Enjoy Your Life…


3588855bb2e74867f7877d6b26470a98When you are a young person, you cannot wait to get older and do the things that adults can do. When you reach adulthood, you quickly learn that being an adult carries with it some responsibilities you hadn’t really thought all the way through. You take on those responsibilities and begin to figure things out. You work hard and seek out the resources you need for you and your young, budding family. You start to taste some success, admittedly some more than others, and before you know it, you find yourself in your thirties, then forties, eventually reaching middle age. Your children are likely grown or getting there and you start setting new priorities for your life. You settle into your middle aged life and because you worked hard, have more resources available to you and more time to devote to the things you enjoy most. And while you continue on your journey, the time comes when discussions involve retirement and you’ve entered your sixties. At some point you retire and it dawns on you that you cannot actually cheat Father Time as you see and feel the effects of age. And, as this progression continues and you aren’t getting any younger, some of the most simple things provide you with the most pleasure, much like how you started out. You look back on your life and recognize it for the journey it actually is and was. No one told you how to do your thirties or your forties or your sixties. In fact, no one told you hardly anything about aging at all. There was little to no advice about what to expect, what to plan for or how best to live your life along the way. And as you approach the ending no one really wants to consider, the only question remaining will be, did you enjoy your life? Did you engage your mind and your heart in the things that matter most? Did you enjoy your days as you lived them or were you always trying to get to the next place? Did you savior the beauty of today or was your habit to postpone all enjoyment for the future when you finally had it all figured out with resources untold? No matter your present age, the question is, are you enjoying your life? 

Life is vary similar for us all. By the time we have gained a little wisdom, we will have already had our fair share of bumps and bruises. We will have endured some catastrophes and survived. We learned tough lessons. We maybe screwed things up quite a bit. We had weaknesses and issues that took us years to overcome. We might have failed, succeeded and failed again. All of this is common to the human experience. It will happen or has happened in some capacity to us all. Yet all these things are not the measure of our lives. The real measure is found in every day that happened in between those events. As much as we didn’t like it, did we fight through those tough times? Were we able to find happiness and love despite the obstacles? Did we learn early enough that the real blessing and enjoyment we found came from those who we lived life with? All of the hours we spent raising children and caring for them and making sure they had everything they needed were all insignificant in comparison to the love we shared and do share with them. And in the midst of all that stressful endeavor, I sure hope you enjoyed them. Those countless hours you spent at work, striving to be the best, to be successful, to earn, to provide for your family, again lose their value if you were not able to enjoy those folks you saw everyday and with which you were blessed to interact. Every successful marriage has its fair share of challenges as should be expected from two people growing, changing and interacting every day. Yet for all of the fights, the silent treatment, the unrealistic expectations and demands, stands alone the absolute joy of having someone close and intimate from which to enjoy your life in all of its varied experiences and emotions. Who can compare to “your person” that understands all of your human frailty but continues to love you nonetheless? My point, lest you miss it, is that you have one life to enjoy, to learn, to grow and to overcome and only one life to live on Earth. Enjoy your life…

All of us love a sunny day as well as congenial circumstances of favor and plenty. None of us take delight in the struggles. We all long for a time when things always work out and every effort we supply has a grand result. We are all happy when things are going right and we are all unhappy when we find ourselves pressed and tried. Life, this life, is often unfair and lacking in the justice we would expect. Picnics get rained on and beach days suddenly turn cold. Vacations get cancelled and glorious outdoor weddings are hurriedly moved indoors. Circumstances change, our feelings change, we’re up, we’re down, we are beside ourselves and we are blessed. It is this life we have now and it is ours to choose to enjoy. We cannot allow circumstances to define our happiness anymore than we can leave our enjoyment in the hands of other people. Instead enjoyment is found when we slow down a bit and savior the fullness of our experience; when we take the time to look around at all that we have instead of that which we perceive we lack; when we look full on in the faces of the people we love and communicate with our hearts, embracing tender feelings towards them. This is the real beauty and essence of life. This is the life God envisioned for us. Enjoy your life…

Wisdom need not be reserved for the aged. You don’t have to be in your golden years before you finally understand that all along you only had one life to live with every conceivable decision in between. You don’t have to wait for some future day when all of your needs will finally be met. You don’t have to postpone your happiness until you find “your person.” It was never about your car or your house or your bank account. Life, your life, is to be lived today to the absolute full. Let tomorrow be what it wants for your life is found in today, right now. In the grand words of Emerson, “Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year. He is rich who owns the day, and no one owns the day who allows it to be invaded with fret and anxiety. Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities, no doubt crept in. Forget then as soon as you can, tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely, with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense. This new day is too dear, with its hopes and invitations, to waste a moment on the yesterdays.”

Enjoy your life…

Just some good thoughts…

 

Relieving a Vast Load of Care


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If you spent any amount of time on Terra Firma, you know that life can get on top of you in a hurry. You’re plugging along doing your thing when suddenly the troubles seem to mount up with wings and you find yourself distressed and agitated, stuck in a vortex of worry and doubt. Oh my friends, these things need not be. Any trouble you might face is common to man and is similar to the experiences we all must endure at times. But, with every trouble you may encounter, there is a solution that is yours to find. You must but ask and in asking you will find, if you will persist. God will relieve your vast load of care.

In order to fully appreciate the dilemma all men and women find themselves in, you must first understand the nature of the spiritual competition. Your apparent difficulties and complexities are not the result of happenstance and bad fortune, but rather the effects of cunningly devised plans, designed to point your thoughts in a certain direction and then keep them there for as long as you will permit. The great power your opponent uses against you is one of deception. He seeks to paint a picture whereby all of your options are limited and without apparent remedy. He and his spiritual henchmen work to define the narrative; to outline craftily what is going on in your circumstances and why; to offer reasons that are not reasons and answers that are not answers at all. It is the, “Well, it could be worse logic.” It is trading in really shitty for only crappy. It is defeated logic from an already defeated foe. Much, if not all, of the troubles you face exist in your mind, the battleground, and what you choose in response to those lies from the father of lies, determines where you will end up. Mark Twain once remarked, “I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.” Indeed, most troubles do not come to pass because they were never troubles to begin with. Yet, a man can lose a significant amount of time for living by entertaining those false ideas.

