God-is-loveIt seems to me, in my casual observance of what people say and promote, that there is a lot of fear involved in their relationship with God. So many folks live how they live from fear of what God will either do to them, or allow to happen to them, if they don’t behave in a certain way. Some load themselves up with obligations in the name of God. Many engage in empty rituals, almost superstitious in nature, to potentially garner God’s favor in their lives. Others spend countless hours in regret and apology towards God for self-acknowledged violations of His will. So, I have to ask the question, is there supposed to be fear in your relationship with God? Is that what the Bible teaches? Does the fear-based approach take away from a believer the joy and happiness he/she is reported to experience with God?

In my opinion, and you can take this to the bank, there is no-one or nothing more understood than God. Sure, He has written a book to prevent this kind of thing, but how many folks actually read it, or worse, understand it? Most people’s knowledge, and you know this is true, is based on a fleeting verse here and there or the generally accepted consensus of who God is supposedly. Most, it seems, have been taught that God is a vengeful God perpetually engaged in examining your thoughts and behaviors like the inspector in an assembly line searching for defects. I vividly remember having some beers with prospective clients at a basketball game, who when I told them I taught the Bible, insisted on not only not having another drink, but recalling out loud what they had said earlier that might have been offensive. Are you kidding me? I bought the beers! But sadly, that’s where people’s heads go when you mention God. And not only because I  want to drink beers with you, but also because I’ve been taught otherwise, I’m going to show you that people have it all wrong about God in epic proportion!!!

The Bible clearly states that God is love. He isn’t just prone to behave in a loving way, He actually is love. The reason that love is the most powerful thing on the planet is because God, the most powerful being anywhere, is love. The Good Book also says that, “There is no fear in love.” Fear and love cannot co-exist together. If you have fear then you have no love and if you live God’s love you cannot possibly have fear. Fear, not hate, is the antithesis of love. And this whole planet is running on a steady diet of fear. Fear takes away the joy of a relationship with God because it takes away the love in the relationship, not on God’s part towards you, but on your part towards Him. God knows everything there is to know about you and still loves you. To think that you can fool God by engaging in obligatory behavior discounts His vast intelligence and reduces Him to the level of a man. The Bible also says that God is light and in Him, is no darkness at all. No darkness means no darkness. It would require God to have darkness in Him to do evil things to you, or for that matter, purposely allow evil things to happen to you. Evil things would include making you ill, killing the people who you love, putting obstacles in your path to teach you lessons, and allowing bad things to happen to you because your behavior didn’t quite measure up. Imagine one of your children not quite measuring up to behavior standards you set up and then not protecting them from danger because of that behavior. Pretty cruel wouldn’t you say?

God is more interested in your happiness, health and prosperity than you are! He wants to answer your prayers infinitely more than you want to pray them. The trouble is that God will not overstep your freedom of will. He requires fully persuaded belief on your part to bring your prayers to pass. When you fail to get your prayers answered it is generally because you don’t fully believe what you prayed for would come to pass. And, the number one believing blocker is fear. When you hold onto a fearful mindset towards God, greatly influenced by so-called preachers and religious people, you are going to have no confidence towards God. You will be full of doubt and unbelief. And, after experiencing that for long enough, you are going to end up doubting God’s existence in its entirety! The problem isn’t with God, His ability or His love. The problem is you and the wrong beliefs you’ve been entertaining in your head. When the phrase “fear of God” is used in the Bible it refers to reverence and respect; the same thing you are supposed to learn with your parents. You learn to respect what they have been telling you if you’ve been hit in the head by life enough times for not listening. You then become a parent and the cycle continues. God tells us to respect Him and believe what He says to believe. When you choose not to believe what He said and instead choose to believe what the world says, you end up getting smacked in the head, not by God, but by the One He is trying to protect you from! All of your difficulties; all of your pain; all of your heartache and loss is orchestrated and carried out by the adversary; your adversary, hell-bent on keeping you from the only One who can really love and protect you! You get it?

God is love in every conceivable form and facet. You never need to have even an ounce of fear with God. No matter how much of a stinker you have been; no matter how jaded your mind towards God has become; no matter how low you may have fallen, you cannot get underneath the everlasting arms of God’s love! Get out of that fear and obligation and enjoy your relationship with God stemming only from love. There’s nothing you have to do to please Him except humbly believe what He says is true. Doing so not only revolutionizes your life and finally gets your prayer answered, but will lead you to a place of indescribable joy, where no fear is allowed to remain…

There is no fear in God…

Just some good thoughts…

 


The thoughts racing through your mind throughout the day, often referred to as your internal chatter, belong to you! And, although it may appear to “just happen,” the reality is that you are the one generating the thoughts. Those thoughts are heavily influenced by circumstances and conditions, but you still own them. You may have thoughts pop into your mind you did not consciously plan, again heavily shaped by internal and external influences, but the decision to entertain or persist with those thoughts belongs only to you! At the end of the day, they are just thoughts and can be easily dismissed. However, those thoughts; the things you are saying to yourself over and over are not just thoughts, but actually form the basis of your beliefs. What you believe in life ends up being the life you are experiencing! Your success or your failure, in any category of life, is found amongst that infernal, internal chatter!

