A New Year to Reconnect with Life…


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As we reflect on the past year, it is easy to think about all of the things we didn’t like and make grandiose plans for the coming new year. But, do we really need to do that? If we want to lose weight, did we not want to lose weight last year? If our aim is the elimination of bad habits, did we engage in those bad habits in the year that is ending now? The same logic could be applied infinitum. Thus it seems it’s not so much changing the small parts that make up our life as it is our attitude towards life as a whole. There is a reason we get too heavy; we engage in unhealthy behaviors; we become bored and depressed and seek something new, exciting and different. But, that which we seek really has nothing to do with the date on the calendar as much as it has to do with our overall general approach to the life we are living now. The life you are seeking underneath your list of new year’s resolutions is actually here already. You just need to reconnect with it. You need to reengage with life.

All living things are either living or dying, thriving or deteriorating. There is no status quo when it comes to life. And, as you no doubt have guessed already, living in this world there is a tendency towards deterioration and decay. It’s not how God originally planned it, but it is what it is at this point! The world is a frightfully negative place. Social media is negative. Your friends tend towards being negative. The circumstances you find yourself in – negative. It is how the world runs and it is how the world functions. Ever since that old snake got involved with God’s creation, decay replaced flourishing with loss and defeats becoming the order of the day. As such, it is no wonder we have all become disconnected with life. It’s not so much the world’s way that has defeated us as it is how we have let the world into our hearts. We expect things not to work out. We peer around the corner in good situations waiting for the the shoe to drop; the bad things to appear. We are not gluttons for punishment, but rather have been systematically trained to expect negativity; to look for the cracks; to find reasons not to maintain any semblance of hope or positive expectation. In this, over time, we have been swept away from life and not to life. And, in our ignorance, we have been led away from the source of life and all that could ever be good about life. We chase money and status and sunny days without troubles. We long to feel good again and long for the energy and enthusiasm that accompany that goodness. We promise ourselves to get better at this and stop doing that in the hopes that we can discover or rediscover that which we seemed to have lost. Enter the new year and its promise for better things ahead.

Curiously, instead of taking the time to think and consider what might have occurred that robbed us of our life or our happiness in life, we flap around on the surface of things assuring ourselves that if we only had more money or more time or more favorable circumstances, things would quickly take a turn for the better. Surely dry January will do the trick instead of learning what all that alcohol is replacing in our minds. We eat too much and hate the result, but never quite figure out why we are eating so much. All excesses, a thing we are all guilty of, point us to some missing element in our lives, some unresolved issue, some fear allowed to hang around and plague us. Fears and worries and our constant preoccupation with ourselves and whether or not we are going to be okay, suck the very life from us. The more we think we have finally figured out, the less we actually know, yet we keep persisting in the same game year after lousy year, loving life less and less as every year transpires. What, you’re thirty, forty, fifty, sixty years old and you already have figured everything out? You don’t need to make any changes in your thinking or your conclusions? You don’t need to consider that you have perhaps been led astray in some capacity? I submit to you, with all the honesty my soul can fathom, that if your life sucks it does so because you have been deceived in some category of life which you have yet to discover. You have, as my wife is wont to say, gotten entrenched in some fixed mindset that serves only to limit and curtail your life rather than to enhance it. Look, we are all in this thing together and there is nothing you are experiencing that all of us haven’t experienced at one time or another. We all get down in life and feel miserable. We all get wrapped up in stupidity and the things that rob life from us. We all get perplexed, lost, confused and afraid. That isn’t the issue at all. The issue is whether or not we can humble ourselves to figure out why and then at last find the way back. The way back exists regardless of the date on the calendar!

When you reconnect with life, you will find that life and God and goodness have been here all along. God is more than willing to teach you something new. He is infinitely capable of exposing the darkness that has been wearing you out. He sees all and knows all. If you are going to make a New Year’s resolution, resolve yourself to rediscover life. Step down from that old, high horse of ego and be willing to admit that something has gone astray. You know if things aren’t working for you so you might as well admit it! I’m not sure what it is about being a human being that convinces us there is nothing new to know; no new path to discover; no new road to take. Sometimes you just need to find someone you love and trust and talk things through with them. Then while you are discussing your plight, listen to what they have to say. There will be errors of thought and subsequent actions you are taking. Be open to it. Lord knows we all need help from the people that love us most. But, in the end, seek the help from the One most capable of providing it; the One that knows you better than you know your own self. Don’t spend any pointless time lamenting your past errors. If there wasn’t an adversary, all of us would likely remain error free. But, there is an adversary and he happens to be dang good at his game. Forgive yourself, learn and find that life you have been missing. No matter what has happened to you or how low you may have sunk, underneath it all are the everlasting arms of God, ready, willing and able to give you a fresh start! Reconnect with life. Reengage life, your life. Look for the promise of brighter days ahead no matter what the calendar is reporting. Happy New Year my friends and I love you.

