We all need to just relax a little…But Not too much

It’s been a while since I’ve written, and over the last year as we’ve all watched the world seemingly, if not unravel, at least start to fray a bit I found it difficult to put my thoughts into words. I literally have a notebook with pages of topics I’ve started writing about, but for some reason I couldn’t move past the first few lines. I’m not sure what changed in me now, but I’m pretty sure it’s a cross between prayer and the need to stand up. I actually started this piece by writing the title first which was provoked as I was driving in my car listening to a mix of news reports, podcasts and different YouTube videos (traffic sucks) and I found myself saying out loud how everyone needs to relax. Looking back I guess that initial topic statement, especially in light of the world right now I could’ve been talking about it several different things.

Covid.

Politics.

Religion.

Anyone who’s read any of my work in the past knows that I’m here to talk about my Faith, although the other two are important topics, faith will always take precedence. Now what is sparking this conversation, amusingly, is a conversation that I wasn’t even part of! I overheard two people discussing the antichrist, and how he’s here on earth right now. Believe me when I say I know these are trying times. These are scary times.But these are not the end times. In the Bible they talk about certain things when discussing the antichrist, like how there will be more than one antichrist (1 John 2:18), he will display miraculous powers (Rev 13:13), and he will desecrate God’s Temple (Matt 24:15-21) to name a few. One thing that will link to them all is that the anti-Christ will deny that Christ is our savior. Throughout history that’s happened several times on a large and/or publicized scale between the leaders of other religions, Roman emperors, and of course radical atheist “celebrities”. That’s not what we have going on right now, right now we just have a lot of lost sheep. Additionally, the last I checked there’s been no loud booming voice yet (1Thes4:16), which is a good thing because that means there’s still time. And that’s where the “stand up” part comes in.
We’ve become a society where the idea of kindness and respect is not the norm, and where someone offering to do a good deed is looked at with thoughts of conspiracy. Being slow to think and quick to react has driven us far from where Christ wants us to be. And to make it worse we’ve developed such an ego that we don’t see our own faults. We, like the older brother in the story of the prodigal son, only see the wrong in others actions. Ignoring the fact that our judgment of others sins is just as bad as the sins themselves. When in doubt always look to Christ. He was known to hang out with not just the Apostles, but with tax collectors, criminals, and Romans and was mocked for it. But you can’t fix something from a distance, you can’t teach people by ignoring them, and you don’t save people by condemning them. So as bad as things may seem, take a breath and relax…a little. And when you’re ready stand up and start living like we’re supposed to. Just because this isn’t the end doesn’t mean we don’t have work to do. As always you know that I’m always praying for you. Remember to live the Faith. God Bless.

Time to stop the wheel

1What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? 2 You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it.

-James 4:1-2

Raca. The rough translation is worthless. Just take a few minutes to think how often you see or hear someone saying worse things than that about someone else on a daily basis? In Mathew 5:22 it says

“Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ d is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell”

Sadly, I think it’s safe to say that at this moment the fires of hell have a lot of fuel. I have to admit that over the last several months on more than one occasion I’ve either said or wanted to refer to someone as raca…and those were good days. Working in (under) Manhattan while also living far to the East on the Island my traveling has given me ample opportunities to unfortunately see the negative changes happening. A while back I wrote about giving the devil a foothold (Eph4:27), don’t fool yourself this has gone far beyond a foothold, we’ve allowed him all the way to the door. But it’s not too late…it’s never too late. That’s the power and strength of Christ. Human emotion can cause both great and terrifying things to happen, but it’s our choice to decide which one will prevail. It was the foothold quote that has been ringing through my head since this morning to the point that I broke out my Bible from my bag and went to that chapter and verse in Ephesians. The verses before and after speak of things like not going to bed with anger in your heart and turning over a new leaf in your actions, words, and spirit. Although the latter part is a perpetual work in progress for me, I do have a ritual before I lay down at night where I simply thank God for the day, thank Him for my blessings, and simply say “I trust you Lord”. And just like that a weight is lifted off of me. As long winded as this is, I can finally get to the point of all this. No matter how strong I am I still look to the Church for guidance. The silence is deafening. The crime and violence in New York is worsening daily, to the point that I spend almost as much time watching out for what I’ll call vulnerable people as I do actually working. Knowing that this is not solely a New York problem and is agitated by some political forces, it troubles me more that the Roman Catholic Church says/does nothing. It saddens me further that I find both the Coptic and Russian Orthodox are more vocal about protecting the family and other faiths then my own. So I feel like we must look to the Apostles, who no matter how fearful, understood the need the world had and the power of God and ACTED. Accordingly it’s come to us, the faithful, like those who came before us in troubling times, who when faced with a world that is seemingly spinning out of control must step up, step out, and stop the wheel.