It would be well worth your time to begin paying attention to the things you are saying to yourself! Notice the thoughts going through your mind while you are speaking with someone or when you are interacting in a group. Are you able to engage a person with your full attention and heart or are you simultaneously wading through your own thoughts spewing out negative things about you, from you, to you?  Most people’s internal chatter is horrifically negative to the point of being an enemy or a personal adversary. None of us would knowingly choose the option of being mean and harsh with ourselves on purpose. I mean, if I don’t have my own back, who does? Instead, we are living in a world fueled and directed by fear and negativity. We are engulfed in subtle messages of inadequacy and how we don’t measure up. We are drowning ourselves in the hidden messages of electronic media, carefully crafted to occupy our every waking moment. You thought the TV was a brilliant mass “idea” marketing machine? Well, add in the explosive rise of social media and you end with a nation of captured minds, fully influenced night and day to generate thoughts in a specific, negative direction… It’s pretty incredible to recognize, but devastating in its effect on our minds.

In addition to starting a serious quest to pay attention to what your internal chatter is saying to you in public, also believe to hear and recognize what it (you) are saying to yourself in private. For example, I began to notice a habit I had of saying, “It’s okay” to myself throughout a day. As I started in earnest to pay attention, I realized that I was speaking and entertaining accusatory thoughts towards myself. In other words, through negative self-accusation and internalized messages regarding my own worthiness, I was actually agreeing with and accepting those thoughts to the point where I was telling myself I was okay in response to me telling myself I wasn’t okay! Do you see what I’m getting at here? YOUR INTERNAL CHATTER IS YOUR OWN THOUGHTS! Your thoughts are not the devil and telling a thought to “shut the fuck up” is simply telling yourself to… The devil certainly is the source of evil in the world and the organizer of the “idea marketing” I referred to earlier, but his work is accomplished by influencing your thinking infinitely more than by some kind of imagined direct occupation! It is a slavery of epic proportion! What could work better than physically holding a slave in bondage? Get them to hold themselves in bondage by the wrong thoughts they’re rehearsing to themselves all day long!

How many people do you know that are struggling with their self-image? How much do you wrestle with your own self-image? How easy is it to move you off-center into doubt or concern about who you really are or what you can actually accomplish? Self-image is nothing more than the ideas you entertain about yourself, that you have been telling yourself since you were a small child. None of that stuff; those thoughts, had any basis in some type of truth, but rather messages you chose to believe were true. My mother convinced me I was exceptionally smart and I believed her (and yes, I am – smile). Sure there are genetic factors, tendencies, inborn strengths and weaknesses, but all are overridden by your beliefs, more specifically what you believe to be true about yourself. Although it’s not easy, you can change your self-image. You change it by changing what you are saying to yourself throughout the day. You can start to challenge thoughts instead of accepting them as true! Above all, stop berating yourself and rehearsing bad, negative stuff about yourself! Stop tearing yourself down. Cease searching for evidence that the garbage you’ve been dumping on yourself is somehow true. It is, for you, no more true than the good things you say about yourself. The only difference being that the good stuff we tell ourselves actually benefits our lives! I mean, good Lord, who are you to pass such severe judgment on your own life? That is exactly what you do every time you cooperate with the darkness by persisting in thoughts that only serve to hurt you. You’re not “just being honest” you are being deceived with your own personal detriment and suffering in mind.

All that craziness besieging your brain during all waking hours, belongs to you and comes from you. You can control your thinking. You can decide what you will and will not say to yourself. And, you can damn sure change anything about yourself even if it is who you’ve been all of your life. You have a right to cultivate a mind, your mind, your one and only mind, to be your ally and not your enemy! You deserve a break from the great “idea marketing” machine for a chance at your own ideas about life. You can have success and satisfaction and fulfillment like you’ve only dreamed of once you finally learn to get on your own side, where God is…

Hey, it’s your internal chatter, but it’s also yours to change for the better!

Just some good thoughts…

 

 

 

What Is Wrong With Me?

April 18, 2017


Have you ever arrived at the place where things don’t seem to matter much anymore? You are tired of the routine of life and there’s nothing new under the sun? It’s sort of like life has lost its point somewhere or if it has a point, it somehow snuck by you. You are stuck in a giant bowl of “who cares” and can’t seem to navigate your way out of it. You search for clues in the physical realm like maybe you aren’t getting enough sleep or you’re dehydrated or something. No matter what words you use to describe it, it feels like “blah” and calls aloud for a remedy. What the hell is wrong with me?

