The Absence of Happiness


The word absence on missing puzzle piece. Business concept.

Every person living in one capacity or another is on a quest for happiness. Happiness is the hallmark of all human beings. Absent happiness man merely exists. Yet for all that a man seeks for he often fails to eliminate the one thing that hinders and stymies his happiness. He thinks that happiness is something to be pursued rather than something that appears once the obstacles to its attainment are removed. That which obscures and blocks happiness is always fear; fear lived and entertained in the hearts of men. Fear is an illusion and once the illusion has had its way, happiness is lost and will not return until the fear is overcome. Fear is the absence of happiness.

Life is to be lived in motion. As long as a man or a woman keep moving forward, their happiness will continue to appear encouraging them to continue. In contrast, fear works to slow one’s progress and brings men’s lives to a standstill. Fear removes the energy from life by stealing. It is always an illusion, a threat and impedance to the things people really want in their lives. Fear is a parasite leeching enthusiasm and joy from its host. Because it is not real it can only work when people give it energy. Thus entertained it feeds off the one indulging it. People are worn out by fears and worries more so than any hard work or effort. The emptiness and futility a man feels inside comes not because the pursuit of life is futile, but rather because fear causes it to appear so. Fear paints a despairing view of the future which further serves to steal away life. The reason a person feels they have nothing to look forward to in life is because they have believed the illusion. Otherwise what would stop a man or a woman from expecting good things? Fear is also an expectation, but an expectation of bad things instead of the good. The sure sign that fear is holding sway in your heart is the noticeable lack of energy and vitality in your life. Life and enthusiasm return when the fear has been excavated from your mind. There is not a need to do more, be more or pursue more, but instead a requirement to rid yourself of the impediment. Fear, your fear, is the cause for your absence of happiness. Fear is the cause for the absence of happiness in all people.

Fear, the enemy’s greatest weapon, works by deception. In order to overtake your free will, it has to deceive you into cooperating with it. Even a child knows the importance of dealing with various fears as soon as they show up. Children immediately seek an escape from it. Yet adults, presumably because they think they know better, find ways to work around it or dull themselves to its effects. People do all kinds of things to escape from fear except the one thing they need to do which is to eliminate it! People anesthetize themselves with alcohol, drugs, sex, food; anything that offers promise to take away the effects, if even only for a short while. Fear runs the systems of the world and controls the world by fear. These systems, these bulwarks of error, keep men slaves their entire lifetimes. If you want to force a man or a woman to do something, make them afraid. Promote the things that scare them then offer them an antidote which will never take away fear but rather encourage its existence and power over people. Fear is neither natural nor normal, but we act as if it is. There was a time when you were not afraid until you learned to think otherwise. Fear is always learned either by ignorance or by wrong teaching. Remember fear is an illusion, a lie, a falsehood being palmed-off as truth. As such it cannot exist on its own. The only way to counter fear is by learning the truth. The truth brings light and clarity into the situation. You would not fear walking off the edge of a cliff in the daytime, but in the darkness the odds increase greatly. In the same way, once you have light in your mind it becomes much easier to see the fear for what it really is; a groundless, empty threat. Fear is the absence of life; real life.

As you consider these words, you may feel as if they do not apply to you. You think this way because fear has such a stronghold on the way we think that we often can no longer even recognize its existence. Yet the acid test, the true barometer is found by how you live day by day. Are your days full of enthusiasm and energy with boundless possibilities or are your days filled with boredom and declining motivation and negative expectations? Do you wake in the morning excited for the day and what treasures it might bring or do you awaken the same way you always do with little to look forward to, tired of life and its apparently endless struggles? Boredom and listlessness have their roots in fear. Fear puts a cap on your happiness and your ability to find the things that excite you. Similarly, endless worry about things is never benign as worry slows your progress and brings your life to a standstill. Show me a person besieged with boredom for living, finding ways to pass the time and I’ll show you a person that has too much worry and fear in their heart. Absent the fear and worry they would see life for what it is, a precious commodity to be enjoyed and relished. Fear has many levels and a multitude of faces, but its results are always the same, less life, less possibility, less happiness to those in bondage to it. Fear is the absence of possibility.

As with many of the problems with which we encounter, fear being our number one problem, the solution is often found when we finally get honest with ourselves and with God. If your life is miserable for any reason at this present moment, fear is involved in some way. Just get honest and admit it. All of us have fear at one time or another and all of us have been held captive by its claims. There’s no shame in admitting we are afraid. The shame enters in when we allow fear to continue controlling us and defeating us when help is available. Once we finally get honest with ourselves and then with God (who knows anyway), we can find the solutions we need in every case. God would not tell us so many times to “fear not” if He did not also have the answers we need and the power to bring them to pass. With God there is nothing to fear in this life and once we finally escape its clutches we find life, our life and happiness quickly return. In your sincere quest for happiness and enjoyment in life, do the one thing you need to do to ensure its continuance. Abolish and eliminate fear whenever and wherever it appears. Remove it from your heart, that great citadel for your life and find again the life you once enjoyed as a child. Once the fear is gone there is no absence of happiness remaining.

Just some good thoughts…

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The Man in the Mirror…


screen-shot-2014-12-17-at-9-57-47-pmThere is a famous poem by Dale Wimbrow called, ‘The Guy in the Glass” and there is a famous song by Michael Jackson called, “Man in the Mirror” both focused on the judgments we assign to ourselves. The reason both works are so important is because their messages point us back to things we think about ourselves, indeed the judgments we conclude as true about who we are. The problem with our self-judgments is that they are typically not true, but rather a compendium of other people’s judgments we have assumed as our own. Judgment runs rampant in the world today. People are quick to point out your flaws because they have been trained to focus on their own flaws. People judge your socioeconomic status, your standing and station in life (i.e. whether you are above or below them), your acceptability or reasons for rejection, your attractiveness quotient, your body shape and size, whether you are good or evil (as an all or nothing proposition) and finally your value as a human being. In this, you and I are submerged and swallowed up in judgment day by day whether we recognize it or not. Each days holds an opportunity or multiple opportunities for people to take shots at you either in cruelty and meanness or disguised and wrapped up in humor. Not only do you become the butt of the joke, but worse an assault is being made on who you are. For this reason it is incumbent upon us to learn how to make proper judgments about ourselves and even more so, how to properly discern and reject others’ judgments of us. Thus, the judgments of the man or the woman in the mirror become paramount. 