Remember to live the Faith, and as always I’ll be praying for you.

Daily Reminder

As I was working today I saw this and I had to take the pic. I literally carve John 1:5 onto the walls when I work. As a reminder that light has no shadow and like it says in the scripture “The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness can never extinguish it.” In these trying times try to be the light for others. Remember to live the Faith. God bless. #faith #faithlikewater #hope

Remind the darkness that we are the light.

5 The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness can never extinguish it. -John 1:5

I know I’ve mentioned this before but a long time ago I read a Bible passage that’s stuck with me, John 1:5. Quite simply it says that the light shines in the darkness and the darkness can never extinguish it. Not exactly sure why that always moved me, maybe it’s the spirit of hope that it gives. That no matter how bad things get God is always there. It’s to the point where I’ve made it a point when I work, underground, in the dark I simply carve out a John 1:5 on the wall. It’s always been my hope that someone will see it at a moment that they need to. Which brings me to today. Driving through Manhattan today I was verbally threatened at a stop light by a person who knew nothing about me. Now I was a little taken aback for two reasons:1-like I said I was just sitting at a red light, so there was no prior interaction. 2-I’ve quite literally been described as “menacing looking”. Because of size in most cases, even the unstable tend to bypass me on their rants. Although I simply smiled and said “have a nice day” as I drove off, I was absolutely a little rattled by it when I let it sink in. And a few hours later as I was standing in an underground structure scratching my message on the wall when what that passage means hit me again. There’s no doubt that we are living in dark times right now and as much as the fight or flight instinct is prompting us to react we have to trust Him. Believe in Him. There’s an old saying that goes something like “we make a plan and God laughs”, now is absolutely one of those times. This is exactly the time where we have to live our lives the way God wants. Nothing strikes more fear into the heart of evil than faith. We need to remind the world that the light is stronger than the darkness. Know that I’m always praying for you, and remember to live the Faith. God bless.

Who’s that in the mirror?

Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. 2 For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.

3 “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye[c] when you have a log in your own? 4 How can you think of saying to your friend,[d] ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.

-Mathew 7:1-5

Sometimes the toughest thing to look at is a mirror. How often do we find ourselves looking at the world around us and we start shaking our heads. It’s a occurrence that is only enhanced by the access we have to world events at our finger tips. Whats amazing is how quick we are to judge others for their sins, all the while we turn a blind eye to our own. What do you think our own lives would look like if we devoted that same level of judgment on ourselves as we do others? If we, in reality, held ourselves to the standards that we think we do. What would the world look like? Just something to think about. As always know that I’ll be praying for you, and remember to live the Faith. God bless.

#faithlikewater #hope #jesus #thewaythetruthandthelife

Enlightenment in the rain

Gonna try to keep this short and sweet today.

So I was driving to work today when out of nowhere the sky opened up and I was completely engulfed in a torrential downpour. Literally within seconds the road was underwater, and straight ahead looked like a wall of water. After about a minute or so of driving through this mini monsoon it dawned on me that in the midst of this there were blue skies ahead of me. I got about a mile or so down the road and as quick as it started, the rain suddenly stopped. A short while later as I was thinking about the wacky weather I had encountered it hit me that that was a pretty good analogy on life. Especially right now. If we focus solely on what’s happening right in front of us the world seems pretty bleak right now, but if we lift our eyes and hearts up to God we’ll see that no matter what’s going on it’s only temporary. We have to remember to be the light for each other, and to trust in Gods plan, even if we don’t understand it. As always you know that I’ll be praying for you all, remember to live the Faith. God bless.

#faithlikewater #faith #hope

Clanging Cymbal

So for the last couple of weeks I’ve doing shift work. Between working nights and overnights the mental exhaustion alone gets you to the point that knowing which way is up or down is a near impossible task. Add in the physical side along with the heat and a throw in a tropical storm for good measure, and as I am driving into work right now I’m not 100% sure what day it is. It’s in moments like this, when I can’t see straight, that I see myself the clearest. And maybe it’s not that I normal can’t see myself, it’s more of a fear of being honest with myself. As I sit here and think, for as long as I can remember I have lived my life and gauged myself based on my faith. No matter what I faced, good or bad, the way I saw it everything that happened and everything I did was through the grace of God and for His glory. And maybe that sounds cheesy or even cliché but that’s honestly how I felt and how I looked at life. Truth is living that way made the good times sweeter and the bad times bearable. Now I’m not sure exactly when it started, but absolutely over the last couple of years, in the same way a house, no matter how beautiful and strong, if not maintained will simply wear away and fall apart, my spirituality has started to crumble. And today I finally saw how living without that safety net is crushing me. I’m losing the ability to stay positive on a daily basis. Whether it’s work stress (or unhappiness), the physical pains associated with getting older (and coming to grips with that) and probably about 1 million other things that I can’t think of, my demeanor is changing. The worst part is, is that I didn’t even see it happening. That’s not who I am…well I guess that’s not who I was, but unfortunately, I guess it is who I am but it’s not who I want to be. Just to be clear, my faith is strong. My faith is absolute and unwavering. Like the land that the house was built on it’s not going anywhere and that is my foundation. I love to talk about and share my faith, and I find refuge in prayer and reading scripture. But like it says in James 2:17 it says something along lines of how faith without deeds is dead. And I almost feel like that’s what happened (happening)to me. In first Corinthians chapter 13 verses 1 through 3, before the “love is” passage it talks about how if you do great acts of faith without love it’s pointless. How you can speak in tongues of men or angles, but if there’s no love it’s no more than the sound of a clanging cymbal. Well on a spiritual level I’ve become the dilapidated ruins of who I was…I am the clanging cymbal. I’m better than this. God made me better than this. I hope and pray that this letter, like ripping that first handful of weeds from the garden is the beginning of my way back. I think it’s time for a ministry. As always know that I’ll be praying for you, and remember to live the Faith. God bless.

