Get Your Money Right, Kid!!!


prosperityIt’s amazing to me how much we depend on money in our culture and how little attention we actually place on obtaining it.  I know the cliché, “Money doesn’t buy you happiness,” but I strongly suspect the one who coined it, didn’t have it (smile).  In fact, I’m willing to bet that most anti-money slogans came about by struggling people, working hard to justify why they didn’t have it…  “Money isn’t everything,” right?  Yet money is something; a something you need an ample amount of to get the things you need.  You’ll notice that even when people pray they substitute the word prosperity as if that’s a more wholesome term.  Money isn’t evil, unless you love it more than anything else.

There were men in the Bible that were rich.  Job, the greatest man of the east, was rich.  In fact, after God pointed out how Job was the greatest, He took the time to enumerate his possessions.  Why?  Because it matters, that’s why!  😉  Now that’s certainly not all there is to Job (of course).  Job loved the good and hated evil.  Evil was distasteful to him (and that’s a fascinating reality we are going to get to later on)… But, in the interim, get your money right, kid!

When my kids were growing up, I don’t recall being big on giving advice (yelling maybe, but not advice :-)).  However, I do vividly recall telling one of my older sons something that I felt was important enough to make sure he didn’t miss the message.  I said, “Josh if I can tell you one thing before you get married that will make your life innumerably easier, it’s get your money right son and do it earlier rather than later!”  I said it because I still remembered how much difficulty not having enough money caused my wife and I when we first got married.  Not having enough money gives everyone difficulty!  You live in houses or apartments that you hate.  You drive a car you can’t depend on.  You can’t afford to do the things you want to do.  You can’t buy your basic needs; go on vacations; or enjoy many of the things you see other people enjoying.  Is that a criticism?  Never!  I know what it’s like to not have enough.  So I want you my friends, to have enough.  That’s not to say that life is miserable when you don’t have enough.  Sure you can vacation for less.  Sure you can make a place work or a car or make a little go along way; as you should do in that situation.  All I’m saying is that you don’t have to live that way.

God’s will for all people (not just Christians) is prosperity.  Prosperity being loosely defined as flourishing; having more than enough; being successful.  You can’t flourish when your needs aren’t met.  And, the beautiful thing about this is that you determine your need.  Warning:  Never let other people determine your need!  And, while I’m ranting, believing to have more than enough isn’t greed!  Greed is wanting sole possession.  Greed is being wealthy and not being willing to help your family out.  If I inherited 10 million dollars tomorrow, you can believe that my family would be rich as well!  (Okay, okay settle down now…you have a message.)

God says that he desires ABOVE ALL THINGS that we prosper and be in health.  But, He adds, even as your soul prospers.  Prosperity is a state of mind.  It’s a willingness to receive all of the wonderful things that God wants to give you.  Prosperity, like happiness is our normal state of being.  It’s not something we have to strive for, it’s something we can simply receive if we can learn to wrap our minds around it.  Remember Job?  He got to the place where evil or wrong was unpleasant to him; it was distasteful.  And, the absence of evil (hindrances, hold backs, blockages) results in prosperity.  I believe that receiving the good things that God has for you is less about having to do something and more about not doing (thinking) certain things.  This old world is setup to distract you and bombard you with thoughts and activities that actually cut off your blessings, rather than encourage you to receive them.  So our job is to figure out what things in our lives take away our happiness and flourishing mindset and get back to that place where all that is wonderful resides.  “Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him…!”  Let that simmer for a little bit…

In all phases of life we recognize the need to take the necessary steps to get where we want to go, except, sadly, for getting more money.  We have to change that mindset once and for all.  Make your personal prosperity a priority (it is God’s promise to you, after all).  Decide right now that you are going to take the time required to figure out how you can “prosper” (see that word made you feel better :)).  Money to get the things you need isn’t going to fall out of the sky folks.  Life just doesn’t work that way.  Yet, if you can grasp this reality, God has placed everything you need to flourish all around you, if you can just open your eyes (and heart) to see it.

Open your heart my friends and get your money right!

Just some good thoughts…

 

Is Less, More?


