Believing God…

believeAs a believer it has been my personal experience over the years that anything that places the focus back on me instead of on God is usually suspect. That’s not to say that I have no responsibility for anything, but rather so-called requirements on my part tend to take me away from and not closer to God. One such example of this involves believing God to get our needs met. I’m sure it started innocently enough, but over time it seemed to morph into something bigger than it actually was. Every time we failed in some capacity or maybe did not get a need met, the reason was always centered on our own personal lack of believing. And while God does require belief on our part to receive from Him, too much focus on myself and whether or not I’m “believing God” tends towards the negative. All of the great power and ability of God is suddenly held at bay all dependent upon something I am doing or not doing. The first red flag to notice is when the focus turns away from God and His willingness and ability and instead focuses on something people are doing or not doing. You can see this happening over and over again in religion. Religion repudiates God’s grace and unconditional love for us and makes it all about me and you. God’s blessings somehow happen or don’t happen dependent upon how well we obey or “do the Word” or line ourselves up with His perfection. If that were actually true all of us would fail. God is already well aware of our human condition and the sin nature all people are born with dating back to Adam and Eve. In this He and He alone initiated a way for us to escape the bondage of sin and it was not based upon anything that you or I ever did. Similarly, believing God is not a measure from which we evaluate ourselves. Believing God is more about knowing Him, trusting Him and looking for His help in life’s situations. Believing God is likely much easier than we have heretofore imagined.

If you think about it logically, all of the good things that happen in this life have been initiated by God. He is the starting point and the end point. If I am struggling with something He knows where I’m at and where I need to get in order to prevail. He knows me and you better than we know ourselves. This notion that we have to somehow grit our teeth and believe God in order to get something cannot be true. Then “believing God” turns into this magic system, this thinking nirvana, this systematic approach we are putting ourselves through in order to receive from Him. Unbeknownst to me I have now instituted a work I must do to earn or deserve something God has already promised to me. God’s promises are absolutely not contingent upon something I must do. Instead the promises have already been given to me to help me, to save me, to rescue me. It’s a very subtle difference, but a difference nonetheless. The acid test will always be who or what is my subject of focus. If the focus is on me and what I’m doing or not doing chances are I am no longer believing God. If my focus is on God and what He said He would do, chances are I’m believing Him. So the question is, what or who is your subject of focus? The enemy of righteousness is quite adept at getting the focus back on you and me. Have you noticed? You have a need that you are endeavoring to believe God to supply and what goes through your mind? You start thinking about where you don’t measure up, how many, many mistakes you have made in the past, how you must not be believing God or this need would have already been solved. The focus is then where? Squarely back on your own shoulders from whence there is no power (absent God) or ability to effect change. This is how and where we get tricked out of believing God and start trying to make things happen with our own mental powers. It’s a slippery deception but it always produces the same result – nothing!

So, how do we believe God to get our needs met? Simply stated we keep our focus on Him and what He promised. When our focus turns inward as it often does, we change our focus back to Him. We don’t have to make something happen! God is the One that makes something happen! If everything that happened was based on what I think then that would sort of make me God wouldn’t it? (Shudder) But that is exactly how we tend to view things. Again as if believing God was some type of mental nirvana state I must enter and maintain in order to get results. OMG I just had some doubts! Oh no, I was thinking negatively! Now nothing will happen until I sustain a certain mindset, over time and in the right way. Can you see how this kind of thinking just drives me back to me? It’s not it folks. Believing God is looking at Him. Believing God is remembering what His Word says. Believing God is thinking what God says is true and endeavoring to not think what isn’t true. At the end of the day it is God who backs up His Word. He made the promises, not me. I think God is big enough to get past my own inadequacies and weaknesses. God meets us where we are. We don’t have to get somewhere to get His help. We don’t have to perform to earn His help. We don’t have to play mental games to get His help. If your kid wasn’t doing so well, don’t you wish he would just tell you that? No matter how frightful, how ugly, how impossible, wouldn’t you want him or her to just tell you about it so you could help? Well, I’m pretty sure God can exceed that. If you are struggling why not say so? If you are having trouble getting your needs met, why not just talk it over with Him? I think believing God is just laying your whole self out to Him and asking Him to help you. He knows anyway right? He has already seen your whole life through and He still loves you. He still called you. Hey maybe it never was all about you!

I think it is time to reframe our thoughts about God. He is so incredibly vast and so much higher than us in His thoughts and ability. We need to simply approach Him how a child approaches their parents. No pretense, no performance, no formulas and systems, none. Just say what’s wrong and what you need. Humble yourself in that you might not already know. What you think is your issue may not be the issue at all. There is no need to play mind games with God. You are the child and He is your Father. Father knows best. Believing God is really about getting honest with Him and honest with yourself. Life is way too big with way, way too many variables for you (and me) to figure it out with our own thinking alone. Believing God is about letting God be God and solving for us what we are unable to solve on our own. Look for the red flags of self-focus and become determined to focus on Him. Believing God is not a system or a law. Believing God is a willingness to trust in something higher and bigger than yourself. Believe God!

Just some good thoughts…


The Birthday Blog!

birthdayAs I rejoice in making another rotation around the sun, I thought it time to share some life lessons that have impacted me the most. The older I get the more it becomes apparent that life really boils down to two great motivating principles, love and fear. Within the realm of those polar opposite anchors, life is either lived or not lived, enjoyed or endured, embraced with fondness or survived with pain and suffering. Nothing can make your life sing and move with gentleness and grace like love and nothing can take away your song and slow life to a standstill like fear. It is always so plain and simple yet often obscured from our view. When we are operating from a heart of love the days; the good days sail by. But, when fear has eased its way into our existence nothing works anymore and time appears to slow down to a crawl with dangers and threats surrounding us. If you only learn one great lesson throughout your life it is always to encourage love as your reason why and to dismiss fear and its whole world of counterfeits from your existence.

Many years ago as I sat through a class called, “Power for Abundant Living” I learned for the first time in my life what fear was and how it serves to thwart and ruin your life. And incredulously for the first time in my life I was no longer afraid of anything. Fear which had ruled my earlier days no longer held a place of prominence in my heart. When the fear is finally gone, life is a joyful experience just as God intended it to be. But, the problem is most people do not even know they are afraid. Fear is such a pervasive part of our culture and how we live that we accept it as simply part of the human condition. As such, the whole earth literally runs on fear, acts out of fear and chooses based on fear. How fear drives people! How fear delineates our choices in life. How fear whips people into submission leading to the multitudes no longer feeling they have any say about how their life will turn out. Fear causes people to limp along desperately trying to avert the tragedies and difficulties that seem to assail all people. People are afraid of their health failing and not having enough and becoming poor and not winning and not getting what they wanted and losing respect and sudden loss and not finding love and not becoming successful or actually becoming successful or dying prematurely or being found out or not getting their needs met or not climbing the corporate ladder fast enough or not having money when they retire or turning into their mother or their father and on and on it goes. It’s all fear and it’s always wrong. Fear, indulged (and how can you not indulge it when it is literally all around you), leads always to the very failure and loss you were trying so hard to avoid. Fear steals away the time in your life. Fear ruins relationships. Fear stops you from prospering and just as surely as the sun will set leads to all manner of sickness and disease. Fear robs you of your energy and enthusiasm for living. So many folks are living depressed lives with absolutely nothing to look forward to because of fear. Fear closes all the doors and shuts all the windows. Yet it never seems to dawn on folks that fear is the real culprit behind ALL of their troubles.

