The other day I was at my wit’s end. I forgot a doctor’s appointment. I couldn’t figure out an important password. I had started an Amazon account by mistake. Then some code came to my phone and I had no idea why. So I’m pacing around the house. My wife, who is watching me, asks, ‘Do you need help with something?’ How did she know? Was it the profane word I used? Was it my gesture of pulling my hair out? Going out of my mind? 

Well, she saved me, got me out of the mess, helped me with codes and passwords, and even made up a couple of new ones.

Whew, how does she do it? Not the computer stuff but rather how she still loves me after fifty-two years of dealing with me: a type A firstborn who can’t sit still and is often melancholy? I swear. Oops. 

But she loves me. She gets frustrated with me. But she loves me.

I think about God this way. God knows me inside out and I’m sure gets frustrated with me. ‘Settle down, George’, I can hear him say. I want to pray more but many times find some project I need to do or some book I need or want to read. ‘Be still, George.’

But God loves me. He’s said it so many times. Read Psalm 139. The psalmist tells us how God put us together. And we’ll understand that while  God may get frustrated with us, God never disappointed in us.  

It is our helplessness that causes us to come to our Abba who reassures us that no matter what, nothing will separate us from God’s love. Not our bad moods. Not our hair-pulling moments Not our around-the-house moments.

If we listen for a moment we will hear, ‘Do you need help with something?’ And then comes the time to grow up a little more.

By the way. Happy Birthday to my wife, Gigi. Yesterday. Too frazzled to get it done until today.


Some people like to be in control. I like to be in control. I like to know things and help others to know what I know. I like giving advice. I don’t mind taking advice as long as I get to share my ideas with someone. When there is a discussion, I enjoy being able to answer people’s questions and even their arguments about a particular subject. And sometimes I just can’t let the conversation end without having my ‘say’. All of that is a ‘pride’ issue that needs attention, especially in my spiritual journey.

So imagine my delight when reading about a conversation that the late Dallas Willard had in one of his classes. Dallas was a spiritual role model for so many people and in this particular session shared a great piece of wisdom.

Here’s how it unfolded:

   “At the end of a class Dallas was teaching, a student was feeling arrogant and antagonistic. He raised his hand and mentioned a disagreement he had with Dallas that was both obnoxious and wrong. 

   A person who was in the class was waiting for Dallas to demolish the guy, which he could easily have done. I joke sometimes that I never get into an argument with Dallas because I am afraid he will prove I don’t exist. So this student was waiting for Dallas to lower the boom. Dallas said, “Well, I think that’s a good place for the class to end. Let’s just stop there, and then we will pick it up next time.”

   Another student asked him, “Why did you do that, because you could have just let the guy have it? Why didn’t you let him have it?” 

   Dallas’s response was, “I am practicing the discipline of not having the last word.”

(As told by John Ortberg in the book based on teachings by Willard entitled ‘Living In Christ’s Presence’.)

Give it a try and see if it doesn’t make room in your soul for God’s life to be more active.


“Three children and three staff members were shot and killed at a private school in Nashville, Tennessee, according to officials.”– news from March 28.

This comes from my heart. My mind is tired of all the stats and arguments.

I have 5 grandchildren ages 7 through 13. I love them, and their lives are precious to my wife and me and more importantly to God.

It is hypocritical that books are banned because some people feel children ought to be ‘protected’ from the subject matter while these very same people do not take steps to protect children from attacks with assault weapons by calling for a ban.

We vote against abortions in order to protect the rights of the unborn, but leave children vulnerable to mass killings by not taking any steps to protect them. It makes no sense to me.

Thoughts and prayers are not enough. Expressions of sympathy are not enough. At the very least, we need to have the courage to ban assault rifles. These guns can take so many more lives in a matter of seconds. 

I don’t believe that God will hear our prayers if we are not willing to cooperate with God. God will not act alone. But I pray that God will stir the hearts of those who can make a difference to act.

God tells us to be careful how we treat our children, the least of these, the innocent ones whose lives are cut short. Thank God for the brave first responders and volunteers who save lives by their own bravery. Now let the rest of us be brave by at least calling for the banning of assault weapons.

I pray for those who died yesterday to rest in the arms of our Savior. 

P.S. I just finished reading an article in the Washington Post that depicts vividly the lethal damage an AR-15 did to two children in separate shooting incidents.


Darkness has a way of causing us to search for the light of Christ. A month ago I found myself in the ‘valley of the shadow of death’, haunted by its ever-present reality. So I attended a nearby church worship service where intercessory prayer was offered. My wife gave me a nudge and urged me to go forward. A very kind woman gently prayed for me in my darkness. It was a God-inspired moment for which I am most grateful. And eventually, by God’s grace, I found myself walking in the light of God’s love once more. 

God won’t leave us in the darkness and while it hurts miserably under that shadow, God will walk with us until we can again see. That is called HOPE. It’s the same hope Jesus had when he too endured times of darkness. 

There is a great verse at the beginning of John chapter one. Speaking of Christ, John writes that ‘the light shines in the darkness and the darkness can’t put it out.’ 

