Enjoy the Life that is Now!


When God invented life, He intended for it to be a time of happiness, blessings and delight. In His original creation, man and woman had unlimited access to all that God created and He created it all for them. There was no pain, no sorrow, no sadness, no sickness and no death. There was no disruption in God’s provision for his precious people and everything they touched turned to gold. Then, something happened. Evil found a way to gain access to man’s heart, deceived and tricked them and eventually took away all of the rights God originally gave to man. From that fateful day forward, unto this very day, the creation continues to function in a disrupted, decaying state. Evil’s involvement resulted in pain, sorrow, sadness, sickness and eventually death. This is the life people live today. Instead of rejoicing in the experience of life, people settle for survival, unfamiliar with any alternative way to live. Enjoying and rejoicing in life doesn’t appear to be an option except for fleeting periods of happiness destined to return to the old familiar misery. Yet it is not necessary to live this way any longer. There is a life available to you that encompasses all that you could have ever imagined. It is the life God gave you to enjoy.

Jesus Christ lived God’s Word perfectly in a world subjected to evil the same way it is today. Jesus had no sin in his blood and by his freewill choices, never sinned or broke his unity with God. He obeyed God’s Word for mankind perfectly, a feat no other man had ever been able to do. And when he freely gave up his life for mankind, despite being the innocent blood, he paid the price for everything that was ever flawed or corrupted in you and me. By his sacrifice, he gave back to mankind everything mankind had lost when evil entered the creation. Once a person decides to accept his sacrifice by making him Lord in their lives and believing that God raised him from the dead, they become born again and receive God’s spirit inside, forever setting them free from the claims of sin and evil. From that day forward, the believer has the capacity to live the enjoyable and blessed life God originally had in mind for His people.

So you may ask, why am I telling you these things? I’m telling you this because people have been living far, far below par. People spend their entire lives in the grips of fear and uncertainty. Folks over occupy their minds with sin and condemnation, guilt and shame, all of which has been throughly purged by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. When Jesus said, “it is finished” just before he gave up his life, he meant it. What was finished forever was any need on your part to try and earn God’s love, protection and care. Good people work hard to be worthy before God and it’s a futile work. God made you worthy in the life of His son. Trying to do it on your own simply crucifies the son of God afresh. People have so many, many unmet needs but are afraid to go to the One who promised to supply all of their needs. Folks walk around with anxiety about everything. It’s no wonder they aren’t enjoying the life that is now. You are never going to be able to really enjoy your life until you let God be God and you content yourself with being you. Honestly, what problem have you ever been able to solve with all of your worry and fret? What guarantees do you have in your life outside of God? God never intended for you to live that way. The only way to enjoy your life, I mean really enjoy the experience of it, is to let God do the things He promised to do and you to simply keep yourself in a space to receive it. It is never more complicated than that. The real complication and perplexity in life comes from evil, masterfully manipulating people’s minds in a corrupted, broken and sad world. Endless causes. Ceaseless distractions. Perpetual shifting away people’s focus from God to everything else supposedly going on in the world. As if men that God made can band together and fix something God made. You are missing the enjoyable, blessed life.

And, here is the ultimate irony of the whole thing. You can have this life God promises right now in your day to day existence if you only knew it. It is already here for you to live. It has already been done for you. Your job simply is to accept it. Once you accept it and learn to trust God, you can start enjoying your life like a five-year old does at her birthday party. Like when you were a youngster, you can put your focus back on enjoying things instead of killing your joy with worry and concern. You can finally stop over thinking everything and for God’s sake (literally) let stuff go. You can open your heart and have fun in life. You can be vulnerable. You can share the love you have been burying inside. You can be perfectly imperfect. You can be flawed yet tremendous. You can be any damn thing you want to be because God has already covered you forever. Don’t you see it? You can stop waiting to exhale and rejoice in the life you get to live. Rejoice in it. Live it. Experience it. Prove it. Test it. You no longer have to be worried about what God thinks, He tells you what He thinks in His word and when it comes to you, it’s all good! So live your life now. Enjoy the life that is now. Rejoice and treasure the life that is right now. You owe it to the God that did so much for you to experience it. God ain’t mad at ya and neither am I!

