekend trip to a surprise destination.  As the weeks rolled by, they each took turns giving me a clue as to the plans for our special weekend together.  Then two weeks before our trip, I was given an itinerary.  It told me what time I needed to arrive at my daughter’s house, some basic information on times we were going to eat, go on a hike, do a paint night event, and just hang out.  But, there were a lot of blank lines on that itinerary and I still didn’t know where we were going.  I was driving and taking directions from my navigator in the backseat.  I would guess we were about 2/3rds of the way to our destination before I knew for sure where we were actually going. 

It was a pretty lowkey weekend, just taking in each other’s presence.  At one point Saturday we tried to figure out when the last time was that the four of us spent time together with just us four.  You see, my oldest daughter lives about 7 ½ hours away, my middle daughter is an hour away, and my youngest is 3 ½ hours away.  All in different states.  We weren’t able to pinpoint a date, but we figured it was maybe a little over 13 years since we four were together, just the four of us.  As parents, yes, it’s our God given job to raise our children in His ways to prepare them for adulthood and to make their own way in the world with Him at their side.  This is our job, but yet I would have to say it’s one of the greatest pleasures of my life.  I will certainly treasure and ponder this incredible time spent with my little women.  Looking back, if on that day I had known that was going to be the last time the four of us would spend time together alone for 13 years, I certainly would have tried to make it a greater, more memorable time.  Looking forward, I will try harder to live more deeply in the present moment, leaving the work and worry for it’s due time.  My prayer for you is that you will be able to do the same.  Don’t let those moments pass you by. 

Bless others and be blessed. 

If the Lord has touched you in some way with His message today, I ask that you pay it forward by sharing this message, so that you and He may also bless others.  Click subscript to receive your message every Wednesday.

#NeonFeather – The Long Way Home

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

😎🐫🎤 Christ’s peace be with you. 

“It was no accident me finding you

Someone had a hand in it

Long before we ever knew…”

Can you name that song and artist? 

It was a Wednesday in August of 2000.  It was a BAD morning and I absolutely did not want to get out of bed.  Five months earlier I had to tell my young daughters that their dad and I were getting divorced.  I did my best to stay strong through that process, but it all came crashing down that Wednesday.  The day before was my final divorce hearing and overnight, it all became real.  Hopes and dreams shattered.  At that time, I was working at a bank and just recently passed my life, health, and annuity licensure test.  Lying in bed that Wednesday, I got myself motivated to go to work with the sole purpose of selling an annuity that day.  I got ready for the day and the girls off to school, then headed to work.  The bank opened at 9 a.m. and by 10 a.m. I had my annuity sale.  Woot Woot!  Yes!  I accomplished my goal.  As I was standing behind the teller line making the deposit, a guy (who had never been in our branch before) walked in and asked for a notary.  I waved him forward and said, “That’s me.  Come on up.”  I’ll spare you all the fine details, but as I looked though his documents, I looked up and said “Getting divorced?  Mine was finalized yesterday.”  And that’s where mine and Brian’s story began.  Just shy of a year later, we were married and in a couple weeks we’ll be celebrating our 20th anniversary.  That turned out to be a great day and I, with God’s push out of bed that morning, accomplished goals I never even imagined.  God took all that hurt, pain, anger, and fear and presented it to me as a blessing beyond my vision.

Fast forward to last Saturday.  Brian and I went to a free Tracy Byrd concert.  It was inside and we had been to a concert at this venue about a year prior, so we kind of figured it would be set up the same was with chairs.  Turns out they only had a small number of chairs set up and people brought fold up chairs.  Who knew?  Not us, so we really weren’t prepared.  During the opening acts, we started off standing to the right of the stage about a third of the way from the stage.  I spotted a place on the left side of the stage right by the first row of chairs, so we moved over there.  After two opening acts, as they were setting the stage for Tracy and his band, they started to set up his merch table right by where we were standing.  They displayed a guitar at the end of the table closest to us.  It was a “Keeper of the Stars guitar”.  I was like, “Babe!  Go check that out!”  The lyrics to OUR marriage song was written on the guitar and signed by Tracy.  This was a once in a lifetime opportunity for us and our 20th anniversary, so we purchased it.