In order for worries to take hold of you, you must become a cooperator with them. All of us are subject to their threats, yet not all of us persist in cooperating with them. You cooperate with them by refusing to let them go. You think and think and think, yet find no solution. You find no solution because there is no solution as they were never true to begin with. The appeal is to your ego; to your insistence that you, by your human logic, can put them to rest. But, the very thing you are doing in an effort to resolve them, is the thing that guarantees their continuance. (Please read that sentence again) The least you can do when confronted with reasons to be afraid is to refuse to think them any further. The best thing you can do when confronted with them is to replace them with some truth from God’s Word that opposes them. ‘Fear not’ is the number one admonition in the Bible for a reason. Again, your temptation to be afraid, to worry, is common to man. But God will always provide a way out.

It is normal for you to conclude that your difficulties and troubles are a direct result of something you did in the past, are doing now, or have thought about doing in the future. But, can you be so sure? Your personal enemy knows no bounds nor does he fight fair. In a perfect world, we all would have exactly what we deserved, good and bad. But, in the spiritual competition, many get far worse than they deserve and many get far more than they earned. Life and chance happen to them all. In other words, in the competition, you get not what you deserve or have earned, but rather what you have believed. The man that believes to be successful, will be successful no matter where he began or the amount of effort he supplied. The man that unknowingly expected to fail, listening to and acting on his fears, consumed with worry about the future, will fail just as surely as the sun will come up tomorrow. It is a law, God’s law and you may cooperate with it or suffer as a result of it. But. my friends, you need not suffer any longer. Your task is not to try and figure out the vast world of the unknown, but instead determine what you will and will not think about. The woman that exclaims, “I knew it!” when calamity strikes is right, yet not because she was destined for calamity, but rather because she ignorantly persisted in those devilish thoughts until disaster stuck. We make life harder than it actually is. Our duty is to control our thinking and in doing so, cooperate with God who always has our best interests at heart. Your thoughts are always your thoughts!

Beliefs that come as a result of thoughts persisted in, tap you into power, power for good and power for evil. If you persist steadfast in right thought, you cannot help but obtain good results. However, if you stubbornly continue in wrong thought; thoughts of worry and fear; thoughts of impending defeat and loss, you will find yourself a victim of an enemy you neither perceived, nor stood against. You don’t resist evil by consuming yourself with thoughts of sin, condemnation and pleasing God, you resist evil by controlling your thinking and standing vehemently against the lies and the deceptions. You please God by changing your thinking to line up with His abundant promises, so that He can do for you what He promised. Focus on self, another crafty deception, always ends in defeat. You and I will never deserve God’s kindness to us, but by the grace of God we are what we are. By God’s grace we at least have a fighting chance and by God’s grace we can achieve at levels we have never before imagined. Oh my friends, let God carry all of your cares, all of your worries, all of your fears and see how quickly your life will transform!

The troubles we face are common to man. We are all in the competition whether we choose to compete or not. Your responsibility isn’t to figure out evil and its deceptions. Your job is to learn how to fight back! You fight back by controlling your thinking and having the humility and willingness to let things go. “Casting all your care upon Him, for He careth for you.” When you cast your cares upon God and leave them there, you will begin to see the deceptions more clearly and more quickly. Oh sure, you are going to be real tempted at times, but hang in there and see it through. Don’t let worries and cares rob you from the life that now is and from the life that is yet to come. Life is quite a beautiful reality once the fear and worry are gone. Find relief from a vast load of cares by learning to obey in your thought life. God is here…

Just some good thoughts…

Change Your Mind!


two-split-minds-heads-0618211Nothing changes until you change. The changes you really want and beg for and wish for and complain about and lament concerning, are not going to come about on their own. The circumstances of your life, be they what they are, are ultimately a production of your own mind and heart, played out in infinite variations within your own existence. When you find yourself bogged down and mired in negativity, nothing is going to counter that negativity until you finally decide to change your mind. And, while you wait and endure and long for a positive end, you will be waiting a lifetime unless you get determined to confront the source, your own thinking and subsequently your own expectations. As a great man once remarked, “You cannot travel within and stand still without.” As your thoughts go, you will continue to go. Where your thoughts remain, there you will remain. If you are serious about wanting something to change, you have to become serious about changing your thoughts. Change your mind!

It is common for man to think that his thoughts are simply a reaction to his circumstances. He fancies that he is merely a reactive force in the world. Where the world goes, he must go. Instead of commanding control of his mind, he waits for something outside of him to alter something that exists within him. He waits in vain for his ship to come in; his luck to turn around; some grand, cosmic intervention to occur thereby setting him free from his misery and pain. In not knowing, he fails to cooperate with the reality of things. He foolishly waits for God to do something that he must do and exhausts himself trying to do what God alone can do. In his ignorance, he rebels against his own self. He desperately pleads for circumstances to change, while encouraging those same circumstances with the thoughts he continues to think. He persists and they persist. He cleaves to the wrong and the wrong cleaves to him. He continues to walk in darkness then curses the darkness for plaguing his life. As another great man once remarked, “Dwelling on the darkness won’t bring forth the light.” Complaining, whining, bitching, rehashing, playing the victim, rehearsing wrongs done, replaying the evil, remaining in the darkness can only lead to more and more darkness. Endeavoring to command God’s light into circumstances of darkness while remaining in the darkness and refusing to depart from the darkness, is a fool’s game, which many a suffering soul has lived in and for a long, long time. In order for anything good to come, you have to be willing to change your mind. You have to change your mind!