Theodor_Kittelsen,_Soria_Moria I like to tell the story of when my wife and I were first married.  We got married in college as poor college students (don’t do that!).  Besides the obvious power struggles that accompany new marriage (I lost by the way), we didn’t have any money…  Yet, when we look back on those times, we always view them with fondness.  So that begs the question, is less, more?  Are our lives better when we have less resources than when we have more?  Is it a bad thing to acquire some sheckles and does it actually take away happiness?  Hmm…

Those early days of marriage were tough to say the least.  Midnight moves from apartments (haha sorry bout that Lord).  Crappy cars that rarely worked, often over-heated and represented an adventure every time we had to drive home.  Windshield wipers that we manually moved back and forth with a shoestring because the motor burned out.  LOL, those were the days!  So why on earth would anyone look back at those tough times with any sense of happiness?  Is money evil?  Well, actually no.  The love of money is the root of all evil.  Why, you ask?  Because when money is number one, everything else is secondary.  When everything else is secondary you sell your life (and happiness) to the highest bidder.  But make no mistake, money isn’t evil in itself.  Some of the greatest men in the Bible were rich!  That’s no coincidence my friends.  We all need money and in my humble opinion, generally more than we currently have. That’s not greed, that’s honest.

So, we are left with the question, is less, more?  What is about those early days that make my wife and I smile?  Surely it wasn’t being surrounded by things that don’t work properly (There’s no fun standing by a car that’s overheating).  It couldn’t be not having enough money to go out to eat or buy new clothes.  It wasn’t living in apartments in sketchy neighborhoods, surrounded by sketchy neighbors, doing sketchy things (haha).  So, what was it already?

What made those times a treasure for us and the subject of oft repeated stories?  It was the quest!  It was the challenge to take what we had (nothing) and make it into something.  It was the adventure, the conquest, the opportunity to overcome!  And it was the blessed privilege we had to do it together!  We didn’t have time to argue about why we needed to replace the 47″ TV with a 55″ TV.  We had to focus on deciding whether to pay a bill or buy groceries.  We had important grown up things to do like find jobs, pay bills, have children.  And, we had to do it together…

Flash forward to today.  Those children are all grown up now (and wow they are awesome).  We don’t have car issues anymore and if we do we have the resources to fix them.  We live in a beautiful home and have freedom to do many of the things we want.  So we should just die happy right?  No way!  The same thing that made us happy back in the day is the same thing that makes us happy today.  The quest… We got plans man.  We have dreams that we haven’t realized yet.  We have treasures to find.  We have challenges to overcome.  We have enemies to vanquish.  We’ve got stuff to do!

So how about you?  What are the sources of your happiest times?  Do you have dreams or has someone (something) talked you out of them?  Is there a treasure out there that is waiting for you and do you have the wherewithal and energy to find it?  Or have you acquired some money now and settled into life; a comfortable life with no associated challenges?  Did you believe the lie that once you got some resources, everything would be okay?  Don’t believe it…

Is less, more?  I don’t think so.  You really do have a right to get your needs met and met abundantly (YOLO YOLO).  But your life is so much more than that.  Your life is supposed to be an adventure and you are the star character.  There’s something out there that ONLY you can do and if you don’t do it, it won’t get done!  I believe that when you look back on your life one day, you’ll find that your best days were the ones when you were challenged; when you had obstacles and when you were after something that didn’t come easy to you.  And you too will smile in fond remembrance of how kick-ass you were back then!

Life is a grand adventure my friends.  It’s rarely easy and the best things don’t come without a fight.  But if you decide to fight; to take it on; to figure it out, the rewards are out of this world (literally).  Never allow anyone to put an age limit on your quest.  It’s your quest and whether you conquer at age 30 or at age 60, conquering is kick-ass (haha again)!

Is less, more?  Probably not, but adventures and quests are the substance of life!  Never stop growing, yearning, questing, because that’s what the Good Lord had in mind for you (and me…).

It would be hard to win if there was no opponent.  And there is always an opponent even when, in your complacency,  you no longer see it.  So get in the fight and just win baby!

Just some good thoughts…

Do the Pebbles in the Brook Make it Sing?


506540766_f3360bfacc I’m sure you’ve heard the expression, “It’s the pebbles in the brook that makes it sing,” right?  In other words, without those little obstacles located throughout the water, we wouldn’t enjoy the sweet sounds of the water flowing down stream.  And while I love the metaphor, (who am I kidding, I love all metaphors! :-)) there’s something in that message we have to keep straight.

