The “IF” Factor in Believing…

It never ceases to amaze me (and other well-worn clichés) how many folks there are that believe in God, but don’t believe in God!  The idea that some folks (God bless ’em) go their whole lives confessing their belief in God yet never receiving a blessed thing from Him seems a little crazy to me.  The idea thing behind this believing thing is that some-thing actually happens.  If God can’t do anything for me beyond what I can do for myself, He would kinda “suck” in the God-business wouldn’t He?  (LOL Just makin’ a point Lord)  Just follow me and ignore my apparent irreverence for a little bit.  The truth behind believing in God and subsequently believing God is that “stuff happens.”  (You’ve probably seen the bumper sticker!)  If God says He will do such and such, my job is to wrap my around what He said and actually see it come to pass.  If I have a need and my need isn’t met or my prayers “seemingly” aren’t answered, then there must be something wrong somewhere.  I don’t know if you have read much about God, but He seems to be pretty good at His job.  I mean raising the dead?   That’s pretty spectacular isn’t it?  How about healing a man who was born blind?  Pretty sure that’s better than Lasek!   Sometimes folks seem to stagger (myself included at times) at “how” exactly God is going to get the job done.  Or maybe we just don’t understand fully.  You might even say, “Well, I don’t know He could do it!”  So, here’s a thought… We also don’t know how babies grow in the womb.  Oh we know they grow, but how is still a mystery.  What about plants?  We get a seed; cover it with some dirt; add some water and it grows.  How?  LOL Who knows, but it does.  Refusing to believe something God says He can and will do is like refusing to plant watermelon seeds because we can’t see or feel or smell or taste any life in them!  Drop the little seeds in the dirt and watch what happens!  Believing God is just that simple.  Quit being so smart and let Someone smarter go to work for you.

If God makes a promise that He will do something “if” we believe, our job is to believe.  Hoping so doesn’t get the job done.  Wishing doesn’t get the job done.  As my Dad used to say, “Wish in one hand and sh** in the other and see which one gets filled up first!”  (Hey, that’s my Dad okay?)  Wise Pops, very wise!  Yet, we seem to think things work that way, don’t we?  We shoot some words up in God’s direction, wait a day or so, then conclude nothing happened and promptly give up.  The truth is we didn’t believe in the first place!  Believing is a state of full mental persuasion.  But guess what folks, you have to persuade yourself.  All of us on Earth have been conditioned to believe facts, not truth.  Here’s a handy little fact test.  According to the medical community, is it possible to bring dead people back to life?  (Now don’t hedge, just answer!)  According to the best physicians can you fix the vision of a man born blind?  Wait, wasn’t there a guy once in a movie?  No, he went blind.  How about instantly repairing a man lame from his mother’s womb?  Withered hand?  You see what I’m saying?  The great battle that takes place in your mind is overcoming the “apparent” facts so you can believe (like a little child) what God said!  Quit being so smart!  The “IF” factor in believing is “IF” you can get your mind to believe despite the gnarly facts!

There was a man in the Bible whose son was possessed with devil spirits that were busy about trying to kill his son.  (Now if you just shrugged and chuckled a little at that, you are unaware of something you need to be very aware of!)  Ignorance is never bliss!  Anyway, he came to the disciples for deliverance for his son.  The disciples had already experienced many signs, miracles and wonders.  Oh, they knew how this believing thing worked.  Yet, for some reason they could not cast the spirit out!  There was a big crowd gathering so it must have been sort of embarrassing.  So Jesus shows up and the father said I asked your disciples to cast the spirit out and they could not.  (More embarrassment)  So, curiously, Jesus asked how long this was going on.  The father replied, since he was a child.   Hmmm… Jesus asked that question because when children are young, it is the parents job to do the believing for them.  Yes, that’s right, the parents job.  So, the father said, “IF, you can do anything have compassion on us and help us!”   Sounds fair enough, doesn’t it?  How many times have people said things like that to me?   “Okay man if this believing thing really works, pray for my healing.”  Nothing happens…”see it doesn’t work!”  ;-/ So then Jesus, unlike me and the disciples wasn’t caught in the trap.  He challenged the man by saying, “IF, you can believe, all things are possible to him that believes!”  Jesus took that humongous “IF” that the Father gave first to the disciples and next to him and gave it back to the father where it belonged!   You will never, ever get a single prayer answered until you take responsibility for that big “IF” and believe!  Is it easy?  Rarely!  There will always be a large body of evidence to convince you of something far less than what God has promised.  Always!  So, you take charge of that beautiful mind that God gave you and persuade it to believe what God promised with no reservations; none!  Then you too can proudly display the “stuff happens” bumper sticker!