People bring their troubles to God, as He would have them to do, and then refuse to change their thinking. They stay focused on their problems; talk only about their problems; and live firmly within the confines of their problems. They refuse to let things go. In doing so, they remain in the darkness. God is not found in the darkness, He is found in the light, for He is light and in Him is no darkness at all. To earnestly pray for God’s deliverance from some negative circumstance, while persisting in the negativity and embracing it instead of moving to the light, is a recipe for an unanswered prayer. It’s never that God is unwilling to answer the prayer, but more so that the person praying is unwilling to do their part and change their mind. Changing your mind to some thought that is based on the light of God’s Word is the antidote to darkness. Then, once you find the light, you must be determined to stay there. You will find yourself tempted to return to the darkness, the negativity, the defeat, but in order to prevail you have to stay in the light. It might surprise you to know that the reason your circumstances are negative, if they are, is because you have thought it so and continue to think it so. You have knowingly and unknowingly persisted in your negativity. You stuck with it. You stayed in it. You set up shop within it. You failed to take charge of your own mind and your own thoughts and have received the fruit of your negativity. That is not God’s fault, that is your fault. Do your part. Change your mind.

If you give this stuff more than a cursory glance, it will become apparent that you have a part to play in this equation. You can literally think anything you want to think. You can picture yourself successful, delivered, blessed, just as easily as you can picture yourself defeated. The problem is that you (and I) have been schooled by the world to dwell on the darkness. The slightest circumstance; a sore throat, a cough, a twinge in our back, a sudden lack of energy, a market dip, all send our minds reeling towards some frightful, pending, negative outcome. It feels hard to do because it goes against the grain of thinking we have been taught. We already know that worrying serves no good purpose, nor does it lead to any good outcome, yet we insist on running some dark variable through our minds, hoping that somehow, in some indescribable, mysterious way, we are going to stumble upon some light, some answer of peace, something! But, we won’t find the light there. The light comes when we let the thought go, when we refuse its continuance; when we calm down, get peaceful and remember how much God loves us and cares for us. In that space, our answers appear and in no other space. Agitation, unrest, anxiety are not addresses where God lives. Change your mind and walk in the light. 

The only way to get the change you are seeking is to change your mind. Think thoughts of positivity and light. Stop waiting for circumstances to change and change your mind first. You change it. You grab control of your thoughts and think only of things you want and not on things you don’t want. It is your mind, which is the gateway to the great citadel of your heart, from whence your life proceeds. Be positive and expectant not only when it looks good, but when it looks awful. Even in the midst of hell, God is still here and He will help you (and me). Don’t spend another day a victim of your own wrong thinking. Stop allowing the darkness to hold sway over your life. Get to the light and dwell in the light. Light dispels darkness and it’s never the other way around. Change your mind!

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Philippians 4:8 (KJV)

Just some good thoughts…

 

50,000 Views… What???


blogger-image-1034075386The other day I received a notification that my blog had reached 50,000 views. When I first began my blog, all I wanted to do was share some good thoughts with people about solutions to their problems. Back then, as so much the more so today, all I really ever wanted to do was give people some solid spiritual advice in the hopes that they would hear it and pursue it. And as I think about the world today, there is so much suffering; so much defeat; so little hope for the future. People are literally living lives of misery, afraid, bewildered and at a complete loss. The reality of how people live is sad enough, but to have real solutions to those issues and yet have folks not realize those solutions is even more saddening. Oh my friends, God exists…

At one point in my life, I was like you are. I had heard of God somewhat vaguely; knew some real weirdos claiming to speak for God and generally sought to escape the whole religion thing in its entirety. My absolute disdain for religion and its empty practices is no less today than it was 30 years ago. Nothing turns people off to God more than religion does with its litany of man made practices and illogic. No thank you! As a youngster, having been exposed to nothing more than a bible class as a child where we made mirrors with Jesus on the back, I always had this idea that God was loving and kind and much bigger than my inadequacies and failures. It seemed like if He actually made people, He would have a pretty good understanding about they work. How silly, it seemed, that He would be put off by something as ridiculous as foul language or drinking beers or this whole notion of sex, which I’m quite certain He invented. I always thought He must be so much more than that. Not too long after those youthful musings, I began to learn how much more. 

As a new college student, I was doing the exact same things you were probably doing if you went to college. I was attempting adulthood while still a child and wow, it was a crazy time. It seems there were lots of other people just like me. After a brief skirmish with a sweet lady offering me some religion, I was formally introduced to the truth. As I sat in that class called, Power for Abundant Living, my heart literally burned within me as the scriptures were unfolded to me. I learned that God wasn’t who people said He was at all, but rather He was loving and kind and most willing to help me live my life. It seemed He not only created life as we know it, but was also fully willing to participate in my living of it. I saw firsthand how He did answer prayers in real and tangible ways and that prayer wasn’t simply a psychological exercise to help me feel better while providing nothing I actually needed to solve my issues. I observed healing first hand and a host of other mind blowing solutions to the dilemmas of humankind. I was so happy and blessed that I could hardly contain myself. I lovingly coerced my family and friends into taking the class. I couldn’t believe I was so “lucky” to have stumbled upon that for which the whole world seeks. And then, as even today, I ask myself, how can people do life without God? 

I believe if you could ever escape the deafening din of unbelief and fear, you would honestly take the time to discover who God really is as opposed to an overload of things He is not. All you could ever imagine about an incredible benefactor and an unlimited power for good can be found in God. No-one would find out the goodness of God if He was found only in endless seminaries of evil and sin, ever warning of falling out of God’s favor and sinking into the perils of evil. If you’ve lived any amount of time, you have already become expert in sin and its consequences. You don’t need a sermon or a lecture to tell you that bad things are bad things. Your own heart will do that for you. Similarly, God does not need to focus on what is wrong with you. He already knows what is wrong with you, for goodness sakes, and He doesn’t ever bring it up. Instead He holds out His hand to you to come and learn of Him. He asks only that you taste and see that the Lord is good. He is only good always and is everything you have ever been searching for your whole life. Surely you can perceive that life is much bigger than appears and that you weren’t the result of some cosmic explosion that ended in perfect symmetry and balance. A flower alone disputes that claim. Your mind, your emotions, your complexity, a product of evolution? Hardly. Human life alone belies that notion, not even considering the universe and the eco system and the sheer variety of living things. Your heart knows better than that and your heart seeks after the God that made you. Listen to your heart. 