So why, do you ask, am I sharing this with you today? I’m sharing it because even if you have come to terms with fear and grappled with it, it can still sneak into your life unawares. You’re going along living your life with God enjoying all of the benefits and blessings of living in love and slowly and imperceptibly you start adding in some works to sort of help God do His job better. Maybe you recognize how good life has been and you want that way to continue as it has before. Instead of keeping your focus on God where it belongs you start to focus in on yourself more and more. And the more you focus on yourself the more imperfections you begin to see which naturally prompts you to work a little harder. Then, the harder you work the more you come up short. Soon enough your mind becomes overly preoccupied with everything that is wrong with you. You begin to like yourself less and less and it seems like all of your choices have become bad. Now instead of trusting God to care for you in every possible way, which is how you originally overcome your fear, you revert back to self and all the things you must somehow do in order to garner God’s favor in your life once again, those times when you lived above fear. Now the things that were so effortless for you have become challenging and your good results less and less. So you work a little harder and pray a little more often and vow to swear off this and get rid of that. Yet heaven’s brass and you wonder what you ever did to lose God’s love and perfection in your life. You wonder why He isn’t answering your prayers anymore and why you are not getting the things you need. But, do you know what really happened? What happened was, unbeknownst to you, you allowed fear back into your life. And no matter how it is disguised, whether you are a believer or an unbeliever, whether your works are good or your works are bad, fear cannot help but produce what it always produced, pain, misery and a lack of good fruit. Fear is the great thwarter of efforts and retarder of any progress. It is never God who changes towards us, but rather we change towards Him. We forget that He is the great initiator of all good things and that it is by His grace that we prevail. We lose sight of His goodness in our lives and attempt to generate that goodness from within. Our challenges, our lack of results, our so-called unanswered prayers are only so because we have replaced our love with fear which can never, ever work.

Thus, if I can only leave one thing with you on the evening of my birthday it is this. Seek out and get rid of fear in your life no matter how it shows up. The fears you cleave to; the falsehoods you have accepted; the wrong motivations that have been driving you – rid them from your life. If you do not they will eat and tear away at everything that is good. They will stall your progress and set you back. They will steal your results. They will open the door to all sorts of trouble and difficulty in your life. Decisions and actions motivated by fear, no matter how pious they appear, can only lead to loss and defeat. Instead choose love. Do things because you want to do them not because you have to do them out of fear. Stop pretending to be someone you are not and be yourself, the good and the bad. Don’t hide yourself from God or from anyone else for that matter. You do not have to earn the favor of everyone at the expense of yourself. Live your days in freedom where you decide how you are going to live. If you don’t want to help don’t. If you don’t want to give don’t. But if you do, do it from the love in your heart. Do it not to secure a return but because you want to love and help people. Don’t do it to earn God’s favor or protection in your life but because you already have it! That is love and love is the only thing that overcomes fear. This life is frightfully short with each revolution around the sun. Why spend your days afraid of some lying outcome that will likely never comes to pass? Instead get out there and live again. Take chances. Try new stuff. Believe in yourself. Get your groove back. Get rid of your fears old and new. Your life really is on the other side of fear.

Just some good thoughts…

The Constant Need to Do Better…

selfHave you ever thought about how many people in the world find themselves constantly plagued with the need to do better? You can’t go very far without hearing someone explain how they need to get better in some category of life. Sure it seems honorable and like the right thing to do, but is it? Do you really need to get better and if so in comparison to what? What is the better that you and I are trying to reach? Even the word itself implies a moving target with better being a little further along than you actually are. There is a reason that the Self-Help industry is a multi-billion dollar industry. Now don’t get me wrong, I love learning about new things and new ways to approach life. But at the heart of all self-help is a pervasive notion that something about us is broken and in need of repair. It addresses a negative core belief that there is something wrong with you and I and that we need to figure out a way to fix it. But, and forgive me for this one, aren’t we all actually very similar? I’m guessing that if we were able to get inside other people’s minds we would find many of the same foibles and flaws in common. Maybe we wouldn’t be so quick to judge ourselves so harshly as a result. Perhaps our focus shouldn’t rest so heavily on what is wrong with us but rather on what is right about us. I heard a great line from Matthew McConaughey at a virtual self-help conference I attended recently. (Oh, the irony…) He said, “Instead of trying to be good at what you’re bad at, why not try to be great at what you’re good at?” Grammar violations aside there is a lot of truth in that little one liner. The world has coerced us into thinking about and focusing on what is wrong with us perpetually. We foolishly have believed that we can “get better” by honing in on; getting serious about; applying the necessary discipline towards; fixing what is so wrong with us, which produces the exact opposite result to what we intended. Life will get immeasurably better for you once you are finally able to escape the need to get better.

At the foundation of the need to get better lies a conclusion we have made. Interestingly when we were children we were not so preoccupied with improving ourselves. Yes, we wanted to get better at sports maybe or earn better grades, but inside we didn’t think there was anything wrong with us or who we were. It wasn’t until some time later that we began to internalize the message being promoted. Instead of viewing mistakes as mistakes we started buying into the idea that perhaps there was something wrong with us; something deep inside that no one else could see. As this lie took many forms and came at the hands of a multitude of teachers, we eventually came to the conclusion that we needed to get better. We bought in. We accepted it as true. Do you ever wonder why we analyze ourselves so throughly and often ruthlessly when we make an error? Because inside, deep inside, hidden from view we just aint right man! And it’s only a matter of time before we get found out. Crazy huh? This treacherous deception works so well because we have only got our own heads to compare. I’m skulking around trying to hide my crazy from you and you are skulking around trying to hide your crazy from me. It never dawned on us that we might share the exact same crazy; that all people might share the exact same crazy. Who says that makes us flawed? Who says that makes us so unworthy? What talked us into thinking like that? This is why people don’t want to get involved with church. We already are well aware of what we’ve got going on inside and we don’t need someone up front adding to the list! At the end of the day, being “what is wrong with me?” conscious does not help us to actually get better presuming that we even need to get better to begin with. It is an unhealthy way to think and a terrible way to treat ourselves. What we actually are is imperfect creatures living out or lives the best we can.