So, when you find yourself in one of life’s OMG jams, don’t panic, don’t turn to booze; don’t get mad at God for somehow letting it happen.  Instead start working with your mind in that very moment to get what you got coming to you from God.  It’s not just how life is when you are getting yanked around from pillar to post!  It’s not normal or natural to suffer, get defeated and be kicked around!  Normal is for God to answer your prayers; heal you; fix your situation; solve your dramas!  Get out of your own way and allow God to lovingly show you how He got the job title!  If you are willing to really commit to it and stop wishing your life away, God will literally blow your mind!  Then, you will be the one writing the blogs!  Haha

So, like Jesus said, be not afraid, only believe!  Oh and don’t forget your bumper sticker!



Routine Routines and the Dead TV Brain!

I recently heard of an anonymous study done on cell phone users across the country.  In the study they found that 50% of people never travel more than 3 miles from their house.  And add to that, the same people averaged only 5 places they traveled to throughout their week.  Pretty frikkin sad huh?  Get up; go to work.  After work, go to the gym, go home, eat dinner, watch TV, go to bed!  Shoot me now please!  (I felt bored just typing that)  There must be more to life than that, right?  We all know that it is good to have routines; ways of doing things that eliminate wasted energy like hanging your keys up on the key rack when you walk in the house so you don’t have to spend 20 minutes looking for them in the morning (after you got up late).  Or, figuring out what you are going to wear to work tomorrow before it’s morning so you don’t learn that your favorite jeans are in the washer (after you got up late)… Or, putting your tools back in the toolbox so you don’t have to use the butter knife for a screwdriver or your shoe for a hammer.  But sadly, we tend to try to fit our whole lives into routines and then life becomes…well, routine..  Same thing, same system, same stuff, different day.  No-one really wants to live that way, do they?  I don’t!

So, how can we escape the mundane and the same-o, same-o?  How can we use our time rather than finding things to occupy our time?  How can we summon up the courage to actually turn the TV off?  I know it seems weird but there actually was a time when there was no TV.  Scary, I know?  What the heck did people do?  I remember years ago when my wife and I first got married and lived in a ghetto little apartment down on Adam’s Avenue in Ogden, UT.  (Utah’s mini-attempt at the other side of town).  We were poor college students.  One day the unthinkable happened; the TV broke!  For a few days we stared at the spot it used to be in, above a table and we lamented its demise.  What the heck were you supposed to do in the evening?  We broke out the Scrabble and the Backgammon and played some games together.  Can you imagine that?  Married folks doing something together.  So, I got to thinking…hmmm.  No-one rushes home to watch mindless TV do they?  Oh I know we’ve got our Grey’s Anatomy, our sports, and the Good Wife ~ nothing wrong with that.  I mean that thing you do where you turn on the TV as soon as you get home and then flip through the channels looking for something to…wait for it….occupy your time.  Again, shoot me now!

This is no condemnation because I know how it happens to us.  It happens the same way that we are coerced into driving the exact same way to work everyday.  (At my house if we run out of Dunkin Donuts coffee you would think someone did a homicide there from my reaction ~ umm, I digress)  We eat the same meals, go to the same Target, same gas station and we even do the same exercises at the gym.  It happens to us because it is a whole lot easier to do things the exact same way, everyday.  No thought required; no adventure; no scary unknown.  We complain that we don’t have enough time to work on our new book or our new job or our new hobby because…because we can’t break ourselves away from Facebook, our iPhone, our Ipad or our cell phone  or from tweeting (or from the TV in the livingroom, bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen).  We have as much time as we have always had, but we don’t see it being eaten away day after day, month after month.  In fact, we don’t see anything at all…

So, how can we escape the routine, the mundane, the boring?  We have to do something different.  We have to shake things up a little.  We have to open our eyes and look around us.  What’s going on?  What kind of life do we dream of but can’t ever seem to get to?  What do we want out of our next 24 hours?  What do we enjoy?  What makes our heart beat faster?  What do we have to offer this world?  What unique skill do we possess that can help someone’s life get a little brighter; a little better; a little more hopeful?  When I travel to Northern California on business I never actually turn the TV on.  I exercise, I read, I write, I go out to eat and usually end up at the lounge.  Interesting things happen at the lounge.  After a glass or two of wine people do something odd.  They talk.  They tell you stuff.  Now despite having to sit through some endless, pointless conversations about seeds or the competitive nature of lettuce, some conversations are actually useful.  Sometimes people want to learn about God or even unlearn some bologna about God.  Some people tell you about their failing marriage.  Some people give you advice about your marriage or your kids or yourlife.

You and I have to make up our minds to travel outside of our 3 mile prison.  We need to take a different road.  We need to tear the iPhone from our fingers and talk to someone.  30 minutes of thoughtful, meaningful conversation with your wife is better than 5 hours of mindless reality TV.  Family discussions at the Washington household last for hours and trump electronic entertainment times a hundred!  (Just ask them…)

You want a better, more fulfilling life?  Find yourself a human and talk to them.  Who knows you might share something that changes their lives forever and lo’ someone might even be able to help you out!

In the words of that odd cat, Rick James, “Were bustin out  of this L7 square, we done braided our hair, we don’t mind if you stare!”  And if that was too urban, just do something different!