A Hope and Prayer

But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one –

So it’s been awhile since I’ve written, I guess I’ve allowed the chaos of my “day-job” get in the way. Working for the electric utility in Manhattan time off was never an option, but in the interest of safety I stopped taking trains and started driving in. Anyone who knows me or has read my postings knows that over the last several years I’ve met and befriended many homeless people.

By the time I stopped riding the train in the beginning of March things were getting out of control in the train stations. Between the diminishing number of commuters, the influx of homeless looking for refuge, and the arrival of newly released inmates, coupled with the hands off approach law enforcement had taken ,understandably, the “Wild West” is how I would describe the situation to people. Over the last few months I can’t help but wonder how the people I had come to know are doing. I hope and pray that they are safe and healthy. Thanks for listening.

As always I’ll be praying for you. Remember to live the Faith. God bless.

Be the second person

12 Moses’ arms soon became so tired he could no longer hold them up. So Aaron and Hur found a stone for him to sit on. Then they stood on each side of Moses, holding up his hands. So his hands held steady until sunset.             -Exodus 17:12

Racing to the train at 4:30 this morning I heard a part of Exodus 17:12 and it immediately reminded me of something that was said at prayer group on Friday night. Jeff said something along the lines of how it’s not just the person who stands up for our Faith, but it’s the strength that comes from when the second person stands up and supports them. In Exodus 17:12 Moses can’t hold his arms up anymore in prayer so Aaron and Hur hold them up for him. Like them, we are all facing a situation now where we all need to hold each other up both spiritually and physically. In Mathew 18:19-20 Jesus taught us the strength in praying to God as one, and that wherever two or more gather together in His name He is there. Well today the Pope asked us to globally pray the rosary together. As I was putting my prayer rope away on the train, it hit me that if half of us had just prayed together, then that was such an amazing event. A world wide moment of “Church”. An epic “second person”. And whether you prayed or not, it’s what happens next that is most important because the truth is your words and actions may be the Light that someone else needs to see. As always I’ll be praying for you.
Remember to live the Faith.God bless.

A little Nudge

It’s been a few days since I’ve written, so I apologize as writing is part of my Lenten intention. Here’s something that’s been on my mind the last few days. Every other week I meet with a group of friends for prayer and discussion. In the midst of the chaos of this world it’s nice to have a place for spiritual replenishment. So Friday night as I was walking to my car feeling pretty good about things, when I reached for the car door I dropped my Bible. “Nice” I thought to myself. A few minutes later after pulling into my driveway I open the car door and bloomp, I dropped it again. “Smooth” I muttered to myself. Finally, just three or four steps into the house, I dropped it a third time. Only this time as I picked it up the story of Peter denying Christ three times popped into my head. Now I absolutely wasn’t denying Jesus, I mean I had just left a prayer group, I was on fire. It got me thinking though…have I been slacking somewhere? But maybe that’s all we need sometimes, just a little nudge to remind us why we’re here and who we’re sacrificing for. It’s real easy for us to use life as an excuse to stray off the path…too busy, too stressed, too…whatever. There’s a line from scripture that sticks with me in moments like this when I question my actions. It’s from Luke and it occurred just as Peter denied Jesus the third time and it goes… “And the Lord turned and looked at Peter…”-Luke 22:61 Talk about getting the wind knocked out of you, I mean it’s bad enough when we fail Him, but when you truly realize that He knows you’re doing it and we do it anyway….it’s almost heartbreaking. What am I saying? It is heartbreaking because regardless of all He’s done and will do for us, just like Peter, we ARE denying Him. i hope you all can find the fire within yourselves to always be the light for others. As always I’ll be praying for you all.
Remember to live the Faith.God bless.