Have you ever considered that what the world needs the most from you is you? You and all of your so-called insanity and individuality. People won’t benefit from the sanitized, white-washed version of you that has been carefully nurtured by societal norms and reportedly acceptable ways of being. There ends up being no benefit in that version of you that isn’t really you. Further living that way is not going to make you happy. All that time you spend fixing yourself does not produce a finer version of you, it produces a lesser, demeaned version of you. You become your own worst enemy. Instead of enjoying this life God has given you, you find yourself consumed with “what you’re bad at…” And the worst cruelty of all, you cannot, with your human efforts, ever make yourself into that false ideal you have been pursuing. You are going to come up short somewhere. You’re going to miss it at times. You are going to stumble and you are going to fall a lot! Why not just brush yourself off like little kids do and leave the introspection and soul searching for someone else? Why don’t you just embrace who you are? Love yourself flaws and all. You have got one run through so you may as well run through it. You are a human being and you are okay.

If you can learn to shift your focus away from “what you’re bad at” and focus instead on your strengths you will go far. We all have certain gifts, certain capacities, certain abilities that God has given us; all of us. There are things you can do and to which you have no rival. Do those things. You know by now, I hope, where you tend to excel or if that’s too strong for right now, where you have the easiest time doing or being. That is the good you need to focus on and that is the good you can work to “be great at.” Don’t you love and admire people that have mastered some aspect of life? No one ever became great at anything by focusing on what was bad or where they had the most trouble. Instead they focused on some good they enjoyed. They decided to pursue things that made their heart sing instead of something in which they sought escape. Well how about you deep down inside your own heart? Don’t you want to be happy and fulfilled in life? Don’t you seek to experience joy and blessedness? Well, you’ll have a hard time finding any of those things while your focus is on a perpetual need to get better. You may not know this, but God solved that human foible focus problem once and for all. He provided a perfect solution to imperfect people. He gave His son for you (and me). He gave the perfect for the imperfect. Further He gave us a perfect spirit inside that never goes south, never blows it and never suffers any damage or corruption, no matter what we may do. Why do you ask? So you could once and for all let go of everything you ever found wrong with yourself and rest in what He did for you. You could live by the works of another man. (Jesus Christ) God knows you and God knows me. He knows how easy it is for us to get tricked into sin-consciousness and feeling bad about ourselves. He also knew we would recognize our flaws and where we come up short. So He solved it for us. He did for us by His spiritual effort what we could never do for ourselves by our human effort. Why not be a great person shining your gift onto other people? Why not?

Life is too short to spend another moment consumed with what is wrong with you. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH YOU! You are an imperfect person and so am I. You are going to make mistakes. There are things you will learn that you wish you knew earlier, but you didn’t know. It is okay, you are a person. There are choices and paths you wish you would have taken but you didn’t and it is okay. Excuse yourself from the madness of trying to perfect your human flesh. You can’t do it. But, what you can do is to embrace who you are inside. Focus on your good bits. Dwell on the best parts of you and share those parts as often and as much as you can. Love yourself (again) for goodness sakes and give that love to other people. I’m sure in the end of times you and I will find out that we weren’t so different from anyone else on Earth. Maybe we weren’t as crazy as we thought we were. And instead of God judging us like we feared all of our lives, we will have the joy of living together with Him forever because we believed what He said about His son. If God isn’t asking you to constantly get better, then why are you asking the same of yourself? Live your life. Enjoy your life. When you are gone people won’t remember how ideally you managed to live or how much better you became. They will only remember your love. Love doesn’t need to get better…

Just some good thoughts…

Free Will…

free willPerhaps one of the most misunderstood concepts of life involves free will. Free will is your innate ability to decide how you want to live your life. Free will is the freedom to choose for yourself. Every human being that has ever lived has been born with free will. God designed man (and even angels) to have free will and it is something He will never violate. The truth that God will never violate your free will explains many things in life that have happened that you do not yet understand. With God, free will is sovereign. Often people exclaim in frustration, “Why does God allow all of the suffering in the world?” The answer – free will. “Why doesn’t God step in and fix all the things that have gone terribly wrong? The answer – free will. When Jesus walked the earth he healed everyone that came to him for deliverance. Why? Free will. Why didn’t he heal everyone he came across in his journey? Free will. “Why didn’t God stop that calamity from happening that caused all of that suffering?” The answer – free will. Why does it sometimes take a long time to get healed and in some cases not get healed? Free will. Why don’t the things we need get supplied immediately right after we pray to God about them? Free will. Once you begin to understand free will in life, many things will make sense that never made sense before. The reason? Free will…

It is never God’s will that people suffer in any capacity, ever! It is never God’s will that people’s needs don’t get met, the very moment they recognize those needs. It is never God’s will not to answer prayers concerning things big and small. In order for God to help us we have to believe for His help. If we do not believe Him or if we are ignorant concerning His ability, willingness and power to help us, then He cannot help us. He will not violate our free will choice. But instead He will continue to work with us and help us to get to the place where we can believe Him and thus receive from Him. Remember the words, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” God, the God of all compassion and mercy, does not desire for anyone to suffer, to live with unmet needs, to go without or endure life with some form of oppression from the adversary. It is absolutely contrary to His heart, to whom He is. But He requires, in His justice, that we believe for His help in life. If we do not believe in His help or seek His help or are ignorant of His help, He cannot violate our free will and provide the help, no matter how desperately we need it. All He asks is for us to use the free will He gave us to make the right decision. God can restore anything. God can heal anything. God can provide anything above even what we can ask or even conceive of. But, and it is a big but, He cannot violate our freedom of will. If God would violate free will He would have simply started the whole creation over after the fall of man. However, His justice required He honor the free will of all involved to decide. Free will.

The world can be an ugly place filled with violence and tragedy. God didn’t create it that way, it became that way. When Adam and Eve transferred, by their free will choice, their authority to rule the earth over to Satan, God had to honor their choice. As such the world today is ruled by evil. That is why there are unspeakable disasters and calamities. There is a pervasive cruelty that, if left unchecked, brings all manner of suffering and incredible hardships to people. If God simply stepped in as many have wished, He would have been violating freedom of will. It hurts God’s heart when these things happen. It hurts God’s heart when it is happening to you. He loves you more than you even love yourself. What checks the forces of evil is people who believe God. Noah believed God when literally everyone became evil and saved the world by his free will decision to believe God. Free will is at the very essence of who people are and how they will live. This is why no matter how much you may believe God’s promises, you cannot go into a hospital and heal everyone there. To do so would require the free will believing of every person in there. That is why you cannot do the believing for another adult. Free will cannot be violated by people either. However the enemy violates free will by controlling people with his spirits, but even then the person who has become controlled began by exercising their own free will. Free will is paramount.