Since we were children we have been subjected to other people’s opinions about who we are. It began with our parents assigning to us whether we were “good” or “bad” instead of teaching us how to behave in a good way as opposed to behaving in bad or wrong ways. But, regardless of a child’s behavior, the parent’s responsibility is to shape the child’s belief in his or herself in a positive light. If behaviors alone defined who we were, we would all fall short. Belief systems are formed very early on and you as a parent hold the most weight in determining how your child will judge him or herself. Negative patterns formed early in youth will be difficult to excavate. Add to this the socialization process of schools and grade based rankings from teachers, coupled with the judgments from the other children, generally worsening in middle and high school and you have the perfect recipe for insecure adults. This all happens because it is the pattern of the systems of the world. It is certainly not God’s way. Parents therefore have a serious responsibility in terms of what they say and how they treat their children. Words from other people, especially those we love and trust carry a disproportionate weight in terms of determining our self-worth and value in our own eyes and heart. 

Once we are grown up so to speak we enter society and the workforce where the negative conditioning worsens and accelerates. People use words like missiles to denigrate other people typically because that is how they have been trained to think and thus speak. The most critical people; those who judge everyone and everything, are the same people that judge themselves with similar or worse judgments. Most folks, behind the scenes of course, are brutally cruel with themselves. They pick themselves apart all day long and it’s no wonder they react so angrily when they meet with criticism from other people that matches what they have been thinking about themselves all along. The problem isn’t so much the other people as we are all in the same boat, but rather the things we think and conclude about ourselves. Sadly, we are the ones that are accepting and believing other people’s judgments and we are the ones rehearsing those ideas in our minds and hearts.

“For it isn’t your Father, or Mother, or Wife,
Who judgement upon you must pass.
The feller whose verdict counts most in your life
Is the guy staring back from the glass.” (Excerpt)

You and I have to learn how to think differently about ourselves. Our childhood is long past and no matter what we were subjected to during those formative years, now that we have grown up, we can and must change those beliefs. Beliefs form by the things we tell ourselves and the things we feed our minds. God didn’t say you were fat, the world did! When other people judge you, they do so from their own vantage point heavily influenced by their own thoughts about themselves. God tells us in His Word not to judge other people. We can certainly judge behaviors, but it is not up to us to determine another person’s value. How could you? How could I? We only know what we see and hear and most likely that only represents a tiny snippet of another person’s life. So, don’t put so much weight on what other people say and think about you. They have no right to judge you even if they are your family or the people you hold most dear. They have no right to do so and when they do so they are merely cooperating with evil by being unaware of what is behind all of the negative judgment and criticism. The world, the systems of the world have a plan, namely to make a man or a woman less than the beautiful creation God has made them to be. Evil seeks to diminish man, created in the image of God, by accusing him and judging him (through people, media and social media) until he, the man, levels those same judgments upon himself. In this we cheat and rob ourselves of the glorious existence God has prepared for us. We are contradicting who God says we really are. 

The spiritual reality behind negative self-judgment is very clear. To counter this God has given us His Word. His Word explains how He gave us His only begotten son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who died to pay for every single thing that was ever wrong with you and me. In this God once and for all eliminated the need for us to live in perpetual judgment concerning ourselves. He simply laid all of our sins (past, present and future), all of our human-nature flaws, every mistake, shortcoming and failure on him thereby doing for us what we could never do for ourselves. We judge ourselves by this standard and by this standard alone. When Jesus Christ said it was finished, he meant it. In his life, death and resurrection, he forever freed us from the tyranny and cruelty of pervasive negative self-judgment, authored by the enemy of mankind, the devil. We no longer need to spend our every waking second evaluating, analyzing and judging our every move. We no longer need to be subject to the endless judgments of man, but instead rely solely on the judgment of God, who has (past tense) in Christ Jesus made us forevermore righteous in His sight. 

My friends, you have to learn the truth about who you are and with that understanding begin to view yourself in a different light. God did this for you and me to help us to overcome. Outside of what God did by His grace we can never be free of judgment. Do not allow people to make negative judgments about who you are and at minimum, if you cannot confront it, stop listening to it and embracing it. How silly for you and me to cleave to the weakness and inability we had when we were children.  How foolish it becomes to carry around all of those myths you developed long ago concerning who you are. How ridiculous it is to think that you cannot trust yourself and your own judgments in life’s circumstances, thereby concluding you are always wrong and desperately need the approval and blessing of other people in order to pursue your life’s dreams. What you think about yourself and who you think you are carries an immeasurable weight in determining how your life will turn out. Start seeing yourself as God sees you and quit relying on your own limited thoughts and the limited thoughts of those around you. You are God’s masterpiece and that is a verdict worth holding onto. You are God’s best. Tell the man in the mirror that! 

Just some good thoughts… 

 

Mental Health Musings…


mental_health_jpg-10Mental health has become a popular topic nowadays. People are becoming more and more aware of the importance of their mental health and how it positively or negatively affects their lives. It might surprise you to know that as long as there have been human beings, mankind has endured mental health problems. As thinking beings and the only thinking beings as we know it, man is forever impacted by the thoughts he chooses and the thoughts he entertains. To separate the mental health issues that plague mankind and his thoughts serves only to make man a victim and not someone that has control over his thoughts and thus his mental health. A healthy mind must be fed healthy thoughts and the thoughts that contradict health always lead to sickness, first in the mind and later in the body. Have mental health issues got you down? If so, listen to my mental health musings and see what you think.

As free-will beings with complete free agency over what we choose to think about, I think you would agree that most folks’ thinking is downright awful. It’s not negative here and there, it’s awful, if not cruel. We berate ourselves, judge ourselves, analyze our every move and generally pick ourselves apart. We are often our own worst enemy. We focus on everything that might be wrong with us. We chastise ourselves for not being thin or attractive enough or sexy or handsome or pretty. We level unfair and unjust criticism regarding anything and everything. Instead of embracing who we are and who God made us to be, we look for flaws and imperfections. And that encompasses our flesh only. We focus on the things we don’t like about ourselves or at minimum the things we have foolishly decided we don’t like about ourselves. It never dawned on us that all of the negativity we have assigned to ourselves did not come from us first, but originated elsewhere. No man or woman naturally dislikes themselves. Instead, they have been talked into those thoughts by forces seeking only to steal and to kill and to destroy. This kind of thinking is sick and only serves to further the sickness. We wonder why we have so many mental health issues yet never consider the cruelty we level upon ourselves day by day. No one forces us to think the way we do, but instead we are choosing what and how we think. We cooperate with it and often without a fight. If you are not for you, how can you expect anything else? How could you ever win in a world that opposes you if you do not support your own self. Yet onward you march clinging to falsehoods and lies because someone told you so. Are you really that bad? Or is it something you have been persuaded of either by public opinion, or social media or those people closest to you?