Enjoy the life that is now…

Just some good thoughts….

Google Search…


google 2There are few things more helpful today than the ability to do a Google search. You can search for almost anything and 99% of the time you will find the answers that you need. Whether it be, “How to remove superglue from your counters?” to “Why isn’t the air conditioner working?” Google has the answers that you need. Google seems to encompass just about every question that you ask. The only place where Google seems to break down is when you find yourself in need of spiritual answers. Spiritual information either isn’t accurate according to God’s Word or else it’s mixed in with opinions, religious beliefs and a whole menagerie of guesswork which doesn’t really do the trick. For those times in your life when you really need an answer, you can do better than a Google search. You can go directly to your Creator. He is always available, knows the answer and is right 100% of the time.

One of my favorite times of the day occurs when I get up in the morning, brew up some coffee and sit down to write my, “Morning Pages” with my Heavenly Papa. Morning Pages, Julia Cameron’s brainchild, is taking time in the morning to record your thoughts and impressions about whatever is on your mind. It doesn’t have to be super meaningful or insightful, but rather an opportunity for you to clear things up in your head or at minimum identify your problems and seek solutions for them. For me, in my adapted version of the same, it is an opportunity to talk things over with my Father. It is a time for me to get clear about what is going on in my life. Often it presents me with a chance to unpack things things that have been stacking up and causing me to feel confused. Sometimes when I write there can be some complaining. Other times, I ask heartfelt questions and seek solutions and desperately needed answers. Similar to the psalmists, no matter where I start or how I start, before long the answers to my questions become more clear; I receive illumination and insights into which I formerly had no insight whatsoever. God sort of clues me in, in His quiet, perfect, very personal way. He often reminds me of something His Word says which always applies perfectly to my situation. Even my complaining and bitching is generally met with some further understanding about myself and when the problem is “indeed me oh Lord” coupled with a need for me to change my mind. Morning Pages with God is the ultimate Google search for spiritual answers to my spiritual problems.

Recently I found myself in a very challenging situation which I neither had coming nor deserved. Unlike times when I was the culprit of my own poor choices, this time it wasn’t the case at all. As I pondered my dilemma, talking it over on the pages of my journal complete with a good amount of anger and feeling like a victim, I suddenly recalled a section of scripture from Ecclesiastes which briefly states, “I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, not the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all. Immediately it dawned on me that at times in life we don’t get the result we should have gotten because there is an adversary who is ever at work behind the scenes trying to obstruct God’s blessings and favor in our lives. Otherwise people would always receive exactly what they deserved. As I pondered this further, I was reminded that I am in a spiritual competition and at times a target because of my love for God. And though I still didn’t appreciate what happened, I was comforted in knowing that God always turns those things intended for my harm to something much better for me. In that I found rest.

On another occasion, as I wrote feeling particularly frustrated about the effort I was putting in to get something with apparently very little result, God reminded me “For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.” In other words, you have to persevere at times to get the things you want and just because you cannot see it right now, doesn’t mean it is not going to happen. It is part of the great contest also with forces working to keep you from your dreams, if you give up in your mind and let them win. Another morning, I wrote about how things were gathering steam and seemingly coming at me from every angle. My knee hurt, my back hurt, there was pulsing inside my head, things weren’t making sense and I felt overwhelmed like my needs weren’t going to be met at all. And as I thought about where maybe I was offtrack or in the wrong space mentally, suddenly I recalled a section from the book of James where God said to count it all joy when you find yourself in many temptations because the testing of your faith (from the enemy) produces perseverance which in turn leads to maturity, being complete and ultimately not being in want for anything. Again, because God is faithful, I saw that at times you are going to be under the gun, but instead of looking inward to find your faults and failings, it is better to remind yourself of the struggle of which you are a part and hang tight looking for God’s deliverance. In fact, James goes on to say that if any of you lacks wisdom (knowing what to do) let Him ask God who gives generously to all without finding any fault. The moral of the story? Ask God the questions and allow Him to give you the answers. Sometimes your answers come quietly from within and at other times you will get them in other ways. God is not limited in His means for providing you with what you need. In fact, often when He answers you and you know it, He will remind you that you asked Him just so it is extra clear. (smile)