There is also a free will factor involved with the things we pray for. Sometimes when we pray there are variables and factors involved we are unaware of. God knows all of the variables. One variable may be there is something more we need to learn in order to believe God fully. Another variable may be that we have something in our heart hindering us from believing God like sin consciousness or condemnation or a refusal to forgive ourselves for something. One variable may be that we wish it would happen but don’t yet believe it will happen. A variable may be that the adversary is actively hindering us or talking us out of the truth with our sense knowledge reasonings and limited beliefs. Maybe the variable involves the right time. Sometimes the variables involve other people and their free will choices and decisions. It’s like praying for God to suddenly turn a red light to green. What would happen to the people whose light was green? When it comes to answering prayers God knows all of the variables. It doesn’t always happen immediately because of the variables. Our job in that situation is to keep trusting God and keep seeking His help. We don’t plague ourselves with questions concerning our own believing ( been there, hated that…) Instead we continue to pursue what we need. God not only knows what you need before you ask Him, but He also knows how to get your heart to the place it needs to be for you to believe Him. God works with your free will, even your free will unbelief, to help you get to the place you need to be. He lovingly persuades you with His goodness until your free will choice lines up with His good will to bless your life and deliver you. He is most wonderful and He does it all without violating anyone’s free will.

If there were no such thing as free will, life would be unbearable. No free will choice would be no choice, but instead slavery. That is why it can never be true when people say God used them in some capacity. God never uses anyone. If God used you, implying without your consent, it would make Him into a monster. God works (energizes) in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure. But He does it by preserving your free will choice. Sure God can work in you to produce good works, but He never uses you to accomplish some good end or any end for that matter. To say such is to be ignorant of the sovereignty of free will. Free will matters to God.

If you find yourself struggling right now with some (apparent) unmet need, take solace in this. God heard your prayer the first time you prayed it and even if you forgot it, He didn’t forget it. He hears your earnest prayers. He sees your tears and how much you have already suffered. Don’t give up on Him. Sometimes you have to persist and persevere. Sometimes the path has many obstacles to overcome. Remember the variables involved even if those variables are coming from you. God is faithful and will do what He said He will do. Stay focused on Him and not on your problems. Keep coming back to Him and let Him (free will) teach you what you need to know. God is never the source of your delay. God does not hold back good from you no matter how good or bad you are. God delivers you by His grace and it is by His grace we live. It doesn’t matter how things look, what the doctor’s prognosis is or how you feel. What matters is that you by your free will choice keep seeking His answer for your dilemma no matter how long it takes. God is faithful. Free will matters…

Just some good thoughts…

The Dark Night of the Soul…

light of dayI was thinking about the expression, ‘the dark night of the soul’ and what that means in terms of living your life when facing serious challenges and difficulties. Surprisingly, the expression cannot be found in the Bible but was attributed to a spiritual philosopher named John of the Cross who penned a poem by the same name. It is meant to describe a feeling of lack of purpose, the absence of God and the accompanying spiritual dryness that follows. Many people, if not all people seem to go through a time of spiritual crisis when confronted with the deeper problems of life, questions regarding their own existence or a deep sense of something missing in their life. It is the natural end result of living life without a firm spiritual foundation. People are often blown about with every wind of doctrine and find themselves seeking purpose in various causes that while helpful, do not provide a sense of fulfillment in their lives. There are so many activities that occupy our time, but few that provide the spiritual nurture and sustenance we may unknowingly need in order to flourish. Do you find yourself facing the dark night of the soul? Does your life seem absent any real purpose? Are you stuck in a dry solitary place where there is no enjoyment, no hope for the future?

I have to start by saying spiritual leaders and philosophers often seem to have trouble distinguishing what comes from the hand of God and what originates with dark spiritual forces. It’s as if to them there is no real separation between what is good and what is evil. Both are globbed together into one lump with a failure to discern each component part. And what is left is something unusable, transitory and fickle. You cannot make sense of life if all things come from the hand of God and you will be forever left with unanswered questions and dilemmas that have no end point. The dark night of the soul is thus referred to as a period of cleansing, purifying and trial by God in order to produce some spiritually significant change for the better, further implying that God at times does evil in order to secure a better good. Yet this contradicts the Bible, namely that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. God does not ever use evil to promote good, but instead works to produce good in the midst of the evil. We overcome evil with good. The dark night of the soul however, is something we all experience at times and it often lasts much longer than just one night. The emptiness, the misery, the spiritual stagnation and dryness comes from the influences of evil in our lives. It comes from the acceptance of doctrines and commandments that are not true. It comes via the dark influences of the world ever plotting and scheming to replace good with bad, happiness with pain, logic with illogic and truth with error. We all find ourselves faced with troubling circumstances at times. We all run out of solutions with our senses, natural reasoning. We all will come up short in one capacity or another. We all will find ourselves confronted with what we actually control and all that we cannot control. All of us. The key involved is in knowing where to find the help we need.

The dark night of the soul, while horrible, does sometimes lead us to humbling ourselves in order to finally learn more. It wakes us from our lethargy and as Emerson aptly noted, “Whilst he sits on the cushion of advantages, he goes to sleep. When he is pushed, tormented, defeated, he has a chance to learn something; he has been put on his wits, on his manhood; he has gained facts; learns his ignorance; is cured of the insanity of conceit; has got moderation and real skill.” When people are challenged out of their comfortable ignorance they have a chance to learn something. There is nothing quite like a severe trial or arduous circumstances to make a man or a woman reach upwards. Again God is not the originator of the trial, but works within the trial to illuminate and having illuminated, rescue. There is an answer of light in the midst of any dark night if we are willing to seek it. Evil works by chipping away at the structure until the whole building crumbles. When the building crumbles there is desperation that follows, but the solution could have been found in discerning what was being chipped away. Unhappiness and discontent are obvious but if left alone to fester lead to ruin. You avoid the dark night of the soul by determining within yourself to live the day and the day only. Refuse to accept that negative feelings and circumstances are “just the way it is” and instead take on each scenario as it presents itself to you. You have both the time and the resources sufficient for the day. You take on the challenges that confront you by learning the truth concerning those challenges. You find the light that illuminates the darkness. Do not live in darkness or postpone that darkness for another day. Take it on while it is today. Obviously some solutions will require more time to resolve, but you can still immerse your mind in the light and the power that strengthens you sufficient to win the day. The threat of what will happen tomorrow is not yours to handle today. Take on tomorrow tomorrow. God never intended for His precious creation to try and live in moments that are not right now. The dreads concerning our past failures and the dreads concerning our future troubles are both illusions as both past and future do not currently exist except within the confines of our own minds. The darkness of a day gains strength by adding to it the darkness of yesterdays and tomorrows.  “Take therefore no (anxious) thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. (Matthew 6:34) Live the day. Master the day.