If you want to have a healthy body, you have to choose the things that promote good health. You cannot carry around loads of excess weight, nor can you feed your body poisons or substances that make you sick. To get your body healthy you have to take the steps that promote good health. If you don’t do anything, nothing will happen. That doesn’t make you a victim, it means you decided not to exert the effort required. Similarly, your mental health requires the same level of attention. It does matter what you think about. Carrying around the thousandfold baggage of yesterday impedes your progress. Feeding on angry thoughts, frustrated thoughts, critical or condemnatory thoughts doesn’t make you better, it makes you ill. You have to change what it is you have been feeding on. What are you watching on TV? What information have you been digesting into your soul? What you read, what you see, what you look at does matter. That’s not to say that all of TV is bad or everything you see online is evil. But, you still have to pay attention. Most of the deception that occurs happens day by day during mindless and empty thinking. If you aren’t willing to direct your thinking, something else will. Change what it is you are thinking. Stop opposing yourself. Stop cooperating in opposing yourself by drawing terrible conclusions and thinking the worst about yourself. You are the only you, you have and to constantly participate in opposing yourself is crazy and makes you crazy.

As I muse on the importance of mental health, as someone with a similar mind and similar tendencies, I can’t help but to lament on how easily you and I have been led to to the wrong assumptions concerning ourselves. Not everyone cares about what is right and in doing right, so how insane is it for us to find ourselves unworthy as members of the group that cares? Surely something else is involved, something that seeks that which is wrong over that which is right. How slow we have been to realize what is behind that persuasion. You and I are in a fight and we can only win when we make the effort to think as God says to think. Contrary thoughts and contrary feelings are no guarantee for what is true. We are all imperfect creatures and God does not require perfection from us. Instead He requires that we control the one thing we can control and that is our thoughts. Think healthy thoughts. Allow yourself to be a human and as such experience your humanity. When you are wrong it is always apparent. Learn from it and let it go; for goodness sakes, let it go. Every wrong thing you and I ever did we did because of the influence of evil and we would not have done so otherwise. To allow evil, the source of our errors, to accuse of the evil it engendered is the ultimate deception. Likewise, to persist in thoughts that serve only to oppose us, coming from us and directed to us is insane. They are your thoughts and they are my thoughts. We can control them and we must control them if we want to protect our mental health.

It really does not matter where you have been or what you have done in the past. It doesn’t even matter what you did yesterday. What matters is what you choose to do with your mind in the moments called now. If you want to have a healthy mind you have to feed it healthy thoughts. Quit dragging around in the misty flats and get up on the high road. Stop feeling sorry for yourself or lamenting your life choices up to this point. God functions in the now and can help you in the now. Take control of that unruly mind of yours and see how quickly things turn around for the better. It is your mind and it is your life. These are mental health musings worth thinking about. Live who God made you to be.

Just some good thoughts…

Barking Up the Wrong Tree…


00600640_1cfab8e5705ade4c407fcd6b966006c0_arc614x376_w735_us1One thing we all have in common as human beings is the desire to find things that make us happy. If you think about, we are all on a quest for happiness. And, far too many people seem to be unable to find it. It is probably the most written about subject in the whole world. Some folks think happiness exists as a direct result of their financial means. Others claim it is the direct result of extreme poverty and stripping yourself from all the entanglements of the world. Some say it is found in nature, while others want to experience it in the city. No matter where you find it, one thing we all agree on is our need to have it. So, when it comes to happiness, are you barking up the wrong tree?

The world we live in today or maybe those things behind the world seem to be well aware of our heartfelt desire to find happiness. As such, the world feeds us endless ideas about where and how we might get that happiness. Television shows promote a world where flawless beauty can be manufactured and purchased in order to “create” the perfect type. And once the perfect type is obtained it may be used to build incredible wealth through product offerings and appearances promising the same ability to obtain perfection. The stars live a dream life in dreamy locations complete with full time make up artists and staff that exist only to serve the needs of the exalted ones. They fly on private jets to exotic locations on a whim with unlimited resources that never run dry. And while these programs do provide a level of entertainment, they also paint a false portrayal of happiness. Like movie stars, it is a world of make believe. It sends a faulty message that promises something it does not actually provide. That is not to say that everyone in these situations is wrong or evil, but rather that the message portrayed to the world (by the world) is not true. True happiness is not found through fame and fortune, though the messages seek to convince us otherwise. What the world offers will always be found a counterfeit. It is a surface expectation that produces only a superficial result. It is barking up the wrong tree.

Social media feeds us an endless array of images designed to make us seek the wrong things. Money, or the love of it, rules the world. We define success primarily by the amount of money and subsequent influence an individual has been able to obtain. We conclude rich people have “made it.” We think that money can solve any problem. We say, he who has the gold makes the rules! But, sadly, money alone is never the answer. The answer is being able to get our needs met. We do actually need money and I’m guessing that we likely need more money than we might actually have. Having enough money and having the discretion to make choices or engage in certain activities is vitally important to our happiness. No choice is not happy. Scraping along in the world unable to get the things we want is not happiness. Spending our time doing things we loathe in order to get money is not happiness. Having every need that comes up becoming a catastrophe due to not having enough money is not happiness. Thus, we actually do need money and maybe more than we think. But, money alone will at some point cause us to fall short of our real happiness. Seeking to be rich is always barking up the wrong tree.

Happiness is not something to be obtained, it is something to be enjoyed in our hearts. The perfect partner will not be able to make you happy unless you are already happy yourself. The perfect job, the perfect house, the perfect circumstances, the perfect relationship all work only to produce a temporary happiness because they do not contain the actual essence of happiness. Happiness is always the result of having your needs met and as your needs change so will your requirements for happiness. Whenever you rely on another person or obtaining certain things in order to find happiness, you will sooner or later come up short. You work so hard to obtain the perfect house and then what? Once you get what you so ardently desired, then what? Happiness, enduring happiness has to be much deeper than that. Life has to be more than acquiring things and gathering up the most toys before you die. The pursuit of happiness by trying to get stuff is barking up the wrong tree.

