Wine Anyone?

p18ncdfgb21l9m1tb8lpq1bm81igp8I’m the ultimate red wine lover, but recently, due to the old 500 calorie diet I’m on, have not been able to partake of my favorite gladness provider. Yeah, yeah, nothing tastes as good as fit feels! Haha. So, being all spiritual and what not, I decided to write a little blog about wine. But, it may not be what you think (mysterious music playing in the background…).

Jesus Christ did a multitude of miracles in his short time of service on earth, but do you know what his first one was? Imagine God’s only begotten, filled with the power of God to heal people and set them free, doing his first remarkable act. What did he do, you ask? He turned water into wine! And don’t you go telling me that it was grape juice because when was the last time you were bummed out that they ran out of grape juice at a party? More Welch’s please…

So here’s the story. Jesus and his Mom were invited to a big wedding, when suddenly the head guy announced they were out of wine. Mary, who must have already realized that Jesus was pretty special, tells Jesus to do something about it. After giving her a little correction for ordering him to do a miracle, he does something spectacular. He tells the servants to go and grab 6 large stone jugs holding 20-30 gallons of water apiece. Then he says take one to the head dude. The servants obey dutifully and take one of the jugs over. The head of the ceremony then makes a startling statement. He said normally people give out the good wine at first, but when the guests are sufficiently plied, they break out the cheaper stuff because, well you know, the guests are already toasty. But he exclaimed, you saved the best stuff for last!

What just happened, you enquire? Jesus just turned six 20-30 gallons each jugs into fine wine. So by my conservative estimate, he just made 120-180 gallons of water into fine wine. Cabernet I’m guessing; expensive Cabernet! I’ll bet the wedding guests were stoked! 150 gallons of expensive Cabernet on the spot, free of charge. Let’s assume the liquor store was closed. But, not when Jesus shows up. Haha.

So, why share this little diddy with you? Because this was Jesus’ first miraculous act! Of all of the things God could do to announce the entrance of His wonderful son, He chose something with no other purpose than to make people happy. Would the guests have suffered without the fine wine? Probably not (unless they were on “the diet.”) Did anyone have to have the wine to live? Of course not! Was it for their healing? I doubt it, though red wine has been proven to have some healthy effect if drunk in moderation (pun intended). The only reasonable purpose one could assign to the miracle was to keep the party rolling!

Naturally, if you are of the religious ilk, you have a problem with this. How could our Holy God choose this for a first miracle? You see, it had to be grape juice or as one commentary dutifully noted, “Jesus knew how many guests were present and therefore only made enough for everyone to have just enough to not be drunken!” LOL How absurd? Religion ever seeks to legislate fun by deciding just how much fun one can have! It’s like corralling all the liquor into the liquor store in the hopes that maybe making it harder to get, will cut down on the drinking. Ha – all that really happens is that the drinkers have to plan ahead, unless Jesus is in town :-). Trying to legislate what people can and cannot have only makes people more likely to do the opposite.

Surprisingly perhaps, God is most interested in blessing people; all people regardless of their goodness or badness! Maybe read that again. The True God is always for you. He doesn’t seek to punish you or teach you a lesson. He’s better than that! He just loves you into loving and all by the freedom of your will! If you are being pressured or coerced, don’t think it’s coming from God. It’s just not His style. Will you still bump your head at times? Certainly! But God can not only heal your head, but would rather you never bumped it in the first place!

So you see, the first miracle ever performed by God’s son was on purpose for a purpose. He wanted you and me to know that He is a loving God and wants us to be sublimely happy! And, if it’s wine that does the trick, so be it. If you get drunk as a skunk, that’s on you. God doesn’t need to punish you, tomorrow will take care of that on its own! Haha

If everyone knew who God really is, everyone would love Him! How could they not? And, the good news is that He is right there with you as you read this and is maybe even having a chuckle or two! Get out of that fear based mindset that always has God chasing you around seeking to punish you. Someone may have taught you that, but I guarantee it wasn’t God! Instead seek after your One and only true source of goodness and see how much wine you get to enjoy.

Go ahead, go to the wedding and bring your mother.

Just some good thoughts…


Controlling Your Way to Happiness…

controlButton“Control” is generally considered a negative word. No-one wants to be controlled and when other people are controlling, it drives us nuts. But, what about controlling yourself? Can controlling yourself make you happy? To the human mind, less control seems to promote freedom, doesn’t it? Or does just the opposite occur?

Recently I started a diet that requires eating 500 calories a day. (You know the one…) And, as you might expect, it requires a considerable amount of discipline. After a few days of determined effort, I discovered something spectacular. I felt fantastic.  3.5 ounces of chicken, 4 ounces of spinach and I’m on cloud nine. The same guy that gorged himself on steak and rice, washed down with copious amounts of wine, is suddenly standing a little taller and feeling a lot better. So, I asked myself why? Why would such apparent deprivation lead to such elation?