Life is best summarized by these two giant life forces working behind the scenes influencing people to decide to move in a certain direction. One force for good is always working to provide you with clues about how to think and where to take your thoughts while the other one seeks to hijack your thoughts and move you forcefully towards a certain path. One motivates by love and the other motivates by fear. Imagine that life is like a race and as long as you keep running you will arrive at a good destination. Your pace of life fluctuates with your mind. When your mind is functioning properly without fear or other constraints, you are able to run effortlessly towards your hopes and dreams. But, when fear forces its way into your existence, there’s an immediate drag on the system and life begins to slow down. Lowered energy, lowered vitality, low capacity to give a damn, all point to fear that has forced itself upon you. You may feel your situation is much more complicated than that, but it isn’t so there’s no need to perplex your mind any further. More rest isn’t going to fix it. Eating better is not going to solve it. Exercising and losing a few pounds isn’t going to correct it. It’s fear, fear, fear and it will suck your life out from underneath you!

Fear is a slippery character and it’s hard to put your arms around it. It moves in quietly without fanfare in the form of a few doubts and maybe some worry here and there. Then, as you unknowingly give it space in your thinking, it gains a little traction and starts occupying a place. It’s like a breeze blowing in your face while you’re running. It’s not enough to stop you, but it is enough to slow you down. You can tell that you’ve slowed down because you are no longer looking forward in your life. You’re no longer focused on your destination, but instead you begin looking all around you. The more you slow down and the more you start looking around, the more potential difficulty you begin to see. It’s also like your life is a huge room with an infinite number of doors you can travel through to get to different destinations. Fear starts closing off the doors, one by one, until your life seems to have very few options or remaining opportunities. The doors aren’t really closed, but fear gives the illusion that they are and as long as you sit there in “it” you aren’t going to see the way out.

Fear at its basis is pure illusion. It isn’t the negative, disastrous outcome, it’s the threat of the disastrous outcome! It’s the ultimate energy suppressor. It feeds on your energy like a parasite as it has no real life of its own! It exists by permission only which its host is unaware it has given away. It can only gain energy from you by your insistence on letting it stick around. You don’t willfully allow it to remain, but you feel compelled to give it mental space as it has suggested some unreasonable outcome from which you wish to escape. Its illusion shines the most brightly as you foolishly decide to engage it with your human logic and understanding. It’s a wrong starting premise which cannot end successfully in any scenario. In the middle of his nightmare Job said, “I have no ease, I have no quietness; I cannot rest; turmoil has come upon me.” The hallmark of fear, if you are still in denial, is no ease, no quietness, no rest and the feeling that trouble has landed upon you! What is wrong with you? Fear has descended upon you and you need to escape its grasp!

If you want your life to return to you. If you want to experience your former energy and vitality, you have to rid yourself of fear. You have to eradicate it from your life like the plague! You’ve got to clear out both the obnoxious and the subtle. You’ve got to learn to hear its words inside your head and begin the process of refuting them! You must find some promise of God that overcomes that fear and hurl it on the fear thoughts like dry chemical carbon dioxide!  Maybe there is some action you need to take or some consultation you need to attend, but whatever it is, take that action! Then, once you’ve refuted it and coated it with God’s promises and taken action against it, let the damn thing go! Nothing kills off fear faster than your personal decision to refuse it access to your thoughts! Resist the urge to reason it out, it has no reason behind it. Quote the Word and let it go!

What is wrong with you? What’s wrong with the whole world and its quest to recover its former life? You’ve fallen victim to fear in some capacity and it is eating away at your life. Get rid of it. Squash it! Stomp it out! Get back to running in your own race of life, effortlessly toward the things that matter most to you! Your condition isn’t permanent no matter how long you’ve been living this way. You not only should get rid of every fear, but it is your birthright as a human being to do it. Your life without all the fear is your real existence. It’s the way God intended for you to live. Let Him take on all the so-called threats to your existence. Let Him do what He said He would do! No fear…none!

Just some good thoughts…

 

 

 


“I’m in all of it. … I was there in her laugh but I’m also here in your pain. I’m the reason for everything. I am the why. Don’t try to live without me, Howard. Please don’t.” ~ Aimee Moore, Collateral Beauty. Last night I watched a beautiful movie about a man (Will Smith) searching for answers following the death of his child. In his quest, he sought answers from death, time and love. Love’s apt response for life was, “I am the reason for everything. I am the why…” Love will always be the only “why.”