Well, it turned out that the guitar came with a meet and greet session with Tracy after the concert, in which he personalized the guitar for us. 

What a great gift the Lord provided us.  And how different would mine and Brian’s and everyone else’s lives would have been from that point, if I wouldn’t have listened to God pushing me out the door that morning and making me go to work.  You know, He uses things that are absolutely unrelated to get us to where we need to be, so that we can receive His blessings.  Please, please listen to His calling and nudges, especially when they may seem like nothing.  I believe it’s in those unexpected moments that we receive our greatest blessings. 

Bless others and be blessed. 

If the Lord has touched you in some way with His message today, I ask that you pay it forward by sharing this message, so that you and He may also bless others.  Click subscript to receive your message every Wednesday.

#TracyByrd – Keeper of the Stars

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

😎🐫🎤 Christ’s peace be with you.  Driving to work the other morning I was listening to a Christian radio station, as I usually do, to help fill my spirit and prepare me for the day.  Sometimes I sing along.  Sometimes I’m just down right jammin’.  But that particular morning I was very much lost in my own thoughts until I heard this line…”Darkness rejoiced as though heaven had lost.”  Up until the point that I heard that line, I was so lost in my thoughts that all the other songs and words were like a blur.  But it was as if someone turned the volume up, sung the words in perfectly clear tone, and wrote the words in the air in front of me.  Kind of like a big neon sign in the dark of the night saying Eat at Joe’s. Honestly, I’d rather be eating at the Lord’s table than at Joe’s, but He knows how to get His point across.

How often do you think darkness rejoices in your life?  Every time, not some times, EVERY TIME we choose actions, words, and thoughts that do not prosper and further the Lord’s sacrifice and salvation He has offered us, then darkness rejoices.  And EVERY TIME our actions, word and thoughts prosper and further our Lord’s sacrifice and salvation, our Lord, the saints and angels on high rejoice. 

You see, no matter which you choose, someone is having a party celebrating you.  I imagine you may not have ever thought about it quite that way.  I kind of envision the Lord sending shooting stars into motion to celebrate, where as darkness just hits you with grenades blowing up another part of your life.  There are layers to our darkness as well as layers within our light.  Think of it this way.  How easy is it to gain 5 pounds?  It’s so easy, you could almost gain 5 pounds just looking at a bowl (4 scoops) of ice cream covered with caramel, Spanish peanuts, cherries, and Cheerio’s.  Okay, before you say “gross”, try it.  Cheerio’s are great on ice cream.  Anyway, back to my point, it’s very easy to gain weight, but you really have to work at trying to take the weight off.  It’s very easy to fall multiple layers into darkness with one seemingly small decision and you have Satan over there in the corner throwing a rope around you to drag you even deeper as he rejoices in your decision.  But that darkness is just your outer layers.  God has stitched Himself into the depths of your bones and every fiber within you.  After Satan let’s off that grenade and celebrates in his victory, you can choose to peel away that charred, dead, flaking layer of skin and reveal the newness and depth of the Lord within you.  God has built backup plans into us.  He knows how easily we will turn away from Him, yet He NEVER gives up on you.  When we look at our lives, sometimes it’s hard to believe the good He sees in us, but thank you Lord that Your vision is so much greater and can actually see the true depth of the goodness You have placed within us.  You have a choice.  Allow Him to arise in you.  Peel that layer of dead off and bring the party back to heaven’s gates.

Bless others and be blessed. 

If the Lord has touched you in some way with His message today, I ask that you pay it forward by sharing this message, so that you and He may also bless others.  Click subscript to receive your message every Wednesday.

#NorthPointInsideOut – Death Was Arrested