As I thought more about my life I realized I was a slave to comfort. And, by the age of 54 I had pretty much mastered it. My comforts consisted of eating what I enjoyed most, sitting inordinate amounts of time, and drinking as much as my heart desired. And, all of those things made me feel great, at least as far as I could tell. But, my lack of control was taking a larger toll on me than I realized. Not just in terms of added weight and lethargy, but mentally in how I felt about myself. Then, the light shined in, “Humans were designed to control themselves…”

If you think about your life, you have certain habits or behaviors that you don’t like. We all do. But, have you ever considered the value of deciding to stop doing that “one” thing? Sure, it seems inconsequential in the grand scheme of life, but what you don’t control ends up controlling you. Just letting loose seems so natural, but it doesn’t really make you happy. Of course, I’m not advocating the pseudo-misery life where everything is bad and wrong and harmful. Instead I’m suggesting that you figure out those areas where you have lost control and get busy controlling them again. The Bible says everything in moderation, not don’t touch this or taste that. Denial for denial’s sake is seldom rewarding. But, insert a little control and notice what happens to you. I think deep down we all know what we should do, but actually doing it is a whole “nother” story.

So, take some time to think about your life. Consider those areas that drive you crazy. Contemplate that problem you have that has become so chronic that you accept it, and decide to simply stop it. I often think our greatest life suckers aren’t found in the big important things, but in the small stuff to which we seldom pay attention. What thing do you do everyday that you wish you didn’t do? What haunts you? What is plaguing you? That’s the thing. That is the chink in your armor. The adversary knows that the best way to beat your opponent is to get him to beat himself. Not controlling yourself makes you hurt yourself.

Honestly, I didn’t start a diet because I wanted to discipline myself. I started the diet because that belly in my bathroom mirror was driving me nucking futs! The belly that grew out of days without end in comfort was my motivation. Then, just three days in  of exercising serious determination and finally telling myself “no,” something wonderful took place. The same will happen for you, believe me. Being able to tell yourself “no” at times is the essence of control. Say no to too much! Say no to just laying there! Say no to just one more! Say no to the endless stream of distractions directed at your noggin and get busy doing the stuff you really want to do! Imagine what you could accomplish if your mind wasn’t glazed over from excess booze and nachos. Imagine how much precious time you would find by getting serious and determined. Imagine…

Life is funny in that sometimes you learn the strangest lessons quite by mistake. Or maybe it isn’t a mistake… (;-) Pay attention to the signals and hints that run across your mind. Something glorious and wonderful wants you to find that elusive happiness you’ve been working so hard to get. And ironically, many times the lesson reveals the solution in the exact opposite manner than you formerly thought. Funny.

I’m excited to see a fit stomach in my mirror, but even more psyched about the new things I can learn and control in the process.

Just some good thoughts…

Everything You Ever Wanted…

decision-analysisWhat if you found yourself sitting in your living room with God and He told you that you could have anything you ever wanted in your life. And then He casually offered, “What would you like?” Could you answer that question? What if the only restriction was that you could only choose one thing? Could you choose one, most important thing? Or would you quickly default to lots of money, the big house, fame and fortune?

It’s sort of mind-boggling to think that us humans with all of our complicated hopes and dreams find ourselves unable to answer such a simple question. And, not being able to answer that question may explain why you are living the way you are. If you deeply contemplate your own life and if you are honest, you already know the things that are most important to you. You know what you want, but thus far haven’t been able to see a way to bring it to pass. Why?

There’s a world-wide delusion going around about God. The delusion is that God chooses the good things in your life. And similar to that is the erroneous logic that God has already decided ahead of time what exactly you can and cannot have. It’s simply not true. The reality is that God already knows what good things you want as a “free-to-choose” human being and desperately wants to give it all to you. Second, God has not set a limitation on your life. You have (I have) by your failure to clearly answer that question and take the necessary action to make it a reality.

People spend an entire lifetime waiting for a sign or for their ship to finally come in, never realizing that their ship is their own thoughts and beliefs and that signs follow people who believe and not the other way around. There is no waiting required. If anything you’re waiting because you have not yet decided! Deep down you know, but hey that cannot be. How will it happen? Where do I start? You perhaps haven’t even considered that the how and the where aren’t the starting point. The starting point is your decision. Once you finally choose, you will have answered the question, “What would you like?” Once you answer, it then becomes the responsibility of the One who asked you the question, to supply what you need!

When I think about my own life, it’s rarely a question of what it is that I want. Instead it’s an insidious belief that everything must be perfect before “it” can happen. And, waiting for the perfect timing or perfect idea is just another form of waiting in disguise. The reality or perhaps my hypothesis is that you should decide, then start and then modify and adjust and adjust. Starting is everything as the saying goes. Waiting is nothing as you already know!