Behind every heartbeat in life is love. It is the life-giving solution to a world lost in emptiness and pain. It is the light that shines in the darkness. It is in the warmth of a sunny day. It refutes fear and is the only motive that is always right. It is sought for by all and obscured for so many. It is ever-present and waiting behind very corner. It can make all it touches beautiful and can soften even the hardest heart. It will always be your only “why.”

For all of the negative events that can happen in your life; for all the things that can go astray; for all of your sorrow and losses and pain, nothing takes away the joy of living more than the absence of love. You began your life full of love, both in receiving and giving. As your mother poured her love into you, you poured your love back into her. As your father’s love flowed through his hand into your hand, your love flowed back from your hand to his hand as well. Living life with love was for you as natural as breathing. If you didn’t receive the love you needed, you found others that would give it to you and you back to them. Love was your only “why.”

Sadly, as you aged, you found that love wasn’t as plentiful in the world. The people you interacted with had hearts that were hardened through difficulty and rejection. And, as they built up walls around their hearts in an attempt at self-preservation, you built up walls around your own heart as well. Like a callous on your hand, your heart became desensitized to love. Many find themselves groping through life looking for the love that already lives inside them, behind self-made barriers. In their numbness, they seek love in alcohol, in recognition, in admiration, in romance after romance. They aspire for wealth, extreme fitness, plastic surgery and anything that promises them the love they’ve been searching for all along, unable to see because of the hardness of their hearts. They forgot love was their only “why.”

Your hardness of heart wasn’t something you intended, but rather a response to your own experience of life. As the world gnawed away at you, you couldn’t perceive what was happening. You internalized its messages of guilt and shame. You accepted responsibility for every weakness and shortcoming and falsely concluded that there was something wrong with you. You became afraid to express who you really are and opted instead to portray yourself as someone else; someone you felt people would love. You carried around your failings like sandbags, refusing to set your own self free. You just couldn’t imagine that you deserved any better. You never understood that your feelings are universal feelings and in even in moments of rejection, the people rejecting you needed the love as much as you did. For all people, love is the only “why…”

Finding the love that you feel has been eluding you, isn’t in doing better, being better or working harder. It’s not a function of discipline or reading books or in finding your soul mate. Love is manifested in giving. True love gives of itself freely and unreservedly, not by pretense, but in truth. You give out your love to other people and to yourself. You give love to yourself by giving yourself a break. You love yourself by deciding to no longer think disparaging thoughts about yourself and accept yourself for who you are. You cease giving love conditions to maintain and love yourself unconditionally. You love yourself by changing your focus from yourself, your stuff, your hangups, your frustrations, to other people’s stuff and hangups and frustrations. You offer them love and unending forgiveness. You speak kindness and tenderness and sweetness and you refuse to speak otherwise. You remind them that love is their only “why!”

As the gentle, spring sunshine and moisture encourages all living things to grow, while melting away the harshness of the long winter, you melt away the hardness of your heart by returning to love. You don’t need a wall to protect your heart, you need a heart that’s full of love. Love is the life-giving source of the universe. God is love. Love climbs the highest mountains and swims the greatest depths. Love chooses the object of its adoration by decision, not a feeling, and thus gives and gives and gives. As you give, you receive back a thousandfold, for love is a generous giver. Love is the only “why.”

Love is all around you, my friends, seeking life-giving expression through you. Don’t refuse love its entrée to your heart, nor stifle its flow from your heart to others. In love you will see again the wonder that is all around you. It is in your grandson’s eyes, your wife’s laughter and your mother’s touch. It’s on the pages of a good book, in the walls of your home and under your feet in your own backyard. It’s in the wag of your old dog’s tail and the embrace of a good friend. Love is forever the only “why” so be sure to notice her collateral beauty…

Love is the reason for everything…

Don’t try to live without it.

Just some good thoughts.

Love the One You Is…

March 15, 2017


Some time ago I read a fantastic book called, “You Are a Badass” by Jen Sincero. It’s one of those books that just gets you and you’re just not sure why. But, alas, she is the inspiration for this blog. Actually she is the inspiration for anyone suffering from an incessant need for outward approval, though the reasons be myriad. This is really a story about you and how you feel about yourself when no-one is watching.

Something tragic has happened to you. You don’t know it’s a tragedy because you’re stuck in the middle of it. You cannot see it or you would stop it immediately. You’re pretty sure you feel good about yourself and there’s nothing specific you can point at to know that something is wrong, but wrong it is. You, like the rest of us, live in a world that very narrowly defines who we should be; how we should look and what we should have achieved, by now. The messages come so often and with such frequency that we can’t even keep track of what’s happening. All we know for sure is that we are too fat, we don’t have enough money, we aren’t successful enough(?), in short that our real self comes up short (pun intended). The unsolvable problem is that we are foolishly measuring our self-worth by a standard set by the world, for the world, falsely promising us fulfillment in that same world.