I know others who have walked in the valley of the shadow of death but have held on to the next part of that verse in the 23rd Psalm. ‘I will fear no evil for you, my Lord, my Shepherd, are with me.’ 

This is the beginning of Lent, an appropriate time to remember our own weaknesses and walk with the one who knows our weaknesses.


Now that I’m in my mid-seventies I’m thinking more about my own death. I used to say, “When I die I’m really going to miss myself.” Not so funny anymore. I’m actually troubled by death. I sometimes find myself in the ‘dark night of the soul’, to use a phrase from St. John of the Cross (ancient guy now dead). 

If I don’t write these thoughts down I fear they will haunt me. Two months ago my brother died. Then several friends. And many obituaries I read list more people my age and younger. My body parts are aging and need more attention. Doctor visits are becoming a part-time job. My wife tells me I need a hobby that takes me out of my head, whatever that means. 

Faith? Yes, I have faith in God. I trust Jesus whose own death surely weighed heavily upon him at times. I read the Psalms that often begin with complaints about being forgotten by God but end on a more thankful note for God’s providence. Perhaps I have yet to embrace an acceptance ‘with joy’ that enabled Jesus to endure the cross because he was so assured of God’s eternity.

This death preoccupation is the shadowy part of my trust in Christ. “I believe”, I say resoundingly, “but Lord please help my unbelief.” And just maybe this darkness or emptiness I am feeling is preparing my soul for God’s spirit to find a better dwelling within me.

I know God is not angry with me over my doubts. God loves me right here and right now in the depth of my despair. There is no place I can escape his gracious gaze and encouragement. Even as I write these words I am feeling some sense of peace.

I long for other Christian people to walk alongside me on this journey for in their grace and understanding comes the hope that eternity will become more real than any dread.

In Hope


P.s. More to come…….


On November 22, 2022, my next younger brother, Bob, died at 71. I cried. 

We grew up together two years apart in school.

We shared many sports activities together. We clammed together. We worked together farming and mowing lawns as kids.

He taught me how to find my ancestors and create a family tree going back seven generations.

He was a more avid Yankees fan than me. 

He was quieter than me, read more books than me, and remembered more movies.

Separated by almost 2000 miles we talked by phone nearly every day for the last year having grown closer through ancestry searches. We were less close before. These past ten years changed that.

We studied the Bible together when I lived closer to him.

Bob was kind, easygoing, and reluctant at displays of affection. I was grateful for the times he could say, ‘I love you.’

He was an expert chess player. I never learned. 

My brother died 59 years after the assassination of JFK. We won’t forget that date or this one.

I watched him draw his last breath and I trust Jesus that Bob is in one of those dwelling places that our Lord was preparing for him. 

It wasn’t easy to believe at that moment having watched 71 years of earthly life with its joys and sorrows ebb from him. All the memories, love, successes, and failures are gone. Perhaps.

I don’t really know. I trust Paul’s words that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord but I’m not exactly sure how, since this life is what I mostly know. Is my brother with my mom and dad? Does he know them? Maybe faith is found in the many questions and less in the answers so quickly given. 

It’s Advent now, a time of hope and waiting. I wait with tears sometimes, and laughter other times.  I look at memorable photographs and think of times when life was simpler and seemingly more joyful. Age brings troubles of many kinds. “Bound to come some trouble in your life,” is how Rich Mullins put it. Seems that thoughtful Christians know how best to grieve best. Love will do that.

Could more have been done for Bob? Or me or you? God knows. This life is fragile at best, its strength coming from God’s grace and earthly relationships. I am richer for the one I have had with him.

Someone told me that my brother would want me to be happy now. Maybe.

Bob never complained about his illness or any other troubles. Maybe he wanted to but I prefer to think that he carried the burdens well. I think he had help.

I think in some mysterious way Bob surrendered his life to bring a more meaningful life and love to those closest to him. That’s Christ’s way and Bob walked in that way silently and sometimes stoically. We all find our way. 

I will remember my brother and learn from him about living and dying. Joys and sorrows. Faults and forgiveness and then one day we won’t have to search for our ancestors. We will see them.

I hope. Cause I miss my ancestry partner. I miss my brother.

I WAS WRONG…and the world is better for it.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 NIV

All my life I thought this Scripture was just for Christians. Yes, I thought God was so focused on me and us that God was going to make things better for us. But I was wrong. This passage is not about me. 

It’s about the world. It means, if you read the whole book of Romans, that God wants to work in partnership with believers for the benefit of the world. God wants to grace the world, his creation and he wants us to help just like he has always done. God wants the creation to flourish. God wants the Kingdom life for everyone. And in the midst of all the rotten stuff in the world, God invites the church, the body of Christ, to work alongside God for everyone’s benefit. Salvation and abundant life come through Christ and by the Holy Spirit are imparted to all those who desire to know God’s love.    

The other day I came across this ‘remix’ of Romans 8:28 and it put everything in perspective for me and hopefully for some of you.

For we know that God, working together with those of us who have been touched by God’s love, is yearning to bring good out of all the suffering and evil we see around us in our world today. This is our calling according to God’s purpose: To collaborate with the Spirit of God within us, to bring His Kingdom to earth, now.” [Roman 8:28, remix]- author Keith Giles

 So when we see trouble and turmoil all around us we know that God is working with those who have experienced God’s love to somehow and at some time make it better. Hopefully sooner than later. Amen 


Matthew 7 reads (in the NIV) ‘13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.’