Any belief that you have, true and untrue, is a byproduct of a decision you have already made. If you believe that God does not love you or worse, even know you, it is a decision you have made based on some faulty thinking or negative circumstances you have already encountered. Yet it’s not true. But for you it is true because of your decision and that leads to more erroneous beliefs such as God not being in favor of you getting everything you ever wanted. Conversely, if you believe that God wants you to have everything you ever wanted, you will have no trouble making the decision that you can have those things and will wholeheartedly pursue them. People call that fanciful thinking, yet have no trouble deciding they aren’t worth the things they want. But can’t you see it? Both ways of thinking are choices and decisions, but only one side is actually supported by God’s Word! So you decide huh?

How sad it must be to end this journey one day with regrets about who you are and what you could have been. How heart wrenching must it be to die with your dreams still trapped within your heart. Why not decide right now, while you are still drawing breath to once and for all do “it”, by God (literally), with no looking back; no hesitating or doubting, balls to the wall until it finally comes to pass. Why not?

There’s no time limit on reaching your hopes and dreams, as long as you reach them. The real fun in life is always found in the journey, so just make sure you are traveling wisely. Even a small amount of faithful, dedicated time will one day add up to your grand finale. Just stop sitting there waiting for some mythical day when it all magically comes to pass. That great day only comes for those courageous souls who dared to act regardless of the naysayers or circumstances.

You CAN have everything you ever wanted in life if you will just muster up the courage to decide!

Just some good thoughts…

Confessions of an Old Guy…

true-confessionsToday I celebrate my 54th year on this earth! As I look back, I can’t help but stand in pure gratitude for all of the good things that have happened to me. So, lest I bore you with my victories, challenges and struggles, I thought I might give you a little unsolicited advice. I’ll call it, “Confessions of an Old Guy!”

1. The years go by too fast to have not fully participated in them. Young people get so caught up in getting to their “better” future that they forget to live today. At a certain point you will have lived a lot of todays and remember only a few. So make your today memorable!

2. If you can, dance with who brung ya. There will always be a new guy/gal with their promise of something new. But, if you get past your drama years together, you can probably do a lifetime. There’s a comfort in a long-time partner that you haven’t experienced yet. It’s worth the wait. And, who has the energy to train a replacement anyway? 😉

3. The love and admiration of your friends is worth more than all the money in the world. There’s nothing wrong with the money, but one day you’ll realize it’s the love that you were after all along…Don’t get old without a lot of love. A Mercedes is no substitute for a grandchild’s smile or a mother’s kiss. Love is the only thing!

4. Stop judging everything and everyone. Don’t deny others the freedom to choose, that you treasure so dearly. No matter how they look or what they drive or where they live, underneath it all they are just like you with a million variations. People are going to hurt you at times, but it’s usually about them and not you. Forgive them, love them, and let it go. There’s nothing more sad than a 50-year-old still angry with his father.

5. Children are fragile little creatures. They give your words way too much importance. So no matter how you feel; no matter how much stress you got at work; no matter what else is going on in your life, choose what you say to them like their little life depends on it, because it does. They will behave badly. They will disobey. They will drive you nuts at times. But, you must make it your number one job never to negatively define who they are. Address their behaviors. Correct them. But, never, never, ever make a judgment about who they are because they will carry those words to the grave. When you get a little older you will find that they turn into all of those good words you chose to use! All of them…

6. This may sound controversial, but the more money you have, the easier your life will be. Money doesn’t buy happiness, but it does pay off many problems. Do yourself a favor and figure out that money thing as early as you can. The older you get, the more you will want and that’s just how life is. But now, while you are younger, you need more than you have, so give it some serious thought. It won’t just happen one day. You have to make a plan and take some action. When you’re my age you will most likely have it, but why have the stress now? It matters…

7. You are going to spend an enormous amount of time working. In fact, you will spend more time working than anything else you do. Get out of the mindless job category as quickly as you can. Try to be more flexible about what you like to do. I often think the reason people cannot decide what type of work to do is because they are trying to find a job that encompasses everything they like. No job has that! Instead find a job that offers you an opportunity to kick ass at what you do best. And, while we are talking about it, if aint working, get out as soon as you can which translates to – when you find another job and not before!

8. I saved the best for last. Life is spiritual. You were designed to be body, soul (mind) and spirit. You don’t start with spirit and I don’t care what they told you. You have to get spirit by believing. (Romans 10:9-10) Spirit if the real essence of life. Without spirit you aren’t ever going to be happy; at least not like you could be! You’ll never feel the true contentment and satisfaction of life without it. You’ll feel empty because you are empty. But, with spirit inside you and a budding relationship with God, man, nothing is sweeter than that! And when you finally figure out that God is only good always, you’ll be just as happy as can be, even at 54…

Just some good thoughts…