If you have been having a tough time or feel as if you are facing an insurmountable obstacle, know this, there is always a solution with God. There is nothing you are facing that isn’t common to man and God will with the temptation (to be afraid) provide a way to escape that you may be able to bear it. All of us started our life journey without God and without hope. All of us have faced despair and questioned the reason for our existence. All of us have felt there must be more to life than just trying to acquire things, living for seventy, eighty or ninety years than dying as the end of it all. All of us have experienced the spiritual drought of ignorance regarding divine realities. All of us. But, while we have life and breath it is our duty to find the God that made us and in finding Him find the solution to everything that ever plagued us or caused us pain. Evil is never a match for God no matter how austere our circumstances or conditions. At the end of the day, evil is always a lie counting on us to try and live life on our own absent God’s help and guidance. You can put an end to the dark night of the soul by being illuminated by the truth; by being healed by the truth; by being rescued by the truth; by being set free by the truth. We all must endure periods of suffering and pain at times, but not for very long if we get our God involved. He is the answer you have been searching for throughout your entire life and will come through for you if you allow it. It’s not a question of your own ability or goodness or piety, but rather a decision you make to believe Him regardless of what appears to be. The dark night of the soul is just an illusion exposed by the true light of God’s Word. I love you.

Just some good thoughts…

Relax Already…

shotsIf you have been around long enough in our world today, you already know how stressed out people have become. We live amidst a performance based culture that promotes productivity at all costs and measures success by how well we have been performing. Everything is a contest to be won. And this frenetic mindset has led to a nation of worn out humans exhausting themselves day by day to get it all done. We have been convinced we have to have the best house, the best car, the best career, the best body, the best family, the best behavior, the best spouse et. al. In this we no longer have time to enjoy our lives or appreciate all the little things that make life sweet. We measure our value not on who we are but rather on what we do or don’t do. We have been deceived into thinking that we control every aspect of our lives and dare not let anything go or leave it to someone else. “I better do it if it’s going to get done!” And I suppose if the system actually worked, we could work ourselves into the best possible life ever. But, it doesn’t work. It serves only to occupy all of our time and energy leaving very little left. We live within a world that is spiritual in nature with much of what actually goes on being hidden behind the scenes. We unknowingly fight against forces we cannot perceive. Our human nature demands we find solutions to spiritual problems with earthly reasoning which leaves us frustrated, discouraged and defeated. Why are working so hard and receiving such little results? What are we doing wrong? What is wrong with us?  We stress and strain and strive all to no avail. We need to relax already…

God never designed life to function this way. We have been hoodwinked, deceived, sold a bill of goods, tricked and subsequently trapped. The design of man was never that he would endure life alone and somehow through enlightenment and damn hard work become his own source of sufficiency. It was never part of the plan that man would be solely responsible for his own health, his own prosperity, his own blessings and protection. If life really was a surface affair, as it often seems, it might be viable, but man is inherently spiritual functioning in a world of spirit he cannot discern. The things which are were not made of the things which do appear. The world is lost and all of its systems to promote life actually reduce life. The formula will not work. The plans are defective. The system is rigged. Man spends a lifetime pursuing in ways that do not yield fruit. So he plants more, fertilizes better and waters yet gets nothing back. It is not his effort that is at fault but rather his understanding of cause and effect. He ends up playing a game at the carnival already arranged for him to lose though winning seems so simple. Man apart from God will always be defeated. God is man’s benefactor and as such is the actual supplier of his needs; indeed his sufficiency. Man was created to rely on God and in that total trust and reliance, rest. How futile to strive so hard for health only to become sick anyway. How discouraging to strain so much to prosper only to experience lack. How disheartening to stress over your loved ones protection only to see them suffer loss. Can’t you see it? We have gotten it all wrong. We are crossing the wrong t’s and dotting the wrong i’s. We cannot find peace because we haven’t gone to the source of peace. We cannot acquire love because we haven’t inquired at Love’s hand. We have trouble prospering and being in health because we seek both only according to our own resources and not His, which He gives freely for all to enjoy. We must learn how to relax…

In the proper arrangement where we allow God to be God and we content ourselves with being human, we rely upon God to meet all of our need. We go straight to the source behind all that ever was, is and will be. We set our affections on things above and not on things of the earth. If we are honest, all of that seeking for self, working on self, and striving for self never worked anyway. The harder we work, the less we obtain. People in the world are exhausted through and through. They are tired of fighting in a fight they always seem to lose. Instead we have to learn to let go of almighty self and seek something bigger and more powerful than we have ever known. We have to stop confusing the source of our sufficiency and let God do what He promised to do. Do you know how liberating it is to finally surrender something to God’s love and care and at last relax? Imagine how little stress you would embody if you decided to trust God and let Him be God. Imagine how much better your days would become when you finally set down all of those heavy burdens, casting them all to Him. Imagine how much easier your thoughts would be if you weren’t saddled with solving every problem that came your way with your own mind and reasoning. What you have been so ardently endeavoring to do is in actuality impossible to do. You cannot see the hinderances that seem to favor one and curse another.You cannot discern what is really behind your problems that plague you and steal away your precious life. But, once you learn of God and learn how the competition works; what you are up against and why your human efforts can never work, you can begin to let God do what He promised to do. Relax already, God’s got you!

Real life begins when you stop being so determined to be your own sufficiency and reach upwards for help. You have to learn to rely on Someone who is infinitely bigger than you. You have to learn to let go of all of the negative pressures and fears and threatenings that have been driving you to the brink. You don’t preserve your health, God does. You don’t supply all of your own needs, God does. You don’t realize your hearts dreams and desires alone, God brings them to you. Don’t search the world in vain to find yourself. Let God show you who you really are. You see, once you get on the right track, the correct path, the best course, life comes alive for you. You are no longer so shook up and pressed every day. Instead you learn to trust God with all of your heart; with all that matters most to you; with the whole of your life. And in trusting Him you can relax. You can exhale. You can settle down and enjoy life. You can finally be free to experience life and love and happiness. You can appreciate the things that really matter. Oh you will always have challenges for sure, but there is nothing you will ever face that God cannot handle for you. Oh my friends, relax already. God is there.

Just some good thoughts…

Is That You God?

listenAs incredulous as it might seem, God does talk to people who have His spirit inside of them. Those that portray God as being too busy with large, important affairs to speak to individuals must not have read their Bibles. God as a loving heavenly Father does directly communicate with His people at times. However, sometimes we may have some confusion regarding whether or not that thought we just had actually came from Him. Often I hear people report that God told them this and God told them that, which may invariably be true. After all, who am I to decide whom God talks to and to whom He doesn’t speak? Revelation is always His privilege and His decision. Yet, there must be a way to determine what comes from God and what comes from other sources or even our own minds. So we need to be able to answer the question, indeed, is that you God?