No matter where you have been; how low you may have sunk; whatever insane stuff you got wrapped up in, beneath you will always be the loving arms of God, patiently waiting for you to reach upward and ask. You don’t need to study your Bible for hours, become scripturally proficient, go to church and do exceeding good deeds. All you ever needed to do was ask Him to help you. You know in your heart where you struggle. You know the despair you feel. You are familiar with your anxieties and fears. You are clear that you are quietly suffering and that there must be a better way. Well, there is a better way and it is yours for the taking. You don’t owe God anything and how could you repay Him anyway? You owe yourself the willingness to seek and as is promised to you, find. Don’t allow yourself to go another day lost and confused by a world system that is bigger than you are. Stop trying to fight it with your human logic and assumptions. Cease from making all about you and learn instead Who life is really all about. 

If you are like me, and I know you are, you have a heart that is in need of repair. You know deep down that there is a goodness you have always dreamed of and wished for. You know it must be better than you have been experiencing thus far. You aren’t being fanciful and foolish, you are listening to your heart. You also knows the ways of religion are not it either. Those ways will do nothing more than make life with God, about you and about everything you do and do not do. Religion serves only to glorify the men that made it. 50,000 views later people and it is still as true as the first time I endeavored to write it down. Oh my friends, God exists…

Just some good thoughts. 

 

 

Dealing With Your Feelings


feelingsIt is peculiar to me that something that affects our life as much as our emotions do, would be the subject of greater education and study. It’s like we all grew up with this menagerie of feelings, yet seldom have we learned to understand what those myriad feelings are communicating to us. Most people, it seems choose rather to try and escape certain emotions while encouraging the existence of others. But, what if our feelings are communicating important messages to us? What if we took the time to evaluate our emotions; why they occur; when they occur and used them to help us move in a more beneficial direction with the promise of a better future. Do you know what your feelings are saying to you? Are you aware of what is behind your emotions and where they originate? Are you dealing with your feelings?

We humanoid units are incredibly sensitive creatures and by sensitive I mean have the capacity to experience a wide range of emotions. Some folks whole existence is based upon their emotions, while others seldom give their emotions much thought. It would seem that both scenarios are lacking. Our emotions are easily manipulated, if you haven’t noticed already, and to place your sole trust in them as the citadel for decision making would be foolish. Conversely, excluding all emotions as pointless or frivolous would serve only to rob your life of its richness and blessings. The wiser option would be to seek understanding regarding what your emotions are communicating to you. We have all had that experience whereby suddenly we feel a sense of dread or become agitated in place of the peace we had a few moments ago. Usually a little thought regarding what you were just thinking about reveals the thief; usually some vague fear or concern about a thought you just processed. The point of your emotions was to alert you to some change inside your head that needs to be addressed. All anxious or nervous feelings point to the same reality. Ignoring those thoughts with their subsequent feelings; medicating those thoughts; distracting yourself away from those thoughts leads only to more of those feelings. Your job in that instance was to deal with the intruder! By the time you are experiencing anxiety, it is a sure sign that you have been letting something go and now suffer from misplaced fears labeled as anxiety. Anxiety is only a common phenomenon today because people have stopped paying attention to their thoughts and to their feelings. We have become a nation of letting stuff go. We move too fast; try to do too much; endeavor to live up to impossible and unrealistic standards. We are quite literally led about by our noses staring at images and words and opinions lacking in any conceivable substance or help with our lives. We compare ourselves, measure ourselves, recognize our so-called deficits and lack and from there try to carve out a peaceful and happy existence. We are told when we should be married, when we should make our first million, what we should already have by now, where we should live and on it goes. It’s no wonder our feelings are trying to tell us something. They are telling us something isn’t true! 

Have you ever tried an experiment where you simply allow your emotions to be what they are and not try to escape them? How about when you are feeling bored? What are those dreaded boredom feelings trying to say? Is it really just a lack of activity? Or, have you entertained a series of thoughts that succeeded in taking the wind out of your sails? Boredom says you have nothing to look forward to, but is that really true. If you simply stopped running from those feelings with endless activity you might find that you don’t need more activity, but maybe need to reframe your thinking. Perhaps you need to stop trying to live in your future and embrace what is happening right now. Whenever you travel back in time or attempt to future travel, your emotions won’t cooperate and will bring you something you need to deal with today. In this way, your feelings are these fantastic barometers for your soul. They are ever pointing you to something, somewhere in the million details of your existence. Unpleasant emotions call for immediate action. Pleasant, joyful emotions encourage your continuance. In this is the only time that “if it feels good do it” was ever true. Trusting your feelings only falsely presumes everything you ever feel is an indicator of truth; that something is actually true. Then you spend your entire life waiting to feel good about something that may not feel good now, but has a huge payout in the future. The point is to pay attention to your feelings! Don’t cut yourself off from their messages, but instead investigate them without fear and follow their subtle promptings. Those experiences you have that bring joy to your heart are to be welcomed and repeated often.  Helping others, being kind, having great compassion, loving and forgiving others lead to immeasurable bliss. Don’t forsake them.

The next time you are feeling out of sorts, unhappy or down in the dumps, think about what you have been thinking about. Have you perhaps been focusing on what you don’t have or where you fall short? Have you been spending too much time thinking about life instead of actually living it? Or, have you fallen into perpetual self focus which leads only to more and more recognition of what isn’t right or needs repair. If you want to know, you can know as they are your emotions given to you by God’s wisdom to help you live your life that much better. Don’t ignore your feelings or write them off as foolish, but instead pay attention to the message and if needed take the necessary action. Sometimes our emotions are simply trying to get us to take some action we know we need to take, which as soon as we do it, opens the windows to a flood of positive feelings. The message, “handle your business!”