This is not a doctrinal statement by Jesus about who gets into heaven. That’s what I learned growing up. If you don’t accept Jesus (the narrow way) then you are destined for the fires of hell (destruction).

No, what Jesus is saying is better expressed in the MESSAGE version. ‘13-14 “Don’t look for shortcuts to God. The market is flooded with surefire, easygoing formulas for a successful life that can be practiced in your spare time. Don’t fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do. The way to life—to God!—is vigorous and requires total attention.’

Jesus is inviting his disciples into the God life, the best life possible here on earth. That’s the life Jesus is talking about. And yes it requires discipline. Anything worthwhile requires putting our all into it, whether sports, music, business, marriage, or peace.

Try forgiving someone without holding on for dear life to the grace of God. And yes that grace requires our fullest attention. I think that’s why Paul at one point wrote that we are to work out our salvation with fear and trembling because God is already at work in us. God life is the life God in Christ invites us to. It’s why God reconciled us through the sacrifice of Jesus.

Those in Jesus’ time who took life into their own hands found out about destruction at the hands of the Romans. They brought it on to themselves when they refused to follow the Messiah. We bring destruction onto ourselves, our work, our life, and even our churches when we do it our way. Jesus invites us to walk in the vigorous way of faith. And it takes a whole lot of practice along with God’s grace.


There are too many gray areas and misunderstandings about the concept of hell for me to accept this destiny as some kind of eternal torment. There are too many interpretations of the precise meaning of such a realm. And the God I encounter in Jesus is not the kind of vengeful tyrant who allows his creations to be excruciatingly tortured for all time. Here are some of my thoughts.

  1. What happens to people who have never heard the gospel of Christ?
  2. What about mentally challenged people?
  3. Where are we told anything about the eternal destiny of little children?
  4. There are so many people who have been abused by Christians and their messages.
  5. People who ‘believe’ but somehow live out of sync with God’s will. What happens to those prodigals?
  6. What about all the Germans who participated in the Holocaust?
  7. Jews? Are they all doomed?
  8. Who are the truly wicked people sent to eternal damnation?
  9. What about really nice people who just have never grasped the idea of accepting Christ even though they live Godly lives?
  10. When Christians fight wars and kill others are they doomed?
  11. Is hell eternal agony or annihilation? Both are mentioned in the Bible.
  12. My view of God is a loving father or mother who, because of that love, wouldn’t consign most of their creation to eternal suffering. 
  13. If there is any kind of hell, it will be sparsely populated.
  14. Early Christian scholars didn’t write about hell as an eternal destiny.
  15. Which sins are truly deserving of spending eternity in torment?
  16. I wouldn’t want to live with someone just because I was afraid they would hurt me if I didn’t. Jesus wouldn’t want that for us either.
  17. We have been taught by Jesus to forgive endlessly. Are we to be more merciful than God?
  18. If Jesus died for all of our sins, why do some people have to pay for their own sins?
  19. Hell makes God’s justice seem vengeful.
  20. If really bad people end up in eternal hell why would Jesus from the cross say, ‘Father forgive them for they know not what they do?’
  21. Hell, for me, doesn’t fit the grand scheme of a new heaven and new earth.

Some of what I have written can be argued against with certain Scriptures but I submit there are interpretations of those scriptures that are very different and theologically sound.

If hell is anything, I see it as a sidebar where the judge tells my attorney, Jesus: ‘After all considerations, all will be well.’

In closing let me extend an invitation to come to Jesus, and follow Jesus. Let Jesus teach you and guide you into the way of eternal and abundant life with the God of creation and into a life of loving others even as we are right now being loved. This is the meaning of faith.

Remember this. It is Satan who wants to keep us away from God. But as Paul writes to the Colossians in chapter 2:

‘13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14 having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. 15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.’ (13-15) Bible Gateway NIV


A year ago we adopted a beautiful 40-pound rescue dog that had been abused. After three trainers and the cost of my first year in college, we are on the road to a mostly well-trained 4-year-old that lives with our 16-year-old Lucy. The new one is named Rhys, after the Phillies’ first baseman. And besides, I like one-syllable names to more easily call her.

The one thing we sometimes have difficulty with is Rhy’s desire to get to other dogs behind fences when we are walking her.

Then one day I heard an owner say to his dog, ‘Leave it” and the dog obeyed. So I thought I would try the same with Rhys and sure enough, she obeyed. Maybe it’s a universal command or she had learned it in her first home.

I began to think that it’s not a bad command or invitation for humans.  Seems we get ourselves involved in too many things or in places and relationships that we need to stay away from. It’s kinda like ‘Be still and know that I am God.” (from Psalm 46)

Certainly, Jesus left certain situations to go off by himself to pray and rest. And he invited his disciples to come with him to rest. (See Mark 6:31)

So where are you too involved? What are the situations and who are the people that you find it difficult to say ‘no’ to? 

One piece of advice for all of us.