Your self value has absolutely nothing to do with anything outside of yourself. It is your self value for God’s sake. The one determining your value was always you, is always you and will always be you! It’s not based on a standard set by someone else, how could it be? You are unique in the highest sense of the word. There is no-one the same as you, despite the similarities. What you have to offer and what you bring to the world cannot be offered or brought by anyone but you. But, instead of bringing you and betting on the cards you are holding, you fold before the game gets going. The world, huffing and puffing, looking confident and smiling smugly, quickly talks you out of playing your own hand.  The moment you begin to feel yourself and start making some choices regarding your own direction, you entertain the naysayers and revert to being someone you are not.

As a long-standing member of the “approval seeking” club, I know what you are going through. You’ve learned, like I learned,  that instead of being your real self, it is far easier to be who the people want you to be. You become a master of playing the role and you become loathe to disappoint. But, let me ask you a question. Aren’t you wrongly concluding that the person you are isn’t desirable and opting instead for a safe, approved version. Who can define success for you, but you? Are you happy? Are you content? Do you have value in your own estimation? Your opinion of yourself is the one that matters the most in this world.

What kind of cosmic hoodwinking could convince us to be at odds with our own self, our only self? What kind of trickery and treachery gets a person to think poorly of themselves and to measure themselves by any other factor than themselves? Can you even see the insanity of thinking that way? If you, my friend, are not actually for you, who the hell ever will be? If you aren’t voting for you in the contest, how can you win? How can you achieve or succeed or find happiness or become fulfilled if you aren’t even choosing yourself? I mean, man oh man, you can’t even choose yourself? What happened to you that you could be so opposed to your own self?

The root of this self-destructive behavior can always be tracked back to guilt, shame, condemnation and generally feeling not so good about yourself. But again, the behavior is self-destructive meaning you, yourself are cooperating with the destruction. You bought in. You agreed. Somewhere along the line something or someone convinced you that your mistakes, your humanity; your susceptibility to error wasn’t based on something outside of you, but rather pointed to something wrong with you internally. In accepting that fallacy, you started to become your own worst enemy. Instead of leaving error and evil and bad influence with its originator, you bought into the lie that you originated the troubles, yourself. And for that, you are being wickedly deceived. None of us would knowingly choose pain or difficulty or trouble. Instead we get pulled or pushed off track. We’re human for goodness sakes and we all make mistakes. Once you have veered off course and made the mistake, it’s in the books. You cannot change it or alter it or influence it. It’s done and it’s over with. It only lives on in your mind and even that requires your cooperation. In a sense, you cooperated with wrong by doing whatever you did and you continue to cooperate with wrong by harboring your mistakes in your mind. Any professional athlete knows that in order to remain a professional, you must move immediately to the next moment. Athletic catastrophe follows any memory of errors made.

You may not be a professional athlete, but you are a professional of your own life. Well, you should be! Somewhere along the line, you have to choose you. You have to cast your all important vote for yourself if your ever going to approach the life you want to live. How much time do you have on this earth? How many chances do you get? You owe it to yourself to get on your own side. Stop playing a role and just be. Vote for yourself. Have confidence in yourself. Be 100% for yourself. If you can get there or even close to there, you will, for the first time in your life, find out something incredible and amazing. You’ll find out that you do have something to offer and that you are indispensable. You’ll discover that the thing you bring, no-one else can bring and bring it you will. As you bring it, you’ll reinforce who you are and feel fulfillment in epic proportions. This is authentic living. This the truth!

Love yourself, trust yourself, believe in yourself.

Love the one you is…

Just some good thoughts…

 

 

 

 


Chapter Eight

The Fruit of the Spirit

For years and years people have spoken of the fruit of the spirit as if it actually referred to the fruit of good works. There’s certainly nothing wrong with good works, in fact the reason you have the spirit from God is so that you can perform good works. Or, I might say perform the best works! I believe the confusion comes from another verse of scripture that uses this same phrase. The verse says:

(For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) Ephesians 5:9

As it’s stated here it certainly would lead you to believe that the fruit of the spirit comes from goodness, righteousness and truth. However, the word for “spirit” in the text is actually the word for light. It’s the fruit of the light we are talking about here. This is simple to research for yourself or by even looking at other versions of the Bible. But here in the book of Galatians, the fruit of the spirit refers to the end result of cultivating your spirit. In order for anything to produce fruit it must first be cultivated. If you decide to plant yourself an apple tree, there are some steps you have to perform before you can actually enjoy the fruit. First you have to plant your tree in good ground. You have to prepare the ground and you can’t just plant the thing anywhere! After you’ve planted it, you have to care for it on a consistent basis, day after day. If you neglect it for a period of time, it may still produce some fruit, but the process will be hindered. However, if you diligently care for your tree, providing the best nutrients and water, eventually it is going to produce some fruit. And, you already know that the fruit doesn’t just show up overnight. That would be very nice, but it just doesn’t work that way. You have to continue with your care of the tree until the fruit appears. Even then, there’s a maturing that takes place before the fruit tree really kicks into high gear producing more fruit than you can handle. At that point, you have to find some friends and neighbors with which to share your bountiful crop. Pretty soon you become known in the neighborhood for your abundant apple crop!