If you have lived life long enough, you already know that you have questions from which you have not yet gotten an answer. Google hasn’t helped you with these questions or maybe served to confuse you further. There are things deep inside you that no-one else knows about except you and God. God knows your every need from the smallest to the greatest. God has the answer to every question and He will not withhold it from you. Your job is simply to ask the question and then listen intently for the answer. When something breaks Google is your best friend, but the broken things in your heart and life are going to need something better. God is the something better. Far, far better. Just ask!

Just some good thoughts…

Harmony


harmonyIt has taken me many years to learn what I’m planning to share with you tonight. What I’m about to say is for all the people who yearn to see the power of God in their lives. It encompasses a little known secret crucial for the Christian man or woman who dreams of living the more abundant life promised in the Bible. As you may have already noticed by now, there is more to being a believer than simply getting born again, though that in itself guarantees a life that will last forever. But, what about the here and now? What about the joy promised in God’s Word? What about actually getting your prayers answered and having access to God’s power and His goodness in our day by day lives? Many Christians, sadly, talk of God’s ability and willingness to help them, yet fail to realize those promises in their experience of life. And absent any results, seek to explain away their shortfalls by assigning mysterious reasons for the lack such as God having a higher purpose and so on. God’s promises in His Word are very real and He desires above all else that we obtain all that He has lovingly promised us. The secret is found by getting in and remaining in harmony with God.

Harmony or fellowship with God is something we must do with our minds. The contest that rages day by day takes place in our minds. The thoughts we think and continue to think matter a great deal. We literally remain in harmony with God by that which we choose to think about; that which we choose to refuse and those things that harmonize with God’s Word. Every time we entertain thoughts that are not in harmony with God’s Word, we limit God’s ability to work in us and for us. The more we entertain these negative thoughts, the less harmony we have with God. Negative thoughts serve to separate us from God in our minds. Once we have accepted our Lord and Savior and believed in our hearts that God has raised him from the dead, we have God’s seed born within us. Nothing can separate us from His love and care. His love for us remains unconditional and there is nothing He won’t do for us. But, and it is a very big but, we can become separated from Him in our thinking. Wrong thoughts convince us of lies such as “God is angry with us” or “God is punishing us with negative consequences because of our sins.” These falsehoods burrow themselves deeper and deeper into our subconscious minds. It is never that God is unwilling to meet our needs, no matter how poorly we may have behaved, but rather that we lose our confidence in Him. We get out of harmony with Him and His Word. Living out of harmony with God is the reason our prayers are not answered. Being out of fellowship with God is why we feel miserable and defeated. It is never good works of righteousness we must do to get back in harmony with God as our Savior solved that problem forever. (It is finished) Instead it is our minds. We have to learn how to get our minds back in harmony with Him. Every time you and I get fearful, which is darkness, we are out of harmony with Him. Every time we persist in condemning ourselves for some sin Jesus paid for already; every time we judge ourselves; every time we deny who God alone has made us to be, results eventually in broken fellowship with Him and from that dark place we cannot access God’s power that we need so desperately in our lives. Again not because He is unwilling, but rather because we, by our own thoughts and actions, are not in fellowship with Him. Harmony with God is the key.