God as the creator of life has built into all of us a desire to find out about Him. Whether we be simply curious or spiritually starving, all of us have a desire to know Him. In our hearts, we instinctively know there is more to this life than we may have imagined. We seek a universal goodness that guided our hearts when we were children. We dream of a life, an existence, that is totally secure and taken care of and is lacking nothing. We long for the carefree days of our youth when we were truly happy. We want the liberty and the freedom to do as we please. We want life where we do not have to be afraid and can be sure we will be safe and protected no matter what. In fact, many folks seek wealth in order to experience this reality only to find out it doesn’t work. We as a people have never connected the dots that He (God) is our happiness. We have been looking for love in all the wrong places. We have foolishly tried to provide for ourselves what only He could provide for us. We worry and fret and seek and strive to find safety and peace and rest. We have never considered that we are trying to find Him in material things or in money or in things. Even our relationships are centered in Him and without Him cannot be fulfilled. He is all that we could ever need and He is the solution to every thing that has ever gone wrong, the answer to every question. We miss Him because the world has convinced us otherwise and our experience of life has confirmed it. But, what if we are wrong? What if we have barked up the wrong trees long enough that we know something is missing? What if our system of trial and error has exhausted us and we have sought yet not been able to find? What if our happiness and blessedness in this life comes from Him and from Him alone? God as our Father wants to teach us and help us and guide us. He wants us to be happy with a happiness that is not dependent upon circumstances or favorable conditions. He wants to be our all in all in every conceivable way. To know Him is to love Him and He is the first place for which to expend our efforts. He is the only tree.

Just some good thoughts…

Can You See It?


believeI often reference the process of believing God when I write my blogs and I began to wonder if people really understood what it means to believe God. Believing is one of the most simple, natural things in the world. It is not some magical mind activity that we employ when we have a need, nor is it the power of the mind which some erroneously purport. Instead believing is a prerequisite to receiving anything from God. In fact, it is the necessary ingredient in order to bring any good things into our lives. People believe everyday and remain unaware of it. If believing is the key to receiving, then it behooves us all to learn how to believe. In this I ask, can you see it?

Believing is something that all humans do and the result of it can be found in the circumstances of our lives. People that expect to prosper, do prosper despite their upbringing, their education or social status. People that have escaped extreme poverty have done so because they believed they could. Believing is a principle that cannot be broken. Fear is also a form of believing, but it is believing in reverse. Instead of an expectation of blessings and goodness, fear is an expectation for negative things to happen. Fear only produces negative results. What you fear in your heart will manifest itself in your life. If you are afraid of a disease, not just wary of it or uncomfortable about it’s possibility, but truly afraid of it and you incubate those thoughts long enough, you will get that which you have greatly feared, not because God doesn’t love you, but because the principle of believing has already been set. The admonition to fear not is found on the pages of the Bible more than 5,000 times. That should arrest our attention! You and you alone set the limits of your believing. If you believe you can, you can and if you believe you can’t, you can’t. In both instances you are correct. Often in life people think they were born or predetermined to enjoy or not enjoy a certain station in life. They foolishly conclude that prosperity and good things are reserved for other people. Sadly, their expectation has been set by their own hearts; their own expectations. Believing is the reason some people are successful and some people are not. Believing is the reason certain folks live in relative safety while others suffer one calamity after another. God has not decided this for you, you have. God’s will is that you believe Him in order to receive His promises to you. Did you know there are over 900 promises in the Bible for you and for me? Despite our sincerity, God will not and cannot override our free will. Human beings have no power of the mind as I mentioned before, but they do have the power to decide what they will and will not believe. Can you see it?

The how of believing is really quite simple. Believing is a decision we make from our hearts, greatly influenced by the thoughts we choose to think about the most. The world and the great media machine and social media platforms work hard to shape our believing. All day long we are bombarded with images and ideals and are led to form the wrong conclusions. The world, a metaphor for evil at work in the world, informs us of what we can and cannot have. God’s Word also tells us what we can have and it will always be found to be in direct contradiction to what the world is reporting. Thus believing positively is our responsibility and our right as the rightful owners of our own free will. Believing is a verb and, grammar fans, always involves action. If we believe something is going to happen, good or bad, our corresponding actions will align themselves with whatever it is we are believing. If we believe God is going to do something to help us, we will naturally be looking for the help or the solution. If we say we believe God will help us, but do nothing to find that help, we are not believing. We are simply mentally assenting to the truth instead of living the truth. Living the truth means expecting God to do what He said He would do and not stopping until we get what we are believing to get. Again, believing is not difficult or requiring mental gymnastics. If you believe, you act! Expectation is a key you hold to every lock. Believing has no limits as God who honors it in every case has no limits. God is not deciding how much money you can have, your health status, where you can live or even what kind of car you can drive. You are! If God decided what people could have or how far they could go, He would be a respecter of persons and He is no respecter of persons. All of us can believe including the unbelievers and believing equals receiving including those unbelievers. When you observe some dastardly person prospering it is because they also believe and as such, receive. The principle has no respect for who someone is, but rather what they believe. Can’t you see it?

Finally, if you cannot even get your own mind to entertain the idea of getting something you need, you will not be able to receive it. Our minds come complete with imaginations which we control. The reason Jesus told us to have the heart of a child is because children have unlimited and unrestrained imaginations. They can picture what they want, believe and thus can receive it. You too can follow this same process. Our minds work in images. How easy it is for us to picture disasters and negatives, yet how infrequently do we take the time to picture good things? As easy as it is for us to conjure up images of defeat and loss, is as easy as it is for us to “imagine” good. You choose the pictures in your mind. Why not picture yourself having what you need and want? Can you see it? Can’t you picture yourself getting the good job, having plenty of money, enjoying health and having a loving relationship with those you hold most dear? You have to believe first before you see it which means you have to be able to see it in your heart and mind before it comes to pass in your life. Bryce Harper saw himself where he is today, playing in the World Series, (Go Phillies) long before it came to pass in his life. Yet now he gets to live it and enjoy it. Can you see it? The pictures you hold in your mind are a form of believing and there is no limit to what you can imagine. Determine now to begin seeing things you want in your life which serves to root out things you do not want in your life. It’s your mind. Can you see it?