Just some good thoughts…

Holiday Musings…


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The holidays are always the most interesting time of the year. All of us grew up in the enchantment of Christmas; a time where for a short period it was about the other people and not ourselves. People were a little nicer; a bit more compassionate; more kind to their fellow man. As children, most of us experienced the magic whereby we could hardly sleep in anticipation of the gifts we would receive on Christmas day. It was the one day when all of our dreams might come true. As we got older, we rightfully accepted our duty to produce that same feeling in our children and the people whom we loved. How glorious! How beautiful! How grand! No matter your beliefs, no matter your background, no matter your upbringing, Christmas was always a special time reserved for families and dear friends. Then, just like that, the holidays were over and we grudgingly returned to life as usual. The time for giving had eclipsed and it was back to the pursuit of number one. Maybe there is a lesson in Christmas? Holiday musings are in order.

What is it concerning Christmas that works so powerfully to change our views about people? Many say that Jesus is the reason for the season. But, is he? Most bible scholars will freely admit that the birth of Christ did not occur in December at all. More appropriately, Jesus is the reason for all seasons. The very idea of a man that lived for others; that sought the good of others above himself; the determination and drive to bring about God’s will in all situations; the enduring love and willingness to heal all that were oppressed under the burdensome hand of the devil, this was the life of our savior, this was God’s perfect man. In many ways, he exemplified the concept of Christmas in that his focus was the happiness and deliverance of others. He didn’t live this way for a month or so according to tradition, he lived this way his entire adult life. He was God’s representative on earth and as such he came only to do good for all that needed him, both in his present time and throughout the future. Perhaps the good feelings of Christmas, whether based on the pleasant memories of our past or based on a change of our perspective in the present, remain to teach us a valuable lesson; continue to exist to offer a small taste of the life that God intended for us, a time where everyday is Christmas at our house.

Christmas is a time when we finally let our preoccupation with ourselves go and turn our focus outward. We joy and rejoice in the intended effect our gifts will have on those we love. We think of all the people we embrace and look for ways to express our love for them. Instead of carelessly glossing over and taking for granted those we hold most dear, we seek rather to honor them no matter the cost, so that our love for them is increasingly evident. For us, it’s not about the money, the expense, but instead it’s about actively seeking their good, their blessing; their hearts. In this, we taste the goodness of God and experience for ourselves the true intention and heart of our Creator. We learn, even if for a relatively brief time, that it is more blessed to give than receive and that in giving from the heart our hearts are satisfied and blessed. We touch on the grand design and for a short respite forget ourselves. Oh the blessing and delight that Christmas represents.

Christmas is a time when we draw back from the hustle and bustle of life and recommit ourselves to our people. We finally take a break, a much needed break from the rat race and endless striving for something we don’t have, and settle down to our base, our foundation, our happy place of family. And,  though far from perfect, our place of safety, blessings and love. We stop trying to make our family into something they are not and instead embrace them for who they are, good and bad, because we love them. We share our fondest memories and remember how we all waited in gleeful anticipation for the great day that was on the horizon. In some way, we all tasted and felt how good life could be and we embraced it with all of our hearts. Christmas, steeped in tradition and a conglomeration of many ideas and beliefs, still served to teach us a different way; a way based on looking for the good in others instead of the bad in ourselves. And, every year we are blessed with that same pleasant reminder of how good life can be.

This Christmas, no matter your beliefs or upbringing, let yourself experience the love and blessings that your family and friends supply for you. Don’t let the moment escape you. Don’t fret yourself over something you cannot afford or worry yourself with meeting every demand. What your children will remember most is not the Xbox or the the new car, but instead the love you shared with them during the season of goodness and love. The love you felt and recall so fondly is the love they will remember as well. Put the Christmas music on. Watch the Hallmark movies. Serve up the hot chocolate in your pajamas reserved for the holiday season. Drink wine, bake cookies, make the place as festive as you can for in so doing, you encourage the love and goodness you enjoyed that lives on until this day. Ahh it is Christmas time and the love of God is all around you. Embrace it. It’s Christmas…

Just some good thoughts.