I recently read a post on a friend’s Facebook page that basically derided our incessant focus on happiness for a more “realistic” focus on “real life” complete with sadness, difficulties and obstacles.  In other words, without the hardships and negative sides of life we could not be complete and whole.  And that little beauty got me thinking…  I mean, if the pebbles in the brook make it sing, maybe we need the negative side of life in order to enjoy the good?  I mean, how would we know the good, if we didn’t know the bad?  I mean, how can we appreciate our health without experiencing times of sickness and pain?  Hmmm…  Quite a conundrum it seems.

“Don’t get it twisted!”, he exclaims with righteous indignation, spilling his glass of wine!!  Goodness is never dependent upon bad to do its job!  The Yin  and the Yang are a philosophers invention, that while recognizing the duality of life, fails to see the reality behind it.   You see, there’s a gross generalization that is sweeping the earth today, namely that everything that happens comes from the hand of God (or the universe or the earth) etc.  And that generalization gains access to your mind by counting on the fact that you won’t look any deeper than the cliché!  How many times have you read something like, “God is allowing all this evil to come upon me because He knows I’m strong enough to handle it?”  Or, “God must be using this horrible suffering to teach me a greater lesson!”  Egads!  God doesn’t need evil to make you a better person.  God doesn’t use negatives to make us appreciate the positives.  Again, egads!  Wouldn’t that be like me refusing to feed one of my children when they were hungry to make them appreciate the value of having food?  People go to jail for that kind of behavior and yet we say it about God without even flinching.  Can you honestly imagine (think now, don’t just go back to what someone told you before) that a God of pure love would purposely “eff” with you to teach you a lesson?  Maybe give you a little cancer to make you humble?  Or worse, kill the people you love for some mysterious reason you will understand later in the great by and by?  Really?

God says His people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge.  Not understanding the spiritual world leads to a lot of heartache and pain.  There are two spiritual forces at work in the world today, one for good and one for evil.  And it may be a bitter pill to swallow, but God never did anything evil to anyone ever.  He is light and in Him is NO DARKNESS AT ALL!  The reality is that we have all been sold a bill of goods.  We have become trained to expect bad things to happen and thus without knowing open the door to all kinds of calamity.  “Hey, you win some, you lose some.”  “That’s just life.”  “Maybe it was just his time to go.”  What all these things have in common is a vague belief that life was supposed to be some good and some bad.  Some happiness, some suffering.  Yet, God is incapable of evil, so what gives?

In the beginning, God placed a man and woman in paradise.  There was no suffering.  There was no death.  There was no evil.  There was no fear.  Yet when they chose an evil alternative (as folks often do) evil was introduced to the world.  And we are still living under the effects of that evil to this day.  But, there’s a day coming when there will no longer be any such thing as evil, so how can we conclude that good needs evil to function?

You get it?  The pebbles in the brook do make it sing, just as God is able to work with our many obstacles and challenges to help us sing.  But, God doesn’t need the pebbles, He just works with what is!  God would never test you with evil to make you stronger or build your character.  However, He is able to strengthen you against that evil which does build character.  But, don’t get it twisted, He doesn’t need the negatives.  In fact, He would rather we learn without all the pain, but us humans tend to be quite hard-headed (and hard-hearted).  So, He works with what is.  (Isn’t God grand?)

So I’m beseeching you, don’t allow the logic of the world to convince you that suffering is normal; part of life or necessary!  You don’t have to pay the price or go through the bad to get to the good.  You don’t have to accept sickness and disease as normal.  Evil isn’t normal it’s an aberration!  God intended for you to be happy, healthy, prosperous, vibrant and full of life!  He doesn’t need obstacles, harassment and suffering to get you there, He just needs you to believe what He says!

At the end of the day, what makes us whole and complete and entire is love.  ‘Whole things’ aren’t full of cracks and potholes.  And while we may experience the negatives of life, just remember they are never God’s will and if you will look for Him, He will always show you the way back to love; back to peace of mind; back to His perfect wholeness.

Can you hear that gentle splashing of the water on the stones?  Nah, it’s just my wine I spilled earlier… 😉

Just some good thoughts…

Whatcha Waiting On…?


4960390214_c70d04d5a6_z If you are like me (an assumption I like to make because it makes me feel better), you spend a lot of time waiting for something.  I don’t mean waiting in the grocery store line, I mean waiting for some event to happen; some circumstance to change; some item to arrive before you can be happy.  So my question for you is, whatcha waitin’ on?