As a great man once wrote, “How have you mentally pictured yourself for the past week, month, year, ten years? The picture that you carry of yourself with clearness and concern is what you are.” Can you see it? You are deciding how your life will turn out by the things you are believing in your heart. If you cannot get your mind to see good then you will have trouble receiving good as you determine what those things will be. Learn to believe positively. Rid yourself of fear whenever and wherever it shows up. Don’t keep waiting for your life to get better, believe (act) for it to get better. Give God something to work with. When you believe God you unleash His unlimited power into your situations. You can have everything you ever wanted if you will only believe. Can you see it?

Just some good thoughts…

Stop the Bleeding…


First aid training

As you are trekking along in your experience of life, have you ever gotten to the place where it feels like everything is going wrong? Try as you might, things just seem to keep moving from bad to worse. Bad news follows bad news and you’re desperate to stop the flow of wrong things; indeed to stop the bleeding. When you are in this fateful space it can seem like there is nothing you can do except to sit back and try to survive the ride. You wonder what you could have done to prevent this from happening to you. You comb through the decisions you have made trying your best to uncover your secret mistakes, your secret sins that led to your dilemma. You begin to question how God could have allowed this to happen to you. You need some answers and you need them now. The things that are happening to you are common to man but God will, with the temptation, always make a way to escape that you may be able to bear it. You can stop the bleeding if you are willing to change your mind!

The circumstances of life are no guarantee for the truth. However, the circumstances you find yourself in do provide clues concerning what has been going on in your head. Those things that affect you negatively came to life through the things you have been considering in your heart. It isn’t your destiny, as some foolishly proclaim nor is it God’s will for your life. Instead it is error that has, unbeknownst to you, been allowed to have access to you in your mind. What you think about day by day eventually filters down into your heart, from where it forms the circumstances of your life. Wrong thoughts produce wrong results. Thinking left unchecked and unchallenged leads to false ideas and concepts lodging themselves into your thinking and eventually your heart. However benign it appears to have fear based thinking as your primary way to think, the result will always reveal itself in the manifestation of your life. The outward reveals the inward no matter how unfair we feel it to be. When bad things happen to us, as they happen to all people, we are not victims of an unfair balance or an unjust scale. Instead we find ourselves victimized by powers working outside of our awareness and knowledge. God said, “My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge.” It is what you are ignorant of that hurts you. Many people today deny the existence of evil and discount it as a construct from the mind of man. Yet those same people suffer at the hands of it, unable to discern it much less fight against it.

When the sh*t is hitting the fan, as the saying goes, there’s no time to reflect back on what may have caused it as the urgency of the situation requires an immediate change of mind. You fight back against evil, the only true cause of your problems, by changing what it is you are feeding on and subsequently thinking about. What have you been feeding your mind? What have you been listening to, considering and incubating in your mind? Your mind and heart go where you go and not the other way around. It doesn’t matter how good or bad you are, but rather what you have been doing with your mind. When things go south, folks are so quick to evaluate themselves and blame themselves because of some decision they made, some error, some temptation that overcame them. When the more likely culprit is the thoughts they have been holding onto in their minds. None of us are perfect and if making mistakes represents the scale, some doing more and some doing less, then all of us would live amidst perpetual calamity. Yet, not everyone suffers calamity while making some of the same mistakes you have made. You are going to make blunders in this life and you will be deceived at times. But, when you become aware of it, you must immediately take steps to move your mind in a different direction. Just as the professional athlete learns to quickly let the former bad play go, you must learn to let your bad plays go as well. Otherwise the accuser, that led you into the error to begin with, will find a way for the mistake to live on in your mind robbing you of not only the bad day today but all your future days as well.

When you find yourself besieged by negative circumstances, it is not because there is something inherently wrong with you, though you will be tempted to consider it. It is because something is always after you and I whether we like it or not. We live amidst a spiritual competition that takes place in our minds. One side seeks to envelope us in darkness while the other side seeks to flood us with light. One side wants our lives to be filled with love and peace while the other side engenders chaos and confusion. You do not have to guess which side is at work. The circumstances will reveal it. When things are going from bad to worse it is an indicator, a clear indicator, that something is amiss in your thinking patterns. You are holding onto and embracing things that are not true. You have error in your heart. And the only way to get that error out of your heart is to change the thoughts you have been thinking. You have to learn things are true from a source that is true. You cannot rely on people or the world or the experts or your heartfelt Google search, you have got to come back to God’s Word. You have got to seek peace from the Author of peace. You have to humble yourself to the reality that things have not been going well for you and that there is a reason why, though you cannot see it yet. You don’t have to get all religious or pure or anything else that makes you the central subject. Instead you must be willing to seek something higher than yourself. God didn’t make the negative circumstances to humble you, but He will work in those circumstances to help you find a way to prevail. Whatever is happening to you God already saw coming and as such has already made a way for you to escape. Don’t try to be so smart. Instead seek outside of yourself for the answers you need. Darkness is always an illusion and is always based on a lie. Shatter the illusion by finding out the truth.

You don’t have to live very long before you experience this sort of thing happening to you. You are not an anomaly. You are not weird or strange or reserved for bad things in your life. Instead you are simply unaware and need to learn. In the words of James Allen, “Tempest-tossed souls, wherever ye may be, under whatsoever conditions ye may live, know this, in the ocean of life the isles of Blessedness are smiling, and the sunny shore of your ideal awaits your coming. Keep your hand firmly upon the helm of thought. In the bark of your soul reclines the commanding Master; He does but sleep: wake Him. Self-control is strength; Right Thought is mastery; Calmness is power. Say unto your heart, “Peace, be still!”

Do you want to stop the bleeding in your life? Take control of your thoughts…

Just some good thoughts…

Hacked!


hackedLast week I had the rather unpleasant experience of getting hacked. Basically, someone reached out to me on Instagram asking for support for their upcoming clothing line and I made the fateful mistake of responding to them. I didn’t click on any links or provide my cell number for a text as requested, yet still they got in. Once they got in, they changed my password, changed the contact cell phone number and email and added two factor authentication which made it almost impossible to recover my own account. They followed hundreds of new people and badgered all of my friends with the exact same scheme, leaving folks thinking they were talking with me. The experience was distracting and concerning to say the least. Besides learning that Instagram literally has no actual customer support, I understood how difficult it is to extricate yourself from deception once it gets its grip on you. How it got to you doesn’t matter. When it got to you doesn’t matter. What matters is how you can recover and get your mind (and account) back. Have your thought processes been hacked by a deception?