Find a human…and talk!

I’m Depressed…Weed Brains

Probably not what you were thinking, but maybe…  I haven’t been able to weed the flower beds for about 3 weeks now and I found them completely overrun with weeds.  I don’t mean a “pull some dandelions business,” I mean more weeds per square inch than flowers.  Morning Glory, which aint so glorious are surrounding every flower, every bush, every plant, every…after just 3 weeks.  And, pulling them up not only takes forever, but with the weeds come up about one third of the flowers.  You can’t see them early on because they’re sneaky…real sneaky!  They start low, below eye level and quietly wrap themselves around the flowers.  They blend in perfectly.  Then when they have the flower completely enveloped they broadcast their presence proudly, almost as if to say, what?  What?  They have the audacity to bloom flowers on my flowers.  And, I can only tell they are even there because of their brazen appearance as in pretty little white flowers showing up on top of their disgusting little weed bodies!

So, I’m depressed…weed brains, what does that even mean?  What it means is that our brains or more accurately our minds are like gardens (ala’ James Allen).  Crazy huh?  Our minds are like gardens that must be tended to, day after day.  Now that might sound odd, but most folks just let their minds go.  They think thoughts are things that just happen and that there’s not really much anyone can do about it.  You think a thought…you think another!  It never seems to occur to folks that although you may have just had a negative thought, you don’t just move on.  Moving on is like looking out the window and seeing the flower beds and the weeds, and deciding to let it go.  What can it hurt?  What is the worst that can happen?  Until one day you find yourself depressed about life.  Nothing seems to matter; nothing has any meaning, nothing…  What happened?  Chemical changes in the brain, yes sure.  But what really happened?  What happened was those 385,000 thoughts you let go gathered together and choked the life out of your good thoughts.  Oh you didn’t see it happen because it was sneaky, real sneaky.  You know what I mean, right?  Those pesky little missiles that tell you, “You aint going to achieve much man!  Let’s face it, look at ya!”  “Working your tired little job; still broke; still wishing something would change!”  Or the popular, “You call yourself a Christian!”  (as if being a Christian somehow meant you transcended being human and moved into an error free realm!)  Good luck with that one… Or, “You messed up again man, because you always mess up, dum dum!”  You see, you might not have being paying attention enough to decide not to think that garbage, but you sure as hell (that’s right I swear), need to pay attention enough to not let that stuff go!  By the time you recognize it, those little white Morning Glory flowers are all over you, taunting you!  They already got you!

Now just to amuse you for a minute, weed (yeah Mary Jane – ols skool term) relaxes your mind right?  Hahaha… Relaxes your mind all the way to the point that you are no longer paying attention.  You’re high!  So high you just accept whatever!  LOL Say it aint so…  Anyway, I digress.  (Methinks you got it)

So, when you find yourself all messed up; unhappy, miserable, listless, pointless, energy-less, what should you do?  All the medication in the world won’t solve a problem that started in your thought life.  Yes, it can help get your chemicals back in balance, but what got them out of balance to begin with?  You did.  Can you imagine digging out a flower bed, putting a few flowers in it and then letting it go for 6 months?  Do you really think you would have a beautiful flower bed?  No man, you know better than that!  So you walk your butt over to the flower bed and you start pulling.  One weed at a time; weed by weed, until the flower bed was clear.  Then, once you got it cleared up you would need to plant some good stuff in there, something you actually wanted. Then, you would have to pay attention to it every day, thoughtfully challenging and digging up every intruder that wasn’t welcome there.  Oh it won’t be easy.  It will take some work, but what would be the value in terms of your life?  I think your life is worth the effort.  Don’t believe the hype folks, there’s nothing free about letting your thoughts run free.  Life like weeds has a way of filling up unoccupied space with things you don’t want.  (Ever watch a reality show?)  LOL

The good news is that you can regain control.  You can get your mind back.  It doesn’t seem like it at the time, but you can if you want to!  But remember, you didn’t get all entangled and choked up overnight, so you aint gonna get it all cleaned up overnight.  The only time you’ve really got to work with is the time called, “right now.”  Yesterday, last month, last year; the last twenty years mean absolutely nothing.  You can’t even go back in time to when you first started reading this post (haha), but you can do something about right now!  Morning Glories aint got sh** on you!  (Said in a Denzel Washington voice)

Stop pouting!  Stop feeling sorry for yourself!  You know what you know when you know it and not one moment sooner!  There’s an enormous, colossal, beautiful, spacious, exciting life that is waiting for you to do your part.  God knows your dilemma and soooooooooo wants to help you, but you gotta do your part!  So do your part and see what happens!

Although I felt overwhelmed today I got the job done!  I cranked up the lawn mower and went kamikaze on those weeds!  Quit stewing and brewing and crank up your lawnmower!  You can do it because you were designed to do it!  You got what it takes, my friends.
Now, that’s worth thinking about…