One of the best ways to determine if God just told you something is by asking the question, what is the profit in what I think I just heard? If God tells someone something there will always be some type of profit in it. If someone says God told them the airplane was going to crash, what is the profit in knowing that unless they could in some way be helped or help others by knowing that. All of these false prophets that predict future doom and destruction never seem to do anything to prevent these terrible things from happening. How many end of the world predictors have come and gone, yet the world remains? Remember Y2K? I too foolishly stocked up on water bottles only to find out nothing happened (smile). God doesn’t waste people’s time or tell them things to tickle their fancies. If God is telling you something there must be a profit to you or other people involved or else He wouldn’t have told you. Similarly, God typically does not tell you things you could already know by your five senses like which toothpaste to buy or what to have for dinner. Again what would be the point? Neither does He tell you things about other people’s lives unless you are in a position to help them or in some cases to warn you for your own preservation and safety. There has to be some profit in knowing. Have you heard people tell you that God told them to tell you to do something involving someone else? To this I would answer, if He told you then maybe you should do it! You see, people come up with all sorts of things that God reportedly told them, but there would have to be some profit in it.

Another way to determine if the revelation you received was actually revelation from God is to compare it with the revelation in His Word. How many cult leaders seduce their followers by claiming to tell them things God reportedly told them? Some claim to be the second coming of Jesus Christ, yet that so-called revelation is in contradiction with God’s Word. Jesus Christ isn’t coming back until after the believers have been gathered together first. (Y2K anyone?) Some leaders claim to be God Himself then tell their followers to do all sorts of things that aren’t supported biblically, such as leave their spouses and have sex with them instead. One cult leader from Korea explained that it was okay for all of the women to have sex with Him because  they were having sex with God Himself. Seems like you wouldn’t need your Bible to know that wasn’t true, but there you go. Revelation you receive from God must not be at cross purposes with His Word. How many ‘sickos’ kill people because “God” told them to do it? God does not tell you to hate people because His very nature is love. God does not tell you to do anything that is not in harmony with His Word. Revelation cannot contradict God’s Word but may augment it or include details you may not have known by your five senses mind. Revelation can be as simple as “you dropped your keys” or anything that will help you in some capacity. God typically does not tell you things that are already in His Word but He can and will bring His Word to your mind.

Another important category of learning concerning revelation from God involves the types of things that God will tell you. God does not convict you of your sins, as some commonly preach, because Jesus Christ already paid the price for all of your sins. When God sees you He does not see sin or all of your weaknesses and human frailty, nor does He feel the need to point it out to you. He loves you unconditionally. If He needs you to learn something that will help you, He will do it in a way that is kind, loving and helpful to you. I remember praying once on my porch and while I was praying I got the thought, “you are going to die very soon.” Now let me ask you a question. What would be the profit in knowing that unless God had some solution to accompany that information? God is not in the business of scaring the bejesus out of you! Well, I didn’t die, but I learned a valuable lesson. Just because you have a certain thought while you are talking to God doesn’t mean it was something He told you. Weird thoughts come and go, but the acid test will always be what was the profit in knowing that? God is not mean and harsh with you. He will not call you an idiot or seek to point out your flaws. Neither will He keep reminding you of your past sins to make you do better or continue to feel bad. There is someone else that has that job and he ain’t the true God! God will not and does not use fear to get you to do something. God’s message is always fear not and as such He will not tell you things that would frighten you. The Bible says, “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.” Read that again! God is a gentle Father and He knows you better than you know you. His appeal is always via His love and goodness; His grace and mercy. It is the goodness of God that leads you to a change of mind, not any anger or wrath. Similarly, God does not engender negative scenarios to make you learn a lesson. He doesn’t make you sick, cause accidents, make your business fail or do any negative things to get you to listen to Him. His mercy endures forever. But, He will and does work in negative scenarios to rescue you or to help you to learn why these negative events keep happening to you. But, He is never behind them no matter what the preacher said! God does not need evil to help Him do His job.

Learning to walk with God and hear His “still small” voice takes time to master and even then we all still miss it at times. It seems when we do miss it, God is always right there to gently point out that He told us already. Hearing from God directly is always a blessing to our lives. He withholds no good thing from us. He doesn’t hide things from us nor make things complicated for us. He wants to talk with us and He wants us to learn. We never need to have any fear about something God might tell us nor worry that He would point out our flaws and failings. That’s not His style. He loves us into loving ourselves. He is perfect in every way and has no darkness in Him at all. Learning to recognize how God works in us is one of the greatest joys of life. Imagine, God Almighty the Creator of the heavens and the earth talks to little old you and me. That’s love and that is our heavenly Father. Is that you God?

Just some good thoughts…

Live Your Life Now!

life nowMaybe it’s not until middle age that how short life actually is becomes a realization for you. The time, the moments that we have are fleeting. Each moment we are in, however sublime, is a moment that is lost forever except where it lives on in our memories. The children grow up much sooner than expected. Before you know it your life is halfway over and sometimes you might even find yourself in the fourth quarter. And throughout it all time marches forever forward. The lesson therefore isn’t to lament the brevity of this life or to revert your eye in sadness over the past. The idea is to do your best to live every moment of your life. Remember the past good times with fondness and anticipate the future with excited anticipation, but do not forget to live the life you have right now. Indeed, live your life now!

It is so easy, as you settle into life, to fall into various routines and habits that you employ without thinking day by day. There was once a time when you were excited about what the day might bring, but now maybe follow the established patterns of a routine day with nothing too thrilling on the horizon. It seems, in our country anyway, that so many of us are living for the weekend; that grand time when we can freely choose how we might occupy our time. But whatever happened to Monday? What, besides work, did we enjoy for the other 32 hours before the good times were upon us again? It seems we fall into these rote behaviors, absent any thinking, forever prolonging our happiness for some future time when we can truly enjoy ourselves. We fail to enjoy the now. We fail to seek happiness and fulfillment in the moments we are in. We stop being able to see the precious time we occupy right now and instead waste our existence looking back and peering ahead. I am not sure how to describe it, but it is as if we trade the now for the promise of the future. We make, as I read today, “when I” statements in reference to an imaginary future time frame when we can finally be at rest and enjoy the short life we have been given. All of us it seems are waiting for something. We are waiting for something. The new job, our life partner, our future children, our financial success, our ship to finally come in, our new house, retirement, yet all of these things do not exist now while we are waiting for them, they exist later on. So the question that begs is what are we doing with our lives in between these milestones? Where is our subject of focus in this moment we live in now? What happened to us that convinced us to perpetually defer our happiness to the future? Who convinced us that our enjoyment of life was restricted to certain significant events and that the entire rest of the time was to be lived in the doldrums of everyday existence? Indeed, who talked us out of living the life that is right now?