It’s always seemed odd to me how we have learned to constantly defer our happiness to some future date.  “Once I get that new job and more money, things are going to be great!”  “When I get that new house or that new car or that new something, life will be good.”  “When I go on vacation; when Friday comes; when summer gets here; when I can finally retire and do what I want!”, life will be just awesome.”  When I find that special someone, my life will be complete.”   And while I know I have said this before, what in the world are we waiting for?  Like I told my wife last night, if we spend so much time dreaming about being away from our jobs, maybe we should figure out how to  be away from our jobs more often, or maybe do the kind of work we love?  Odd, huh?

As I think about a little more deeply, what grand, magnificent illusion has been sold to mankind that has talked us into a myriad of reasons to defer our happiness to some future date.  How truly insidious is the notion that we should always be waiting for our mythical ship to come in; for our lottery numbers to hit; for some glorious circumstance to arise that catapults us to greatness?  If you have lived any numbers of years, you probably already know the things that turn you on.  In your heart of hearts you know the type of work, that doesn’t feel like work, you promise you will be doing at some later date.  Meanwhile, years pass, dreams fade and a lot of years turn into distant memories of that awesome person you were going to become…  Wow!  Have you ever watched a movie (and movies are good at this) and saw images of the life you would like to live?  You know what I mean, right?  They live in a beautiful house by the lake, sipping wine in the evening as they watch the sunset glimmer off the water in the distance.  And you think, man that could be me “someday…”  Someday, right?  I remember telling a woman once how much I loved San Diego and its eternal sunshine.  She replied, “Why don’t you move here, then?”  I said, “Oh no, I couldn’t do that!”  And her classic response?  “Then, I don’t want to hear it!”  Clear, not nice, but very clear!   You do realize that if you have enough clarity on the picture of how you want things to be, the only thing stopping you from getting there is you.  But, you don’t think you are stopping the process because you are waiting for it to happen in the future.  But in reality, the result is the same.  The future time never comes as it’s always future.  Now is all you got baby, right now!

And here’s something else to put into your mind during all of that time you are staring into the horizon, waiting.  I’ll refer to this as grand, magnificent illusion #2.  Happiness is not something we seek after.  Happiness is our natural state of being, that is once we have gotten rid of all the silly things that block it.  Children are happy…  And, if they aren’t happy it lasts about 3 minutes then they are right back to being happy.  Events don’t make us happy, we decide to be happy during certain events.  Things don’t make us happy, we decide that getting a certain thing will make us happy.  People don’t make us happy, we decide that being around certain people makes us happy.  Happiness is not something to wait for, happiness is a decision we make right now.  Or I should say, we can make right now.  So why on God’s earth wouldn’t we make that decision all of the time?  Because we are waiting for something else to happen (see grand illusion #1)!  We are waiting for the stars to align; waiting for God to give us a sign; we are waiting for the perfect moment, the perfect time, the perfect circumstances…  If you really, really want something, you have to go and get it now!  I recognize that things don’t always happen overnight, but let’s be honest now, they aren’t going to happen any night if you don’t go and get them.

Okay, okay, so I’m with you, folks.  Remember, my assumption is that you are like me!  🙂  I’m a writer (hope you noticed).  Writer’s write, right?!  How often do I take the time (that never feels like time) to write?  Oh maybe about 3% of the time in my life… Why?  Because I’m waiting for something.  I’m waiting to not have to spend so much time at work.  I’m waiting for the perfect Saturday morning.  I’m waiting for the ideal evening when I don’t feel tired.  Ha, you get the point…

So what do you want out of your life?  What really floats your boat?  What do you do, that when you do it, no-one can compare with your work?  What are you good at?  What God-given talent are you presently hiding under a bushel, waiting for the “right” time to get after it?  The time to do it folks is right now.  That ship aint coming in.  Life just doesn’t work that way.  Even that person you knew who seemed to “find” themselves in the midst of tremendous, good fortune, secretly in their heart, saw that day coming so clearly that it had to happen!

Don’t waste another second waiting on happiness.  Decide to be happy now!  Don’t fritter away another moment waiting on doing what you love, do what you love right now!  (I am)  You love what you love for a reason.  Don’t defer doing you for the future day when you can do you, as you will have wasted ‘you’ in the process.  (A mind is a terrible thing to waste..)

So, next time you are “Sitting on the dock of the bay” make sure it’s because you are resting from doing what you love…

Just some good thoughts…