In life, we all have a mind and a heart and we are responsible to guard it from intruders. Intruders get in when we fail to control our thinking and as such allow deceptions access to our minds. Just as my downfall was engaging in a conversation with the hackers, your downfall comes from consideration of things that are not true. When Eve was deceived in the beginning, it wasn’t the existence of evil that defeated her, it was her consideration of the things evil said to her. (It was a heck of a lot bigger than eating a silly apple, but I digress). Eve’s downfall and eventually Adam’s downfall came as a result of considering and trying to figure out what the enemy of mankind was proposing. The same holds true today. The way that evil gets inside our minds and hacks us is by our consideration of what is being presented to us. Being human we think we can figure it out and as such give it space in our minds. We mull it over. We worry about it. We give it audience and the next thing you know we are all screwed up inside and confused. Have you ever noticed that no matter how much worry you give a thing you can never quite get to a solution? You analyze, you evaluate, you process it and it just leads to more and more distress. It is a trick and a trap from which eventually it will be hard to escape. The solution to fear producing thoughts is to refuse their entrance. Don’t scratch that itch! Do not try to take it on with your finite human knowledge. Instead you have to replace those thoughts with things that are true. God’s Word is true and has the remedy to everything that has ever bothered you or imprisoned you. You can avoid being mentally hacked by knowing what is true.

All of us at one time or another have been hacked in our minds and hearts. We have lived in fear and doubt and uncertainty for so long that we think it is a normal way to live. We dismiss it as being part of the human condition. We do all sorts of shenanigans to assuage our fears such as trying to be a good person or do good works or whatever it is we can think of that might help offset the bad things that are surely coming our way. It never dawned on us that someone or something has been lying to us. Our starting premise has been wrong. We have been communicating with a hacker. Fear is man’s only enemy. Fear has ruined more people’s lives than all the other things combined. It is our fears that allow our enemy access to us and it is our fear that brings bad things to pass in our lives. Fear is a believing expectation for something negative to happen and believing equals receiving. The things we so desperately fear end up coming into fruition in our lives. And then we exclaim, “I knew it” when in reality we helped bring it to pass. There is a reason the number one admonition in the Bible is fear not! Fear is a hacker attempting to gain access to your life and then infect the lives of others also. You get your mental account and your heart back by gaining control of your thinking.

So, what can you do once you realize you’ve been hacked? Unlike Instagram, you have access to something greater than any problem that has ever come your way. The first step involves terminating communications with the hacker. Stop giving those lies access to your mind. Stop trying to figure it all out. The basis of your troubles are spiritual and no amount of reasoning will make that clear. Instead steer your heart towards something that is true. Make the decision to stop trying to figure out your troubles and hand them over to God who is especially adept at problem solving. Just give them to Him and don’t take them back. Rehearsing your troubles hasn’t been successful thus far, has it? Quit beating that dead horse and try something different. Cast all your care upon Him for He careth for you! In other words, let it go. Pray about it and then let it go. Just the act of refusal sets on course the answers you need in order to prevail. God wants to solve every problem that has ever come your way and He has the power and ability to do so. Find someone that can teach you the truth. Don’t go to the world as it’s the world that screwed you up in the first place. Don’t rely on religion or philosophy or science. Rely instead on the truth of God’s Word which is the only thing that sets you free. God sent His Word and healed them and delivered them from their destructions. Learn to shut down the hackers and get your heart and mind back!

Have you been having a tough time lately and wondering what is the point? Do you find yourself distracted with cares? Have things become increasingly difficult for you? Does happiness and peace of mind seem to evade you? If so, you have probably been hacked. But, not to worry. With God there are always solutions and answers greater than the skill and cunning of any hacker. You can get your heart and mind back if you will only go about it the way God says to do it. Humble yourself and get your needs met. I finally was able to recover my account using the deeply hidden and obscured video selfie method which worked after 9 tries. Thankfully God makes it a lot easier than that.

Just some good thoughts…

Discouraged?


discouragedAre you dealing with a situation right now that calls aloud for remedy, yet you have no solution? Is there something that you really, really need and thus far have been unable to get it? Are you dealing with a health challenge that you can’t quite seem to get on top of? Are you having trouble in your relationship and as much as you’ve tried, you cannot seem to get it right? And, if you are single, are you looking for love in apparently all the wrong places? Or, has your life as a whole gone in a direction that you never intended, much less expected? As painful as these things are, they are all part of the human experience. No one gets very far in life without experiencing at least a portion of these challenges. While you are in the midst of them it is very easy to lose hope. You pray and pray yet nothing seems to happen. You put forth your best efforts and nothing seems to change. The more you fixate on the problem, the less answers you find. Are you discouraged my friend?

It may surprise you to know this, but God is never behind any of the difficulties you experience. God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. As such, He does not bring you pain and suffering. He doesn’t bring you to it in order to take you through it as the religious pundits proclaim. He isn’t teaching you an arduous lesson. He is never the cause of any delays nor a hinderance in you getting the things that you need. He does not cause sickness and He does not bring about an early death for mysterious reasons we are unable to comprehend. He isn’t punishing you for your sins or punishing you for any reason. He does not withhold blessings in order to force you to get right with Him. All of these cleverly devised lies are simply a cloak of deception for the one really behind our troubles; all of our troubles. As the famous movie, “The Usual Suspects” explained, the greatest trick the devil ever played was convincing the world that he did not exist! Being ignorant of Satan’s devices is the number one reason that people suffer which leads to assigning negatives and evil to God. I can assure you that if God was behind any of your troubles, there would be no remedy. But God is not the cause, ever. In the great drama of life there is an ever present contest going on between good and evil. God seeks to do good for people, bless them, prosper them, deliver them and heal them, while the adversary seeks only to steal and to kill and to destroy. Every problem, every trouble, every pain, every loss you have ever experienced came directly or indirectly as a result of evil that is in the world today. In a perfect world where there was no evil, everything you ever needed would come to pass quickly and easily. But, we do not live in a perfect world and the world we live in is ruled by evil. As such, we are all going to be faced with challenges and we are all going to get knocked down at times. The first step in the recovery of everything you have ever lost or been unable to receive thus far is to understand that your difficulty does not ever come from God. Don’t be discouraged my friend, for better days are ahead.