It is always your choice whether or not you take the time to deal with your feelings. But, you owe it to yourself to do so. You’ll know when you’ve got it right by the peace you experience inside. Feelings of peace and contentment are the ultimate measure of right thought. Peace is the end of the fight when you, at last, prevail. Deal with your feelings. You won’t be truly happy until you do. 

Just some good thoughts…

You Are Not a Victim!


2018_12_01_59766_1543625917._largeWhen you get right down to it, all of us have had negative things happen in our lives. We have all been deceived at one time or another. We have all been taken advantage of in some capacity whether it be by the people who we love and trust or even outsiders like our bosses or other people with whom we interact. It is not necessarily an uncommon part of our human existence. And none of us liked  it, even remotely. Yet for all we may have experienced, suffered through or endured, it still does not determine who we are nor define our future lives. Whatever may have happened, holds no power over us nor does it have the ability to impact the days ahead, that is unless we allow it. In this, we are not victims. You are not a victim! 

In order for the victim mentality to begin directing our steps, we have to falsely assume that we are powerless to effect change in our situation. And, while someone may be physically stronger than we are; may hold a position of influence and authority over us; may be well skilled in manipulation and using our emotions against us, that still does not make us a victim in the scenario or force us to continue being victimized and minimized. Each of us has value and worth and none of us has less value and worth than anyone else. Your feelings matter as much as the other person’s feelings matter. Your right to be treated with dignity and respect is equal to the other person’s right to be treated with dignity and respect. To be a victim, you have to conclude that your life holds a lesser position than the oppressor. High ranking people with titles and great authority, while potentially having more influence over others lives than you do, still are not above you in the human sense. Rankings and societal strata come via people, not from God. You are not a victim unless you have decided thus. And even if a circumstance victimized you, you do not have to remain a victim. 

The way that you can tell if you are playing the victim is by the things you say and don’t do. Constantly complaining about your boss at work, while doing nothing to remedy the situation, is playing the victim. If you think about it, all complaining about situations is really an acknowledgment or agreement on your part that there is nothing you can do to make a change. Yet, there is always something you can do. Instead of complaining to everyone else, complain to the source instead. If you find yourself in a situation that pains you, frustrates you, chews you up inside, and that situation persists, you owe it to yourself to make a change. Maybe you are making a lot of money and fear you won’t have the same opportunity elsewhere. Not only is that not true (as evidenced by your ability to do it in the first place), but it also serves to lower your value as a person. No amount of money or comforts or power is worth the compromise of your own soul. Your life is more than that. Your value is higher than that. The victim mentality runs rampant today. It runs unchecked because people have learned to blame everyone and everything rather than take ownership of their own lives. Maybe you were not properly nurtured as a child. Well, you are an adult now and can get your needs met elsewhere. Whatever your oppression, whatever cruelty you faced, whatever horrendous thing that may have halted you in life, does not need to subject you any further. Negative situations seem to last just about as long as we allow them to last. When we are done, they are done. The circumstances change as we finally decide our value exceeds the misery of the situation and take the first steps to engender change. .

In life, we are always accountable for our own lives. It may be a hard pill to swallow, but it is true. Now that does not mean that our circumstances are always positive or that we are not challenged, tried and tested. Nor does it mean that we are the source of all that happens to us. There are literally a million variables involved. But, in the end, it is our life and we are responsible to do our best to overcome and to prevail. It’s not the amount of challenges we face or the opposition. It is what we are willing to accept for our lives and in that which we have determined within worth persisting. If you value yourself highly, your tolerance for mistreatment is very low. If you value yourself as lowly, your tolerance for mistreatment and abuse will be too high. The circumstances of your past, the terrible humans you encountered, those in authority that failed to protect you do not determine your self worth, you do. All those things had in common was the collective ability to convince you of something that was never true. No person arrives at low self esteem on their own. 

You are not a victim! There is always something you can do, the greatest of which is to get God involved. Those same wicked despots working behind the scenes to torture you and defeat you will persist absent a greater power, a greater source from which you can gain support. God never made a victim, nor was it ever His will that anyone should be one. People become victims when they are overpowered by forces unseen and virtually unknown. People become victims by not having a clear understanding of the truth. (God said My people are destroyed from a lack of knowledge.) Once you get God involved, you find that the evil things that have been governing your life quickly fade away by God’s love, presence and power. At last you can see your tormentor clearly and as such make the required changes that lead to freedom. But before any of that can take place, you have to take full ownership of your own life, both the good and the bad. You must become willing to put away the blame and the complaining and learn instead to take the necessary steps to turn situations around. You can do it my friend. You must do it. You are not a victim!

Just some good thoughts…

Life Requires Your Participation…


1_1X2KtJHaDNEr3MBghmUA5wI was thinking the other day about how your life can go sort of stale on you. Things don’t appear different on the outside; there haven’t been any major changes; nothing dramatic has occurred, yet suddenly it feels a bit pointless and dry. It’s almost as if there isn’t anything to look forward to and your existence seems to have slowed down to a crawl. The more deeply I considered the emotions, the more curious I became. What is it that happens to a person that takes away the joy and adventure of living? What event or series of events have been at work behind the scenes stealing away precious life and vitality? What could have possibly been going on in a person’s thought life that led to these negative and hopeless conclusions? Then, I knew the answer. Life requires your participation!