The holy spirit living inside you follows the same process, with one exception. No matter how much you neglect your gift, it is never going to die off. It will just continue to be dormant until you start to provide it with the required care. God’s seed in you, like any fruit yielding tree, has contained within it all that you will ever need to produce the fruit. Therefore, your job is to cultivate your seed. You cultivate fruit by utilizing the manifestations of holy spirit, namely speaking in tongues. Speaking in tongues, day by day, builds up your spirit and at a certain point begins to produce fruit in your life. However, the fruit produced isn’t limited to apples or pears. The fruit of the spirit is everything you have ever yearned for in your life. It represents the most important things for a human being, necessary to thrive and to flourish! And, it can all be yours by making the decision to manifest the gift inside you. How incredibly simple and misunderstood this is in our world. By confusing the fruit of the spirit with the fruit of good works, people think they must somehow become good enough before God will bless them with these fantastic realities. God does not bless you because of how good you are. God blesses you when you decide to believe Him. When you finally get around to believing Him, you begin to do exactly what He tells you to do and you stop doing everything the world is always telling you to do. It is impossible for you to ever earn God’s blessings in your life! How good could you ever become? I have spent some time traversing that slippery slope, and trust me when I tell you, it is a painful, losing endeavor! You are not going to arrive at some place of ‘nirvana’ whereby you always do what you are supposed to do. You have the nature of sin in your blood. No matter how disciplined, how faithful, how sincere you are in your personal efforts to earn God’s goodness, you will never, ever, ever arrive at that place. Instead, like most of the “earn your blessings” folks, your end result will be nothing but condemnation and pain, coupled with critical judgment of yourself first and then other people. Your heart will become hard and calloused because the backstory to that behavior isn’t God convicting you of sin, but rather the adversary’s accusation being permitted to hold a place in your life. While you are feeling so religious and righteous, you will be completely off track from God and His love for you.  That influence controlling your life, and if you are honest, making you feel miserable, isn’t from God.

The things of God are always freely given to you when you believe, end of story! If you have ever felt the sting of condemnation and guilt, then you know it is not a motivator for your good. It is the exact opposite. It just beats you down and takes away your confidence (believing) in God. What you need from God is His forgiveness and guaranteed assurance that He has made you who you are and that by your own self you can do nothing! Understanding that finally liberates you from sin, which is the point of the whole book of Romans.[1] You are now, because of what God has done for you, free to love; free to give; free to serve. You are completely, completely, completely set free by God because of the accomplishments of His son for your life. Your response? Speak in tongues abundantly which is described as “giving thanks well!”[2]

As you speak in tongues faithfully, day by day, as God’s liberated person, you are cultivating the fruit of the spirit into your life. When the fruit shows up is God’s business. Your business is to faithfully cultivate the fruit. So, what is the fruit of the spirit?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23

Another way to say this is, what is the result of faithfully manifesting the gift? You get to enjoy your fruit! It is important to recognize that these fruit are an end result. They are not something you work hard to do; they are something that God blesses you with for acting on what He said to act on! This is a crucially important distinction! These fruit are a blessing from God to be enjoyed, not requirements for your behavior. For example, if you experiencing the love of God as a part of the fruit of the spirit, you will naturally share that indescribable love with other people. It will be there for you as a cultivated fruit. It is not a behavior you must strive to earn; it is a fruit you get to enjoy. Are you beginning to see how awesome this really is? This is your access point to the sweetest things in life. Your only requirement, if you want to use that word, is to enjoy and share your abundance of fruit. The peace of God that passes all human understanding, can be yours as a cultivated fruit. In that sublime experience of God’s peace, you will find that you really don’t need anything else in life to make you happy. You will be totally and completely at rest on the inside. How many people have even experienced this once in their lives? Well, here it is and it is yours for the taking. Speak in tongues much in your private prayer life!

You may have noticed that there are nine fruit of the spirit listed in Galatians. They are listed in the singular. In other words, the nine aspects are all part of one fruit, like a cluster of grapes. The fruit, like the nine manifestations, are placed where they are for a specific purpose. Also, like the manifestations, they are packaged in three groups of three. Within the three clusters, they follow a distinct pattern. The pattern is 1.) activates, 2.) encourages, 3.) guards. The first in the pattern activates you. It is a starting point which motivates you (internally) to act. The experience of love, for example, motivates you to take action. All loving is giving.[3] In that wonderful love, you will have a burning zeal to do things for other people. No-one will have to motivate you to do it. You will already ardently want to do it!