Think of harmony with God as your relationship with Him. (Not His relationship with you that never changes.) In order to have a good relationship you must remain loving and open in your heart to the one you seek a relationship with. In the human sense, once you begin to harbor negative thoughts about another person or assume their negative thoughts concerning you, the relationship begins to suffer. Instead, loving relationships assume good intent. Loving, trusting relationships expect good things from the other person involved. When outside things begin to influence our relationships, we become less trusting and loving and begin to harden our hearts towards the ones we love. We seriously doubt they have our best interests at heart. We look for and expect more and more trouble. This is exactly how we get out of harmony with God. God is good always and never is the source of our difficulties, ever! Instead we begin to harbor negative views towards Him. We start believing and thinking things that are contrary to God’s Word. We ask for His light while we sit in the darkness. Instead of resting in His promises to us, we are full of doubt and worry about getting any result which almost guarantees we won’t get any result. The problem isn’t God. The problem is our failure to get in and remain in harmony with Him.

Being in fellowship with God, where all of the power and results and answers for life are found, requires that we do something different with our minds. We have to learn how to renew our minds. We have to put off all of that pervasive darkness we have been cleaving to and think God’s Word instead. We must consciously change our thoughts that are contrary to the truth back to thoughts that are in harmony with the truth. You know why? Because it is the truth. The rest is all just error playing out in a thousand different variables. For example, God promises to preserve our health and if we need it, restore our health. That truth will be challenged with sickness, disease and anything else that is contrary to it. We will find ourselves very tempted to get afraid and worry and fret. Doing so is believing the darkness and will result in our getting out of harmony with God. When we are out of fellowship with God, heaven is brass and nothing happens, despite our heartfelt prayers. The solution is to get back in harmony with God. Simply say, “Papa, Im sorry I got so afraid and I choose instead to believe what your Word promises me. Thank you for healing me.” Now you are saying what God’s Word says and now you are back in harmony with Him. In harmony with Him, in the light, is where God’s power will be found for your life. Naturally you will be tempted with many other things that challenge the truth of God’s Word in your mind, so you must follow the same process time and time again. If you get out of harmony, get back in as quickly as you can. When you recognize your mind has gone south, get back into fellowship with Him. When you feel miserable and defeated, get back into harmony with Him again. You find God in the light.

The more than abundant life promised in God’s Word is dependent upon you remaining in fellowship with God. The more you stay put, the better your life will become. God is not after your pleasing works done to persuade yourself you are worthy in His sight. He wants your heart. He wants your freewill love. He wants to do for you ALL that you could never do for yourself. He is your Father. He is your Papa. He never judges you and He always wants the best for you. Stay in harmony with Him in your mind. Remember what He has already done for you. Find out who His Word says you are and replace that old image you have been carrying around with you. You don’t please God with your good works. You please God by believing His Word. Cultivate that close, endearing relationship with Him and let Him do for you beyond all that you could ever ask or think.

It is that good. He is that good.

Just some good thoughts…

Control…


iStock-1055448892.2e16d0ba.fill-735x490It doesn’t take too many negative circumstances before it becomes apparent how much of our lives we don’t actually control. Oh we think we do! We drive ourselves bonkers trying to think through every possible variable to maximize our chances at success. We plan and exercise diligence. We read up and study, and if it’s dangerous, we put in extra time. And all we are really after is some safety and some security. The illusion of control is what sends a person over the edge when they fall victim to a robbery or something worse. We all like to feel secure and we all seek out circumstances that aid in that pursuit. But, have you ever considered how much of our lives we actually do control? Or, to put it another way, are we spending maybe too much time trying to control something that we never controlled in the first place?

Certain things happen in our lives that we didn’t see coming. People get sick or are diagnosed with diseases that despite their best efforts in maintaining healthy habits, happened anyway. People lose their secure jobs and find themselves unemployed. Time and chance happen to them all, as the saying goes. When these events happen, I think it teaches us that our reliance cannot be based entirely on our human efforts. Sure we should do our best and we all know that if you play with fire long enough, you are going to get burned. But, some folks do play with fire and nothing seems to happen at all. Other folks cannot seem to catch a break. This alone instructs us that there is often more to situations than meets the eye. There are forces at work outside of us, perpetually plotting and scheming to bring about negative results. For this the world is usually blind. Instead people try to take on more than they can actually control and are the worse off because of it. You can literally worry yourself to an early grave. You can be so afraid of some potential negative outcome that you end up working to bring it to pass in your own life. There must be a better way. There must be something we can do to multiply our chances for success while minimizing our chances at failure or defeat. Notwithstanding, all of us are going to be punched in the mouth at times and how we respond will ultimately define the result of the contest.