The way you stop participating in life is when you stop moving forward. You don’t necessarily feel like you stopped, but if you are honest you know you no longer have anything you are pursuing. You aren’t on an exciting adventure full of discovery. You aren’t on a journey towards some worthwhile end. You have no grand plans for your exciting future life, but instead have settled in to mediocrity and silence. You’re going through the motions, living, but not really living. There was a time when you had a zest for living and carried a mind full of expectations and desires. But, something happened to you. Something worked you over and wore you down. Someone or a host of someones chipped away at your ambitions and goals. One by one, little by little, your mental plans were closed off and nullified. It wasn’t your age that did it to you, but maybe the considerations you entertained concerning your age. It wasn’t the circumstances of your life that took away your dreams as you had similar, if not worse circumstances, in your unknown and untraveled youth. What changed was your interpretation of your circumstances and what they meant in terms of your future life. Your lack of energy and exhaustion didn’t come about from extreme efforts, but instead lack of effort; lack of movement and ultimately a lack of participation in your own life. You stopped doing your part. Life requires your participation.

When you remove all of the covers, when you take off all the disguises, when you peel away all of the layers, a person’s arch nemesis in life is always fear. It is fear that enters in an impedes your forward progress. Doubt causes you to hesitate. Worry slows your progress forward and fear eventually freezes you in your tracks. Like the mighty roar of a lion, fear roars to stop your forward progress, rendering you helpless from the enemy’s pending attack. The name of the thief that stole your ideals is fear. The hunter that trapped you in a cage of mediocrity is fear. The robber that made off with your enthusiasm and zest for living is fear. Absent fear your mind is free to function at full speed, full of ideas and dreams and wishes, hopes and plans. What happened to you was not a function of aging or gaining wisdom concerning the world. What happened was in some capacity, in some imperceptible way, by repetition and habit, fear got to you. Fear tricked you into stopping your forward momentum. Fear pointed out why your plans could not work; how foolish you were for thinking them and how many obstacles existed to impede your progress towards them. But, it wasn’t fear’s lies that defeated you, it was your acceptance of those lies as evidenced by your lack of progress toward your plans. You, because of fear, stopped moving; stopped doing; stopped trying. Your dreams require your participation in their attainment.

Often people pray for God to take away their problems and troubles. They beg God to simply step in and remedy the situation for them. And while that sounds beautiful, further inspection reveals that is not how life works, indeed not how God works. God moves in people as they move. Waiting and praying and wishing won’t restore the life you have lost as a victim to fear. You have to move again. You have to take some steps. You have got to start moving forward. However it happened to you, it already happened. Bless God for helping you see what you need the most to see.  Praise God for those times you got to recognize and understand it for yourself. What happened to you is common to all men. The acid test for your soul is to look back at your former dreams and goals, your plans, your enthusiasms for things, and note how you stopped pursuing them. You gave them up. It’s like the man that hates his job; complains about his job; is stressed out by his job, yet does nothing to change the situation. Sure he prays and pleads and waits and cries, yet does nothing to change the situation. What would he have God to do in his story? God will move when he moves and not a second earlier. If you are no longer looking for the things that have the most appeal to you, how could you ever find them? If you have given up on even trying something, how could you ever succeed at it? If you already know everything, what else is there for you to learn? The problem isn’t God or the world or the circumstances, the problem is you. Fear (look no further) has tricked you into halting your forward progress and life won’t return for you until you decide to move again. Life requires your participation.

Friends, the doldrums, the boredoms, the lackluster and mundane would overtake us all. However, we are only so because we have ceased our forward progress. We stopped moving and will remain abject and defeated until we take charge and move again. Get back in the game. Remember what you love the most and begin to pursue it again. Take a step then another step and then another. Don’t allow the liar fear to color your world drab gray any longer. Move ahead and see the beauty and vibrance that life is and once again see the God that called you and loves you. Make some moves and see it for yourself. Participate in your own life!

Just some good thoughts…

The Elephant in the Room


elephant-roomWhen I first began writing, “Just Some Good Thoughts” a number of years ago, my goal then was and my goal now is to help people escape the dark side of life; escape the suffering; escape the bondage; escape the pain. In that vein, my aim is to point people towards the light; towards the happiness and towards the joy. It has been my experience that life itself is not unhappy, nor should it be accompanied by difficulty as if by design, but rather those things come as a result of influences hell bent on making trouble for people; setting up and crafting hardships; obscuring man’s mind from the things he really needs to see. The reason a man or a woman cannot see is because their minds have been blinded to some reality. Further, it seems those evil influences don’t gain access to people’s hearts from many avenues, but instead a few areas craftily hidden from view. Complete catastrophe and disaster would render any heart humble in desperation to survive. But, the little things, the small compromises, the continued allowance of things that cause pain, they seem to be the chosen method for attack. Often these disturbances are easier for other people to see, but remain veiled to the soul of the one caught in the trap. Clearly there is an elephant in the room that needs to be addressed. What is the elephant in your room?

None of us needs any more judgment than we are already subjected to in our daily life. It is never helpful for a person, determined to set a matter right, to come crashing in pointing out our weaknesses with a wrecking ball approach. Wrecking balls, however efficient, tend to smash things down rather than build things up. Instead people need to arrive at their own conclusions. Pointing out the errors in someone’s ways needs to be reserved for the person with no error in their own ways and that lone person who lived above error, out of love, chose not to do it. And, if you’re honest, do you really know the source of the other person’s problem? Difficulty and distress have many different disguises. Some much like the ones you wear. The elephant in the room must be found by the one it affects. 

In order for a gigantic creature to escape a person’s view it must be deftly hidden from them. Or maybe it is something that can be seen, but is not seen correctly for what it really represents. All deception functions this way. And all of us have been deceived. Deception is successful because it covers the real causes and as such masks the real effects. No man, no woman would persist in error if they saw it for what it really was. Instead, the error is portrayed as something good ever offering the promise of good times and lasting pleasures. The measure, therefore, is the fruit it is producing in your life. If the fruit is good, God bless it and may it continue. If the fruit is bad leading to problems and difficulties and mental duress, it deserves your further inspection. That which you do and every time you do it, it leads to turmoil and unrest, is likely in need of some revision. None of us produce only good fruit and we all are in need of some revisions. It isn’t that all of our life is bad or evil, but rather some several areas are in need of repair. Those are our elephants in the room and often they can be remedied by slight modifications and changes, not complete life overhauls. It may be as simple as making the decision to exercise some control in an area whereby you formerly held no control. It may be ridding yourself of a trusted friend who is not your friend and serves only as a thorn in your flesh. It may be as nonthreatening as a shift in priorities. If our lives were a complete wreck it would be more clear to us by now. It is in the subtleties where the ruse takes place. It is error practiced for so long that it no longer appears as error. How much suffering has been engendered by an elephant we can no longer see or even discern?  

