Do You Blame God or Someone Else for Your Own Stupidity or Failure?

If you’re new to Life Compass, on Sundays I write on Spirituality, Faith and Ethics. Here’s why.

Sadly, it’s human nature to blame someone else when life doesn’t go the way we had hoped.  So I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised to discover that there’s now a holiday for it.

Blame Someone Else Day occurs on the first Friday the 13th of the year, which for 2010 happens on Friday, August 13.  It’s a day to blame someone else for the mess you’re in – whether you’ve caused it yourself through your own fault or not.  Go ahead, blame the Congress, the President, your neighbor, your boss, and even God.

I don’t have any scientific evidence to back it up, but my guess is that God gets the blame more than anyone. What do you think?

In my own life, I can point to many times when I’ve asked, “God, why did you allow this to happen?”  And sadly, there have been times when I’ve been mad at God for allowing me to mess up my life…for allowing me to make the same mistakes over and over….and over.

Proverbs 19:3 says, “People ruin their lives by their own stupidity, so why does God always get blamed?” (The Message) [Read more…]

Be Still, Find God

If you’re new to Life Compass, on Sundays I write on Spirituality, Faith and Ethics. Here’s why.

“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

A few days ago, I was in northern Michigan for a conference.  I arrived in town the night before at 7:00 PM and checked into the hotel.  Usually, I turn on the TV and watch the news and get caught up on the world’s events.

This time, I thought I should get outside, enjoy the warmth, and watch the sunset.  So, I grabbed a book, checked my iPhone for a map that showed the nearest lake, and was off.

It was only a five minute drive to the nearest lake, where I found a park and some benches that overlooked the lake and the sunset.  I sat there just over an hour reading the book.  It was a quick [Read more…]

Time, Purpose and Potential

If you’re new to Life Compass, on Sundays I write on Spirituality, Faith and Ethics. Here’s why.

Something interesting happens when you know you’re dying.

Suddenly, some things that you thought were very important, are now totally unimportant.  And you have incredible clarity about what things truly are most important to you.

These are some reflections I had on Saturday, after visiting a friend from my church who had just moved to a hospice care home.

She has cancer, and there’s nothing more the doctors can do for her except to make her as comfortable as possible as she prepares to pass from this life to the next.

She is probably just a few years older than me, and has two teenage sons, whom she will soon leave behind.  This was very sobering for me, as the father of five children ages 4-13.  One day, my time will be up too.

During my visit, I read from Psalm 139, which beautifully expresses God’s watchful eye over us, his design and plan for our lives before we were even born, and his control over the number of our days.  “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be,” [Read more…]

A Father’s Prayer

Happy Father’s Day to my fellow Dads of the world.  I ran across this prayer by General Douglas MacArthur several years ago.  Since I have three sons (along with two daughters), it seemed like a great prayer to take to heart on Father’s Day 2010.

A Father’s Prayer

Build me a son, O Lord, who will be strong enough to know when he is weak and brave enough to face himself when he is afraid; one who will be proud and unbending in honest defeat, and humble, and gentle in victory.

Build me a son whose wishes will not take the place of deeds; a son who will know Thee – and that to know himself is the foundation stone of knowledge.  Lead him, I pray, not in the path of ease and comfort, but under the stress and spur of difficulties and challenge. Here, let him learn to stand up in the storm; here let him learn compassion for those that fail.

Build me a son whose heart will be clear, whose goal will be high, a son who will master himself before he seeks to master other men, one who will reach into the future, yet never forget the past.

And after all these things are his, add, I pray, enough of a sense of humor, so that he may always be serious, yet never take himself too seriously. Give him humility, so that he may always remember the simplicity of true greatness, the open mind of true wisdom, and the meekness of true strength.

Then I, his father, will dare to whisper, “I have not lived in vain.”

How to Handle Frustration and Disappointment in Life

For those of you who are new to Life Compass, I write on Spirituality, Faith and Ethics on Sundays.  Here’s why.

A friend of mine, Pat McLaughlin, recently wrote a book called Haggai and Friends, which is due to be released in the next month or so.  It’s based on the biblical account of the Hebrew prophet Haggai, who brings the people of Israel an interesting word from the Lord.

In Haggai 1:5-7 (The Message), God tells the people:

Take a good hard look at your life. Think it over. You have spent a lot of money, but you haven’t much to show for it. You keep filling your plates, but you never get filled up. You keep drinking and drinking and drinking, but you’re always thirsty. You put on layer after layer of clothes, but you can’t get warm. And the people who work for you, what are they getting out of it? Not much – a leaky, rusted-out bucket, that’s what. That’s why God-of-the-Angel-Armies said:  “Take a good, hard look at your life.  Think it over.”

Have you ever been frustrated because your life hasn’t turned out the way you’d hoped or wanted?  Like the examples given in this scripture, have you been busy doing lots of stuff, but have nothing to really show for it? [Read more…]


For those of you who are new to Life Compass, I write on Spirituality, Faith and Ethics on Sundays.  Here’s why.

We’ve had a lot of rain at our house over the last few days.  I know that rain is good and we need it to make things grow, but at the same time, I’d like the rain to stop so I can enjoy outdoor activities with my family.

It is interesting to me how rain can be seen as both a blessing and a disappointment, depending on our perspective, or goals, at the time.  In fact, on the same day, in the same community, a farmer can be praying for rain while a golfer prays for sun.

In the Bible, rain is often viewed as a sign of God’s blessing or favor.  It is provided for our refreshment and growth.  Then again, the Flood is an example of how rain can bring pain and destruction. [Read more…]