Suddenly it dawns on you that the time to live is now. Your mother is getting older and won’t, if the Lord tarries, be around forever. Your children grow up and though the incredibly fond times of raising them is over, they are still there for you to spend time loving and enjoying. Even your grandchildren refuse to remain little children and soon enough they too become an older version of that little person you loved so much and still need your love today. Yet the sheer routine of life minimizes your visits, talks you out of your interactions and steals away joy you were meant to continue experiencing today. Time marches forward. Your enjoyment of life doesn’t need to become unable to keep pace. Why would we need the thought of losing the people we love so dearly to prompt us into action? The time for giving love and sharing love is now. The same holds true for the things we enjoy in life. Do your favorite hobby as often as you can. Eat the cookie, for God’s sake and stop trying to be the distorted media version of yourself. If you are creative and have ideas, do your ideas now. Pursue your interests now. If you are blessed enough to find something that makes your eyes light up, make your eyes light up as often as you can. The time is short. Life is short. Your opportunity to dig deep into this great life of endless possibility is short. Do now what you will wish you would have done earlier once you are older. Write the book. Start the business. Share of your abundance. Help somebody else. Do it now.

It seems we spend far too much time analyzing life and not enough time living it. We carry this false set of rules forever threatening us with the prospect of too much and slow down. We can’t do such and such on a weeknight. We have to be careful not to have too much fun. It is as if every enjoyment comes with a secret curtailer whose job it is to make sure we don’t have too much pleasure; too much enjoyment. And, while every enjoyment has its limitations, we all seem to succumb to the argument before we even get started. Before you know it, everything you like becomes wrong and to be avoided in favor of the drab, the monotonous, the routine. Who taught us to live this way? You and I have a finite number of breaths on this earth and one day we will find ourselves at the end of it. Why not choose instead to live life now? Why not pursue the things that make us happy today? Why not savor the moments we are in and not take them for granted? Enjoy your job. Enjoy your family. Enjoy your spouse. Enjoy the little things that all add up to the big thing we call life. Live life, your life, now!

It does not matter where you are in your journey. What matters is that you take advantage of every second you have been blessed to live. Enjoy your successes. Enjoy the learning you gained from your failures. Enjoy this whole experience of life, the ups and the downs because every day is a brand new day to live and to discover and to thrive. Make the most of the time you have on this earth and thank God for it. For that is your portion under the sun. Live your life now!

Just some good thoughts…

Stop Running Away!

running-away1-659x465-1All of us have a fight or flight mechanism built into us as a function of our survival. This mechanism served to protect us from danger and to encourage our ability to procreate by producing progeny. When we sense danger our automatic reaction will be to either fight or run away. But, if you take this human tendency into the spiritual arena, in the midst of the spiritual competition that goes on day by day, we have to learn how to stop running away from the perceived danger and get in there and fight. In a perfect world there would be no such thing as opposing spiritual forces and we could live our lives without conflict. However that is not our reality today. In the competition we will find ourselves challenged, annoyed and hassled in a multitude of different variations. Every day we encounter negative situations, negative thoughts, temptations to be afraid and we may simply try to run away. But those forces that oppose our happiness, our health, our prosperity won’t just go away on their own. Instead they will continue to impede us and oppose us until we learn how to get in there and fight back. Passivity is not one of the fruit of the spirit. Every time we seek to escape from challenges by running away we find ourselves miserable and defeated. We wish the circumstances would change or that God would do something to make it stop, but what makes it stop is our willingness to take it on with the truth of God’s Word. It’s not a function of bravado but rather a decision to take the challenge on with God’s help. Most people, myself included, would rather not have any conflict. We wish that God would simply remove the challenge from our lives. But God never promised that we would not be challenged. Instead God offers to help us overcome any and all challenges that show up in our lives. God wants us to win. But you won’t win until you decide to stop running away.

How people run away may not be that apparent to you. It’s not the kind of running you might do if you encountered a bear. Instead it is what goes on in our minds in the midst of a challenge to our minds. The mind is the arena where the competition takes place. Everyone is in the contest. There is one great force that seeks to help you to live the life you want to live and there is one dark force that endeavors to steal away your enjoyment of life and brings troubles upon you. The competition involves who you are going to believe. What happens when you are faced with a serious challenge? Most people tend to fold fairly quickly. That is how we have been trained to respond. Folding presupposes that there is nothing that can be done about the scenario you find yourself in. Then fear sets in and things go south in a hurry. But what if there was another choice you can make? What if it was your job to take on the challenge? The reason fear rules the world is because people do not know how to take on fear and overcome it. Fear is always an illusion. Remember James and the Giant Peach? It wasn’t until James finally decided to take on the fear that he was able to see it for what it really was – a lie. Our lives are like that. We have to learn to stop running away from everything that threatens us. I don’t imagine most people like to fight, but sometimes you simply have to fight, especially with the things that are most important to you. Much of the anxiety people are experiencing today comes from a large pile of unresolved issues they have chosen to ignore (run away from). Often the peace follows the fight. Stop running away!

As contrary to public opinion as it may seem, we have to learn how to take on our spiritual opponent. The things that are happening to you aren’t happenstance or random in any way. There is no such thing as accidents. These perpetual disturbances have been carefully plotted and planned by those opposing spiritual forces. The end game is always to make you afraid and bring you into bondage to them. Then they can control you as they control much of the world. But, you do not have to live that way. You can learn from God’s Word how to fight back. But make no mistake, much like the bully in the schoolyard, you have to fight back. Instead of just passively accepting these things that assault your mind, you must first become willing to recognize them and then do something about them. It’s not convenient and at times it is a pain your ass, but it is necessary to ensure your continued blessings and happiness. Letting things go is a form of running away. You wonder why we as a nation are over medicated and numb? It is because of running away. Even children know when they are not happy and do not move forward until the situation causing their unhappiness is somehow resolved. It’s only later on in life that we learn to just eat crap all the time and accept it patiently. Look, if something is bothering you and persisting day by day, you have to do something about it. Otherwise you will spend your lifetime defeated and depressed. And by doing something about it I’m not referring to your human capabilities. I’m referring to God’s limitless ability to solve problems in your life. It seems many people just busy themselves with other things in order to escape this reality. It is as if being preoccupied won’t let the troubles in. But this is not true. Every trouble you let go or ignore just leads to more troubles and more difficulty. You owe it to yourself and your one short life to learn how to take things on. Stop running away!

Every morning I write my Morning Pages as I have written about before. For me, my Morning Pages represent a time I faithfully carve out in order to, with God’s help, get things straight. I use this treasured time to talk things over with God. I ask lots of questions. I tell Him about things I don’t understand. I communicate what is bothering me and why. I leave no stone unturned. And, I do not ever leave that morning session without the answers and understanding I need to get back to His peace. Some things I have to learn over time and other things the answer becomes immediately clear. Often He will bring His Word to my mind. My point is that however you want to do it, it will greatly benefit your life to take the time to get things straight in your mind. Maybe instead of writing about it you simply talk it over with Him. Maybe you go for a walk or a drive. However you do it, do it. Pretty soon it begins to dawn on you that there is no challenge you cannot take on with God’s help. Now instead of perpetually running away, you purpose in your heart to stand still. You learn to hold your ground. (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds. II Corinthians 10:4) Don’t you think God is able to clue you in about what is really going on and do it in a way that causes you not to be afraid? Once you stop running away and dare to believe God in the midst of the challenge, you will find that your life takes on a glorious, peaceful glow. The things you want in your life will start coming your way and the things you do not want will be dispelled. It is that big and it is that real. Stop running away!