God is more than willing to help you spot these elephants in your existence. He not only sees them for the error they really are, but also sees what is behind them. He knows precisely how they got to you and even more precisely how to help you escape from them. In this you can always trust God. Unlike the many false reports concerning Him, He is very tender and long suffering in our lives. He brings you to a place only when you are ready to see it and even then leaves your freedom of will intact. His will for us is only the best things in life, though it often take us years to gain this recognition for ourselves. Like any loving parent, He does not want to see you suffer. It pains Him to see you rebelliously moving forward on things that will result in your own harm, but allows you to do so anyway, remaining ever present to pick you up when you fall.  What a glorious day it is when you finally decide to stop leaning to your own understanding and lean to His instead. God looks on your heart. He heard your prayers. He knows you don’t understand what is going on. He hears your cries to Him. But, in order to receive your answer, you have to begin listening to Him. Follow His gentle promptings and be assured He is not the one accusing you or causing you to suffer, ever! He is faithfully at work helping you to see and rid yourself of all of the elephants in your own rooms. He desires you be free from all bondage and hardship and pain. Is there an elephant in your room making your life less than what God intended it to be? If so, let God help you and guide you in not only beginning to see it for yourself, but also in helping you remove it from your life. 

What is the elephant in the room? Nothing if you trust God and let Him show you the best way to live!

Just some good thoughts…

Do Hard Things…


hard thingsI think it sort of dawns on you over time that you have aspects of your life that need some revision. If you look up hedonistic in the dictionary, you may find a picture of me. Nobody likes to have a good time more than I do. But, sometimes with your good times you discover excesses that require modification and those modifications aren’t always easy. Excesses can appear in any category of life and you recognize them by their impact on your life. There’s a reason God says all things in moderation. Whatever fun stuff you enjoy that may have become too much fun requires a change in your behavior and more importantly your thinking. Vices are called vices when they replace the real you with some added activity you need in order to function normally. That’s not to say that you must give up all vices, but rather those vices that no longer assist you but instead seek to control you. If you can’t have a good time without adding something else in, you may be getting tripped up. If you have lived any length of time, you know this is true. With life comes an expectation of control, not servitude or slavery, but rather setting limits and sticking to them. In this, you sometimes have to do hard things.

All people love liberty and freedom to do as they please. This is part of the foundation of the American way of life. But, when your personal freedoms begin to impact you and other people negatively, a change will be required. No-one sets out to become a drug addict or an alcoholic. Yet both result from a lack of control. No-one chooses a life of obesity and the litany of related health issues that accompany it, but those consequences remain hidden in the pleasure of consumption. No-one plans on ending up a workaholic, until that satisfaction from always working ruins family and health and the future. It doesn’t really matter which areas of your life have excesses; too much; a lack of control, what matters is being able to discern them before it’s too late, then take steps to modify and choose new pathways. This will require you to do hard things.

On the other end of the spectrum of control is over-control. There are people that deny themselves all pleasures. Some even go as far as to say that they are doing it for God. I can assure you that God who invented pleasure isn’t opposed to pleasure. Yet, He also sees through the deception of pleasure excesses. Emerson aptly stated, “Punishment is a fruit that unsuspected ripens within the flower of the pleasure which concealed it.” Pleasure and pain both have the capacity to deceive you or at minimum influence your decisions. In this, man always seeks to add rules such as taste not, touch not, handle not, yet God was not behind it. Instead He said, “Prove all things and hold fast to the good.” In life we are free to experience our lives in all of life’s manifold variety and stick with those things that are the best. Some things begin well but end poorly. Other things appear to be good but have poison hidden in them. And many, many things are good as long as you enjoy them in moderation. But, lest I put chains on you that are difficult to extricate yourself from, you and you alone must make that choice. It is your life and you are the one that best knows what works for you and what does not. Some people choose not to eat meat and it’s their mouth, not yours. Others abstain from alcohol, but that doesn’t mean you must. Some people require ten hours of sleep and others only six. All of us have free will, unless we surrender it by excess. If there is something you do that is too much for you and begins to hurt you, you may have to do some hard things.

Even the term “hard things” is really a misnomer. Control is no harder than making a firm decision. What becomes hard for us is changing habits that have solidified over time. Habits are great for useful endeavors, but habits spell disaster when connected to our excesses. Worse, habits become invisible to our awareness and we are forced rather to experience some pain or consequence before they come into view. Doing hard things is really more about making hard decisions. It’s about proving to yourself that you can. I think one of the most important aspects of our own mental health is in sticking to the decisions we have made. Nothing like following your plans for needed improvements to boost your self esteem to record levels. Conversely, there’s nothing like saying one thing and doing another to bring you down into the dumps. If it’s going to improve your life immeasurably, do hard things.

Finally, in some cases, certain things or harmful activities have gotten away from your control . Maybe you have traveled too far down a certain path. Perhaps you got caught up in something that was bigger than you are. Certain aspects of life have forces working behind them that exceed your personal ability or strength to overcome them. In these unfortunate, but common cases in human beings, you will need God to help you escape; God, the Higher Power. God who sees all, knows all and is over all is well able to rescue you. All that is required on your part is some humility; some willingness to admit it (whatever it is) has gotten away from you. God has not left you without remedy, nor will He ever. It doesn’t matter how hard your hard thing is, with God nothing shall be impossible.