Once you are clear that your troubles have not originated with God who is love, you are now in a position to believe God to get the results that you need. You need God’s love and God’s power in your life. Without God life is a cruelty doled out in perpetual lumps leading eventually to your own demise. A great man used to say, “Discouragement is a sin, it’s trick of the adversary.” The reason discouragement is a sin is because it foolishly concludes God cannot do anything to alleviate the suffering. It falsely proclaims the power of evil is greater than the power of good. Every time you and I have felt discouraged, we have been deceived. We have believed a lie from the father of lies. Years ago, while trying to deal with a very difficult situation, I found myself angry with God for moving so slowly to alleviate my sufferings. I told Him I was no longer going to be His representative and some other choice things that His grace and mercy overlooked. You see, I wasn’t clear concerning the reality of my situation. I failed to recognize that the suffering I endured was not due to a failing on the part of God, but rather a failing in understanding the spiritual competition and my personal adversary at work to make my life miserable. Things certainly did not improve overnight, but eventually I was able to overcome with God’s help and kindness and love. The same holds true for you. You can find the answers you need, the deliverance you seek, the healing you need and anything else that is important for your own happiness and success. But sadly and unfortunately sometimes you have to fight. You aren’t fighting the devil himself, you are fighting the falsehoods he has been able to lodge inside your head. You are fighting the appearance of things that seem to contradict the promises of God. You are fighting against lies that position themselves as truth. My friend, stand against discouragement for God is on your side.

It is not God’s will for us to have to live this way but it is a byproduct of evil that has been allowed to infiltrate our world. Until that great day in the future, we have to learn how to compete in the spiritual competition. We have to learn how to believe God and claim our rightful authority He has given us in Christ. We have to fight for what is ours! God will do all that He has promised us and more if we will remain faithful to His Word and His precious promises to us. Don’t allow yourself to feel angry with God as He is incapable of evil. If you are going to be angry with anyone be angry with the evil that is behind your every trouble. Rise up in your mind and in your heart and become determined to see the results you desire. Get serious about it! When you have a need, the reason God says to keep knocking and keep seeking is not because He didn’t hear you the first time, but rather because you are standing against an opponent placing obstacles in your path. You are never being tempted by God, you are being tempted by evil to surrender; to give up on your hopes and dreams. Don’t you let them win! God will do what He said He would do. “If you do not fold, you will not lose.” Are you discouraged my friend? Well, tomorrow is a new day to get back in the fight. God will not let you lose.

Just some good thoughts…

Your Ultimate Freedom…


freedomMany years ago when some folks approached me about having a relationship with God, I bristled at the thought of living a religious life where my every action was studied and judged. I still feel that way today. It seemed like the advertised life with God was mostly centered on requirements and things I had to give up. Several years after those early offerings, a man invited me to a Christian fellowship promising me that life with God wasn’t so much about what I did, but rather what God had done for me in Christ. He and the ensuing fellowships I attended painted a very different picture. They taught me that God was not only always for me and loved me, but that He had given the life of His son to forever solve the sin issue in my life and the lives of all people. The Word they taught me from the Bible was abundantly clear in outlining the details of how God’s perfect son who never sinned was crucified for me thereby providing me with the ultimate freedom; freedom from sin and a never ending sin-free life with my Heavenly Father. What a revelation to my soul! What a stark contrast. What a tremendous opportunity I had to live a joyful life with God. Wouldn’t you like to experience that ultimate freedom? I know you would.

I have to admit that the devil has done a bang up job of portraying God to be someone He is not. When people think of God, instead of having feelings of love and thankfulness, they typically think of themselves and where their lives do not line up with the rules; the commandments. Their unlearned minds and hearts begin to accuse them of the many years they lived in sin and the many things they did wrong in their lives. They picture God as a judge doling out punishments and sentences based on how they behaved. They wrongly conclude that in order to access God’s benefits and His blessings they must somehow clean up their lives and “get right” with Him. In this they have been fed a lie from the author of lies. The enemy of mankind knows that on their own and of their own devices, mankind can never be made right based on the works they do. Ever since sin entered the world with its associated misery, human beings have been born with a sin nature with sin preexisting in their blood lines. There is no amount of discipline and effort and “living right” a person can do to remedy this situation. All of your good works avail nothing as the sin nature is in your blood. Only God could solve this dilemma by sending His son with perfect blood, sinless and always obedient, as a substitute for sin by surrendering his life for you and me at the cross. The perfect for the imperfect. The sinless for the sinner. The righteous for the unrighteous. Your freedom doesn’t come from anything you do, but rather what God did for you in Christ.

Can you begin to perceive what God has already done for you and me? God knew that you and I would never get it right on our own and made a way for us to finally be free from the claims of sin. And as obvious as this is in God’s Word, the world remains largely unaware of this great reality. If you listen to the proponents of religion, you will find their advice always centered in what you must do and not do in order to have access to God. And while such advice seems religious, it actually drives you further and further away from God. Instead of trusting God to meet your needs, your focus turns inward clearly outlining how you are not worthy of His love and care. The harder you work to please God and do things that are right in His sight, the more you fail (as you necessarily must) leading to an endless cycle of things you have to do and even more things you have to give up. No-one wants to live that way. No-one! And the ultimate irony is that attempting to do so does not improve your relationship with God at all. We think that God is somehow not familiar with our condition. We think He somehow cannot understand the very people that he formed, made and created and remains repulsed by our sinful behavior. Further, we surmise that all kinds of things are sin when they aren’t sin at all. In this our lives are stifled and restricted and robbed of blessings and joy. We cannot even live one day without some reminder of our past mistakes and our every foible and absurdity. This is not freedom, it is slavery and bondage.