The next in the pattern encourages you. In a sense it inspires you to continue in something. When you feel encouraged, you persist in your endeavor because of your encouragement. The experience of joy, for example, provides you the encouragement you need to see something through no matter how hard it may be to do. Jesus, for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame and is now set down at the right hand of the throne of God (triumphant)![4] Joy is something that occurs on the inside. There are many things that may make us happy, like pleasant circumstances, but joy transcends all outside conditions and is something that takes place within us. The result of walking in the light, remaining in fellowship with God, produces fullness of joy.[5] We are encouraged to continue in the light because of how wonderful the experience of joy is to our souls.

The third in the pattern, that which completes the cycle, is that which guards you or guards the results. John 10:10 states that the thief (the enemy) comes not but for to steal and to kill and to destroy.[6] Your adversary has no other function other than his three-fold ministry mentioned here. Once you have gotten born again, he can no longer destroy you as you have received the gift of eternal life. However, he can still destroy the rewards you may have received had you chosen to walk by the spirit in your life.  In similar fashion, he cannot ultimately kill you as you will get up one day when the Lord returns, even if your life ended prematurely by one of his devices. Thus his primary mission against the believer will always be to steal something from you. He steals away your happiness. He steals your energy and your enthusiasm for life. He steals God’s blessings from you by getting you caught up into wrong doctrines and wrong beliefs. He steals your confidence in God which in turn defeats your believing; with your believing being the only way to overcome his attacks and manifest the more than abundant life. And, the adversary is very good at stealing! In order to receive the things of God, it is necessary for you to guard the results. You have to guard against his devices which seek to talk you out of the truth before you get the results. Thus, peace is an example of a guarding fruit. In the Bible, the peace of God is that which informs you if you are on track. When you feel peaceful about a decision, you can be assured your decision is right on. However, if you feel troubled about something, the agitation you are experiencing serves as an indicator that something is amiss; something needs to be changed or dealt with properly. In this way peace serves as the umpire of your heart. If peace rules (umpires) you are safe! If peace doesn’t rule (umpire) you are out![7] Often you may feel anxiety (fear) about something. God tells you not to be anxious about anything.[8] The agitating feeling of being anxious simply informs your mind, not that you must prepare for something dreadful, but rather that you need to do something with your thoughts. You need to change your thoughts about the situation. You’ll know that you have been successful when your peace returns. This is how the peace of God guards your heart. When at peace you can rest assured that your believing is right on with God’s Word and that you can continue looking forward to a good result. However, if you persist in your anxiety and your fear, the end result is always loss in some capacity. The loss you suffer, which is the adversary stealing from you, came about because you did not successfully guard the result you were after. Thus peace functions as a fruit that guards your results. The nine fruit of the spirit, in their respective groups of three, all follow this pattern.

  1. Love – activates you to do something.
  2. Joy – encourages you to persist in something.
  3. Peace – guards the results that you are after.
  1. Longsuffering (patience) – activates you to do something.
  2. Gentleness (kindness) – encourages you to persist in something.
  3. Goodness (being upright in heart) – guards the results you are after.
  1. Faith (believing) – activates you to do something.
  2. Meekness – encourages you to persist in something.
  3. Temperance (self-control) guards the results you are after.

Pretty fantastic, wouldn’t you say? These fruit are all available to you as you cultivate the gift by speaking in tongues much in your private prayer life. You have the opportunity to have these treasures by one simple act of believing on your part. You don’t have to work hard to finally feel God’s love, you simply receive it as a result. You have no requirement to roughly discipline yourself to gain self-control, you receive it easily as a fruit. You don’t have to pray for more patience to help people, you can just use the ability after receiving your fruit. Can you see how revolutionary this is for you? By believing God and faithfully persisting in speaking in tongues, these fantastic qualities just show up in your life. Oh the depth of the wisdom of God! He already knows how hard you’re trying and He made a better, far easier way for you to receive.

The fruit of the spirit have been referred to as the mark of quality in your life. If you want to measure your progress as a believing believer, all you have to do is tally up how many of these blessings you are enjoying in your life. This certainly isn’t a competition with other believers, but rather a gauge for you to determine if you are doing it right. I think you would have to agree that if you were experiencing even one aspect of the fruit listed in Galatians, it would be well worth the price of admission! My prayer is that someday you will finally recognize that the source of all goodness and blessing in your life is God and that God is good only, at all times and in every situation! Once this reality finally dawns on you, I know that you will have, once and for all, let go of all of your own good works and decided rather to freely accept all that God has freely given to you. Speak in tongues like a house-a-fire! You’ll thank me (and God mostly) when your fruit appears and then it is yours to enjoy fully!