If you really think about it, was is it that we actually control? We cannot exercise control over the economy. We do not control health or healing. We can make healthy choices, but we do not control it. Physicians do not cure, they help facilitate cures. We do not control the weather. We cannot control mechanical things or ensure their continued operation. Ask anyone whose air conditioning goes out in the middle of summer. We alone cannot guarantee our children’s safety. We cannot guarantee anyone’s safety. We cannot control the people we have relationships with, though we are loathe to admit it. In short, most of life, most of our lives we do not control at all. Why spend another moment in futile worries and frets over things we never controlled in the first place. Why run the multitude of foul thoughts through our minds threatening this disaster or the next? Why drive ourselves to the brink making sure we do everything in the right way and at the right time, terrified if we misstep that calamity is right around the corner? There actually is Someone that has control over every variable and we owe it to ourselves to find who He is and then relinquish all back over to Him. Grasping and clutching, hanging on and clinging to our illusions of safety do nothing but exhaust us and take our energy for doing anything good. Relinquish the control you have been trying so desperately to maintain and learn how to trust Him instead. Do your best and let God do the rest! Or as life has taught me thus far, God will do His best for me despite my efforts, good or bad. Maybe the good just helps me feel better.

There is literally only one thing we as humans can control and that is our thinking. (Please read that again!) Stuff is going to come at us. Negative events will take place. At times, we will suffer losses. But, no matter what is going on, we can still control our thinking. We can decide, though all hell paints another picture, that what God said is true, is true. The enemy of mankind is the master of deception. He seeks to persuade you of things that are not true so that you will cooperate with his devious plans for your life. If you don’t fold, you cannot lose as another great man once remarked. Your job, my job is to stop wasting away our lives thinking about things that are not true and focus instead on things that are true. All of your very best thinking does not heal your body, God does. Your discipline of will does not cause you to prosper, God does. Your tortuous exercise routine doesn’t guarantee your longevity, God does. All of that mind boggling stuff you are putting yourself through day by day in an effort to be safe, to stay safe, does not keep you safe, God does! Controlling your thinking means keeping things straight in your mind. You control what you will and what you will not think about. You decide what you will believe and what you refuse to believe. If God can feed one of His guys with a raven, I am sure He can take care of you. Instead of investing all of that effort in your to do list, invest that effort in learning what He says He will do and then in learning how to trust Him. Can you imagine how much easier your life will become when you finally let go of all those things you didn’t control anyway? Control the one thing you can control and see how much better things get for you.

God knows all, sees all, is omnipotent and all powerful. Shoot, He can see the future! He knew what you needed long before you knew. He made provisions for you well in advance. He knows how to heal you. He knows how to prosper you. He knows how to solve all of your heart needs; every single one of them. He is everything you will ever need. And, all He wants from you is your love. He wants you trust Him. He wants you to reach out to Him and lay your heart out before Him. He doesn’t need your good behaviors, He wants your heart. His design for life was that you would go to Him for everything you ever needed. He knows all of the variables and His thoughts are above, far above your thoughts. He wants to do for you what you cannot do for yourself. When you finally turn it all over to Him, you can rest a bit. You can relax. You can start to enjoy your life instead of wasting it away worrying over a million things you cannot control. And best of all, when negative stuff happens to you, He will turn it around for your good and show you things you could have never imagined before. He is a God of abundance and it is all there for you.

Loosen your grip brother. Relax your hands sister. God is in control no matter what it looks like. Control the one thing you can control and see how wonderful this life can be.

Just some good thoughts…