Healthy Mind


ADA-Website-Mental-Health-770x400-1The topic of health has become increasingly more prominent in the minds and hearts of people due to some fantastic advances in terms of medicine and medications. Yet, often missed in our quest for better health is the condition of our minds. More and more people are experiencing mental health issues ranging from anxiety to depression which may have even reached clinical levels without really understanding the importance of mental health maintenance in terms of how we think and continue to think. Just as there are lifestyle choices that lead to unhealthy bodies, there are also ways of thinking that result in unhealthy minds. Unhealthy thoughts indulged in and repeated produce in us all manner of difficulties and troubles. Yet, we continue on blindly, never considering that we are always responsible for what we choose to think, healthy or unhealthy, whole or sick, helpful or hurtful. In order to live our lives successfully, we need to learn how to have a healthy mind.

Of all the great, foundational things you may have learned in school, how much of that learning was devoted to “how to think” or “what to think?” Thinking is something people just take for granted and wrongly conclude that it doesn’t have much impact on their life. Instead of endeavoring to learn what and how to think, they just sort of let their thoughts run like a boat on the river driven with the currents. Their expectation is that good thoughts simply appear based on sunny circumstances and bad thoughts must be endured until the storms of life have subsided. The deception carries with it the idea that people have no control over their thoughts. It’s as if thoughts are something that occur despite the person doing the thinking. It is as if thoughts have a certain truth to them and must be accepted as they are; where they are; in the manner in which they present themselves. In this, people unknowingly subject themselves to misery by the thoughts they continue to think. Certain thoughts have no value to you and work instead to make you ill. Other thoughts encourage, warm and uplift you. Why people would continue to think thoughts that hurt them is one of life’s greatest conundrums! Yet the whole world lives under this curse. Being negative, ungrateful, agitated and afraid offers nothing for your desire to be positive, thankful, at peace and secure. But, onward we march poisoning our souls, leading to our own, eventual demise. A healthy mind, like a healthy body, must be fed with healthy food. Oh sure, you can afford an occasional overindulgence or splurge, but to do so often will cause you harm. In the same way, we can survive our minds going south for a little bit, but we must find a way to return to that place working towards our own best interests. A healthy mind requires it.

There is only one you and there will never be another you. You only have one life to live on earth. If, while living on this earth, you are wholly against yourself, who can be for you? If you are not voting for yourself in the great election, how can you expect to win? People think all manner of horrible things about themselves. They criticize themselves, malign themselves, condemn themselves and doubt themselves. They have learned not to trust their own judgments. They willingly choose to persist in thoughts that serve no other purpose than to bring them down. They tear their own selves down! They aggrandize their every error and fault and minimize their own achievements and victories. How absurd! How awful? Yet, that is how people have been taught to think. And they persist in this evil thinking day after day, year after year. They fail to recognize what is behind that persuasion as even animals instinctively know how to protect their own selves. Thinking this way is not simply part of the human condition, but is rather a perversion foisted upon us by things we cannot see or readily discern. No person thinking clearly and in their right mind would actively work against their own best interests. This type of thinking comes from evil, working you over from the inside out to perform as your own worst enemy. If you can talk a man into thinking evil of himself, he will forever be defeated before he begins. As such our duty is to begin to recognize that these thoughts, these habits, these ways of thinking of ourselves are not right and are to be rigorously excluded. We owe ourselves that much! No person on earth has ever been made better, not even one iota better, by constantly living in and dwelling upon thoughts of inferiority and shame. You don’t make a child better by habitually pointing out his faults, but by cleaving to his goodness until he follows suit and believes it himself. A healthy mind only follows a determination to be for yourself instead of against yourself!

Healthy thinking is the cornerstone to a life well lived. Healthy thoughts build you up and strengthen you for the journey. Healthy thoughts are on your own side, even when you may have fallen short. It is difficult enough to live life with all of its complexities and potential for errors without the added burden of self evaluation and self investigation. You likely already know where your weak spots are and where you need improvement without the added criticism and judgment. Those judgments, that persistence in finding fault does not come from God. God is not behind that stuff, convicting you of sin as some have erroneously taught. God already made the way to save us from ourselves because He already knew we could not measure up. God also knows well the devices of our opponent, working in secret to defeat us by weakening our thoughts. Unhealthy thoughts, weak thoughts are made up in direct contrast to all that God says we are and all that God says we have. When we are afraid we have believed a lie and will not escape until we refute it. Hours spent in worry weaken our nervous system and make us ripe for sickness and decay. Thoughts of self hatred and disgust are the heighth of unnatural thinking pointing to a long persistence in wrong, uncontrolled, unchallenged thinking. Choose health. Choose life.