My friends, we all need help at times; we all get tripped up; we all end up at places we never thought we would end up. There’s no sin in getting tricked. But, when you know what you have to do, you must require of yourself that you do it. Make the change. Modify your behavior. Cut back. Limit yourself. Control yourself. You will be so incredibly happy on the other side. Change doesn’t happen overnight, especially when dealing with well grooved habits of thought, but it will happen and God will make sure you are real blessed along the way. Try it for yourself. Do hard things.

Just some good thoughts…

Yeah, But What Do You Think?


think-different

I’m not sure if it’s politics or the ease of getting information or the advent of social media, but it seems more and more that people have stopped thinking for themselves. Maybe there’s nothing new under the sun. Maybe all original thought has already been thought. Perhaps we have reached such a grand stage of enlightenment that there is no longer a need for folks to think for themselves. But, I doubt it. Somewhere and somehow it seems human beings have been talked out of the veracity of their own thought; their own conclusions. It is like there are only a rare few rebels left who dare to go against the status quo; the information wheel of things. People are either aligning themselves to some all or nothing cause or else they are blindly supporting it. It seems the logic or maybe the illogic is that if you are this, then you have to be that. You absolutely cannot be part this and part that, it’s all or nothing baby! Now that logic may work for absolute truth, but it fails miserably for everything else. The earth is round. To think otherwise isn’t original thought, it’s inconceivable illogic. Yet there are people, all scientific evidence to the contrary, who believe it. The issue isn’t what the masses are saying. The issue is what do you think? Yeah, but what do you think?

You likely won’t be able to survive in a world where black is no longer black and white is no longer white. Things are real and have a distinct meaning. To challenge the reality of things is absurdity. If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it is probably a duck. When you let some influential fellow convince you that it is a chicken, when it is clearly a duck, you may be teetering on insanity. Yet, for some inexplicable reason, that is how the world seems to function today. Whether it be adherence to some political party or else well established Facebook algorithms, people seem to have stopped thinking for themselves. COVID19 is a real thing. It’s not a media construct, though the media may oversell the fear of it. There are literally real people that you know that have gotten sick and in some cases have even died from it. Again, to buy into the logic that the media has invented it for some sinister, future governmental takeover, is irrational at best and insane at worst. There are people, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, still concluding it is a hoax devised to “take down” America. Yet, it seems more likely that the economic “take down” of America is more directly related to the virus itself. All throughout history there have been pandemics, always having their roots in evil, designed to destroy the masses and bring ruin to the people. That part is clear. However, in this instance of another variation of the same, there is produced a whole segment of society that refuses to acknowledge its existence. Do you really think that the government is so sophisticated that it could align not only the media, but also every hospital and care center to buy into the same lie? If the government has that type of control, we truly all are doomed. And, however rapidly produced, there is a vaccine offered that prevents the virus from gaining access and greatly limits the impact of the select few that still acquire it. Medical report after medical report lauds the veracity of it with evidence to back up their claims. Yet, almost incredulously there are still people, many people who refuse to get it. To them, it seems more plausible to believe that the government has somehow found a way to implant tracking devices so small they can fit through the point of a needle. Now, I know evil is very deceptive, but through the needle? If anyone is being tracked it’s more likely through their cell phone or some chicks named Alexa or Siri. Yet onward march the thoughtless masses refusing compliance based on civil rights or something. I personally know a man that coordinates a large hospital in our area that reported 95% of those poor souls suffering from COVID in his ICU are unvaccinated; 95%! Lord help us, is anyone still thinking for themselves?

Somewhere along the line, I pray, people will return to thinking for themselves. Yes, the media portrays falsehoods. Yes, the great media machine slants and manipulates information. Yes, evil is likely behind it pulling the strings. But, for God’s sake, you have to call a thing a thing. The reason the pandemic has gained a resurgence is because of all of you conspiracy theorists that have given the devil too much credit. It’s like the man that prayed for God to save him from the flood that refuses three offers of being saved because he was still waiting on God to deliver him. Take the ride you dummy and stop refusing your common sense. It is scary to think that we live in a world where you can deny real occurrences by calling them fake news and even scarier that people could overlook a preponderance of evidence to the contrary. We, as a nation, are in real trouble when that type of logic is allowed to prevail. Look, when you go to the doctor, though you know that medicine isn’t perfect, you have to trust what the doctor says and do what is required of you. To question the doctor, not based on medical science, but based rather on what some non-medical friends have informed you to do is not wise. Yet, that is where we are today. Not a day goes by that I am not subjected to some quack or even less than a quack, reporting some false statistic about some erroneous data they reportedly read questioning what is obvious in favor of some equally insane conspiracy theory, again giving evil too much credit. And do you know why they are so convinced? Because the Facebook algorithm has fed them so much agreeable information for their whacky views that they have now concluded it is true. The question that begs remains, come on man, what do you think?

I will be the first to tell you that evil is very deceptive and that I have personally been led down a few blind allies to my own hurt and loss. But, somewhere along the way you have to start questioning these conclusions that people make and decide for yourself based on some semblance of logic. I can think of no better way to enable a pandemic to persist than to convince the masses of the evil inside the anecdote. The vaccine may not be fully tested yet and there may be some future harm connected to it, but that has to be a lot better than watching grandma or grandpa waste away due to something we do know very well. Life often isn’t a clear choice between good and evil but instead sometimes the lesser of two evils. In an imperfect world governed by evil, you sometimes have to trust God and make a choice. And absent any insider information from God, choose logic. My heart and prayer for our country and for our world is that people return to thinking for themselves and stop casting logic and plain common sense out the window in favor of a political view or the opinion of the divided sides. You don’t need a party platform to recognize good from evil, even if it might cost you a few votes. Think about the things you are cleaving to and if they pass the acid test of common sense. Yeah, my friends, but what do you think?

Just some good thoughts…