[1] Romans 6:22

[2] 1st Corinthians 14:17

[3] John 3:16

[4] Hebrews 12:2

[5] 1st John 1:4-7

[6] John 10:10

[7] Colossians 3:15

[8] Philippians 4:6

The Indecision Trap…

February 13, 2017


aaeaaqaaaaaaaabfaaaajduzmdzhotc1lwexztutndhjmy05nwvjltfkytdmmwjhnzfinqHave you ever had that nagging feeling that there is something else you need to do? I’m not talking about the time you left the iron on or forgot to close the garage door. I’m talking about the larger decisions you make; the ones that define your life and your contribution to the world. All of us have that special something that we alone can give and that won’t come into evidence unless we give it. Well, that feeling has besieged me lately and seemed worthy of further exploration…

None of us climb the hill to success without first making a decision. Before anything worthwhile can take place in your life; before any real overcoming; before any victory over the things that formerly held you down, of necessity comes a heartfelt, fully persuaded decision. Absent a decision, your life will continue to flounder around somewhere between distraction and mediocrity. Sure, you’ll be very busy and have little time for extra activities, but you will end up missing the mark; the only mark that ever truly mattered. So, with all that is at stake, why don’t we make the decision?

One slippery tentacle in the indecision trap is the old familiar “waiting for a feeling!” It seems in America, the land of feelings, we’ve all been mesmerized by the promise of strong passionate feelings clearly marking the way that we should go; some grand purpose that causes our eyes to well with tears. Some folks call it inspiration and while we all need to be inspired, we might be surprised to learn that feelings follow our decisions and not the other way around. The stronger your decision, the more powerful your emotions that accompany it. While you are so patiently waiting for your ship to come in, your ship is out at sea waiting for you to decide! Decisions don’t need to be accompanied by feelings, they just need to be adamantly decided!

Often indecision appears not because we cannot see the value of making a decision, but because we are stuck with too many different choices. We would like this and we would like that. This would make us happy and shoot, so would that! Remember when you were looking for a new job? Chances are you broadened your options to sort of increase your chances for success. You started enumerating things that “could work.” At its core, this also is a trap, albeit a subtle one. The odds are hugely in favor of you getting what you want the VERY most! Otherwise, you scatter your forces on a giant dartboard hoping to stick somewhere with something that could work… And because you aren’t God and don’t know the future possibilities contained in different circumstances, you certainly make application broadly, but in your heart you hold fast to what would be the best for you. Minus all of the fear and doubt, you know what is the best, because you know you, don’t you?

Now, there is one area in decision-making that encompasses all of the rest of the tentacles and maybe the mouth full of sharp teeth as well. At its root, indecision is always based on fear. Let’s say you know you have something special just waiting to be capitalized. You know when it comes to such and such, you got it going on! Yet, you don’t take action. You vacillate on making the decision. You rationalize with, maybe I won’t be successful and it is far easier to just keep quasi-planning and dreaming and scheming without ever really making a choice. If you don’t make a wholehearted decision, you can delay and delay and delay. Put it off. Maybe next year. Perhaps when I get this other thing worked out first. After I’ve finished such and such. One day when I have enough… (money, free time, energy, lack of stress, warm weather, ideal settings etc., etc.). This is the definition of indecision. It feels (there’s that word again) so much more safe. It’s like having one foot on the bridge and one foot in the water. It’s hedging your bets. It is doubt, hesitation, wavering and vacillating. It feels painless but it guarantees you one thing and one thing only. You aint going to get what you really want to get! It’s not going to happen! It aint in the cards! In order to win in your life, in your way, with your own results, you have to either get all the way in the water or all the way on the damn bridge. Don’t you see it?

When it comes to this decision-making process, there is a great possibility of you making the wrong choice. Well, so what! Indecision is also a choice and unlike a wrong choice it won’t provide you with the learning you need to make the right choice! Just imagine how great your life could be if you made a habit of deciding what you want and by God, sticking to that choice! Picture your life being lived on your terms, with you being the leading actor! Have you ever watched some movie star or famous athlete that seems to have it all and secretly thought, I wish that was my life. Well, I submit the only difference between your life and their’s is that somewhere along the line they made some choices that you, heretofore, haven’t yet made…

The good life isn’t reserved for the lucky or the fortunate or the blessed. The good life is waiting for the people who make decisions and there’s no limit on the choices you can make. Don’t spend another day lost in indecision and fear of the future. Get busy designing your ideal life, then make some decisions about how it is going to turn out. Don’t wait and see. Don’t wait on God, God is waiting on you! Decide!

Just some good thoughts…