Today is the day to make up your mind to not think another negative thing about yourself. Stop participating in the things designed and orchestrated for your own defeat. Cease from finding things wrong with yourself and instead look for the good, your good. Begin to spot those habitual thought processes you have developed over time that serve no other purpose than to malign you. Quit opposing yourself. If God be for you, who can be against you? You can live the more than abundant life God has promised you, but you have to do your part. What you think and how you think is your part. Break free from the tyranny of self enslavement by learning to control your thoughts. A healthy mind is everything. Healthy mind.

Just some good thoughts…

Where are You Going?


elephantHave you ever taken the time in the activity and hectic pace of life to think about where you are going? It seems counterintuitive to even pose the question. I mean we are all heading in some direction, but have we given any reflective thought to where? You may find yourself engaged in certain activities you perform habitually and even dutifully, and after a while you are not even sure why you do it anymore. Maybe at one point in time it served you well. Maybe once there was something or somewhere you were trying to get to and that is why you did what you did. Quite possibly you behaved in a specific way to get a specific result and now find yourself, like the drug addict, searching endlessly for that initial high; that early experience that hooked you in the first place. Whatever the reasons, whatever your present circumstances, the question remains. Do you know where you are going?

A funny thing happens to you after you have been living for some time on earth. You can have the tendency to forget your way. Instead of seeking or striving towards some worthy goal, you sort of settle into the routines of life. There is really nothing you are after or trying to accomplish, but instead days of living with no real purpose, nothing that gets you up in the morning. You still do the same stuff, but there is no longer anything behind the stuff. The habits you have developed over the years become your existence and on you trudge day after day, mired in bad habits and things that no longer serve you. And like the crazy person who continues doing the exact same thing without any good result, you persist on a fruitless path ever wishing, hoping something will change. However, nothing can change if you don’t change. Instead of wishing your life was different in some way, you owe it to yourself to give some thought to which direction you are heading. If what you do, day in and day out, is not producing any result (any good result), you have to at least begin to change what it is that you do. At some future point, you aren’t going to have any days left. 

Self introspection and evaluation is not your aim. As imperfect creatures, we will all succeed in finding things that aren’t so good. Instead your end game is to honestly and  lovingly look at your life; how you have been living and see if your tendencies lean towards good things or if your tendencies lean towards bad things; bad things defined by the results they engender in your life. Some things we do, and you know this, serve no other purpose than to wear us out. Oh we persist, by God, but in the final analysis it’s the same bad habits leading to the same bad results over a lifetime. If you do stuff and continue to do stuff that causes you not to feel good about yourself, that is your first clue. Good things, true things, productive things have no downside. That is not to say you always have to produce something, but if you are producing bad things, you are heading in the wrong direction. Look if you are doing things you enjoy and feel good about and they leave you feeling happy, keep on keeping on. But, if you have to rationalize their existence, make excuses and lie to yourself, you’ve got to come clean at some juncture. All things in moderation are acceptable lest you be too severe with yourself!

Sometimes the issue isn’t so much what you are doing as it is what you aren’t doing. Every day has contained within it demands that must be accomplished. Ignoring those demands, in favor of some fun or other distraction, doesn’t leave you the better for it, but rather the worse. Do the important things however seemingly small. Every brick you leave unstacked gathers power over you. Soon you find yourself buried under a weight you can no longer discern. Doing nothing of value day after day, shirking your responsibilities, forsaking any discernible goals or plans, halts your forward progress and thus guarantees you will not reach any desirable destination. How could you? Maybe your life has become such a drag not because of your circumstances, but because you stopped moving forward. You stopped setting things to aim at or pursue. There’s nothing about getting older that suggests you should no longer have things you want to accomplish nor stop making plans to improve and increase and to grow. If you don’t have anything to aim at you’re going to spend a lot of time wandering in futility. And perhaps we have all been there at one time or another, faded out and lacking motivation. But, it is never too late to change and it is never too late to start moving forward again. 

So, where are you going? Do you know? Is there something specific you are aiming at and want to achieve? Is your life getting better and better? Is your life getting worse? Or maybe worst of all, has your life become an endless episode of ground hog day offering no promise, no hope, no blessings, no goodness, nothing? Whatever your life is with every conceivable combination therein, you owe yourself some reflection concerning where you are and where you would like to be. It’s okay to be stuck as long as you know you are and are seeking the way out of it. There is nothing as good for the soul as some sincere realizations followed by a vigorous desire to change. You can always change directions. You can always learning something new. You can always get to where you want to get as long as you know where you are going!

Just some good thoughts…