The reality of what God did for us in Christ is almost unbelievable. Through the life of His son God forever freed us from the claims of sin. Once you confess Jesus as Lord in your life and believe that God raised him from the dead (Romans 10:9-10), God creates a new creation in you (spirit) and from that moment forward you are forever righteous in His sight. No matter what you do with your remaining life His seed remains in you and because of this, you cannot sin in His sight. God made you righteous by the substitute of His son. I’ll say it again. God made you righteous in His sight and there is literally nothing you can do to add to it or subtract from it. He set you and me free! He did it! And, He did it because we could not do it on our own. He forever solved the sin problem in our lives. Can’t you see it or begin to comprehend it? We are forever free from the claims of sin. Our focus no longer needs to be centered on ourselves, but rather on what God did for us in Christ. We live by the faith of another man! Now, God bless you, you can live your life without always looking over your shoulder and worrying about the consequences of your sin nature. You do not owe the adversary anything and he no longer can claim control over your life. And now, maybe for the first time in your life, you can breathe the free air of freedom. Now you can live and move and prevail. Now you can get your prayers answered. Now you no longer have to skulk around fearful of your missteps. You have been set free and you didn’t have a blessed thing to do with it. God did it for you (and me) so that we could finally live. Imagine a life where sin no longer exists. Imagine freedom to do as you dang fool please. Being set free from sin doesn’t make you sin more, instead it sets you free from the claims and bondage of sin so that you can actually live. God has given you the ultimate freedom! What are you going to do with it?

If there is anything God wants you to know in this life it is that God has given you the promise of a new life in the life of His son. God solved your problem for you because you could not do it for yourself. God wants you to be free. He desires that you turn your focus from yourself and your foolishness to Him and what He did for you. He wants to help you and give you the things you need and want. He wants your heart to be at rest in what He did for you. He wants your love and adoration, not because of your fear and sin, but because you are free to express it in every conceivable way. Don’t you want to experience the freedom that God has provided for you? I know you do. God has given you the ultimate freedom.

Just some good thoughts…

Do Your Best?


effort-boulderIt wasn’t too long ago that I rejected the notion that you had to do your best in order for God to do the rest. Basically, I was reacting to the idea that God was somehow limited in helping people according to what people did or didn’t do. The phrase certainly isn’t found anywhere in the Bible. However, the more I considered it, the more I recognized that we have also a responsibility in getting our prayers answered. We aren’t our own source of blessings for sure, but we do play a part in the equation. It seems it is not natural nor does it fit within the reality of living life to think that we simply offer up prayers and then expect God to deliver what we need with no efforts on our part. And while “best” is certainly a subjective term, we do have some responsibility in pursuing the answers and results that we need. Do we need to do our best for God to meet our need or is it rather that we need to apply the necessary actions in accordance with what we are believing for God to do for us?

I’m sure you are all familiar with, “the secret” which proclaimed that all we needed to do to get our needs met was to manifest it in our thinking first. And while there is definitely some truth blended in there, functioning purely in this manner would seem to work against the laws God has already established. Results do not fall from heaven anymore than crops can appear without first sowing seed and then cultivating them. With God, there is always an expectation of effort on our part to acquire something we need. What God has promised in His Word is always there for us, but we need to expend the effort to find it. Our efforts do not produce it as that is God’s job, but our efforts are required to receive it. Sitting at home praying and praying for something doesn’t generally work well unless what we are praying for is beyond our human capability. God does not expect us to figure out how to heal ourselves, but he does expect us to pursue the solutions. Maybe we have to go to the doctor. Maybe there is something in our lifestyle that is causing us difficulties. Maybe there is another cause we have not yet considered. Thus naturally we go to God in prayer and then in our pursuit of good health, we listen to what He is teaching us and showing us. Similarly, praying to win the lottery or stumble across a fortune doesn’t produce results either. It’s like supplying your child with a hundred toys then being amazed that they play with the boxes instead. Too much too soon tends to overwhelm and not meet the need. God supplies what you can handle when you can handle it. You still have to do your part in order to get your needs met; in order to receive it.

Life requires effort. There is no realm of success or prosperity that does not involve effort. You are where you are that you may learn and that you may grow. If you do not have enough there is a way to get more but that way demands effort. Shirking your work on the grounds that your employer does not pay you enough violates principle. Good work, noble work, effort supplied to be the best and do your best cannot help but be rewarded. The reason someone is your boss is because they have supplied some effort as has their boss and their boss and so on. There is no limit to what you can do or what you can be if you will supply the effort. There will always be those who have manipulated and done wrong to get ahead, but those folks are almost always found out eventually. Praying to God to meet your needs is always the first step, but you must learn how to cooperate with Him to get what you want. If you believe God is doing something to help you, then you will naturally be doing things to find what He has promised you. In order to get a new job, you first have to apply for the job. Even then, you have to learn to leverage your skills to meet the requirements of the job. People don’t owe you anything in this regard. Praying and praying for a new job won’t alleviate you of this responsibility. But, when you are sincere in your effort and committed to get an outcome that God has promised you, you will find that God is always able to do exceeding abundantly above all that you ask or can even conceive. I should add that God is never making things harder for you or teaching you tough life lessons. Nor is He dragging you through hardships in order to make you a better person. That is not how God works at all. Instead He is endeavoring to teach you and lead you through the hardships you are facing in order for you to learn how to best live and enjoy life. God does need the working of evil to help you get better. God simply works with you where you are and can be counted on to remedy every hardship you have ever experienced with his endless love and compassion. Do your part and let Him do His part.

If you think about it, those things that are most important to you are always backed by effort on your part. If your child becomes ill, you will scourge heaven and earth for the solution. You would not function haphazardly nor would you apply minimal effort. I would surmise that you would not stop seeking and pursuing until you found the answer and if you could not find an answer would petition God the more. The same holds true for our lives. If it is important to you and matters very much, you will continue to pursue it until you find it. If it doesn’t matter much or you can take it or leave it, your efforts in this regard will match. God is always willing to help you. Your life is important to Him. What you need He wants you to have. God is never the hold-back ever. People that teach that God is withholding blessings from you or punishing you for past behaviors, do not know God. God wills that all men be made whole and come to a knowledge of the truth. God is more anxious to solve your dilemma than you are for Him to do it. The problem is usually found in the things we believe that aren’t true or else the lack of believing effort we supply towards our solutions. You and I have to supply our best efforts. We have to become very clear about what we need and then become very concerned about receiving it. When we apply that combination we find God’s solutions fairly quickly. God heard you the first time you prayed it! Do your best.

I’m still not sure if we have to supply our best for God to do the rest, but I am sure that we have to apply some effort to get the job done. What is it that you need or have been pining away for, for such a long time? What do you need in order to make your life complete? Don’t spend another moment waiting on God as God is waiting on you. Take action, any action! Do something. Get real serious about getting your need met and don’t leave anything to fate or chance. God wills for you to have what you need today. Get after it my friends. Do your best…

Just some good thoughts…