We all have to start somewhere. Maybe your life habit has been to run away. Maybe you have let so many things go that you don’t even know where to start. That’s okay, God will help you. Your job is only to take on the next thing. Your life is worth fighting for. You are worth fighting for. Stop running away. Instead, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord!

Just some good thoughts…

Do You Know?

doyouknowRecently I have been watching a Netflix series documentary called, “In the Name of God: A Holy Betrayal.” Basically it is about different so called religious leaders in Korea that led their followers on unimaginable paths proclaiming to know, amongst many other things, God’s will for their lives. These kind people were led astray despite having a humble, heartfelt desire to learn about God. The false leaders and teachers were successful in obtaining their allegiance by promises of love, fulfillment, a ticket to heaven and many other things that most people seek after. But, what struck me the most wasn’t the weird things people can unknowingly get into. It was how little of the truth of God’s Word these people knew. Using the Bible as their guide, the charismatic leaders introduced all sorts of things that are not found anywhere in the Bible. One claimed to be Jesus himself appearing for his second coming. However, unlike Jesus, he demanded sex from his followers as a token of their love for God, even reporting that he himself was God. As incredulous as that seems, if not outrageous, the people were led astray because of what they did not know. And like what happens to all people when they are ignorant, they were led down painful, disgusting paths as a result of it. All sadly, in the name of God. Which begs the question, do you know?

People that do not understand what the Bible says or have been taught erroneous beliefs supposedly based on it, are ripe for deception. People do all sorts of illogical things because someone falsely attached God’s approval and blessings to it. If you want to make people give you money, fall under your control, be manipulated by you, all you have to do is convince them it is somehow God’s will. But, let me ask you a question. How do you know what God’s will is? If you do not have a standard for your beliefs outside of yourself and your own thoughts, how would you know what was true? How would you know if you were really doing God’s will? You see, you wouldn’t and that is exactly what happens to so many people today. These damnable leaders and false prophets have people doing all sorts of things that are nowhere to be found in the Bible or maybe are in the Bible but not addressed to them today. It matters. Otherwise your sincere heart will be taken advantage of all in the name of God. How many good people live each day drowning in their sins and sinful nature completely unaware of God’s solution for them? How many tender hearted believers are living on antidepressants and other medications because they just cannot stand themselves? How much precious life and experience are people missing out on because someone convinced them that everything they like is wrong? Ignorance is not bliss. The reason so many people are living under the control of others (and I do not just mean at church) is because they have these wrong beliefs floating around in their heads. Wrong beliefs are built on error. And no matter how sincerely you work according to your wrong beliefs they will continue to produce bad results, i.e. more error. Then folks want to get mad at God. God is very, very clear in His Word about who He is, what He does and will do, and what He does not do! Do you know?

There is an opposing force in this life that does not want you to know. He overloads you with other options. He derides the Bible for its antiquated beliefs. He convinces people that what he actually does, God does and what God actually does, he does. He gets people to call the light darkness and the darkness light. He works in people and the world to put limits on what you can have and not have. He convinces you that certain things have no solution. He gets you to believe that either God can’t do anything or worse, won’t do anything. All outright contradictions to what God says in the Bible. See, do you know? In that same Bible God says, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” If you knew for yourself what His book says and what it doesn’t say, it would be a lot harder to lead you down these calamitous paths. As soon as the first leader in the documentary said he was the second coming of Jesus Christ, I knew immediately it could not be true because of what God clearly says will occur before Jesus Christ’s second coming. Error! When he said they had to obey him in order to get to heaven, I thought – false, getting to heaven is based on what you believe, not on what you do! Again, error! The problem with not knowing is that you can be led down any crazy path the leader wants to take you down because you do not know for yourself. If the suggested beliefs and actions contradict what God says is true, they will always be error and if followed hurt you. There are dark spiritual forces behind all of the insanity, all of the illogic, all of the hurt and pain people experience in this life. ALL of it! The sooner you can begin to recognize evil, the sooner you can seek the truth that will set you free. Not knowing or relying on someone else to know for you won’t get the job done. If you know, you know. Do you know?

A lot of stuff is said and done supposedly in the name of God. Many things that defy logic and good sense are portrayed as the will of God. All manner of cruelty is done in the name of God, not just today, but all throughout history. And it happened because the people did not know for themselves or relied upon religious leaders to make it make sense for them. But, at the end of the day, some things simply do make sense. Some things are full of hypocrisy and contradiction. Another female cult leader in the documentary stated that all sex and pleasure was sinful and wrong and to be excluded at all costs, even between married couples, yet she herself could have sex with all of the young men because it was “pleasing to God” among other things. How do people reconcile those types of things? What kind of abject deception makes that concept plausible or remotely acceptable? God is the one that built sexual desire into people and outlines a perfectly acceptable expression of it. The sex was the least of the horrors that occurred all because people did not know for themselves. Although any of us can get caught up in things that seem good, but aren’t really good, the true acid test will always be found in what the Word says. If God says something is evil, no matter how many disguises you cloak it in, it will always be evil and will always involve deception at some level. It’s not that people are so bad, it is what is behind it that is so bad. Many things people proclaim to be evil or wrong are not evil or wrong at all. But, how would you know? Do you know?

Since all of life begins with God and exists with God, the best thing you can do for yourself is to learn what God really says in His Word. All of us have to start somewhere unless you were blessed enough to have parents that taught you. But even then, it still might not be true (smile). If you want to know you can know. If you have a hearts desire to learn you can learn. If you are tired of being so confused about life you can understand if you want to understand. I can assure you the Bible is neither complicated nor confusing, you just need someone to teach you. Someone taught me. How can you be sure that what you are learning is true? Simple, does it work for you? Are you happier as a result of it? Are you getting your needs met? Are you seeing your prayers answered? Are things improving in your life for the better? Or is what you are learning causing you more pain, limiting you and dogging you, condemning you and taking away your joy? That is not the results that come from the truth. Where the spirit of the Lord is there is liberty. But, not to worry, God looks on your heart. He knows that you are seeking Him and He knows if you want to learn. All that is required from you is a decision. Not a decision to live a bondage filled religious life as that is counterfeit, but instead to live the more than abundant life God promised us in His Word. If you want to know, you will be given a way to know. Trust me on that one. So my dear friends, do you know?

Just some good thoughts…